From the cheap seats –
Tennis: U.S. Open
The one major tournament I’ve always wanted to attend besides Wimbledon has been the U.S. Open in New York. It is my goal to someday make it there for the tournament and experience all the things that I want to see in New York. But my report about the open for this article has mainly to do with two things. First and foremost is Andy Roddick and the other is women’s tennis as a whole.
I’d like to start with Andy because he came out publicly to tell his fans worldwide that this will be his last tournament and he was going to retire. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me because and he is a competitor in his game has struggled over the past few years and injuries have always been a part of his career. But Andy has a heart of a champion and has always played hard and gives it everything he’s had. As a fan you can’t ask for any more than that. Too many people sum up the success or failure of their career based on the number of major tournaments players have one, in Andy’s case it’s only been one major win and that was the U.S. Open.
But what I like about Andy the most is his willingness and enthusiasm for playing Davis cup. Andy is always committed to representing his country despite the pain his body was in and I have nothing but respect for that. He will be missed on the men’s scene except for those who are on the receiving end of his serve.
As for women’s tennis, this U.S. Open was extremely disappointing. As many know Serena Williams has won another title that does not come as any sort of shock to anyone that has seen her play throughout the tournament. What bothered me more was the level of play from the women. Just a few years ago the tennis scene was bombarded with Russian women players and it seemed that they had answered the call to step up their game in order to defeat Venus and Serena Williams. But something’s happened between now and then in the women’s game, to me, has taken a step back.
Some of the top ranked women’s players in the world were getting knocked out of this tournament in the early rounds and that the overall level of play has eroded. I can understand some players feeling of being overmatched considering Serena is built like a man and hits the ball extremely hard. But a number of women’s players in the tournament were noticeably out of shape and should seriously think twice about the apparel selection when they’ve chosen to not watch their weight.
The influx of Soviet women tennis players has been massive and continues to fill the top 100 positions with Russian names. A number of them make it into the top 10 and even as high as number one and then are lost just a few months later and are not heard from. I’ve never been a big fan of the Williams sisters only because I don’t care much for their dad, but they know firsthand that you get out of something what you put into it. The Williams sisters have each gone their separate way in the fashion industry outside of tennis and have sacrificed playing tournaments to promote their business. Where I can’t fault anyone for that because you don’t play tennis forever but their games made a distinctive dip in overall performance.
Venus has been suffering from an ailment that affects her endurance and she is continuing to seek treatment so she can continue to play. Serena has dealt with her own set of injuries but has recently recommitted to tennis full-time and because of that her game has elevated back to where she was before she left. Very few women have impacted the sport like the Williams sisters have. They have caused their entire competition to elevate their game to become stronger and better fit but this is a difficult thing to maintain.
But overall I was very disappointed with the women’s game because of their lackluster effort and overall poor performance. Besides being beat physically they were being beaten emotionally. These players showed little sign of fight and seemed to knuckle under rather quickly and in some cases not even win a game. It was nice to see a few of the Americans that are on the rise do well in this tournament and I look forward to them in the future.
Tennis is a rough sport; it is very hard on the knees and on the back and one can’t fault players from using the limelight to establish their own future. I just hope that the women’s game can get back to the higher level of play that they experienced a few years ago. If not the game will take a nose dives as soon as the Williams sisters are done. So we’ll just wait and see.
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