Roddick happy to hand over the baton

Frances Tiafoe does not want to get dragged into the whole narrative of possibly ending America’s two-decade drought in men’s singles at the US Open - and Andy Roddick totally gets it.
Tiafoe, who posted a huge upset over Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals in New York, is three wins away from becoming the first American man since Roddick in 2003 to win the US Open singles title.
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When he was asked about that by John McEnroe, Chris Evert and Chris McKendry on ESPN ahead of his last-8 clash with Andrey Rublev, Tiafoe said: “I wanna win for me, not the whole 19-year thing.”
Roddick, a former world No.1 who retired from professional tennis 10 years ago, understands why Tiafoe is choosing to focus on himself and says he’d be thrilled to see his compatriot lift the trophy this fortnight.
“If I’m him and I just had the biggest win of my career, the last thing I want to talk about is someone else, I get it. I don’t want to be the answer to a trivia question for much longer either,” Roddick told Eurosport in New York on Tuesday.
“I like Frances a lot, I love his game, I think he’s fantastic. I like the way he operates, I like his energy. And frankly in this country we need people that are not only really good, but are entertaining; and he has that.
“I want him to do well. I would love nothing more than for him to go all the way and have someone else not want to talk about him some day.”

Andy’s an Ons fan

Roddick was talking just moments after Ons Jabeur booked her spot in the semi-finals with a straight-sets win over Ajla Tomljanovic.
Jabeur has been a massive Roddick fan since she was a young girl and the Tunisian world No. 5 has left an impression on him in recent years, thanks to her intelligent and watchable game style.
“Her game draws you in, the emotion with which she plays; I think the variety with which she plays. As a fan of hers, I think it’s simultaneously stressful and amazing that I don’t know what’s coming next,” Roddick said of Jabeur, who is one of the friendliest players on tour.
“But I think the thing that makes me a fan is you hear behind the scenes what other people say about her. And if you hear it enough times, you probably know that it’s true. So I think that makes you a fan also.”
Jabeur is through to a second consecutive major semi-final, having placed runner-up at Wimbledon earlier this summer, and Roddick sees her as a Grand Slam champion in the making.
“She is a more complete player – I could play on two surfaces, not all of them. So that lends itself to her having four chances a year, as opposed to maybe I had a chance in Australia, but definitely not in Paris,” he said.
“Her game seems to translate and she seems to have the tennis IQ to switch in and out. (An) Open (draw) just means that our next champions haven’t won yet, that’s all it is. It means the familiar faces are getting older, or not present, or are injured, or we are in a transitional period.

Ons Jabeur - US Open 2022

Image credit: Getty Images

“There’s no reason for her not to win a Grand Slam. You could say that there are people that she is probably better than that have won.”
Jabeur was extremely disappointed to miss the opportunity to meet Roddick in person, despite being just a few feet away in the players’ gym cooling down from her quarter-final clash.
“I didn’t get to see him. My husband Karim saw him, introduced himself and said hello to him but I wasn’t there. I blame Karim,” said Jabeur with a laugh.
“Where is Andy Roddick? I want to see him. I missed him by like one second,” she said at the end of her press conference.
Surely he can stick around a little bit longer after her next match, no?

Battle for No. 1 heats up

Following Daniil Medvedev’s fourth-round exit on Sunday, three players can mathematically become the new world No.1 next Monday: Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud.
Despite his fourth-round exit to Frances Tiafoe on Monday, Nadal can return to the top spot if Alcaraz and Ruud fail to reach the final.
If both Alcaraz and Ruud make it to the title decider, the winner of that clash will become the new world No. 1.
Should Alcaraz pull off that feat, he would become the first teenager on the ATP tour to top the world rankings.
“For a teenager like Charly to be No. 1, I think it's something unreal. Like something that every player dreams to achieve. I think in his case, it's just a matter of time. Even if it's not going to happen this tournament, he will still have many more chances later on. So it's not about only this US Open,” said current world No. 11 Andrey Rublev, who could meet Alcaraz in the last four.
Asked if he was closely following the race at the summit of the rankings, Rublev said with a grin: “I’m not paying really attention because it's not me. It’s less pressure, like, OK, let them fight, let them feel this pressure. Better for me, like this, all of them will get more tight.”
Meanwhile, Nadal joked in the Spanish portion of his press conference that he obviously wished it was him who still had a chance to win this US Open and get back to the No. 1 position, but he wished his compatriot well in his bid for a historic achievement.
“He’s the only Spaniard left,” Nadal said of the 19-year-old Alcaraz.
“He has the chance to win the first Grand Slam of his career and become No. 1. It would be better if that weren’t the case because it means it could be me otherwise, let’s not be hypocrites about it,” he added with a smile.
“But on a personal level, I wish him the best, and if not here, then somewhere else. He is having a fantastic year and I wish him the best of luck.”

Anyone for a haircut?

Earlier this year, YouTube star JiDion went viral after he got a haircut courtside during an NBA game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.
He was at it again on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday as he was spotted getting a trim during the night-session showdown between Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov.
Yes, we don’t get it either!

(Throwback) Tweet of the day

Eleven years later, Andy Murray’s tweet about Caroline Garcia has aged incredibly well.

Quotes of the day

“Angry Bird, I call him. I don't know. Just he stresses a little bit, and he doesn't hide his emotions very well, apparently. I'm calling him Angry Bird these days.”
-- Jabeur jokes about the reactions from her husband/fitness trainer Karim Kamoun during her matches.
“I don't know what happened. I'm gonna let pass few days, and then I'm gonna think about what happened. Now is too soon. But something happened, and I'm really not happy about it.”
-- Matteo Berrettini is confused by his own level during his straight-sets loss to Ruud on Tuesday.
“This is a Grand Slam the last 18 or 19 years that had more winners than the rest of them, because I'm not sure why, but there is something special I guess with this place. There will be a new first-time winner here this year also. It shows that it's possible to do it here in New York. It's sort of a city of dreams and I guess that's helping me with my game and my motivation.”
-- Ruud after reaching the semi-finals in New York.

Stats of the day

1 – Jabeur is the first African woman in the Open Era to reach the US Open semi-finals.
3 – Caroline Garcia is just the third French woman to reach the US Open semi-finals in the Open Era. The other two are Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, with the latter in the stands for Garcia's win over Coco Gauff on Tuesday.
11 – Following his defeat to Ruud on Tuesday, Berrettini has now lost his last 11 matches against top-10 opposition.
13 – Garcia has extended her winning streak to 13 consecutive matches thanks to her triumph over Gauff.
23 – Karen Khachanov is through to his first Grand Slam semi-final on his 23rd main draw appearance in a major.
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