Yes, we know that the U.S. Open is still going. But with the women’s final obviously going to Serena, and with the men’s final freeing up our need to watch tennis on Monday night, it’s time to publish this piece now… and move on to something much more exciting… like college football… or raking the leaves.
It seemed like it was going to be one of those Grand Slams where the losers were the real winners. When it still appeared that the usual top players were going to make it to the finals, we savored the also-rans who dropped out along the way — Gael Monfils, in particular (who wouldn’t love to have seen a Nishikori vs. Monfils final?), and Aleksandra Krunic.
Then, the unexpected finally happened. We ended up with two first-time finalists in Men’s singles. I guess that good news, isn’t it — even if one of them (Cilic) is a convicted doper?
True, CBS was probably so upset that tennis fans might just have to stream it online next year, but the excitement for those fans was palpable. Who would have imagined that, after Wawrinka’s big win at this year’s Australian Open, the last big final of the year would also end with a new name at the top?
But, in general, 2014 has been one of the duller U.S. Opens in recent memory. Roland-Garros and Wimbledon are so much more inherently exciting to watch than the U.S. and Australian Opens these days. Why? It seems obvious that the “natural surfaces” of Rolland-Garros (clay) and Wimbledon (grass) lend themselves to more compelling and higher quality matches than the hardcourt tournaments (especially when it comes to women’s tennis). While we’re on the subject, how about returning to wooden racquets to really test the players’ gamesmanship? Now, that I’d buy more than just a Grounds Pass to see.
And so, we bid farewell to the 2014 U.S. Open… some of it we will miss (like the kettle corn popcorn), and some of it we hope never to encounter again (like the prices for the kettle corn popcorn).
Things we won’t miss:
- The terrible (random and dull) TV coverage of most American players’ matches.
- Milos Raonic’s ridiculous one-armed shirt.
- Spectators who do not “take their seats quickly” when the players are waiting.
- Articles from cranky old guys (like Bill Dwyer in the Los Angeles Times) that do everything they can to dismiss the next generation of American tennis stars.
- Victoria Azarenka’s terrible singing voice (not that her tennis shreiking voice is any better)
- The USTA official looping announcements stating that seating is limited in Louis Armstrong Stadium, with Louis being mispronounced. (Mr. Armstrong pronounced his name “Lewis,” not “Loo-ee”).
- The humidity. Oh, and the same old celebrities (what do they do — haul them out of Madame Tussaud’s on 42nd St.?)
- Patrick McEnroe as head of player development for the United States Tennis Association.
- Milos Raonic’s lizard-like tongue.
- Ridiculous articles like the one from Juliet Macur in the New York Times calling for men to only play three out of five sets, in order to “spare the men from trying to push themselves.”
- The Peng vs. Wozniacki match (and the way that women’s matches don’t adhere to the same rules as men’s matches).
- The media (the “it’s gonna be a long, long time before there is an important US tennis player again” narrative is just as tired as seeing corporate commercials featuring Andy Roddick and John McEnroe in 2014.
Things we will miss:
- Kei Nishikori. Who ever expected he would be the one to provide most of the entertainment value during week two?
- The chance to see some decent play up close on the outer courts (especially from Borna Coric, Victor Estrella Burgos, Nicole Gibbs and Jared Donaldson).
- 27-year-old James McGee, the Irish No 1 who showed stunning determination to navigate his way through qualifying and earn his first appearance in the main draw of a grand slam.
- Gael Monfils’ continual ability to entertain while impressing with incredible skill.
- 15-year-old CiCi Bellis, who beat 12th-seed Dominika Cibulkova.
- Some very competitive wheelchair tennis (especially from Shingo Kunieda and Gustavo Fernandez).
- Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios. Plain and simple. But we all know he’ll be back! After all, he’s the guy who said, of New York: “It’s awesome. I’m going to get scorched in Melbourne, but it’s my favorite Grand Slam.”