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2019 U.S. Open Fan Week Media Day Brings Answers And Fandom To Louis Armstrong Stadium

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Louis Armstrong Stadium was alive with talking, screaming and informative 2019 U.S. Open Championship title hopefuls on Friday morning, as Media Day represented one of the many exciting activities that U.S. Open Fan Week has provided.

The bleachers were filled with fans who frequently drowned out the media, and the player being interviewed, whenever one of their favorite  players appeared.  So much so, that the interviewee would yield to the player being thrown chaotic fan love, at least until the noise level died down.

While most of the players attempted to be as forthcoming and responsive as they could be, surprisingly, at least to me, it was Alexander Zverev that placed the most bottom lined response on the table. In response to being asked about his recent losses and how he felt about the upcoming U.S. Open, he responded, “Personal things that I had outside the court, they were a distraction for me. I mean, as I said in the summer, there are a lot of things that I had to do that I didn't do in the last few years, so obviously those kind of things were a new learning process. I'm still a young guy, still only 22 years old. There are still a lot of things that I needed to learn. Not only on the tennis court but in life, in general."

"Those things I think every young person has to go through. The only difference between me and other young people is that I have to play in front of 20,000 people sometimes. You know, that's a little bit extra on you."

“We'll see how it goes, it's the first time in probably a few years where I'm not a favorite in any way at a Grand Slam, and it takes some pressure off, as well. It's a different mindset for me now. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited." 

Media Day provided a truly informative morning.  To review all player interviews, visit usopen.org

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Posted by Shelia
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2018 U.S. OPEN DAY 1: Defending Champion Sloane Stephens Glides Through Round 1 To Defend Her Title

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

On Monday afternoon, Sloane Stephens began her US Open defense with an almost-routine win over Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1, 7-5, in their first career meeting.

The American couldn’t have wished for a better start as she closed out the first set in less than 30 minutes. The world No. 80 didn’t truly settle in until she was down 4-2 in the second set, which helped Stephens shake off some early nerves.

"I was a little bit nervous. I think obviously it's never easy as an American playing in the US Open," Stephens said. "I think I've felt worse nerves than that, playing here before in previous years."

Things are very different for Stephens this time around in New York. The 25-year-old returns as a US Open and Miami Open champion, a world No. 3 and a Nike star, decked out in a bright orange dress.

Another change for Stephens was playing in the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, complete with a retractable roof. It's quite breezy inside thanks to its open-air setup, designed so that when the roof is closed, there’s still a natural atmosphere on court. The new breezeway allows fans to walk and talk during play, and since the slot of open air is barely above eye level, it adds a new challenge for players trying to tune out the noise and movement.

"It was just loud," Stephens said. "There was a lot going on between the airplanes and the subway behind the court, the concessions being in the lower bowl, and people walking in the games at, like, 2-all, 3-all. Yes, it was fun to play first day on a brand-new stadium court. But there was a lot happening. Full article here.

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Posted by Shelia

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2012 US OPEN: Sloane Stephens Out Plays The Very Crafty Francesca Schiavone, Advances To Round 2

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

American Sloane Stephens after defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone on day 2 of the 2012 US Open.

Judging by Sloane Stephens' performance on Louis Armstrong Stadium Tuesday evening, women's tennis is out with the old, in with the new. The 19-year-old American sensation stunned veteran Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-4 in an intense first-round matchup that saw her upset yet another seed in Flushing Meadows, in the same fashion as she did in her debut here last year.

Stephens has had a stellar year since making her presence known at this event last year, when she reached the third round as a wild card and upset two seeds (No. 23 Shahar Peer and No. 16 Ana Ivanovic) en route. In her 2012 season, Stephens has tallied career-firsts, reaching the semifinals of two events, at Washington and Strasbourg, as well as a fourth round appearance at Roland Garros, all of which have played a part in her catapult up the ranks to No. 44. As for former French Open champ Schiavone, who played in her 13th Open this year, the last time she made a first-round exit in New York was in 2001.

The matchup between the rising, fresh-faced American and the fiery, theatrical Italian had high expectations, and the two players didn't disappoint in rally exchanges. Schiavone, the No. 22 seed, began the match with a severe case of service woes, double-faulting five times in her opening service game to hand the early break to Stephens on a silver platter. But her level of play picked up after that, and both players showed off their amazing court speed throughout the match, trading angled drop shots and tracking them down in winning efforts, much to the disbelief of the animated crowd.

Schiavone used high-looping topspin shots to keep Stephens behind the baseline, but the teenager countered her opponent's heavy spin by flattening it out with down-the-line winners, drawing a roar from the crowd with every winner she struck. Faced with battling not only Stephens' power and speed, but also the pro-American crowd and the chair umpire (the two exchanged a few words after Schiavone was warned for losing her temper), the 32-year-old Italian began to commit a slew of unforced errors (36 in the match) that eventually cost her the match.

Source:  usopen.org
Photo by: Getty Images

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2012 US OPEN: New Dad James Blake Makes Good Use Of Wild Card, Advances To Round 2

Monday, August 27, 2012

American James Blake during first round match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia  on Day One of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Native New Yorker and hometown favorite James Blake, now 32 and playing in his 12th US Open, and a new dad as of June, toughed out a lengthy, momentum-killing rain delay and defeated Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round in Louis Armstrong Stadium Monday.

After coming out a bit flat to start the first set, Blake and Lacko traded a slew of unforced errors. As the stands began to fill up with late-arriving supporters, Blake slowly found his rhythm. The 24-year-old Lacko – who hasn’t won a match since losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round at Wimbledon – continued to struggle.

In the first set, after serving his first perfect game of the match to tie the score at 5-5 and breaking Lacko with a cross-court Hail Mary return that just grazed the line, Blake grabbed a 6-5 lead. He served out the set 7-5 with a perfectly placed ace clocking in at 125 mph.

Blake cruised in the second set with the crowd behind him. The American capitalized on an early break of Lacko, and he built an insurmountable lead, finishing the set in 28 minutes.

That momentum vanished after a two-hour rain delay. The veteran Blake appeared stiff when he returned to the court, and he allowed Lacko back into the match, giving up his serve and essentially handing the Slovak the third set.

After trading early breaks in the fourth, Blake survived the brief scare, finally claiming the win on his fourth match point, as he confidently stepped around a backhand and crunched a forehand down the line.

source:  usopen.org
photos by: Getty Images

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Posted by Shelia
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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 4: Serena Is Taking No Prisoners!

Friday, September 2, 2011

 Serena Williams, USA

In 2010, Venus Williams tried for a US Open title with her sister sidelined. This year, the roles are reversed, as Serena Williams continued her summer comeback Thursday, defeating Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-0, 6-1.

The win comes one day after Venus removed herself from the main draw, citing a recent diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome - an autoimmune disease where white blood cells can damage the vital organs of the body and cause fatigue and joint pain. Serena, who herself has battled medical maladies such as foot lacerations, a hematoma and a pulomary embolism since her last Open appearance in 2009, steamrolled Krajicek - a qualifier - in a tidy 49 minutes to make it two-for-two for her inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in the last 48 hours.

The abrupt announcement shocked many in the tennis world and created a Google search rush on "Sjogren's Syndrome." Yet, despite being concerned as any family member would be, Williams revealed that putting her sister out of her mind "wasn't that difficult."

"I know she's a fighter and she's really strong," Williams said. "She's great. I think she's really happy now that she knows what it is after all this time. I think, if anything, it's gonna help her now to treat it and go forward."

The three-time Open champion channeled the dominant form she displayed in years past, when she was winning titles in 1999, 2002 and 2008. As the crowd in Ashe shouted words of encouragement to the American favorite, Williams fired 10 aces and converted five-of-six break point opportunities.

Krajicek, meanwhile, did not convert her only opportunity to break in the match and committed 18 unforced errors. Very little went right for the 21-year-old journeywoman, making her first main draw appearance since 2007 when she also lost in the second round. The victory was so lopsided that when Krajicek finally won a game, a soaring roar of applause met her modest triumph - it was just one of those days.

"I told her after the match: 'Welcome back,'" said Williams of Krajicek. "I know she's been going through a really tough time, and not to be discouraged - I hope she doesn't because she's played well.

"She qualified here and won a round, and she never gave up today no matter what the score looked like. I thought it was a really tough match. It was good for her and, you know, she's still young. Her whole life is ahead of her."

Williams defeated Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, 6-1, 6-1, in her first match since losing in the '09 semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Seeded 28th, Williams could be involved in a star-powered clash on Saturday should No. 4 Victoria Azarenka advance over Argentina's Gisela Dulko. The two play later in the day inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.

If it is Azarenka, Williams believes that she will "definitely be the underdog."

"(Azarenka) has been doing everything good," Williams said. "She moves her feet I think better than anyone on tour, to be honest. She's always moving, and that's really enabled her to get ranked high where she is and have such a great year ... I feel like I have nothing to lose in this match if I have to play her."

source: usopen.org

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