US Open Day 1: Remember the fallen.

U.S. Open - Day 1

As Day 1 of the US Open draws to a close, we’re all still reeling from the disgusting talent of Roger Federer. But let us spare a moment to remember those taken from us too soon.

Goodbye, Evgeny Korolev (ret v Nishikori 67 25). This world needs more Baby Marats.

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Au revoir, Dimitry (lost v Melzer, 46 26 63 63 64 26). This world needs more Tursunov tales.

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And Gonzo, for whom years of grind, wear and tear has resulted in some bodily payback.

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James Blake. Technically not out of the tournament. Not yet. But as I watched him being honored during Monday night’s opening ceremonies for overcoming scoliosis, I felt a pang of sadness. Not just because he looked like a bald Obama. But for his fall from relevance. You wish that every tale of resilience and will came with a Hollywood ending.

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And at the end of the day, even Hewitt can’t keep winning grueling 5 setters forever. He lost to Mathieu 6-3 6-4 5-7 4-6 6-1. This was – after all – no real surprise. Even in health and good form, PHM would be a tough first round draw for Rusty, but he made a match of it. In typical Lleyton fashion, he took it to five sets when he had no business losing it in any way other than straight sets. What more can you ask for from a veteran you’ve grown used to, or even like, in the past few years?

But with this loss, very sombre questions are being raised in the Australian media surrounding Hewitt’s future (example). No one enjoys watching a player with 41 wins at Flushing Meadows (bettered only by Fed’s 51 among current players) humbled in the first round. Especially not his home country, for whom Hewitt still represents our best hope at men’s slam glory, which equates to no hope at all.

No. If there is that one last hurrah left in Lleyton, it lies not in an Ivanisevic-like miracle, but in something completely different: in a tournament more prone to upsets, more uplifting at times, though mostly insignificant these days. The Davis Cup.

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They say history has a funny way of repeating itself. What they don’t mention is that most of the time, we are absolutely powerless to stop past mistakes from unfolding.

Dinara Safina is taking the same miserable, self-tortuous path that her brother Marat took not so long ago. The only difference is that Marat got over himself long enough to win a slam or two before he headed for the wild moors of tennis exile.

For Safina fans, her results last week in New Haven sparked some hope, when she beat Dani Hantuchova – her conqueror today. But today, there was no such magic. Even Hantochova’s attempts to implode in both sets couldn’t aid Safina in her quest to reestablish a presence in women’s tennis.

I think we’re done with her for the rest of the year. Possibly the next too. Or even …

Alas. Against the dying of the light, in nostalgia or in the futility of rage, we will remember you.

xx doots

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3 responses to “US Open Day 1: Remember the fallen.”

  1. marcoiac says :

    i wonder if you can give me some insider tips on what’s going on with (or better, what happened to, since hewitt has prolonged an agony that was already visible years ago) aussie tennis. it used to be a great school of tennis. how come the aussies can’t come up with new top players? is just sheer mystery or is there a reason?
    thnks

  2. Katarina says :

    Looking at Lleyton’s points breakdown, I don’t know how he’s even #34. Except for the win in Halle, he’s got little to defend…. he’s got a bunch of zeros in Masters 1000s. And while Roger wasn’t feeling his best, that win in Halle is still pretty impressive. I think if he’s not hurting physically, Hewitt can make another push next year and realistically get his ranking up to between 18 and 25. If he could retire inside the top 20 it would be much nicer for him and his fans, I think.

  3. FortuneCookie says :

    Lleyton’s someone who always seems to come back when people have written him off (like last year,nearly made Wimbly semis not long after being 120 in the world),so I’m hesitant to say that he should retire soon…but yeah,it’s hard to see him being a real threat at all anymore.

    And as for James,I could be totally contradicting myself considering what I just said about Lleyton last year,but I think it’s time for him to go…For him (recently anyway),it hasn’t been entirely injuries that have accounted for his fall,I think it’s just a simple but harsh reality that he’s been passed by.
    Both of them raise a question which I find pretty
    interesting though;is it better to hold off retirement until you are ranked in the 100s but know that you’ve given it your absolute all,or a bit prematurely and on a high of sorts?

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