That was some Open.
Not only did we have some great matches, upsets, and surprises, we also saw the downside with Serena’s meltdown and that darn, pesky rain.
And that may be the story of this Open. We had the good and the bad as well. For all the good Kim Clijsters, Melanie Oudin, and Caroline Wozniacki brought the sport, everyone was still talking about Serena Williams threatening the lineswoman in the Semifinals.
Yet, all of that is needed. The only way tennis can grow is to go through the bad and learn from its mistakes. Do they put on a roof? Do they make the rules harsher for outburst at on court officials? These are questions the governing agencies will have to answer.
At the same time, we have met Oudin, Wozniacki, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Yanina Wickmayer, all of whom look like future stars on tour and could move up to elite status. Tennis rich countries like Belgium and the United States have their newest torchbearers, while Argentina and Denmark can begin their histories.
All in all, this was a great Open. Anytime you have a 5-set final – and the first one in 10 years – you have a memorable tournament.
But let’s take a closer look at the good, bad, and ugly from Flushing Meadows.
The New Stars – New York was introduced to Melanie Oudin and fell in love. The normal kid attitude and fighting spirit gave the American tennis its newest hope. She’s only 17 and seems to have a very bright future ahead.
Then we had Wozniacki and Wickmayer, 19 year-olds who played each other in the semis. Wozniacki looks to be a star with an aggressive, but defensive game, while possessing a very pleasant demeanor and stunning good looks. Wickmayer lost her mother when she was 9 years old, and convinced her father to move to the US to learn tennis. Ten years later, it’s paying off.
Finally, 20 year-old Del Potro stunned the tennis world by beating Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals and Roger Federer in the finals. His on the mark serve and laser like forehand will make him an elite for a long time.
Welcome Back Kimmy – Kim Clijsters fully came back, winning the woman’s title in her only third tournament, proving there’s life after motherhood.
The Unlikely Pair – The team of Travis Parrott and Carly Gullickson won mixed doubles after getting together two days before the tournament. The unseeded team made themselves known in the tennis world.
That First Saturday – Let’s see, Oudin beat Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick went out in a five set classic to John Isner, and No. 1 seed Dinara Safina goes out. There may not have been a more exciting day at the Open in years.
The First Week Weather – Sure the rain marred the last weekend, but that first week was beautiful, and the weather made Flushing Meadows a very pleasant experience.
The Lack of a Villain – Too bad Federer is a nice guy. If he was a jerk, his loss to Del Potro would have been just so much sweeter to watch. Imagine the ‘Roog—Ahh” chants coming down from the rafters, which are usually reserved for Roger Clemens on the baseball diamond. But Federer is a classy individual and a great champion. Tennis needs some sort of villain for everyone to hate.
Or maybe it needs a people’s champ like Phil Mickelson is in golf of Andre Agassi was in Flushing just a few years ago. Unfortunately there’s just no one out there to fill the role.
Bad Andys – Both Roddick and Andy Murray went out before the playoff rounds, which is disappointing. Both were somewhat favorites (Federer is the only true favorite), but neither could get through. Roddick lost a five set third round match to John Isner, while Marin Cilic took out Murray in straight sets, and the Scotsman didn’t really show up.
The Rain – The last Friday was a washout and the next day had an eight hour delay. The press screamed for a roof on Arthur Ashe, which is more of a pipe dream, since the place may not physically be able to hold a roof. Yet something has to be done.
Serena’s Meltdown – Serena losing her Semifinal match with Clijsters made for a very ugly story which showed the dark side of tennis. Something may have to be done, even though Serena did apologize and was fined. Yet new rules may go into place to protect the officials.
Oudin’s Family Affair – Just hours after losing to Wozniacki, Si reported that Oudin’s parents are getting a divorce because her mother was sleeping with coach Brian de Villiers. This only proves that no matter how normal the kid, the family can still be dysfunctional.