September 8th, 2015

US Open Blog: Week 2 Notes from NYC; Serena v Venus Tonight


venus and serenaReady for the Tuesday night Serena vs. Venus blockbuster? Can Venus emotionally step up to potentially end Serena’s run at a calendar year Grand Slam? Serena leads the head-to-head series 15-11, and 8-5 at the Slams. It’s been seven years since they played at the US Open. “I think it’s more fun than it used to be,” Serena said. “We really relish the opportunity. We’re both happy to still be involved in getting so far. And it’s still super intense.”

ESPN’s viewership of its US Open coverage, counting both cable and streaming, is up approximately 50 percent over last year through week one. Call it the Serena bump. Viewership for age 18-39 fans is up a mind-boggling 89 percent according to ESPN.

On Sunday the USTA named the media center at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for legendary tennis writer, commentator, and crazy-pantsed historian Bud Collins, christening the center the Bud Collins US Open Media Center. Collins has covered tennis for more than 50 years. Billie Jean King at the ceremony said, “He was one of the few that cared about women’s tennis before it ever became popular, and I will never forget that.” Check out some great tributes here and here.

monkey“Let’s get monkey on these fools.” The Bryan brothers’ Esurance commercial is all the rage, but the brothers faced a challenge to their American king-of-the-hill doubles status when they were beaten in the first round by fellow Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey. The Johnson-Querrey team will likely represent the U.S. in a couple weeks when the U.S. Davis Cup team travels to Uzbekistan for the Davis Cup World Group Playoff Round. On Monday Johnson-Querrey won again at the US Open as the unseeded pair moved in to the men’s doubles quarterfinals round.

Through her singles loss to Serena Williams, ESPN statistics showed that Madison Keys hit the ball harder off the ground than any female player, m.p.h.-wise, and for that matter any MALE PLAYER save for Tomas Berdych.

No. 23 seed Kevin Anderson shocked No. 3 seed Andy Murray last night at the US Open, a testament to the largesse of the U.S. collegiate tennis system. During his formative years the South African played three years at the University of Illinois, where he was awarded as a three-time All-American in singles and two-time All-American in doubles. In his sophomore year he won the NCAA national doubles championship with Ryan Rowe, and the next year during the 2006-07 season led the Illini to a national team runner-up finish.

Jimmy Connors was reportedly planning on attending Genie Bouchard’s Sunday singles match before the Canadian withdrew citing a concussion after a freak fall in the locker room at the US Open.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and yesterday the USTA invited kids to the US Open to play tennis with local athletes and raise awareness of the epidemic.