Things We Learned on Days 13 & 14 of the 2014 US Open


1. Ugh, Rory McIlroy … ugh.

2. This is so adorable:

3. I love that Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams partied together after the final. Some friendships between tennis players are a bit phony, but their friendship looks like the real deal. It’s nice to see a friendship like theirs, when we constantly hear the sexist trope that WTA players don’t make friends with each other.

Some quotes from their pressers:

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, when you’re out there — we’re both competitors and we both want to win, so we’re both going to do anything possible to win the match. You know, after the match we’re friends again. You know, it’s tennis. It’s a game. But off the court we’re still — we still care equally as much about each other. It doesn’t really change.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She’s funny, she’s nice, she’s supportive. She’s just really, really sweet. You know, she’s a sweet person. I think I can kind of take my wall down a little bit with her and I can be who I am. It’s nice when you can do that with someone. Yeah, it makes it really nice.

4. There’s no shame in losing to now 18-time Slam Champion Serena Williams. Many people, including myself, were really hoping to see Wozniacki get her first Slam title, but Serena was just too good. Wozniacki just didn’t have the firepower to deal with Serena’s deep hitting, and Serena steamrolled her, as she can do to anyone. Wozniacki’s other opponents this fortnight were letting her take control of points, but that just wasn’t the case against Williams. I’m not sure Wozniacki was really doing anything different. Serena is just at a whole other level.

It would’ve probably taken a bad day from Serena and an incredible performance from Wozniacki for the Dane to win that match, but it was still unfortunately one-sided. I hope Wozniacki will have more chances in Grand Slam finals against opponents other than Serena! At any rate, it was a great week for Caro, and she will re-enter the top 10 at No. 9. If she can keep playing the way she has been, I don’t see any reason why she can’t qualify for the WTA Championships.

As for Serena, I think the tennis media has collectively run out of superlatives to use to describe how great she is. Winning the US Open really salvaged a disappointing season for her. She may be slowing down in terms of the rate at which she’s adding to her Slam total, but she obviously showed today that she can still make it look easy.


1. Okay, let’s start with Serena, shall we? I’ll admit that although we’ve seen her win time and time again, seeing her reach No. 18 and watching Chrissie and Martina hand her the trophy gave me chills and made me a bit emotional. Tennis history is so cool.

Seriously, though. Serena’s resiliency might be the most impressive thing about her. There have been so many mini-slumps in her career, so many bizarre incidents that could have thrown her whole career off track, but each time she’s just come back stronger.

I love hearing her talk about when she was younger, her dad told her that there was no ball that she couldn’t get to. Time and time again I think that’s the key to her game–yes, she has the power, but she doesn’t solely rely on it (when she’s playing well). She has the hustle, on-court and off.

For Bleacher Report, I wrote about her quest for GOATness.

2. In researching that BR piece, I came across this piece from Simon Briggs at The Telegraph, which includes a fabulous interview with Billie Jean King. Here are my two favorite excerpts, starting with the ways in which she mentored a young Serena and Venus:

“When we were in Ancona [the venue for Serena’s 1999 Fed Cup debut in Italy] I took them into the media room and they had all these photos of the old players,” said King. “I just kept teaching through questions. I said: ‘Who’s the first person of colour to ever play in a major?’ They knew it was Althea [Gibson]. I said ‘What year?’ They said ‘1975! 1980!’” Actually it was 1956.

“It was adorable. I’m going ‘It doesn’t matter. It’s not a test.’ I’d just get them fired up. Then maybe I’d teach them that women couldn’t get a credit card until 1973 on their own without it co-signed by a guy. They said: ‘Really? Oh my God, that would be rough. I have a credit card!’ Just little things. You teach them history in a fun sort of way.”

Also, King has mentioned this before, but she really wants to coach. And there are some players that should REALLY take her up on that.

More than 20 years ago, King anticipated Amelie Mauresmo’s breakthrough into men’s tennis by coaching Tim Mayotte, the top 10 player of the late 1980s. Now, she would willingly help any contemporary player who asked for her advice, but she ruefully admits that the calls have dried up.

“Today’s players don’t even know we exist,” she said. “They think old is now the McEnroe, Navratilova age group. It always happens. I saw it happen to the players older than I am. I saw them not being appreciated.

“But I believe I could get someone like Gael Monfils turned around. To me, the reason he’s so goofy is that he doesn’t think he deserves to win. I think Andy Murray could do with flipping his psychology too. I wish I had some time with him, because I really like all that stuff.”

3. Congrats to Martina Navratilova, who proposed to her girlfriend as all of Ashe watched in-between the men’s semis, and luckily her girlfriend said yes!!

4. She definitely didn’t bring her best tennis to the final, but it has been so much fun to watch Caroline Wozniacki play tennis all summer, and I hope she just continues to build on it. I actually came away from this fortnight believing that she can win a Slam, and that’s not something I thought even a month ago. 5. The Bryan Brothers won their 100th title in NYC, which is just incredible. We’re so lucky to have them. However, Marcel Granollers had the shot of the tournament in that doubles final. Wowwww.

And, Marc Lopez might have stolen the show by writing down his concession speech and reading it. It was adorable.

Also, kudos to Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova for winning the women’s doubles title.

5. Shall we take a break for a picspam? Yes, let’s do that.

6. What Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori did on Saturday was just absolutely incredible. I’ve got a post coming later today, so I’ll save most of my thoughts for that, but I’m so excited to see fresh faces in the men’s final.

I previewed the final for Bleacher Report, and picked Marin in four although it’s really a toss-up. I also wrote a Meet Kei” piece after his big upset win.

7. Random tweets I favorited: