New York is staging the 141 edition of the US Open. The ill effects of virus has gripped northern America. The US Open is to reiterate Americans ‘tennis is alive in their land and will be so in the future’. USA does feel very strong about the continuity of tennis. The run up of seven [...]


US Open 2021 — the essence of continuity


New York is staging the 141 edition of the US Open. The ill effects of virus has gripped northern America. The US Open is to reiterate Americans ‘tennis is alive in their land and will be so in the future’. USA does feel very strong about the continuity of tennis. The run up of seven events to the US Open started immediately after Wimbledon all crossed North America. Last year’s US Open was struggle. All the same, it happened. The precautionary measures this year are stringent to players. Some are very inconvenient.

The number of attendance into the US Open venue this year bound to be much higher than last year. This year, vaccine certification is compulsory to enter the US Open venue as a spectator. TV coverage will be in full force to counter the ‘venue’ restrictions. These precautions are expensive and require large work force. Such is American spirit and commitment towards continuity of their tennis.

US Open – Qualifiers

Twenty four European women and men went into the main draw from the qualifying rounds along with five Americans, one Australian and one Turk. Watching some of the matches in the electronic medium showed the high intensity of the contest.

The qualification matches began on August 24 and concluded on August 27. A total of 16 women and 16 men qualified. The qualifying rounds carried six million dollars in prize money. At present early rounds of all major events, carry a substantial amount of money to encourage newcomers and to keep the top 200 in the game. This year saw the stream of new names not just playing but also dominating. Professional tennis is all about travelling and playing and it is an expensive business. Professional bodies want money to be big enough for the top 750 players in each gender to make a living playing tennis.

Emma Raducanu of Britain was one of the qualifiers. She was able to squeeze in the cut off mark by reaching the quarter-finals of Wimbledon this year. Her entry into Wimbledon was by wild card. She is just 18 and it shows what it takes to be eligible for the qualifying rounds in Grand Slam events.

Dominant countries

The feature I look for in a Grand Slam draw is the countries which provides most amount of entries. By continent, it is Europe followed by the Americas. The leading nations of Europe are Russia, Czech Republic, France, Germany and USA. Players like Naomi Osaka, an Asian, is a USA grown player.

Playing in the main draw means more than prestige. Money is there. Osaka collected five million as prize money and fifty million in endorsements. In a rough count, players in the top 20 enjoy this formula giving good income. The professional bodies maintain the world ranking. One of the purposes of the world ranking is to enhance player image to be marketable. After all, players’ effective life span is short and their commitment to sports takes a third of their lifetime to prepare and to perform.

Marketability of players shows peculiar straits. In the list of top 10 marketable sport persons of the world Lionel Messi, the footballer, is number one. Only tennis player in the top ten of that list is Bianca Andreescu of Canada, seventh position. Strangely, her name does not appear in the top 10 earners list of women tennis players. Marketability is another ball game.

The Swiss women’s cluster

No one expected Swiss Bencic to win the gold medal in Olympics. They also got and another medal for doubles. Jill Belen Tiechman is the third Swiss women to surface recently. As a wild card entry, she reached the final of Canadian Open. Switzerland is bound to field a strong team for the Billie Jean Cup competition this year. The man behind this Swiss show time is Domonique Utzinger. He is the coach of Golubic of Switzerland. Dominique coached our Davis Cup team few years back. For a nation, cluster formation is the lead into player development.

Energising game – Tsitsipas

Often the first set in tennis gives false likelihood of the outcome, especially if the matches are best of five sets. In the first round match between in the US Open recovering Englishman Andy Murray and New-Gen prodigy Stefanos Tsitsipas, the first three sets gave the impression Murray will win the encounter. It turned out to be otherwise.

At the start, Murray set a pace and placement accuracy that Tsitsipas could not grasp or accommodate. Before too long Murray was up two sets to one. Even taking into account Murray is returning after a long break, what I feel turned the story was, Tsitsipas’ reaction began to accommodate Murray’s pace. Also, Tsitsipas placed Murray in positions from where he could not get his tactical targets. Tisitsipas sustained it to win – easily said, than done.

The mental makeup and the physical need to play to win over five sets is a maturity factor. It happens playing matches. Opponents come in all shapes and forms. Any fixation to play a match is a dangerous approach. Tisitsipas is a very flexible player, currently ranked world’s number three.

Symbolic success

US Open in New York is symbolic. A commitment of USLTA to sustain tennis in the continent. Staging the event directs national energy over the coming year towards tennis and provide the essence of continuity in difficult times.

—George Paldano, Former international player; accredited coach of German Tennis Federation; national coach Brunei and Sri Lanka, coached ATP, WTA and ITF top 200 ranked players, Davis Cup, Federation Cup coach. —   


Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.