View Full Version : USTA in hot seat as U.S open draws near

07-17-2006, 07:59 AM
Just thought I'd share this article:

Pressure rising on Americans as Open Series begins
By Charles Bricker
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
July 17, 2006

The headlines on the USTA public relations release blared the news:

The U.S. Open Series starts today ... $30 million in prize money ... $1 million in bonus money for the U.S. Open winners ... instant replay with electronic line calling ... HDTV broadcasts ... six weeks and 10 tournament s.

All that and ESPN2 flip-flopping back and forth between men's and women's matches taking place in different venues. Is this finally strapping the whole tennis landscape together so fans can make sense of it, or what?

It should create a wonderful July and August for tennis watchers, but, in truth, these coming weeks are primarily about two major issues -- the near-bankruptcy of American tennis and Andre Agassi mounting up for his trot into the sunset.

After flunking out at the French Open and Wimbledon, both American men and women players have never been under this much pressure to perform.

Paris was more or less expected. American men seldom play brilliantl y on clay and Serena Williams, a past winner at Roland Garros, was recovering from a knee injury.

But Wimbledon was the final insult, or at least until the U.S. Open. No American for the first time since 1911 made the quarterfin als in London, and who knows how deep the anxiety is at the USTA with the thought of an American washout in New York.

The prescient, if not politicall y correct, words of former USTA President Harry Marmion are easily called to mind. "I'm not looking forward to the day ... when we have an Armenian and a Lithuanian in the U.S. Open final," he said in 1997 as he called for a renewed effort to find young American stars.

If there is any good news at the onset of this third U.S. Open Series, it is that Williams, who hasn't played since losing to Daniela Hantuchova in the third round of the Australian Open the first week in February, is scheduled to play the non-series event in Cincinnati, which begins today.

She's going to be dripping rust, perhaps even gasping a bit during this warm summer season. But she's signed to play San Diego and Los Angeles and her hope is that three tournament s will give her the toughness to play well at the Open.

On the men's side, Agassi's intention to slip into retirement after the U.S. Open is a big piece of news that is going to be depreciate d a bit by the failure of the American men in Paris and London.

There is going to be a great deal of attention fixed on James Blake, currently at No. 6, and No. 11 Andy Roddick and No. 17 Robby Ginepri.

With three players in the top 20 one might well ask, it might seem as though there is no crisis, but Roddick is out of the top 10 for the first time since 2002 and Ginepri is holding at 17 only because he has had very few points to defend since the start of the season. He's 6-16 this year.

Roddick, with a very high 605 points to defend during the U.S. Open Series, has outlined an aggressive schedule as he tries to find the game that took him to the top. He'll play Indianapol is, Washington, Toronto and Cincinnati .

Blake put the best face he could on his third-round loss to Max Mirnyi (6-0 in the fifth) at Wimbledon, but he admitted he was disappoint ed. He's checked in on five tournament s Indianapol is, Washington, Toronto, Cincinnati and New Haven, which seems like a lot. He's playing New Haven, the week before the Open, in part because he has family and friends in Connecticu t.

Perhaps no American is playing better now than No. 70 Mardy Fish, who has come back with a high sense of commitment following double wrist surgery in 2005. He was playing well at Wimbledon when he was felled by a five-day flu virus and retired in the third round against Irakli Labadze.

It is surprising, given the fragility of his body, that Agassi has decided to play four tournament s going into the Open: Los Angeles, Washington, Toronto and Cincinnati . He is trying to find a balance between not playing too much so that he is fresh in New York and playing so much he is reinjured.

If there is an X factor it's Lindsay Davenport, a former U.S. Open winner who seems closer to retirement than ever after missing most of this season with another back injury. She's scheduled into Stanford and San Diego, but that doesn't mean she'll be fit enough to play.

Men's No. 1 Roger Federer is taking a month off after winning Wimbledon and will reappear at Toronto and Cincinnati, where No. 2 Rafael Nadal also will play. That could produce two more Federer-Nadal matches.

Women's Wimbledon winner Amelie Mauresmo will play only two tournament s during the Series Montreal and New Haven.

Points are awarded to top finishers at each of the U.S. Open Series tournament s and the overall winners can double their prize money from the U.S. Open.

07-17-2006, 08:07 AM
So hang on, Agassi, Roddick, Blake, Federer, and Nadal are all playing Toronto!!!???
I hope this is correct.

07-17-2006, 09:04 AM
So hang on, Agassi, Roddick, Blake, Federer, and Nadal are all playing Toronto!!!???
I hope this is correct.

That would be nice!

07-17-2006, 09:06 AM
man ill be watching toronto, does anyone know if it will be telivised and if so what channel i hope to god its not nbc or espn

07-17-2006, 09:29 AM
its on espn

07-17-2006, 02:22 PM
This sounded like a good article until it said "perhaps no american is playing better now than Mardy Fish". Excuse me? Since April his only win against a player with a ranking above 100 was his win over Ginerpri in Wimbledon first round. He might have a good hardcourt season, but in a head to head you gotta take Blake, Agassi, or even Roddick over him.

07-17-2006, 02:27 PM
^I agree. Fish came out of nowhere to win ATP Houston Claycourt and then a grass court challenger. Seemed like he was gaining momentum and then got taken out without a huge struggle by Nadal in Queens. No one at that time realize that Nadal was tough on Grass, including myself as i thought fish would fillet him. I thought maybe it was a fluke and that Fish would right the ship at Wimby, but then he pulls a mini henin (not a final) and retires.

So saying that Fish is the best yank playing right now may be a little over the top but i'm willing to bet that he has a respectable year from here on out.

07-17-2006, 08:23 PM
Just thought I'd share this article:

great post raistlin! not sure what blake's logic is of playing 5 tournaments leading up to the us open? sounds like way too much!

07-18-2006, 06:26 AM
good post.

07-18-2006, 06:31 AM
great post raistlin! not sure what blake's logic is of playing 5 tournaments leading up to the us open? sounds like way too much!
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