Observations from the US Open
Sep 01, 2023
Yesterday, in the seat next to me at Stan Wawrinka's match, was Florida Tennis photographer and contributor Todd Pechter. The two of us marveled at Stan's backhand, talked some tennis, and praised the cultural underpinnings of New York.
Todd also sent along a few observations (lightly edited and updated below) along with a few of his jaw-dropping photos from the first few days of the US Open.
You da Man, Stan
Stan Warwrinka showed that he is still the man — well, for at least so far he is. The 3 time Grand Slam champion (including the 2016 US Open) defeated Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka, ranked 44th in the world in the first round. Warwrinka took the match in straight sets; 7-6, 6-2, 6-4. And yesterday he took down the 30th seed, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, of Argentina in a hard fought battle winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.
Above: Stan the Man. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
Faces (and footwear) in the crowd
You might not recognize the man, but you probably recognize the shoe: That is Stan Smith, he of the Adidas Stan Smith iconic tennis sneaker, engaging some fans in the outer ring of Ashe Stadium. Most consumers tend to go for the sneaker in classic white, but it appears that Stan has gone green. Oh, he also won the US Open back in 1971, along with a Wimbledon title in 1972.
Above: Stan Smith. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
Brits Don't Quit!
Even though he lost in the second round yesterday to Grigor Dimitrov, the above title still holds true for one Andy Murray. Let's face it, the guy could have retired a full decade ago, and lived out the rest of his life being adored and pampered by an entire country.
It was 2013 when Murray first won Wimbledon, his victory occurring 77 years after the previous fellow countryman had lifted the trophy (Fred Perry in 1936). In capturing that Wimbledon crown, Murray vanquished the tennis demons that had plagued England for over 3/4 of a century. No one would have blamed him if he had walked away from the game after that win. Everyone would have assumed that Murray had determined that nothing he ever did from that moment forward would ever top the achievement of capturing the Wimbledon title.
Above: At net prepping for a winning overhead smash. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
So true, so true... but then, not so true for reasons which include Murray's demonstrating over the years his abilities as a tennis player. Along with that, however, and perhaps of greater import, has been Murray's continued demonstration of his abilities as a person: An upstanding individual who sets a superb example of basic human decency.
Andy did win a second Wimbledon in 2016, giving him 3 Grand Slam victories in his career (the 3rd being the 2012 US Open). For a couple of years, his name was being mentioned as a possible all-time great among the ranks of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.
Above: Competitive spirit is clearly still there. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
Mostly due to injuries, Murray has not been able to attain that status. His days of competing for more Grand Slam titles are over, but watching him play now, you get to see the occasional brilliance that was regularly on display in his youth. And along with that, you can clearly see his fighting spirit and his sheer love for the game.
Yes, Murray could have retired over a decade ago. And while there are some who would argue that nothing does top that 2013 Wimbledon victory, the thought here is that when you look at what the man has accomplished over his entire career, and the utter humanity which has consistently been on display, a couple of Wimbledon titles pale by comparison.