Spent 10 hours at the U.S. Open Tuesday, and as always, it was awesome.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The U.S. Open, during the first week of play, is the best value in all of sports. For my $56 grounds pass, I got 10 hours of high-quality tennis, seen up close. In no match that we (my mother, stepfather and wife) watched were we more than 20 feet from the court.
We saw parts of 11 matches; no, I’m not going to recap them all here. Just a few general thoughts from a day at the best tennis tournament in the world:
— Upset of the day was Victoria Duval, a 17-year-old Haitian-American from Florida, who is ranked No. 296, beating former Open champ Sam Stosur, 6-4 in the third. It was one of those electric Open matches where the crowd gets behind the underdog immediately, gets distressed when she falls behind (Duval was down 7-5, 4-2 at one point), and then rallies the underdog to a win she had no business achieving on a normal day.
Just fantastic. And Duval’s backstory is pretty remarkable too; she was held at gunpoint as a child in Haiti for 11 hours, and her father nearly died from an earthquake in 2010.
— Favorite overheard conversation on a day when you sat next to so many strangers in such a tight spot, you heard everything: “Where’s she from? Romania? Where the hell is that? Oh yeah, I’ve been there.”
— Cracks me up how many fans actually dress like they have a match that day. Dude, you’re in the stands, leave the headband and wristbands at home.
— Besides Duval, was very impressed with American hopeful Jack Sock, who won, and a really talented U.S. played named Denis Kudla. Neither will likely win a Grand Slam, but they’re at least capable of making U.S. men’s tennis relevant again.
— As the day gets later fans are able to sneak down to better seats, and for an early-evening match on the Grandstand my wife and I sat third row in the “corporate boxes” behind the players. It truly is terrifying seeing a 130-mph serve coming right at you. Even though I’ve watched tennis forever, the fast-twitch reflexes and reaction time of pro players amazes me.
— Finally, the most exciting match, on and off the court, was one that went to a fifth-set tiebreak, between a Canadian and a Brazilian. You’ve never heard of either player, but it was on an outside court we were near, the fans were crowded around tight like sardines, and the screaming and cheering could be heard all over the grounds. The Canadian guy got a bad call late in the tiebreak and lost the match, and near-fights erupted in the stands between the two nation’s fans. (You know, Canada and Brazil, those traditional enemies.)
Then the chair umpire got booed loudly when leaving the court. Good times.
**I probably should’ve led with this, but I’m not the best self-promoter in the world. Many of you have probably heard of Deadspin, the uber-popular sports website that gets millions of hits a month and has become more and more influential as the years go by (they break many stories, not just ones involving Brett Favre and his you-know-what.)
Anyway, a buddy of mine named Brian Hickey works there, and asked me if I wanted to write something for the site’s “Tuesday Night Fights” section, where a writer watched a random brawl captured on film (the one I wrote about is above).
My piece got published Tuesday night; (I’m the second essay down) Pretty psyched about it. Let me know what you think.
**Finally today, you’ve probably heard about the Miley Cyrus sex show (I mean, performance) she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday.
Here, the satirical website The Onion brilliantly explains why CNN.com put the Cyrus video on its front page Monday.
This letter is fake, but it absolutely, positively could be real.