• He started swinging on the American hard courts. Good soldier, your tennis channel lists over here.
There has been a lot of questions and chatter on social media about Novak Djokovic and his status at the US Open. Let’s avoid litigation over the Covid protocol, its logic and its bad logic. Let us avoid the semantic debate of anti-decay, pro-choice and anti-science. Let’s resist the easy game of turning this into a referendum on Djokovic versus the USTA, as John McEnroe – who, of all people, should know better – seems to have done. Just a few factual points:
1) Denying entry to non-vaccinated non-citizens is not USTA policy, let alone one specifically targeting Djokovic. It is the policy of the federal government that the USTA has chosen to pursue without opposition.
2) We already got a live clarification to re: what chaos can happen when a tennis tournament goes against the government. You can’t blame the USTA for avoiding the Australian Open fiasco. The USTA basically said, “Whatever you guys ask us to do, we won’t fight it.”
3) Read the policy and There are exceptions for non-citizens who are not vaccinated. At first glance, a professional tennis player, even if he’s a prolific, doesn’t seem to fit these categories. Furthermore, the USTA has explicitly said that it will not seek an exemption or exemption for any player.
4) Give some credit to Djokovic on this point: he’s familiar with politics, he’s made a decision; He is ready to deal with the consequences; He does not push for special treatment. Comparing Djokovic to Muhammad Ali It makes for an awful hot trick. But we must mention that Djokovic is not martyred. His fans are doing it for him.
5) Is it possible that Djokovic could play in 2020 and 2021 and could not play in 2022? Or that an unprotected Tennys Sandgren can play while Djokovic can’t? On his face, no. But inconsistency is a way of life. Especially in the event of a pandemic, where targets and data are on the move.
6) It’s late July. Policy can change. Djokovic’s position could change. Both are unlikely. To call a great sports cliché, that’s what it is. Politics – again, government policy, not USTA policy – is X. Djokovic’s position is Y. The result is Z.
So it goes.
7) I cannot recall that a player (athlete?) was as polarizing and magnetic as Djokovic. Can we all agree that this is a great reality pattern. Here is a great player of all time, on the threshold of history, at the age of 35. He may miss two major teams this year, not because of injury or illness but because of a voluntary decision. Some of you will say “If he just got one vaccine, billions of people around the world got it – not because they necessarily wanted to, but because there is a collective responsibility – and we wouldn’t be here.” Others will say: “Good for him because he stuck to his convictions.” Can we all simply stop and admire that with all the permutations and combinations we’ve taken into account in the goat race, who saw this coming?
[Osaka] She literally dropped her coach… and so did Pliskova example earlier this month. Where were the thinkers about that?!
• Last week, two sources told me that Osaka suddenly separated from her team, and was rethinking her organization, including bringing her father back into the fold; In general, she was reassessing her place in the sport and what tennis meant to her. The coach, Wim Fissette, soon confirmed the split on Instagram. She was able to establish that the coach, Daniel Ball, is relatively new to the company, and he split with Osaka as well.
I tweeted just as much. The responses were fast, furious, and generally triangular. 1) Bad media. 2) How about… Pliskova, Sinner, Halep, etc. 3) Leave her alone.
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Let’s bombard the truth. We are all sensitive to Osaka, its challenges, and its unique personality. But that must be weighed against news judgment and independent reporting. Here is a player who has won four major tournaments since 2018; Who wins tens of millions of dollars in addition to prize money; Which – especially after the sudden retirement of the former No. 1 champion – is so influential in women’s tennis that the WTA Tour is all about closing a nine-figure private equity deal. In the last 90 days, you haven’t won a match. But it separated from its previous management group; She entered the management game herself; She signed with a controversial player – she reached the Wimbledon final and is also accused of domestic violence – and has now split from her team.
It is difficult to make an objective case that this is not newsworthy. It is difficult to make an objective argument that must go unnoticed. It is difficult to make an objective argument that its remarkable recognition of fragility should trump coverage. And “whataboutism” falls, as is often the case. Karolina Pliskova is not a four-time winner. Jannik Sinner doesn’t generate $60 million in income out of court. All sorts of pixels, print and broadcast time are allotted to Sinner’s shake moves, Simona Halep’s recent curious moves for the staff, etc.
Bigger point: Jay-V or varsity? Independent coverage — not fan sites, not curated social media, not self-serving press releases — is a sign of heaviness, not weakness. A big player miss the events because of his refusal to vaccinate? Kyrgios allegations of domestic violence? A legend who misses a historic opportunity because the championship does not provide her with a fleet of cars? These are not fun stories. It may not reflect well on the player you support. But it is related. Failure to recognize them may protect the individual in the short term but is detrimental to the sport.
If they’re ever going to break Europe’s versus the ridiculous Laver Cup’s world format, this is the year, and here’s how. (It’s fictional, so I’m going to assume everyone below will participate.)
The old team (or rehab team or team pain or whatever you want to call it)
Britain’s Andy Murray
Alternate: Dominic Thiem
Captain: Juan Martin del Potro (sorry, Björn Borg, you were a legendary player, but you didn’t attend anything for this event)
The best six players you can get from anywhere in the world, preferably under 30 years old (or even 25 years old). Assuming the Russians are not allowed to play in London, the team might look like this:
Alternate: Hubert Hurkacz
Captain: Nick Kyrgios (Yeah, that’s right) (Thanks for your service, McEnroe brothers, but you never win, and you were wronged 14-1 last time; if this is a real competition, it’s costing you your job)
Wouldn’t that be interesting, with all the star power and the cross-generational clash? Wouldn’t the new team have a real shot, despite losing 72-0 in the big companies?
• The Laver Cup contains all kinds of recommended items. It is net positive (forgive the pun) and should be commended. But it can also be improved. At a time when there is one American – a beloved man but one with two professional titles – in the top 12, we need a new dimension to divide the teams against.
Here’s the answer: we need a dribbling-ball-style draft. In addition to equity, it is valuable. (Who do you prefer, Zverev or Tsitsipas? How much do you put in my Jack Sock husbands? It will be more strategic when we do the right thing and add the women. Done! Next!
I was wondering how players/journalists/historians feel about the standing of each discipline? The winner always says “This major is the one I always dreamed of winning when I was a kid” but I take that with caution. For example, in golf, the PGA Championship has always been relegated to 4th place in prestige, and the Open Championship has been in third place, similar to the Australian Open players, who were not always amenable to long-distance travel. In my humble opinion, I feel Wimbledon should be 3rd because the average person doesn’t play on turf, the Australian who is 4th because a lot of the pros got past it that day, France No. 2, US Open No. 1.
Eric Buczyn, Manorville, Long Island
• A great question. And I would admit that this is a true virtue of tennis: the four elements are very different but there is no clear hierarchy. Over the years, the Australian Open was fourth away unanimously. Ringo Majors, if you will. But Tennis Australia deserves a lot of credit for catching up. Each specialty has many advantages and few disadvantages. Dirty thumbnails, I would say:
4) Australia: Profiles of relaxed and optimistic players on a democratic surface. Fun atmosphere. Nice and easy city. The drawback: Climate change is the bane of this event in the long run. More Immediately: It may happen in a remote area for most of the world it may remove a bit of publicity if not prestige.
3) Roland Garros: A glorious event in a glorious city. Disadvantage: Clay is not everyone’s favorite surface. It is the smallest place among the four.
2) Wimbledon: The history, the prestige, the traditions … the grass, the surface on which few people play.
1) US Open: The sheer size. And the end-of-summer hard-court event (which usually offers more prize money than any other discipline) is as much a testament to durability as it is to tennis. The drawback: clutter (and traffic) isn’t for everyone.
But again, I don’t think there is an obvious weak link or a distinctly superior major. Different tastes, different priorities. I’m not sure there is that kind of natural parity in other sports.
John, simple question:
Is there a better doubles player on the planet than Jack Sock?
Gregory S. Sag Harbor
• There is no.
Wimbledon final nick Kyrgios He landed a wild card in the 2022 Western and South African Championships, where he was runner-up in 2017. This will be Kyrgios’ sixth appearance in Cincinnati and his first since 2019.
New Balance and rising tennis star, Coco Gauff, have officially announced their first signature sneaker with the brand. The New Balance Coco CG1 is a ’90s-inspired mid-top silhouette built using the brand’s most innovative performance technology in a timeless design built to transcend sport and fashion. Current World #11 made his CG1 Pompey colorway debut on the court last night at the Atlanta Tennis Open.
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