Tag Archives: U.S. Open

USTA Coldly Withholds Money, Tells Taylor Townsend to Work on `Fitness.’ Teenage Girl Hears `Fatness’

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

A teenage girl whose natural and healthy body type doesn’t fit into a size zero, or onto the cover of a magazine, is already under enough pressure. You cannot tell her that her problem is “fitness” without her hearing the word “fatness.”

You can’t add punishment for it, hold back money for her future, threaten her family’s finances. Bluntly: You can’t be sure if that action will push her to train harder or force her to put a finger down her throat.

And if you’re the United States Tennis Association, having had a disastrous relationship with black tennis prodigy Donald Young, you cannot play this loosely or obliviously with the psyche of 16-year-old Taylor Townsend, an African-American girl who is the No. 1 ranked junior in the world.

On Monday, Serena Williams called it a tragedy.

Please read the rest of the column here at FoxSports.com


U.S. OPEN: Was this Andy Roddick’s Last Run?

Andy Roddick

Reporting from the U.S. Open for FoxSports.com

FLUSHING, NY — Whatever Andy Roddick is, he’s energy. Either he’s an overachiever reaching No. 1 without much talent or an underachiever winning young and then letting the game pass him by. But he’s emotion.

Either he’s a feisty competitor or a creep, but he’s passion. And that spills over into the crowd, which wants to cheer him on or curse him out. Sometimes both.

Either way is fine with Roddick. With him, everything is an argument.

But on Friday in the world’s biggest tennis stadium, in the world’s loudest city, in the quarterfinals of maybe the world’s most important tournament, the US Open, the crowd did something different.

It sat there quietly while Roddick was crushed by Rafael Nadal.

Crickets.

And it was so strange that it threw Roddick off, made him suspicious about what was going on and why.

“I think you’d rather be booed than have silence,’’ he said after losing 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

“You know, it’s an empty feeling.’’

The match, as well as the crowd, was the sound of one hand clapping.

And you can’t be certain what thousands of fans are thinking. They might be thinking thousands of things. But they all acted as one, and I’m pretty sure I know why:

American tennis fans felt sorry for Roddick. Not just for the moment, but also for the realization of where his career is. This was Roddick’s last stand. Jimmy Connors’ famous run? Andre Agassi’s? Pete Sampras’?

This was Roddick’s. The last stand for the longtime face of American men’s tennis.

 

Please read the rest of the column at FoxSports.com


U.S. OPEN: Tennis’ Conflicts of Interest Leave Players out in the Rain

Reporting from the U.S. Open for my column in FoxSports.com

Rafael Nadal not looking happy in the rain

NEW YORK – It doesn’t look good when super-rich athletes who travel the world for work, with supermodel wives or girlfriends, are complaining about working conditions, publicly talking about the need for a union because they were expected to compete when it was misting outside.

I mean, boo hoo.

But Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick went into the US Open tournament referee’s office Wednesday to stand side by side and complain after they had been forced to play. And despite appearances, this was important.

“They know it’s a lot of money, and we are just part of the show,” Nadal said later, on ESPN. “They are working for that (show), not for us.”

The thing is, the players were right. And it’s a much bigger issue than the player mini-revolt suggested. It might be a turning-point moment in tennis.

It might be, but I doubt it. That would take untangling the world’s biggest ball of yarn first.

 

Please read the rest of my column in FoxSports.com


U.S. OPEN: Fairy Tale Over, Donald Young Makes a Real Move

Donald Young

From my column in FoxSports.com:

 

John McEnroe ruined Donald Young. Young’s parents ruined Donald Young. His own bad, lazy attitude ruined him. His agent, IMG? Ruined him. The media: Ruined him. The U.S. Tennis Association?

Ruined Donald Young.

Young has been a study in all the different ways to screw up an American tennis phenom. He was supposed to be tennis’ Tiger Woods. By 2007, The New York Times dubbed him a failure with a story in its Sunday magazine entitled: “Prodigy’s End.”

He was 17 at the time.

But the last, last, last straw didn’t come until this spring, when things dropped so far that Young wrote on his Twitter account: “F— USTA” and they’re “full of s—.” Only he didn’t use dashes.

So it’s a little hard to figure out how Young, now 22, is the story of this year’s US Open, after Serena Williams that is. He has beaten two seeded players to reach the fourth round, the final 16. He beat Stan Wawrinka in a classic fifth-set tiebreaker, tennis’ ultimate test of mind, body and guts. Tuesday, he’s scheduled to play No. 4 Andy Murray for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Everybody’s light comes on at their own time,” Young said. “Hopefully, mine is coming on now.”

These phenom stories are all mapped out. Either a sudden emergence, or a straight arrow to the top. Anything less is how a 17-year old winds up being labeled a failure.

There has always been too much reality in Donald Young’s fairy tale. Is it possible to take all the wrong steps to the mountaintop?

Please read the rest of this column on FoxSports.com


Serena Williams Quits Cincy Event, Heads to Roller Coaster, Then Kardashian Wedding

Serena Williams had time on her hands after pulling out of Cincy event with an injury

 

REPORTING FROM MASON, OHIO – Serena Williams just didn’t want to be here. So just before her match with Sam Stosur Wednesday, she withdrew from the Cincinnati Open with what she called a “bit of an aggravation’’ and “not feeling excellent’’ and “a little swelling’’ in her big toe.

Please.

Later, pictures of her emerged on the web sitting in a roller coaster at the amusement park a few blocks from the tennis center. She also said she would likely make it to Kim Kardashian’s wedding Saturday.

“Now that I have time, I probably will,’’ she said. “I hadn’t thought about it, so. . .’’

Williams just didn’t want to be here. Is she hurt? Sure she is. Everyone in tennis is.

But Williams made a commitment to come here, and then showed up for one match – enough to avoid being fined for breaking her commitment – and then stuck it to the tournament, stuck it to the tour, stuck it to the ticket-buying fans.

Her appearance on the roller coaster was sort of a raised middle finger. Continue reading


Widdle Andy Woddick has Another Tantrum. But this one had a Twist

Andy Roddick had another embarrassing tantrum

I don’t dance unless there’s music playing.

That’s what Widdle Andy Woddick said to the chair umpire during his latest itty bitty temper tantrum Monday night in Cincinnati. He had blown the second set, broken his racquet and then, a little later, angrily drilled a ball into the stands.

He didn’t think the chair umpire should have done anything, I guess, much less give him a point penalty, as the rules called for. From there, Roddick fell apart. Time spent on the court during play was sort of the filler for Roddick until he could get on with his main objective, which was to sit down during changeovers and argue some more.

We’ve seen plenty of tantrums from Roddick before. He once spent endless time arguing with a line judge who had said he foot-faulted with his right foot. Actually, it had been his left, as if that mattered.

Roddick is great when he gets ahead. But any speck of trouble, and he falls apart. That’s not new. What is new is this:

Roddick gave up. He stopped running for balls. His comfort wasn’t in winning, but in whining. That was pretty stunning, as he took a 7-6, 4-2 lead over Phillip Kohlschreiber, and then lost 6-7, (7-5), 7-5, 6-1.

He just quit trying. Why? I think it’s starting to hit him that he isn’t going to win another major, that his time as a top tier player has passed, that his career isn’t going to end up the way he expected. Continue reading


Serena Williams’ Win at Stanford: Just the Starting Line

Serena Williams at Stanford

Serena Williams was always going to win another tournament. That was inevitable. So the news this weekend, when she won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, wasn’t that she had won for the first time since Wimbledon in 2010. It was seen as a finish line to her comeback from a year off with illness (blood clots in her lungs) and injury (foot surgery). But it was much more important than that.

It was the starting line.

This tournament was evidence that Williams really did feel some vulnerability, did feel a lack of invincibility.

“I was really disappointed at Wimbledon,’’ she said on ESPN after crushing Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. That’s a big tournament for me. I decided it’s time to get serious, not only at the slams, but at every other tournament as well.’’

Continue reading


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