Things We Learned on Day Five of the 2014 US Open


1. I cannot fathom how the Tennis Channel can justify publishing this on their website.

Being thrust into the world spotlight as a result of your own ability and achievements has proved too much for a surprising range of champions from Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Li Na, Petra Kvitova and, in a slightly different context, Amelie Mauresmo and Eugenie Bouchard.

The fact that there are not so many examples of male players reeling under the weight of success may have something to do with the fact that the Top 4 have had such a lock down on Grand Slam titles over the past ten years that very few men have been able to sneak in and do something stunning and unexpected.

Oh there aren’t so many examples of male players reeling under the weight of success? Bernard Tomic? Stan Wawrinka? Jerzy Janowicz? Juan Martin del Potro? Andy Murray? I could go on …

Loehr says it is no good ignoring the differences between men and women in their emotional make up. “Women have a more intricate network of emotional connections than men and it helps them in many ways,” he says. “But it also makes the journey more challenging. Their chemistry is more complex; they have monthly cycles – it’s just the way the body works.


2. This quote from Tomas Berdych cracked me up, for some reason:

Berdych scoffed at the potential risks, offering his own version of the “you only live once” theory. If he cared about the possibility of long-term skin damage, he said, “I mean, then I would be concerned about everything. I see two steps and, you know, I could fall down and hit this wall and it would be too much.”

3. No matter his reputation, this is garbage. You don’t play on a painful hip when you just had double hip surgery this year.

4. Looking good, Delpo.


1. Jelena Jankovic has eased into the fourth round after a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Larsson. (Sloane, this is me officially side-eyeing you again.)

It’s great to have Jankovic playing great tennis again, and nice to hear that she’s fully motivated.

Q. Since last year and playing well since like last couple of seasons, you said you’re hungry again to play well. Was it easy to find this fire back?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. I mean, I have been a professional for I think 13, 14 years. It’s not easy, you know, hitting balls every day, and, you know, staying really motivated throughout the whole period. It’s normal you’re going to have ups and downs. But, you know, I found, you know, my way, you know, again. And I love the sport. I love competing. I love battling. I love being out there and, you know, playing in front of crowds. This is what I have been doing since I was a child, so, you know, there’s nothing else that I want to do at this point. I still have fun doing it, so that’s — you know, I want to do well. I want to be in the top of the game if I’m going to play. So that’s why I said to myself I want to — I have to go out there and work hard, work on my game, improve, get fit, do everything right in order to have the chance to succeed.

2. It’s soul-crushing to see Venus Williams lose so many tight matches at majors, but it never gets old watching her compete so well in them. We’re lucky to witness it, as frustrating as it might be.

All kudos to Errani, though, who was just fantastic when she needed to be.

3. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is the story of the tournament, and she just might be the story of the year. If you’re unfamiliar with her harrowing backstory, get caught up with this article from 2006.

Nobody is more aware of what Lucic has gone through than her countryman, Goran Ivanisevic, who put her up during the 1998 Wimbledon, when she was hiding from her father, just weeks before the family fled for the U.S. Ivanisevic never saw Marinko Lucic hit Mirjana, but he says he saw plenty of high-octane verbal abuse. “Whether she won or lost, he was not happy,” Ivanisevic says. “He was never happy. I saw how bad he talked to her. I would break down if somebody talked to me like that. In my opinion, what he did, he ruined her life. To hit her? This is the 21st century, not 200 years ago.” Ivanisevic pauses. “I thought she was going to be a top 10 player for a long time,” he says, shaking his head.

Lucic-Baroni upset No. 2 Simona Halep today, and if you want to be reminded about the pure joy that tennis can bring, and how much this game can mean for the athletes, just read her entire press conference. Watch the video, too.

Q. I know this is difficult, but if you had to sum up your personal journey at this point, how would you recap it for us?

MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, that’s not an easy questions.

Q. I know it’s not.

MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, I mean, I’m a little bit emotional now. Sorry. (Crying.) It’s been really hard. Sorry. After so many years to be here again, it’s incredible. I wanted this so bad. So many times I would get to, you know, a place where I could do it. Then I wanted it so bad that I’m kind of burned out. And I apologize again. Yeah, I’m so happy.

4. It’s so wonderful to see Caroline Wozniacki shining on the tennis court again. She had a great win over Petko today, and she just looks so darn happy out there.

Sunshine indeed.

5. Needless to say, I agree with Amy about her No. 1 point above. Just…ugh.

6. Ben Rothenberg has a great article in The New York Times on Eric Butorac, who has just succeeded Federer as the president of the Player’s Council. The whole piece is worth a read, and it sounds like Butorac will be a great guy for the job. I especially like this part:

While his fellow council members Simon and Stakhovsky have been outspoken about men deserving more compensation than their female counterparts, Butorac balks at reopening the debate.

“There was a time, the last four years, when the ATP was stronger than the WTA,” he said. “But there’s also times when the WTA was maybe equal to the ATP. So I doubt it’s something that we’re ever going to go back on. So I’m focusing on saying: ‘Let’s grow the whole pie. Let’s work together.’ We have a lot of combined events, and if the facility is right and it’s big and those events have been very successful, so let’s let that continue on and move forward. I don’t think it’s worth going back on that.”

7. I wrote about the importance of keeping perspective about CiCi Bellis for Sports on Earth. Also, I’m going to plug my feature on Milos Raonic again–he really believes that he can win this U.S. Open.

8. Belinda Bencic had a huge win over Angelique Kerber today. We’ve talked about her here at The Changeover in the past–JJ did a Prospect Evaluation on her, and I interviewed her in Charleston this year.

I’m really looking forward to her fourth-round match against JJ.

9. Random tweets I favorited:

One Response

  1. catherine Bell
    catherine Bell August 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm |

    Please will commentators, writers etc STOP USING THE VERB EASE to mean something was done easily.
    It does NOT mean that.

    This usage is crawling all over the sports internet.
    Sheer lemming laziness.

    Yours in hope

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