Hopefully they will have had the good chance to spot this and fix it, so just in case I've copied and pasted the article as well as giving the link
I can't decide what is more amusing - the actual error, or what follows it... It is in the first third or so, to save you reading the entire thing.
An Open to remember
Posted: Monday September 09, 2002 12:51 PM
Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim will answer your tennis questions every Monday. Click here to send a question.
Some random notes on a pretty fair U.S. Open:
Pete Sampras hadn't won a tournament of any size in more than two years. In his last Grand Slam match, he had fallen to a lucky loser. Less than three weeks ago he lost to someone named Paul-Henri Mathieu on Long Island, and was in danger of falling out of the top 50. Sampras walked into the interview room and this is what he said: "You have to remember who I am and where I'm playing next week. I know I've had a pretty disappointing year, [but] this is the U.S. Open, that's where I shine, and that's where I hope I shine. I know I've done well there, but it's a long run. I hope I can get myself going and get myself in contention there. I'm a little discouraged, but you've got to look at the big picture." Not bad. ... Speaking of eerie predictions, here's Richard Williams circa 1998: "Venus has a lot of pride, and nothing will get in the way of her getting to No. 1 first, [but] Serena will be the best on the WTA Tour." ... Don't look now, but Serena hasn't lost a set to Venus in four matches this year. Had she not pulled out of Australia, we might have been looking at our first Grand Slam winner since Steffi Graf in 1988. ...
A promotion is in order for the USTA employee who came up with the idea of creating a tennis theater in Rockefeller Center. A great idea that, if at all possible, should be replicated for Davis Cup. ... Sampras owes Lleyton Hewitt dinner. Andre Agassi was in rare form Saturday in beating the defending champ in the semis, but no question his legs were heavy in the final. ... Speaking of Hewitt, can we agree that he's done his penance for his role in Blakegate and now declare the statute of limitations lapsed? ... And while we're at it: How about we agree here and now to stop requesting that players retire? If this past week showed us anything, it's that elite athletes know their own bodies and their potential far better than any of us do. This goes not just for Sampras, but Monica Seles, Iron Mike Chang and, of course, Magnus Larsson, Francisco Clavet and Dick Norman as well.
How about a hand for the other winners last week? Men's doubles: Max Mirnyi and Mahesh Bhupathi. (Mirnyi, by way, has his nickname "The Beast" embroidered on his racket bags. Nice touch.) Virginia Ruano Pascal and Paola Suarez won women's doubles, their second Slam of the year. Hot French prospect Roger Gasquet (remember the name) beat Marcos Baghdatis to win the boys' title. In the girls' singles final Maria Kirillenko beat top-seeded Barbara Strycova. In mixed doubles, Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan beat Katarina Srebotnik and Bob Bryan. ... Weirdest Moment at the Open: How about Amelie Mauresmo and Venus taking the court to Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name. We're just thinking out loud here, but might there have been a better choice than a song that contains lyrics like, "Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses"? ...
If I'm Lindsay Davenport I have to be pretty pleased with myself. On crutches just a few months ago, Davenport breezed through to the semis and took more games off the eventual champion than Venus did. ... Wonder what life is like for a man who is the father of two pros and, inarguably, the biggest tennis nut on the planet? Go back and check out Wayne (father of Bob and Mike) Bryan's wonderfully heartfelt and entertaining columns on usta.com. ... Venus Williams withdrew from the Brazil Open, citing, in so many words, exhaustion. Anyone else think it could be a good long time before we see her on tour again? ... Next time the USTA and CBS need filler programming so Florida-Miami doesn't get cut short by women's tennis, how about scheduling the women's doubles final -- i.e., a match that means something -- before the singles final? We liked John McEnroe-Boris Becker a lot better last year. ... We'll say it again: Love those American Express spots. ... Tune in next week when Gracious Greg Rusedski will gives us his stock picks, reveal his Final Four brackets and divine the next Super Bowl winner.
Stranger than fiction
Lots of you wrote in about Simonya Popova. You loved the story; you hated it. You thought it was clever; you thought it was stupid. Among the funnier comments: "You should have made her a Canadian prospect and then everyone would have known she didn't exist." Ken Cheng of Gardiner, Maine, suggested she be called Ziddanya Finchova. Alexanderov Popov of Tibol, Russia, writes: "You should also know that Simonya and I were practicing on frozen Lake Bolshetzy this morning and she actually hit a 147-mph serve that cracked the ice around me."
Anyway, just so we're all on the same page, SHE DOES NOT EXIST. Her creation was a satirical device to poke some fun at the style-over-substance ethos on the WTA Tour and underscore some substantive issues women's tennis needs to confront. Unfortunately, all of this Is-she-or-isn't-she-real? business seems to have obscured the real point of the story: Women's tennis has never been played at a higher level or served up a richer cast of characters, and it's troublesome that the WTA Tour hasn't capitalized on either particularly well. But after such a memorable U.S. Open, we can only hope that the business climate for all of tennis just got a lot better.
With that, the questions ...
What's up with the media criticizing men's tennis? It seems like every day there was a new story bashing the guys. Then I would turn on my television and the men's matches would be great!
—S. Fairchild, Dallas
A number of writers ought to be saying mea culpas and sending their apologies to the ATP Tour about now. The Williams story is an unbelievable modern-day fairy tale that, as far as I'm concerned, still hasn't gotten its due. But let's face it: Ultimately, the men's matches carried the Open. Neither the men's game nor the ATP are immune from faultfinding. The merits of the Champions Race, the debacle that was the ISL deal, the failure of unquestionably talented players like Marat Safin and Roger Federer to step up -- those issues are fair game for criticism.
But it's unfortunate when writers and columnists who are clearly watching the sport for the first time all year swoop into New York for a day and write a lazy piece about how lame the men's game has become. A particularly untenable column that ran in a newspaper of record opined: "Most of the top men on the tour are faceless. Costa, Cañas, Ferrero and Moya sounds like a law firm in Spain, but they are four of the top six money-winners this year. Ever heard of them? Stop fibbing. Unless you watch tennis regularly, and most sports fans do not, you couldn't identify them if they cranked one of their 125-mile-an-hour serves over your head." Huh? The implication that the players are faceless because they have foreign names is offensive. And anyone who thinks Juan Carlos Ferrero or Albert Costa is serving 125 mph is clearly out of his depth talking authoritatively about the sport.
A dead giveaway, incidentally, for one of these hit-and-run jobs is some mention of the length of the points. "The men's game," a fellow scrivener told us last week, "is just serve, ace, serve, ace." Really? Where was he when Andy Roddick finished off Alex Corretja with a 43-stroke match point? When, time and again, men's matches exceeded three hours? When Hewitt, a counterpuncher who doesn't weigh 150 pounds, was becoming No. 1? When, for that matter, Sampras and Agassi ran each other around in a final that went nearly three hours?
1. Why is the score 30-30 not called deuce? It is exactly the same scenario as 40-40, with the players needing two consecutive points to win.
2. When there is a let serve the reason it is considered unfair to the receiver presumably is because the ball makes an unpredictable ricochet. Why does it matter whether or not the ball lands in play? If hitting the net makes the ball not playable, why should the ball not be re-served wherever it falls because it is not the server who has determined its final landing place?
—Phil Coates, Palo Alto, Calif.
In the tennis vanguard that is Indiana, 30-all is often called deuce, 40-30 "ad in" and 30-40 "ad out." You're right that for all intents, 30-30 and 40-40 are the same thing. On your second point, the solution is obvious: play no-let tennis on serves just as we do during a point.
Certain TV commentators have taken umbrage to foot-fault violations at key times in matches. It seems to me that the rule is there for a reason, and to not call it would be wrong. However, it is viewed like traveling in the NBA: The official is vilified in the rare case that he or she actually makes the correct call. Any thoughts on the rule and its enforcement?
—Colin West, Rochester, Minn.
I'm with you. If the infraction occurs, call it, no matter what the stage of the match. I always get a kick out of fans who boo the foot faults. There's a guy a seated on the court whose sole job is to stare at a player's feet to make sure they don't touch the baseline. Yet some yutz in Row Z is sure he has a better angle.
Why are there no female coaches (aside from Martina Hingis' mother) on the tour?
—D. Joseph, Sydney, Australia
There are a few others, not least Oracene Williams. I think the main reason so few exist is that players can get a better "hit" with a male. Robert Van't Hof, to pick a name, can hang with Davenport in a way that no other woman in the world -- notwithstanding other full-time pros -- can.
As a victim of last Sunday's almost (save Serena's blowout win in a scant 41 minutes) rainout, I'm curious about your take on the U.S. Open ticket replacement/refund policy. Waiting six hours to see 41 minutes of tennis? C'mon! And I had a cheap ($55) ticket. My fondness for the USTA just grows and grows.
—Barbara, Fort Lee, N.J.
You might want to contact the good folks in White Plains and plead your case. According to a USTA spokesman:
The USTA honored tickets turned in at the U.S. Open box office for every ticket holder for these rain-affected sessions:
Wednesday, Aug. 28, Night Session (Session 6, 7 p.m.)
Sunday, Sept. 1, Day Session (Session 13, 11 a.m.)
Sunday, Sept. 1, Night Session (Session 14, 7 p.m.)
Monday, Sept. 2, Day Session (Session 15, 11 a.m.)
We honored tickets from those sessions this past Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
I pitied the folks who came from out of town for Labor Day weekend. They got their money's worth on Saturday, but the night match was forgettable. Sunday was a total wash, barring Serena's cakewalk. Monday's day session was rained out, too. Then, just as the out of-towners had to head home on Monday night, there was a tennis bonanza, as virtually every player saw action and terrific matches like Justine Henin-Daniela Hantuchova were relegated to the intimate courts.
Just as an FYI: If I'm not mistaken, at Wimbledon, if there is less than an hour's play on any day, ticket holders get a full refund. If there's less two hours of play, they're entitled to a 50-percent refund.
At the first drop of rain at Wimbledon, the grounds crew comes running out and puts the tarp down in about five seconds flat. The U.S. Open, however, doesn't use tarps, and once the rains stop it takes a half hour to dry the courts. Why the lack of tarps at the Open?
—David Stern, Charlotte, N.C.
I'm told that tarps work fine on grass but don't do much good on hard courts. A question for you, Mr. Commissioner: Any chance we'll ever see another NBA team in your hometown?
A lot has been written about Corina Morariu's return from cancer, and it is indeed great to see her back on tour. However, wasn't another player at the U.S. Open making a return from cancer -- Sonja Jeyaseelan of Canada?
Sonic Sonya is back on tour, but, fortunately, she never had to battle cancer, as Morariu did. Jeyaseelen, a top-50 player two years ago, had some scary surgery to remove non-cancerous cysts near her brain. Maybe that's where the confusion stems from. Whatever, Jeyaseelan was welcomed back with open arms. One of the tour's more outgoing and lively personalities -- "I'm sort of known as the tour's party girl," she told The Globe and Mail last month -- she has a legion of friends and fans.
During a Tommy Haas match at Louis Armstrong Stadium, I heard him quite loudly use a German word that, if translated into English, might have earned him a code violation. Are referees schooled in the common expletives in German, Spanish, Russian, French, etc., or is this just an advantage that non-English speakers have?
—Linda, New York
In theory, the chair is supposed to know George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" in a variety of languages. But, of course, those who swear a blue streak in a language other than English have a better chance of not getting caught. Call me radical, but if a player swears at himself, as Haas does, does it really warrant a warning or code violation?
Why doesn't Serena Williams have to wear a Sanex patch on her outfit? (Perhaps it was tucked somewhere that we couldn't see? ... No, let's not go there.) I thought at one time this was mandatory, and I remember a top player being fined for non-compliance. Can you explain this to me?
—Sue Wyman, Pittsfield, Mass.
Not a lot of real estate to spare on that catsuit.
Because some top players had pre-existing clothing deals, I believe they were exempted from having to wear the Sanex patch on their dress. As a compromise, they are supposed to wear the patch on other apparel such as warmup jackets and caps.
Although slight of stature, Sebastien Grosjean appears to be an incredibly talented player. What do you think he needs to work on to become a top-five-or-better player?
—Paul, Larchmont, N.Y.
Grosjean is blessed with lots of talent and lots of speed, but I'd like to see a little more zip on his serve and better play when the match is on the line. Last week Grosjean was spotted in the lobby of a midtown hotel playing cards with Mauresmo as they awaited transportation; maybe he should consult with her about a mental upgrade.
I know a lot of tennis players have quirks, but is there anything more annoying than Greg Rusedski pulling up his socks after every point? I'd like to send him some socks that will stay up! How about a list of the top five on-court quirks of tennis players.
—Kim, Alexandria, Va.
Mary Pierce's elaborate ritual of "babe-ing" and "rebabe-ing," as Mary Carillo once put it, has to rank up there. Though he didn't do it much this event, Sampras' knack for flicking the sweat off his brow makes the list. I remember someone complained when Zina Garrison would run in place as she waited to return serve. Agassi goes to the towel between virtually every point. I'd say Jennifer Capriati might have the most annoying quirk, which is no quirk at all: She plays at a clipped pace that suggests she's racing against the clock.
I've been watching the World Basketball Championships, where the crowds seem to be smaller than a second round Voinea-Gaudio match at the RCA tournament. What's with your peeps back in Indy?
—Sergio Molina, Anaheim, Calif.
That's what happens when you schedule a sporting event opposite tennis. Hoosier Nation was home watching Mac and Ted.
What is Greg Rusedski's problem? The guy seems to have a lot of trouble respecting an opponent who beats him. He has blasted Tim Henman and Xavier Malisse after losing tight matches and now refused to call Pete Sampras, by far a superior player, the winner of their U.S. Open match, but insists he lost? As competitive as tennis is, most players (including Lleyton Hewitt, mind you) are relatively graceful in defeat. Personally, I think Rusedski has trouble coming to terms with the fact that he's an average professional player who relies heavily on his one great weapon, the serve, and will never win a Grand Slam. Your thoughts? Am I being too hard on him?
—Steve Philips, Brussels, Belgium
Rusedski, never mistaken for one of the more popular players on tour to begin with, demeaned himself with ungracious remarks re: Sampras. And, of course, by about 8 p.m. on Sunday he looked completely ridiculous. Playing dimestore shrink, let's remember that this is the same guy who, a few years ago, lost a crazy five-setter here to Todd Martin. Two bad losses to two Americans on the same court. I think the guy was incredibly frustrated and felt as though fate had dealt him a lousy hand. Still, he ought to have known better.
Speaking of Grinning Greg and his fantastic lack of sportsmanship and grace, Sam "ATP [A Tennis Poet]" Loriat submitted the following verse titled Mighty Greg Rusedski at the Bat.
Third round of the Open this time the judges should be fair,
but Greg's match with Pete would soon become a nightmare.
It's only eight in the evening but where are the smelling salts,
when in the first set tie-breaker Greg hits two double faults?
The beautiful Lucy looks on helplessly from the stands
as Greg starts missing easy backhands.
The match is getting tight, Greg can't move his feet,
if this continues he will lose to Pistol Pete.
This rainy fortnight in New York is turning to folly,
as Greg misses yet another easy volley.
Late in the fifth, Greg's first serves miss the box,
and all he can do is pull up his socks.
Greg's got a great smile, hope he doesn't forget to floss,
as he ponders yet another Grand Slam loss.
Have a great week, everyone!
Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim covers tennis for the magazine and is a regular contributor to CNNSI.com. Click here to send him a question or comment.