US Open Opens with Pressure on Oudin; Federer v Nadal Looming?
by Jeremy Davis | August 29th, 2010, 1:28 am

Not that the US Open needed to put more pressure on the slumping Melanie Oudin, but she will kick off play at 11 a.m. on Monday in Flushing Meadows. Oudin has lost more times in the first round this year than she has won in WTA and Grand Slam events, and an early-round loss will see her ranking drop to the point where she won’t get direct entry to tour-level events until…ever?
“It’s been a tough year, because people out there are placing expectations on her,” said Oudin’s coach, Brian de Villiers, talking to the AP. “People forget she’s only 18…For her to just get dropped into that at this age — there’s no training for this. This is all first-hand experience.”

Oudin has a 17-20 win-loss record in 2010, and is 1-3 at Slams.

Venus Williams gave faint praise to Oudin, who is 2-5 since Wimbledon.

“I really admire her game,” Williams said. “She really makes the most out of her body and her talent. You know that if you are against Melanie, you have to give 100 percent on every point.”

Good luck with that. Oudin faces the Ukraine’s Olga Savchuk.

Williams, seeded No. 3, opens against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, while her sister Serena sits on the sidelines with an injured foot.

Other U.S. interest on Monday includes qualifier and NCAA No. 1 Irina Falconi vs. (the injured?) (19) Flavia Pennetta, and an all-American yawner match-up with Vania King vs. Christina McHale.

Defending champ and No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters opens vs. Hungarian Greta Arn, but the most interesting seed vs. unseeded match-up is (24) Daniela Hantuchova vs. former No. 1 Dinara Safina. No. 5 seed Sam Stosur is an injury unknown vs. Russian Elena Vesnina, and unseeded former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic (yet another injury unknown) opens vs. Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Other match-ups of vague interest are Portuguese screamer Michelle Larcher De Brito vs. oft-injured Indian princess Sania Mirza, and an all-Czech match-up in (27) Petra Kvitova vs. Lucie Hradecka.

The men’s side of the draw is without injured champion Juan Martin del Potro, but 2009 runner-up Roger Federer is announcing his intentions, and will open Monday against Argentina’s Brian Dabul.

“I’m not happy playing semis and finals,” Federer said. “What gets me happy is winning Grand Slams and taking home the silverware.”

Other Top 10-seeded openers of mild interest Monday include (9) Andy Roddick vs. France’s Stephane Robert, and (6) Nikolay Davydenko vs. American “Iron” Mike Russell.

Former No. 1 and No. 32 seed Lleyton Hewitt has a tough start against France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu, (13) Jurgen Melzer faces Dmitry Tursunov in a slugfest/slicefest, (17) Gael Monfils starts against American qualifier Robert Kendrick, and American USTA wildcard winner Tim Smyczek will need to bring his best against (26) Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

In all-unseeded meetings on Monday, American Taylor Dent faces Colombian Alejandro Falla, former junior No. 1 Ricardas Berankis takes on American Ryan Sweeting, and former college stars Kevin Anderson and Somdev Devvarman square off.

On the men’s side it all comes down to what everyone wants to see — a Federer vs. Nadal final that would put Nadal one match away from a first US Open title, against Federer ‘making up for last year.

“It was a disappointing loss for me,” Federer said of falling to del Potro last year. “I felt like that was one of the finals I should have never lost.”


ON-LINE AUCTION FOR ARTHUR ASHE ENDOWMENT — The Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS will be raising funds through an online and mobile auction. Some of the items offered in the 2010 Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS (AAEDA) auction are AAEDA T-shirts, caps and tennis balls signed by Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic as well as other top stars and tennis legends such as Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova. For the last 15 years the AAEDA auction of tennis memorabilia has been only offered at the AAEDA US Open booth, and 2010 marks the on-line expansion of the auction. The link to the auction is

MISC — At the US Open the Bryan brothers will play two songs on the main stage at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day with their Bryan Brothers Band, and reportedly Novak Djokovic is scheduled to rap with them onstage…Chris Evert told the Toronto Sun that in her day everyone knew the Top 10 players and the rivalries, as compared to today’s shooting-star No. 1s and brief Top 10ers: “If you were to ask me to name the Top 10 players, I couldn’t do that today. When Martina [Navratilova] and I played you had it, when McEnroe-Connors played, you had it, and right now it’s sort of up in the air.”…The singles final at the Western & Southern Financial Group women’s open between Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova was the second-most-watched Olympus US Open Series match in ESPN2’s history, second only to the 2005 Rogers Masters men’s final between Andre Agassi and Rafael NadalJohn McEnroe says women are fragile and shouldn’t be playing as much as the men: “You’re asking too much of the women. They shouldn’t be playing as many events as men. If tennis is best served by women playing events with men, so be it. They should be required to be in less events, there should be less events for the women. It seems it takes an actual meltdown on the court or women quitting the game altogether before they realize there’s a need to change the schedule.”

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43 Comments for US Open Opens with Pressure on Oudin; Federer v Nadal Looming?

madmax Says:

Interesting what Rene Stauffer, the first person who ‘discovered’ federer when he was 15 years old, thinks about federer’s chances in the forthcoming slams.

Rene Stauffer is the Swiss journalist who ‘discovered’ Federer in 1996, playing on a back court with no spectators, ball boys or journalists. Federer was a 15-year-old firebrand, with a pony-tail and an attitude.

“I asked him ‘why are you getting so angry? I don’t understand – you are winning, you are hitting the ball well.’ He looked me straight in the eyes and said ‘You should be able to play this game perfect.”‘

That was Stauffer’s headline and he has followed Federer’s career closer than anyone ever since. Unlike many observers, Stauffer says Federer’s prospects do not hinge on ultimate triumph in New York.

“He just needs to prove he is heading in the right direction. He needs to show he can handle the likes of Berdych and Soderling again. I think reaching a semifinal or a final would not be seen as a setback.”

Stauffer is backing Federer to reach his goal of 20. He points out that Federer, who has talked of emulating Andre Agassi in the longevity stakes, is aiming to play for “at least” the next five years, which gives him 20 opportunities and makes it “very realistic”.

While it is doubtful we will see the like of 2006, 2007 and 2009 (when Federer made the final of all four slams), Laver says he’s a contender at all the majors “except the French”.

“As long as he stays fit, there is no reason why he couldn’t win two Australian Opens and two Wimbledons,” says Laver.

“He is capable of winning it,” says Laver. “It is just a matter of how much he wants it and it sounds like he wants it pretty good.”

guy Says:

‘it’s just a matter of how much he wants it…’

ok rod. we’ll forget all the other current players who also want slams ‘pretty good’. and the next gen.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks :)


I think he was just talking about Fed at the moment, NOT all the other players and the next gen…..I guess it all depends how you read into things…:)

Eskay Says:

On the opening day, Davy match would be interesting. Michael Russel is no pushover and Davy has not been playing at his best since returning from injury. Michael is a good returner and plays similar type of game as Davy. Hewitt defences are too solid for Mathieu to penetrate. Trouble might be there but not an upset. Monfils is vulnerable when playing against a local boy. He makes numerous mistakes when his rythm is upset.

madmax Says:

Eskay, do you think that monfils would just be so much better if he didn’t pretend he was superman? Every time he goes for a shot (or at least 80% of the time), he dives for the shot, gets an injury, is out for a while, then comes back. He needs to change his style – yes it is entertaining, but it isn’t really tennis friendly.

Skeeze, I read it the same way as you did. :) the interview was with fed, so laver directed his comments in relation to him – I thought that was pretty obvious. I just think you cant please guy.

Kimberly Says:

raquet bracket link for tennis channel. sorry i am so technologically incompetant.

joe Says:

if federer trying to hit thse targets during the arthur ashe kids day was any indication then he is going to struggle, ha.

montecarlo Says:

Some interesting practice sets news/rumours coming in-

Monfils beat Federer
Djokovic beat Murray 6-2
Nadal beat Nalbandian 6-3,5-2

Ben Pronin Says:

Montecarlo, where do you hear these rumors?

Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, Stauffer incorporated that quote from Federer into Fed’s biography and it’s stuck with me ever since I read it some 3 or 4 years ago. That perfectionist attitude is the reason I’ve never considered him arrogant, even if some of his comments seem that way. He’s always striven for perfection and he’s gotten himself damn close.

Ben Pronin Says:

Interesting. Good to hear Nadal and Djokovic are hitting well in practice. The first article mentions Youzhny beating Nadal in practice then in their actual match. I don’t think the same can be applied to Fed and Monfils. Nalbandian is unsurprisingly slow, so, we’ll see how well he does. I’m sure Murray is fine, too. It is just practice. Thanks for the read, montecarlo.

grendel Says:

personally, I think guy’s point is valid. It’s always struck me as nonsensical when people say: if only so and so wants it enough, then he’ll get it. What if somebody else wants it even more, then what? Then you have to go back to the two players concerned, and assess their form in the usual way.

Laver’s logic is faulty, though you hear this kind of thing all the time. What he might have said, and this makes sense, is something like this: Federer will not win another grand slam unless his desire is very strong indeed. However, his desire being very strong indeed, although necessary to win another slam, is not sufficient. He will also have to be playing pretty damn well since, after all, he will be taking on players whose desire is as strong as his own and whose ability, AS OF NOW, is arguably superior (Nadal and Murray, certainly, 1 or 2 others, conceivably though I doubt it).

This doesn’t mean that Fed won’t win any more slams. Personally, I fervently hope he does. But it’s a tall order, and if he wins even one more, this will be a magnificent achievement.

Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, Federer has an edge over a lot of those “arguably superior” players in that we all know he can actually win a slam. Of course Nadal can, too. But Berdych, Murray, Soderling, etc, have yet to win one so we can’t fully assume they can. These 3 in particular have reached a combined 5 slam finals amongst each other and have won a total of 0 sets. So, maybe they want it more, but that doesn’t mean they’re fully capable.

grendel Says:

monte carlo – those were pretty interesting links. I was interested to see Youzhny beat Nadal in practice. Apparently, he used to practice regularly with Federer, and beat him all the time. Makes you wonder.
Someone said of Laura Robson that whatever people say about her serve and her movement, she is a future star. I don’t understand the reference to the serve. It’s quite outstanding – ask Jankovic.

Ben: I take your point. Then let us confine ourselves to Nadal. At the moment, Nadal’s desire is certainly as strong as Fed’s and he is – currently – a better player. I would love to see Federer turn this around. It doesn’t strike me as particularly likely.

Kimmi Says:

“Nalbandian is unsurprisingly slow, so, we’ll see how well he does”

ben – its true that nalbandian looks slow when he plays top players. He seem to be out of position (off balance) a lot of times on his match against Murray in toronto, that cause him to hit too many errors imo.

He played very well with lower ranked player as we saw in Leg mason.

at the USO, he has a good draw in the 1st and second round. 3rd round he could meet verdasco who has been struggling recently. It will be great to see him get to 4th round or even qtr.

jane Says:

grendel, remember the other day you were wondering why players don’t sort of just “go after” their second serves the way they do their firsts? I can’t remember when you were writing about this but perhaps during Toronto? Anyhow, not to keep feeding you links, but here’s an article on the benefits of doing just that! How weirdly topical:

kimberly Says:

So can oudin equal her crazy run last year. I would say no. Second round?

mem Says:


did youzhny practice with nadal yesterday? i knew he practiced with nalbandian, but was the article referring to this weekend or some other year that youhnzy beat nadal in practice. i didn’t read the article so, i’m not sure.

Ben Pronin Says:

Mem, I think it’s referring to a few years ago (06 I think it was).

Grendel, I agree with you there. Nadal is the better player with just as much if not more desire. But I mean, it’s not like Nadal winning slams along with Federer is anything new. They’ve been sharing all the spoils for years now, so that’s the norm, no? The thing is, I personally think that it’s only a matter of time before Federer goes a year without winning a slam. It almost happened in 08, but he pulled through at the USO just in the nick of time. This year it kinda feels like he’s slamless (people are talking about him “salvaging” his year at the USO) but he already won the AO. However, let’s say he goes slamless in 2011, I think he’ll pull out at least one in 2012. The whole idea is that 20 is realistic. I don’t think he’ll leave the game with any regrets should he end at 19, 18, or maybe even 16.

Kimmi, agreed. Nalbandian has a nice draw and SHOULD make it decently far. But we all know how he gets when people expect from him, so we’ll see. I wouldn’t mind him fulfilling expectations for a change, if even just a little.

mem Says:


i thought it may have happened recently and i missed it. you answered my question. thanks!

super man Says:

on the hardcourts, federer has 5uso + 4ao + 4masters cup = 13big titles in 15 finals.

nadal has 1 in 1.

something tells me fed actually wants these much more badly than nadal and gets them.

fed on hardcourts is in a league of his own. no active players can even be mentioned in the same breath. fed’s “wanting” is more superior because he has shown that he can translate that want into a result.

do all the active players’ ( excluding fed)
combined gs tally equal fed’s 16?

David Says:


I don’t really see much evidence that Nadal is a better player than Fed on hard courts. Fed won the last major played on that surface. He should have won the last 2 hard court Slams if not for a couple of points.

I guess things can change quickly in sports, but for the foreseeable future Fed should remain the game’s dominant fast-court player.

Bottom line, I think 20 Slams is very realistic and I disagree that he’s not a contender at the French Open anymore.

Everyone just needs to stop doubting the guy already!!!

Ben Pronin Says:

I’d like to see Federer break all the tournament records. He’s obviously not going to break Borg’s 6 FO’s (that’s Nadal’s thing). But he needs one more USO, one more AO, 2 more TMC and 2 more Wimbledon’s to have at least 1 more than the previous record. If he somehow manages that, he’ll have 20 slams. If he doesn’t, well, no one else has such a well rounded resume anyway.

I don’t know why Federer is discounted from the FO so much. The guy won it when he was playing some of his worst tennis at the event, losing a combined 6 sets, more than he’s ever lost getting into a slam final. He played better the years he lost the final to Nadal. Plus, Federer is so far the only player to win the FO since Nadal won his first. Just because Soderling has established himself as a FO upset specialist doesn’t mean everyone else will be.

Von Says:

“John McEnroe says women are fragile and shouldn’t be playing as much as the men: “You’re asking too much of the women. They shouldn’t be playing as many events as men.”

I agree with McEnroe because women’s bodies are not made for the rigorous demands of the sport, as their male colleagues. However, on the flip side, why is it that the women want equality in prize money? That, to me, is very unfair to the men, as they are required to play 5 sets in a slam, while the women only play 3 sets as they do at the other tourneys, plus they have a day off in between to recuperate. I’m sure that it must be very upsetting to some of the men. I think the women’s prize money should be calculated using the three-fifths (3/5) formula, 60 percent, for grand slams. It’s only fair … but, who said life is fair …

margot Says:

jane: bank holiday UK :) :)
madmax: that’s such a grand offer, thanks, but for me it’s live tennis, rarely watch replays, except some classics like MCenroe v Borg, they were showing on Beeb at Wimbledon.
super man: v. funny but u cannot deny if there is rain delay next week, going out first is huge advantage. And please don’t accuse me of being a Rafard or whatever, I’m far more a Fed fan but it’s all about fair play, old man.
grendel: take your point about whoever wants it most being daft but doesn’t explain why Kohlscreiber etc just didn’t beat Rafa wnen they should’ve.
von: would be happy 2 petition, but how?
Have just checked weather forecast in NY. Hottest day is Tuesday, temperatures cooler (ho, ho) following week, no rain :) on immediate horizon.
Let battle commence and may the best man/woman win.

Von Says:

“I’m not happy playing semis and finals,” Federer said. “What gets me happy is winning Grand Slams and taking home the silverware.”

I’m lost with respect to the above statement. How would Fed win a GS without reaching the SF and finals. One would think his adrenalin would begin peaking at the SF knowing he’ll soon be holding the trophy and then taking it home.

Von Says:

margot: “von: would be happy 2 petition, but how?”

I suppose it would have to be done through the normal channels of making your request known via email or a post addressed to the powers that be. Don’t look to me though, as I’m last on the list of those favoured. I’m always in the dog-house with his nibs or their nibs. LOOL.

Von Says:

Margot: The weather in NYC at the end of August beginning of Septemnber can be very iffy. Most times hwever, it’s usually around high 60s to low 70s and not much sunshine. That forecast couid change in a jiffy, as it all depends on what kind of weather the Canadians feel like donating towards NYC. LOL.

madmax Says:

margot, no problem. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be – showed lots of backdrop buildings of new york, alicia keyes singing New York (which was great), only interviewed Andy Murray properly, then had short clips of other players for about 2 seconds – new format with 8 commentators and a new member of the team, Nick Lester, (boring voice). Jackie Baltrao is over there for the full two weeks to talk about the ‘gossipy’ stuff – and Mark Petchey mentioned that he had dinner with murray the night before and that he was really relaxed and enjoying being in NY.

Jane/Sar/Duro, for you:
(with a link apparently from Novak?)

Djokovic as usual trains outside the courts in New Jersey, (though he has been practising at FM), he has his own private courts too -Apparently he has a wealthy friend who lives there and welcomes his stay. You can read all in his diary entry (finally Novak!):

Djokovic stays in Alpine/Cresskill NJ with a really wealthy family that has a compound of homes for all the families. They have an indoor court at the house. Sampras and other top players used to hit there too. Players practice at the US Open site and even more on top of that. It’s not like they roll out of bed, drive to Flushing, warm up and start playing.I reckon there’s a lot more hitting and preparation than most imagine. Remember one of the old era greats said he would play five practice sets BEFORE playing his grand slam best of five match – which could total ten sets in one day. These players are so sharp, with pinpoint timing.

(above from extended monte carlo’s link).


the point I think is that the interview was about fed, which is why laver was talking ‘specifically’ about federer and not the other players. The fact that they all want to win is obvious.

Ben, thanks for that information. I didn’t know that. It’s like every top athlete from basketball to high jump, has to maintain a high level of confidence, else why bother competing? Whether that equates with arrogance, is open to interpretation.

Eskay Says:

Federer is likely to reach the finals. He is very economical, taking just 3 minutes per game, in contrast to Nadal taking 4.5 – 5 minutes per game. It is rare to see him lose his serve. His wins are mostly straight set wins. It is unlikely to change this year too. He will arrive fresher in the finals, mentally and physically. His opponent will be, if not jaded, not as fresh. Only Nadal appears to have a chance to deny him another title. Federer has sufficient fuel in his tank to last a couple of years in the top four. He is not in the same position as was Sampras in 2001-02. By the time he lays down racquet, he is likely to cement his place alongside Laver in the GOAT debate.

super man Says:

margot : didn’t murray get a day of extra rest at melbourne this year?

same for roger last year…..

there is no definite stat that the guy who starts monday or the guy who plays his quarterfinals on wednesday has won more slams in newyork.

margot Says:

super man:
u say tomayto, I say tomarto,
u say potayto, I say potarto,
u say fair play, I say unfair…..
Oh let’s call the whole thing off…

madmax Says:

margot! you a singer?!!!!

get in front of THAT piano lady! New York needs you! :)

super man Says:

haha @ margot…..

good luck to murray ….. hope it is a fed-murray final ….. then let them fight it out …..

super man Says:

murray, nadal had monday starts in 2008.

super man Says:

and yeah, wednesday quarterfinals too….. so i hope dave shuts up on the scheduling conspiracy ….

grendel Says:

jane: ta again for link, a good one. I had been responding to NELTA’s query about Liubicic’s dismal second serve stats(can’t recall against whom), and why he didn’t just do first serves.

if you use the (much too general, of course, to have a great deal of meaning)stats provided by the article, and making the assumption that if 65% of first serves go in, then 65% of second serves delivered as first serves will also go in, then you have the following probablilities. Since three quarters of first serves win the point, you have :0.65×0.75=0.4875. Whereas, 90% of second serves go in with 50% success rate, i.e. you have: 0.9×0.5=0.45.

The differential is hardly overwhelming, though it has a certain interest, I suppose. But of course, all sorts of other intangibles come into it, as Roddick points out, so you cannot even begin to use numbers dogmatically here.

Even so, there is no doubt that some players are irrational. Jankovic, for instance, persists in a very weak second serve simply because of her fear of the double fault. In her case, that doesn’t make sense.

As Roddick points out (although his experience is not terribly relevant, simply because he has such an excellent second serve)there are times when it is important to avoid the double fault (on psychological grounds), and therefore it is unwise to unleash the second serve as if it were a first serve. I’d say that, as usual, what a player does with his second serve is a matter of tactics, ever reviseable on the day. The ones who can assess the situation with the coolest heads will be the ones who have the most success (other things being equal). i.e, sometimes it will be appropriate to go for an ace on second serve, sometimes safety first, and so on. I am probably exposing my ignorance here, but I get the feeling that sometimes, Federer deliberately does a second serve – the angled kicker – for his first serve; but I daresay I’ve got that wrong. At any rate, the element of surprise should surely always be a fear in the back of the mind of the receiver.

madmax: I heard what you and Skeezer said, but to me, it doesn’t make sense. You can only consider a person’s chances relative to those of other players. You can’t just consider someone in isolation.

Von: I too had to read Fed’s comment twice, since it didn’t seem to make sense. And then I realised that Fed was making the point that he would only be satisfied with a title – he didn’t express this thought with great felicity – but, remember, fellow’s a foreigner.

madmax Says:

grendel, I’m not sure what your point is? If the interview was directed at Federer and Federer was reported as saying this, and for that matter, Laver – then it’s a two way interview. If perhaps you were involved as the interviewer and asked a range of other players, then I understand. But right now I don’t. sorry.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Maybe we are spillting hairs here or just nisunderstanding…

“….You can only consider a person’s chances relative to those of other players. You can’t just consider someone in isolation.”

Tennis is not a “team” sport. This are individuals playing by themselves. Tennis can be a selfish at times and when asked about there game they all will go inward. “If I only did this or that”, they have to feel that if they play there game it doesn’t matter what the “other players” do. So, the short of it, they are not so much worried about what other players do if they can impose there game on the other. Sometimes they can’t, the other player’s game is bigger than theres that day. However, this doesn’t change the mindset of a player playing a match.

Skeezerweezer Says:

and yes one day I will learn how to spell…

margot Says:

super man: wasn’t Rafa no 1 seed in 2008? If yes, then my arguement is sound, if no, then I am a dunce and it’s all random. BTW completely agree with your post at 8.50, Rafa’s best chance so maybe we should
“call the whole thing on….”
von: had cheered myself up and talked myself into a whole two weeks of perfect tennis, boohoo….:(
am sure u r not bottom of list of influence, anyway journalists are there to be shot down..
except darling Dan, with whom I am in love, but shh is a secret so don’t tell anyone ;)

super man Says:

yes M, rafa was no.1 in 2008.

rafa’s best chance, but rafa is afraid of murray, so i hope murray takes advantage of that and keeps that fear alive in nadal’s mind. if murray plays to his potential, there is no way he loses to rafa on a fast hardcourt.

but as they say, there are matches to be played.

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