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Monday, September 1, 2008

Photos on ustaboys.com; Talking with the New York Times about Juniors

Before play starts this morning, I wanted to link to ustaboys.com, where first round action photos of the players who were in Kalamazoo a few weeks ago are posted (click see all at the top of the home page to view).

I also sat down for a few minutes with Aron Pilhofer, who is blogging for the New York Times during the tournament, to talk about the junior tournament. As I mentioned last week, the Times blog is always interesting, so check it out.


Anonymous said...

Arantxa Rus and Bernard Tomic both lost in the first round. Seems like two shock losses but, at the least 'civilised' of the four majors, it really isn't such a surprise.

I'll be interested to see what the 'tennis journalists' have to say about them. Will they turn the spotlight solely on the players (given that one of the winners was American, that'll probably be the case) or, in a development infinitely more shocking than the losses, will they turn their attention to the tournament itself and ask what part it played.

I'm not holding my breath although, if they did explore that angle, they'd find one of the prime reasons why Laura Robson would so willingly pass up the US Open in favour of the Australian and why Jessica Moore would happily withdraw from the junior event altogether.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I'm not sure what you're implying. Are you attributing their losses to the fans? If so, on what basis? My initial reaction is that you're making weak excuses for players who were simply beaten.

I watched the Harrison-Puget match on TV and the fans didn't seem to be a factor at all. I would be surprised if fans are heckling or in any way disrupting juniors they've never even heard of. In Rus' case, she wasn't even playing an American, so I'm not sure what you're alluding to there.

Regarding Robson, why specifically do you think she stayed home, and again, what are you basing it on? There are highly ranked players who skip every tournament. Many Americans skipped the Australian Open. It doesn't necessarily mean that they had some sort of problem with the tournament or its fans.

If they are skipping the tournament because of the environment, I think it would be a mistake. They're going to have to deal with it sooner or later.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no better tennis environment than the U.S. Open. A lot of non-American players seem to enjoy it as well. Andy Murray, for example, has called it his favorite tournament.

BTW, I've seen some Australian Open matches with fans who were infinitely more "uncivilized" than the fans you'll see at any junior match at the U.S. Open.

Anonymous said...

I've seen Tomic play. He hits a loopy ball and is a baseline grinder in the mode of Donald Young. He makes a lot of balls. I can see why Britton's game would be problematic for him. Kandath is a tough match up for Britton as he returns very well and is an agressive baseliner.

Anonymous said...


each Grand Slam has it's own flavor and also it's own personality much like the people who write on this blog and everywhere else.

Yes, the US Open probably is the least 'civilised' and perhaps the one with the most energy especially at night.

As the French has the most beautiful flowers and Wimbledon the most pomp and circumstance.

I have not been to the Austrailian so I can't really comment up close and personal.

Each Grand Slam is unique in it's own way and as a player - if you want to be "big time"(top 10) you better not only get used to playing in that specific arena but sooner or later enjoy (emphasis added) the time spent in all 4 wonderful cities.

Anonymous said...


Stop fixating on the fans. I never mentioned them and, in reality, they're not too different from the ones you'll find in a lot of other countries.

That aside, I'm not implying anything. I am stating something. The atmosphere at the US Open is light years away from anything most junior players will ever have experienced. In comparison to the other majors (I've worked at all of them so that's the basis for my comments) it is decidedly 'feral' - noisy, crowded, smelly, unruly, confrontational. In short, it's a culture shock (not to mention, a logistical nightmare). Unless you possess a temperament and personality like Lleyton Hewitt (who thrives on that kind of chaos), you're going to struggle to cope with it. Federer hated it initially, Wilander took a long time to adjust and Borg always struggled with it (not the surface or the opponents, just the atmosphere and the difference - something we know he didn't like). It's a testament to Lendl's greatness and something he was never given credit for, that he fought an atmosphere so opposed to his own personality and actually beat it

As a result, when a young international player does poorly at the US Open it should be considered far less of a surprise than when they do well. So Tomic's loss isn't overly surprising. Robson's handlers didn't want to put her through that, yet. In preference they've opted for her to go to the Australian Open - far less of a culture shock.

I also appreciate that you want to support the Open, your local event. However, lets be perfectly realistic - if you were building ugly, the US Open would be your template, not Wimbledon, the French of the Australian. The other majors are aesthetically and atmospherically appealing, the US Open isn't.

Anonymous said...


I have 4 words for you:
"Eye of the beholder"

If you placed the richest top soil in a formal living room with Brailzian Cherry Wood floors - the owner probably would say one thing -- if that same top soil was given to a farmer - he might say something else.

Specifically a person could say that all the pomp & circumstance at Wimbledom with seperate locker rooms for the top 8 is nothing more than the continuation of a class society which does not fit well in America.

The French tournament typically does not treat Americans that well, and frankly the French population is not that gracious to American vistors tennis related or not.

I have not had the first hand participation attending the Austrailian- so I can't speak on the specific Grand Slam event.

The point is the player must adapt to the venue, not the other way around.

It is clear that I am an American - I am not sure where you are from!!!

Anonymous said...

To Man in the Moon:
Your comments are increasingly odd to say the least. Have you spent much time in the caveman's crib? (Geico web site for everyone else) Perhaps your lofty ideals could be put to greater use than to entertain an audience that gives everything to help their children succeed and cannot probably afford "Brazilian cherrywood." That comment was stupid. Instead of trying to impress everyone with your extensive command of the English language for example: "the delightful bouquet brought by the fragrant flowers of the French Open" or "The sturdy beauty of the giant toy soldiers solemnly guarding the entrance to the palace" (Wait, I made those up OK, we get it you are smarter than whomever and have raised your kids to serve the world, (It's enough to make me toss my breakfast) but try for a moment to relate to the general populist just tying to enjoy junior tennis. By the way, we did win the war so we could be as wild and savage as we want to be. The French are our friends again, due to a change in their government. Try to keep up or you make us look bad since it appears this column has world wide appeal. If we ever get a chance to "visit" these events for ourselves we hope to enjoy the experience, not be engrossed in mindless drivel. Please, please don't go to Australia you would be shocked by how much they admire Americans and how much fun they can be.
To David:
Tomic wasn't anything but a young tennis player whose father brought to much interest to his "monumental" talent (via the internet) before the player was ready. Perhaps he will grow into a game or he could take up futbol.
To Andrewd.
Next time you take a cab ride or the subway in NY be sure to mention your feelings about the Open to people. I am sure they can find much better "attractions" for you. The juniors at the Open this year are exactly what the USTA has been growing for years. Perhaps they will give others a chance next year.