Things We Learned on Day Nine of the 2014 US Open


1. Here’s Gael Monfils on mentally checking out during a match:

Q. You’re very mentally focused today. On the days when you’re struggling for focus, what kind of crazy things get through your mind?

GAEL MONFILS: Well, I don’t know. Just sometime — I don’t know how to explain it. Like straightaway it’s — for me tennis is a sport, you know. It’s not a job, you know, it’s a sport. Sometime if I’m fed up with that, you know, just leave it. For me, I don’t know if it’s bad to say it and for sure I will use like bad words in English, but it’s like, you know, don’t give a shit. You know, it’s like okay, next one. It sounds bad in English, but what I mean is I care about the match. I don’t care about, you know, other things. It’s like if I’m not happy, it’s okay. I want just to be happy, you know. If I’m not happy, fine. Have it, you know.

Q. Is that what you mean by calm your mind when you were talking before about keeping your mind calm out there?

GAEL MONFILS: Yeah. You know, I just try to be relax, because I’m always been a relaxed person. I try my best for everything. If I don’t feel happy, I don’t do it.

2. Haha:

3. Bravo to Caroline Wozniacki for her commanding 6-0, 6-1 win over Sara Errani to reach the semifinals. In this tournament, she’s hitting her forehand better than I’ve ever seen her hit it, and playing intelligently aggressive (for her) tennis.

This was also funny:

Her head-to-head record against Peng Shuai suggests that she should be the heavy favorite to reach the US Open final. I’m thrilled to see her getting big results, after a summer of playing great tennis with few rewards.

4. This Wall Street Journal piece on racquet stringing tactics to affect the amount of spin generated is well worth a read.

5. Man, that was a boring day of tennis. The men’s side desperately needs some good matches in the later rounds. Luckily, most of the top players are still around, so I’m certain things can only improve from here.


1. Well, my day was kicked off in an interesting way:

I wrestled with whether or not to include this because I really didn’t want to engage any more, but I figured it should be documented somewhere. After all, it’s not every day that one of your favorite players from when you were growing up attacks you on twitter.

I believe this came about because Jen was searching twitter for reactions to her comeback announcement. I had RTed her with an “ICYMI” tag, linked to her tweet when she first sent it on Monday night with a “dead-and-gone” remark, and tweeted this, which I believe was the one that set her off:

I have been accused of deleting other tweets by Jen and Jen fans on twitter, but I can assure you I did nothing of the sort–I have nothing to hide.

I don’t really know what else to say, except that while I am shocked that Capriati is attempting a comeback–a perfectly natural reaction, I think–I wish her nothing but the best. She is a true champion and I always loved watching her compete, so it would be incredibly entertaining and inspiring to see her compete in today’s WTA.

But whether it’s off the court or on, I just hope that Capriati is happy.

I do not think that anything I said on twitter deserved that reaction, so this is not an apology. It’s just, well, a documentation because that’s what blogs are for.

Man, twitter is weird sometimes, you guys.

(EDIT: It appears that somewhere in the 20 minutes between when I grabbed the tweet codes to when I hit publish, Capriati deleted her tweets to me. You can still read them via the embeds.)

2. Okay, moving on to the U.S. Open. As Amy mentioned, it was a rather boring day of play. However, with Vika and Serena both taking to court to try and set up a semi tomorrow, and the much-anticipated Djokovic/Andy showdown, I have high hopes for tomorrow.

3. I wrote a glass-half-full feature on the state of American tennis for Bleacher Report, arguing that we need to appreciate the athletes we have now, keep some perspective, and stay hopeful. I talked to a lot of people for this–including Stacey Allaster–and appreciate, as always, if you take a look.

4. Also, Changeover co-founder Juan José wrote about the Milos Raonic/Kei Nishikori late-nighter for Rolling Stone! How exciting.

5. Shuai Peng’s on-court interview after she beat Belinda Bencic to make it to her first Slam semifinal was possibly the highlight of the U.S. Open for me. She was so overwhelmed and so emotional and so grateful and it just reminded me why I love this sport so very much.

I’m pissed that I can’t find it on YouTube because I want to re-watch it every time I get jaded. In the mean-time, let’s just read her press conference and get caught up on her backstory:

6. Let’s just look at photos of Marin Cilic celebrating after his five-set win over Gilles Simon:

7. Random tweets I favorited:

4 Responses

  1. LorenzoStDuBois
    LorenzoStDuBois September 3, 2014 at 9:58 am |

    Just wanted to comment on a theme that’s been coming up here during the tournament: Men = boring and lame; women = drama and excitement, an assessment I totally agree with.

    There are certainly other factors, but I think the most obvious and easiest to remedy is the best/3 vs. best/5 difference. I would be very surprised if we don’t ultimately end up with men’s and women’s best/3 during week 1, best/5 during week 2. It’s basically all pros and no cons, for scheduling, health, and most of good TV. In addition, it will drive a final stake through the heart of the dreadful equal pay debates.

    I just don’t understand how we could possibly not end up with this solution. Watching best of 5 is boring if the matchup isn’t good.

  2. LorenzoStDuBois
    LorenzoStDuBois September 3, 2014 at 10:03 am |

    Oh, and sets should be be no more than 5 games. There is a reason networks usually cut away to secondary matches when the main match begins a new set. It’s just not that exciting before someone gets to 3 games.

    I am not against epic marathons — again, women could totally handle 5 setters — but the current format drags in the first half of 6 game sets.

  3. Niels
    Niels September 4, 2014 at 6:52 am |

    First of all, I would like to state that I’m also in favor of the men playing best of 3 before the 4th round and men and women both playing best of 5 after that. However, that will certainly not end the debate about equal prize money.

    I have noticed especially on this blog, which still is my favorite blog by the way, that all arguments for more prize money for the men are brushed aside as being dumb, biased and sexist. This isn’t helping the case for equal prize money.

    Although a lot of people are saying that the WTA is more interesting than the ATP at this moment, it should not be ignored that the fans are still willing to pay more to see the men play. For example, look at the numbers from this article:
    At the beginning of the US Open the average price on the secondary market for tickets for the women’s final was $405.07. The average price for the men’s final was $767.96. Almost twice as much! I have read many more similar examples that show that the men are generating more money in ticket sales and sponsor revenue. To sum this up, it can be argued that the men’s product is worth more than the women’s product. So, please stop pretending that there isn’t a single valid argument for more prize money for the men. And please stop calling the people that are against equal prize money stupid.

    For the record, I am actually in favor of equal prize money. I don’t have any objective arguments for that. I just feel like the sport of tennis shouldn’t treat women differently than men. Not because there are no differences between men and women, but regardless of those differences.

  4. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne September 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm |

    “Although a lot of people are saying that the WTA is more interesting than the ATP at this moment, it should not be ignored that the fans are still willing to pay more to see the men play.”

    Niels, while I don’t take issue with the fact that fans (particularly in many European countries) are willing to pay more to see men play than women, I don’t think the people who can afford to buy top price tickets to a US Open Final held in New York City are necessarily representative of the tennis public or the sports public. And they certainly aren’t representative of the world-wide sports public.

    I also think that those who play the ‘free enterprise’ or ‘the market sets the price’ card almost invariably ignore the fact that tennis, like most other pro sports nowadays, doesn’t depend primarily for its income on the live gate. Tennis, like other sports, depends primarily on media revenues. Floyd Mayweather didn’t make $105 million last year because of the live gate attending his matches.

    As of 2003, (eleven years ago, but the only detailed listing I could find) there were nearly twice as many televisions in China (400 million!) as there were in the United States (219 million). A decade later, the disparity is no doubt even more lopsided. In 2003 there were more TV’s in China than in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France,and Spain put together. And that was in 2003. And there are 50 million ethnic Chinese, many of them affluent, in other countries around the world.

    Given the fact that we have a Chinese woman in the semi-finals again this year (for the eighth time in the last four + slam seasons), I suspect that there will be a much bigger world-wide TV audience for the women’s semi-finals than for the men’s semi-finals. If Peng Shuai wins her semi, I think the world-wide TV audience for the women’s final will be much larger than for the men’s final.

    There’s a reason the WTA is holding eight tournaments (four or five of which are at the $125,000 ‘grow the sport’ level in China this year.

    All of that said, I’d like to add that I do appreciate your ultimate stance that simple fairness should play as important a role in making this call as market interests.

    As for the best of three/best of five argument that is frequently trotted out, we don’t pay top male and female athletes lots of money because of the number of hours they spend on court in best of three or best of five set-matches.

    They earn lots of money because of the thousands of hours they’ve practiced and worked out and the millions of balls they’ve hit to arrive at the top level.

Comments are closed.