The US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York City is going on right now. It is one of the 4 tennis slams (major tournaments) with the Arthur Ashe Stadium being the largest tennis venue in the world. It lasts a fortnight (two weeks) and the singles winner (both men and women) receives $2.6 million. BTW, that would cover what we owe on Graystone‘s land and buildings and give us enough cash to renovate a storefront or warehouse in Walton County.
I’ve decided to shift gears with this blog post and entertain my readers with a little random info about tennis. If you don’t know anything about tennis (or if you do), hopefully this post will encourage you to watch the US Open or increase your viewing pleasure. With college football upon us, you may never make it over to the tennis channel. But here is my attempt.
1. No American male has a chance to win the US Open. Sampras, Agassi, Conners and McEnroe are distant memories of the glory days and are playing on the legends tour. John Isner is the highest ranked American male. What you need to know about him: he’s tall (6’9″), a Georgia Bulldog, and played the longest match in the history of tennis. He may not make it past Monfils in the 2nd round. If he retires in the Atlanta area, I will try to get him on the Graystone Basketball Team.
2. There are only 5 men who have a chance to win the $2.6 million: Rafa, Andy, Delpo, Joker and Fed. They are all former US Open Champions with the Brit being the defending champ. No one else in the men’s draw has a chance to win it all.
3. Roger Federer is the least likely to win of the 5 players named above. He’s won more slams than anyone (17), but he’s 30+ years old. He is considered “over the hill” in men’s tennis. Although, Conners did make a semifinal run when he was 40ish.
4. The Bryan Bothers are the best thing going for men’s American tennis. They are the #1 doubles team of all-time, and they currently hold all 4 slam titles. If they win the US Open, they will be the first male(s) tennis players to win all 4 majors in the same calendar year and also have won the last Olympic Gold Medal. The only person (man or woman) ever to win the “Golden Slam” was Steffi Graf in 1988. BTW, she’s married to Agassi, and they supposedly drive a swagger wagon if you believe what you see in commercials. Jessie and Joelan do.
5. Now, on the women’s side of the US Open, America is looking strong. Of course, we have the Williams sisters (They are the best sibling athletes ever. In fact, they beat the Manning brothers in ping-pong during a Oreo commercial.), and a slew of up and coming teenagers. 17 years old Viki Duval whose family fled Haiti to save their lives a few years ago upset #11 seed and 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur in the first round (Sam is short for Samantha and she has serious muscles). Serena is the favorite to win the title. She is probably the best women’s tennis player of all-time. She would not only beat me in tennis but could beat me up. Actually, she could start at linebacker for Georgia Tech. Victoria Azarenka beat her 2 weeks ago in Cincy and could dethrone her. But I doubt it.
6. Azarenka and Sharapova are known to many around the world as the screamers. For some reason, they scream every time they hit the tennis ball. You are supposed to exhale or grunt when you hit the ball, but screaming is completely unnecessary and annoying. Watching these two play against each other in a screaming match is more annoying than listening to Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson call an SEC football game on CBS.
7. Brad Gilbert and the McEnroe brothers (John and Patrick) know what they’re talking about. I love hearing insights from the perspective of former players who hold nothing back. Mary Carillo, on the other hand, reminds me of Gary Danielson. She can even tell you what the players are thinking. If she’s calling a match between Sharapova and Azarenka, I’m forced to turn the channel. I would rather watch old reruns of Duck Dynasty.
8. Anyone can attempt to play in the US Open. It begins with local qualifying tournaments and anyone can sign up and play their way into the main draw if they are good enough. I almost signed up for the qualifying tourney in Atlanta last summer. But I ended up not wanting to waste my money on the $135 entry fee. My chances of qualifying were less than slim.
9. Have you ever seen any FAT tour professional tennis players? You’ve probably seen several overweight teaching pros who like to drink beer at the local country club. But when it comes to tour level players, these men and women are in top physical condition. Tennis is a grueling sport both physically and mentally.
10. Mental: Some players believe that individual tennis balls can be good or bad luck. If a ball is deemed “bad luck”, then the player will try as hard as possible to keep it out of play…roll it against the fence, hide it in his pocket, or “accidentally” hit it off the court. If a ball is thought to be “good luck”, the player will try and play with the same ball every point. In fact, she will even request the ball from her opponent even if she already has two balls in hand. If you haven’t figured this out, tennis players can be a little superstitious and borderline psycho. Over the years, I’ve seen some pretty crazy things happen on a tennis court by players, coaches and parents. Maybe I will share a story or two in an upcoming blog post.
Well, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this random stream of consciousness post and are encouraged to watch a little US Open Tennis or even pick up a racket. If you would like to add any of your own tennis insights, please feel free to post a comment. I would love to hear them.