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Serena Williams just won the US Open. I said it yesterday. It’s hard to find new superlatives to describe what the old lady is doing these days. So here’s a list.
As in the number of singles matches Serena Williams played as world No. 1.
She won 94 and lost 13. That’s 88 percent wins, which sounds good; I can’t say for sure as I haven’t compared to other No. 1s, not even the one Serena’s playing in the US Open final tomorrow, Victoria Azarenka.
I got the idea for this post from this @StephintheUS tweet. Plus descriptions of Serena’s on-court results have used up all superlatives and those of her off-court stunts have used up all the strange words. So henceforth, like a proper weirdo, I’ll talk about Serena only through numbers and lists.
Like this one, which shows all matches Serena played as No. 1. It’s sorted chronologically and displays opponent, tournament, year and result. Losses are in bold.
As in the number of times Serena Williams has played the No. 1 player in singles.
The US Open final will be her 26th time, and she’ll face Victoria Azarenka, a No. 1 she’s already played – and beat – twice this year. Serena’s career record against No. 1s is 14-11.
Here’s a list of all No. 1s Serena has played in singles, and it’s sorted in chronological order. Also shown are tournament, tournament start date, whether she won or lost and score.
Yesterday I got to sit in on Andy Roddick’s last post-match press conference (after his fourth-round loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open). I took some notes then, thought about things today, jotted down some stuff – 10 stuff, to be precise. If you didn’t see it on TV, you can watch it online here.
1: Andy Roddick felt lucky to do what he did all those years. Which is play damn good tennis, get paid for it and do it in front of folks who paid to watch. He was full of gratitude; it seeped through every answer.
2: The venue, Interview Room 1, was packed. Many people stood and along both walls. Twelve or so photographers clicked away. There were, as always, cameras in the back. In the few days I was in the media center last year and this one, I never saw the room so full. (The room wasn’t empty after Roger Federer’s loss last night either, but attendance at Roddick’s last press conference was something else.)
3: After the first question Bud Collins told Roddick, “I think you ought to be clapped to.” Then Roddick was clapped to. It was touching. Because Roddick was retiring. And Bud’s a legend after all.
4: By the third question Roddick managed to throw in the word ‘boob’. The guy was funny. Whether he was being a boob or saying it, he could make people laugh. This last press conference was no different.
5: Roddick said that, unlike Andre Agassi when he retired, he didn’t prepare a post-loss speech for the crowd. He thought he might be asked to answer a few questions, not give a speech. I’m not sure if I believe it completely. On court after the loss, he was articulate, even for him, especially when you consider the circumstances. But who knows? If he had prepared a speech and stuck to it, I imagine he would have mentioned his wife by name. (I don’t think he did?) Not a huge deal, also not unnoticed. (At least by me.)
6: Unless my memory and notes are wrong, only one woman asked a question. I’m not sure it matters. But I wrote this down.
7: If Roddick could choose he would probably have wanted to lose his last match to Juan Martin del Potro – Roddick called him “a class act” – than to a lot of others. (I thought the same thing about Elena Dementieva and her del Potro, Francesca Schiavone.)
8: USA Today writer Doug Robson asked the last question, and Roddick’s answer reminded me that the basics matter, everywhere and in tennis too. Basics like this: “Remember names. That’s something you should do. That’s a sign of respect.”
9: Good mood or not, win or lose, Roddick was always good at these things. He knew that, and this was his last one. He felt the pressure, he joked. But you know what they say about jokes. “You’re sitting here for the last time talking to us. We have been through highs and lows together. Just kind of final thoughts on your final press conference, your relationship with us,” asked a journalist. Said Roddick, “I was walking out of the locker room, and I said, ‘Man, I think I have more expectation of this press conference than I did the match today.’” The rest of the answer was good too: “So, you know, like you said, I think it’s at the point now where I look back on rough moments fondly, you know, in these rooms. I hope you all do, too. There has certainly been some good ones; there have been some fun I ones. There has been some horrible ones both ways, but it wasn’t boring.”
10: Most of all I remember that Roddick said the word “innocent”. It’s the word that stuck in my mind when he announced his retirement a few days before. I loved it then, and I loved it again here: “This week I felt like I was, you know, 12 years old playing in a park. It was extremely innocent.” Before and even after cameras, ranking points, prize money, titles and adoration enter the picture, players – you hope as a fan – play at heart for love of the game they play so well. For me, the “innocent” says Andy Roddick did.
As in the number of ladies left in the women’s singles draw.
It seems like only yesterday the world was a baby – too dramatic? – yet today the 2012 US Open semifinals are all set.
Serena Williams says she’s not playing “Serena tennis” yet. But no matter, most everyone thinks she’ll win. Ana Ivanovic, who lost to her today and can say a lot (and say it fast), said as much in two little words.
“Would you be surprised if Serena doesn’t win this tournament?” asked a writer at the end of her post-match press conference.
“Yeah, very,” said Ivanovic. She laughed and left it at that.
Here are the semifinalists sorted by where they ranked in Betfair odds the night before the tournament began. Also shown are ranking and career prize money earned.
As in the average rank of Roberta Vinci’s opponents at the US Open.
I admit it. I wanted to find a sort that would put Vinci on top. She’s the lowest seed in the quarterfinals and, in some ways, the odd woman out. But I’m intrigued by her. Partly because she’s a veteran. Plus one Italian journalist sitting near me at the US Open media center called her “a true person”. So there’s that.
Anyway here are the quarterfinalists sorted by average rank of opponent with ranking and career singles titles also shown.
As in the women’s singles quarterfinalists.
All are seeded. Seven have been in a Slam final. Five have won singles majors. Four have been No. 1. Two are Italian.
Here they are sorted by Betfair odds to win the title. Also shown are ranking, age and 2012 singles win percentage.
Here’s a piece I wrote for USA Today. It was published this morning and has bits on Sharapova and Bartoli.
16… as in the number of players who reached the fourth round of the women’s singles draw.
Here they are sorted by career prize money and with ranking also shown.
Here’s a piece I did today for USA Today on one of those players – Angelique Kerber.
This is just a quick one today because it’s been a busy day. I just got to the US Open and will be here for a few days. But on to the numbers.
9… as in the number of junior US Open champions in the draw.
Per the WTA match notes only one player has ever won the junior and women’s singles event. That would be Lindsay Davenport.
Anyway here’s the list sorted by ranking and also showing year player won the junior title.