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August 22, 3:25 PM ET
Chat LIVE from the U.S. Open

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

Greetings from lovely Flushing Meadows -- welcome to Opening Day of what should be the most interesting U.S. Open in many moons...

Brian Taylor Braziel, Florida

What do you think Roger Federer must do or the rest of the field not do for him to defend his 2007 U.S. Open Title?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:04 PM)

Brian -- that is THE question on most minds here. Let's not forget that Federer has had what would count as an above average year for most mortals -- just not up to the impossible standard he set in the last four seasons. That being said, there's no doubt he has lost some confidence -- he'll need to play with his old aplomb even if he doesn't feel it. Rafael Nadal's history at this tournament is not stellar and perhaps the hard courts and the environment will heal him. Full disclosure: I picked Federer to lose in the early rounds.

Kevin (Toronto)

I have a question about Ryan Sweeting. I remember when he was a junior, he was representing the Bahamas. Now as a pro, he has switched to the US. My question is a) how far do you see him making it at the USO and b) what's up with the nationality change?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Howdy, Kevin. Hate to let you down, but Sweeting lost today... he became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

Nate (Fort Wayne )

With Blake doing so well in China...how do you think he will do here?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

Different preparation for Blake, for sure. He usually plays in his hometown tournament in New Haven leading up to this. Not sure that Beijing wound up the way Blake would have liked although he really savored the off-court part of it. His match against Fernando Gonzalez was a bummer -- by the way, everyone who was on site has told me they think the ball DID hit Gonzo's racket -- chiefly because of his inability to close it out. He loves this venue and would love to break through and make his first Slam semi but that could be a tall order with Nadal in his quarter.

evan (orlando)

So, who's got the better matches to cover, you or Garber?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:17 PM)

We arm wrestle every morning to decide. However, there is no truth to the rumor that I am getting a Mohawk to gain a competitive edge.

Chuck Coleman, Danville, California

What is your opinion of players who make loud noises during approximately 90% of their contacts with the ball? I say it's gamesmanship, and shouldn't be allowed. It didn't happen much at all before 1980.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:19 PM)

It;s hard to legislate, Chuck. I agree with you from a spectator's perspective. But the truth is that some noisy players' opponents seem to be able to shut it out and some don't.

Dmitry (Jones Beach)

Knowing how fragile Safin and Spadea are, how would you describe that matchup?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

It's one for the ages as far as colorful personalities... how about a joint, bi-lingual rap after the match?

Kathleen (NY, NY)

I would love to see Donald Young pull the upset over James Blake tonight, but I wouldn't put money on it. My question: how tall is Donald?? I've seen him listed as 6', but he looks about 5'9" (if that). Thanks!!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:23 PM)

Welcome back to the fold, Kathleen. Donald is listed at 5-10 in the USTA's own guide, 6-0 on the ATP web site. The fact that he's so slender could be deceiving. Tell you what, I'll ask him tonight.

Jason

Are NCAA players eligible to compete in the US Open? Do they lose their eligibility for playing in the US Open? I heard that the NCAA champion sometimes gets a wildcard.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:26 PM)

Hi Jason. There's nothing to prevent an NCAA player -- American or otherwise -- from competing in the US Open if they're invited. They would lose college eligibility only if they accepted prize money. There are some players who turn pro and don't accept prize money, but that is generally as teenagers who are contemplating college and want to keep their options open.

Mike (NJ)

I'm thinking of going to Flushing Meadows at some point this week. As a fan, which day should I go to to see some potentially exciting matchups? Thanks

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Any day this week that it doesn't rain, Mike. The first week is loaded.

Ben (Portland, Oregon)

What's the correct diagnosis on Nadal's knees? Is it a consistent problem of breaking down or were the Wimbledon final '07 defeat and U.S. Open quarters defeat '07, among others, just temporary knee problems?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

Nadal's big build and pounding style sometimes lead to tendinitis -- not surprising, but certainly annoying for him.

Bryan (Oregon)

Is the fact that Mauresmo is still playing a credit to her love of tennis or is it sad that she hasn't retired yet?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Wow -- a zinger of a question. A lot more time would have to pass before I declared Mauresmo pathetic. She did seem listless earlier this season but I picked her as a sleeper here -- the current disarray/parity in the WTA could play right into her hands if she's healthy.

Dave (Westchester)

I saw that Dementieva struggled a bit in her first-round match and Rafa looked a little sluggish in his first set. Can we expect a Beijing Effect for the two gold medalists?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Dementieva had no trouble today admitting that it was hard for her to refocus after the adrenaline high of China -- contrary to most thinking, she said she thinks the Oly gold is much more important to the average Russian fan than a Slam title. Interesting. As for Nadal, he has a bit of a history of slow starts in Slams anyway.

Bryan (Gold Beach, Oregon)

What is the biggest flaw in Andy Roddick's game that has kept him from joining Federer/Nadal/Djokovic in the elite category, and can he get there by winning this U.S. Open?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:40 PM)

It's the five-year anniversary of Roddick's win here, as you probably know. Most analysts would say that Roddick's biggest challenge is movement and lack of diversity in his game -- something he has tried hard to address in the last few years. But his biggest "flaw" this year has been injury.

Philip, Columbus, Ohio

How far do you think Gael Monfils will go?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:47 PM)

Not only did Monfils win today, he busted some nifty celebratory moves that should get him consideration for "Dancing With The Stars." He's got Blake, Karlovic and Nadal in his quarter... and he hasn't done well here in the past ... but his success at the French Open should give him some more confidence on the big stage.

Drew - Franklin Lakes

Bonnie. How's the concession food looking, smelling & tasting this year!? (Have you had to take a 2nd home mortgage out to buy some food?)

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:50 PM)

Drew -- In order to better serve our readers, I fast throughout the Open. If I were eating, I would say that it's hard to complain about food when I have the smorgasbord of New York at my fingertips.

Bones ('Loo)

What can you tell me about Kvitova on the women's side? Her current match is full of breaks!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:53 PM)

Probably a reflection of her relative lack of experience at this level... at 18, she's still bouncing between WTA and lower-level matches, though she had a nice run at the French, where she beat Agnes Szavay to reach the fourth round.

Nicole (Milwaukee)

I love the US Open and I especially like watching Wozniacki and Chakvetadze. Do you see either player making a run deep in the US Open?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

The two New Haven finalists have had very different seasons... Chakvetadze has struggled to be consistent... whereas everything is upside-new and fresh for Wozniacki, who comes in with a lot of momentum. They are both in the favorable half of the draw to be sure...

Thomas (NYC)

It appears that Nadal is getting a tougher match than I expected from Phau. Do long matches early in the tourney hurt Nadal less than it might an older player? What kind of rest do these guys get? What is the humidity like? Keep up the good work!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:00 PM)

As I mentioned before, this isn't the first time Nadal has had a sluggish opener and it's to be expected given where he just came from. Heat and humidity have never seemed to bother him (and conditions are certainly better here than in Beijing) and yes, I think his recovery powers are better than an older player's, though he does beat himself up more than most guys.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

That's it for me today, folks -- join Greg here tomorrow at the same time.

Buzzmaster
  (5:18 PM)

Greg will be by at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday!

Greg Garber
  (3:59 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans. Greg Garber here on a gorgeous Day Two here at the National Tennis Center. No major upsets yet, although No. 1 seed Ana Ivanovic struggled over three sets to close out Vera Dushevina and Sam Querrey knocked of laconic No. 22 seed Tomas Berdych. Oh, and Vince Spadea is into the fifth set with two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin. You've got questions? We've got answers...

Suzanne, Vermont

Why does Bonnie think Federer will go out early? Verdasco or the confidence thing? Greg agree?

Greg Garber
  (4:03 PM)

Suzanne: I just wrote a story on this very topic, which currently leads our tennis page. Here's the thing: Federer has played 14 tournaments -- and one only to, in Halle, Germany and Estoril, Portugal. Nothing we have seen so far this year suggests he can win this thing. That said, he's got an easy quarter in the draw and could last until the semifinals, where he's meet Novak Djokovic.

Eric (LA)

Hi Greg, an old school question: I followed Lendl and Becker through much of their careers and strongly believed but could never confirm that they seem to truly dislike each other. After the ceremony yesterday, Becker was interviewed in the stands and appeared to take a swipe at Lendl, smirking while referring to his ace on match point against Lendl in 1989. I thought this was huge (if subtle) insight and confirmation, what do you think?

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Eric: Great question and good insight. I just asked Peter Bodo of Tennis Magazine your question. He's not sure, but said it was possible that they were on cordial terms these days. That rivalry happened a long time ago and these guys seem to bump into each other all the time at Grand Slams. It would be kind of silly to hold a grudge that long.

Suzanne (again), Vermont

Can Patrick MacEnroe help Roddick with Santoro? I SO want Andy to do well this year..

Greg Garber
  (4:11 PM)

Suzanne: Are you shadowing my movements? Today's story, to be posted in a few hours, deals with Roddick. I just spoke with Patrick McEnroe, who he said is feeling injury-free for the first time in many months. He's happy -- in love with SI swimsuit midel Brooklyn Decker -- but he's got a tough draw. After Santoro, who throws up a lot of junk, it's Ernests Gulbis, who hits bombs. Very tough to go from knucleballs to fastballs. Even if Roddick beats Gulbis, Cilic (who beat him in Toronto), Tsonga or Djokovic coul be waiting in the quarters.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Will Donald Young be the player to watch for in a few years?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Brad: This is a question we were debating during last night's match. D-Young has been on the radar for years now, but is just starting to grow into his body. He has some terrific shots -- did you see him hitting that little angled bachkhand to James Blake's backhand last night? -- and seems to be getting physiclly stronger. H had two break points on Blake at 3-all in the fifth. Could have easily won. The consensus is that he can be a top 25 player. Fewer folks are willing to predict top 10, but it's not impossible.

Jason

Kei Nishikori looked good today. Does he belong on the short list of top teenagers along with Gulbis and Del Potro?

Greg Garber
  (4:16 PM)

Good call Jason. I watched Nishikori close out his match with No. 29 seed Juan Monaco on Monday. He's got some shots. Like Donald Young, he needs to get physically stronger.

Kathleen (NY,NY)

Hi Greg, so Etienne deVilliers is out!!! Are Roger, Rafa, and Davydenko celebrating?? Seriously, if possible, please ask how they feel about the upcoming change. Thanks!

Greg Garber
  (4:19 PM)

Hello, Kathleen. I think it's safe to say they're happy with a regine change. Just be careful what you wish for. DeVilliers made some enemies among players, but you have to admit he TRIED to change things. Instant replay -- something we already take for granted -- was one of his biggest achievements. Who knows what you'll get when the search committee settles on a new leader?

Jason

I noticed that Nadal looked like he was having a full practice before his match yesterday. How much work do most players do on the day before (and the day of) match day? Do any of them do full workouts (weights, cardio)?

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Jason: Just atched Roddick practicing. He play Santoro tomorrow night and he went a full hour, from 1:45 to 2:45. He'll come in tomorrow afternoon for a warm-up hit and wait for his turn, which should come around 8:30ish...Don't know about his weight training, but Wayne Odesnik, a young American into the second round, told me he works with HIS trainer every single day.

Manny

is there a chance nadal will choose to play acapulco 500 over the dubai 500 next year? they are in the same week, and all players have to go to 4 of the 500 tourneys. so wouldn't nadal want to take the easy points at acapulco to protect his #1 ranking, while the other guys fight it out in dubai?

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Manny, you are so far ahead of the curve I can't even see you from here.Seriously, that's a great question. By your logic, the answer would be Acapulco. I wonder if Uncle Toni will go for ducking the Dubai field -- and its massive payday, wice Acapulco.

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

Quick five-set update: Marat Safin has just defeated Vince Spadea 6-4 in the fifth. Tommy Haas is up on No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet 5-2 in the fifth and serving for the match. Haas is unseeded, but this is no real upset.

Jen (scarborough)

fed and nadal never seem to play at the same tournament unless they have to (ie grand slam). the exception is dubai. why?

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Jen: Like most players, they have their tried-and-true routines. Nadal likes the small-time clay circuit, Federer plays more hard court events.Both players play to their individual strengths. Dubai, because of its spot in the calendar, the prizemoney -- and mostly the perks -- is always a big favorite.

Dan (Wisconsin )

Best matchup of the tournament?

Greg Garber
  (4:34 PM)

How about Venus vs. Seena in the quarters? They both play later today On the men's side, could be Federer-Djokovic in the semis, provided they both get there.

Manny

Gasquet. He's been left behind by Djoko and now Murray.

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Manny, it's not even close. Gasquet has ridiculous talent, but he never seems to put seven matches together. He's WAY to good to consistently go out of big tournaments in the first and second rounds.

HAYDEN (LOGAN UT)

Three names in mens tennis: Federer, Blake, and Nadal.

Greg Garber
  (4:36 PM)

Blake? Are you on the payroll? Djokovic is the third member of the Big Three. Del Potro and Cilic aren't far behind.

HAYDEN (LOGAN UT)

Hows Blake these days? He did great recently, and I like him, but will he really do anything?

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Hayden: This is an ongoing question. He has some terrific skills, but like Gasquet rarely gets deep in the Slams. He was a quarterfinalist here in 05 and 06, but you wonder if that was the high-water mark. He looked very average last night versus Donald Young, didn't you think?

Manny

Who is this DeHeart guy Nadal is playing next? Looks like an easy draw for my boy Rafa.

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

DeHeart is a great story. Qualified his way in and played his very first ATP-level match yesterday -- and beat Olivier Rochus, ranked almost 200 spots ahead f him. All-time winngest player at the University of Illinois. Made 30K in one day, 10K more than he's earned all season long. Good for him. As he said yesterday, Got an easy one in the next round."

Jen (scarborough)

ivanovic did not look good. safina is going to be big trouble in the quarters?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Jen: You are correct. Safina is the pick of many to win the tournament, including myself and colleague Bonnie Ford.

barney (ny)

why doesn't chicago have a big tournament. how did cincinatti end up getting the big mid america gig?

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Barney: Maybe it's because Chicago has so much going on. They didn't get NASCAR until relatively recently. Estoril, Portugal isn't exactly a monster market, either.

Kevin (Toronto)

Do you get to stay at the players hotel? Or do they put the media in a worse location?

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Kevin: "Get to" as if it's a good thing? We stayed in an elegant house at Wimbledon, so I'm guessing most players wouldn't mind staying with us...Seriously, it depends on the venue. There are usually several official hotels and both media and usually lesser players stay in those.

Kathleen (NY,NY)

Hi Greg, me again. Ol' man McEnroe wants the ATP top job. He cannot be serious!!! But, I do like his anti-mandatory tournaments stance. What do you think?

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Kathleen: This has actually surfaced as a possibility. He's a lawyer and obviously very conversant in tennis, too. Patrick already seems to run the USTA -- why shouldn't dad run the ATP? That would leave, what?, the WTA for John. How do you think THAT would work out?

Kevin (Toronto)

How come you are Bonnie aren't doing half hour on, half hour off like previous Grand Slam events? Is this day to day rotation likely to continue?

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

Kevin, you are quite the curious cat today. There is so much to do at a Slam and its dispersed randomly over such a long day that it's hard to jump in and jump out for 30 minutes. Talking it over, we wondered if we'd be more efficient focusing on this for a full hour every other day. Plus, we've noticed that you get into a rhythm when you go 60 minutes. Thanks for the interest. I'm out of here. Welcome in Bonnie Ford at 4 PM on Wednesday. On the sked: Kuznetsova, Jankovic, Djokovic, Davydenko, Dementieva, Roddick and Davenport. Visit with you again on Thursday.

Buzzmaster
  (6:16 PM)

Our gang from the U.S. Open will be back again on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET! Stop on by then!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

Good afternoon from Flushing Meadows. It's a brilliantly sunny day here and we've had some interesting action. Fire away...

George NY,NY

What is your feeling on Safin/foot fault saga yesterday? I completely agree with Marat. Yeah, foot faults are in the rule book but so is slow play (nadal, novak bouncing the ball 20 times) which neither player ever receives a point penatly for. A foot fault can't be called at deuce 4-5. Thoughts? Please don't say a rule is a rule like Spadea.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:02 PM)

Well, George... if I were Spadea... I would say something like, "A rule is a rule/and that's why I went to school/ Safin needs to keep his cool/ cuz umpires are stubborn as mules..."

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:04 PM)

But seriously -- to be dead honest, we see so few foot faults called at this level that it's hard to gauge whether umps call them very differently. I agree that as in NBA traveling calls, there does seem to be latitude granted in certain situations. Safin was especially hot because he had just been called for the same thing in Cinci. Maybe he's developed a hitch in his motion.

barney (NY)

the olympics cheapens the us open doubles title. when either the bryans or nestor/zimonjic hoist the trophy, everyone will know that they were lucky that fed/wawrinka weren't playing

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

I disagree, Barney. Those are two proven teams, and you could argue that the Oly result was partly due to the fact that the Fed-Waw team presented an unfamiliar challenge. It's become unfashionable for top players like Federer to play dubs, but there's nothing stopping him from tossing his headband in the ring. You think he could find guys willing to play with him?

go mets

How about Andre Agassi as a coach for Roddick? Agassi could teach that wicked 2 handed backhand, and Roddick's game would be complete.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:09 PM)

Interesting thought, but AA has never shown an interest in coaching beyond occasional informal mentoring.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

Anyone have other candidates for Roddick's new coach? Send 'em along...

Manny

is it a disadvantage to guys like djoko and roddick to start on wednesday? seems like 7 matches between now and next sunday is a lot

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:11 PM)

No, I don't, since it gave Djokovic extra rest after his Beijing trip, and Roddick has been dealing with some injuries this spring and summer. His people say he's ready to go, though.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

Suzanne -- Ivo and Jan Minar are indeed brothers. I'll try to get to your dubs question in a second.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

What are the chances you give Sam Querry of getting past Ivo into the fourth round? Also, what an end to Wimbledon eh?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

Howdy Wyatt -- if Querrey plays the way he did in the first round, he has a great chance of beating Karlovic -- he can handle the high bounces off Ivo's serve because of his height and has superior mobility. But they do have second round matches first.

Suzanne, Vt.

Seeds 2 and 3-women's doubles out today-Olympic exhaustion?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:20 PM)

Could be -- but I didn't see either match so I don't have a sense of how they looked.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:22 PM)

Jen, the Williams sisters are not in the doubles draw here.

Jason

Players like Federer and Nadal vocally supported the Monte Carlo and Hamburg tournaments. Now that both tournaments have been demoted, have you got a sense that a lot of players will cross those tournaments off the calendar? Maybe a clay lover like Nadal will play, but why would clay haters like Federer and Roddick even bother?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

My sense -- and I haven't asked around -- is that players play what fits into their schedules, with prize money and requirements obviously dictating some of that. One could imagine there might be appearance fees coming into play.

Jen (scarborough)

who are some of the players who are likely playing their last us open? i know davenport. maybe moya? any others?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:28 PM)

Probably Santoro, who's playing Roddick tonight.

Mark (New Jersey)

What are the chances that Federer doesnt even make it to the final?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Mark, I think that is a distinct possibility but it's a hunch -- I do see Stepanek as being a potentially dangerous opponent for him in the 3rd round.

Gainesville, FL

Marat Safin had an intersting press conference, what is the deal with the foot fault on second serve?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:41 PM)

Hi, Gainesville. I addressed the foot fault issue earlier in the chat -- my favorite comment of Safin's was that his sister would be well served to do everything differently than he did.

Joe (San Diego)

Who do you think will coach Federer? Who do you think should coach Federer? Who should at least be on the "short list"?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:44 PM)

Even though things didn't work out the way he would have hoped in the clay court season, I have to wonder if Jose Higueras is still a possibility -- depending on his arrangement with Robby Ginepri. I think Darren Cahill also would have the right mindset for the job,

Alex (Palo Alto, Ca)

Hey Bonnie, I thought Scorville Jenkins would be the next big thing but nobody even mentions him anymore. The first round exit didn't help either. What's the deal?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:49 PM)

You're right -- though I can't say I've studied it.

barney (ny)

how does this court/balls compare to the aussie open? better for baseliners or big servers?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:53 PM)

These courts are universally considered among the fastest on the tour. The AO courts still have more give. Some of the players have said the balls are heavy here, a common comment this season.

Manny

how do most players rank US open in comparison to the other slams?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

Hi Manny. The players frequently talk about how big and chaotic this tournament is compared to the other Slams... and obviously lots of distractions in the city in their off hours if they choose... it just depends on temperament. Some players love it, others not so much.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:02 PM)

That's a wrap for today. Thanks for the traffic -- and join Greg Garber here at 4 pm tomorrow.

Buzzmaster
  (5:05 PM)

Come on back tennis fans at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday!

Greg Garber
  (4:03 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans. Greg Garber here at the National Tennis Center. Highlights so far today: James Blake lost the first set to Steve Darcis but as soon as he evened the count, Darcis retired. Dinara Safina, a favorite in many eyes, did not play well for her second consecutive match, but is through to the third round. Bethanie Mattek of the USA lost to No. 17 seed Alize Cornet and Wayne Odesnik fell to No. 10 seed Stanislas Wawrinka. Fire along your questions and we'll try to keep those answers coming...

Keith (Charlotte, NC.)

So now that we have seen Roddick's first match here, can we expect him to keep that high level of play or for him to struggle has the competition gets harder?

Greg Garber
  (4:06 PM)

Keith, thanks for leading off. This is a tricky one. After wrecking Fabrice Santoro -- who claimed that Roddick was trying to hit him with a serve on the second-to-last point of the match -- he now gets Ernests Gulbis, who has some serious game. On paper, anyway, that is a tough match to call even though Roddick is ranked No. 8 and Gulbis is No. 40...

VAMOS RAFA

Who has the best backhand among the women and among the men? How about forehand?

Greg Garber
  (4:10 PM)

Vamos, indeed: Talking with ESPN.com editor Matt Wilansky, aeasthetically speaking, you could go with Gasquet andwith the retirement of Henin, maybe another French player, Amelie Mauresmo. For effectiveness: Djokovic and/or Nalbandian and Nadal and maybe Haas ... Jankovic on the womens side.

Jason

I just saw the 2009 ATP calendar on the ATP website today. Wasn't there supposed to be a longer offseason? And are guys really going to play Davis Cup the week after Wimbledon and US Open?

Greg Garber
  (4:15 PM)

Jason: True. While the WTA has committed to a slightly leaner calendar, the AYTP schedule looks similar. Davis Cup, as always, is a tough fit for the tams that advance that far. Consider Nadal: He's gunning for one of the great seasons in history and he's got Davis Cup semis against the United States in a few weeks. And possibly the final (in Argentina?) in November. The guy came into the Open with 18 more matches than any other man -- that would put him WAY over the top.

Kevin

Do you think Santoro overreacted last night on the second to last point? It was obvious on TV that Roddick was not trying to hit him. Was there another apology other than the exchange of words at the net?

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Kevin: Absolutely. The guy is terrific, at 35, entertaining and skillful. But last night against Roddick he looked ike an old man. Getting his rear end handed to him, 2-2-2, and I think he was embarrassed. Thi as his way to deflect it. Roddick said he was going for the T -- if so, said Santoro, it was the biggest mistake of his life. Santoro defiantly did not even swing at the last serve, match point. Roddick just said he was unaware of Santoro's feelings and would "reach out" to Santoro in the locker room.

Bryan (Irvine, CA)

Djokovic's next 4 matches could be against big servers (Kendrick, Cilic and Safin or Tsonga, and Roddick). Do you see him having any trouble getting to the semis and who would you expect giving him the most trouble?

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Bryan: Nice work, running that down in the draw. You HAVE been paying attention. Obviously, that's some pretty good firepower. Last year, he got to the final against Federer without seeing any huge serves (previous three were Monaco, Moya, Ferrer). Still, I think he makes th SFs. Cilic is a tough out -- I saw him play last week in New Haven -- but Djoker should handle him...

jen (scarborough)

do you think maria sharapova's shoulder is starting to be a career threatening injury? its been two years since it started giving her problems and it never goes away

Greg Garber
  (4:27 PM)

Jen: Based on the anecdotal evidence you might start to think so. Her camp has been quiet, but after winning the Aussie in January, it looked like she was headed for a career year -- then the shoulder gave way again. The Open, without the retired Henin and injured Sharapova just doesn't feel the same.

Kevin (Toronto)

Hi Greg... Last night it looked as if Santoro thought Roddick was aiming for his head on the second to last point, especially with him conceeding the ace on match point. At the hand shake, it was clear on TV that Andy told Fabrice he did not mean for that to happen and in his press conference he said it was a serve up the T that was a little errant. Do you know if Fabrice still has hard feelings, even after Andy claimed he was going to hunt him down and apologize? And did the apology actually occur?

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

Kevin: Not known at this juncture. Clearly, Santoro overreacted, but credit Roddick with trying to make it right -- even though he said he had no intention f trying to hit him. Hey, this is starting to sound like NASCAR!

Kevin

Who of the former number one male juniors is most likely to compete for that title at the pro level? It has to be Cilic first with Baghdatis second, right?

Greg Garber
  (4:30 PM)

Kevin, you are a machine. Some would have said Donald Young a few years ago, but I'll go with Cilic. He's still only 19 and incredibly long and should eventually grow into his body.

Amit (Chicago, IL)

Hey Greg! Will Rafa win the U.S. Open this year and how do you see that painful blister which he called a medical timeout for affecting his matches down the line?

Greg Garber
  (4:32 PM)

Amit, good to hear from you. Rafa has played with blisters, on and off, for years. Just when you start to think he'll be affected, he runs the table. Remember Wimbledon, when Rafa went down and really tweaked his knee? No problem. He's tired after Beijing, so he's going to slow matches down and take his treatment when it becomes necessary.

Jason

A lot is being made of Rafa being exhausted from playing too much tennis. Why don't people think this is an issue for Djokovic (who played the same number of matches in Beijing, and also a lot of matches in Cincinatti)? Why isn't this also an issue for Safina (who played a ton of matches in Beijing and Montreal)? Surely most of us consider Rafa to be the best conditioned athlete among those three?

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Jason: Legitimate point. This is a huge issue for Djoker and, most of all, Safina. I just spoke with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, who admited Safina was "very" tired. Rafa is in great condition, but Darren Cahill noted after he ost at Cincinnati that he was more mentally exhausted. All three of these players -- who still had a week between matches in Beijing and New York -- should be more worried about that.

Kevin

Do you see Marat Safin making it to the quarterfinals?

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

No way. He's got Robredo in the second round (tough one), followed by probably Tsonga in the third and Cilic or Djokovic in the fourth. That, my friends, is Mission Impossible.

chaman asgar st. john's canada

Hi Greg., When I read your comments about Federer,I get the distinct feeling you do not like him.True he is having a bad year.I believe in life everyone can have a bad month or year.It should not be a reason to completely dump him or her.This seems to be your feeling about Federer.I hope you will pardon my audacity.

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Chaman: No offense intended or taken, I'm sure. I happen to like Federer but as a writer you try to be impartial. It's a dicey business, because the guy has been the best player in the world for four years and, suddenly, he can;t win a big tournament. It's hard to know how to separate his phenomenal track record and this current drought. I'd like to think my Day One story was down the middle.

Suzanne, Vt.

Greg-- Who coaches Djokovic? Never mentioned in TV commentary--

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Greetings, Suzanne: According to the ATP media guide, it's former pro and Slovak Republic native Marian Vajda (since June 2006)...

Manny

why is match time considered an important stat? shouldn't it be total points played to give us a sense of how long the match was? guys like djokovic and nadal take 45 seconds between points and that has to add an extra half hour each time

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Manny: Good point but at a Slam, where it takes seven best-of-five matches to win, accumulated time plays into results. They DO keep track of points played, but that, too, can be skewed. Ivo Karlovic may play a lot of points but most of them take seven seconds.

Kevin

With all my questions being posted, do you think ESPN will hire me for US Open '09?

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

The check, Kevin, is in the mail...

VAMOS RAFA

How is Moya doing? He has to be near the end of the road - is he going to the Hall of Fame?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

ys, things ar winding down for the 1998 French Open champion. He's good for a win or two at the Slams, but here he has Tsonga in the second round. Not sure he can pull that off against a healthy Tsonga -- who reached the final in Australia.

Janet G - Florida

Just asking that you reporters stop putting additional pressure on Roger Federer. Roger had Mono and that is a serious ailment. Sometimes this takes a year to get better. Roger will be back for sure as No. 1 in the near future. He is the best ever and a classy guy. His millions of fans are really annoyed with your reporters. Pick on someone else for heavens sake.

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Janet: Where's all the anger coming from? Federer has received a mountain of adulation and good press clippings. He's indeed a classy guy -- and gets universal credit for it. Telling it like it is -- he is 0-for-3 in Slams -- is just good journalism. The question of mono DOES hang over this season. If he wins three Slams next year because he's healthy, I'm sure he'll get due credit for that, too.

Bryan (Irvine, CA)

I was at the Open on Monday and I saw something that I had never seen before where Nishikori conceded a point to Monaco 2 points after a bad line call. Monaco hadn't realized it was called out and thought he won the game on the next point when the score was deuce. Does this ever occur and why has no one written about it?

Greg Garber
  (4:53 PM)

Bryan: Wow. I watched a set of that match, but didn't see that. Nice reporting by you. It's nice to see. On occasion, pros will overrule a linesman and give an opponent the point as they see it.

Juan, MA

If (and a very big if) Nalbandian gets on a run, shouldn't he be a candidate to take down Nadal? He beat him twice very easily last fall.

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

Nalbandian, up right now two sets to none on Golubev, is a curious customer. He's been to the semifinals of all four Grand Slams and lost the '02 final to Hewitt. Monfils and Blake seem to be in his near-future -- do-able matches for him. With Nadal dragging a bit, it sets up nicely for him if they should meet in the quarters. If he does it, you were the first to make that call...

Jason

Following up on Bryan's question. What if a player offers to concede a point, but the chair doesn't agree?

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Jason: I have never seen a chair overrule a concession (so to speak). I suppose if they did, they could handle it like soccer when a player gets hurt and the opposing team kicks the ball out of bounds, then gets it back later from the other team when play resumes. Hypothetically, a player could just not play a point to even the score.

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

That's it for me oday, folks. That was a great session. Bring those questons again tomorrow, same time, when Bonnie Ford steps in to the chat room.

Buzzmaster
  (5:52 PM)

Stop on by Friday at 4 p.m. ET for more US Open chat!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:00 PM)

Happy Labor Day Friday from New York. What's on people's minds today?

Alex, VA

How much of a chance would you give Rafa to win this grand slam, and do you think Federer will get eliminated from the field before the final???

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

HI Alex, I predicted both of those things, actually, and time will tell if I am right. Neither has looked totally crisp so far.

Rohan (India)

I reckon that the stagnancy in Federer's game this year is partly becoz of his stubornness to change ( as seen by the lack of slicing & volleying in the Wimbledon final this year) albeit Nadal's willingness to adjust to every situation. I hope it doesn't cost Fed the future French Open & Wimbledon, ure comments? I hope he's in talks to hire a new coach very soon cuz even the best of them need it a.k.a Sampras

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:04 PM)

Rohan, stagnancy is a decent working theory, but as I keep reminding people, it is impossible to indefinitely maintain the pace and intensity Federer had over the last four years.

Ben (Nashville, TN)

Why does ESPN not keep tennis stats? Or for that matter any other site? Being the total sports network, shouldn't there be a place online where for each player I can find not only percentage of first serves made and percentage of serves won, but percentage of net points won and the actual amount, backhand winners, forehand winners, percentage of successful passes, etc... Tennis is a game where only one thing happens at any one time making it easy to keep track of such statistics, but why can't I find them on your site?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

Ben, please PM me at bonniedford@aol.com for recommendations on what you are looking for stat wise.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Do you think the woman who gets the number 1 ranking after the US Open will be the same woman who ends the year #1?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

Zack, I would have to do some algebra with rankings points and so forth to answer that question accurately --perhaps I'll ask the WTA folks to do that for us.

Suzanne, Vt.

FINALLY--a smile from Roger after winning'--WHAT is with the poor body language and lack of energy??

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

To be honest, he's looked like that all year IMO Suzanne.

Jason

If tennis is ever going to compete for attention with all the other sports, then you need to have big tournaments in cities like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Philadelphia. Golf rotates around the US Open. If you find it blasphemous to move the US Open away from New York, then how about rotating Cincinnati 1000 and Washington 500?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

Hi Jason. I don't necessarily find it "blasphemous" to rotate the Open, but it ain't going to happen -- that's what this facility was built for, and the USTA's headquarters are in surburban NY. The erosion of tournaments in North America is a legit question, and tennis industry people here are worried about it.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

Quick update here -- Robby Ginepri is battling for his US Open life here against young Croatian star Marin Cilic -- Cilic is up 2 sets to one and Ginepri just got broken to go back on serve (Cilic is serving at 4-5) in the fourth.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Who do you think will win a grand slam first? Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva or Jelena Jankovic?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

I picked Safina for this tournament, so I have to go with her.

Jim (LA)

How good can Caroline Wozniacki be?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:43 PM)

Jim, our radar readout on her is excellent -- in fact, look for a story coming up in the next few days.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

She has great fundamentals and a lot of poise and actually seems to enjoy what she's doing -- all good.

Mike (Lincoln NE)

James or Mardy? Who yah got?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:52 PM)

My two colleagues are picking Fish. I'm a little more on the fence...

Mike (Lincoln NE)

Does James seem sluggish to you? Is it the Beijing hangover? Maybe he hasn't gotten over the loss.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:56 PM)

That may be a factor. He got a real break yesterday when Darcis had to retire.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

Folks -- I'm taking off to watch some tennis, and Greg and I will be taking the next three days off from chats. Join us again next Tuesday. Have a great holiday weekend.

Buzzmaster
  (3:32 PM)

Come on by at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday to join Bonnie and Greg as they take all of your questions on the U.S. Open!

Greg Garber
  (3:59 PM)

Greetings, tennis aficionados. Things are cooking here at the U.S. Open. Tommy Robredo just pushed Novak Djokovic to a fifth set -- a dangerous spot for a player who seems to be laboring physically. Stay tuned, they're heading out for No. 5...

Jen (scarborough)

tommy robredo is this year's david ferrer?

Greg Garber
  (4:02 PM)

Jen: We're going to find out in the next hour or so. Djokovic has 1) a tweaked right hip, 2) a rolled right anke and, get this, 3) a tummy ache. Or, as Tom Perrota of Tennis Magazine just said, a 'Tommy Ache..'

barney (ny)

how is it possible that this mardy fish dude is not a top 10 player? i saw him wipe our federer earlier this year, and now blake. all i ever hear about is roddick and blake - where this guy come from?

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Barney: Fish has always had fantastic talent. The rap on him has been his work ethic. Now, he seems to be picking it up down the stretch of his career. If he beats Nadal, his ranking -- currently, He's 35 right now. In the meantime, I'll try and find out where that would put him bext week

Jason

Have you ever known a player who is more disrespected than Davydenko? Its not as if the guy has been top 5 for a couple of months - he has been there for years! And yet, he never gets to sniff Center Court unless he is playing Fed or Roddick.

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Jason: This is true. He's always been incredibly anonymous for a guy who holds his position in the game. The betting scndal last year didn't help. They squeezed him in between two doubles matches on Louis Armstrong today. Guess what, he's currently down a set and a breakGilles Muller, a qualifier!

George (NY, NY)

Does Roddick's 1 Grand Slam really mean that much in the locker room? Roddick was given an enormous advantage by not having to play everyday (ala Nalbandian, Hewitt, Federer, Ferrero). The US Open scheduling did everything they could to have an Agassi/Roddick final that year. I believe Nalbandian had to play 5 days in a row.

Greg Garber
  (4:17 PM)

George: I think it probably means more to Roddick than anyone. Kind of old news. Safe to see the USTA doesn;t mind seeing A-Rod a win away (Fernando Gonzalez) from the quarters.

Greg Garber
  (4:19 PM)

Update: According to Greg Sharko of the ATP, a win over Nadal would vault Fish to around the No. 17 ranking next -- matching his carer high. A few more good results at the end of the season, where he doesn't have too many points to defend, could get him close to the top 10...

Brandon Ottawa Lake,MI

What do you think of Roddick's chances against Fernando Gonzalez tonight?

Greg Garber
  (4:23 PM)

Brandon: Based on their past performances on the Grand Slam stage, you have to believe it's going to be a tight match. Roddick leads the head-to-head 7-3, but Gonzo is a gamer. He won a silver medal in Beijing, but his form has been spotty. Beijing, here and the Australian Open are the only hardcourt events he's won back-to-back matches.

Daniel (Cleveland, OH)

Do you think all the young guns performing so well at the Open (Del Potro, Murray, Querrey) will continue to improve in the next year?

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Daniel: Of course they will. Throw in Cilic and Nishikori with that group, too. Who would have thought rafa would do what he did this year -- and even Djokovic. Those guys, particularly Murray, seem poised for a breakthrough over the next several years.

Deep: (Naperville, IL)

If Robredo pulls off the upset, how would you rate Andy Roddick's chances to get to the semis, finals, and victory.

Greg Garber
  (4:27 PM)

Deep: Not sure it's going to happen -- Djokovic is up a break, at 4-3. If he did, and Roddick beats Gonzo then he'd likely see Federer in that semifinal. A tall, tall task, eh?

Bryan (Irvine, CA)

I know people have been talking about Cilic being a future Top 10, but after seeing him battle Djokovic, he seems like he could be a future multiple Grand Slam winner. What are your expectations?

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

Bryan: I saw him play in New Haven and again here. I can see it happening. He's sort of built along the lines of Mario Ancic, with more upside. Give him a Slam or two, maybe when Federer fades from the picture.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Who will get a career grand slam first? Federer or Nadal? I'm going with Nadal.

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Zack, you have a knack for the pithy question. You're probably right -- unless Rafa gets hurt sometime in the next several years and Federer gets a cheap one at Roland Garros. The way he plays -- many matches that last a long time -- it's a possibility.

Greg Garber
  (4:36 PM)

Update: He's done it. He's done it. Djokovic has beaten Tommy Robredo in three hours and 45 minutes, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Terrific stuff. Djokovic showed a lot of guts.

Darcy, Long Island

Bonnie, somebody mentioned Federer's lack of smile and poor body language during his matches but the same thing could be said of Djokovic. The Clown Prince didn't smile once in his match with Cilic the other night. The crowd didn't know who to root for even though Novak should have been the crowd favorite. Please tell Novak to lighten up please! Fans like to see him happy and having a good time.

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Darcy: This is a great point. In fact, I'm working on a story on that very phenomenon. He has been criticized for being a bit arrogant since winning the Australian Open. He HAS seemed cranky and I believe it's probably the pressure he's feeling. A lot of this, because he's been very open talking about his ambitions about being No. 1, is self-inflicted.

Jen (scarborough)

Roddick has to be a huge favorite to beat lame Djokovic now, right?

Greg Garber
  (4:44 PM)

Jen: First, he has to get past Gonzalez. Second, no, it's no layup. Djokovic is laboring, yes, but this guy got to the final here a year ago and is a formidable player.

Manny

everyone seems to be breaking their federer hex these days - gonzalez, roddick, karlovic, blake. so is it davydenko's turn? he might be the only top guy who hasn't beat fed this year

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Greetings, Manny. Could happen. Looks like the Russian has righted the ship against Muller, the qualifier. He won the second set, coming back from a break, and is pressuring his opening serve in the third set. Still, I just can't see that happening -- Fed would handle him in that potential quarterfinal.

john

hi greg, do you think andy roddick could beat djokovic, federer, and nadal for the open? also, will he ever win another slam?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

John: This is the eternal question. My feeling is that Roddick's best chance for a second major may have passed. There are so many good guys ahead of him and right behind, I have a tough time seeing it happening. With Federer super-motivatd by a mediocre season (for him), it will tough next year, too.

Winter Springs, FL

Roddick is the more accomplished hard court player, but he has to get through Djokovic and then Fed (most likely). So, do you think that Fish's easier draw makes him America's best shot?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Yes, Winter Springs, you might have somthing here. Rafa came in with 18 more matches played than any other player. He's never been past the quarters here, mostly because he's so darn tired from all those clay-court matches. Then, Fish vs. Del Potro or Murray. That one's tough.

Jim (LA)

Will the US Open ever get rid of the Sat-Sun men's semi and final?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Jim: That's CBS' call, so nope.

John, Decatur, GA

Do you think Roddick will attack the net more tonight? I don't think he can win the match from the baseline against Gonzo.

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

John: No need. Gonzo is capable of tightening up without any pressure from the net. Roddick beat Gulbis from the back.

Jason

I have a response to all these complaints regarding the Williams sisters meeting "too early"? If they don't want to meet until the final in any tournament, then they should play enough tournaments (and perform better at the French Open) to get the #1 and #2 rankings, respectively. Federer and Nadal do it, and that's why they only meet in the finals. Up here in Canada, we have a Tier 1 Women's tournament. The attendance of the Williams sisters has been sporadic at best. If they don't want to meet in the quarterfinals again, then they should play in tournaments like Canada every year and get the points they need.

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Jason: Well said.

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Update: Federer lost his first two games to Andreev and is currently arguing with bthe chair umpire. Just thought you'd like to know...

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

With Ivanovic gone, what do each of the 5 women who are in contention for the #1 world ranking have to do to claim it?

Greg Garber
  (5:01 PM)

Zack, I don't have the time to go through it, but safe to say the winner has the best shot. Serena CAN win the No. 1 by winning. That's it for me. Check back in with Bonnie Ford tomorrow at 4 PM EST ... Tomorow's topics are likely to be led by Serena vs.Venus, who play in the quarters Wednesday night.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

Happy Wednesday from Flushing Meadows. To pick up where we left off yesterday, here is the current scenario for who can take over the WTA #1: --If Serena wins, she is No.1 --If Jelena wins, she is No.1 --If Elena D. wins, she is No.1 --If Safina wins, AND Jankovic is NOT in the final, Safina becomes No.1 --If Venus wins, Jankovic is No.1 (regardless of result of Dementieva-Jankovic SF match)

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:02 PM)

Thanks to WTA stats guru Kevin Fischer for that matrix.

David (Indianapolis,IN)

How much of an impact do you think Patrick McEnroe is having on Andy Roddick's sudden resurgence?

VAMOS RAFA

No man can break Roddick's serve with a bad hip and bad ankle, and a bad tummy. Djoker is going to take a worse beating than Gonzo.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

VR: Assuming you would like to see Nadal in the final -- who would you like to see him play?

Jim (Detroit, MI)

Who's your pick in this Murray/Del Potro matchup?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

I like Murray, Jim. The variety he brings should help neutralize Del Potro's strength... Murray had an early break but they are back on serve, DP serving at 3-4.

Manny

as it turns out, the men in the top half, like murray and nadal, are going to get two days off before the semis. the men in the bottom half, like Federer, Djokovic and Roddick have had some tough matches and won't get that extra day off. this could be a huge advantage, no?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:15 PM)

That's always the way it is, Manny, although we've been lucky with the weather so far... those of you who have clout with the weather gods, please do all you can to keep Tropical Storm Hannah out of our hair here in the Northeast. As for Roddick, though he had a scare against Gulbis, he's the only guy in that half who's had two consecutive straight-sets wins.

Jim (LA)

Is there still bad blood between Murray and Del Potro from earlier this year? Do you think anything will happen because of that?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:19 PM)

They've never cleared the air over that Rome conflagration. We'll see what develops here. For those who didn't see it -- there were fireworks when Murray accused DP of insulting his mother.

Betty

What do you think are Djokovic's chances against Andy Roddick after all those injuries that he had to endure to win the Robredo match? Do you think he still has a chance at a spot in the semifinal?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

Hi Betty. We've seen Djokovic play through aches and pains before and his return game alone separates him from Roddick's last couple of opponents. Roddick describes himself as the underdog but I think that's somewhat disingenuous... he won their last match in Dubai on hardcourt, and I think the pro-Roddick crowd has a chance to get to him.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

What is the single season record for earnings for men? Didn't Federer get over 8 million a couple of years ago? I'm wondering because Nadal is at 6 million right now and as the winner of the US Open Series if he wins the US Open he will get 2 to 2.5 million correct? Can he do it?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:25 PM)

Federer collected a record $10.1 million last year, Zack....

VAMOS RAFA

Is there a big difference from last year when Djoker was a crowd favorite? I hear that his act has worn thin.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

Roddick would have the crowd against just about anyone else right now, VR -- except possibly for Federer.

Jai (Nashville, TN)

Fish or Nadal?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

If Fish and Nadal play the way they did respectively two days ago -- Nadal was a bit draggy -- Fish could win, although I'm sure he would like to up that 47% first serve. But you have to favor Nadal on paper.

Betty

Does the crowd really play such a huge part in a player's game?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:35 PM)

Betty, players really differ in how they react to ambiance. Djokovic has admitted several times that he is affected by negative fan vibes -- then again, he won the Aussie Open in front of a pro-Tsonga crowd.

Dennis (Waco, Texas)

How long do you think Maria Sharapova will be out?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Great question, Dennis. When we saw her at the tribute to 40 years of the Open Era last week, she said she didn't have a timetable.

fed fan

based on his form, and everyone elses for that matter, do you think fed could take this title? what do you think are his chances? 10%? 40%?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:37 PM)

If he pulls it off, it's arguably the best win of his career given the circumstances.

jen (scarborough)

if beijing is having such an effect, why are dementieva and safina playing so great? its just an excuse by the men

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:43 PM)

I like your thinking, Jen. I think the Beijing effect is overrated. The counterarguments are that a) the men play five sets and b) the women's field is not as deep.

matthew (omaha)

Bonnie with the recent surge of the young teens in the mens game, how much longer to you think Fed can remain at or near the top of mens tennis?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

History would tell us that Slams are more difficult to win after a player hits his mid-20s. Federer has said he wants to play well into his 30s, but I think even he would admit he couldn't expect to stay No. 1 for the long stretch he just completed.

Alex (Scottsdale AZ)

What chances do you give Roddick in slaying the Djoker, going one on one with the great RFed and finally getting past Nadal in what should be a great final? It is a daunting task for sure.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:50 PM)

Roddick has beaten all three of those guys this year -- Nadal and Djokovic in Dubai and Federer in Miami, breaking a long and painful losing streak against Fed. But it's a whole different ball of wax in consecutive Slam matches. I would call it an uphill battle.

George (Asheville, NC)

Sorry to bombard you, Bonnie: 1) in general: men's game or women's game. Which is more enjoyable to watch? 2) if you were given one day to attend the Open, would it be in the first week or the second week?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:54 PM)

Boom goes the dynamite! I can't generalize about men's and women's tennis -- each can be fascinating on a given day. But I can be specific about the latter. I take one day off during each Open -- the first Thursday, when I bring my dad, Vince, who's a huge tennis fan. You're guaranteed great action on all courts just about any day of the first week.

Angel

Who is playing tomorrow's afternoon Qtr final? Federer or Roddick?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

We don't know officially yet... but we would guess Roddick-Djokovic would be the night match.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:00 PM)

Thanks, that's a wrap for today. Join Greg Garber tomorrow, same time, same place.

Greg Garber
  (4:01 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans. We're in the thick of things here at the U.S. Open. Roger Federer just won the first-set tiebreaker over Glles Muller -- a tough set for Fed. We're coming off last night's thriller bewteen Serena and Venus Williams and looking ahead to tonight's battle between Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic. Bring those questions on...

Ben (Louisville, Ky)

what are Nadal's chances of winning the open

Greg Garber
  (4:05 PM)

Greetings, Ben, good to have you on board. Last night was a big one for Rafa. If you saw his winning flourish after beating Mardy Fish -- the repeated uppercut -- you know it meant a lot to him to get to the semifinals here for the first time. He's got Murray in the SFs, a winnable match and then either Federer, Djokovic or Roddick in the final. Based on the way he's played this year, despite the fatigue factor of playing 18 more matches than any other man coming in. I will hedge and say, maybe.

Jen (scarborough)

in hindsight, do you think it was a bad idea for roger to play sampras in all the exos?

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Jen: You are right on it. Yes, in retrospect, I think it was a terrible decision. Talking with Jim Courier yesterday, he thinks Roger is STILL sick. The only solution is extended rest, and now Roger has announced another exhibition tour after the season. Does he really need more money? The key to his success has been three two-week practice boot camps in Dubai every year. Maybe he should skip the December session and just chill.

Abby, USA

Dear Greg, could you please tell your media cohorts to get off the Andy Roddick bandwagon and stop announcing that he will win the USO? Go back to writing him off as a one-dimensional no-talent has-has never-was one slam wonder. Us fans will not allow you to jinx him again like you did at the 2007 Australian Open! Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray are all the big four favorites. Roddick is not in the mix, please remember that and stop talking about him. Thank you for your attention to this.

Greg Garber
  (4:12 PM)

Abby: You raise a very interesting point. Here in the US, hopes are clearly with Roddick to repeat his 2003 breakthrough here. Since then, a number of players have skipped past him in nthe rankings and in some ways, this represents his best chance to collect Grand Slam No. 2. Of course Rafa, Roger and Novak are all favored ahead f him and, based on his 2008 results, so is Murray. But, with the weapons he has, and his mounting motivation you can't count him out here. That said, not EVERYONE is on the bandwagon. I refer you to the ESPN.com picks: Colleagues Bonnie Ford and Ravi Ubha have Roddick -- tennis editor Matt Wilansky and myself are down with Djokovic. I'm not buying all the injury drama. Somehow, I imagine, he will find a way to get through this.

Jim (LA)

McEnroe said that the US Open is now a faster surface than Wimbledon. Do the players feel the same?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Jim: I think you can argue that the Open Deco Turf II IS faster than Wimbedon, but that it plays effectively slower. The grass causes the ball to skid and it's mre difficul to defend. Here on the hardcourts, the bplayers say the balls are a bit bigger than last year, so you're seeing longer rallies.

Shanon

What is your take on the controversy surrounding Djokovic's injuries and his "quickness to call the trainer". Do you think he's faking it, or telling the truth?

Greg Garber
  (4:19 PM)

Shanon: This is the question du jour. I don't think Djokovic is "faking," I just think, like fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic, he tends toward the dramatic. His act and his parents' act are wearing thin with the players. Paraphrasing Roddick, Djokovic either calls the trainer too much or he's the most courageous guy in tennis. Hmmmm. You make the call.

Suzanne, Vt.

When is Men's Doubles Final? Byans record vs. Dlouhy and Paes?

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Suzanne: It's scheduled for Friday, along wih the women's semifinals. Bryan appear to be in good shape, but Leander Paes just won the mixed doubles with Cara Black and is clearly in good form.

George (Asheville, NC)

45 unforced errors for Venus?! Seemed like most of them were on big points, and most of them seemed long (versus wide or in the net) - what's up with that?

Greg Garber
  (4:24 PM)

George: Venus has always been a big hitter. She's almost always going to have big numbers on the unforced side -- along with a lot of winners. Last night, she had 45 UF errors and 36 winners. Serena, on the other hand, had a more muted game; she had only 28 unforced errors, along with 24 winners. Her restraint in the big points -- those amazing 10 set points for Venus -- was what put her over the top. She knew that in the pressure situations, Big Sister would be going for it. In this case, Venus simply just went for too much.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Greg, is Boris Becker really that pale in person? Loved Boom Boom's game back in the day, just surprised that he still has no eyebrows or eyelashes!

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

Eric: Yes, Boom Boom is one red-headed, fair-faced guy. I was walking down the hill to the All England Club a few months ago, and he ulled up in a Range Rover asking for directions. I DO think he probably touches up the hair -- which looks fantastic on TV. But he's got a ton of frecles.

manny

fed can't break this qualie's serve. how is he going to handle a-rod's 140 mile an hour bombs?

Greg Garber
  (4:29 PM)

Well said, Manny. Muller is hanging tough. He has an amazing recod against the best players -- beating Roddick here in 2005, Rafa at Wimbledon in 2005 and Davydenko here this year. Federer won the first set in a tiebreaker and the way things are going, at 4-all, we're looking at another one. Fun to watch. We'll table the Roddick discussion until he beats Djokovic.

Eric (Los Angeles)

GREG! This Muller guy leads the men's field with 112 aces served up at the USO. Does he have any chance of knocking off RF today if his service games stay sharp? Not inconceivable, right?

Greg Garber
  (4:30 PM)

Not inconceivable, Eric, but unlikely. The kid needs to win the second set. Not sure Roger's going to let that happen. In fact, he's got Muller love-30 at 4-all...

VAMOS RAFA

If Rafa wins the US on Sunday, what are his chances of completing a "Rafa Slam"? Has anyone started using that word yet?

Greg Garber
  (4:33 PM)

Vamos Rafa! Funny you should ask that. LOst in all the drama here is the very real fact that if rafa wins, he can win the Australian for a Serena-like Slam. The Olympics would make it a Rafa Golden Slam, no? Because he's never made it past the quarters here or into the finals here the buzz hasn't really started. If he wins ... you have to consider this one of the great seasons in history and, with prodding from Uncle Toni Nadal, a very real possibility in Melbourne.

Bryan (Irvine, CA)

Do you think Roddick or Djokovic would present the more difficult semi-final for Fed given how each are playing and Djokovic's "injuries"?

Greg Garber
  (4:36 PM)

Bryan: Good question. In terms of fitness and fire, I'd say Roddick represents a greater challenge. Of course, Roddick has lost 15 of 17 matches to Federer. Djokovic may be busted up a bit, but he knows that since he's become a force, they've split their last four matches, most importantly in Australia, where Djokovic went on to win his first Grand Slam back in January.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Is the Williams-Safina semi-final essentially for the women's championship? I don't think Jelena nor Elena can hold a candle to either of them, nevermind a racquet!

Greg Garber
  (4:38 PM)

Eric: Probably. They are the strongest plyers. I'm working on story to be posted a little later on the OTHER half of the draw. Dementieva-Jankovic is interesing because neither has ever won a Grand Slam. They both want to break through badly, and without Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Kuznetsova -- or Venus -- left in the draw, this might be their best chance ever.

Cornelius (Troy,MI)

What did you think of Venus/Serena's match? I thought it was competitive and highly intense, at times.

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Corny -- can I call you Corny? -- it WAS a competitive match, but Venus failed in the big spots. Serena was steadier in the big moments. Venus lost it more than Serena won.

Andy Roddick: (New York, New York)

You could have more confidence in me you know. Give me an injured Novak, a Roger who struggles to hit a ball in and and some luck against Rafa and I'm through.

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Andy: Sorry, just calling them as I see them. Djokovic will be a tough out. Oh, say hello to Brooklyn.

Eric

BTW Greg, you look like Joe Swanson from the Family Guy in your ESPN mugshot. Nice.

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Eric: Thanks for the love -- I think.

Jason

If Murray and Nadal had to play on 1 day rest, Murray would have little chance, just like Wimbledon. How much does have a second day of rest improve Murray's chances?

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Jason: Murray has looked pretty fit here and seems to have upped the cardio training. But the flexing thing has to go. As Chuck Culpepper said the other day, "Is Andy being ironic?" Not too impressed with the guns. Did you notice that when Murray beat Del Potro yesterday he DIDN'T flex. Hmmm.

manny

what are the chances of an all andy battle in the final? which andy do you like better?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Manny: Miki Singh, formerly of the ATP and now ESPN's crack researcher, says stranger things have happened. The China Syndrome. Roddick skipped Beijing and Murray was there for only one match. They, clearly would be fresher. Roddick has already beaten Federer and Djokovic on a hard surface and Murray seems to be closing the gap on Rafa.

barney

as much as i love tennis, i have to work in the morning so i missed rafa's match. what is your analysis of his form - he had never lost a set to fish before so it can't be a good sign

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Barney: Fish came out flying, going for everything, but Rafa just took it all in and crushed him in the last three, broke his will. Don't sweat the one set -- all the big guns are struggling here.

The "real" Joe Swanson (Quahog)

Everyone says Andy Murray is riding the hot streak, but isn't Nadal gonna blow this guy off the court? Rafa is simply going to hit through Murray's pace-changing nerf balls. I say Rafa in straights.

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Joe (I think): I'm not sure Rafa has the juice to sweep Murray. How about Rafa in four? He'd take that -- his first trip here to the final.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

I'm prediciting a Roddick-Nadal final...if that happens who would you predict? Roddick has home crowd, awesome serve, and no Beijing drain but Nadal has had the best season of his life and is very capable of winning this title...I am seriously torn because each has distinctive edges. I think Roddick would need to beat him in 3 because if it goes to 5 than I think Nadal would grind to the finish.

Greg Garber
  (4:53 PM)

Zack: Your scenario would go over quite well with the USTA -- and CBS. Just not sure I could bet against Raf in that big spot, no matter HOW tired he is. The crowd would be crazy, but Rafa has already destroyed Federer ar Roland Garros and then beat him in one of the greatest matches ever in the Wimbledon final. Can Roddick bring that kind of heat?

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Quick update: Federer has gained control of his match with Gilles Muller. He's up two sets and they're on serve in the third, with Fed serving at 2-3. Roger is rooting for a five-set fiasco from his next opponent, the winner of tonight's Roddick-Djokovic match.

Roger Federer

You all write me off at your own peril.

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Yes, yes, Roger. We've heard this quite a bit lately. Maybe if you had won a hard-court tournament -- or even reached a final, for goodness sakes -- there would be more folks liking your chances.

Zack, Harrisonburg, Virginia

I take back my prediction after just seeing that last point from Federer. Going with Federer/Nadal final now.

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Zack -- hah! Nice work out of you. Roger will be done inside 30 minutes and settle down to a nice steak and watch tonight's match. Hey, that's it for me. Thanks for your time, everybody. Welcome back Bonnie Ford on Friday at 4 PM EST for the final chat of the US Open -- and the Grand Slam season.

Buzzmaster
  (3:37 PM)

Bonnie will be by at 4 p.m. ET to chat about the U.S. Open!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:02 PM)

TGIF everybody -- Bonnie Ford back for our final chat of the U.S. Open. Looking forward to hearing what's on your minds.

Sue, New York City

Bonnie, you will surely be bombarded by a ton of Roddick-Djokovic questions so here's a few more: 1) Why do you think Roddick came out so flat in the first two sets? He seemed very nervous. Was it Jimmy Connors presence? Did Novak say something to him before the match? Why did Roddick take his foot off the gas pedal, he knew he had to step it up with Djokovic? 2) do you think the crowd will be worse, the same, or indifferent come Saturday's semifinal? 3) when will Djokovic go back to being a charming fun fellow again and not this angry, petulant child who hates the world for not loving him more? Thanks.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:05 PM)

Hi Sue -- Certainly the match followed a different pattern than I would have predicted. Hard to say why Roddick was so nervous, except for the obvious -- so much at stake for him now in every one of these Slams as his career clock ticks on. I don't think Connors had anything to do with it.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

As for the crowd... yeah, I think there will be a little hostility hangover (note to self: count to 10 before saying ANYTHING in an on court interview)... but we also could have a total weather washout tomorrow, so chances are everyone will have another day to forget about this. Both guys expressed regret about the bad blood in their post match interviews, and they also said that their private conversation would stay private.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:09 PM)

I hope both players recover a sense of humor, which is among their more appealing traits.

Jason

Lots of talk regarding the rain on saturday. What are the chances of moving the men's final to monday night? Is it more likely to hold both women and men finals on Sunday?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

Big topic of discussion here, Jason. We have not gotten any updated scenarios from the U.S. Tennis Association but I certainly will pass that along if it happens in the next hour. It all depends when the rain arrives... because once it gets here, it's supposed to continue steadily for about 10 hours. Last time the men's final was delayed to Monday was 1987.

Joe (AZ)

I remeber that match between Murray and Nadal at the AO in 07. That was a sensational contest and it makes me think that Murray is definitely capable if he plays his best! What do you think?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

I agree -- the faster court should play to Murray's advantage. One of the keys will be how well the slender Murray holds up under Nadal's heavy shots. You could see Mardy Fish, who's more sturdily built, wilting as their match went along -- it's like being a punching bag. Murray would be well advised to mix up pace and try to end points early.

Ron (DC)

Once and for all, can we please say Andy Roddick is officially a one hit wonder? I would rank Michael Chang way ahead of him.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:17 PM)

Hi Ron. I don't pass judgment on careers until they're over -- right now Roddick and Chang are tied with one GS title and three runner-up finishes.

Debbie

Hi bonnie. I think that Djokovic has become angrier because now for him there is more pressure, and more at stake. At last year's US open no one was expecting him to win. Now there's a whole new level of pressure. I do miss the old Djokovic, but I think all of this is part of his evolution as a player. I think he will learn to deal with the pressure better, and hopefully how to speak to the press better. Question for you: How do you think Djokovic will be on Saturday versus Federer. WHo's under more pressure, Federer or djokovic?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

I'd say Federer, offhand -- he's got fewer years to make the history he wants to make than Djokovic does.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:22 PM)

As for Djokovic's attitude -- he needs to understand that nobody is entitled to unconditional love out there on the court. Perhaps that will come with maturity.

Aaron (Cincinnati)

I think Roddick's problem was the shirt. My god someone get the man a shirt that fits! It was un-nearving watching him tug at that thing 8 times between every point.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:25 PM)

He's been wearing that supersized shirt for a while, Aaron... has won some matches while it flaps around him, too. I think the male players should swap styles. If Roddick wears a more snug shirt and Nadal puts on looser pants, it could help them break their well-known habits. Otherwise, I think hypnosis is the only solution.

jen (scarborough)

are you sitting in arthur ashe as you do this chat? or in some type of media center?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:26 PM)

Hi Jen. I'm in the press room on the ground level of Arthur Ashe, which resembles Mission Control. Each journalist has a cubicle with a TV and headset to follow the matches inside. I hope to get back out in the sunshine after the chat.

Ray (NY)

Do you see Rafa having a prolonged spell of dominance a la Federer or do you think Djokovic and Murray and even Federer will turn the no 1 pos into a carousel?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

I think it's unlikely anyone can or will dominate the way Federer did for four years. We'll see No. 1 change hands more frequently. BTW, If Djokovic wins the US Open, he would leapfrog Federer and go to No. 2.

barney (ny)

is anyone capable of stopping serena?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:33 PM)

She's my favorite right now, although it will be interesting to see if there's an intensity letdown after that brilliant match with Venus. I kinda doubt it.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Can I just say that I agree with Aaron from Cinci. A-rod's shirt was pretty ugly and it wreaked havoc on my TV... and I've got 50-inches of high-def that couldn't display his shirt without crazy waves like I was a hippie in the 60s.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:35 PM)

Groovy!

Mats Wilander's ghost

Does Andy Murray pose a threat to Nadal? Somehow I just see Rafa hitting right through him, blowing him off the court. Nadal is immune to change of pace, isn't he?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

More immune than most, but what's Murray's choice? He can't trade bullets with Nadal.

John (FL)

I watched the Murray Wawrinka match and was shocked at how good Murray is when he is being aggresive. What is with the resistance to being offensive? Any ideas?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:37 PM)

John, I don't think it's resistance, it's execution on a given day.

Jason

Congrats to Jankovic. No longer the only #1 to never be in a slam final.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:38 PM)

Good point, Jason, and very touching to see her with tears of happiness in her eyes on stadium court.

Wilson (NYC)

Do you think the crowd can cause major problems for Novak the next two matches? I think he was really unnerved last night... (you guys should definitely do a chat on Monday if the final is that night!!)

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:39 PM)

Djokovic has some work to do to win back the crowd -- especially since Federer is such a favorite here in New York. He's going to have to tune it out. Ultimately, the way he'll win friends in the stands is with hard, fair play.

Wilson (NYC)

Let's say there is no rain early tomorrow...Do you think they would start the first Semi, or would they have to make sure the coast is clear for both Men's semi matches in order to ensure fairness for the final?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:41 PM)

As far as we know, everything is on as scheduled, Wilson. It's a very tricky situation, as you point out -- and lots of constituencies to try and keep happy here, between the players, the ticket-holders, and TV.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

If I were making the schedule, I would put both men's matches on at once, one on Ashe and one on Armstrong. At about 11 am. But I'm not in charge. After I close out with you guys, I'll check with one of our favorite ATP liaisons, Pete Holtermann, who claims he can predict the weather based on how badly his shoulder is aching.

follow up

I think Wilson's question was whether they would play one semifinal without playing the other? Thanks.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:48 PM)

I repeat: AT THIS TIME, everything is on as scheduled, which means the men's matches are supposed to go one after the other.

Not Bill Simmons (CA)

Can we say that this is the year of the comeback for the sport of tennis? It's been a phenomenal sports year in general, but tennis and all its storylines in 2008 have been absolutely incredible right? People seem to care now.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:49 PM)

Well, Not Bill, as a tennis writer, that would certainly be to my advantage.

Gavin Rossdale

There's no doubt in my mind that Federer uses this US Open semifinal to bounce back to contention. Agreed?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:50 PM)

If he wins, it'll be a big bounce, and a big I-told-you-so.

rachel

don't you think andy roddick should get part of the blame for his smack talk? i know he was joking, but he is 26 while novak is only 21

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:51 PM)

They are both smack-talkers. I don't see that as a bad thing -- you just have to be prepared to take some heat if you can't back it up.

Bobby Riggs (Time Machine)

Bonnie, do you think Serena Williams could beat Donald Young in a 3-set match on hard courts?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:53 PM)

I'd love to see that match -- but no, I don't.

Mike (DC)

Del Potro ranking 1 year from now top 5? Top 10? What do you think?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:56 PM)

I like his chances to be a top 10 player.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

Folks, I'm going to close out now and go listen to the Dementieva-Jankovic press conferences. Thanks for all your interest and your great questions over the last fortnight. We'll catch you again soon.

Buzzmaster
  (11:21 AM)

Just kidding everyone! With the men's final being delayed until Monday, we'll be back one more time to chat from Flushing Meadows! Join our tennis crew at 4 p.m. ET to get all of your questions answered!

Greg Garber
  (4:02 PM)

Greetings, fans of tennis. Greg Garber here for Bonnie Ford to take you through to the men's final. I'm pinch-hitting for Bonnie because there's a rumor out there that Lance Armstrong is headed back to the 2009 Tour de France. It's Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray at 5 PM. Start firing those questions...

Nick, Fort lauderdale, FL

Can somebody in the media PLEASE come out and say Federer is back? Let's talk a little bit more about just how much that bout with mono affected his season. Was his mediocre (by his standards) season bc he is losing it, or bc mono really took a lot out of him? I say the mono! What about you?

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Easy, Nick. This is a common sentiment. While many stories have focused on Federer's so-called demise, most legitimate outlets have called it as it is: Federer is now in his third major final of the year -- and he reached the semifinals of Australia. Jim Courier told me that he thinks Federer is STILL ailing. If he wins this thing, it changes the dynamic at the top of men's tennis. Again.

Jake, Appleton, Wisconsin

If federer wins will he get back his number one ranking that he deserves?

Greg Garber
  (4:09 PM)

Jake: The answer is no. Federer stays No. 2 behind Nadal, Djokovic stays at three and Murray moves to No. 4 from No. 6.

Jeremy (Hartford, CT)

With Nadal losing and if Federer wins, what do you think it will do to Federers confidence.

Greg Garber
  (4:12 PM)

Federer's confidence -- something we have all tried to get a handle on -- has been pretty coinsistent. He IS Roger Federer, afterall. I personally think tha, given Rafa's mental and physical exhaustion after a long, long season, that Federer wouldn't have minded playing him in a third straight final. This surface rewards Fed's game the most - and Nadal's game the least.

George (Asheville, NC)

Greg: when ESPN takes over the US Open broadcasts from USA next year, are we gonna see you and Bonnie in the broadcast booth, or will you still be in cyberspace - or both? For what it's worth, I think USA did a great job with its telecasts over the years, and I hope ESPN can do the same. I just worry that ESPN will mess with the scheduling to accommodate all that college football that starts this time of year.

Greg Garber
  (4:15 PM)

George: Speaking for myself, I HOPE not. We've got some terrific announcers. I agree that the USA Network telecasts over the years set a certain mode. Late night matches, watching Todd Martin, or Lleyton Hewitt, with Ted Robinson and John McEnroe was a treat. College football has always been the impediment to securing the rights to the U.S. Open and it's nice they have figurered it out. I'm sure you'll see college football games farmed out to the usual suspects -- ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, etc. I'm looking forward to it....

Louie, Rhode Island

Handicap the match.

Greg Garber
  (4:17 PM)

Louie: Conventional wisdom says Federer's experience will ultimately tell. I agree with this. While Murray is a fearless 21-year-old -- the same age as Federer was when he won his first major at Wimbledon in 2003 -- he IS human. I was impressed he came back the next day to play Nadal so well, and I expect him to get a set (at least) tonight. I just think that Federer is so supremely motivated after hearing all the doubts and criticisms through most of the season. I'll take Fed in four...

Marc (Boston)

Am I the only person who saw andy murray at Wimbeldon and knew instantly he would be the world number one within a year?

Greg Garber
  (4:20 PM)

Marc: I was there and saw him fall into a two-oh hole against Richard Gasquet -- and win. Saw him reach the quarterfinals and acquit himself reasonably well against Nadal. I remember thinking, 'Maybe this kid IS the real deal.' The problem he has is the four guys ahead of him. Since Nadal is only one year older than he is and Djokovic is the same age, it's going to be tough to get through those guys for the No. 1 ranking...

Kate (Raleigh, NC)

What will happen if Roger Federer loses Andy Murray? Will the rankings change for both players?

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Kate: Nope. Because Roger is defending so many points, he stays second behind Nadal. Murray moves up two spots, ahead of Ferrer and Davydenko.

Tom (PA)

I think Federer should flex his biceps after he wipes the court with Murray. Thoughts?

Greg Garber
  (4:23 PM)

Tom, I like your thinking. Fed is too classy to pull that. But, did you notice that after some criticism, Murray hasn't pulled the bionic flex the last two matches? Hmmm. Chuck Culpepper of the L.A. Times, not impresseed with Murray's muscles, wondered if he was being ironic. All I know is that when Serena did it last night after that crazy backhand stab volley, she showed a lot more than AM.

Kevin, NC

now you take Fed in four? There is an article up on ESPN where you say "it isn't going to happen" and give it to Murray... which is it?

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Kevin, good to see you you're paying attention. Listen, here's the deal: Whoever writes the men's final gets to pick which player they want to make the case for. Since that was Bonnie, she took Fed and I got Murray by default. So, in a devil's advocate exercise, I tried to make the best case for Murray. Hey, you can't believe everything you read!

german,santigo,chile

you think del potro will became a top 5 player?

Greg Garber
  (4:29 PM)

German: Absolutely. The kid has game -- he's still teenager and he just won four tournaments in a row on the Big Circuit.He's got a huge serve and a bigger forehand. He's also reasonably nimble for a guy so tall. He's already cracked the top 10 -- tmorrow, I believe, when the rankings came out -- he really doesn't have that far to go.

Of things tennis & etiquette

Greg, what was up with Jelena J during the trophy presentation last night? Was she cute and bumbling, or was she ignorant and irreverent? Mary Carillo was stunned, no doubt.

Greg Garber
  (4:32 PM)

This is a terrific question. My first reaction was, 'OK, she's doing the JJ-cute thing...' Then, as it went on, I thought it was a real imposition on, first Arlen Kantarian, and then Serena herself. When you lose, you take the dish and you says thanks (did she really have to thank her drivers?) and get ut of the way. This was Serenas moment and JJ sort of sabatouged it. Not cute.

James, Ohio

Who decides which match goes first for the semi-finals? USTA, CBS, both? And if so, if you had a choice, would you always pick first? Sure, Murray is younger, but having to play for 3 straight days has to be taxing both physically and mentally at this stage of the tournament.

Greg Garber
  (4:34 PM)

James: I think it's a joint decision. Many factors involved. The real answer was to put BOTH semifinals on at the same time and eliminate any unfairness issues.

Brett (Green Bay)

Ok Greg, you're an NFL guy. Is the Brady injury going to leave the AFC as wide open as the Sharapova injury left the women's draw?

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Brett (I thought you were traded to NY): Based on what we saw yesterday, I'll go with Buffalo as the early line favorite. That wuld make the Bills the equivalent of Serena Williams.

T, NC

So will the men's final not be shown on television live? Do you think by next year the Williams sisters will be #1 &#2?

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

5 PM: CBS. Serena IS No. 1 and Venus is No. 8. If they stay healthy, there's no reason to think they can't be 1-2 by the end of next year.

Adam (Pompano beach)

Why did they put the final at 5? Could have done it at 7, lety people get home. I guess CBS is afraid of competing with monday night football. What is the deal with that?

Greg Garber
  (4:38 PM)

AdaM: My guess is it has something to do with the MNF games (the first one starts an hour ealrier than normal, at 7), maybe the Mets are involved. Not sure. One word for you: TIVO.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Then in NFL terms, does Drew Brees = Andy Murray?

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

Good call, Eric.

Dixie, Trinidad and Tobago

Hi Greg, I agree with you about JJ attitude at the trophy ceremony..I really didn't think it was cute at all and imo it seemed inappropriate to pull the mic from Mary Carillo

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

Thanks, Dixie. It just wasn't cool.

Agree w/ Adam

Ridiculous scheduling by CBS... and to only allot 1 hr for the final-- what, is CBS afraid to pre-empt Judge Judy?

Greg Garber
  (4:40 PM)

Hah!

pathra, sanjose, cali

did Roger really suffer from mono? I almost feel like this is just an excuse for him, no offense to his fans but Mario Ancic suffered from mono as well and it kept him out of the tour for a year! So why would then people keep saying that Federer have had mono? Are they sensationalizing all of these to make him look like the "god" Federer?

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Pathra: Watching him earlier this season, it was clear something was wrong. He's still not moving with his usual hovering verve. What Fed has said is that he's done with the virus but that it cost him a significant portion of his training building blocks -- some 20 days of practice in the heat of Dubai -- and that has cost him dearly.

Paul (Forest Hills)

Greg, you make little to no mention of Fed's mono issues. Do you even believe Fed has it?

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Paul: See last answer...

Sam (SC)

How dumb is Andy Roddick to go for a dropshot from behind the baseline when he is playing a close tie-break in the 4th set in the quarters of the open? Who does he think he is? Mansour Bahrami??

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Sam: Nice reference. Yes, it WAS an ill-advised shot, but people do weird things under pressure. Last night the same thing happened in the women's match.

Joe, Manchester, CT

Greg, What are your thoughts on Andy Roddick for next season? I know that he gets all fired up for NYC but, can't he bring it all year?

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Joe: Remember, before Wimbledon Roddick beat Djokovic AND Nadal at the same tournament in Dubai. He is capable of good stuff against top players, but he went through a spell of injuries. I see him banging his head on the glass ceiling of what must now be called The Big Four.

Harris, Boston

So the US davis cup team is set, after nadal, who is spain going to bring to fill out their roster? I saw lopez and verdasco playing doubles at the open, but who will be their second singles guy?

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Yes, Rafa says he's in. Ferrrer would be the No. 2 choice, along with the doubles team of Lopez-Verdasco, who have had nice singles results this year as wll.

Eric (Los Angeles)

How dumb is Nadal to go for a dropshot from behind the baseline on match point against Murray? Who does he think he is? Andy Roddick?

Greg Garber
  (4:47 PM)

See answer a few questions ago. We all do wacky things under stress...

Ken Atlanta

I have heard from an inside Nike person that Federer is suffering from a foot injury which would explain his movement issues. They have been designing shoes for him to try to alleviate the pain that he is getting.....

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Ken: Fascinating stuff. We'll keep an eye on that...

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Gilles Muller beat Davydenko in four sets (12-10 in the tiebreaker) .... Djokovic over Robredo in five .... Serena over jankovic in the final.

Max, DC

What do you think Lindsay Davenport is going to do now that the open is over? Do you think she still has the bug or is time to finally once and for all hang them up?

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Max: No one really knows, maybe not even Lindsay. I think she can play with the best players when her knee is healthy, but this year had some mixed results. Maybe a light doubles sked?

Kim (Portland)

I didn't get to see the Nadal/Murray match so wondered - was Murray that good or was Rafa just really off on both days?

Greg Garber
  (4:53 PM)

Kim: Both, actually. Rafa was tired and a little off, but Murray was forceful and hitting some great shots.

James, Ohio

How did Federer and Murray look in warm-ups? Did McEnroe hit with either of them?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

James: I only saw Murray, and he was hitting bombs for serves. He didn't look frightened at all.

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Kids -- I've got to go. Harry Connick, Jr. is singing and the jets just flew over Arthur Ashe. Enjoy the match. Catch you at the next Grand Slam, Down Under in Melbourne...