I say this every year and every year it gets more true: watch one week of the US Open and you will be hooked. America might be sucking it up on the courts these days, but I attest, The US Open is the best Grand Slam Tournament in Tennis. Wimbledon might have the class, and French Open might have the cool looking red clay, but there’s something about the US Open so interesting and dynamic that all of America should be watching. Need a reason? Here’s the first 5 off the top of my head. Future Tennis fans, enjoy. Current fans, you know what it is.
Hard Courts Rule
You may not know this, but one of the most important factors in a Tennis match is the surface it’s being played on. Court surface is directly related to the tradition of the Country that the tournament takes place in. In Wimbledon, England they play on grass (the fastest, most skiddy surface), in Roland Garros, France they play on clay (the slowest, bounciest surface), and here in New York, USA we play on our favorite building material of all time, concrete. The great thing about Hard Courts is they are right in the middle speed-wise, preventing specialists like Nadal (Clay) from maintaining a 5 year dynasty over the tournament. Hard Courts are versatile and dynamic, making them the most appropriate surface for an international tournament. This is America, and we love diversity (or at least we say we do).
Americans Are Always a Threat (Kinda)
Like I said in my opener, America has been pretty lackluster in the world of Tennis since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras retired. On the Women’s side, the Williams sisters were a force for years, but it appears they may have had their run on the top of the WTA rankings. Still though, America might not be the 1st country on everyone’s mind, but we are always a possibility to take the Open. Andy Roddick (#21) hasn’t won in Queens (or anywhere else) since 2003, but his ridiculous serve is perfectly suited for hard courts, and he tends to break into at least the quarters. Mardy Fish ranks in at #8, and although this doesn’t mean much with guys like Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in the top 4, who knows?
Serena Williams is a modest #29, but she’s just starting to come up after her leg injury of a couple of years ago, and in her late twenties, she isn’t done yet. Serena does her best work in her country of origin, and on the relatively quick hard courts, it doesn’t help to have bigger biceps than your average male. Venus Williams probably isn’t going to be a factor, but never count her out either.
The Rise of Novak Djokovic
Rivalries are cool and all, but if I had to give one reason why Tennis was a little on the lame side a few years back, i’d say it was because nobody not named Federer or Nadal could win a tournament, much less take the #1 position. Not anymore. I’ve been watching Novak Djokovic progressively hone his skills since 2003. He won the Australian Open in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he really became a force, winning The Australian Open, Wimbledon and stealing the #1 spot from the Federer-Nadal strangle-hold of the last forever years. Djokovic has made Tennis rankings interesting once again, and with a win in Queens, he will match Federer and Nadal’s 3 Grand Slams in one year mark, and surely maintain his spot on top of the mountain. Must watch TV.
Hot Girls, Short Skirts
Even for true Tennis fans, nothing beats this particular reasoning. If your knowledge of women in Tennis goes as far as Maria Sharapova, you have no idea what you’re missing. Maybe it has to do with the training regimen, or the culture of people attracted to the sport, but whatever it is, Tennis has a spread of skinny, sweaty, smoking hot girls that is unprecedented in sport. Maria Kirilenko is easily the hottest girl to pick up a Racket, but #1 ranked Caroline Wozniacki, Gisela Dulko, Ana Ivanovic, and the aforementioned Maria Sharapova all hold their own. Throw in that standard women’s tennis gear is something either super tight or super leggy, and you should have all the reason you need to sit through chicks volleying back and forth and shrieking at the top of their lungs. They even hug after the match, if you’re into that sorta thing.
What Else is on During The Day?
Preseason Football is for the weekends and Baseball games (at least the good ones) are mostly at night. So again I ask: what other sport do you have to watch during the day? Sure you can watch SportsCenter highlights from the night before, over and over again, but why not expand your horizons? Tennis is an awesome sport, and liking international sports automatically makes you more cultured. If Djokovic, Roddick, and a never-ending cast of hotties in short skirts isn’t enough to get you hooked, well then give it a shot anyway. Happy Hour doesn’t start until 7, so you know you have the time.