• I happened to catch that as well and agree with Stephen. Led by John McEnroe, the talking didn't back down, even Patrick McEnroe who was in an exceedingly awkward position, given that he is colleagues with most of the USTA personnel that came in for a grilling. We expect J-Mac to pop off, but when Darren Cahill, no one's loose cannon, starts firing salvos, we're really on to something. Said Cahill: "There's no strong or visible leadership from the ATP."
I caught Andy Roddick in the hallway and he, too, didn't shy from discussing issues of leadership and unions when asked. He pointed out the difficulty -- impossibility? -- of an organization representing both players and events, labor and management. He also noted that organizing players isn't easy. There are different languages, different agendas, different cultures with different views about organized labor. What's more, Lakers guard Derek Fisher can afford to devote most of his waking hours to improving wages and working conditions. What top player -- trying to make his nut and faced with a finite career shelf life -- can sit in front of oak-paneled conference rooms all day?
Here's what I don't get: What triggered this outrage? Working conditions. The players felt that the conditions were not sufficiently safe for play, that the courts were still slippery. Before Rafael Nadal took the court, he complained about the ATP not keeping him abreast of his start time. After he left the court this afternoon, he is said to have muttered to the USTA, "All you think about is money."
Yet where's the outrage and the chatter and the organized demonstrations over ... the prize money? The U.S. Open will make well in excess of $200 million in gross revenue. Prize money is barely ten percent of that. (Take that, Billy Hunter!) Seems to me that the players are well in their rights to think seriously about a union. But given how poorly they're paid relative to athletes in other sports, you wouldn't think that slippery courts would be triggering the call to bargain collectively!
• Excellent question. Not to rain on anyone's parade -- rain being a dominant theme today -- but I could see the ATP in 2016 or so resembling the women's game. Here are the leading candidates: Bernard Tomic (quarterfinalist at Wimbledon; ousted here with such a lackluster effort that Pat Rafter was cursing under breath in the tunnels after). Grigor Dimitrov (talent is obvious; consistency has been elusive). Milos Raonic (lots of game and poise but you already worry about injuries). Ryan Harrison (jury's still out).
• All depends what you want. If you're new to tennis or don't get to many events and just want to see the best player, you park yourself at Nadal's match. If you want the most competitive match, you might gamble with Roddick-Ferrer, a top five player and a former champ here. If you're me, you're at the Grandstand watching Murray-Young.
• As a wise man once said, "You gotta love this sport, to love this sport." They are truly dedicated individuals. In absolute wages, they would not appear to be paid exorbitantly. It's probably worth pointing out that their lodging is covered, as is their air, ground transport and meals. Only half the most highly accredited umpires are here, many of them protesting the rate of pay. A USTA spokesman told me yesterday that the organization is comfortable with the level of pay. This is a more complex issue than it might seem. There are ATP officials, ITF officials and WTA officials. There is favoritism. There is some in-fighting. We'll follow this in the coming months.
• Agree. Until the roof is built, it's time to stop the three-day first round.
• Yes and no. Both are likable, genial personalities endowed with great talent. And both need to ramp up their physical fitness. And both tend to be the tennis Washington Generals, often coming out on the short end of classic matches. But give Kuznetsova more credit here. She's a two-time Grand Slam champion. Baghdatis has been to one major final -- and that was more than five years ago.
• The USTA and Ashe have come in for such a beating today I'm glad we could balance things a bit.
• Wow, what a great statistic! The USTA didn't deny that the courts were slower. The USTA denied -- and I believe this -- that it was intentional. The courts were laid in mid-summer. Because of the rain, there wasn't much play on the courts, which speeds them up. Also the rain prevented some of the heavy duty washing that rinses away the grit and sand. Predictably, as the courts have seen play and the courts have been washed at night, they've sped up.
• Our limerick contest is off to a good start. A Dunlop Biomimetic racket is up for grabs. The leader in the clubhouse, Marjorie Kane of Virginia Beach:
• Chris Evert will be hosting the re-launch celebration of Ellesse on Friday, September 9th from 5:00 -- 7:30 pm at Town Tennis Club in NYC.
• Dave Seminara claims
• On the day Jimmy Connors beat Aaron Krickstein, Steffi Graf was set to play the next match. Twice she was asked if she wanted to move her match to the Grandstand so she wouldn't have to wait. Both times
• It seems like a year ago already, doesn't it? But
• John of Greenville: Yesterday you stated, "Between John Isner, Irina Falconi, James Blake and Steve Johnson, it's been a nice event for college tennis."
• Chad of Orlando: