Four-time grand slam champion Jim Courier plays against Pat Cash in New York as the pair discuss the U.S. Open.
Australian Samantha Stosur made a strong start to the defense of her U.S. Open crown with a crushing opening victory at Flushing Meadows.
Confidence -- on the court and off it, Venus Williams is finding her mojo again.
7-time grand slam champion Venus Williams invited Open Court to the re-launch of her clothing line EleVen.
It was a sight Andy Murray's hordes of British fans had longed to see -- the world No. 4 celebrating on Wimbledon's Centre Court after defeating Roger Federer in a final.
John Isner has won the final U.S. Open warm up ATP tournament in Winston-Salem, Saturday. The young American recorded a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 win over Czech Tomas Berdych.
A 70-year-old tennis lines umpire in New York preparing for the upcoming U.S. Open tournament was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with killing her 80-year-old husband in California in April, authorities said.
Prize money at this year's U.S. Open will be increased by over $2 million to a record $25.5 million, organizers announced Wednesday.
US Open champion Sam Stosur suffered another early Wimbledon exit as she crashed out to unseeded Dutch player Arantxa Rus.
It will be her second retirement from tennis, but this time former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters insists she is quitting the court for good.
Roger Federer talks to CNN's Ray D'Alessio shortly after his tennis victory at Indian Wells in California.
Serena Williams avenged her 2011 U.S. Open final defeat to Samantha Stosur with a straight-sets win over the Australian sixth seed to reach the last eight of the WTA tournament in Miami Monday.
Welcome back. Happy 2012, everyone ...
1. The Djoker got away ... from the rest of the field. We're a spoiled bunch, us tennis fans. First we get the unsurpassed play of Roger Federer. Then comes Rafael Nadal. And in 2011, a Third King arrives. In a thoroughly dominating year, Novak Djokovic won three Grand Slams, 10 titles overall, 70 matches (against six losses) and a record $12.6 million in prize money. The Serb also prevailed in 10 of 11 matches against the other two members of the Big Three, maybe his most impressive accomplishment. And he did it all while comporting himself like a pro. Adje, indeed.
Four-time grand slam champion Kim Clijsters made a successful return from injury by defeating world number one Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition match in Antwerp, Belgium.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic saved a match point before finally overcoming Tomas Berdych in his opening match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Monday.
Rafael Nadal made a strong start to the defense of his Japan Open crown on Tuesday, defeating wildcard entrant Go Soeda 6-3 6-2.
For those tired of discussing Serena Williams -- and you're well within your rights to be -- skip this section. There was so much residual email, I didn't want to ignore it entirely, but I feel like we could all stand to move on.
Serbia's Davis Cup champions hope that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be able to play in Friday's opening rubber of the semifinal against Argentina in Belgrade.
Former French Open Doubles champion Murphy Jensen takes us behind the scenes of the US Open.
Australia's Samantha Stosur produces one of the biggest shocks in U.S. Open final history.
U.S. Open Men's Champion Novak Djokovic wins his third major of 2011.
A quick 'bag heading into the weekend:
NEW YORK -- The best moment in American tennis this year? You could point to Serena Williams' stirringly tearful return at Wimbledon, or the flare-up of vivid, varied talents like Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Jack Sock last week at the U.S. Open. Some, of course, will focus on the three Yanks -- Andy Roddick, John Isner and 22-year-old Donald Young -- who made deep runs in the men's draw, despite all bowing out before the semis.
A quick spin through some questions during a crazy day:
Roger Federer was back to his imperious best to brush aside the challenge of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and book a U.S. Open semifinal clash with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Simple question: Will the USTA ever build a roof? Along with 50,000 other people, I got rained out today and I'm not happy about it! -- Salil, Long Island, N.Y.
"Life is so precious," Serena says of her sister's Sjögren's syndrome diagnosis
Do you think that the time violation that was called on Marin Cilic directly cost him the match because of that break and then going down two sets to one? -- Kevin Ware, San Francisco
NEW YORK -- His mother makes the point very well: Donald Young has always been his most difficult opponent.
NEW YORK -- If there's an image that sums up the first week of the U.S. Open, it came Sunday during Rafael Nadal's post-match news conference in the bowels of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
As a tennis fan I cannot hide my enthusiasm about the 2011 season so far. My compatriot [Novak Djokovic] is No.1 and the level of play of others that other players (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Mardy Fish ) has been exceptional. Do you share my opinion that this year is one of the best tennis seasons ever? -- Zeljko Kuzmanovic, Novi Sad
NEW YORK -- Irene came and left. So did Maria Sharapova, as well as the reigning female champs at Wimbledon and the French Open. Novak Djokovic has been dispensing bagels like a New York street vendor. And American tennis lives after all. After six full days of play at the 2011 U.S. Open, herewith, our midterm grades, all based on the University of Miami curve, endowed by Nevin Shapiro ...
What you think of Andy Roddick's post game interview last night? -- Ryan, New York
What do you make of Roger Federer's comments about the court being slower this year? Why did they make it so? Given how much controversy was generated by the switch to Babolat balls at the French Open, I am surprised that this apparent slowing down of the surface has not generated much, if any, discussion. Roger lamented that the difference between grand slam surfaces has become smaller and smaller. Why the desire to slow down the courts? -- Mahsh Kalyana, Cary, N.C.
After playing just one match, Venus Williams announced Wednesday that she is withdrawing from the U.S. Open.
You know the old saying: 82 times bitten, twice shy. Or the other old saying: fool us once, shame on you; fool us 94 times, shame on us. Yes, we've been here before, haven't we? A young American does well in the first week of the U.S. Open and suddenly we've minted the Next Big Star. There are narratives that use words like "savior" and "oasis." Instantly, comparisons are drawn to decorated champions. ("Now that you mention it, Melanie Oudin DOES recall Justine Henin!") Coaches and administrators trip over themselves competing for credit and predicting boundless success.
The tennis star has been suffering from an autoimmune disease
NEW YORK -- All Bethanie Mattek-Sands wanted was a chance to finish off the best Grand Slam season of her 12-year pro career at her favorite tournament.
Previewing the American players' prospects for the U.S. Open, which begins next Monday:
The U.S. Open starts next week, a two-week production that will draw upwards of 700,000 fans. And that's not even counting the extended Djokovic family.
A 'Bag before the Big Show. Check back Thursday for the U.S. Open seed reports, and don't forget our guide to attending the tournament in New York:
1. Sharapova wins battle of ex-No. 1s: We'll get to injury-mania in a bit. But first, a toast to the winners of the "his" and "hers" titles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Overall, the first year of this "mixed" event was a success.
Don't forget: Andrea Petkovic is answering your questions this week, too.
The U.S. Open opened Arthur Ashe Stadium to great fanfare in 1997, a state-of-the-art facility that seemed to represent everything great about big-time tennis in New York.
Related Galleries for the May 17, 2011 issue
Again, you mention Federer shanking balls with his "small-framed" racket. He's been playing with basically the same head size for all of these years. Do you and other critics really think that changing to a larger size racket right now is going to drastically improve things for him? I think it's like Derek Jeter changing up his swing during the offseason this year. I remember reading a great article from your colleague Joe Posnanski saying that Jeter changing his swing this late may improve his game a little, but the inevitable is coming. And by the way, Jeter isn't doing so hot so far. I think the same goes for Federer; his best days are behind him. What's your rationale for saying that Fed needs to switch to a larger frame, and do you really think it will make that much of a difference?
There's nothing like a really strange list to get the tennis community up in arms. You know, the one that ranks Roger Federer No. 7 since the onset of the Open Era (1968). One's immediate impulse to create a more authentic list -- and I'll admit, I can't resist the temptation.
1. Faulty Federer falls. Both the gleeful Federer buriers and concerned Federer loyalists were out in full force this weekend. Their man dropped still another match to Novak Djokovic, a shank-o-rific Dubai final that saw Federer lose 6-3, 6-3. While Djokovic played stellar, complete tennis once again, Federer did himself no favors, framing shots, hitting destinationless backhands and finding few answers when Djokovic posed the difficult questions. Federer is now like a stock whose beta/variance is starting to widen. He's still capable of greatness -- that London win over Nadal wasn't even 100 days ago. Yet the dismal matches are becoming more common. Realistically, we knew the ride couldn't go on forever. And Federer's performance is in keeping with the life cycle of a champion. The consistency is the first thing to go. The old weaknesses, such as they are, start to surface. (In this case, the drive backhand.) There's still magic left in the wand, but it's not automatically
In their day, Lendl and McEnroe sure didn't seem to like each other. Pete and Andre never seemed chummy, and obviously things got weird with them last year in Indian Wells. At MSG on Monday it's just an exhibition. I don't even think there's prize money on the line. But given the feelings these guys seem to have for each other, do you think there will be some intensity to these matches? Can we expect some extracurriculars from these guys? --Patrick, Manhattan
By the middle of the second set in their Australian Open semifinal, it was apparent that Roger Federer could not hurt Novak Djokovic. Heaven knows he tried. Over the years, he has tried in more ways than one.
You predicted someone other than Roger or Rafa would win a Grand Slam this year. When does that happen? And is there anyone currently (or in the future) who could match Roger's five consecutive wins at two different events? Do you see anyone matching that ... or winning five consecutive at even one Grand Slam? --Marina, Dallas
Some of the world's top female tennis stars talk about their New Years resolutions for 2011.
Will Kim Clijsters win a Slam other than the U.S. Open in 2011? Will Henin win a Slam other than the French? --Chris, Boston
Ten things I'd like to see as the 2011 tennis year unfolds:
Aisam Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna tell Pat Cash about their doubles pairing and their positive impact on Tennis.
The Wimbledon champion stepped on glass and didn't play another match the rest of the year. The youngest of the WTA's Grand Slam champs was an "unretired" mother and wife. Serbia won the Davis Cup. Two retired legends, both known for their dignity, trashed each other ... at a charity event. The U.S. Open men's final nearly played out on three different American television networks. James Blake and commentator Pam Shriver debated each other DURING a match. This was the same week another Wimbledon encounter finished 70-68 in the fifth set.
It seems like there's been a lot 'Bag space devoted to the question of how we can get tennis to be more mainstream and popular. My response is, what exactly do I have to gain by the attainment of this goal? I no longer feel alone as a tennis obsessive, thanks to the blogosphere, and that tends to leave me a little, shall we say, confused about my fellow fans. I kind of like thinking that tennis is beloved by a narrow set of particularly thoughtful, quirky, creative types -- the kind of people who like to travel and read David Foster Wallace and L. Jon Wertheim. (Note that being an ethnic mongrel, I don't love the idea that tennis is an elitist, blueblood sort of thing.) I guess if tennis were more popular, there would be more televised matches. That would be nice, but it seems like the growth of Internet video is rapidly taking care of that problem. In the meantime, I'm content to inhabit the margins of the sports world, suspecting that the middle is not all it's cracked up to be.
SI.com caught up with Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim about Elena Dementieva's sudden retirement following Friday's season-ending loss to Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Championships in Qatar.
Why are the Shanghai Masters not televised on ESPN? Why do Little League, high school basketball, football and baseball get more airtime than tennis? Our elite athletes deserve better. Also, there are no doping scandals in tennis like there are in cycling and baseball. Why do people hold up baseball and cycling as great athletes but not tennis players? They don't get any respect! --HB, Winthrop, Washington
How come you hardly ever talk about or investigate tennis players and doping? We only hear about positive tests when [the ITF] publicize the results. But you hardly ever comment on players that are suddenly looking different, suddenly hitting the ball harder, etc. This is talked about [on one website in particular] but journalists should investigate this! --Ben P., New York
I'm not sure how many people asked for it -- at last count, I believe it was 18 -- but here we are in the middle of the tennis Silly Season. Just when you thought the U.S. Open was such a fabulous venue for closure, onward we go to Beijing, Shanghai, Venus and Oz.
I want to start by saying that I received an overwhelming haul of mail from readers commenting on the athletes and depression column from last week. A lot of your stories were poignant and deeply personal and I wish I could reply personally to them all. I'm not sure what I can say that isn't trite or superficial, but know you're not alone. Also the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can be accessed via its website, and if you or someone you know is in need of immediate help, call 1-800-273-TALK.
1. Break time: For all the gripes about the schedule, it's easy to forget just how many soft "pockets" exist throughout the year. Since the U.S. Open ended two weeks ago, virtually no top player has been in action. An early loser such as Andy Roddick hasn't played in upwards of a month. Today, it's back to work for the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur (in Tokyo) as well as for Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, et al., in Bangkok. As a bonus, Juan Martin del Potro makes his return at the Thailand event as well. No one is dismissing the demands made on top players, especially given the travel time and distance. But it's worth remembering that a lot of athletes would kill for a few weeks of down time in the middle of a season.
NEW YORK -- As Rafael Nadal smashed a forehand down the line and into his line of sight last weekend, Ken Aagaard, wearing 3-D glasses along with eight other colleagues inside a cramped CBS trailer behind Arthur Ashe Stadium, explained what made tennis one of his favorite sports to watch in 3-D.
Can you and SI hold a design competition for a less expensive but workable roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium? I flat out do NOT believe a new roof cannot be added for less than $250 million. I believe old-fashioned ideas done the most expensive way would cost $250 million, but I believe hungry young architects trying to make a name for themselves could contribute many ideas of how to cover the stadium for well under $250 million. I remember years ago the Detroit Lions were worried about cost overruns for the Pontiac Silverdome and came up with a much less expensive air-supported roof that was radical at the time but let the stadium come in on time and under budget. If it can be done there, why not at Ashe Stadium? There must be ways to do it. Would you be willing to ask your bosses at SI if you can sponsor a non-committal design competition for an affordable roof? It would be great publicity for SI and just may get the U.S. Open a roof. -- Randy Lee Mayes, Bradford, PA.
Some of the greatest players never adjusted, if they even bothered to try. Pete Sampras knew he was doomed before the French Open even started. Bjorn Borg couldn't get his mind around the madness of New York City. Ivan Lendl tried to embrace grass courts, but he wasn't fooling anyone. John McEnroe skipped the French Open six times, and Jimmy Connors barely acknowledged its existence until he was 26 years old.
Cleaning out the notebook-or the digital equivalent -- after a hot, windy, wet but ultimately, satisfying 2010 U.S. Open.
10:10 p.m. | NADAL WINS THE U.S. OPEN 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2: With flashbulbs lighting the night sky, the moment finally came at 10:02 p.m. ET. Djokovic hit a forehand wide, and Nadal collapsed to the ground in joy. He walked around Ashe Stadium with his arms aloft, knowing what he had just done. The match took 3 hours and 43 minutes. "This is more than I dreamed," Nadal said. Nadal is the third-youngest man (at 24 years, 101 days) to complete the career Grand Slam and the seventh man in history to pull off the remarkable feat, joining Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, and Fred Perry in having won U.S., French and Australian Opens and Wimbledon titles. It is Nadal's ninth Grand Slam singles title and the championship cements him as one of the sport's all-time greats. Let the debate begin about Nadal's place in history. It is near the top.
Five thoughts from the 2010 U.S. Open men's final:
I must say that I am very happy that Caroline Wozniacki blew your prediction of Sharapova getting to the finals. I detected this anti-Caroline sentiment in your comments ever since that controversy in one of the junior Slams (it might have been the U.S. Open; can't remember now). Hopefully, you will give Caroline credit after she clearly beat Sharapova. --Les Banas, Las Vegas
The U.S. Open is often a barometer of American tennis and its prospects for the future, but appearances can be deceiving. Ryan Harrison struck just about everyone as the real thing, a clever and imaginative kid who has every right to think big. The women's side -- and that's two years running -- has the look of a mirage.
A quick post to start on Patrick McEnroe's decision to vacate his Davis Cup duties. This has been in the ether for a while. Unlike Mardy Fish, P-Mac has an awfully full plate these days, plus a wife and brood of young kids.
The newlyweds were caught kissing Friday night during Venus Williams's match
Hurricane Earl came and went. There were fisticuffs in the bleachers. An accountant was arrested for scalping tickets NEXT TO THE WILL CALL BOOTH. There were concussions, repercussions. There was oppressive heat and digressive wind. And, oh yeah, they played some, too, at the U.S. Open. Herewith, our midterm grades through Saturday. All marks handed on the North Carolina football program's grading curve.
The late days of a Grand Slam tournament are, of course, money time. They tell us who will be pro tennis' next trendsetter or conversation-starter, who will matter in the long run, who will be remembered as great. The late days are when one-namers -- all those Rogers and Rafas and Marias and Kims -- are created, when the faces hawking next year's rackets and outfits first come into focus, when the sport most seems like a tiny club of special beings. The late days are for royalty. They're what history remembers.
How 'bout that Mirjana Lucic? Squeaks through the first round of qualifying, barely, winning the third-set tiebreak with no margin. Then wins Rounds 2 and 3 comfortably. And then she routines Alicia Molik. If you see her in a press conference, Jon, tell her she has supporters out there that are happy to see her in the mix again. --Dale Stafford, Atlanta
Once again, I have to object to the lack of respect accorded Caroline Wozniacki. First, dinging her for being No. 2 on the basis of a lot of play is not really backed up -- if you take out her worst half dozen tournaments it has little-to-no impact on the ranking. She has won two tournaments in a row coming into the U.S. Open, including a top-tier tournament. I agree with your assertion that other players haven't stepped up, but why then do you say you can think of a half dozen players that are better? Who are they, and what are their results to say they are better? It reminds me of every time someone says "no disrespect intended" followed by saying something respectful. Likewise, if the rankings are faulty, tell us your system that puts other players in "better" rankings and justify it. Otherwise, it's just so much smoke. It's odd to me that Wozniacki doesn't get more press and kudos. I suspect that it's a combination of a non-confrontational personality, lack of controversy and her
The draw holds many treasures. These are some of the matches I'd like to see if things break just right at the U.S. Open:
I'm wondering if anyone else feels that Nicolas Mahut, considering the historic nature and the quality of the match he played against John Isner at Wimbledon, deserved the courtesy of a U.S. Open wild card? (he lost in the last round of the qualies). Whether it is the USTA, the ATP, or any other governing body, something should have been done to acknowledge the appreciation many have developed for this courageous and talented player. John Isner, of course, is admitted directly into the main draw (if he does actually decide to play with torn ankle ligaments). I've written a blog post on this subject on my website, which you may feel free to promote, thank you very much! --Steven Zynszajn, New York
SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the U.S. Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to watch and his predicted winners. Find Wertheim's women's seed report here.
SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the U.S. Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to watch and his predicted winners. Find Wertheim's men's seed report here.
In a hand-written letter from prison, the rapper says he's "a huge Nadal fan"
For years, fans have fantasized about a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal matchup in the U.S. Open final. Their historically compelling rivalry has taken them all over the world, from Centre Court to Roland Garros to the palaces of Shanghai and Monte Carlo, but never Flushing Meadows, where's the year's final proclamations are made.
Your Best of Five with one week left until the U.S. Open:
The No. 1 player is still recovering from surgery on her injured right foot
It was one of the great shots of the year. It was the kind of shot that, not so long ago, had the likes of Rod Laver and John McEnroe calling Roger Federer the best they'd ever seen. The Rogers Cup title was on the line, between rainstorms in Toronto on Sunday night, so it couldn't have come at a better time.
After a few shaky weeks post-Wimbledon, it feels like tennis is back on the proverbial radar. A Best of Three from a fine week on the U.S. Open Series circuit.
I really feel that tennis, if this is possible, suffers a real visibility letdown between Wimbledon and the Open. Given the NFL, NBA and NHL are not in action, this should really be a time where tennis can fill a void in the sports calendar. We have a great tournament in Toronto (the Rogers Cup) and other than hardcore fans, it will have relatively low reach in the Toronto area. What are 3-4 marketing fixes tennis could make to raise it's profile during this part of the year? There's a partnership at McKinsey in it for you. --Neil Grammer, Toronto
1. Capital gains: Veteran David Nalbandian had been a Top 10 stalwart for years, an efficient grinder, who, when healthy, could compete with anyone on most every surface. "When healthy," was a big condition, though. Nalbandian spent considerable time on tennis' disabled list, including a long stint recovering from hip surgery, a career killer for many players. Ranked outside the Top 100 and having missed all but a few weeks of play over the last 18 months, Nalbandian the Andean took a wild card at the D.C. event* and then served up something for the memory banks, blazing through the field, tearing up credible players the likes of Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon, beating Marcos Baghdatis in the final and claiming his first title on American soil. You hate to jinx the guy, but if you're in the market for a U.S. Open dark horse -- he came within a few games of making the final in 2003! -- you could do worse. Maybe this is the silver lining with injury-mania: We hate how often players are
Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams is our guest respondent for this week's Mailbag. Currently ranked No. 3 in singles and No. 1 in doubles, Venus has taken a break from preparing for the U.S. Open and promoting her bestselling book Come to Win in order to answer your questions.
1. Vika is for victory: The U.S. Open Series swung through California last week. That a tall, Soviet-born, Americanized heavy hitter won the Bank of the West event at Stanford was no surprise. That it was Victoria Azarenka, not Maria Sharapova, however, was a considerable upset. In throes of a miserable slump, Azarenka found her game in a big way, beating Sam Stosur in the semis and then waxing Sharapova, 6-4, 6-1, to take her first title of 2010. True, one tournament is an awfully small sample size. But if Azarenka can sustain this level of play, she suddenly becomes a player to watch at the U.S. Open, especially if it's a Serena-less affair. A few hours south at the Farmers Cassic event in Los Angeles, Sam Querrey, king of the U.S. events, bagged still another one to defend his title. Querrey's defeat of Andy Murray, staving off a match point, might well mark the biggest win of his career. If he could replicate a win of this nature in a major -- ironically, he lost to Murray in his
1. Go Fish: He never quite had Andy Roddick's game. He quite never had the polish and Harvard pedigree of James Blake. He never had a twin, nor the physique of an NBA forward. So it is that, too often, Mardy Fish has been the odd man out of the discussion about American tennis. Yet at the age of 28 -- and, not coincidentally, a good 25 pounds lighter than he's been in the past -- Fish is playing some of the best tennis of his career. In Atlanta, he beat Roddick in the semifinals and then, as on-court temperatures approached 150 degrees, outlasted John Isner in a third-set tiebreak to win his second event in a row.
We were considering expanding our random ruminations to 68-70 items. But fatigue has set in, so herewith, 50 thoughts on a strange Wimbledon ...
I keep looking for the real story. Between Serena Williams's website, the WTA Tour site and wire service reports, there is nothing but mystery surrounding an injury that now requires surgery. Collectively, they've left everyone in the dark, which leads to a grim and familiar conclusion: Serena has the entire sport buffaloed.
A quick baguette for Friday. We'll be back Sunday with Midterm Grades...
Is Andy Murray about to become the next Guillermo Coria? --Simha, Atlanta