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Mens Singles: Let me start out by patting myself on the back. Yes, I picked Rafael Nadal to win the 2013 US Open. Starting with the Master's event in Canada, and continuing in Cincinnati and New York, Rafa's will to win, and his eagerness to play and compete never appeared greater. His health, spirit, and all around game was at an all time high in my opinion. And he was never seriously challenged for the title. He didn't win it playing defensive clay court tennis, either. He spent most of his time hugging the baseline and looking for chances to attack. The draw broke nicely for Djokovic. His potential quarterfinal match with del Potro did not happen as he lost early. His semi-final showdown with Andy Murray didn't occur when Murray lost convincingly to Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. However, Novak got ALL he could handle in a marathon five set semi-final versus Wawrinka. That had to play a role in his loss to Nadal even with the US Open's first scheduled day off for the men between the semi-final and final in years. For the longest time, the US Open was the only grand slam to play it's semi-final and final on back to back days. This was done to maximize television exposure on Saturday and Sunday. However, with the physical demands of the modern tennis game, it is unfair and perhaps even unsafe to schedule these matches on consecutive days anymore. Kudos to the USTA for this decision. Now let's see if we can get the final played at a time when a lot of people are available to watch it! For the second year in a row, the men's final was played at 5 pm on Monday! That is 2 pm on Monday on the West Coast! Who is watching?
Unfortunately, American men reached a record low at this year's Open. For the first time EVER, no American man made it past the third round of the event. I hope there are some big pointy fingers being pointed at Mr. Patrick McEnroe, general manager of USTA player development. He is getting paid a HIGH six figure salary to be producing American Grand Slam champions. As our American men continue to fall short on the pro circuit, I shake my head whenever I see Mr. McEnroe on tv providing commentary! Would any other industry tolerate a high earning executive to be "moonlighting" in another job when their performance in their "main job" is so lacking? I'd love to hear how you feel about this issue. Please leave your comments at www.facebook.com/ChantillyInternationalTennis
Ladies Singles: I came close to hitting on all cylinders when it came to the US Open women's division. Once again, Serena fooled me! Thank goodness I do not bet on or against Serena or I would be broke. I thought there were only two women who could possibly win this event, and I was right: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. I thought the time was right for the torch to be passed to Azarenka at this event. I was wrong! Serena outclassed the entire competition. At 32, I believe she played the best tennis of her entire career at this year's US Open. She played aggressive tennis, yet consistently kept her unforced errors to a minimum throughout.
I was also right about Serena taking Sloan Stephens out to the woodshed for a good old fashioned spanking in the round of 16. I was at the Open on the middle Sunday and watched this showdown in person. Stephens showed flashes of greatness but was no match for Serena on this day. Stephen's talent is obvious, and her days of winning grand slams are right around the corner. Just not yet.....says Serena!
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