US Open: A Review
Posted by Sports Snob on September 12, 2006
US Open is my second most favourite grandslam (I think most people’s). It is by far the most vociferous slam, the glamour of tennis in New york and under lights as opposed to the quiet applause on the green lawns (except Henman hill of course) of Wimbledon, has a unique appeal. US Open has got spirit and it keeps the audience entertained something rarely seen on the dusty clay of Roland Garros. you have Spaniards all over the place and the tennis is a slug-fest, the matches are rarely, if ever, enthralling. The Australian Open: less glamorous than the Big Apple but it is good fun to watch and most importantly, rain is kept at bay and the indoor tennis is awesome (that king of indoor tennis, Becker performed ever so well when the roof was closed). But, for sheer entertainment, the US Open is unparallelled.
This year’s Open is over and it was great entertainment. The familiar sights of Roger Federer holding the trophy aloft and Martina Navratilova saying she’s done with the game; the media being more interested in the banana than in the wonderful tennis that Sharapova was playing; another Brit failing; Roddick hitting his powerful serves. They are good times, when the grandslams are on.
Federer is on a different plane. It’s like what Chang said about Sampras when at his peak: The guy is from a different planet. Sharapova, it is intimidating enough when someone plays tennis that well; couple that with the way she looks and you wonder if the world is a fair place :). Paes has won after a long time. He is older, slower but you can see the passion, emotion and love for the game. Indian tennis owes him a lot; Indian sports in general does. He is the only superstar we have had in individual, truly global sports (other than Anand).
Agassi has retired. I still can’t believe it! It doesn’t seem like very long ago when I saw a tremendous four-set display in the US Open. Two old men standing across the net from each other and showing the world how tennis is supposed to be played. If there had been no tie-breakers, they would till be playing set 1. The level of tennis on display that night, I am yet to see again (I doubt I will). That man is now gone: the rebel, the rival, the champion, the old man of the game.
Navratilova is gone. I can’t say enough about her contribution to the sport. Her best tennis years were long over by the time I was an avid watcher. But at fifty she plays the game better than some of the divas of the modern game. Davenport will probably not play again. She was a good player and was one of the original powerful hitters in the women’s game. She won more than I thought she would.
There were a few upsets: Baghdatis, Nadal, Nalbandian, the Williams sisters, Andy Murray. The new video challenge, a good addition I think. But on the whole, it was a great tournament and no one can debate it when I say, the best players won.
Now, it’s a long wait for the next grandslam, early next year. Let’s see how the draw pans out, new stars, old stars, whether the Federer phenomenon continues, whether Mauresmo is really a choker, will Andy Murray be a phenomenon, will Safina do things that Safin has failed to, will Safin make a comeback, what is happening to Hewitt… waiting for Australian Open 2007.