Tag Archives: Lleyton Hewitt

Some thoughts on a fabulous first week at the U.S. Open. And a football team plays with 10 men to honor a fallen teammate, and scores a TD


I have been extraordinarily blessed this year in many ways, with the latest wonderful gift my having acquired a full press credential to the 2015 U.S. Open, thanks to the rising fortunes of my American junior star Reilly Opelka, who I’ve been covering for a long time.

As such, I have been here at Flushing Meadows almost non-stop since Tuesday morning, and am enjoying every damn second of it. I’ve been doing some freelancing for new places (hello, Buffalo News and Wilmington News-Journal readers!), hob-nobbing with some of my tennis writing/broadcasting heroes (spent five minutes with the amazing Mary Carillo Sunday; she’s fantastic) and seeing some fabulous tennis.

I’ll try to keep this relatively coherent but my brain’s been overloaded with lots of great stuff and I’ve been in the sun a lot this week.

Herewith, some thoughts from a fantastic opening seven days of the U.S. Open…

— Best thing I’ve seen, Part 1: Donald Young, a former phenom who was once hyped as the future of American tennis, but then never quite lived up to it. I saw him on Court 17 Tuesday come back from two sets down to beat the No. 11 seed, Gilles Simon.
Then, improbably, he fell behind two sets again on Friday, to Viktor Troicki on the Grandstand court, the best place to watch a match here. With the crowd going nuts on every point, Young fought back to win the final three sets, punctuating the win on match point here.

I was at the top of the stands for the final set, and it was an insane atmosphere; crowd was screaming on every point, and even the yahoos chanting “U-S-A!” U-S-A-!” didn’t bother me that much. (OK I lied, it did bother me. Does every international sporting event have to turn into a xenophobic “we’re No. 1” contest?)

Nothing better than the Grandstand court during a great match.

— Best thing I saw, Part II: The last U.S. Open match of Lleyton Hewitt was also fabulous on Thursday; he played fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic, and believe me when I tell you a stadium full of Australian fans cheering and chanting is about as much fun as it gets. Hewitt got down two sets, won the next two, went up 5-3 in the fifth, and then somehow lost the last four games. Again, the crowd made it special.

— You really don’t appreciate how hard, and how accurate, pro tennis players hit the ball until you sit down close. Madison Keys on Friday night hit the cleanest, most powerful shots I saw all week. She obliterated her opponent, and I thought for sure she had a good chance to beat Serena Williams yesterday.

And she didn’t come close. That’s how good Serena Williams is.

— Two Serena thoughts: 1, She first won the Open in 1999, and now she’s going to win it in 2015. Sixteen years apart, that’s never been done before. 2, she plays Venus on Tuesday night, and how dramatic and incredible would be if her big sister stopped her Grand Slam?

— Did a mid-tournament podcast with my Twitter e-migos Jonathan and James over at The Body Serve; give it a listen here if you want to hear three tennis nuts have a good time.

— So here’s something I wished I’d seen: A flying drone crashed in Louis Armstrong Stadium Thursday. During a match. Didn’t hurt anybody, thankfully. But that had to have been weird to see.


— They honored the legendary tennis writer/broadcaster Bud Collins Sunday morning in a dedication ceremony, officially naming the media center after him. It was a sweet, beautiful tribute, with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and other luminaries there. Two great pieces on Bud that I read Sunday: this one by Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated, and Mike Lupica, Bud’s best friend in the media, penned an ode to Bud as well.

— Nothing like seeing the “professionalism” of European media members openly cheering loudly at matches for their countrymen. That would be, um, frowned upon here in the U.S.

— Finally, this bothered me to no end: I saw a bunch of people throughout the week dragging strollers with babies in them around the grounds. Really? This seemed like a good idea, bringing your baby or toddler to the Open for 7-8 hours in 90-degree heat, schlepping them up and down stadium stairs? Sometimes I just don’t get people.

**Finally today, Arkansas Tech is a Division II college football team, and earlier this year a teammate, Zemaric Holt, unexpectedly died at age 21.

He was a defensive player, so to honor him, Arkansas Tech decided to start the first game of the season, on the first play, with only 10 men on defense.

And then this happened…

Very cool…

A glorious day as marriage equality comes to New York. A crazy soccer celebration. And the shot of Wimbledon

Follow me on Twitter here. And check out my daily Wimbledon blog here.

“New York made a powerful statement. Not just for the people of New York, but people all across this nation. We reached a new level of social justice this evening.” — Governor Andrew Cuomo

Today is a glorious day for those who believe we really are all created equal.
A glorious day for the opponents of intolerance and bigotry, and hatred.
Just before 11 p.m. Friday night, the New York state senate passed a law that will finally allow gay couples to marry in the state.

The third-most populous state in these United States has made it legal for gays and lesbians to do the most simple and time-honored tradition known to man: get married.

It was a spectacular, spine-tingling moment, hearing the roll called, then the vote total announced, followed by whooping and cheering and chants of “U-S-A!” going up in the New York state capitol building.

Major kudos to the four Republicans who voted for this bill, though I continue to fail to see why this is a left/right political issue. The Republicans who voted for it deserve a lot of credit.

And young Governor Cuomo is quickly establishing himself as a serious political force. He’s gotten NY’s unions to agree to concessions, is on his way to balancing the budget, and had a major role in getting this legislation passed. Maybe we were just one generation too early, expecting a President Cuomo.

It’s a wonderful day for all who believe in equal rights. Take it away, Sam Cooke…

**Couple quick videos to entertain you on this Saturday. First a very cool shot by Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon the other day. He lost the match, but this was an incredible play:

And then a very cool celebration by a soccer player for the Seattle Sounders after he scores a goal. Watch the replay starting at 0:58 to see a pretty cool move:

Celebrities charging to know a baby’s name? And LeBron jerseys for the homeless

Two sort of but not really sports-related stories for your Wednesday pleasure:

I’m pretty much immune to disgusting celebrity behavior. The debauchery of Lindsay, Paris, Rusell Crowe, etc. pretty much go in one ear and out the other.
But this … this strikes me as wrong on so many levels.
Australian tennis great Lleyton Hewitt and his drop-dead gorgeous wife, Bec, announced the birth of their third child, a girl, last weekend.
Great news, lovely couple, yawn.
Except here’s what got my attention: If you’re a fan of Lleyton and/or Bec and want to find out the baby’s name, you have to subscribe to a text messaging service and pay $2 a message.
Seriously. I’m not making this crap up. You have TO PAY money to find out what the bleeping kids name is!
Yes, Hewitt is one of many athletes abroad (I’ve yet to hear of this being big in the States) who use Text A Star, a personal, behind the scenes look (yeah, right) at what goes on in celebrities’ lives.
This is what Hewitt sent out regarding the baby, via his website:

 “Bec, Mia, Cruz and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family last Tuesday. Mum and baby are great! Dad, big sister and brother elated.
“The name of the new addition will be sent through Text a Star later in the week.”
And somewhere up in heaven, Alexander Graham Bell weeps silently.

**So LeBron James, a man who in one summer went from the most beloved player in the NBA to the most loathed thanks to the worst public relations a person could ever have, started his new career with the Miami Heat Tuesday night.
And his Heat lost. But who cares about that. I love this story: LeBron’s old Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys were being burned or thrown away by angry Cavs fans.
So an enterprising dude named Chris Jungjohann decided to start a collection of unwanted LeBron jerseys, and shipped them off to Miami.
To be given to homeless people.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Click the link and definitely check out the photos, they’re hilarious.
This reminds me of the story I read once, about what happens to all the old and inaccurate Super Bowl and World Series T-shirts that get printed up and never used. Before a championship game, T-shirts bearing each team’s name and logo are printed.
When the losing team loses, all that gear is shipped off to foreign countries, never to be seen in the U.S. again.
So somewhere in Africa today, there are kids walking around with “Buffalo Bills, Super Bowl Champions” T-shirts. And feeling very happy about it.