World No. 3 Rafael Nadal was the big attraction on Wednesday at the US Open, rolling over former Top 10er Richard Gasquet, who is attempting to get back to form after being handed a suspension for a trace amount of cocaine in a drug test.
“Yeah, it’s tough, of course, to come back, because I stop [playing for] three months,” Gasquet said. “I played my last tournament in April in Roma, so I stopped three months. It’s a lot. I couldn’t practice. If you have this kind of [worry], you will see you won’t [want] to [practice].”
Unlike Martina Hingis’ trace doping find, Gasquet’s sentence was reduced and he is back on tour.
“If in the beginning of the year someone will tell you you will win the four Grand Slam and you will be tested for cocaine, for sure I will tell I will [be more likely to] win the four Grand Slams,” Gasquet said. “Incredible, but that’s happen. Now it’s finished and I can play, and that’s the most important for me.”
Gael Monfils, still dealing with injury, nonetheless dispatched of fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
“I think I still have a little problem with my knee and I have to make sure,” Monfils said. “My wrist is getting better, so I’m quite good. But 100 percent? Not really.”
World No. 1 Roger Federer walked through a minimal-effort night match against German Simon Greul 6-3, 7-5, 7-5.
Other Top 10 winners on the day were (6) Juan Martin Del Potro topping Argentine countryman Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-3, 6-1, and (9) Gilles Simon beating Spain’s Gimeno-Traver 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Other notable winners were (31) Lleyton Hewitt setting up a meeting with Federer, (24) Juan Carlos Ferrero beating Fabrice Santoro in the Frenchman’s last US Open, and Jurgen Melzer beating Marat Safin in the Russian’s last US Open.
Melzer ended Safin’s last US Open appearance before he retires at the end of the year, defeating the Russian 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s okay. It’s the end,” the former No. 1 said. “So just it’s the last one. Could have been better ending, but still okay. I’m looking forward to afterwards my career, so I have no regrets.”
Thursday’s highlights at the US Open are (21) James Blake vs. Olivier “The Roach” Rochus, Marc Gicquel vs. (5) Andy Roddick, (4) Novak Djokovic vs. Carsten Ball, American Robert Kendrick vs. (20) Tommy Haas, and John Isner vs. Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Venus Williams on being a new part owner of the Miami Dolphins with the season kicking off: “Always following my team, and I’m a South Florida woman. My home team. It’s just been a great journey throughout my life, and this has been beyond my dreams. I’m looking forward to participating in everything I can, especially in the South Florida charities, you know, working with the Dolphins, with our team for that, so that’s going to be great for me. Looking forward to an opening home game after the Open.”…
Marat Safin says he never thought he would make it on the pro tour, and almost chose playing college tennis in the U.S.: “I would never think in a thousand years that I will be anywhere closer to even to Top 100. It was a mission impossible basically. Just give it a shot, try your best, and just to find your way in life. Whatever happens, happens. I was about to go to the college in the States, so…”…
Marat Safin telling the press (and Serena Williams) to lay off her sister Dinara: “Well, everybody is hard on her why she’s No. 1. You have this contest issue, is she a real No. 1 or not? You open the page, she made eight double faults, 43 unforced errors. She struggled, almost lost to 18 years old. Who cares? I mean, she’s No. 1 in the world. I have to protect my sister. The poor girl, she’s trying her best. She’s doing really well. She gets the attention, but not the kind of attention that a person deserves, especially when you’re No. 1 in the world. Everybody is giving her hard time about, ‘Are you really No. 1 in the world?’ Yes, yes, she’s really No. 1 in the world. Go check on the ranking. She didn’t do the ranking. Apparently there is some guy who made the ranking. On this ranking, she’s No. 1 in the world. Serena, she didn’t say — even though she won two Grand Slams this year, she’s No. 2. Sorry, but that’s the way. Deal with that. I’m just — personally, I’m really like, I have to protect her. I feel like she deserve a little bit more than what she’s getting right now. I think she’s playing ?– you can’t imagine how crazy she is about sport. I don’t think there is one person in the world who is more professional than her. Everybody is like hitting on her and giving her a hard time about this, how many, what happened to this serve, what happened this, what happened with that? Leave her alone. Give her a little bit less questions. So it’s just all to you guys. Make her happy. That’s it.”…
Richard Gasquet got into it with some journalists at his post-match conference who wanted to ask him additional questions about his cocaine doping suspension after he said he no longer wanted to talk about it…
Amelie Mauresmo on not wanted to answer a question talking about the flaws of players such as Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva: “You know what? I don’t know. I don’t know. Who am I to just — I don’t know how they’re working. I don’t know in what state of mind they are. I don’t know how they feel physically. I just — you know, they know the best, and they can the best choose and see who’s better to help them and how and what. It’s so personal. I’m glad I’m not a journalist to write on this.”…
Amelie Mauresmo on how hard it is to pull the trigger on the retirement decision: “That’s for sure the thing that I don’t want to make the decision to stop and then after two, six, eight months thinking, shit, I should have — you know, it was not quite the time yet.”…
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