US Open 2020: Day 2

photo credit: Robert Deutsch- USA Today Sports

Let’s just get right into it, shall we?  Last night I was watching the Venus Williams vs. Karolina Muchova match and Patrick McEnroe already had the quote of the tournament: 
“Wow.  That was a beautiful toppy lob.”  “Toppy” lob?  Even my spell check keeps trying to correct it.  He was referring to Muchova’s TOPSPIN lob.
Look, I have nothing against making up funny little names, remember Bud Collins?  But at some point, if they become stupid, please don’t use them.  No one, I promise you, no one will ever use that word referring to a topspin lob.  Who says stuff like that?  Can you say “cringe-worthy?”

I am a huge fan of the players having to get their own towels.  “Like a toddler with a security blanket, some players need that constant towel break in the heat of action as part of the routine.”  – AP Tuesday, September 1, 2020   Stop it.  If I were a ball person, even before COVID, the last thing I’d want to do, is grab a towel full of someone else’s bodily fluids and hand it to them.  It’s akin to picking up someone else’s tissue.  

Listen to what Hailey Baptiste whined about, “I think it definitely puts a little more pressure on you with the time because YOU HAVE TO GO BACK AND FORTH TO GET IT YOURSELF (I added the shouty caps).”  Are you kidding me Hailey?  – AP, Tuesday, September 1, 2020
You’re a professional athlete for crying out load, you’re supposed to go “back and forth,” it’s what you do on the court.  This whole towel thing is out of control.  I love that the players have to get their own towels now.  What’s next, mopping  their sweat for them?  Bottle feeding them their electrolytes? Wiping their….I’ll stop there.   Watch a clip of Ken Rosewall vs. Roy Emerson.  They didn’t even have chairs on the change over and they had Dixie cups of water, which BTW, they got themselves.  

The atmosphere in the Arthur Ashe Stadium is nothing short of eery.  I like the NY skyline seat covers and the weird fan Jumbotron, but doesn’t it feel a little like the Twilight Zone?  Why not play in Louis Armstrong?  It’s a little more intimate and maybe a little less cavernous.  

The BLM video mural is a sign of the times, perhaps a long time coming?  In a stadium named after a man who took this very same platform so many years ago when it was not as prevalent, why not call further attention to this issue?  Arthur Ashe spawned the likes of Naomi Osaka and how incredible it is to watch her and others like her carry his torch.  Like all sports this season, professional athletes and their teams are taking a stance, asking us to rethink the norms that have for so long been our comfort level.  More on this as the tournament progresses.

Also, what’s up with the canned applause when the players take the court after a change-over?  

I loved Serena’s red dress.  I was not a fan of those two red pom moms on the top of her head.  Two red, fuzzy balls?  Why?  She played a tough first set against American  Kristie Ahn and managed to escape an early break in the second.  With many good players opting out of the Open, could this be Serena’s chance to finally win that elusive 24th major? Wait and see…

photo credit: Robert Deutsch- USA Today Sports
Photo credit: Robert Deutsch- USA Today Sports

Chris Evert made the comment that the players of today are no longer afraid of Serena.  She said that they can match her power and speed on the court and don’t have that “awe” factor anymore.  So true, but what Chris failed to point out, is that the fault lies with Serena and her sister Venus.  They raised the bar in women’s tennis,  They created a generation of players who crush every ball, from every angle on every point.  They pushed everyone else to be better, faster, stronger- much like Martina Navratilova did when she stepped into the gym and trained like an athlete.

I was very disappointed with cranky Venus’ pre-game interview.  Look, I get it, the interviews are a pain and the last thing anyone wants to do is answer a canned question that a reporter is forced to ask you….but can we at least be a little less bitchy?  Poor Rennea Stubs got totally slammed by Venus’ answer-non-answer.  No one needs to be rude.

Speaking of Venus, I liked her mauve-colored skirt and top, but did anyone else notice that the material did not hold up so well under sweaty conditions?  Her skirt, a layered, flirty affair, too long in the back to begin with, got even longer and droopier as the match went on.  

Speaking of poorly-made outfits, a friend of mine asked me to look into the Asics outfits that have poorly constructed built-in sports bras….I haven’t been able to find any, but I would advise all female players to look into their sports bras.  Dimmers are an absolute must as well.  

For the first time ever at the Open, Venus Williams went out in the first round.  She’s 40…let that sink in….

Was anyone else impressed with Karolina Muchova’s beautiful form on her serve?  Her motion is effortless and clean.  Her toss is always in the same spot.  She moved her serve into all corners of the box.  I like the variety in her game and her composure playing the Venus Legend.  Plus, her outfit was simple, understated, and fit her perfectly.

The Open has now added a strange new twist to the post game interview.  The winning player  takes a question from a fan via video.  Karolina was asked by some guy, apparently standing in the woods somewhere what her “lucky charms” were.  The guy was a little on the strange side and his delivery unnerved Karolina.  She stumbled through her answer and ran.  Creepy.

Speaking of ageless, did you see Kim Clijsters play last night?  She accepted a Wild Card into the Open and played on Court 17, to a nearly empty venue against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.  Kim said that her second comeback at 37 is a “process.”  Yes, it is, and early on, it looked as if she would cruise through that process, winning the first set in a half-hour, 6-3.  I commented to my in-house tennis expert (my husband), that I wondered how she would fare in the event of a three-setter.  She didn’t look as if she was in fighting shape…fast forward to a tough second set, which she lost 7-5, followed by a wipeout in the third, losing that set 6-1. 

Kim is a tour and fan favorite, the mother of 3 kids, and has her own academy, with which she is actively involved.  While she can still trade groundstrokes with the 25-year-old number one Russian and others like her, she broke down when it came to conditioning and endurance. It’ll be interesting to see how she progresses moving forward.  NOTE:  she wore an outfit that was made by a black woman, small business owner. The gray shirts worn by the umpires and ball kids are dull.

Looking forward to more weird tennis in our strange, new world!

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