NEW DOUBLES ENTRY SYSTEM, RECORD PRIZE MONEY
HIGHLIGHT DOUBLES COMPETITION AT 2003 US OPEN
Navratilova, World No. 1 Clijsters, French Open Champion Bryan Brothers Top
FLUSHING, N.Y., August 25, 2003 - The USTA today announced revisions in its
procedures for entry and sign-in into the doubles competitions at the 2003
US Open, which begins August 25 at the USTA National Tennis Center.
In an effort to enhance the playing fields in men's and women's doubles
tournaments, sign-in deadlines for both the men's and women's doubles
competitions will each be extended two days to Monday, August 25 at 6 p.m.
for the men and to Tuesday, August 27 at 6 p.m. for the women. The extended
sign-in deadlines are designed to give players eliminated early in the
singles competition the option of signing into the doubles competition if
not already entered into the tournament.
Entries into the US Open Men's Doubles Championships will for the first time
this year be based on a player's ATP singles or doubles ranking, whichever
is higher, as opposed to the previous entry procedures of doubles ranking
only. Entries into the US Open Women's Doubles Championships will still be
determined exclusively by a WTA Tour doubles ranking.
The US Open's record doubles prize money of $3.36 million includes a record
$400,000 for the men's and women's doubles champions. In mixed doubles, the
USTA is offering a record $500,000 total prize money, with a record $150,000
for the winners
"The USTA is firmly committed to promoting the doubles competition at the US
Open," said Alan Schwartz, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA.
"Doubles is an integral part of the USTA's mission to grow the game and
drives more than 70 percent of recreational tennis play in the United
The US Open's record prize money for doubles, combined with intriguing
doubles players and storylines, are a key attraction at the 2003 US Open.
The 2003 US Open doubles championships will provide many of the tournaments
most interesting storylines.
Forty-six-year old Martina Navratilova, who is expected to compete in her
25th US Open, will attempt to become the oldest player to win a U.S. title.
An owner of nine US Open women's doubles titles and two US Open mixed
doubles titles, Navratilova this year won mixed doubles titles at the
Australian Open and Wimbledon with partner Leander Paes. Hazel Hotchkiss
Wightman currently holds the record as the oldest player to win the women's
doubles championship when she won the 1928 U.S. women's doubles title at the
age of 41 years, 257 days. Margaret Osborne DuPont is the oldest player to
win any U.S. title when she won the U.S. mixed doubles title at 42 years and
166 days in 1960.
Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama are attempting to win their third straight
Grand Slam women's doubles title to become the first team to do so since
Martina Hingis and Jana Novotna in 1998.
Fresh off winning their first career Grand Slam doubles title at the French
Open, identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan set their sights on winning their
nation's national championship. The Bryans are attempting to become the
first pair of brothers to win the U.S. men's doubles title since Howard
Kinsey and Robert Kinsey in 1924. Their French Open doubles victory broke
Tim and Tom Gullikson's record of 10 doubles titles won by brothers. The
Bryans have won 13 career doubles titles.
Max Mirnyi, who won the US Open men's doubles title last year with Mahesh
Bhupathi, will attempt to win his third US Open men's doubles title in four
years. Mirnyi, from Belarus, also won the 2000 US Open men's doubles title
with Lleyton Hewitt.
Todd Woodbridge, who won his record-tying eighth Wimbledon doubles title
earlier this year with Jonas Bjorkman, is seeking his third US Open men's
doubles title and stands two doubles titles shy of equaling Tom Okker's
all-time record of 78 men's doubles tournament titles.
Thirty-eight-year old Rick Leach will look to become the oldest US Open
men's doubles champion. A former doubles standout on the U.S. Davis Cup
team, Leach won the 1993 US Open men's doubles titles with Ken Flach. Bob
Hewitt, who was 37 years old when he and Frew McMillan won the doubles title
in1977, is the oldest player to win the men's doubles title in the Open Era.
The mixed doubles championship will be the first championship decided at the
2003 US Open, with the final slated to take place on Thursday afternoon,
Sept. 4. The men's singles title will be played on Friday, September. 5, and
the women's doubles final will be played on Sunday, September. 7 Mirnyi and
Bhupathi are the defending men's doubles champions, while Virginia
Ruano-Pascal and Paola Suarez are the defending women's doubles champions.
In mixed doubles, Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond won the 2002 title.
The 2003 US Open will be held Monday, August 25 through Sunday, September 7.
Tickets for the 2003 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at usopen.org;
2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster
outlets; or 4) at the USTA National Tennis Center box office.
The US Open is the highest annually attended sporting event in the world.
Over 100 million viewers watched the 2002 US Open on CBS Sports and USA
Network, and international broadcasts reached 165 countries.
Top of Page
2003 US OPEN - A USTA EVENT
MODERATOR: On behavior of the entire United States Tennis
Association staff and volunteer network throughout the country, it's a
privilege to welcome everybody here to the United Nations for the 2003 US
Open Draw Ceremony. We have an exciting presentation for you.
It is our privilege to be here at the U.N. this is one of the
iconic places in the world. The US Open is one of the iconic events of New
York, and it is truly an international event and we would not be here
without the great help and great service of the UN Undersecretary general,
Mr. Shashi Tharoor.
SHASHI THAROOR: Thank you. And welcome to the United Nations. I'm
sorry that on this other wide splendid day you do not have all of the flags
of all the nations flying outside this building, because as you know, we are
in mourning today and our flag flies at half-mast.
Secretary Kofi Annan is literally airborne at the moment, flying
back from a brief vacation, and has asked me to convey to you the following
message on his behalf. Let me allow this to read in his name and my voice:
KOFI ANNAN (AS READY BY SHASHI THAROOR): You are very welcome here
at the United Nations headquarters for the Draw Ceremony to determine the
singles pairings for this year's US Open tennis championship. You come at a
time of great sadness for all of us at the United Nations. We have
valiantly lost many beloved colleagues. We are grieving for them. But we
know they would tell us to get on with the job, and that is why we were
determined that this event should go ahead today. Tennis and the United
Nations have important features in common. Here at the United Nations, we
see many long and dramatic contests. We see quite a few tie-breakers and
nail-biting fifth sets, as well as the odd disputed line call. And yes,
there are some issues which seem to be hit interminably back and forth over
There are more important common features than these. Like the
United Nations, tennis is universal. There are few sports which are played
and loved so widely. Players from 61 countries are expected to take part in
this year's US Open, which will be televised in 165 countries. The United
Nations, of course, has 191 members, but we're sure you'll catch up.
Yet the most important impact of tennis, as with the United Nations,
is at the local level. Communities in rich and poor countries alike are
touched by the game. Young people, whether they dream of winning the Grand
Slam or of finding their way out of poverty, find in tennis as other sports,
an important focus of physical fitness and development of character. That
is why I am delighted that today's Draw Ceremony is held here at the United
Nations, and why I send the organizers and players my very best wishes for a
SHASHI THAROOR: I also send my thanks to Kofi Annan, and Vijay
Armritraj, one of my Messengers of Peace for his initiative in proposing
that today's event be held here at the U.N. He is a symbol of the universal
appeal of tennis and of its capacity to build bridges to local communities,
and I am glad that he is with you today.
Having conveyed that message to you from the secretary general, let
me say that it is my pleasure to introduce to you a man who truly needs no
introduction in this company or in this building about my good friend,
VIJAY AMRITRAJ: My dear friends, it's not my job to make a speech
on this occasion. As Shashi very vitally pointed out, it is a very sad day
for us at the U.N. but it is a great honor and a privilege for me to serve
as Master of Peace for the Secretary General and for this incredible
organization that I have always admired over the years.
Tennis, as you all know, has been my life. It has given me
everything I could have possibly wished for and more in life, the greatest
of which has been an education. And for me, to be able to bring both the
game of tennis and the international aspect of what the United Nations
stands for together on this very special memorable day for us in tennis is
really a special moment for me.
I want to thank Alan and everyone as the US Open, Jim Curley, David
Newman, Brian Earley, all of my friends at the US Open, I have played that
event for 31 years. I'm only 38. But it is a delight to see all of you
here at this incredibly historic building. (Laughter).
To my good friend, Shashi, who I have known for a very long time, I
always thought that international organizations, governments, never hired
brilliant people, and having now been a Messenger of Peace for over two
years, I am completely wrong in the people that they have at the U.N. and
the work that they do through all of their various agencies. It is quite
unmanageable until you really see it firsthand. And to be a part of it, I
am privileged to be a Messenger of Peace.
So, as far as tennis is concerned, we all know that the US Open,
perhaps outside of the Olympic Games in the United States, is certainly the
most international of competitions to be held in the sporting world anywhere
across the U.S. my congratulations to the US Open, to the president and the
committee members who put together a magnificent event year after year.
Just when we think it cannot be excelled, perhaps last year's final was the
one in question, Sampras and Agassi, which was really a goosebump final, as
most of us called it. It would be wonderful to see such an Open event this
year, literally, both in the men and women to see who can come out and
winning the singles championships.
In any case, it will always be a very special US Open, the last of
the Grand Slams which will really determine who will be the world's No. 1
player towards the end of the year.
To you all my tennis friends and to all of the media who I have
known for many years, working along side of you on both sends of the
spectrum, you have covered me, said some nice things about me, some not so
nice things about me on the odd occasion, but it is a pleasure to work with
you all as I will for the next two and a half weeks the at the US Open.
On my behalf, and as Shashi pointed out, on behalf of the U.N., it
is wonderful to have you all here. Thank you to all who supported having
the Draw Ceremony here, and to all of you at the US Open, thank you for
being here. (Applause).
MODERATOR: Thank you, Vijay, and thank you Undersecretary General.
It is my great privilege to introduce to you now the chairman of the
board and president of the United States Tennis Association, Mr. Alan
ALAN SCHWARTZ: Thank you, David. Thank you, Shashi, for taking
time out from what is a very, very busy schedule. And I will not feel
offended if you leave. I know you have another appointment at this very
same time, but your words and the way you delivered Kofi's words was very
On behalf of the entire United States Tennis Association, we share
your grief at the loss of colleagues and we know how important that job of
peace is that you carry and you propel, Vijay, as we had two very, very
unfortunate incidents today which are exactly contrary to what the United
Nations and peace stands for.
Vijay, you are a very special guy. You've been -- I didn't know
the 31 years, but thank goodness for senior tennis. But two times in the
quarterfinals and many times giving us an absolutely spectacular show when
you're out there, including with your brother, and now of course just a year
ago, your son, Pradish, won the U.S. National Junior Championship at
Kalamazoo. I know that he's gone on to turn professional, doing some very
exciting things right now.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the peace position,
that Messenger of Peace, that Vijay has, there are only nine such people,
and they include, as his colleagues, people like Muhammad Ali, people like
Elie Wiesel, and others, Winton Marsalis, Pavarotti, just a very exclusive
group of nine, and we are delighted to have a tennis player represent us in
that group of nine. (Applause).
I'd also like to recognize a couple of other dignitaries that are
here with us today in the audience. But for one of them, we would not be
here at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, and I'd like to have
you give a resounding applause to the gentleman who for six years ha served
on our board, and more importantly, was directly responsible forgetting us
the National Tennis Center. Will you stand up and take a bow, David
Dickens, please. (Applause). He does an excellent job of keeping us true
to our mission, which is to promote and develop the growth of tennis, and
within that mission, I won't say he wants to forget about everybody over 14,
but he sure does like to concentrate on those kids under 14 and does a great
job doing it.
The second dignitary that we have here that I want to recognize is
the gentleman that I personally recruited hard and am pleased to say I was
successful in getting to be our executive director and COO, who has brought
boundless energy and insights and skills to the USTA and will be here for a
substantial number of years to come, will you please stand up, Lee Hamilton.
(Applause). When they wrote the line, "Tennis DNA," they were thinking
about Lee Hamilton, and to give you an idea of the kind of devotion to the
job, Lee gave up being chairman of the board of Bucknell University, board
of trustees of Bucknell, so that he could devote those same kind of energies
to the USTA. We are very thankful, and thank you very much, Lee.
As you eluded to earlier, Vijay, it's very clear that in many ways
tennis does mirror the United Nations. I hesitate to correct you on some
statistics, or correct Shashi on some statistics, but I would let you know
that if you consider those participating in the qualifying event, we
represent over 70 countries. And that's a remarkable achievement and tells
you about the globalization of our sport.
If I can carry statistics a little bit further, which I do enjoy, I
believe that there are 23 countries represented with seeds, which is a
remarkable situation. You talk about a global sport: Of the Top 10 seeds
of the men, there are nine different countries represented; in the women's
case, there are six out of the Top 10. That's a remarkable showing of how
international our sport really is.
I'm proud to tell you that the US Open is the largest single
annually-attended event in the world. You only catch where there is annual
because the Olympics comes every four years, which does exceed the 640,000
that we have, but it is indeed so. So when you said it is the top
tournament in the United States, with all due deference to the English, I
would suggest to you that perhaps we would like to think of No. 1, we
certainly do in attendance. And also, having the world's largest single
sports purse, if you include the qualifying, it's $17 million, with I'm
proud to say for the 25th year, equal prize money for men and women, and we
intend to maintain it that way. (Applause).
One has learned to do that when you want to live comfortably with
your wife for 45 years. (Laughter).
There are a couple of other statistics that I thought you might find
of interest, and in my research I found them rather startling. There are
30,000 hours of broadcast of the US Open spread out among 166 countries.
There are, if we can judge from last year and the number has been rising
steadily, last year there were 13 million hits on our Web site, which was up
substantially from the prior year, and if that trend continues, at the same
rate of ascent, we would look forward to 15 or 16 million hits this year.
We are very proud of the event. I think when you're out there, you
will see some remarkable changes, subtle as they may be, in the stadium, in
the grounds. And that's a perfect lead-in for me to tell you that our next
speaker, whom I'm delighted to introduce, Arlen Kantarian, has been the one
who I believe more anyone else and with the help of his team brought this
tournament to the next level and changed it from being a tournament to an
Arlen, delighted to have you here. Come on up and say a few words.
ARLEN KANTARIAN: Thanks, Alan. Thanks again, Vijay, and thanks for
all being here.
It was truly, or has been truly a team EFFORT. As Alan mentioned
those stats, bring this event up to one of the Top 5 events throughout the
world. I do want to acknowledge a couple of those people that are here that
really do get a lot of the credit for that: Jim Curley, who you will be
hearing from shortly, our tournament director, who joined us a year and a
half ago, along with Brian Earley, our referee who will again conduct the
draw shortly; our tournament manager, David Brewer; you heard from David
Newman, our new head of marketing and public relations, along with Michelle
de Phillip Antonio, our head of marketing.
We also have our chief operating officer here today, Pierce O'Neil,
who heads up all of our television operations, maybe the most complex
television operations in all of sports. So that's the team, along with
many, many others that have certainly helped build this event. Thank you,
Also, three very important partners here today. From 18 years, our
partnership with USA Network gets better and better. Gordon Beck, our
executive producer at USA Networks, is here today. Our partner for 25
years, CBS Sports, represented here today by senior vice president of CBS,
Rob Correa. And a gentleman from Clear Channel Communications here today
with us, representing the television for the 165 countries that Alan
mentioned, Dennis Spencer is here with us today, as well.
Just very quickly, before moving on to the draw, we want to tell you
a little bit about what's new this year. If we can dim the lights just a
Over the past couple of years, as Alan mentioned, this group that I
had just mentioned has really come up with a number of player enhancements,
fan enhancements, new trends that we want to carry forward with the event
all to accomplish three very simple goals. One is to build the event into
one of the Top 5 sports and entertainment spectacles in the world, which I
feel this year we have achieved.
Two, to provide added value to our most important constituencies,
our players, our fans, the media and our business partners. And three, to
work for directly using the Open as a showcase for the sport in this country
and worldwide, really to accomplish our mission. This is a huge
fund-raiser. Every penny that is raised in the US Open goes back and is
invested into growing the sport through the United States.
So in order to accomplish those goals over the past couple of years,
you have all seen many, many changes at the US Open, ranging from taking the
women's finals for the first time ever to the nighttime to prime time,
thanks to CBS; big screens in stadiums, first time ever in a tennis event;
record prize money; going from 16 top seeds to 32 seeds; live entertainment
throughout the ground; we are broadcasting on radio now, as well as
television; new ad campaigns; we had a Jumbotron last year in Rockefeller
Center, where over one 100,000 people on their lunch breaks and after work
were able to watch live feeds from CBS and USA Network.
That has achieved the results that Alan already took you through:
Record attendance, record coverage in over 165 countries, highest TV
viewership we have ever had, 151 million just in this country alone, Web
site visits. One thing that Alan did not mention, this event now brings in
over $420 million, direct economic impact to the City of New York. That is
more than the total of the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Rangers combined in a
full season. So this is real and truly become a New York event as witnessed
by that, as well.
I think beyond these numbers, though, the Open has a new energy and
a new feel to it, and instead of stats, we want to show you a little
three-minute highlight video from last year, particularly since there were
two finalists there that you may not see in the Open this year.
ARLEN KANTARIAN: That film, every time we watch it, just a great
tribute to the game.
This year, we will be introducing a number of new initiatives as
well, all under the theme of "The USTA and New York City Welcome the World."
We will begin this Monday night with a special opening night ceremonies,
including Broadway performance, short Broadway performance from the Tony
award-winning show on opening night called Movin' Out, Billy Joel's show.
We will have a 70-nation flag ceremony representing the nations of all the
participating players; an armed forces color guard, along with the NYPD/FDNY
color guard; and a very special anthem performance which we will announce
About exactly 635 matches later and two weeks later, we will be at
finals weekend for the first time, each of the finalists will be competing
for a check of $1 million, part of the $17 million prize money. We will
this year be putting the women's prime-time final an hour earlier as a start
time, 8:00 PM versus 9:00; celebrity anthems on-court.
And this year, on finals weekend we will be having a very, very
special induction ceremony that we want to introduce to you today. Over the
last two months, we have had over 50 journalist and television broadcasters
voting on the all-time greatest champions in the 122-year history of the US
Open. The result of that balloting was released last night in a press
release, and what they did was they selected the winners from each of the US
Open eras in what we call the US Open era, 1968 to present, Jimmy Connors
and Chris Evert. In what we'll call those players whose careers spanned
both eras as, Rod Laver and Billie Jean king. And in the golden era, the
selections were Bill Tilden and Helen Willis-Moody.
I will not take the time to go through the bios of all those
players, phenomenal stories each and of their own. We have all seen some
memorable moments in the Open, but I think inducting these champions into
our new Court of Champions, which will be a permanent display, a lasting
tribute to these greatest champions and others that will be added annually,
I think that on-court induction ceremony will certainly be a special event
in finals weekend.
We'll see a number of new fan enhancements. We completely renovated
the grandstand court. We have brand new display and video boards to traffic
people through the site, live audio at seats. Our fans will now be able to
hear the TV commentary. We tested this last year through a radio device on
court and throughout the grounds listening to live CBS and/or USA Network
feed. We will again relaunch our Rock Center Jumbotrons in Rockefeller
And we have introduced a fun concept in New York City called Battle
of the Badges, where throughout the summer the NYPD and FDNY have been
playing to become a finalist and will play in between matches first week at
the US Open, the Finest versus the Bravest, in something that's really
caught on here in New York City, and people, of course, very helpful to what
we do at the US Open. So we are proud of that, as well.
We are going to make our most aggressive move in promoting this
event in the sport. We began this last week, over $10 million media impact
throughout the tri-state area, including trailers in over 130 movie screens
throughout New York, 1,800 transit posters and bus sides, radio spots.
We'll have 100 taxicabs on top of their taxis electronically showing people
live scores, as well as upcoming matches as they travel throughout New York
City. We will be on 5 million Pepsi cans. A few of our sponsors which are
helping us to promote the activity, and then American Express, which just
does terrific player-oriented campaigns, one 30-second ad, and we'll go to
the draw that we did want to share with you that they will be breaking, I
believe tomorrow, that we thought you would enjoy.
ALAN KANTARIAN: And of course, it's all about the main event with
over 606 players, including qualifying, over 900 matches. Right now we have
a $1 million qualifying event taking place at the National Tennis Center.
And of course, in addition to the $1 million prize to singles we will be
offering a record $400,000 prize money to doubles, which we fully believe in
and want to further promote doubles activity at the US Open this year and
throughout the country.
With that, we would like to now move into the draw.
PATRICK McENROE: I want to start from the top of the draw here, a
couple of quick insights. Obviously, without Serena playing this year, it
certainly opens the door for a couple other contenders. Serena obviously
would have been the favorite, but let's focus on who is here.
Kim Clijsters has been the most consistent player, but she's yet to
win a big one. She's yet to win a Grand Slam. I think she's ready to win
one, myself, because she's been so good all year. She's lost to
Henin-Hardenne in a couple of big matches, obviously the biggest one at the
finals of the French where she really didn't show up for that mentally, Kim
didn't, but I think that she feels like she has something to prove, being
No. 1 in the rankings and still having not won a tournament. Her draw,
quite honestly, looks pretty good. Kuznetsova, who is better known at the
moment as Martina's doubles partner, is a good singles player, but not good
enough to worry Kim Clijsters. Zvonareva is another, and Coetzer, I don't
expect her to be a factor. Interesting round with Ashley Harkelroad, an
American, that played well early in the year and had some big wins on the
clay is yet to play as well this summer, but, you know, she'll be ready to
play her best at the Open.
Daniela Hantuchova is a question where she is -- she's had some
health problems this year, she has not lived up to all of her talents just
yet. I don't think she's strong enough to do some damage here.
Mauresmo has played pretty well this past week, but she's a number
of injuries, the French woman, she seems to play better in New York. She's
had some of her best matches in New York. At the French she has a lot of
pressure on her. If she's healthy, I think it will be Mauresmo-Clijsters in
the quarter there, not a big surprise.
Lindsay Davenport here, she's got to say to herself, this might be
one of her last chances. With Serena out, I think for someone like a
Lindsay Davenport, someone like a Jennifer Capriatti, they might say to
themselves, "Hey, I've got a shot here." And with Venus being questionable
health-wise, we don't know how healthy she is, we know she's not in great
shape because she has not played all summer.
So you have to think that Lindsay and Jennifer, just despite both of
them coming actually a little bit nicked up. Lindsay has had the trouble
with her foot and Jennifer has had trouble with her pectoral muscle and her
shoulder. She's got a good draw. First couple of rounds look pretty
routine. Lisa Raymond, her good friend and doubles partner, often times is
in that section but in singles is not going to worry her too much.
And Chanda Rubin has quietly had the best last year of her career.
And what a story she is, coming back from a couple knee surgeries. She'll
love playing in the Open. It's her favorite surface on pretty quick hard
court. She's got a very nice-looking draw, as well. A couple talented
players in there, Daniilidou is a talented player, but I don't see anybody
really -- I guess I should mention Petrova.
Petrova is in there at No. 41 and she played great at French. She's
a big hitter and if she gets hot, she could be a factor but I think she's a
little inconsistent. Mentally I think the US Open is a real test that a lot
of players don't like, to be honest, with all of the ruckus going on.
So I think for someone like Lindsay or Chanda, it helps them; they
are used to it. So I see Lindsay and Chanda getting through, and it
wouldn't surprise me if Chanda actually gets through to the semis; that
would not surprise me at all. She's played well enough. She's got enough
Let's move to the bottom of the draw. Capriatti, look, if she's
healthy she's going to be a factor. Someone that we should circle in her
section of the draw there, is Maria Sharapova, who we saw do so well at
Wimbledon, is probably going to be in the Top 10 within a year, I would say,
and that is someone that's worrisome in that section. Stevenson is a bit
inconsistent; she's in that section was one of the lower seeds. Really, to
me Capriatti, you have to worry about Sharapova there. I think that's
really the only person that worries her until Venus, to be honest, and Venus
there at No. 4.
In my mind coming into the Open on the women's sides is the two
Belgians, and it's Venus and Jennifer, and obviously dependent on how
healthy Venus. So you're going to have Venus and Jennifer playing in the
quarters and only one of them is going to make it to the semis and that's
If I were to pick a Final Four coming in, I could very well pick
those two, along with the two Belgian girls.
Then you get down to Henin-Hardenne, who has to be just licking her
chops because she has a dream draw. She has played very well this summer.
She bright Clijsters on hard court earlier this summer in California. She's
focused. She's mentally probably the toughest one out there. I would say
mentally she's the toughest. You know, she's got a great draw. I mean,
there's really nobody -- why seen see anybody through the quarters that's
going to worry her at all. Maybe Jelena Dokic, but quite honestly she's
pretty inconsistent, so I would be surprised if she even got out there. So
Henin-Hardenne has a great draw because she's into the quarters, I think
pretty easily. She's got either Capriatti or Venus who is going to be
knocked out. She's not going to have to deal with both of them, and then in
the top, as I said, to me it's Clijsters and one of the veteran Americans,
either Lindsay or Chanda.
So it shakes out pretty well, to be honest. The question mark --
and the good news, by the way, for Venus Williams, is she has a pretty
routine couple of first matches. So for her she can probably come in,
although Tina Pisnik, a decent player from Slovenia, probably not a good
enough to worry her, and she has Schiavone from Italy. So it's a good draw
for Venus. She comes in obviously not sharp. She'll be able to hopefully
for her get a couple of easy matches and see where she is. I think it's
worth pointing out that Sugiyama in there at 15 is also to me pretty
dangerous on hard court. She plays well. She hits the ball very flat. So
Venus is a little off; that could be a tricky match for her. That is the
way I see the women's.
So, let's move on to the men. I heard my friends at CBS clap when
they realized Roddick was on the other side of the draw from Agassi. But,
I'm not sure they were aware who Roddick is now playing. They are now, the
only guy that's beaten Roddick the whole summer, and that's Tim Henman. So
I think we know what USA Network is going to be having on the air Monday or
Tuesday night, Roddick and Henman. Henman beat Roddick in Washington this
summer in the semifinals. Roddick had one match point and that is the only
match he's lost this summer. He's won three of the hard court tournaments.
In my mind, he's the favorite for the US Open this year. But what a first
round match that is going to be, and Henman seems to be in obviously pretty
good shape. He went on this win that tournament, by the way, in Washington.
Let's start with the top of the draw. Let's also note that Andre
Agassi playing in his 18th US Open is the No. 1 seed. So to me, that's
pretty darned impressive at 33 years old. He's of course won the Open
twice, '94 and'99. He's got an interesting first round there with
Corretja, who is a former Top-10 player. Certainly knows how to play in big
matches. So that's a test for Andre. I mean, for the first round I don't
think that's someone that he would like to play. I think once you get a
couple of matches in, he matches up well with Corretja and his game. But
certainly an opening-round match, that's difficult for Andre, and Corretja
serves well enough; could give him some trouble.
By the way, there's only two other players other than Agassi who
have won the Open before, and that's Lleyton Hewitt, of course who won a
couple of years ago, and Marat Safin, who won in 2000; we don't know where
his head is at, to say the least.
Let's continue with the Agassi section of the draw. I think the
most dangerous player there comes from a country that one of our nice hosts
come from, from Belarus up there, the beat Max Mirnyi, who has had just a
great year and a great summer. It would not surprise me in the least to see
Mirnyi and Agassi in the round of 16.
You've got Fernando Gonzalez in there, sort of an interesting first
round match for him against Chang, whose farewell tour will end here in New
York at the US Open. He has not played well at all this year. Gonzalez is
a dangerous player. He has some knee problems off and on this year. So I
like Mirnyi to come through that section. He's been playing well, he serves
and volleys, and Mirnyi -- he played actually Agassi in the quarters last
year and lost a very good four-set match.
Mardy Fish is also in this section along with Sebastien Grosjean,
who is one of the best players, if not the best player out there, that has
never won a major. He has been in the semifinals of every Grand Slam except
I think the Open. So he is always dangerous. Mardy Fish is coming off his
best week of his career in Cincinnati, where he had a couple of match points
on Roddick and lost. So that would certainly -- in fact I would expect to
see a Sebastien Grosjean-Mardy Fish match in the third round; and I would
probably expect the winner of that one actually to get to the quarters
because you've got Guillermo Coria in there who has had an unbelievable year
on clay. But is still not proven on a fast hard court. So I think that
Mardy Fish, Grosjean, more than likely against Agassi in the quarterfinals.
We move down a section to Ferrero Juan Carlos who won the French
Open this year, been the best clay court player in the world the last two
years. Now says he believes he can be No. 1. Well, to be No. 1, he's going
to have to do well at the Open, if not win it, get to the final. I don't
see that happening. The courts are a little bit too quick for him. His
confident is not great after not a great last couple of weeks. He pulled
out of tournament on Long Island. I don't think he's really injured, but he
wanted to sort of try to get his head straight.
Speaking of getting your head straight, you have Marat Safin in
there, who we all wish would get his head straight and would get healthy,
but I don't think either one of those has happened. So a guy that has all
of the talent in the world and all of the game in the world who should be
right up there with Hewitt -- we'll get to him in a minute -- should be
right up there with Roddick and Ferrero and Fedderer as the new brigade
that's just about to take over men's tennis. He is not really part of the
mix right now, but who knows. This is a guy who is talented enough to
actually win a couple rounds and get to the semis or the finals. That's
possible. I don't see it happening, but he's got a good draw. I can tell
you that Ferrero doesn't want to see him in the third round. That, I can
Then Wayne Ferreira is in there. This guy, this is his 13th US
Open, so good effort by him just to be seeded, still out there.
Couple other people that just sort of mention, Todd Martin, I think
we should mention, all of his great runs at the US Open. He plays Robert
Yim, who is a wild card. He won the Junior Nationals for 18 and under.
That's an interesting little match-up there.
Martin Verkerk has won one match since he made the finals in the
French only. So don't expect him to catch fire in New York.
Hewitt, we move to his section, he's got to be pretty happy, I
think, with his first couple matches. Obviously his confidence is at an
all-time low, which is shocking, considering how tough he's been, No. 1 last
two years. So it's almost inexplicable really what's happened to him.
Nobody really knows where his head is. But he certainly is a guy, we know
what he can do when he gets late into a tournament, particularly in New
York. He thrives in the conditions. He won it two years ago. He played a
great match with Agassi in the semis last year, losing. In fact, Pete
Sampras can probably thank him a little bit for Hewitt taking a lot out of
Agassi before that great final.
So Hewitt, there's a couple dangerous guys in his section. I like
Tommy Robredo, by the way. He's a guy that I think can get through. I like
him getting past Paradorn Srichaphan, who plays well on hard court, but to
me, Tommy Robredo is a good competitor. We will talk about the Spaniards
ranked ahead of him, like Moya and Ferrero, but I think Robredo may be the
last Spaniard standing come second week of the tournament. So Hewitt has
got to be pretty good.
Lopez, by the way, who is a big server, big lefty serve in his
section, is dangerous, but if Hewitt gets through the first couple rounds,
then I think we start talking about him as a factor late in the second week.
So we move to the next section, with old Rainer Schuettler, the
Australian Open finalist who just keeps winning matches but is not a threat
to win the tournament. This is a weak section right here, with Schuettler,
Albert Costa, Mantilla, Schalken made the semis last year at the Open but
he's not playing as well this year. So this sort of little section this top
quarter right here is -- actually, if Roddick gets through his first
rounds, he should be in very good shape to get through to the semis. You've
got Kuerten in there who is a shadow of his former self, unfortunately, for
all of us who loved to watch him. He has not quite recovered from that
injury he had a year and a half ago.
Vince Spadea, the veteran who worked his way back up through the
Challengers and tournaments all over the world, good effort by him to be a
seed at 32, No. 32 seed, but he's not going to be getting in Roddick's way,
if that match happens.
Then we have the bottom section which is actually pretty
interesting. We go down to Federer at the bottom, you know what I like
about the men's game this year is that the three best players have won the
three biggest tournaments and that to me makes the Open more interesting.
Because the best player on hard court is Agassi, the first part of the year;
the best clay court player is clearly Ferrero, he wins the French; the best
all-court player, grass player is Federer and he won Wimbledon. That has
not happened for awhile, where actually the guys you would expect and if
you're a fan sort of hope would take their game up to that level and won.
Roddick has been the best player on hard court in the summer. To
me, No. 1 really comes down to the Open on the men's side. If Roddick wins
the Open, he's got a very strong case to be 1. He's already 1 in the
Champions Race. If he wins the Open you could make a strong case for him
being 1. If Agassi wins the Open, he's going to be 1 because he's won two
Slams. And Federer has not had a great summer but he's won some matches
since he won Wimbledon, which was an awesome display of all-court tennis by
Roger Federer. But his draw is pretty tough. The first couple rounds
should be pretty easy for him, but then James Blake is in there, Zabaleta
against Blake is a good first round, and then James Blake is starting to
play well again the last couple of weeks. So I would expect him to beat
Zabaleta and actually play Federer in the third round, which would be a nice
Philippoussis, Nalbandian, you can bet that Federer does not want to
see Nalbandian, beaten him four times in a row, Federer has never beaten
him. So he would love to see anybody but Nalbandian in the round of 16,
including Philippoussis who he just dismantled in the Wimbledon final.
Philippoussis I think is an outside threat, but now that I see his
draw, I think it's going to be much tougher for him to go all the way. It's
a little harder on the hard courts because of he knee issues he's had.
And then you have Moya. Moya is a guy who has played very well on
fast courts at times. He's not played well this summer on the hard court at
all. But he's got a good draw. Scott Draper, the Australian, is talented
but Moya has got to like where he is. The seeds in his section should
really not bother him. If Moya can get through to the quarters, that
wouldn't surprise me.
You know, look, it's almost impossible to predict the men much more
so than the women, obviously, but coming in, my favorite is Roddick. The
next two would be Federer and Agassi, and based on what I see in the draw, I
think it's a tougher draw for Federer. I think he's got a very tough road.
So we'll see mentally how tough he is. We know what he can do with his
The Open is more of a test mentally than any of the other Slams, I
think. It's tough, it's hot, the New York conditions, best-of-five, it's
very rare that someone sneaks through and get to the finals of the Open.
Nobody sneaks through and wins a US Open on the men's side. That just
hasn't happened, as has happened, Thomas Johansson wins the Australian or
different clay court guys winning the French. It never happens at the Open.
So I think here, it's set up to be a great tournament because
obviously we are going to miss Pete, but he has not played at all, so it's
not like he's been a factor this year. I think that Agassi sees that this
is if not his last chance, certainly one of his last couple chances to win.
I think here and the Australian are his two best chances, anyway. And I
think he senses that the Federers and the Roddicks are coming up and are
ready to take over. He would love to get to that, I think, magic number, of
10 majors. He'll never admit it, but I think if he could get to double
digits in majors won, he's at eight now, that puts him with one of the
all-time greats, which he already is, but just puts him as a higher level.
That would be it for the men. If anyone has any questions, happy to
answer them. If not, it's lunchtime.
Q. I just want to know, obviously Roddick is a favorite coming in,
you don't think that his match with Henman puts a wrinkle in that?
PATRICK McENROE: No. I think he'll win the match. I think it's
best-of-five. I think he's got a lot of confidence. It's a great first
round. He could lose. I mean, there's not that many guys that I would say
going in that could beat him in a first-round match, particularly with 32
seeds. I don't think that that's going to happen.
To me, it doesn't take away from the bigger picture, which is I
still think he's a favorite to win the tournament. As I said, if he beats
Henman, he's got a pretty good draw after that.
Q. How do you explain the huge improvements in Roddick's form this
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think that obviously since he's been
working with Brad Gilbert, Brad has helped him a lot. I think that
mentally, he's a lot more focused. He's not getting rattled by mistakes
that he makes or things that goes on on the court.
Technically, he's improved his return serve and his back happened
pass, which are things that really got exploited here last year when he
played Sampras so he's improved that. And he's just playing -- he's got
more composure. He's playing with a lot more composure. I think Brad has
really helped him with that, helped him with his strategy, with doing what
you have to do to win on that day and taking advantage of what his big
I also think physically he's in better shape much he's stronger.
He's moving very well. And obviously in his serve and his forehand, he's
got two of the biggest shots in the game.
Q. Apart from New York climate with the humidity, crowds, noise,
and on thinking of your brother with the referees, could you make a few
comments, how could players deal when they make a mistake and things like
those? Thank you.
PATRICK McENROE: I think you have to try to enjoy it. You have to
enjoy what the whole US Open is about, what New York is about, playing on
the biggest stage, the biggest city in the world.
I think the guy that personifies that was Stefan Edberg. He hated
it, the first couple years and he's this mild-mannered Swede and quiet and
very reserved and did not like to stay in the City was too much stress for
him, driving back and forth. By the end of his career, he loved it. He
ate it up. He loved the whole energy and the atmosphere. I think that you
have to expect whether it's going to be hot, sometimes it gets quite windy
out there. As I said, just getting back and forth, we have all been caught
in New York midtown tunnel traffic at times. It's not like that at a lot of
the other tournaments.
So I think that you have to have the right mind set. If your
mentality is you're going to let it bother you, it's going to bother you.
You have to just enjoy what it is, what New York is all about, what the US
Open is all about.
We grew up here, so of course, my bother loved it. He took the
subway to school every day. He was used to it. That's why I used Edberg
as an example because he wasn't used to it and he got himself into it to
where he was able to win here.
Q. Patrick, why do you think Clijsters has not been able to clear
that hurdle and win a major? And also, if you could name a couple sleepers
on the women's side that people might come to know the next couple of weeks?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't think she's done it yet because I don't
know if she's mean enough, wants it enough. I think maybe she's starting to
get ticked off enough that people saying that, that maybe she'll want it
more. She clearly didn't show up for the final in Paris, but she's clearly
a tremendous player.
Look, you don't get to be where she is by not being a competitor.
It's just a question of the different level of how much you want and when
you get to that -- to be one of the best in the world.
And if you look at someone like a Lendl, in his career, early in his
career, he had trouble winning the big one. Look, the more times you knock
on the door, at some point, you're going to win it. I just think that -- I
just think that she's going to realize that she doesn't want to hear all
this anymore and when she does get to this point she's going to do it.
Couple of floaters, on the women's side, Sharapova is one. To be
honest, there aren't that many. I mean, let's be honest, on the women's
side, it's much more predictable. Petrova, I mean, can you call Petrova a
dark horse? I mean she's been in the semis at the French. There aren't
that many. I mean, I could pretty much go to the bank on who is going to be
in the quarters and semis. That's just a reality.
On the men's side, you can't do that.
ALAN KANTARIAN: Patrick, thank you very much. Your knowledge of
both the men and the women is astonishingly complete and we appreciate that.
For those of you who didn't notice, Patrick for two years as a
member of the board of the directors of the USTA, a major contributor there,
and has been a major contributor to the team spirit that exists in our young
Davis Cup team and obviously a very successful commentator.
So thank you very much for taking time out of a busy schedule,
Patrick. You were excellent. (Applause).
Vijay, thank you so much for having us here. I must tell you that
the turn out is just wonderful. It's nice to see a roomful of tennis media
that know the game. And all I can tell you is that from a USTA point of
view in terms of having a successful tournament, those first to days are
going to be nervous between Agassi playing Corretja and Henman playing
Roddick, and Blake has a tough match at the same time. So let's hope this
same day a week from now, all three of them are still in.
Thanks very much for attending. You've been a great audience.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...