WOO! this year's u.s. tennis open has been awesome! two names: blake v. agassi! i stayed up into the wee hours watching their incredible five-set slugfest. agassi, someone i use to root against, has grown on me more as he ages-- he's a legend for sure; no one has a return like he does. but blake-- how can you root against this guy? all week the media has been hyping this match (blake was a wild card-- it was never a sure thing that he'd even make it this far) and it never disappointed. up until the fifth and final set-- the tiebreaker in fact-- the match could have gone either way. man, i wish i could have been there.
i've attended the u.s. open every year since 1998-- when my dad scored tix from work and i got to see my beloved pete sampras play live for the very first time. i loved sitting at arthur ashe stadium at night-- the u.s. open is the only slam with night matches-- the crowd's electricty and under the bright lights fuels the players and is nothing short of exciting. i feel privileged to be a part of some classics-- including the sampras v. agassi QF in 2001-- 4 straight tiebreaks! man, that was a good nite. and if you ever go, don't just glue yourself to center court action-- always, ALWAYS walk over to the smaller courts--especially the grandstand stadium-- where the seats are not assigned and you are so close, you can feel the court vibrate with each smash of the ball. if you're lucky, you may encounter a match that doesn't just feature dynamic players, but even more dynamic fans. my favorite fanatics: guga's brazilian contingent and the sricha-fans. they are INSANE, but i love 'em.
this year, the open has seen a few changes. first, the courts are now painted blue so that both players and spectators could see the ball better. i wasn't sure if i liked it at first-- i'm old school-- but as i sat way up in the upper tier of ashe watching the nail-biting hewitt v. dent match, i appreciated the court's bold blue. also, the grounds at flushing meadow-- where the open is held-- has received an aesthetic upgrade-- more trees and flowers but also a new set of fountains framing the entrance to ashe stadium. but the biggest change of all-- the fantastic weather! i can't remember a time when the open hasn't seen its share of chilly, windy september nights or days pouring streams of rain. this year, however, september has served up seven days of amazing weather. the combo of low humidity, sunny skies, and amazing matches makes me itch for some court time as well. if only it could inspire me to hit the ball with as much heat as sharapova-- minus her grunt.