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It's on!

After a week of qualifiers and an avalanche of social media posts by all the players as they descend on and play in New York the US Open is finally up and running. That’s Tiafoe in the lead photo looking all badass but check out Thiem, Karen and Stan, Sloane, and Coco to get a sense for the carnival. The players obviously love that famous NYC vibe, now it's time to see whether they can bring it to the court. 

The women's draw.  

In the new look, anything goes, WTA the draw spreads the seeds. The women's game is incredibly dynamic now and should be one of the most entertaining things to watch. So much depends on whether Serena will be fit and what sort of shape surging young stars like Andreescu are in. To set this up, the NYT looks at why nothing has changed since last year's very contentious final and finds that women are penalized more than men for coaching. 

Key talking points by each quarter of the draw, top to bottom: 

  • Naomi Osaka enters as number one and has the top quarter of the draw to herself with the next highest seed being Sabalenka at nine. That's the orthodox analysis but there's so much talent up there including Coco Gauff, Suarez Navarro, and Bencic so last year's champion has her work cut out for her. If Coco brings her A game, look out for a potentially very entertaining Osaka/Gauff match in the 3rd round
  • The second quarter of the draw features Simona Halep at number four but Andreescu is streaking through tournaments, Sloan Stephens lurks, and Kvitova is ranked six. And that's not counting Muguruza, Mertens, and all the other amazing competition.
  • Venus Williams is on the New York Times Magazine cover so that's one American driven narrative but maybe a chat about Cincinnati Open victor Madison Keys would be in order. That victory pushed her to 10 in the world so there's that, and then there is the not-so-minor questions of Svitolina and Pliskova. 
  • The narrative at the bottom of the draw has to be about Serena simply because she's done it so many times before, is in a historic quest, and this is as close as it gets to home turf. Plus her opening match this evening is against Sharapova, the two have history and it may be worth watching this match just to see if they have anything other than tennis to work out on the court. But real questions about Serena's health remain, she has been competing at an elite level and then had to withdraw from tournaments because of various injuries. Meanwhile the rest of the wild, wild, WTA is there to compete like world number two Ashleigh Barty who is having an incredible year. 

The men's draw.  

If the women's draw looks wide open, the men's draw feels settled. The big three are all here while the young talent has been asking questions throughout the summer without doing it on a stage like this with all three of the generational talents in the draw. People are trying to introduce some of the new talents but they still have yet to make a mark on the court. Key talking points: 

  • The top half of the draw features a Novak Djokovic who should be able to cruise into quarter finals where he may meet the hot, hot, hot Medvedev who just beat Nole in Cincinnati. Oh and let's not forget about one Roger Federer who is in in the second quarter of the draw. His main competition through the quarters would seem to be his body and Nishikori. 
  • The bottom half feels like Nadal's home turf. There are plenty of potential competitors like Khachanov, Isner, and Alexander Zverev in his immediate quarter of the draw but they haven't been making compelling arguments over the past month. 
  • The other draw on the bottom half looks more fun in terms of pure competition. No one is an obvious winner. Thiem has the ranking but has been saying that he's not 100%. Doubles partners Tsitsipas and Kyrgios could meet in the third round. Monfils may make another great run. And those are just three stories worth thinking about. 

Don't be a Djokovic hater.

The conversations about the big three just continue to gain steam. The most amazing thing is that they follow such a similar template which goes something like this 

  1. Barring injury, Djokovic should win the most Grand Slams since he's so young. 
  2. But Nadal could also do it because of his affinity for clay and continued strength. 
  3. However, Federer is the most aesthetically appealing so we'll name him GOAT!
There's so much wrapped up in this line of thinking, least of all the 'what could have been' question of Andy Murray, but the biggest is the insistence on Federer being the sin qua non of tennis sensibility. Djokovic is actively disliked in a way that used to be reserved for Nadal's muscular displays. There's something deeply suspicious about this mentality that I can't quite put my finger on.

Goodbye to the glasses.

The former world number eight with distinctive glasses and forearm tats, Janko Tipsarevic announced that he'll retire after the Davis Cup in November. He has been plagued by injuries in recent years and kept coming back after a total of seven surgeries. 16 years on the tour can do that to you.

Did you get your invitation?

It sounds like Rafa Nadal and Xisca Perello are going to tie the knot in October. Guests are said to include a long list including sporting elite like Cristiano Ronaldo, the Spanish king, and - the person who has defined Nadal more than any other professionally - Roger Federer. 

Helping a tennis legend

New York Magazine has a delightful profile of Vic Seixas, the "world's oldest living Grand Slam champ." who also happens to be having some health issues which could use your fundraising muscle

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