It’s that most wonderful time of year for me, late August, which means the U.S. Open is here, and the next three weeks will be nothing but bliss (Yeah there will be more tennis than usual in this space the next few weeks.)
I’m going as a fan and as a journalist this week to the qualifying tournament, the best bargain in sports (free). My guy Reilly Opelka, the 6-foot-10, 17-year-old phenom I’ve written about here before, is trying to qualify for the men’s draw, and in two weeks will be a favorite to win the boys junior event as well.
I cannot express in words how much I love the Open, for reasons just like this one: Tuesday I saw a 16-year-old play 2.5 hours of scintillating tennis against a 44-year-old.
Seriously. Cici Bellis (above) just turned 16, and Kimiko Date-Krumm is about to be 45. There are TWENTY-EIGHT years between them (or as a wag on Twitter pointed out, a whole Maria Sharapova between them).
I had fun thinking of the huge generational gap between them during the match: Date-Krumm was three years into her first career retirement when Bellis was born. Nixon was President when Date-Krumm was born; Bill Clinton when Cici hatched.
And on and on (Believe me, I bored the people sitting next to me with more trivia, you’re the lucky ones.) Anyway, it was the kind of match you only see in tennis, with an age gap like that (and I’m certain that’s a record for biggest gap between opponents).
Date-Krumm started out fast, winning the first set before, oh, 200 fans. Bellis, who made a big splash by winning a round at last year’s Open, dominated the second set. The third set was tight, there was a truly horrible call by the chair umpire at a crucial point at 4-all, and Bellis won.
It was great. And wonderful to see a player at the start of her career face a player at the end, and for a couple of hours, they were pretty much equal.
God I love tennis. God I love the U.S. Open.
**Next up today, this is bloody brillant and hilarious. A man named J. Matthew Turner has given us a fantastic “alternate reality” version of “The Karate Kid,” arguing in a compelling (and superbly funny) way that Johnny and the Cobra Kai aren’t the real villains of the movie, that it’s actually punk, sociopath Daniel who deserves our boos.
If you love this movie as much as I do, you’ll be side-splittingly laughing at least 3-4 times (especially the Halloween party scene analysis).
**Finally today, you know I love reporters, so I feel badly when they accidentally screw up. Then I laugh about it like everyone else.
This poor woman from KTLA in Los Angeles was interviewing Andrew, a 4-year-old, on his first day of pre-K classes. Andrew was doing great until the reporter, Courtney Friel, asked about missing his mom.
And then, the waterworks started.
Nice job, lady. Why don’t you tell Andrew the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny while you’re at it.
No worries, Andrew’s Mom, a real hero, gave him a hug off-camera a few seconds later.