<a name="aug31"></a>Welcome to our first live chat of the 2009 U.S. Open. It's a Chamber of Commerce day here in New York, plenty of action already in the books and much more to come. Fire away when ready!
I think John Isner's match against Hanescu was awesome to watch, what are your thoughts on his chances of making it to the Quarterfinals? Also what are the downsides of being so tall in professional tennis?
Great question, Jacob. Isner's had a solid summer hardcourt season, reached semis in Indy and DC and has lifted himself out of the rankings doldrums (he was in the 140s, now No. 55) but this win over a seeded player really stands out. The super-tall players on tour have a great edge in the angle of their serves, but usually take longer to mature physically (Karlovic a prime example) and put together a complete game that includes good movement and footwork.
What's the weather forecast for the week?
It's really good, and I'm sticking pins in my rain voodoo doll to make sure it stays that way.
Is the beautiful Maria Sharapova finally back in championship contention? It seems she's still been back for half the year but still not making strides. Why?
Jarred, Sharapova has had to make substantial changes in her service motion (the insider's term is "abbreviated" her motion) in order to avoid re-straining her shoulder. It's a big transition to make for a player who has always been so reliant on her serve as a weapon. If she can complete that adjustment, the rest of her game -- including her famous competitiveness -- is intact.
We saw what happened in Cincy. But what type of detrimental effect will having to play best of 5 sets have on Rafa? And will it also have a detrimental effect on Federer - he admits that he's sleeping less these days - won't he feel it if someone pushes him to set #5?
Jason, Nadal said yesterday that he's doing better than he would have expected at this point, but there's no doubt he would prefer to keep his first couple of matches from getting too extended. When I asked John McEnroe for his thoughts on the topic the other day, he said he thought Nadal could play himself into better form and also be somewhat fresher mentally than some of the other top guys in the second week.
As for Federer -- I think it's more probable that guys are losing sleep thinking about playing him.
How far in the US Open can we expect Andy Roddick to go?
I picked him to win the tournament -- I think he's capable of that.
Where do you think Djokovic's game is at, and do you think he will get far at this years open? Is he still a threat?
Still a tremendous amount of upside for Djokovic. He's maturing as a person before our eyes, and has shown his willingness to listen to a lot of different people to improve his game (most recently, Todd Martin as a part-time coach). He is absolutely a threat to any of the top players at any given time.
Obviously it is too early to know for sure, but what kind of professional career do you expect out of Britton, if any? Nerves were the problem in the first set, but I think if he was as good as anyone against Roger in the third. He broke him, which not many guys can claim.
I'm usually reluctant to make too many prognostications about a male player at this point -- but he should enjoy his day -- it was a very credible performance.
How is this for a bold prediction. Not only will we never see a Fed-Nadal US Open final, we will never see another Fed-Nadal Grand Slam final ever. Australia 2009 was the last time. Guys like Murray and Del Potro will prevent it.
Yikes. Can't get on board with the no-more-Slam-finals statement, Jason -- Murray and Del Potro have exactly zero major titles between them so far, and I think the chances of another Fed-Nadal final at Roland Garros at least are still substantial.
Looks like Amelie Mauresmo will live to fight another day, but Tommy Haas just dropped a set to Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla...
How did Serena look today against Alexa Glatch especially the first set?
Glatch put up a good fight, which I expected. She's a terrific competitor, and not awed by situations like this. Serena is traditionally a slow starter at Slams, but we should take note that this is her 40th Grand Slam event and the 40th time she has gotten past the first round -- yes, that's 40-0, perfect sheet.
Don't mean to be a party pooper, but is anyone else bored with the same old same old? I mean Federer is a great player, but I'm ready for some fresh faces.
Federer currently has a streak extending more than five years of reaching at least the semis of every major. During that same span, he's won 13 of 21 majors, and of his eight losses, all were to the tournament's champion. Do you think anyone will come close to approaching this run Roger's on again? Honestly, if he wasn't doing it, I think we'd all be saying it wasn't possible.
I posted both of these questions at once because they reflect the yin and yang of the way people regard Federer. Personally I am far more amazed than bored. I do think we're entering a stretch where Federer and Nadal are not going to have quite the same iron grip on Slams.
Bonnie, we all know some of Federer's problems early this year were mental, but now we're hearing a lot of talk about his back problems then (especially with the serve). How much of his problems were truly physical, and how much were mental (and now he's talking about the back to avoid admitting that he was struggling mentally)
I'd have to be a mind-reader to truly know that. I do think that Federer has a tremendous will/discipline/ability to block out physical problems while he's experiencing them -- and perhaps only later realizes what effect they had.
It's probably nothing but I noticed that when Federer was giving his interview he refered to the other players by their last names, even Murray and Djokivic. Yet he calls Andy Roddick by his first. Can anyone guess as to why?
Maybe he's just trying to keep the Andys straight.
Do you think Maria Sharapova can get herself back and win major championships?
Commented on that earlier in the chat. Short answer is: I would never count her out.
Bonnie, it's been 25 years since a lefty won the Open on the men's side...any thoughts on why no one's stepped up since Johnny Mac?
Perhaps they used up their luck between '74-'84? Seriously, I'm not sure there's a surface-specific answer for this. I'll ask around.
Folks, I'm going to call it a day. Please join Greg Garber at 4 eastern time here tomorrow.
<a name="sept1"></a>Join Greg Garber at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Greetings, tennis fans. A few rousing hours already at the National Tennis Center. Jesse Witten, an unknown Americn, knocked off Igor Andreev, the No. 29 seed, for his first-ever ATP win. Dinara Safina almost became the the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose here at the U.S. Open in the Open Era. And, we will see on Wednesday night some history as Serena Williams becomes the first woman here to play the second ight match following a man (Roger Federer). Send in your questions and we'll scramble to answer them over the next hour...
Do you think nerves got to Olivia Rogowska in the 3rd as she broke twice but could not consolidate the break?
Good question, Patrick. Let's put you in that situation. You're 18 years old and playing your first Open -- in the first round against the No. 1 seed. Yikes. I thought Rogowska played great. She was at 4-all in the third before she really fell apart. Nerves. Double fauls and forehand errors did her in. Safina's nerves didn't look so good until the last two games.
If someone runs into Pam Shriver, please tell her that Krajan is pronounced more like "Cry-ON" than Krazhahn. Among Croatian names in the tennis world, it's comparatively easy!
Tina: You're all over it. He actually told me that at Wimbledon. He IS a negaive-sounding and -looking coach. Fun for us in themedia, but I'm not sure Zeljko Krajan is the coach for Safina. I think she needs more positive reinforcement.
The tape on the back of Djokovic's knee is Kinesio Tape. The commentators joked about it being ineffective; as a marathoner, i would argue that the tape works very well. Thanks.
JD -- thanks for the knowledge. If you noticed last night, Venus went to some taped support after three games for her chronic patella tendinitis.
Jesse Witten? Really? From the set score, he looks like he lit it up. Did you get a chance to see him play?
Russ: There were whispers that Andreev was injured, but you can't take anything away from Witten. I wrote a story on Witten that should be up within the hour. Today he made more money (31K) than he's made all year. Told me seriously considered quitting earlier this year when he was playing $10K Futures events.
Im so tired of the biased commentating, im watching the Safina-Rogowska match and the unseeded player is winning, and could upset the number1 seed, and the commentators dont give the underdog any credit for playing well, but i know if the underdog was an american, they'd be saying how great he or she is playing it makes me sick, give credit where credit is due
Easy on the commentating, Lorne. I listened to the broadcast (that Safina story should be posted soon), and thought they did a good job. It's just not normal for someone ranked No. 167 to be a few games from knocking No. 1 out of the tournament in the first round. Safina, certainly, has focussing issues.
Do any players get priority when it comes to practicing on the court and at the time of their choice? For example, if Roddick or Serena say "I want to hit on Center Court at 8 am", would they cancel anyone else's reservation and send them to an outer court?
Yes, Jason, as far as a I know, the top players are given priority in warmup time. But everyone has a shot. Devin Britton said yesterday he had two opportunities to hit on Arthur Ashe before he met Federer there in a first-round match.
Hey Greg, not sure how many chats I will be able to make this week because of my work schedule but my first one is...how impressive do you find Serena's undefeated streak of first round matches at majors?
Come on, Zack, ou're probably our most loyal chat fan. Can't you call in sick? Anyway, yes, Serena's 40-0 is a razy number -- especially when juxtaposed with Safina's poor performance today. Even Roger Federer has lost SIX times in the frst round of majors.
Say Venus and Safina both lost their first round matches (which is just crazy to think about in itself). Don't you think Venus losing is a much bigger story than Safina, despite her being #1?
Pete, look at you bringing the heat. I was in that precise thought process, because I was writing BOTH the veus and Safina matches. Venus because she is Venus (an American) is a bigger story. Also, given Safina's recent record, you would be LESS surprised by a Safina loss, no?
Why is Serena playing after Roger tomorrow night?
Joe: This is the news out here today. See the story I posted earlier. Essentially, it's a blow for gender equity and equal opportunity -- in reverse. The men, particularly after the Australian Open this year, have been complaining that in this age of equal treatment they have been getting the short end of the stick by playing these late-night matches -- the second night match after a woman's match. Roddick complained of the same thing last night when Venus went nearly three hours and his match didn't start until 11:10 and finished 45 minutes into Tuesday morning. The USTA was planning o play a women's match second and there first opportunity is Wednesday night. When Serena follows Federer it will be the first time a women's match follows a men's match at night here in 23 years. That's progress, I guess.
What are the chances that Ivanovic will make a deep run?
Jim: Not feeling it, although the way Safina played today why not? The good news for Ana is that the Williams sisters and Kim Clijsters are on the other side and Sharapova and Dementieva would play each other in the third round.
There was a time when tennis commentators and other experts were saying that Nadal's forehand was one of the best in the game if not the best. I didn't agree then and I don't agree now. Looking at the current top 10, 5 players (Fed, Djokovic, Del Potro, Verdasco, and Tsonga) have better forehands. And I didn't even count Blake, Gonzalez, Moya, etc., etc. Whose side do you take, Greg?
Evan: Appreciate the concept. They ALL have great forehands, it's true. But I think Nadal has two things going for him. Fist, it's the heaviest ball. All the players say this and when a research crew actually counted the revolutions of the topspin shots, Nadal had far, far more than anyone. Second, whose forehand is the oly one that has truly neutralized Federer? Nadal's.
Do you think Safin has a major run left in him at this Open? Or do you think he's mentally checked out and is going to go down meekly
We shall see, Raj. He's a good storyline here in his final bow at the National Tennis Center. Yu know Marat. Quirky guy, never redicatble. Scorched the great Pete Sampras in the 2000 U.S. Open, and then disappear for weeks at a time. He's got a tough match with Melzer and then a horrible draw in the No. 6 seed Juan Martin del Potro. I think he's out in the second round.
Hi there Greg, just a quick take on Nadals tendinitis! Do you think he has enough match sharpness and fitness to go all the way in this years US Open? I like Nadal's playing style and courage (who could have stood up to fed for all those years he dominated and come away with so many victories and grandslams?) and would love to see him complete his trophy cabinet with all 4 majors!
Warne: This, in some ways, is the leading question of the tournament. Where are Rafa's knees at? He used the word perfect three times in describing their condition a few days ago, but ... There is a theory going around that bcause Rafa is fresher than he's ever been (mentally and physially), he has his best shot ever to complete a career Grand Slam. He scuffled in early matches the last several weeks, but generally played better as he progressed through the draw. He plays his first match tomorrow against Richard Gasquet.
Just an update, kids. Novak Djokovic is up two sets on Ivan Ljubicic. Jelena Jankovic won the fist set against Roberta Vinci. Ryan Sweeting, the young American, is locked in a third-set tiebreaker with Marin Cilic. Chileans Fernando Gonzalez an Nicolas Massu are going at it. Gonzo won the first set 6-3.
bonnie do you think maria will win the u.s.open that was my question and you have to respond tomy question only.
Hey,Victor, Bonnie's off today. Maria Sharapova is an interesting case. The shoulder injury that knocked her out for months has continued to impact her service motion. She looked pretty good in Los Angeles, hacking her way through Vitoria Azarenka and a few others before losing to Flavia Pennetta in the semifinals. We'll find out swiftly where her game is. She'd played Elena Dementieva in the third round because she's unseeded.
Greg, I just don't think that a forehand can be considered one of the greatest when there are at least a handful of power baseliners (Djokovic, Berdych, Del Potro, Soderling) who love it everytime they see Nadal finish with his racquet behind his head. His forehand is the reason Nadal can get abused on fast hard courts. The loopiness of it can be preyed upon time and time again. It's so loopy, in fact, that if it didn't have that extreme spin it would be considered a "junk ball."
Evan: Had a long discussion with Uncle Toni Nadal on this subject last year at Wimbledon. The subject was how Rafa had learned to play on grass -- and hardcourts -- by flattening out his groundstrokes. He did it nicely in winning the title there and again this year at the Australian Open. Truth is, Evan, he's capable of doing it. The thing is, sometimes he gets passive and drifts back behind the baseline and reverts to clay-court loopiness. He'll have to take some of the air out of that shot if he wants to advance here.
Update: Sweting just lost to Cilic in three sets. Jankovic is a game from closing out Vinci, which means next up is Sudden Sam Querrey. Elena Dementeva vs. Camille Pin next up on the Grand stand.
<a name="sept2"></a>Folks, thanks for all of your questions and comments. My colleague Bonnie Ford will return Wednesday at 4 PM EST to respond to all of your inquiries.
Greetings, everyone. Welcome to Day Three of the U.S. Open.
I'm multi-tasking, as always -- tracking Nadal-Gasquet (Nadal up a set and on serve in second) and Clijsters-Bartoli (seems headed for a third set). Venus Williams just walked into her post-match presser wearing a Miami Dolphins T-shirt.
What's on your collective minds today?
Why is Venus Williams playing in the US Open with an injury? I would think she would have withdrawn rather than risk further injuries. Makes me wonder if she is really injured or just trying to get sympathy to break down her opponents.
Hi Mike -- I have to disagree with you. Venus is a veteran and certainly would know the difference between an injury she can play through, or something more risky. The US Open is obviously important to a premier American player, and she's also supposed to play doubles with her sister. Women often are criticized for pulling out of events with minor injuries... let's give her some cred.
A couple of weeks ago, Roddick put the rumors to rest that he and Djokovic hated each other. Sometimes the press intensifies a little dispute to a great extent. That being said, what do you think about the relationship between Serena and Sharapova. And, who do you think Serena and Venus are closest to on tour besides each other?
Chris, life (and tennis careers) are too short for "hate" -- Roddick and Djokovic have a lot in common, both bright, funny, emotional guys. Serena would stare down anyone across the net from her. And the sisters are really their own support.
Hi. How is the order of play determined? I think it would have been better for Rafa to have played on Monday so he could rest the knees better.
Scheduling is a very complex affair, but the top players do have input and I have heard second-hand that Nadal asked to play Wednesday.
With Ana Ivanovic losing last night to Kateryna Bondarenko, who was hobbled on one leg, what will this do to her confidence and what does she needs to reverse her fortunates since winning the 2008 French Open?
I wrote on that subject today, Patrick. I think cumulative fatigue has a lot to do with Ivanovic's recent struggles. She likely won't be playing much for the rest of the season. She's working with Darren Cahill and her former coach Sven Groenefeld under the Adidas umbrella again and thinks that will pay off in time. At 21 she has time to come back -- more than once.
can safina rebound from poor play in her opening match and make a run for the title? Also what kind of message is it to a player when they look up to their coach for support and he is wincing and turning away?
That dynamic between Safina and her coach was much remarked upon by the commentators, and it certainly doesn't seem constructive. But can she rebound? Of course. Remember she was a semifinalist here last year and has a favorable draw.
<a name="sept3"></a>That'll be it for me today. Join me again tomorrow, same time, same place.
Hey guys -- I'm here -- sorry for the delay.
Does Melanie Oudin have the goods to become a consistent top player, or is this a case of flash in the pan?
She's got game, fearlessness, fight; I love what I saw today. She grew up admiring Justine Henin and her mentality is that size doesn't have to matter. Huge upside potential.
Do you believe that Samantha Stosur played too many matches during the USO Series and the weight of expectations on her shoulder for making the Top 15? Or did Vania King outthought and outexecuted Samantha to win the match yesterday? I think the more of the latter is why Vania King defeated Samantha Stosur.
Hi Patrick -- Vania played a very smart, confident match. For some reason, Stosur has never done well here in NY -- four straight first-round exits before this year.
Hello--I'm gonna miss watching Safin play because when he had his head on his shoulders he seemed like he could take out anyone at any time. The part of his game that I will remember most is his incredibly sound backhand-What will you remember most about his game?
Rajesh, I have to say I will miss Safin in the post-match press conferences where he was as unpredictable and charismatic as he was on the court. He understood and appreciated his role as a performer and personality.
BTW -- I will be staying on the chat til 5:15 to make up for my tech problems at the beginning.
When does Roddick play again? Did he get an extra day off because of his late game Monday night?
Looks like he'll be playing Saturday. He's not on the show court schedule just released.
Vania King yesterday, Melanie Oudin today. Melanie managed to out play Elena Dementieva from the baseline for the entire match to pull off the win. Not many players can hang tough with Elena on the baseline and with Elena not getting any free points on serve,that put Melanie over the top with the win. What made the difference in your view?
Honestly, Patrick, I think Dementieva played too passively. Not to take anything away from Oudin who deserves all the credit in the world -- especially with the discomfort she was experiencing from her leg injury/cramping. The commentators were saying Dementieva should have been trying to lure her to the net more instead of running her side to side, and I agree.
Dementieva's last chance? She seems to have been around since the Graf era.
She's 27! Come on! In a word, no.
I know that Roddick is playing well right now, but isn't it a bit of a stretch for some experts to pick him to win considering he will likely have to go through Djokovic then Federer then either Murray or Nadal?
If by "some experts" you mean me -- I stand by my pick. Then again, I lose no money or rankings points if I'm wrong.
hi bonnie, serena's form last night must have sent shivers to the rest of the remaining women! and with the losses of the other contenders, particularly that of elena dementieva, who do you think has the highest chance of derailing serena's new york parade? i'm rooting for jankovic. i'm really hoping for a rematch of last year's finals!
Hi Adi -- Shivers, yup, maybe worse. With no disrespect to the other competitors, I think it would be great to see see a Serena-Clijsters semi, could be one of the best and most challenging big matches Serena has had all year. Jankovic is fighting for her life right now... we'll see if she joins the upset honor roll today.
Do you know which is first tonight, the men's or the women's?
It's back to ladies first tonight, McHale-Sharapova.
Verdasco destroyed his opponent today, proved his hardcourt bona fides in Australia this year and nearly beat Roddick in Canada this summer, not to mention has extended Roddick to 5 sets here a couple years ago.. this adds up to a legitimate threat for Roddick in the 4th round (even if Haas gets through Verdasco, same thing), no?
Well -- Verdasco is a changed player for sure. That match in Canada was the first time they had played since 2007 (Roddick has 9-2 edge in career series). I would still give Roddick the edge on this surface, which is faster than Melbourne. This is la casa de Andy.
What do you think about the future of donald young? he had so much promise and i remember hearing so much hype about him a few years ago. when i watch him it just seems like his mental game is so weak and he gets down on himself way too much. can he still rebound and have a good career in your opinion? thanks!
Larry, thanks for the kind words that preceded this question. We all thought DY was on the verge of a breakthrough in 07-08. If he's going to rebound and maximize his considerable talent, he may need to take a different approach to training/fitness.
Who do you think is the next woman to win a Grand Slam, any Grand Slam, that has not won one already?
That's a head-scratcher. Can I pass?
Just to pour a little gasoline onto the fire. While fellow members of the zero slams club (Dementieva, Jankovic, and Blake) get to showcase their talents on Arthur Ashe today, the ... ahem ... #1 player in the world Safina is relegated to Louis Armstrong? How does the 1 player NOT play on Center Court. its not as if Nadal or Roddick is playing at the same time.
Scheduling is the endless parlor game. True, the Jankovic match is the only one on Ashe today not featuring an American. But it's not like she was playing on Court 11.
To Greg from Arizona -- to be clear, Roddick will be playing tonight and Saturday, surely on Ashe.
I found Federer's "15" jacket at Wimbledon rather tacky and arrogant. It was as if he were saying to Roddick, I already won this, why are we even here? I found it to be a lot of arrogance on his part, and I felt so terrible for Andy. Any thoughts?
Lexi, it seems half the world felt the way you did and half didn't see it as any different than the NCAA hoops champs putting on ballcaps at center court seconds after a win. I don't feel that strongly about it one way or the other. I'm sure Federer's attire was not the hardest thing Roddick was dealing with at that point.
i think novak is dreading having to face andy roddick in front of the us crowd again. he must be praying for somebody else.
Hi Rachel -- I think you might be surprised. Andy would have the crowd even if there was no history -- but the fans were warm to Djokovic in his first match and I think if things go sportingly, he won't get more grief than usual. His take on his woes with the crowd:"What happened last year, the way I get it, to be honest, was like, I don't know, a fight with a girlfriend. Just a little fight with a girlfriend. These things happen. It was something that everybody can learn from it."
What's going on with the women matches these days? So pathethic, like everyone has problems holding serves. Everything you do bad I can do worse competition.
yeah, it's sort of the opposite of that old hit from "Annie Get Your Gun" -- though Oudin did well today considering she was in pain every time she landed on her left leg.
Jankovic just went down by the way... that quarter is, uh, opening up.
i was mightily impressed with clijsters at the rogers cup. how do you see the venus-clijsters match unfolding? what is their head-to-head?
Venus leads 6-4... they haven't played since Clijsters' comeback... would be a terrific test assuming Venus isn't gimpy. Their last match was here in the 2005 quarters, won by Clijsters in her title march.
That's a wrap for today. Please join Greg Garber here tomorrow!
<a name="sept4"></a>Greg Garber chats Friday at 4 p.m. ET LIVE from the U.S. Open!
Greg, it is unfortunate that Flavia Pennetta is in Serena's quarter, I think if she had been on the opposite side of the draw; particularly with Dementieva
Folks, welcome to our last chat of the week at the National Tennis Center. We'll start off with Zack, who should probably be working...Good call, Zack. Pennetta is the hottest player here -- on either side of the draw. She's lost six games in six sets. Her cfellow Italian, Francesca Schiavone, just upset No. 8 seed Victoria Azarenka.
I hope Blake can make it through to the end. Good Luck Blake
You and many others. He really struggled yesterday against Rochus and has had a very tough summer. Blake has a bad toe, but he sure didn;t look hurt celebrating when he erased three set points in that tiebreaker.
Why is Rafa playing second on Ashe for tomorrow night? I thought they were going to go alternate nights for women's matches to be the last on Ashe?
DE: Good question. When we broke the story a few days ago that Serena Williams would follow Federer, it was the first time in 23 years -- according to USTA records -- that a women's match followed the men. The USTA told me that they liked the idea of breaking precedent because the guys have been complaining about always playing last for some time. They also said they would do it "when appropriate." The feeling I got was that they'd do it another time or two -- not every other day. Progress always comes incrementally.
Greg/Bonnie - I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone. People say Querrey is a future top 10 player. Are we talking more Roddick or Blake. Both Roddick and Blake are top 10, but one is a consistent slam contender and the other is not. I just don't see any US player who matched Roddick's talent.
Jason: We ALWAYS give you the straight stuff here. I say precisely in the middle. Roddick has won only one more Slam than Blake, but he has been a consistent semifinal/final threat. Blake has reached the quarters here twice. And that's it for Slams. So, that said, Do I see Sam-Q getting to a few GS semis, maybe a final or two? Yes. Winning one. Maybe not. He HAS gotten dramatically better this year and is still only 21.
Greg, what do you think of Venus's chances of winning another slam outside of Wimbledon at some point through the rest of her career? Obviously the US Open I think is her only bet because its the only one she has ever won, but do you think she can prevail here at least once more?
Zack, I think the answer to both questions is no. While Serena currently holds three of four majors, Venus lost that Wimbledon final earlier this year to her. Think about this: Outside of one appearace here in the Final Four in 2007, Venus hasn't been to the semifinals of a non-Wimbledon major in six years. That's a long time. Her knee problems seem chronic.
Women Top Seeds are not as strong as the Men's Seed. There're so many eliminated in the 1st week. The seeding does not reflect their perfomance at all. Women are not as good as the Graft, Evert, Henin, Navratilova and Seles generation.
Franky: This topic has been coming up a lot, lately. A few years ago, the top women's seeds rolled through the first three or four rounds. But the general depth of the field and inconsistency among the good players has caused som erosion. Yesterday, we saw No. 4 Dementieva and No. 5 Jankovic go home. Meanwhile, NONE of the top seeds has even lost a set in five days.
I wanted to get your opinion on a theory I've been formulating with regards to why the top men seem much more dominant than the top women when it used to be the other way around 6 or 7 years ago. A lot of experts are saying it is due to cyclicality, but I'm thinking it is more due to an evolutionary change in tennis to the power baseline game that the men adapted first. Thus, for a while a lot of lower ranked men were coming out of nowhere for upsets as everyone was figuring out this style but now the cream has risen to the top who have figured out how to dominate. I think the women (aside from the Williams' when they are motivated during slams) are figuring out this power baseline and aggressive serving game and will follow this trend in 6-7 years when the cream rises to the top.
Bryan: This is thoughtful stuff. I'm down with that concept.
It's not surprising to see all these upsets on the women's side. With the exception of the Williams sisters, the "top" players just don't serve well at all. Seems like most of the problem lies in the inconsistency of the ball toss.
Joe: Kamakshi Tandon did a fabulous piece on this just before the Open. Why can't women serve? Steve Tignor of Tennis.com also has a good story currently posted on ESPN.com partner box.
Greg, what do you think about those rumors about a month ago that Henin was considering a comeback after seeing Clijsters return? Do you think she will? Even though she was one of my favorite players, I think she will stay retired.
I'm generally cynical when athletes retire before their time. I was there in Paris when Henin faced the full press for the last time. I wondered if she'd come back. Let's put it this way: If you were watching on TV and had seven major titles and watched someone like Dinara Safina get to three finals (or Kuznetsova win your favorite tournament), would you think you could win a few more. The success of fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters might be the catalyst to bring her back...she just turned 27, plenty of time
Who do you think is the most likely to go slamless in their career? Safina, Dementieva, or Jankovic?
On the subject of female Slams, I'd go with Dementieva AND Jankovic. Dementieva is getting older and JJ just seems too flighty to break through. Safina is still young enough -- and strong enough -- to do it. She just has to get out of the way of her own nerves.
Did any of the on-air commentators respond to the comment Sharapova made about putting tennis coverage on Mute in her hotel room (an obvious snarky snide remark regarding tennis commentators and the coverage?)
Hey, Maggie, that's interesting. Tennis players, I've noticed, are exceptionally thin-skinned.
who do u think'll win the U.S open
Ian: Give me the chalk, the defending champions and clear faves: Federer and Serena.
Greg, can anybody tell the commentators to keep quite during the match. We want to hear the sound of the ball when it is struck. Commentators talked too much during the match just like NBA. This is tennis. Please make comment only between points. Thanks
I had this coinversation with (the legendary) Cliff Drysdale the other day. I was saying I liked the addition of the sideline reporter (Pam Shriver, Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert) because they were treated as one of the broadcasters in the booth and had some pretty solid conversations. Cliff, in tha new dynamic, told me he was trying to lay back and let the action speak a little more for itself. I think they're all making a conscious effort to do that.
I miss Andre Agassi.
Man, so do I. When he was in the booth Monday with P-Mac and J-Mac, it was a delightful conversation. Classy, classy guy who always understood what we in the media needed. Now, with his school for underprivileged kids, he's giving the world more of what it needs.
Why are the US Open uniforms being worn, which look great by the way, with a Polo player on horseback as a graphic instead of tennis?
Vince, that's genius. A wonderful marketing opportunity to sell more shirts. Pitch the Polo folks and you've got a job in sales.
What do you think is going on with Cilic and Azarenka. Cilic had his breakthrough last year but seems to have plateaued this year. Azarenka broke through earlier this year but has plateaued in the 2nd half. Do you think they are both set up to have good years next year to take the next step?
Another good question. I was there in Miami, when she won in Miami. When she's on, she hits lasers. Seems a little tired. She flammed out today against Schiavone, someone she should have beaten. Keep waiting for Cilic to take off. Del Potro is only five days older but made a Slam QF last year here at the age of 19. Still watiting on Cilic, who has a monster game. I think next year Cilic would like to be where Azarenka is now. Not sure Azarenka can go much higher than the No. 4-8 threshold.
Greg, I am a huge Serena fan.....and I like her tennis game too! (LOL) Do you really think Venus or Maria S have a real shot to beat her? She looks unstoppable right now!
I think Serena has the best chance to escape the bottom half of the draw. Venus is ailing and, in a street fight with Clijsters, I think Serena wins. Maria is an interesting wildcard. You have to admit her serve is looking better.
After watching Andy Murray #2 seed win the first set why did espn start showing lessons on second services and miss the first three games of the second set while six presenters discussed this, and then miss the first two games of the third set while they interviewed Serena Williams?
Solution: You can watch specific matches on show courts on ESPN 360 at ESPN.com -- FREE and without interruption. Trying to cover a whle tournament on one network is virtually impossible. The best you can do is offer a large platter of appetizers. I think we do a terrific job, against great odds.You're welcome.
Murray lost a set. Are people starting to climb on the Rafa to the finals wagon?
Stranger things have happened, Jason. Everyone says Rafa is up against it. I'm beginning to think he's laying in the weeds.
Greg, I think it is pretty evident that the Williams sisters will be in the semis, who are your predictions for the other half of the draw?
Zack: We'll see Clijsters after Ginepri-Almagro and, based on what I've seen, she can give one-legged Venus a go.
McEnroe and Drysdale say that in the olden days the players didn't play all the slams; therefore, Federer's 15 might not be a valid number. What hogwash! I'd like to know if those players had the fitness, motivation and gumption to play all 4 slams every year along with all the Masters and other tournaments played by Federer et.al. I doubt it - Federer and today's players are much more fit and competitive.
From talking to the old guys -- I have a Laver story coming on Sunday -- I get the idea that it just wasn;t a big deal. Borg played ONE Australian Open in his career. Sure, Fed is fitter but everything is different. Laver, in this era, would have won his share of Slams. More than his share.
Time to wrap up, guys. Thanks for chatting. Great stuff today. Programming note: Next chat won't be until next Tuesday, Sept. 8. My colleague Bonnie Ford will answer your questions. Until then, enjoy the tennis.
<a name="sept8"></a>Our team down at the U.S. Open will be back chatting Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Greetings, folks: Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin Del Potro have already won here today, and Andy Murray is going down shockingly easily against Marin Cilic... plenty to discuss.
Creo que los latinos estan haciendo un gran torneo, veo una semifinal enre Del Potro y Gonzales. ĦExitos!
Hi Julian. Understand your excitement but I wouldn't dismiss Tsonga vs. Gonzalez.
If he can hold on, Marin Cilic will be the big story of the day. But I think Del Potro is the more dangerous threat to Nadal/Federer/Djoker. Don't you agree?
I do. This would be Cilic's first win against a top-3 opponent.
Murray has only 11 winners in the match so far.
Larry, re: your cycling question, we'll keep this on tennis but feel free to message me at email@example.com.
Roddick has been largely praised for losing weight/getting fit for 2009. Isn't it fair to criticize him for largely relying too much on his big serve and not being in the best shape possible for most of his career?
George I would take the view that tennis careers are a process -- young players don't usually start out with a checklist of everything they need to do to have long, successful careers. They figure it out as they go. Overall I think Roddick deserves a lot of credit for continuing to make adjustments and try different approaches. His tenure in the top echelon is not an accident.
I am mystified by Andy Roddick's inability to take advantage of Isner's inexperience in the fifth set. Roddick has been to countless slam finals/semis/quarters. Isner's most important career match was a 3rd rounder against Federer. I know people talk a lot about Roddick losing slam titles because of Federer - but at the end of his career, he will be kicking himself for these mid round losses to lesser opponents (Isner, Kolschreiber, etc).
Hi Jason. Let's not forget that Roddick's serve was only broken once in the match. he may not have made full use of his expanded repertoire, but Isner served and volleyed so proficiently in that match that he took a lot of options out of Roddick's hands.
What do you feel that Russian women must do to improve their mental and psychological game? It appears to me that Kuznetsova and Petrova are extremely gifted athletes but they can't overcome their mental struggles!
I wouldn't generalize about one nation. There's been enough psychological malaise to go around in the women's draw here -- and Kuznetsova did win a Grand Slam event this year.
Not to dismiss how your body changes when having a baby, not training, etc..but Clisters was great when she left. She is mentally and physically fresher (especially at year end) than a lot of the girls and the talent was always there. Why is everyone so surprised how well she is doing? If anything talent has decreased since she left..maria is injured, Lindsay is gone, Justine retired and no one else has really stepped up. She would be right in the mix with the Williams'
Beatrice, I expected her to do well as soon as I heard she was coming back given her age, style of game and temperament. The scouting reports on her from the exo at Wimbledon in May were unanimously positive. Her potential semi against Serena W. could be the match of the tournament.
With Murray losing, will he lose the #2 ranking since he will lose points due to being in the finals last year?
I believe that is a possibility, I'll verify the math.
Odds that Nadal comes out of his half just got a lot better with Murray's upset, I think... and you?
The stat sheet says Murray had only one forehand winner the whole match. 0-for-7 on break point chances. Hard to digest. We'll see what he has to say about his apparent wrist problem.
With Murray losing, who do you think is the biggest threat to beat Federer?
A Federer-Djokovic semi could be very tight and competitive. They're 1-1 on hardcourt this year.
My colleagues on the TV side are talking up DelPo as a finalist. I still think Nadal would be a more dangerous opponent for Federer in a final.
I think del Potro would be favored in a possible semi against Nadal.
Spell it out, John ... and weigh in, everyone else. Conventional wisdom would be that DelPo's fitness/endurance has been more suspect but Nadal is coming back from the layoff.
What chance do you give Flavia? I think it is possible that Serena might get tight with the expectations and if she plays anything loosely Flavia has a chance. Also, I predicuted Murray out today..no big surprise..as Kuznetsova choking last night. Is there anyone who really wants it other than Roger?
Serena doesn't look like a candidate for tightening up to me at this point, but it's true that the retrievers/counterpunchers (like Jankovic at her best) can give her trouble. Their career series is 1-all, last played in 2008/Miami and Pennetta won first set in a tiebreak.
I agree that Nadal is more dangerous for Federer due to their prior history.
Will Monfils take out Rafa tongiht?
I doubt it, but it'll be darn entertaining either way.
Watchin the end of the Djoker match last night, he brought on John McEnroe. Does he have the most outgoing personality on the tour?
I don't know about the MOST outgoing... but extremely personable and witty in my dealings with him, and he clearly enjoys performing. Impulsive words have gotten him in trouble at times but I think that's part of the process of growing up under the microscope.
BTW, for those of you planning your evenings tomorrow, both Oudin and Federer will be playing at night.
Got about 10 more minutes to answer questions, folks.
It is amazing that Murray did not make it to a GS Final this year. Do you think he should change his game to become more attacking or will he eventually win a GS with his current style?
You're absolutely right... most of us expected Murray to build on his finals run here last year. That's why they play 'em... more offense certainly could be part of the answer but today he was just flat, apparently bothered by wrist but didn't want to specify.
Asking this question makes me feel about a thousand years old ... but whatever happened to serve-and-volley? It seems to have gone the way of white tennis balls. I know a few guys come to net, but it seems like the top players routinely hit passing shots so accurately that going to net is a high-risk move. Do we need to go back to wooden rackets to give the serve-and-volleyers a chance?
Don't think we'll be killing too many trees for that purpose. Serve and volley is going to remain a limited part of the men's game as long as the current racket/strings technology prevails, with the exception of certain players it suits for physiological reasons, like John Isner, Feliciano Lopez or Taylor Dent.
Its hard to say right now (Murray) changing his game would help him win slams..But with his current defensive style he might win a couple down the line , but i dont see him to dominate like Roger or Rafa did when they won wimbeldon or french respectively
Who do you have winning today, jo-willy or gonzo?
Weirdly enough, they haven't played. I favor Tsonga, on gut instinct and his net game. He hasn't dropped a set yet.
Sorry, I meant they've NEVER played before.
Here is your math on the rankings. If Nadal wins tonight, he passes Murray. If Djokovic wins the tournament, he passes Murray. So Murray could slide all the way to No. 4. So much for No. 1?
Del Potro's been serving really big, getting it up into the 130's. I heard a commentator mention how he could still add more pace by lowering the ball toss. That would be scary to see..
I wouldn't want to be in the way of that.
I am a bit surprised that veteran players couldn't identify the weaknesses in Oudin's game. Clearly, her serve is rather weak and should have been pounded by her Russian opponents. Do you think that she will have a career similar to Henin or will the novelty wear off when players get second look at her game?
For long-term success, she will need to improve her serve for sure. Having a career similar to Henin is a pretty tall order (not trying to coin a pun here), let's give the kid some breathing space. I will say one of the most impressive things about her was her ability to come back from having her own service broken so much and return the favor.
<a name="sept9"></a>That's it for today. Join Greg Garber in this space tomorrow.
Greetings, tennis fans. Greg Garber here for our Day 10 chat. I'll be here for the next three days to answer your questions and comments. Let's go to the board...
Assuming Melanie Oudin makes the finals, regardless of her opponent Kim or Serena, will she get crushed or could she actually challenge for the title?
Zack, you are the Helen Thomas of Chat Nation. She was the UPI reporter who always asked the first question at presidential news conferences.Don't assume Oudin gets through. Wozniacki is very tough and ahead of the 17-year-old American in Real World experience. I can see either one going down in straight sets when Serena beats Clijsters.
Soy una total admiradora de Roger Federer, me encanta como un excelente deportista y una excelente persona.. Eso es lo que muchas veces nos falta a los suramericanos el senorio y la buena forma de comportarse cuando se esta representando a su Pais.......en especial los tenistas chilenos, que aunque son muy buenos, tambien se destacan por su groseria y prepotencia.....Envio muchos saludos a todos los comentaristas que nos ensenan y nos permiten aprender y disfrutar de stos grandes eventos........un abrazo
Muchas gracias para los saludos.
I think Rafeal Nadal going to win.
What's going on, Erik? Not feeling that call. Rafa has a bit of a stomach issue -- although he looked better last night against Monfils -- and he's not in game shape. I'll take the chaulk -- I'll take Federer. I've got a story going up later this evening if he advances to his 22nd consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. That's a crazy record.
Hey I went to the open again this year... And again I saw bigger crowds at the Mens doubles matches on the outside courts than the Womens singles matches. Why doesn't espn Show these matches instead of taped women matches during the live coverage?
Todd: ESPN tries to deliver what people want. It's a fact of life: The big names in women's singles draw more viewers than men's doubs. I watched the third-set tiebreaker between the Bryan Brothers and Paes-Dlouhy. The BB came back from 0-5 to tie at 6-all, but lost 6-8. Great stuff.
Do you think Nadal is healthier than Uncle Toni is letting on? If it is Nadal v. Del Potro in the semis, who do you give that victory to? AND if it is a Federer v. Nadal final, who would you give that victory to?
Zack: I think you're on to something. Rafa IS laying in the weeds a bit. Watching him play, though, I'm just not sure if he can turn it on here. Beating Fernando Gonzalez, then the winner of Cilic-Del Potro and then Fedrerer seems to be sking to much of a guy who missed two and a half months.
Yes, Venus is injured and I don't think Serena has yet played her best...but I noted that most of the "upsets" occurred on the other half of the draw. Competitors like Serena, Venus, Clisters, when healthy are not going out in the 2nd 3rd, 1st round to no name teenagers Is it mental fatigue? too many expectations? All of the Russians, the Serbs ...wears the heart? Is the tour scheduling to blame? Odd thing, although they didn't win, this is the first year in a long time that Venus and Serena played so many tournaments before the open
Catrice: It's all of the above, as you explained. It IS interesting that with so many people clamoring for the Williams' sisters to play more, Venus comes up with a knee injury. Serena, of course, looks fine. The calendar is too long, but that will never change because there is such a great demand for tennis. It's tough to stay up for 11 months. The eastern Europeans didn't seem too interested in sticking around.
Hi Greg, is there any thing that Venus Williams can do to improve her game at this point in her career or is her tennis career slowing closing out...considering her knee?
I think Venus needs to keep doing what she's doing, Dixie. Play a modest schedule, get up for the Grand Slams, and play aother four or five years.
I think the Serena v. Kim semi is going to be the women's match of the tournament because the final is going to be uneventful...do you think it will take three sets and can Kim win even though she is fresh from retirement? I think besides Venus she is the only other woman on tour right now that can actually challenge Serena at the grand slam level.
Agreed, Zack. See it going the distance with Serena winning. As Kim said yesterday, the one with the fewest unforced errors will probably win.
Match update: Some of you are complaining that ESPN is showing the Williams Sisters doubles match -- and not Novak Djkovic versus Fernando Verdasco. FYI, Djokovic is serving to reach a first set tiebreaker and is at 15-all
With the current standings placing Safina at the top of the rankings and Williams' close behind, do you think the ranking system should be restructured? Or should the ranking system stay current and reward the number of matches you play? The Williams' have never been set on playing the matches required to maintain the number one ranking for very long, but other players seem to benefit quantity instead of quality matches.
No, Jason, as convoluted and complicated as the ranking system is, it's worked for 30-plus years. Dinara Safina got to two Grand Slam finals this year and did something Serena didn't do -- won a non-Slam tournament. Three, in fact. Serena, with three Grand Slams of the last four, is the best player. Safina is merely No. 1.
Do you think Tsonga or Monfils will ever win a grand slam? They are both such big talents but it seems to be asking a lot of them to put together 7 straight 3-set victories, although Tsonga almost did it in Australia.
This is a great question, Bryan. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Frenchmen will go 0-for their careers in Slams. They obviously both have the physical ability to pull it of. I just wonder if they can hold it together under the extreme pressure of playing those last several matches in a major. Monfils on the first set from Nadal last night and completely disappeared.
Match update: Djokovic has beaten Verdasco 7-2 in the first-set tiebreaker -- seen on ESPN, by the way.
I find it interesting that after Murray makes critical remarks about players not giving a full effort at all the tournaments except the Grand Slams, he whom had so many Grand Slam expectations is sent home. Why do players feel the need to discuss the personal choices other players make? Wouldn't it be better to just concentrate on your own issues and success...especially when you are slamless?
Good call, Beatrice. Andy Murray, though, gets credit for being classy after losing to Marin Cilic. He didn't blame what looked to be a left wrist injury.
Zack...don't know if I can agree with that. I think Elena D has improved greatly, she is just missing her nerve or strategy at key moments. If Serena gets nervous from all the expectations then we may see an upset. If she calmly plays her game, she should come through. Kim is looking very quick, and so far no one has run Serena around much....should be interesting
Thanks for that take, Catrice. I'm just the middle man here.
This might be inaccurate but I feel that Djokovic just isn't the force he was in terms of challening for slam titles since he was Aussie 2008...am I wrong in this or does it just seem like that because we have so many talented players at the top of the men's game.
Might be something to it. I think that 4-hour match Djokovic and Nadal played in Madrid (won by Nadal, who promptly lost to Federer in the final) took a lot out of both players. Neither was the same after that. I DO think Djokovic will win another Slam -- and Rafa will win a good number, too.
who wins the women,s u.s.open this saturday i,m got to see it to believe it?
Give me, Serena, Victor. No one's close right now.
How would you rank Navratilova, Graf, Evert, and Serena in terms of mental toughness at the slams? I realize Serena is not near the same amount of trophies; however, the fact that she can go into slams with little preparation and crush the competition is something. I personally would go Graf, Serena, Navratilova, Evert.
I'd put Martina and Chris ahead of Serena. They won way more Slams -- and they had to play each other.
Well, kids, time for me to run. Thanks for your lively input and I'll be back on Thursday at 4 PM EST to do it all over again.
Hey, tennis folks, I'm back. It's a chilly 69 degrees here at the National Tennis Center and the wind is gusting up to 21 mph. Del Potro and Cilic are going at it in the first men's quarter. Cilic about to go up 4-2 in the first. Rafa-Gonzo later this evening. Let's get this thing started...
Hi there,Bri-guy thinks that Del Potro is going to break through and win his first major this weekend? I say too soon or not yet....How say you?
I'm with you, Skillsmeister. Delpo is solid, very solid and i tink he cdranks out a few majors, but he's only 20 and Federer has a few more years in his late prime. Rafa, possibly the same.
Greg. Read your article today on Fed's ridiculous semi-streak. Two questions came to mind. (1) How many players have even been in the main draws of all 22 of the Slams since the Streak started? and (2) Has anyone else even won one match in each of these Slams (compared to Roger's five). I'm willing to be the answer to (2) is zero, but wasn't sure about (1). Point is, Fed is not only amazing, but he's Favre-like durable too...
Chris: Great question. Santoro, for sure. My tennis editor Matt Wilansky offers Roddick. Actually, there's a whole bunch probably. Robredo, guys like that. It's possible someone DID win one in each, ut I just flipped through the media guide and could't find ONE guy who won one match in all 22....
Gregory: Food at Flushing Meadows -- what are the hits and misses this year? Stay strong and prosper long.
My food expert, Mr. Wilansky likes the New Dheli Spice, the chicken tika masala. Also just had a mexican taco, beef and chicken. I, personally, like the salads at The Cafe near the Heineken Bar. Post-match destination: Snafu bar on 47th and Lexington.
What is your opinion on a possible Henin return? If she does it may be for like the French Open or something, I don't see her staying on for an entire season.
Zack -- nice to have you on board again. Working today? Henin apparently hasn't ruled out a return. Hey, if you saw Clijsters buzzing through the field, you'd have second thoughts about retirement, too.
What do you see Oudin doing in terms of progression after the US Open? Will she continue to be competitive on tour or will she turn into a Robby Ginepri or Mardy Fish and only do well at the US Open and be mediocre the rest of the season?
Back to Back Zack: This is the money question. I think some folks thought before her Open run that she was limited by her size. But ... she has pretty strong groundstrokes, moves really well and is fearless. All she lacks is some juice on her serve -- and, at 17, she'll get stronger. Henin was able to serve strongly enough to win seven majors. Maybe Oudin can get on the board when the Williams sisters check out.
If Federer gets to the final and finds Nadal staring at him across the net, does all the pressure come back? I know that Fed says he can play the rest of his career with the French Open monkey off his back - but isn't there still the problem of Nadal?
A delicious thought, Jason. Federer is back on top without beating Rafa in either the French Open or Wimbledon. He beat him in the Madrid final, but it has an asterisk because he was exhauted from a 4-hour semi vs. Djokovic. Nice to see a showdown here. Not sure Rafa gets through the semis, though.
Bonnie i saw the oudin wozinacki match what happend i thought melanie could upset denmark then we would have an all american for saturday night .but now caroline going to have to play serena in the final if she makes it that far and if serena makes the final she will be ranked number one in the world and the computers will be mistaken?
Hey, Vitor, Bonnie's in Chicago doing Olympic interviews, but you've got it right. Safina stays No. 1 for another week, even if Serena wins. But one week later, Serena -- she would hold four of the last five Slams -- finally would ascend to No. 1.
Match update: Cilic, who choked on his first set point, convereted the second against De Potro and won the first set 6-4. This would be, in most minds, would be an upset, even though they were born only five days apart.
I think the biggest difference for Federer this year has been his clutch serving. It's amazing that when he gets down 15-40, all of a sudden an ace and an unreturnable seem inevitable in his next two serves. Now that Federer is a tad older and suffers from a few more mishits than he used to, I think these free points in huge situations are priceless for him now. In his recent losses to Nadal at Wimbledon (2008) and in Oz (09), he wasn't getting those monstrous first serves in big spots and was forced to go shot for shot with Rafa off of his second serve, which is a recipe for disaster when the pressure of a devastating break is looking you in the face.
Well done, G. Which reminds me: Check out my story on how Rafa made Roger better that will posted on Friday, around midday.
How does a fan watch the outer courts during the 2nd week since they no longer sell grounds passes?
Joe: No, you can no longer by a grounds pass, but on Sunday, the day of the men's final, you can gain access for $5. That's a pretty good deal. Soak up the atmosphere, watch the match on the big screens...
Who is the first to get their first slam? Murray, Del Po, Cilic, or someone else?
Tough one, Jason, considering events here in New York. I'll stick with Murray -- maybe at next year's Aussie. DelPo and Cilic seem a way off.
Given that most of the talented players born in the mid to late 80's have already made it into the top 15 or so, can you give a few names of potential grand slam champions for players born in the 90's who should begin making their rise up the rankings in the next couple of years?
Chase Buchanan, Devin Britton, Bernard Tomic...
What does Clijsters have to do to defeat Serena to make it to the finals?
Make her nervous by being aggressive, trying, as she said, "to dominate points."
What adjustments do Novak have to do against Roger on Saturday after Roger defeated him in Cincinnati ?
Federer surprised Djokovic by coming to net fairly often in Cincy, so he needs to solve that little puzzle. Second, he needs to make Fed play more on his heels than he did. Crowd the line, pass the man, and hope Fed isn't playing at the level he was several weeks ago.
If Roger Federer, had decided to take the last 3 majors off, would be talking about Robin Soderling being a multiple major champion right now since the only person who can beat him lately in a GS is Fed.
That's not bad, Bryan. Soderling played TOUGH last night. He was a point or two away from winning back-to-back tiebreakers and pushing Fed the distance.
Who do you think will be playing in the WTA finals on Saturday night and why?
Serena vs. Wozniacki. Serena wins in straights. Weather could push this to Sunday, though.
First, I gotta say, for a guy with a massive serve, Cilic has an incredibly awkward service motion (try bending that low and arching your back the way he does a few times). Anyway, is it just me or does it seem that the top men's players make it to the end of Slams far more than in the women's game? Here in the quarters everyone is from the top 16, I recall the same thing happening in Australia and almost the same at other recent majors. Just a lack of depth in mens game or just that the top men's players are far less surface-specialized than they used to be?
Good work, Raj. Cilic may be awkward but he's up a set and a break in the second. The fact is, the best 10 men always seem to beat everyone else. It's depth at the top. Earlier this year, the top eight players in the rankings all advanced to the quarters of a Masters event. Incredible.
Why does this network make the viewers miss live tennis by going to commentators after the first set? A match can turn around on one point, and we could miss it.
Danny, as they say in lacrosse, they're just keeping it hot. If you want to watch an unfettered feed, try ESPN 360 coverage.
OK, I know Fed has 22 consecutive semis and Lendl is second with 10. Are you aware of any man who is a near miss - maybe somebody who went 15 out of 16? Maybe someone like Mac or Borg? Does that make Fed's record look a bit less ominous?
Just dragged out the media guide:J-Mac: Best he did was three straight GS semisBorg: Best ever was three -- because he never went to AustraliaSampras: Best he did wass three, twice.Fascinating...
Greg: I know he's not around, but I've been wondering this about Karlovic: aside from his serve, does he have the game to play in even Challengers, Futures or Division I college?
Sort of, Frank. He's become a pretty servicable player. With the impact of the serve lessening -- all the stats show there is a greater correlation between return-of-serve leaders and rankings -- I think he could survive at the ower end of the top 100 with an average serve. As it is, those bombs make him a nice living.
I have what's probably an obvious question but it's been a lot of years since I've played tennis, and my experience is different than 99% of players because I played wheelchair tennis. Why does Oudin use a two handed backhand and not also use a two handed forehand like Monica Seles? Would a two handed grip on her forehand give her more power and control?
Chris, just asked Peter Bodo of Tennis.com. Simple answer. Right side is the power side, so you can generate enough pace without the awkward two-hand grip. Backhand, especially for a young player, needs all the help it can get.
Do you think Henin or Evert was a better clay court player?
Evert won 18 GS singles titles, while Henin took 7 ... you make the call, Zack
Probably a question for a few days ago, but what is Isner's ceiling relative to a guy like Karlovic? Could he go on a Phillipousis-like run at one major and shock the world?
As Roddick said before his loss to Izzy -- the match is out of my hands. Izzy, though, won;t win a Slam until they bring back the dry, quick grass courts from the late 1990s at Wimbledon. Which probably won't happen.
With respect to Chris from Toronto's question (has anyone won one match in each of the last 22 slams) the answer is no. The only person to have come close is Fernando Verdasco, who made it to at least the second round in 21 out of the 22 (lost in the first round of the 2005 French Open to none other than Robin Soderling).As for Jason in Toronto, you have to keep in mind that, until the last couple decades, most players did not even try to regularly play all four slams each year (and most players could not dominate on all surfaces (especially clay) anyway). The only near miss would be Lendl himself, who made 14 out of 15, 17 out of 19, 20 out of 23, 22 out of 26 and 24 out of 29.Throw me and the Toronto boys a bone and post this please.
Davis, that is a fabulous job. The ESPN research department will be calling you soon. Verdasco, huh? Who would have guessed?
What is a server looking for when they examine tennis balls and discard one?
Stan: They are looking for a microscopic advantage; the ball with ever-so-slightly less fuzz, will fly a tad faster through the air.
Much obliged. Sorry for the length.
No sweat, Dave. Come back tomorrow -- Friday is the last chat of the tournament -- at 4 PM EST and we'll lob a few more your way.
Greetings tennis aficionados, from soggy Flushing Meadows. It is POURING here at the U.S. Open and I seriously wonder if we're going to get any of our three big matches in. Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez had their quarterfinal match suspended after midnight Thursday night with Rafa leading by a set and 3-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. The two women's semis -- Serena vs. Clijsters and Wozniacki vs. Wickmayer -- are also on hold. The USTA has said it will attempt to play all three matches simultaneously if a window opens up. That's the update. Let's get to the questions.
What happens if it rains today, Saturday and Sunday?
DE, it seems likely to me that if Rafa doesn't finish his match today we're looking at a onday final. You can't make him play two or three sets of a quarters match, then turn around and play the semi against a rested Del Potro later in the same day. Last year the final got pushed to Monday for the first time since 1987. We might be looking at two in a row.Same thing on the women's side. Last year, it was a Sunday final. If those two matches get decked today, I think they'd play the semis Saturday and the final Sunday.
Since rain is playing havoc and chances are play won't resume until tomorrow, how would you schedule the matches? Play Rafael and Fernando first followed by the WTA semifinals.
Patrick, see the answer below. Originally, they scheduled Rafa second, so if they sarted at 12:30, he could recover longer. Now that it's 4 PM, he'd go on first on Armstrong if there's a dry patch. By the way, I saw him playing Fusbol in the players' lounge and he looked pretty fired up. See my story posted currently on the tennis page.
Are any tennis tourny's in domes? They could avoid this rain issue.
Dave, as I wrote in the current story, two Slams -- Australia and Wimbledon -- have roofs over the center courts and the French Open will have one by 2013. US Open leaning in that direction, but hasn't committed t what would probably cost upwards of $200 million.
How much of a dent would there be on Federer's legacy should he lose to Nadal in the final? Would he still be considered the greatest?
Great question, Bob. The one nagging thing about his comeback is that he didn't beat Rafa in either Paris or London. Not his fault, but he didn't beat him. Fed DID take him in Madrid, but he was exhausted from that 4-hour match with Djokovic. Yes, for now, even if Roger lost to Rafa. Don't see it with that stomach injury.
How much would it cost to place a roof over Ashe? Perhaps placing a roof on Armstrong would be more practical and a logical compromise?
Yes, Bob. Armstrong holds 13,000 fewer seats and would be a much cheaper alternative.
How does a player " construct a point?"
Stan: It's an art. Melanie Oudin even though she is only 17, has the knack. It's about intuitively knowing how to build shot after shot, moving your opponent from side to side, up and back, until you've managed to pull thm slightly out of position and can win with a shot to the pen art of the court. Ideall, the last shot is your best shot. Fed, like so many guys, spends the whole point trying to set up his forehand.
Which would be a more surprising outcome? Clijsters winning in three sets or Serena winning in straight sets with Clijsters not winning more than 3 games per set? Even though the odds are stacked against her, I'm pulling for Clijsters to win.
Zack, I respect the thought. I'll stick with Serena.
I was looking back at the top ten players over the last few years, and I can't believe James blake was number 4 at one point..What happened to him? Was he really on the level of modern Djoker, murray?
Jon, that's just how it was in late 2006. Blake had reached the quarters of the U.S. Open and lost to Fed in the year-end championship. Remember, Murray and Del Potro hadn't scored their big breakthroughs yet. Now, some folks wonder if he can sty in the top 20.
Who has the best chance to defeat Federer? Djokovic, Nadal, or Del Potro?
Nadal is up against it with the schedule. Del Potro is thrilled with this series of events. Fed-Djokovic is a terrific matchup.
Is Del Potro as good as he finishes at the US Open or do you think he still has a way to go to reach the point where he is a threat to the top 5 (or top 3) players week in and week out on tour?
Rajesh, he's the real deal. Kid is 20 years old and he's been to four of the last five quarterfinals at majors. That's crazy. When he puts on a little weight, he will be dangerous. Has a few Grand Slams in his future.
There was no Serena lurking back then.
Congrats to Carly Gullickson and Travis Parrott for winning the Mixed Doubles title!
Yeah. See my story from Thursday's Open Book. They played together only once -- in World Team Tennis. And Gullickson had NEVER played a mixed Slam match. Now she and Parrott have their first major title.
What would it take for Serena Williams to lose tommorw's match?
The same thing that usually takes her down. Too many unforced errors. Clijsters says the winner will have the fewest.
when is going to start the game again ... i think that is gonna be tonight ... but i gonna be like that they have to play two games one after the other
Still coming down pretty good here, JD. Like I said earlier, they'll play all three major matches at the SAME time -- on Ashe, Armstrong and the Grandstand.
Update: Sky is (ever so) slightly brighter. The Squeegee Patrol is out on Ashe mopping up.
Thanks for your answer. I was also thinking a Federer loss would mean Nadal owns him at all four slams. Has that ever happened before? 2-6 in grand slam finals against an opponent wouldn't look too good. Can someone with a lopsided record against a rival really be considered the greatest?
Indeed, this is the hulking whole in Fed's great legacy. The argument against him is: How can he be the greatest player ever if he can't beat a guy in his own era? Fair question. For my money, you might consider Rod Laver. Check ut his record -- and my story that was posted last Sunday.
I once jumped over the net to congratulate my opponent on a hard fought win. The host went berzerk. We were playing ping pong.
Solid, T-wit. Beer Pong DOES have a downside.
Thanks Greg. Rod Laver's record and not being able to play for a period of time due to a stupid rule that got corrected make him the best of all time but in todays tv and internet age people don't remember his accomplishments.
It's a fascinating story, Chad. For those not famiiar: Laver won the Grand Slam in 1962, then turned pro and for five years wasn't allowed to compete in the amateur-only events. They opened it up to pros (suprior players, for the most part) in 1968, hence the term Open Era. Laver won the Grand Slam again in 1969 -- the last time that happened on the men's side.
>You ARE aware, aren't you, that when Laver won his first Slam, the best other players were on the pro tour. When he first joined the pro tour, he was beaten like a drum by Lew Hoad too many times to count, in a row. So no, it can't be said that Laver was the unrivalled best in his era. Also, Federer's H2H against Nadal is heavily weighted to clay, Fed's worst and Nadal's best. Did you not think these issues worth addressing?
Yeah, Jonas. Laver told me that when he turned pro in 1963 he hardly won a match for six months. After winning all four majors! Jack Kramer, Lew Hoad, Pancho Gonzalez .... those guys were killers.
Stay thirsty my friend.
Gracias. Cocktail hour is approaching.
"Fed DID take him in Madrid, but he was exhausted from that 4-hour match with Djokovic. " You seem to have a tendency to asterisk every Federer victory. If you're going to do this, shouldn't you be consistent? e.g. "Djokovic beat Federer at the Aussie Open 2008, but Federer did have mono." If not, then you're just displaying your biases. And, taking this approach means that every tournament outcome should be asterisked. Just sayin'...
Just telling the truth. Love Fed as much as the next guy, by Rafa loyalists have a legitimate point when they say Fed has yet to solve him. Remember Rafa beat him in three Slam finals in a period of eight months. Those losses are why Fed is back on top. I wrote a story that will probably be posted on Saturday detailing Rafa as the catalyst for Fed's comeback.
am i alone on my prediction that Kim will win her semis against Serena? hard to believe, but i feel that Kim will over power serena giving her the advantage she needs on her way to claiming her second slam.
Not alone, Adi, but in the minority.
when's this Rafa match going to resume?
Jim: Our resident meteorologist, researcher Miki Singh (who is wrong as often as the weathermen on TV)says it's clearing up. Predicts play in 30 minutes and that there's a three-hour window. This would get all the matches in tonight. Of course, is merely speculation.
What is the latest time for play if any for today?
IF the USTA is convinced there is a chance for clearing, I think they would go as late as 9 p.m. to start -- just to get the matches in tonight.
Isner or Querrey as the top American young'un?
Sam Q is a more complete player. He made four straight finals this summer.
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