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Del Potro sets seal on memorable US Open

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Jonathan Overend | 08:20 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Flushing Meadows, New York

So what will be your enduring image from the incredible 2009 US Open? As we depart Flushing Meadows for another year, there are so many to choose from.

Kim Clijsters' daughter running across the court into super-mum's arms? Roger Federer's through-the-legs winner to create match point in the semi? Juan Martin del Potro flat on his back after beating Nadal and Federer back-to-back for the title?

Or perhaps it was the extraordinary sight of Serena Williams ranting at a line judge, Federer losing his customary cool and swearing at the umpire in the final, or the very 21st century technique of drying the Flushing Meadows courts, involving towels, mops and hands and knees.

In spite of the crazy scheduling, which continues to pander to American TV in an overly familiar way, this was a terrific US Open, daubed by controversy but studded with stories.

And what a finish. After a four-hour, five-set final, a 20-year-old from Argentina was flat on his back celebrating the most phenomenal physical, mental and skilful achievement.

delpotro_back595.jpgDel Potro celebrates after ending Federer's winning US Open run

Nobody before had beaten both Nadal and Federer to win a major title and to do it inside 32 hours, over the final two days of what is regarded as the toughest of the slams to win, marks Del Potro as a trailblazer. A major star of the sport has arrived and he thoroughly deserved the title.

This young man, 6ft 6ins tall with the fiercest forehand around, will be world number one - absolutely no doubt - almost certainly the next one, possibly sometime soon if this form continues.

The women's final was an absolute joy. Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki looked like two very normal young women, stepping out for fun, and, free from the crippling effects of fear, they produced an excellent match.

It wasn't always perfect but it contained more excitement, variety and enjoyment than most of the recent women's major finals put together - certainly all three contested by Dinara Safina, the world number one.

Wildcard Clijsters, with her astonishing victory only four weeks into her comeback, undeniably produced the story of this or many previous women's tournaments (what will people think in 50 years time when they scour the record books to find the US Open was won by someone without a ranking?) but what about 17-year-old Melanie Oudin, the pocket rocket who knocked over four Russian players in a row?

What a feisty, precocious prospect she is - part Austin, part Capriati, part Henin. At a time when certain tennis federations are putting more and more emphasis on "profiling", identifying what they believe to be the optimum physical dimensions of young athletes, 5ft 6ins Oudin is looking every bit a future top ten player.

A mention too for Flavia Pennetta, the late-blooming Italian, who startled Vera Zvonereva in the fourth round with a memorable fightback, saving six match points in the second set before inducing the predictable final-set-meltdown from the Russian.

The men's tournament reached an extraordinary climax on the extra Monday but earlier in the tournament, Taylor Dent had provided one of the great images of the fortnight as he did a lap of honour around the Grandstand court to celebrate a 2nd round victory over Ivan Navarro.

Dent, who minutes earlier had grabbed the umpire's microphone to roar his thanks to the wild New York crowd, high-fived the fans as he circled the court and then stayed out there for half an hour signing autographs.

For someone who was in a wheelchair a few years ago, recovering after two major back operations, this was a comeback to rival Clijsters'. Ok, he didn't win the tournament, but he never thought he'd walk again let alone win matches at a major. Inspirational, both of them.

Out on court seven on Sunday, perhaps we saw a future star in Heather Watson. The 17-year-old from Guernsey won the junior girls title with an impressive performance in the final having won both quarter-final and semi-final indoors the previous day.

When she walked confidently into the main interview room an hour after the final, the big theatre normally reserved for the likes of Federer and Williams, Watson was heard to say: "This is so cool!". Excited, yet composed. Good luck to her as she starts the tricky transition from junior to senior ranks.

Well done also to Hampshire's Peter Norfolk who won his second US Open wheelchair quad title. Norfolk, the double Olympic gold medallist, has now won 16 majors (one more than Federer!) and was watched in his doubles final on Sunday by Venus Williams who, later at a press conference, promised to "see what she could do" to assist the future of wheelchair tennis.

And so to the lows; Andy Murray, the Serena affair and the scheduling.

Murray's performance in the fourth round to Marin Cilic was "not up to scratch" and "not tactically sound" - his words, not mine. It remains a mystery why Murray chose to keep his immense array of attacking weapons shut away, for the most part, in his locker. He surely needs to show trust in his own ability a little more often but it is still a case of "when" not "if" for him.

After an awkward and embarrassing 48 hours, Serena Williams finally chose the right words when she belatedly apologised for her threatening outburst at the line judge at the end of her semi with Clijsters.

serenag595.jpgSerena Williams argued the call with a line judge during her controversial US Open semi-final

She said sorry to all concerned and accepted there was no excuse for her "unacceptable" behaviour. The previous statement, released on her behalf by a PR firm, was muddled, poorly worded and stopped short of an apology. What a gaffe by people who should know better.

Now a sizeable donation to charity, couple with the admirably frank apology, would go some way to ending the affair. Talk of an investigation by the Grand Slam committee sounds very grand but Serena made a bad misjudgement, apologised and the sooner the sport moves on the better.

Likewise, the sooner the US Open sorts its schedule out the better.

The idea of 'Super Saturday' is great for the corporate dollar and the TV bosses in their Manhattan Towers, but it's an outdated and unacceptable strain on the players. Why can't there be a Friday evening 'twilight' session for the men's last-four matches?

Some players arrived at the middle weekend of the tournament having played only twice. The first round is spread over three days, something which wrecks the flow of the first week.

When rain arrived, as it predictably did on the second Thursday, the tournament's grand finale was immediately at risk and an overflow day was inevitable the minute Nadal and Gonzalez were ludicrously sent home at midnight.

"More heavy rain is imminent" said the announcement to the disappointed spectators, ahead of two and a half hours of perfectly playable dry conditions. Let's get this tournament sorted out because they make it up as they go along, it seems.

Thankfully the tennis more than made up for the disappointments in the final 48 hours and by the time Del Potro was flashing his forehand around in the final set of the tournament, with Clijsters recovering after a busy day of celebratory media activity, fans knew they had been part of a truly special championship.

* Follow Jonathan Overend and the rest of the 5 Live commentary team on Twitter @5livetennis for gossip and banter.


  • Comment number 1.

    All right, calm down a bit. It wasn't THAT great, it just had two shock winners and a fantastic final. It's not on the same level as this year's French Open or last year's Wimbledon in terms of overall round-for-round quality.

    I can't understand some of the outcry over Del Potro's win, though - or, in their opinions, Federer's loss. Because apparently he's incapable of losing unless he has a bad game himself, which is utter rubble of course. Honestly, I'd have liked him to win as well, but he didn't. Del Potro did, and he deserved it. He should have beaten him at Roland Garros but got tired in the fifth, and he should have beaten Murray a few weeks ago in Montreal. He's a great player, and let's face it, Federer's year hasn't exactly been bad either has it. After last season and his loss in Melbourne earlier this year, a lot of people (not counting imbecile trolls) thought Federer may never even win another major. If he can recover from that, he WILL recover from this, although I don't think he'll reach twenty majors anymore.


  • Comment number 2.

    Good recap - thank you. But what about Murray? You say 'it is a question of when not if' but he risks becoming a top 8 regular without ever winning a big one - good in the Masters series, great at the lower level tournaments but someone who 'only' goes deep into the slams, say the semis, without winning one. Sure the big hitters will have off days and blow out, but the risk-taking also pays off with the big slam wins too.

  • Comment number 3.

    Congratulations to del Potro. To beat Nadal as easily as he did was an achievement but to beat Federer over 5 sets as well in his first Grand Slam final was something else. And what about that forehand? Is there a a more potent weapon in tennis?

  • Comment number 4.

    Well done JMDP! A hard earned and hard fough win over the GOAT.
    Surely he will kick on from here and become no.1 and winner of multiple GS titles over the next 3 years.

    Looking forward to many battles between him and the rest of the top 5 at the Grand Slams next year!

  • Comment number 5.

    Huge congratulations to del Porto. I must be honest and say that I predicted that Federer would win (I imagine I probably wasn't alone in that view). You may well be right about del Potro being the next number 1, but Federer is still formidable on every surface and, despite this defeat, I suspect it will be hard for anyone to overhaul the huge lead he has at the top of the rankings any time soon. There's also Nadal to consider, although there still has to be questions over his fitness. Murray has undoubtedly suffered a setback at this tournament, but it remains to be seen how he learns from it, so I'm not writing him off yet. Remember, he's had the... um... misfortune? to be playing at the same time as Nadal and Federer and (in terms of rankings, at least) is still the "best of the rest".

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello there Mr Overend

    I seem to remeber that after last year's wimbledon,you said Federer would still probaly break the grand slam record but that his days of winning wimbledon or being a contender for the french were over.
    Things can change very quickly in life as well as tennis.
    Now I'm not saying JMDP is not a great player but let's not jump the gun.

  • Comment number 7.

    'Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki looked like two very normal young women,'
    What does that mean, Jonathan? Which of the other women players do you regard as not being 'normal' and why? Does being blond and pretty mean 'normal', is that it? Choose your words more carefully, otherwise they are likely to be misinterpreted.

  • Comment number 8.

    del Potro ... great A game, no B game ... 4 slams max

  • Comment number 9.

    So when are women going to start playing 5 sets eh? That men's final was epic. The women's final was naturally over in barely an hour.

  • Comment number 10.

    Tinkagain - you are being overly touchy about Jonathan's "two very normal young women" comment, which I think most people will have read the way it was intended : there was a refreshing feel to the final; it wasn't life and death and they played in a great spirit, with respect for each other.

    So, no, nothing to do with blond and pretty in my view.

    Let's not be afraid to applaud sportsmen and women who play the game in a commendable spirit which was all the Jonathan was doing.

  • Comment number 11.


    Erm no mate, thats NOT what he meant. Its not going to be misinterpreted because if you read the rest of it he explains exactly what he means by 'normal'...stepping out for fun, and, free from the crippling effects of fear,.

    I.e not necessarily pro tennis players because there was no pressure on either- something which has gotten to Clijsters mark I in major tournos.

  • Comment number 12.

    I must say as Johnathon said there have been some memorable moments this year at the US Open, but until the final 2/3 days, many matches were predictable and it lacked the quality of the grand slams of this year. Having said that, we may have seen a future number 1 in Juan Martin del incredible effort in a pulsalting encounter.

    As Johnathon said, Murray needs to attack more if he is going to trouble the major league! He is too passive and making excuses that the guy is fair enough a couple of times, but perhaps it is time he blames himself because while his talent is not in question, perhaps his attitude is?

    Time will tell if his attitude improves for next year? and maybe that elusive slam may come......who knows maybe Wimbledon?

  • Comment number 13.

    Federer's serve let him down today, he still has all the shots and was sublime at times but was blasted off the court in the last set.

    Artistry lost out to brute force but congratulations to Del Potro he showed amazing composure.

    The umpire's behaviour was somewhat bizarre and whilst I don't condone Federer's swearing I could agree with what he was saying. The umpire appeared to be indulgent to Del Potro and it clearly got to Federer.

    There had been some fairly dubious line calls in the semi final between Federer and Djokovic but the match was played in tremendous spirit.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good article but Del Potro is never going to get a better chance to beat Nadal and Federer. Nadal couldn't serve due to pain in his ribs and (for the first time in a major final) Federer couldn't get his first serve in court for love nor money for entire sets and it totally abandoned him on the big points. That said, Del Potro played a flawless 5th set; it was stunning.

    "[Serena should make].. a sizeable donation to charity..."
    Why are journalists so keen to spend erring celebrities' and sports stars' money for them?

  • Comment number 15.

    'Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki looked like two very normal young women,'
    What does that mean, Jonathan? Which of the other women players do you regard as not being 'normal' and why? Does being blond and pretty mean 'normal', is that it? Choose your words more carefully, otherwise they are likely to be misinterpreted.
    Don't be so silly Tink, he didn't make mention to their looks and we all know that's not what he meant. In fact you're the one who's talking about physical attributes, the rest of us are content to concentrate on the standard of tennis they can produce.

  • Comment number 16.

    Where is Andy Murray the #2 seed??? I hope Del Potro's win sends a message to the british press, that hard work from the players themselves is what makes them achieve their potential, and not hype from sensationalistic journalists.
    Andy got to this stage last year and was crushed, but Del Potro has done with class and style. He ist beat Nadal in straight sets and battled with the Fed and came up tops. Djokovich did this last year in the Aussie open, a feat that Murray has nt been able to contend with.

    Yes encourage your home players, but keep it real so that they can concentrate on improving their game rather than beng distracted by articles written by people who just sit behind a keyboard who dont have the slightest idea what to do in the open courts.
    Same thing is going on with the girls. The 1st hype was with the girl that won the wimbledon girls who was knocked out in the 1st round, what happens, the bandwagon has now shifted to an unknown who has just won the US girls. This is just sickening, as patriotism seem to go hand in hand with selling news stories and making a profit and name for the self centered journalist and their employers. How cheap is the british press, i wonder!!

  • Comment number 17.

    I didnt see the whole match but from what I saw DP has a phenomenal power game, and hes still only 20. Congratulations to him.

    This could finally be the kick up the backside Murray needs to realise he needs to be more agressive in matches. If he goes passive and starts losing the match, he cant seem to find a way back.

    He is still capable of comfortably beating any player on his day, and for that reason I still think a grand slam is on the cards sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 18.

    Brilliant from Del Potro. To outplay Federer over 5 sets on a hard court in a Grand Slam final ranks as a great performance, and I felt privileged to watch it last night.

    However, Del Potro must not get carried away. The challenge now is to play like that consistently. In 2000 Marat Safin destroyed Pete Sampras in US Open Final and throughout his career only won one more Grand Slam. Just days after his 21st birthday in 2003, Andy Roddick won the US Open title, and has yet to win another GS title. Both Safin and Roddick made world number one by the end of their breakthrough years. Del Potro remains number five in the world, over 800 points behind Djokovic, 1500 points behind Murray, and close to 5,000 points behind Federer. Del Potro's emergence is fantastic for men's tennis, and to beat Nadal and Federer back-to-back in a Grand Slam is a unique achievement, but consistency is now the target for Del Potro, which he himself acknowledged by stating he wanted 'to be like Roger'.

    A word on Andy Murray. He is now the only top six player without a Grand Slam title, but one defeat doesn't make a bad player and Federer needed 17 Grand Slams to win his first title. Murray has only played in 16. His time will come.

  • Comment number 19.

    How many lines did JMDP hit last night? Tremendous belief in his powers and aggression - take note Andy!

    I'm not convinced Del Potro is an undoubted #1 though. There doesn't seem to be a huge variation to his game, and if that incredible cannon of a forearm is a bit off, he'll struggle.

    Quibbles aside, outstanding performance and delighted to see the real Federer stand up again with the petulant, bad tempered and obnoxious behaviour he's always capable of.

  • Comment number 20.

    Heather Watson from Guernsey - fantastic! It's a big step up to the senior tour, but let's celebrate her success and wish her well for the future.

  • Comment number 21.

    Last night's final was one of the greats, with Del Potro deservingly coming out on top. It was a treat to watch, full of the tension and all of those too close to call games that make tennis one of the greatest spectator sports in the world. The final was a nerve jangling as the Wimbledon and Australian Open finals from earlier in the year.

    A point on this comment though:

    "16. At 12:25pm on 15 Sep 2009, bdyke04 wrote:

    Where is Andy Murray the #2 seed??? I hope Del Potro's win sends a message to the british press, that hard work from the players themselves is what makes them achieve their potential, and not hype from sensationalistic journalists."

    A) The journalists create the hype, not Murray.
    B) Murray is one of the most hardworking players on the tour. He has improved his fitness, his serve, his power, etc whilst avoiding parties, alcohol and all those other things normal people enjoy in their early 20s. He is one of the best role models that British sport has at the moment (though not sure why British journalists are so desperate for role models in the first place) and we should be proud of his already considerable list of achievements, whether or not he wins a grand slam - one thing is for sure, it won't be for the want of effort. You can't begin a top 4 player without it, no matter what game you play.

    Here endeth the rant.

  • Comment number 22.

    I was shocked last night that the master of ceremonies wouldn't let DP speak in Spanish at first, he told him that they had run out of time, but then miracously found the time to give him the keys to the sponsor's car! Once he was allowed to speak in Spanish, the emotion poured out. Federer looked a broken man in the 5th set, strewn with errors when usually he is so clinical. That doesn't take away the incredible achievement of DP, beating both Nadal and Federer in 2 days. A great match.

  • Comment number 23.

    Del Potro has been threatening this for 18 months. Such a shame for us that Murray couldn't muster something better. I suspect that he and Djokovic have peaked, wheras Del Potro wil undoubtedly add more Grand Slams to his record.

    It surprises me that people still talk of Murray as a Grand Slam winner as if it's inevitable. Nothing is certain, and there is a big IF over Murray. he's a great player on his day, but to be remembered as a great player, you have to win Grand Slams. They don't come along and fall in your lap, even if you're Federer. I wish everyone would stop with the inevitability of Murrays success, because without more hard work, and more focus, he will not win a Grand Slam.

  • Comment number 24.

    Great match by Del Potro! For more on Del Potro's amazing win and the U.S. Open check out

  • Comment number 25.

    jumping the gun a touch there aren't we? Djokovic won this competition only a couple of years back in convincing fashion, but he has not really threatened to build on it since.

    I think its great for tennis to have a few different winners in there, it would be far more interesting if it was difficult to predict who would be in the finals of each competition.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well Andy Murray will learn from that that Nadal and Federer can be put away. If you're on your A game.

    It should energise him for next year, knowing that del Potro will be gunning for him too. It might make him ask what the final pieces of the jigsaw are for him and whether he needs to add to/shake up his team to achieve it?

    The one thing that surprises me is that people think that a mother should be slower. If you think in animalistic terms, say Kim Clijsters was a lioness with cubs: would her hunting need to be more focussed, more efficient and more deadly than before, what with cubs to feed and not to be eaten by other predators in the jungle? Yes is the answer to that one. So I suspect that physiologists might just find that the total package might be more awesome after childbirth than before, if you want it to be......

    The one sadness is what has happened to Ivanovic over the past 16 months. Time will tell, I guess.

  • Comment number 27.

    I hope that Del Potro and Murray sort out their differences quite soon, or at least the Argentine has the decency to apolgise for the unpleasant things he said about Andy's Mother. That said he was in majestic form against Federer, who looked as if the twins had kept him awake all night, particuarly in the 5th set.

    Murray - still can't see him winning a Grand Slam unless he changes his style. Time after time against Cilic he had chances to slam the ball down the line but instead we had the half-hearted powder-puff return waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. He would not have lived with Del Portro had they met in the quarter-final, so it was probably a blessing in disguise that he lost to Cilic. Does he have to always 'towel down' after EVERY point played? It is so boring as is his continual 'yawning' when he is losing. The boring British press, as they do time after time, had Murray winning this tournament but he never looked remotely like getting near the final. No doubt they will now have the young girl Heather Watson as a future Wimbledon champion, and we will get all the hype like we had after Laura Robson's win at Wimbledon.

    Great to see a non-Williams sister in the final, and Seerena really showed her true 'form' with her shocking outburst of foul language and temper when she lost to Clijsters. Then her reluctancy to initially apologise fully was deplorable and confirmed what we all suspected of her.

  • Comment number 28.

    My enduring image? Sorry, was it secretly broadcast on some BBC channel I've not come across yet? I'm a big tennis fan, but the only coverage I could find of it was on Radio 5 unfortunately I haven't really seen any images of it, despite tuning into a fair few games on an evening. I haven't really been able to find highlights, either. The BBC should show as much tennis from the slams -and, possibly, other ATP/WTA tournaments- as it can. I for one would lap it up. But I guess my enduring memories of the US open would be Andy Murray's inability to find an extra gear against Cilic and Del Potro's brilliance against Nadal and Fed.

  • Comment number 29.

    Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki looked like two very normal young women

    And Venus and Serena are what exactly?

    Who decides what normal is? You?

    Let me introduce you to your P45.

  • Comment number 30.

    Very nice article, and pretty much sums up the images of the US Open. No one would have predicted the winners at the beginning of the tournament, and both the men's and the women's championship have deserved winners. Roger's era ended at US the same way as it did in Wimbledon, after 5 wins, but he will come back and win some more. What a great champion he is.

    Del Potro is a great talent, and he will give the top 4 a run for their money. Frankly Murray and Djokovic looked pretty flat to me, in this year's US Open. Maybe it has been a long season. Looking forward to next year.

    One final point, was the 'About this blog' section. It is quite bizzare to see you have put Fred Perry and 1936 right there itself. Why do you have to remind yourself and your readers all the time about Perry and 1936, or say things like the football and 1966? It comes across as very whiny and really takes the gloss out of what you report or write about.

  • Comment number 31.

    It was great to have a final of a GrandSlam without either of the Williams sisters ruining it.

    I wish they'd both quit and concentrate on their fashion, petfood or whatever else their interest takes in at the time, business or personal. The sport, as proved with the great final and great sportswomenship shown, is far better off without them.

    As for people hanging on the "normal" line in Jon's blog - get over yourself. He wasn't saying anything other than they played in great spirit and are two very normal tennis players. The people jumping in with "And Venus and Serena are what exactly?" are the ones saying Venus and Serena aren't normal.

    The phrase "one doth protest too much" springs to mind!

    Well done Kim and JMDP! Unlucky big Rog, though I doubt you're that bothered this time!

  • Comment number 32.

    Don't get me wrong, I congratulate Del Potro but he had good luck on his side for this slam. He faced an injured Nadal in the semi-final and a poor Federer in the Final. Del Potro may win more slams but he needs to up his fitness level significantly. If it wasn't for the two days off he got after the quarters and almost another full day after the quick Nadal match, his fitness would have seen his lose that final, even in Federer's poor form. Unless he gets the same luck in the next slams, he will not win anymore for a while, unless his fitness improves. I will hand it to him though, skipping Cinci was the right move in his condition.

  • Comment number 33.


    "I suspect that he and Djokovic have peaked, wheras Del Potro wil undoubtedly add more Grand Slams to his record.

    It surprises me that people still talk of Murray as a Grand Slam winner as if it's inevitable. Nothing is certain, and there is a big IF over Murray."

    Funny how you talk of Del Potro "undoubtedly" winning more Slams, yet "nothing is certain" with Murray. You can't have it both ways.

    Del Potro did very well; I certainly didn't see that win last night coming. When I went to bed (would have stayed up if there were pictures to watch, but this must be the only Slam for which the BBC don't broadcast any pictures), Federer was on his way to a straight-sets win! Anything can happen. That's the fun of sport. Let's just see what happens in the future.

  • Comment number 34.

    "This young man, 6ft 6ins tall with the fiercest forehand around, will be world number one - absolutely no doubt - almost certainly the next one, possibly sometime soon if this form continues."
    A bit of moderation please. Pundits are quick to jump the bandwagon.
    Last year (when he was ill) and start of this year, some were almost doing the eulogy over Federer's career , then going gaga when he's back; now almost doing the same about Nadal.

    Consistently great is the thing - as has been mentioned there were winners like Safin, Roddick and Djokovic but so far they've had one-off successes in majors. So let's wait and see what happens from here on in for Del Potro. For now he's something like 1 in 7 against Federer but who knows? Before yesterday, who would've said he "will be world number one - absolutely no doubt"? It may yet happen.

    As for the Williamses, some don't like them no matter what they do, so it's not really an issue. If they don't spend time on the circuit it's a problem; if they do well on the circuit, there's talk of "pre-determined" matches or power tennis (like any of the many players e.g., Bolleteri-produced ones), or looks or something. Then again, Navratilova had problems till she got older and people liked her when she began losing or trying for Billie Jean's records at Wimbledon. Or McEnroe when he got to the oldsters matches and did his "you cannot be serious" line. Then people liked him.
    "As bad as the outburst was, it was mild by the standards established years ago first by Connors and refined by the inimitable McEnroe. Connors was, quite simply, crude and vile to officials. What McEnroe lacked in crudity, he made up for in sheer mania."
    Now that's forgotten and we remember these guys through the mist of time as fighters. Rememeber Connors going off-court to bring Mac back.
    Capriati and all the issues there. Hingis booed (and that quick underarm serve vs. Graf) at French Open....Venus - umpire incorrectly giving point going against her and losing at Wimbledon, Henin and that French Open's all "normal" behaviour. Remember when Vijay Amritraj was playing Connors and applauded a shot by Connors. The (British) commentator said that he should save his energy and that that gesture was lost on Connors. There's sportsmanship and, whilst it's laudable, there's also the will to win. It sometimes boils over. Do whatever's needed. After the match is when the chumminess can begin. Still they've been never been liked and this incident isn't going to make a difference. It's just their job to get on with it.

    It was all ok but the scheduling - staying up or not staying up? O, so-and-so won? With the delays, almost after the fact.

    Hope the future is brighter for british success.

  • Comment number 35.

    re 8

    well thats 4 more slams than your darling andy murray will win, plz great a game but no b game what a sad thing to say this is a guy that beat the world no1 federer and the true world no2 nadal in 2 days to win his frist slam title. i would love to see murray do that but i'm getting tired of saying he's a choker on the big stage, he's not attacking enough. he might be winning countles masters and lower order titles, but the ones that matter when they retire are grand slam titles.

  • Comment number 36.

    When the hysteria dies down and everyone takes a look at what happened here, two sets of figures tell the story. One 'Federer first serve % 45, Del Poro 1st. serve % 75. Federer unforced errors, over 60.
    As is constantly said about Murray, you can't win a major tournament serving at below 50%, and, as showed here, not even Federer can't do it (can anyone remember the Fed serving below 60%. Look at his serve % when he beat Murray last year). The end result was, this was a match that was lost rather than won.
    However, it does raise one very interesting question. Is Federer finding it harder and harder, mentally, to play at the level needed to win the big matches, especially now, having climbed the one hurdle, this year,that has stood in his way until now?. Is it a case of, having done it all, the desire is fading somewhat. After all, (as Borg put it when he retired,). What else does he have to prove?.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well done to DP , but he is a long way from becoming World No 1 - even though he upset the bookies on last nights display.
    He overcame a very out of sorts Federer and an injured Natal, who I believe 6 times out of ten when all players are at their best would win a match against DP. He is however the next player to be reckoned with and with good management , coaching and fitness will be number 1 ahead of Djorko and definitely Murray who needs to re focus badly.
    Federer will be # 1 this time next year still be the one to beat imo.
    I watched every minute of last nights match and Federer was unusually sloppy and couldn't serve up a cuppa, but like Arnie ....he will be back.

  • Comment number 38.

    DP is a great player but the real test will come against a 'fit' Nadal and a Federer not trying to play against himself.

  • Comment number 39.

    'The women's final was an absolute joy. Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki looked like two very normal young women, stepping out for fun, and, free from the crippling effects of fear, they produced an excellent match.
    It wasn't always perfect but it contained more excitement, variety and enjoyment than most of the recent women's major finals put together - certainly all three contested by Dinara Safina, the world number one.'
    Is it any wonder that at the moment Dinara Safina steps on to a tennis court crippled by fear, and not enjoying it? For the past 5 months or so, the press seem to be out for her blood.... Her crime? Being the most consistent player on the womens tour over the past year and reaching number 1 because of this..... She's obviously a fragile character as it is- the pasting she gets from the press (and some of her fellow 'professionals'- yep Serena I'm talking about you) is not helping her.
    Is it ridiculous that she's number 1 at the moment when she's not won a slam and Serena is current Wimbledon and Aus Open champion?- YES. Is it Dinara Safina's fault that, at present, that's the way the system works?- NO. She steps on court with so much pressure on her shoulders at the moment- seemingly having to 'justify' her position in tennis every time she does so- it's little wonder she's not coping with it.
    As for Andy Murray- he's got to attack more or he won't win a slam. He can't keep waiting for his opponents to make mistakes- especially when the likes of Nadal and Federer don't make that many. At the moment I just don't see him beating a Federer or Nadal in a slam final (let alone beating the other in the semi like Del Potro)- I still don't think he has the belief that he could play an attacking game and win.
    Del Potro- full credit to him- I don't think many backed him to win... Even less so when he went 2 sets to 1 down.... He just decided to go for it- he attacked and it paid off for him. Sheer guts and determination- very happy for him. He believed in himself and he got his reward. As for it being a below par Federer- not from what I saw... He seemed pretty up to par for the first set and a half.

  • Comment number 40.

    typical lazy journalism IMO some points mr o -

    u clearly have a problem with safina - yes she is brittle mentally (KC was before her first us open) but she plays and wins tournaments and the real test of her will come when she has to defend her points - so give her some credit as well instead of the constant criticism - surely u should look at both sides.

    also JMDP - quality but saying he will be number is not that large a punt - i'm sure u've said the same bout murray before. also djokovic won the austarlian open and has struggled to win a slam since - because there are two guys called federer and nadal in the way.

    agree murray needs to work on things but so does JMDP to be a multiple winner - not even mentioning roddick and verdasco as well as soderling etc - a-rod should have won wimbledon (mental) and verdasco was unlucky not to beat nadal in melbourne and could have got to a final - these players cannot rest on there laurels they have 2 keep improving or they will be caught up.

    ps mini rant over - i just love my tennis and sometimes feel people just dip in and out at grand slams and don't follow the tour at all and tink they are the be all and end all - clearly they massively important but i like to look at the overview of the game - hopefully this passes moderation!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    TG for Sky Sports and Eurosport that we could actually watch this tournament !

  • Comment number 42.

    Don't think Del Potro is getting enough credit from some of the people saying Federer was out of sorts.... He was sloppy and missing his first serves, because he was feeling pressured. Probably partly because he was going for a record- but surely Del Potro's phenomenal hitting had something to do with it? After the first set and a half- Del Potro didn't let Federer settle in to any sort of rhythm- creidt should go to him for that.

  • Comment number 43.

    matty @ 35

    great A game but no B game, what a sad thing to say - this is a guy who beat the world no 1 Federer, and the world no 2 Nadal, in 2 days to win his first slam title

    it was a great performance, and I was rooting for him, but he needed his A game ... no margin for error ... that's my exact point - 4 slams max

  • Comment number 44.

    I believe we witnessed a changing of the guard in the final of the US Open Tennis as it seems that big guys with big serves are coming through. Del Potro, Cilic and the young American behemoth,I cannot remember his name,are the men`s tennis of the future. This does not bode well for Andy Murray as Del Potro was everything that Andy isn`t. Del Potro was aggressive, determined with a huge serve and a fantastic forehand. Roger Federer will win again but his dominance is over after a fantastic career and the best men`s player ever. Hopefully I am wrong but time will tell, I know Andy is only 22 years old but the other guys are younger. Andy`s time may well have passed already.

  • Comment number 45.

    #29 E-type

    Idiocy, pure and simple, I would have alook at your own psyche and hand yourself in to the nearest copshop. Another moron tried to create something provocative out of nothing for their own means earlier. The PC thought brigade are out in force now. This is tennis and it is obvious what Jonathan meant, except to those with a chip to maintain on their monobrowed shoulders. Do you want Racism, Sexism, heightism, is he having a go at the disabled for calling Clijsters "normal" take your pick fruitcake. Must be a gay and lesbian thing going on too...... Jonathan, ignore the PC muppets (mental age around 5) it was a good article. Well written and well intentioned. Thank you.

  • Comment number 46.

    I told you!
    I knew Del Potro would be a superstar! I knew it!!!

    I didn't expect him to beat Federer, I admit but his run had to end sometime!

    Move over Nadal, Del Potro has come to play!
    His overall game is fantastic and I think Federer and Del Potro will be battling it out until Feddie retires. Nadal, Murray and Djokovic are just going to be left to fighting for a position in the top four. (Possibly Roddick joing in as well...)

    Don't think i'm under-estimating Nadal! he's fantastic and when he's fit, he's lethal but its just Michael owen all over again! Amazing when fit but only fully fit 30% of the time...

  • Comment number 47.

    "This young man, 6ft 6ins tall with the fiercest forehand around, will be world number one - absolutely no doubt - almost certainly the next one, possibly sometime soon if this form continues."

    Utter tosh!

  • Comment number 48.

    Federer beat himself last night - whatever demons possessed him tied him up in knots as the game progressed.

    Del Potro won the battle of nerves but Federer will still be in the top 2 this time next year, reports of his demise are premature.

  • Comment number 49.

    That is a shocking article, full of jump on the bandwagon non-thought and british bias. Take for example "Del Potro is almost certainly the next number one". You seem to forget a certain world number two who happens to have won 6 grand slams so far and is 23 years old. Nadal may not be in the form of his life right now but he is injured, and should hopefully overcome his ailments, though I am not disputing Del Potro is an incredible talent.
    Secondly to move on to Murray, with whom you still claim 2it is not a matter of if but when". I would ask what evidence you have to back this up? I have plenty of evidence against from his utter failure to do so so far and miserable collapses on a regular basis in slams to the fact that he will have Nadal, Del Potro and Cilic to contend with at the very least for years to come not to mention Federer or Verdasco. While it is conceivable Murray may well win a slam it is likely to only be the one and will rely on the failure to perform of others not just his own ability. After all what surface is he going to win on? Clay is Nadal's kingdom, and he is very impressive on grass also, with Del Potro have a game which could be big on that surface. Hard courts perhaps represent his best chance but again Del Potro and Nadal are both proven winners on those surfaces in grand slams, Murray on the other hand is not. The hope for th British is the women of the future Laura Robson and Heather Watson, and long may their success continue.

  • Comment number 50.

    Thank you for your write up Jonathan. Well written and informative, and I don't think you missed any of the main events. Congrats too to Kim Clijsters and Juan del Potro for incredible wins against the odds. I think you are right when you say that Del Potro willsoon be no.1, he and Nadal seem to have the mental strength needed to beat such talented opponents as Federer, whose new Grand Slam record will possibly never be surpassed.
    It will be interesting to see how Federer copes with this loss, now that he has achieved everything, and also how the top four after him (Murray, Nadal, Del Potro and Djokovic)progress against each other. It is great for male tennis that there are now several very talented players competing at the top instead of just one or two beating everybody for years eg Sampras and Federer. Just as Clijsters will spice up the womens' game, so will the emergence of Del Potro. Here's to different Grand Slam winners and more competition!

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, out of all the Grand Slams the US Open is my least favourite, and this year did nothing to convince me otherwise.

    I hate night matches; they often disadvantage players, and viewers not in the continental area all to gross as much money as possible. The organisation of the US Open is very poor, but enough has been said about that so I won't rant and rave as many others have.

    There isn't the electricity or excitement of the French or SW19 at Flushing Meadows, I can't put my finger on why exactly but year after year it always feels like an anti-climax. Australia could be categorised in the same bracket but it has the advantage of being the first of the calender slams and after a few months without tennis I'm just excited to see the new season under-way!

    The one saving grace for the US Open is the crowds and they were great this year.

    So what can US Open officials do to make the final slam of the year better?

  • Comment number 52.

    Let's be honest, Wimbledon is the best. We should set up a poll.

  • Comment number 53.

    I take two positives from this slam: One, Del Potro has joined the Federer-Nadal club of players who are a level above everyone else on the men's circuit. Sorry for Murray but he isn't there yet, nevertheless I love Murray's style and he could do no wrong before his unfortunate exit to Cilic. I don't think there is anything he can learn from this except that everyone has an off day.

    Federer wasn't at 100% in the finals but let's face it nobody is 100% all the time. A 90% Federer as we saw in the final would still have won against a lesser opponent. But not against JMDP on fire - he went for his shots throughout the game, and he played perfect tennis for long periods of time. A truly exciting player.

    Two, the women's final was played without grunting or screaming, and I found it much more watchable for that. In addition these girls could actually play tennis. Unfortunately it's not before the semis that women's tennis gets up to an acceptable level. I think there's much more to come from Klijsters, she has that steel edge that only a mom could have, and she plays similar style to Graf in her day.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am surprised that only one poster here so far complained about the American emcee's dismissing (at first) Del Potro's pleas to speak Spanish. Over at the New York Times tennis blog (Straight Sets) there were hundreds of complaints at how CBS (the American TV station that the US Tennis Association put in charge of the presentation) disgracefully handled Del Potro's request.

    And yes, it was lovely to watch a gruntless ladies tennis match, in a Slam Final no less.

  • Comment number 55.

    Del Potro has a ranking of 5, Murray has a ranking of 2. Let's not start bashing Murray or exaggerating the talent of Del Potro just yet.

  • Comment number 56.

    well done jm del potro ,think he should have been given more time to express himself in spanish . try youtube.
    i cant believe how self centred and smug federer_er is , with the special brand of selected memory,
    saying the trick shot was his best and of course not saying how it cost him the grand slam against safin , then going on about his achievements this year, or is it all lost in translation

  • Comment number 57.

    Good blog, unfortunately my memory of the US Open isn't so good. We went over from the UK had tickets for Friday 11 to see the womens semi finals. Unfortunately it rained all day and not a single ball was hit. Obviously it is not the organisers fault they can not control the weather but they can control what happens in situations like this. There approach is to offer you 50% of a ticket for next year which as you can imagine isn't great for us. You would think that a refund would be given as there was no play. If you go to Wimbledon and there is no play you receive a refund. Perhaps the US Open could learn from us and offer refunds in the future instead of just taking peoples money and not caring.

  • Comment number 58.

    Below is an article from the new york times that captures the hypocrisy regarding Serena Williams.

    Serena loss of serenity reveals both race and gender bias:

    Can anyone still recall the hazy afterglow following the presidential election -- that orgy of premature self-congratulation about suddenly becoming a "post racial" society?

    That prematurity was on full display the other night in the women's semifinal match at the U.S. Open between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. Clijsters's thrilling return to the women's circuit was overshadowed by an intemperate outburst by Williams, who menacingly gestured to the line judge, who had just called a foot fault on a second serve which brought the game to match point. Williams exploded in a profanity laced-tirade. You don't have to be a lip reader to see she yelled that she was going to shove that bright yellow tennis ball up the line judge's butt.

    Okay, let's acknowledge that this was not Serena's greatest moment, that she lost her temper -- it was match point in the semi-finals, after all -- and became both unhinged and enraged. And Serena is one big, strong woman. And a big strong black woman.
    Those two last points, though, seem crucial. Serena's outburst -- and the rule-based, draconian penalty that cost her the match -- were both racial and gendered. Let me be clear: I am not saying that the call was overtly, intentionally, racist or sexist. But the context for both the line judge's reaction and the chair umpire's call depended on Serena being a strong black woman.
    Ask yourself this: would the line judge have felt so threatened had she been yelled at by perky, pretty little Melanie Oudin, all 5 foot 6 of her bouncy teenage self?

    How about a white man? White men can express anger and outrage -- indeed, they're supposed to. It's one of the few emotional men are allowed to express -- and we express it often, and often without penalty. And sometimes we go even further. Don't get mad, the saying goes, get even.
    Hey, don't take my word for it. See for yourself. One of the pleasures of the rainouts and rain delays that marred the end of the tournament schedule was that CBS and ESPN rebroadcast some "classic" matches from earlier eras, matches in which the ever-bratty Jimmy Connors' rants and the once-bratty now elder statesman and superb TV commentator John McEnroe's outbursts were greeted with whopping rallying cries and often supportive crowd reactions. Check it out here and here.
    Line judges didn't typically feel threatened by Marat Safin -- and he's 6 foot 4! (Safin broke 48 tennis racquets in 1999 alone.)
    And watch Jimmy Connors in his famous 4th round match at the 1991 Open, when he twice explodes at the chair umpire (who seemed more bemused than afraid).
    Note that Connors was not assessed any penalty, and went on to win the match. The crowd went wild.

    Yes, Serena lost her temper, yelled and cursed at the line judge. Bad sportsmanship. Very bad. But the line judge said she felt her life had been threatened. (A charge Serena instantly and vehemently denied.)
    Let's face it: it's different when black people get angry. Even black men. Being a 58-year-old Harvard professor with a cane didn't protect Henry Louis Gates when he lost his cool. And Joe Wilson sure felt entitled to express his outrage at that uppity black guy -- except that uppity black guy lecturing him happened to be the President. Being the Commander in Chief of the world's most powerful military didn't protect President Obama either.

    Nor did being arguably the best female tennis player in the world protect Serena. She was a furious black woman with a weapon. Serena was neither ladylike nor did she "act white" and keep her cool.
    The fans booed Serena, as they surely would have if President Obama had ever taken the bait and replied to relentless race-baiting in anything but an even-tempered, even-cadenced, tone. But make no mistake: those same fans found John McEnroe's antics "cute" and Jimmy Connors' constant tirades energizing, and plenty of other white male players just too tightly wound.

    Memo to Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilifred Tsonga and James Blake: do not ever lose your temper. Ever. Memo to Venus Williams: double ditto.
    America's post-racialist glow only lasts as long as you stay more serene than Serena.

  • Comment number 59.

    ZVONARËVA, not "Zvonereva"

  • Comment number 60.

    Juan Martin Del Potro produced a sensational display to beat World number 1 Roger Federer and claim his 1st Grand Slam title at the US Open on Monday night.
    The match was an epic 5 set encounter, and it is the 3rd time that a Grand Slam final this year has gone the distance and Federer who is regarded by many as the greatest tennis players of all time was involved in all 3 matches.
    The World number 1 fought back from 2 sets to 1 down against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open to send the match into a 5th set however Nadal proved too strong in the decider as he ran away with it 6-2.
    In this year's Wimbledon Final Federer lost the 1st set 7-5 to America's Andy Roddick, however he rebounded and won the next 2 sets 7-6 7-6 to take a 2 sets to one lead, and although Roddick did fight back and win the 4th set 6-3, Federer held on to win an epic 5th set 16-14.

  • Comment number 61.

    Could we ask for a better end to the 2009 Grand Slams? For more on the ATP check out

  • Comment number 62.

    Wrong,Del potro did not win because he had a big serve.That is not what helped him in the fourth and fifth set.He simply had a better reply to all the tests Federrer threw at him.
    It was a welcome change at the top which fortunately I predicted correctly after watching the Nadal semi final lashing.Federrer has done his part in lifting the standards of the men's game and it is a high time we celebrated a new set of contenders for the top.Del potro if he can be consistent will hold the top spot in the long run.
    Nadal may have been hampered by the injury at the US open, but it is hard to see a game in him that suggests a return to dominance in the men's game.Murray's failure in all the slams now appears to lead to the conclusion that he like Gonzales may turn out to be that 'hot and cold'type of player who threatens but never becomes quite good enough to win a slam.Considering the surge of other talent-Soderling and Del potro and Cilic,I wouldn't be surprised to see Murray slide to number five or six in ranking.
    In all, a good tournament and a good mirror to view what the future may look like.The Australian open seems an open affair for the trophy for me.Can't wait!

  • Comment number 63.

    During that first set Federer was playing like a God! He seemed to lose it big time after the dubious hawkeye decision that lead to him losing his serve in the 2nd set. He had a 42% first serve or something? That affected him big time especially in the tie breaks where he didn’t have any cheap points whatsoever. Del Potro on the other hand had a wonderful 1st serve percentage in the tie breaks and thus won 2 of them pretty easily to get the match to 2 sets all.

    In my opinion Federer’s overall level dropped quite significantly after the first set. 9 times out of 10 when this happens against anyone but Nadal he wins the match anyway. Against Roddick in the Wimbledon final Federer was not anywhere near his best while A-Rod could not play any better in my opinion. Fed won the match. In the French open quarter final Del Potro was at his best against an out of sorts Fed but Fed won anyway. This time however Fed lost the match.

    Del Potro played superb tennis. After the first set he was at his absolute best I feel and it was enough to win in 5 sets. He has improved greatly over the last couple of years and should be a contender for future slams on a hard court. However I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon just yet about him being a definite future world number #1. In my opinion when Nadal and Fed are at the top of their game they are miles ahead of the rest. Either Fed or Nadal have won 21 out of the last 26 grand slam titles. Both are in their 20s. That’s incredible and until someone else starts to consistently get to the final let alone win multiple titles I won’t be getting too excited about anyone else taking over at the top of the men’s game.

    Any talk of a changing of the guard is very premature. I can’t remember the last time I watched a Grand Slam final where Federer wasn’t playing. Such consistency is unprecedented.

    Well done to Del Potro though – he played one hell of a tournament!

  • Comment number 64.

    people are silly.. just because federer loses in a very tight match to a good player in a GS final,people say that this means the end of roger and that he will never win another major, they should see how roger plays in other tournements before making ridiculous assumptions!

  • Comment number 65.

    I am not convinced Del Potro is the great player Overend makes out. Sure he blugeoned his way to victory adainst an injured and tired Nadal who is returning from a career threatenening injury. However, he was finished in the third set against Federer but for some reason, an off colour Federer let him off the hook by playing the ball right back to where Potro would ideally like it; on the base line. The naivety shown by Federer was amazing for someone so experienced. Potro must have thought he was in a training session because he hardly had to move in the final two sets. With the metronome style of big hitters pioneered by Ivan lendl, the ball must be played short and low thus nullifying there power. It is a strategy use week in week out on squash and tennis courts around the world and i think Federer's arrogance got in the way of his brain. He seemed determined to bet Potro at his own game and of course he came unstuck. As did Andy Murray, who possesses all the skills to counter the Potros yet has left them in his locker room in the Fench and New York for some reason. If Muray is to prevail he must use his unique talent more regularly to deal with the power of Potro and celic etc. And most of all he must be fearless. Credit to Potro, we is absolutely fearless hence the success last weeekend.

    Mike Dewar

  • Comment number 66.

    I am quite amazed how much attention in the article Del Potro received. 5 or 6 lines which is almost equivalent to the attention Murry have received for his "miserable" performance against Cilic....or was it miserable performance by Andy or superb aggressive tennis by Marin?!?! Now can you imagine above article if Andy have won US open and, godforbid, if he has beaten Nadal and Federer in semis and final respectfully........British media including public in general is going completely over the top (or should I say mad) when it comes down to Murry and they are not doing him any favors in his bid to eventually win one of the slams. So calm down, accept the fact that he is restricted by his defensive nature and will never win the slam unless somthig drasticaly change in his character which is hard to belive. PLEASE stop glorifying him. Well done Del Potro, you deserve at least half of the space on this tennis section of "andy murry web site" 


  • Comment number 67.

    Wow i remember this match, it is really surprising someone can beat federer in hard field, i though its only nadal that can beat him there and even its need very big lucky, lol. I see there are a lot del potro fans now, maybe he is as good as nadal, but in hard field, we will see his performance

    many interesting thing in us open 09, williams behaviour too that very arrogant

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