September 9th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Goodbye Louie Armstrong, Hello Surprise US Open Finalist

Friday Blog


Serena and her pink compression sleeves (photo: Darren Carroll/USTA)

Serena and her pink compression sleeves (photo: Darren Carroll/USTA)

They’re superheroes on TV, but Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and the rest of the top players deal with the trials and tribulations of life just like the rest of us. You haven’t been hitting the gym or stretching, but still weekend-warrior-ing it on the court and getting hurt? Well that was Nick Kyrgios this week at the US Open, retiring with a hip injury mid-match and admitting he hadn’t been putting in the work “in the gym and everything.” Or maybe you’ve taken to wearing those fashionable(?) compression socks or sleeves to ward off pain or wear and tear? Well the Bryan brothers have taken to wearing almost full-body compression garments, while Serena rocked some day-glo-pink sleeves at the US Open, and this is apparently only the start. Like us they have on-court quirks. They quit tennis entirely for years in frustration, then come back to it (but unlike rec. players, then reach the US Open quarterfinals). Or maybe you need a partner for that upcoming doubles charity event or tournament? Well just pick up the phone and start cold-calling players like Martina Hingis did for the US Open. And they also text their spouses during match changeovers. Pro players, they’re just like us!


armstrongYesterday was Community Day at the US Open, the second year of free grounds admissions for fans to catch the tennis action, but this year’s edition included a goodbye celebration. There was a special farewell tribute to Louis Armstrong Stadium, which following this year’s event will be torn down and rebuilt. “Louie Armstrong” was the main stadium at the US Open until Arthur Ashe stadium was opened in 1997. Originally the Singer Bowl built for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, it became the home of the US Open in 1978 when the tournament relocated from the West Side Tennis Club, when tennis literally became “big business.” First built as a large, long rectangular stadium, the former Singer Bowl was renovated and divided into Louis Armstrong Stadium and the Grandstand court. The new 15,000-seat stadium will have a retractable roof when it debuts in 2018 and is part of the roughly $650 million transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center grounds. On Tuesday fans heard Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ after the final match of the tournament was played in the venue, and fans were able to play on the court yesterday during Community Day.


viewing-partyThe USTA National Campus in Orlando isn’t officially open to the public until January, but it will host a viewing party for the US Open men’s and women’s singles finals in nearby Winter Park this weekend…USTA officials said the Miami Open is welcome to move to Orlando and the USTA National Campus…Players are allowed only a certain amount of time between serves, with sometimes a little wiggle room from the chair umpire, but the USTA is asking ‘What if tennis had a shot clock for players?‘…Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev play their matches wearing watches that cost approximately $750,000….Chris Evert has gotten into the tennis apparel biz, for players 30 and over. “Chrissie by Tail” partners the Florida-based Evert with the Florida-based Tail activewear companyArthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the US Open brought the parent of a special needs child to tears…Is tennis still the “Sport of a Lifetime?” It is for these two 90-year-old Boynton Beach residents and World War II vets, who twice a week meet to beat on players much younger…American girls late this week took 10 of the round of 16 spots in the US Open girls’ draw, a best effort since the draw expanded to 64 in 1984. Four U.S. girls are now into the quarterfinals.

Serena Upset in US Open Semis; Kerber to be New No. 1

Karolina Pliskova speaks to the media after her upset of Serena Williams

Karolina Pliskova speaks to the media after her upset of Serena Williams

Serena Williams met up with an equally-big server, this year’s WTA ace leader No. 10-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who upset the world No. 1 6-2, 7-6(5) Thursday night in the semifinals at the US Open.

The loss will see German Angelique Kerber become the 22nd player to rise to No. 1, and only the second German behind Steffi Graf. Williams praised the play of Pliskova and said she was hampered by a knee injury that occurred earlier in the tournament.

The younger Williams sister was trying to break away from her tie with Graf and win a 23rd Grand Slam title that would have put her as the lone Slam leader in the Open Era.

“I was not 100 percent,” Williams said “My mind was elsewhere, you are thinking of other things. I was making errors on simple and simple shots, just blame that on thinking on my leg.”

Kerber beat former No. 1 Carolina Wozniacki in her semifinal, and will attempt to win a first US Open title against Pliskova, a player who had never before surpassed the third round at a Grand Slam event. Friday’s men’s singles semifinals will be (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (10) Gael Monfils, and (3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (6) Kei Nishikori.


They Said It

A ball boy watches as Gael Monfils pretends to tie his shoe in the middle of a point to distract his opponent from putting away as easy shot

A ball boy watches as Gael Monfils pretends to tie his shoe in the middle of a point to distract his opponent from putting away as easy shot

“To be honest, I have no idea what happened. Sometimes, those points don’t mean anything to me. I don’t know. I just lose it.”
Gael Monfils, who pretended to tie his shoe in the middle of a point at the US Open

“We’re lucky to have him — he and Nadal went to tennis and not soccer. Can you imagine if they both had decided to play soccer?”
Billie Jean King speaking about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to the Associated Press

“Of course. We want to keep that tournament in the U.S. If our facility and location is viable for them, then that is something that would be discussed down the road.”
— USTA President, Chairperson and CEO Katrina Adams on the USTA’s interest in the Miami Open moving to the USTA National Campus in Orlando


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

noon-3pm — US Open (live), ESPN2
3-11pm — — US Open (live), ESPN

4-7pm — US Open Women’s Final (live), ESPN

4-9pm — US Open Men’s Final (live), ESPN