September 12, 2003, Newsletter Issue #87: What I learned from the U.S. Open

Tip of the Week

Top 10 Things I Learned Watching the 2003 U.S. Open

10. Appreciating just how little control we have over our lives. Huh? Well, in a word, rain!! Those who controlled their emotions during the 4 1/2 days of rain prevailed! Those who didn`t were vanquished! Tennis is really a mental game, just like chess. All things being equal,, equipment, etc...the only real difference is how the players can control their focus during long periods of down time...

9. Realizing how incredibly good the Williams sisters are. Irrespective of your feelings about the Williams sisters, if you watched the women`s round of 16, up to and including the finals, you realized that you wouldn`t have seen many of those faces if Serena and Venus were healthy.

8. Knowing for sure that I don`t have any desire to be a Tournament Director or Referee at a Grand Slam, much less a Challenger event! The thankless nature of their jobs, coupled with the abuse and lack of sleep make their positions not one I envy! I`ve conducted many amateur events, and usually only get one or two thank-yous. Most just leave, and don`t realize how much work goes into a dinky little event, much less the U.S. Open.

7. Watching with pleasure at the grace and skill of Henin-Hardenne`s backhand. It is a thing of beauty, and when you realize that she`s only 5`5", 130 sopping wet, you can`t imagine how incredible that backhand is. It is my hope that she is cleared of any alleged "doping" that the media accused her of.

6. My gratitude for Pete Sampras and Michael Chang. Both retired at the Open, and both exhibited grace, dignity, guts, determiniation, longevity, and a fighting spirit that no one who`s seen them play will ever forget. They will both be missed.

5. Appreciation for the way Agassi conducts himself. What a difference 10 years makes. Agassi stopped playing for the money long ago. He devotes his time to creating a world-class education for deserving children in the Vegas area. He conducts himself with the utmost of professionalism on and off the court, and radiates a love for the game, and a respect for the tradition. Hats off to the ultimate warrior!

4. Gratitude and relief that Leander Paes, one of India`s greatest doubles players, if not the greatest, is going to be ok. I had the chance to see Leander after his recovery from the hospital, and was so impressed by his attitude. It`s no wonder he`s so popular on the tour with the professionals and fans. His mixed doubles partner Martina refused to play mixed at the U.S. Open. That`s the kind of impact Leander has on all the people he meets. Get back to 100% Leander, and we`ll see you at the `04 Australian, and we all hope, the `04 U.S. Open with Martina!

3. Appreciation for Dick Enberg. He is without a doubt one of the greatest sports casters ever! He has a way to tug at your heart strings, always showing that sport, like art, often imitates life. Thank you Dick Enberg.

2. Watching the quiet professionalism of the ballboys, linesman, umpires, (remember the Chair Ump who was hit accidently near the eye by an errant throw--she got treated, and went right back to work!), and all the behind the scenes personnel that make it all look so easy!

1. The Spirit of New York. It is the greatest city in the world. With all that the people have gone through, they still love their sports, tennis included. Their support, sponsorship, and passion for the game is unparalleled in any city. It is my hope that the Open only gets bigger and more popular!

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