Wow, almost 20 Million Dollars in prize money this year, incl. $1,400,000 for the Singles winners (men and women) and such niceties as $1,022.00 per diem for every player. I guess staying in New York City demands it, right? Last night, after watching Serena, Roger and Rafael win, I grabbed Arthur Ashe's book "Days of Grace" and started reading. As you may or may not know, he was the first US Open winner, but at the time he was still considered "amateur". On page 65 he writes about 1968, when the Open era began....
"Later that year, when I won the first United States Open and received only $280 in expense money, I was still an amateur and a gentleman player, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army happy to make payments on my beloved Ford Mustang. Tom Okker lost to me in the final, and took home $14,000. Tom was a gentleman, too; but he was also a professional who could accept prize money."
What does watching the world's best players on TV mean to me? I wanna go out and play like Roger, look like Nadal, and beat up on some real good 5.0 players, haha. Currently I'm playing at various clubs in San Diego 3-5 times a week, mostly weeknights and weekend afternoons. I signed up for WTT (World Team Tennis) last week, as a member of the Crown City team in Coronado. I know it's a long drive from North County (Encinitas), but us tennis players, we go the extra mile to hit that yellow fuzzy ball. Nothing and no one can stop us!
Wanna know how bad we want to play sometimes? A few years ago, when those Scripps Ranch fires hit the county, my buddy Jim and I were driving down the Freeway to the Hilton San Diego Resort (Mission Bay) for a Sunday morning mixed doubles round robin event. We saw the sky going dark, the smoke coming in, and the fires raging on the horizon. Every normal human being would have turned around, go home and watch TV. Not us, we are tennis players! When we reached the courts, they were covered in black ash 2 inches high. What can I say? We played for an hour and a half, until the balls, our clothes, and our faces were black. Kept coughing all the way home and for another week or so. It was really bad. Gotta love your sport, folks...
TENNIS QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The score was 20-20 in a match against Lew Hoad and I did the splits going for a shot. Snap! I felt something go. A tendon? No - my jockstrap."
Rod Laver, on the longest set he ever played.
"Tennis for the Bloody Fun of IT" by Rod Laver and Roy Emmerson (with Barry Tardis)