The annual US Open tennis tourney is just beginning, and there’s already soooo much to say about it. (I detest the term “unpack.”) I actually meant for this to be a really short intro to the tournament, but juicy news after juicy news kept presenting itself, so I just must give you the deets on the highlights of them.

This is me, all day, every day!

This is me, all day, every day!

First of all, there are two bits of what, as an avid forever tennis-watcher, I consider to be great news. One is that we won’t have to deal with anti-vaxxer Novak Djokovic here because he will not be allowed into the US to play. Nobody who’s not vaccinated is being allowed in, but, as usual, he thinks he’s different from the rest of the world, so he held out hope that the country would give him an exemption, allowing him to play, until the draw was announced on Thursday, with him not in it. And he seems to want everyone to feel bad for him. Hey, man, just get vaccinated already!!! (Even fellow non-believer, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, has gotten the jab(s) so he can play!)

I can’t state the situation better than sportscaster Roy Firestone has, so I’ll let his statement speak for both of us, (with spelling and punctuation errors fixed by me, of course): “Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the US Open. He remains unvaccinated, which is his right, and because he refuses…he can’t get a Visa to enter the US, which is America’s right…too. Anyone who refuses a vaccination at this point is stubbornly foolish and hanging on to some vague right to ‘freedom’…whatever that means. Simply put, a vaccination doesn’t need to be a personal statement or referendum on liberty. All a vaccination does is protect you. That unvaccinated person is also putting others at risk for illness, and in some cases, death. At this point Djokovic, who was ranked number one in the world in the past, is putting his career and his legacy into the trash bin…he is derided and mocked and disrespected in most circles. Sure, not to get a vaccination is his call…but so is the decision to bar him and others from this country if [they don’t] get the shot. I just think his arrogance and stupidity has taken over now. He isn’t ‘standing’ for anything….but himself. And it’s a stupid and selfish stand to take.” I say a major “amen” to all that!

Serena Williams, in bad need of getting her always-problematic eyebrows done! (This is a pic that was featured on the tounrey's own site, so I don't feel bad sharing it.)

Serena Williams, in bad need of getting her always-problematic eyebrows done! (This is a pic that was featured on the tounrey’s own site, so I don’t feel bad sharing it.)

The other bit of good news that we’ll get at this tourney, (hopefully close to the beginning of it, if recent history is any indication,) is that we won’t have to deal with Serena Williams in professional tennis anymore! Yay! [Note: She announced a few weeks ago that she’s retiring after the US Open, but, of course, she’s trying to backtrack from it now, in case, by some miracle, she does okay here.]

I will be soooo happy that we won’t be subjected to Serena’s bad sportsmanship anymore, which continues to this day! When she lost very badly to Emma Radacanu in the first round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, she stood far away from Emma for the beyond-weak post-match handshake, and although the tournament’s organizers had put out champagne on the court with which to toast her career, she packed-up and left in a matter of seconds. On top of that bit of rudeness, she didn’t attend her post-match press conference, which is required for all players. But, as usual, Serena thinks that rules don’t apply to her.

And, by the way, I predict that she’s already pregnant. When she lost in that recent tourney, she was even more hefty than usual, (if that’s even possible,) and the way her stomach stuck out more than usual said “with child” to me. Even if she’s not, I guarantee she’ll say she is when she loses here, as yet another one of her phony excuses. I just pray that no one will hire her as a commentator. I couldn’t take listening to her.

I love this compilation of the Cincy tourney; wish I knew who put it together. It shows Serena already staring daggers at Emma Radacanu before the match even began!

I love this compilation of the Cincy tourney; wish I knew who put it together. Notice Serena already staring daggers at Emma Radacanu before the match even began!

I had been thinking that the only way she’d get through the first round at this one was if she plays her sister, Venus! I’ve always felt that their father dictated which one of them should win when they battled each other, and even though he hasn’t been around in person in recent years, I’m sure this contest would work the same way.

But Serena has the possibly easy task of facing Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, who’s #80 in the world. But…just about everyone else has beaten her this year, regardless of rank, so all I can say is—Go, Danka! But Serena is #608!!! How insane is that?!

The cold fish handshake that Serena gave Emma Radacanu at a recent tourney when Emma beat the first round! Serena did not get closer to her than this picture shows. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The cold fish handshake that Serena gave Emma Radacanu at a recent tourney when Emma beat her…in the first round! Serena did not get closer to her than this picture shows. How rude is that??? Photo by Karen Salkin.

More on the women of the US Open in a minute, but first let’s discuss the much more interesting men.

When I previewed this summer’s Wimbledon tournament, I neglected to mention Nick Kyrgios, who is probably my favorite player after my beloved Roger Federer. I had thought of including Nick, but at that point, just a very short while ago, he was ranked pretty low in the world, was usually out in the second or third round, and the organizers of the Majors rarely showed his matches, anyway, which I suspect was because they were afraid of what Nick might do that would embarrass them. So I felt like mentioning him would be fruitless.

And then, to my delight, (and even that of Mr. X!,) Nick came all the way through those championships to the Final!!! Which he really should have won, by the way. I think, having never made a Majors Final before, the occasion just got the better of him. But he was so charming in defeat that I hope he won even more fans. (All the commentators say that he’s their kids’ favorite player. Of course.)

Aussie Open doubles winners Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Aussie Open doubles winners Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

But his popularity was already most likely behind only Roger’s and Rafa Nadal‘s. That alone should make the organizers of the US Open show us all his matches this go-round. I sure hope so.

But oh no—I just found-out that Nick has to play his best friend and doubles partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, (with whom he’s won this year’s Australian Open in January, and then the recent Atlanta Open,) in the first round here! That’s awful! (Unless that familiarity with Thanasi makes it somewhat easier for Nick. Maybe it will make him relax and just enjoy himself in an otherwise very tense situation, which the first round always is.) [Note: I love that the two together are referred to as “Special Ks” because of their last names. That’s what the cool guys called me, (except singular, of course,) in my clubbing days!]

There are two of my other faves to look out for. Mr. X and I love nutty defending champion Daniil Medvedev. His sideways flop when he won last year is a thing of beauty. We still watch those few seconds occasionally, over and over, when we need a good laugh. And his play is even better.

This image doesn't do justice to Daniil Medvedev's celebratory sideways flop when he won last year's US Open, so just imagine it in motion.

This image doesn’t do justice to Daniil Medvedev’s celebratory sideways flop when he won last year’s US Open, so try to imagine it in motion.

Speaking of a thing of beauty, I can’t wait to once again feast my eyes on gorgeous Matteo Berrettini! Well, actually, knock on wood that we’ll all get that chance; he had to pull out of Wimbledon because he came down with…Covid! Let’s hope nothing will keep him away this time. (I like mentioning him just to give myself an excuse to look through tons of pix of his stunning visage to accompany this one paragraph!)

Matteo Berrettini.

Matteo Berrettini.

On the ladies side, I always root for lovely Petra Kvitova and colorful Victoria Azarenka, even though I will not miss the latter’s grunts when she retires, (which I hope is still many years from now.)

Another one of my faves, 2016 US Open Champion Angelique Kerber, will be sitting this one out because…she’s pregnant! It will be a bit strange to not have her in the mix, but it’s for that lovely reason, so it’s okay. In a cute tweet, she wrote, “I really wanted to play the US Open but eventually I decided that two against one just isn’t a fair competition.” Adorbs. She says she’s just taking a break from professional tennis “for the next months,” but she’s already thirty-four, so I don’t see her making a comeback after having a baby. So, that blessing might possibly also be a curse. Shame.

Elina Svitalina's tweet announcing her soon-to-arrive baby with Gael Monfils.

Elina Svitalina’s tweet announcing her soon-to-arrive baby with hubby Gael Monfils.

Also preggers is another one of my faves,2021 Olympics bronze medalist, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. She and her charming husband, the always-entertaining Gael Monfils, (who, unfortunately, has to sit this one out, as well, due to injury,) are having their baby in less than two months! Besides that I love them both individually, they’re also one of my favorite couples ever; they have a love that everyone should aspire to. (And can you just imagine what that baby’s tennis genes will be like??? I can’t wait for her to grow-up and play already!)

Meanwhile, surprise defending champ Emma Radacanu has a very tough first round draw. She has to play France’s Alize Cornet, who has beaten just about everyone in her long career!

On a personal note, for the first time in decades, I’m not going to get to watch every single second of the competition, unless I stay up overnight a few times. I have too many events that occur on some of the tennis days, including the multi-day Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo downtown, and several pre-Emmys events. (Why did they have to schedule the Emmys so early this year? Don’t the producers know they always need to consult with me first?) And the US Open, unlike Wimbledon, doesn’t have a nighttime curfew, so play can run into the wee hours, and often does. So even when I don’t have other commitments, watching the entire coverage can be challenging for my bon vivette self!!!

But even without my ever-present eyes, I wish the best for my faves. And I look forward to more fun surprises this year.


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