Leylah Fernandez, Emma Raducanu storm into US Open final | The Washington Post

NEW YORK — With absolute belief in themselves and absolutely nothing to lose, a pair of teenagers stormed into the finals of the U.S. Open in back-to-back semifinal upsets Thursday.

Few sports fans had heard of Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 19, or Britain’s Emma Raducanu, 18, when the season’s final major got underway Aug. 30 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

But over the past two weeks, they have turned the U.S. Open into joyous coming-out parties that have thrilled the crowds at Arthur Ashe Stadium and left the Grand Slam aspirations of more seasoned and accomplished players in tatters.

Fernandez thrust her right arm to the sky in her signature victory celebration after she vanquished world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4.

It was Fernandez’s fourth consecutive upset of a seeded player in a three-set battle and by far her most impressive.

In the match that followed, Raducanu, who just this summer finished her high school A level exams in Britain, made history in becoming the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final in the sport’s Open era with her 6-1, 6-4 victory over 17th seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Moreover, Raducanu has yet to concede a set — not in the six matches to reach Saturday’s final or in the three qualifying matches she had to win to earn a spot in the 128-player field, given that her 150th world ranking fell short of the cutoff.

Raducanu put her hands on her head and burst into a huge smile upon sealing the victory over Sakkari, a 2021 French Open semifinalist, in 84 minutes.

“I can’t actually believe it,” said Raducanu, who was cheered on by Virginia Wade, the last British woman to reach a Grand Slam final, in 1977, and former British No.1 Tim Henman, who has been an adviser.

Emma Raducanu has yet to concede a set — in the three qualifying matches that earned her a spot in the U.S. Open field, or in the six matches that have her in Saturday’s final. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) (John G Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Fernandez needed 2 hours 21 minutes and all the tactics at her disposal for her three-set victory over Sabalenka, who boasts a more powerful game, more experience and a more imposing physique, nearly a half-foot taller.


The final challenge awaiting Novak Djokovic | SMH

The historic moment has arrived for Novak Djokovic. Some time very soon, the world No.1 is going to affirm his record as the most successful male tennis player of all time, probably the greatest male or female, and well in the argument for the outstanding individual athlete of any kind, ever.

The accolade comes, often, through gritted teeth and with watering eyes. Djokovic’s greatness is acknowledged, what’s more, by the millions who have stopped watching tennis because they can’t stomach him. Nobody has done more in their sport while doing less for their sport. It’s a bizarre but compelling legacy.

His qualifications, first. If he doesn’t win his 21st grand slam tournament in the US Open this weekend, he will win it somewhere else, possibly Melbourne, where he hasn’t been beaten since Victoria last voted Liberal. Still an unbreakable 34, he might build such a monument by the end of his career that he can spend the rest of his life sitting on top of it looking down on everyone, confident he will be the best for all time.

If he does win in New York, he becomes the first able-bodied player to win a grand slam in a calendar year since Steffi Graf in 1988, the first able-bodied male since Rod Laver in 1969.

Djokovic is the best because, to get where he has got, he has beaten the best. He has won 20 grand slams against the two other contenders for best ever male player, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is extraordinary that these three supreme talents have emerged together, but mind-boggling that Djokovic can have risen above the other two. To be the best, you must beat the best. (Which is why many rate Monica Seles, pre-stabbing, as the best-ever female: Graf was unbeatable for more than a decade, except in the three years in which Seles repeatedly drubbed her. And then, after coming back from her stabbing, Seles won an Australian Open.)

Having beaten the best, Djokovic is now steadily picking apart the threads of self-esteem holding together the next generation. On Saturday morning, Alexander Zverev might do what he did in Tokyo and upset Djokovic, whom he had not previously beaten since 2018 and never in a grand slam. You sense that the despair that lies buried beneath the loss of drive in Nick Kyrgios and several others has some foundation in the knowledge that while Djokovic is there, they can never be the best.

Novak Djokovic unleashes his trademark celebration at the US Open earlier this week.

Novak Djokovic unleashes his trademark celebration at the US Open earlier this week.Credit:Getty

Greatest individual athletes? You rattle off Don Bradman and Heather Mckay and Michael Phelps and Steve Redgrave and Nadia Comaneci and Kelly Slater, whose personal dominance of their sports puts them beyond comparison. Babe Didrikson and Snowy Baker were freaks of versatility. But all played sports that were comparatively narrow in international competition.

Usain Bolt, Paavo Nurmi and Daley Thompson were (and Elaine Thompson-Herah is) supreme in the most accessible and democratic global sport: track and field. Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest of boxers – another pretty inclusive sport, for men anyway – and Muhammed Ali was, is, and always will be, simply, the greatest. But that is personality, politics and romance as much as sports.

A tennis player, however, deserves singling out not just because it’s a truly global sport but due to the complex range of skills. Tennis requires not only stupendous stamina and blinding speed and reflexes, power and timing and a surgical touch, but all at the same time. A great tennis player has to be Bolt and Nurmi, and then catch their breath and be Tiger Woods too. The one thing they can’t do is tackle and get hit in the face, though Djokovic gives the impression he would be a tough body-contact competitor, if only because he might bring a gun to a knife-fight.

And yet, and yet.

Djokovic’s legion of fans are seemingly dwarfed by an army of detractors.

Djokovic’s legion of fans are seemingly dwarfed by an army of detractors.Credit:Getty

We know what it is. We struggle with the idea that when it comes to judging GOATs, we would like there to be a character test. We want the Pele glamour, the Jesse Owens dignity, the Michael Jordan dazzle. We want something more, and Djokovic has so often delivered something less. GOATs are often ‘judged’ by polls, which measure popularity, and Federer and Nadal always rank higher than Djokovic.

What has Djokovic done to deserve this? His rap sheet is long but nowhere near Lance Armstrong-grade. He had a habit of faking injury early in his career, either to put opponents off their game or to quit matches when he was losing so as to deny them the satisfaction of beating him. He has been obnoxious to officials, but hardly in the Connors-McEnroe category. He uses every gamesmanship trick in the book and has written a few new ones, and will never be accused of being the epitome of sportsmanship. His campaign to seem like a good guy has been as unrelenting as his tennis, but every now and then, under extreme pressure, what many take as the real Djokovic comes out. His Covid-Adria Tour-antivax debacle, Novak’s version of good works, seemed to say it all.

The ambivalence is real. Kyrgios, a comparative tennis non-entity, won himself a zillion Instagram followers by standing up and calling Djokovic out for being a dickhead. Still, it’s like the world is looking for reasons to dislike him. Federer and Nadal could manipulate injury breaks and other quirks in the rules and get away with it. Djokovic can’t.

Not since Ali has there been an individual sportsperson who absorbs so much punishment and emerges with the genius of the counter-attacker, having exhausted his opponent while they were thinking they were beating him. But with Ali it was the legendary rope-a-dope, whereas with Djokovic it is whack-a-mole. He is the mole that always gets away.

Credit:Illustration: Simon Letch

How much of the anti-Djokovic feeling is prejudice? I think a lot of us have to admit that there is some anti-Balkan bias involved here. The militaristic appearance, the finicky way of bouncing the ball, gives an uneasy vibe. Djokovic’s way of standing like Christ, arms spread, after a win, gazing skyward as if he can’t believe what Blind Freddy saw coming for the last two hours – another comeback victory. If you’re primed to dislike the Serbian army captain look, it’s as irritating as all get out. But is that because so many of us can’t see the charm? Is it an irrational xenophobic reaction?
The intersection of form and content is jarring when it comes to Djokovic, and this forces us to ask discomfiting questions of ourselves. Are we really in it for the excellence, or are we compromised by our biases? Federer never forced us to ask complicated questions about anything. He only requested that we behold the frictionless perfection of the style, the thing in itself. Djokovic is provocative, and that makes him interesting.

Whereas Federer brought so many to tennis, Djokovic’s methodical progress to the top has been, for many, a 10-year turn-off. Avid tennis watchers who have kept faith can rightly claim a purity of eye: they are seeing the tennis player, whereas others are turning away from the surface impression.

But that impression doesn’t count for nothing. While Federer’s majesty was remote, Djokovic implicates us. His tennis game has never had any outstanding signature such as a booming Serena Williams serve, the Federer touch or the Nadal forehand. What has always characterised Djokovic is an inexhaustible will to win. There is so much will to win, it’s gone beyond the boundary of the sport and is confronting, even ugly, to watch.

And that’s the thing with Djokovic: he has beaten all that tennis can throw at him; his final adversary is the uneasy viewer. His final victory, through the weight of his record, is over the spectator’s doubts. It’s not to win us over. It’s to make us submit.


Roadmap to freedom unveiled for the fully vaccinated

Stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be lifted from the Monday after NSW passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target, under the roadmap to freedom released today.

The roadmap is subject to further fine-tuning and health advice if circumstances change drastically or if cases within a designated area remain too high.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said we are well on the way to hitting the 70 per cent double dose milestone which will allow the state to open up for those who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to get vaccinated – if you have not had both doses of the vaccine by the time we hit the 70 per cent milestone, you will not be able to take advantage of these freedoms,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government has worked with industry to design this road map, which is our biggest incentive to get vaccinated, to reach the 70 per cent target as soon as possible.

“Our roadmap outlines the freedoms that twice vaccinated people will enjoy once we reach 70 per cent double dose which means a meal with loved ones or a drink with friends is just around the corner,” Mr Barilaro said.

Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap.

The freedoms for vaccinated adults will come into effect on the Monday after NSW hits the 70 per cent double dose target and include:

Gatherings in the home and public spaces:

  • Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
  • Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms:

  • Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
  • Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
  • Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
  • Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities:

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
  • Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
  • Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship: 

  • Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
  • Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
  • Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.


  • Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
  • Carpooling will be permitted.

Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.

Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.

There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.


  • Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
  • Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
  • Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the easing of restrictions would come as a huge relief to struggling businesses and workers, who just want to get their lives back on track, safely.

“This roadmap gives us the light at the end of the tunnel we all want and will enable our economy to start firing again, driving our state back to prosperity,” Mr Perrottet said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the government will continue to be guided by the health advice, and may still require targeted restrictions to deal with outbreaks.

“As we work toward reopening NSW, it is vital people continue to come forward and get vaccinated to help protect the community and reduce transmission of the virus,” Mr Hazzard.

When NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose target, the government intends to open up further freedoms around international travel, community sport, major events and other areas.



Sent from my iPhone. Pls excuse my typos.


This year’s US Open Junior Championships are eagerly awaited by players and fans alike after the 2020 edition of the tournament was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The crowds are back in New York, and the juniors competing in the six-day event are ready to compete side by side with the world’s top professionals on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Players spent the day on Sunday dodging rain drops as they took to the practice courts in advance of the start of the year’s final junior slam, which begins on Monday. Twelve qualifiers and a lucky loser joined the field on Saturday after the completion of the qualifying tournament at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx, with four Americans joining the 27 others who were direct entries or wild card recipients.

One of those qualifiers, Theadora Rabman, isn’t far from home, with the 16-year-old New Yorker making the best of her wild card into qualifying by winning two matches over seeded players in third-set tiebreakers. Another unseeded 16-year-old wild card, Californian Kyle Kang, matched Rabman’s feat, defeating two seeds, including the second seed in qualifying, Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, 6-1, 3-6, 10-5. Both will make their junior slam debuts on Monday. Valencia Xu and lucky loser Katja Wiersholm round out the quartet of Americans who emerged from qualifying.

The United States Tennis Association decided to reduce the draw size for this year’s tournament, calling it “the best opportunity to host a safe and logistically successful event.”

The qualifying draw size went from 32 to 24 and the main draw size from 64 to 48, meaning that the 16 seeded players in each singles draw will have byes, with their opponents decided in Monday’s first round.

The top two seeds are, for the third consecutive junior slam, Andorra’s Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva and China’s Juncheng Shang, both of whom reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. The Wimbledon champions, Samir Banerjee of the United States and Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain, are the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, joining 2020 Australian Open champion Jimenez Kasintseva as the only junior slam champions in the draw.

The United States claims half of the top six seeds: Banerjee, No. 4 seed Bruno Kuzuhara and No. 6 seed Victor Lilov, the 2021 Wimbledon boys’ finalist. Spain has two seeded boys, No. 3 Daniel Rincon and No. 14 seed Alejandro Manzanera Pertusa, as does France, in No. 10 seed Sean Cuenin and No. 11 seed Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg.

College Park J1 champion Mark Lajal of Estonia, the No. 9 seed, is confident after claiming his third J1 title of the year last month on the hard courts of the Junior Tennis Champions Center, and American wild card Ryan Colby, a finalist in College Park, is also one to watch.

No. 16 seed Ashlyn Krueger, who played in the women’s singles main draw as the USTA National 18s singles champion, and No. 7 seed Robin Montgomery are two of the four seeded Americans, along with No. 12 seed Elvina Kalieva and No. 10 seed Madison Sieg. No other country has more than one seeded player in the girls’ draw.

An unseeded girl to watch is 16-year-old Reese Brantmeier, who was runner-up to Krueger at the USTA National 18s and won two rounds as a wild card in the women’s qualifying. So too is Julia Middendorf of Germany, who warmed up for her last junior slam by winning an ITF World Tennis Tour event at W15 level in her home country last month.

With nearly one of every three players in the draw from the United States, the fans in New York will have no trouble finding a rooting interest. If that player is an underdog, the cheers will be even louder as supporters look to identify the next Jenson Brooksby (2018 boys semi-finalist), Brandon Nakashima (2019 boys semi-finalist) or Coco Gauff (2017 finalist) who they could be watching on Ashe or Armstrong Stadiums in a few short year.

Source: ITF

Rogers’ epic comeback stuns No.1 Barty in US Open third round

No.43 Shelby Rogers rallied from a double-break down in the final set to upend World No.1 Ashleigh Barty’s quest for a US Open title.

Shelby Rogers Ashleigh Barty US Open USTA

NEW YORK – Shelby Rogers kept the home hopes alive at the US Open, as the Charleston native manufactured a stunning third-set comeback to stun No.1 Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5) in the third round to advance to her second straight Round of 16 in New York. A quarterfinalist last year, the 28-year-old played a disciplined match to earn her first win in six matches against the World No.1, coming back from a double-break down in the final set to steal the win. The victory is Rogers’ first over a Top 10 player since defeating Serena Williams last year in Lexington and her first-ever win over a reigning World No.1.

In their fifth meeting in the 2021 season alone, Rogers was looking to tally her first win over the Australian. Rogers had reason to believe an upset was possible. Rogers had played Barty close twice this year, taking her to a match-tiebreak at the Yarra Valley Classic in February before losing 7-5, 2-6, 10-4. On the green clay of Charleston, their Round of 16 duel came down to the wire, with Barty edging it 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4. 

“I think tonight going on the court I told myself I didn’t want to lose the same way I lost the last five times against her,” Rogers said. “I just tried to do things a little bit differently. In the first set I mixed in some high balls, I was super patient with her slice because she’s not going to miss one very often. I know that very well.”

There were early signs of trouble for Barty, who fired four double-faults in her second service game to give Rogers the early break at 2-1. With Barty struggling to find her range on her serve and off the ground – the Wimbledon champion hit 17 unforced errors in the opening set – Rogers cruised to break Barty twice and seal the first set 6-2 after 32 minutes. She did not face a break point in the set. 

“I think what I’ve learned most from her is that she’s No.1 for a reason. It was going to take everything I had tonight to beat her. I gave everything I had and got the win.”- Shelby Rogers

Barty immediately righted the ship in the second set. After coming through two tight service games to hold, Barty broke Rogers for a 3-1 lead and never looked back. After hitting 17 unforced errors in the first set, Barty hit just 7 in the second set, while firing 13 winners. As she recognized Rogers opting for a more defensive gameplan, Barty found her range and rhythm, finding good purchase when she patiently built points and extended rallies. 

“In the second and third, she definitely raised her level, as she does,” Rogers said. “I mean, she’s the No.1 player in the world for a reason. But I started wanting to hit the ball a little bit harder, find some winners if I could. That’s the tennis I like to play. That’s what she wants me to do. She wants to redirect and finesse me around the court, wait for me to miss.”

Turning Point: Barty continued her progress through the final set, building a 5-2, double-break lead. But as the World No.1 stood just four points from the Round of 16, the unforced errors began to creep in again. Serving at 5-3, 15-0, Barty misfired on three consecutive unforced errors – a forehand, a backhand, and a double-fault – and Rogers broke as Barty mishit yet another forehand at 30-40. 

After Rogers hold from 30-all in the next game by out-rallying Barty with a forehand winner and then closing with an unreturned serve, the partisan crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium were on their feet. Feeding off their energy and buoyed by Barty’s failed attempt to close out the match, Rogers doubled down on her defensive efforts. As Barty tried to serve out the match for a second time at 5-4, Rogers made her intentions known, chasing down every ball and baiting Barty to go for less margin than she was comfortable with. 

As Barty served at deuce, Rogers won one of the longest rallies of the match – an 18-shot all-court exchange – that ended as Barty misfired a forehand. On her second break point of the game, Rogers converted, fending off a 107 m.p.h first serve. Barty misfired on another forehand off the return and the comeback was on. Rogers had leveled to 5-5.

After an exchange of holds at 30, Barty and Rogers readied for the deciding tiebreak. Barty came into the match with a 14-2 record in three-set matches this season, while Rogers was 4-8. The tense tiebreak rolled along on serve, with Rogers coming up with the defensive answers to Barty’s craft. Serving at 1-2, Rogers fended off a series of biting Barty backhand slices down the line to get the better of the No.1 in a 19-shot rally. In fact, Rogers would win all three points in the tiebreak that lasted over 10 shots, reversing the trend that saw Barty get the match on her terms in the second set. 

At 5-5 in the tiebreak, Barty finally blinked. Unable to summon her formidable first serve, Barty missed a forehand off a driven forehand return from Rogers to give the American the first match point of the night. With the biggest win of her career on her racquet, Rogers found a 105 m.p.h first serve wide that Barty could not get back. After 2 hours and 8 minutes, Rogers’ look of complete disbelief said it all. 

Source: WTA Tour

Ash Barty’s mindset coach: Get out of BED | SMH

And this is because, as the former sports marketing director at Nike, he recognised a pattern in the athletes he worked with, and later on, in the successful business people he coached: many were struggling under the pressure of external validation, be it from winning, making money, achieving social or corporate status.

“We’re so distracted by achievement and results more than the process of going there,” says the father of three boys. “We’re craving from others what we’re not prepared to give ourselves which is unconditional love: will someone please recognise me, will someone please accept me, will someone please acknowledge me?”

Ben Crowe post match in the Richmond change rooms after the 2019 Grand Final.

Ben Crowe post match in the Richmond change rooms after the 2019 Grand Final. 

Focusing on what is outside our control, like the expectation of outcomes or the expectations of others, not only leads to stress, pressure and anxiety, it is a losing game, he insists: “Last time I looked, no one controls the future which means you’ll tighten up not lighten up.”

Instead, by focusing our attention on what we can control, like who we want to be, we remove external “distractions” and can focus without fear.

“You still go after the things you love to do, they just don’t determine your self-worth,” Crowe says. “You can go after your dreams without any promise you’ll actually achieve those dreams and that’s OK.”

Ironically, this lack of fear to follow our dreams makes us more likely to achieve them. Crowe believes, this is one of the keys to Barty’s success, both on and off the court.

“[She] has put her goals and dreams out into the universe, and she’s gone after them and she’s also embraced these principles – gratitude and appreciation and celebration – rather than getting caught up in expectation or entitlement,” Crowe says. “She’s truly embraced the principle of acceptance – accepting the things she can’t control and focusing back on the things she can control. She’s connected with her purpose and sense of why, she’s established her values which is so fundamental to anyone’s success because when we’re on our knees and life sucks it’s our values that gets us through.”

These concepts are used to help clients answer three “simple but not easy” questions: Who am I, What do I want and How do I get there?



It was what got a 16-year-old Crowe through losing his dad to a heart attack, while trying to resuscitate him; it was what got him through losing his best friend to suicide; and it was what got him through laying off “a few hundred staff” while working for Nike in Hong Kong nearly 25 years ago.

Following this “professional crucible moment”, he used humility and curiosity to “pick up the pieces and respond to the challenges” he faced. He sat down at the Peak Café in Hong Kong and wondered what he was going to do with his life.

After two days spent scribbling on post-it notes trying to figure out his “why” and, after years of working with athletes on their external story, he decided it was time to work with them on their internal one.

“I settled on wanting to help athletes do things better and be better for it. My definition of an athlete has evolved to anyone who wants to compete, have fun and play,” says Crowe, who launched a mindset app last month, providing a digital “personal leadership” course based on the same exercises he uses with athletes and CEOs.

He, along with his wife Sally and their two young sons at the time, moved home to Melbourne where he launched and subsequently sold two sports entertainment companies before officially transitioning to mentoring.

“There’s only ever the response to what life throws our way… we can stay in BED, which is an acronym for blame, excuses, denial, or we can say ‘it’s my decisions, not the conditions that determine how I’m going to get through this’.”



Crowe’s approach is not about reinventing the wheel. He explores the stories we tell ourselves (Tony Robbins), leaning in (Sheryl Sandberg), vulnerability (Brene Brown) and ‘aha’ moments (Oprah).

These concepts are used to help clients answer three “simple but not easy” questions: Who am I? What do I want? How do I get there?

“If you can help people answer those questions that gives them the sense of confidence and happiness to find a path to go after their journey… then yeah [I think they] want that drug,” says Crowe who is running a mindset masterclass on September 29.

I wonder aloud whether seeing humility and humanity in highly accomplished people, like Barty, reminds us ordinary folk we don’t need discontent or ego to drive us or our ambitions. But I also wonder how applicable his approach is for someone who doesn’t have a job as a result of the pandemic right now or for someone like Michael Cassel, whose production of Hamilton was facing $10 million in losseswith 80,000 tickets cancelled because of the lockdown.

“There are so many things we can’t control, getting back to the things we can control is pretty powerful,” Crowe insists. “You need to draw down on your energy source that gets you through the pandemic, and it might be courage, love, perseverance, resilience, positivity or optimism…

“There’s only ever the response to what life throws our way… we can stay in BED, which is an acronym for blame, excuses, denial, or we can say ‘it’s my decisions, not the conditions that determine how I’m going to get through this’.”

Michael Cassel is a great example of this, Crowe adds: “He goes ‘I decide my attitude, my mindset, my self-worth… I’m not going to let COVID and the conditions of my business determine my self-worth. I am going to own my story and with my values and my purpose and my affirmations I’m going to overcome this and help my people overcome this’… His perspective is what will get him through.”

Speaking of perspective, I ask him about the kind of human he wants to be.

“If someone says who Ben Crowe is I say I’m a playful dad, I’m a grateful son, I’m a mischievous mate and a loving soulmate and a curious golfer – as in how the f–k am I going to master this game.”


Alcott finishes final Paralympics as a champion

Tokyo: Australian wheelchair tennis legend Dylan Alcott announced these Paralympics will be his last after winning another gold in the men’s quad singles final on Saturday, a tournament he says was the hardest he’s ever competed in.

The four-time Paralympian said he was planning to drink “ten thousand beers” on Saturday evening after prevailing 7-6, 6-1 against Sam Schroder from the Netherlands.

Dylan Alcott after his men’s quad singles gold medal in Tokyo.

Dylan Alcott after his men’s quad singles gold medal in Tokyo. Credit:Getty

Although Alcott says he couldn’t care less, his clinical victory keeps alive his bid for a golden slam, which involves winning all four grand slams, plus a Paralympic gold medal. Alcott has now three slams and the gold medal, with just the US Open left in 2021.

“I’m not coming back to the Paralympics ever again,” Alcott said. “I love the Paralympic Games so much. It means so much to me. When I was 17, I got to play with the Rollers [Australian wheelchair basketball team] and we won gold and it was life-changing. Paralympic sport saved my life. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I owe it so much. To get it done today was bloody awesome.

“It’s the sweetest of all my wins because I got pushed. I shouldn’t have won. I had the expectations of the whole nation on my shoulders but I think Australia would have survived if I lost. I remind myself that so I don’t have that much expectation.”

Alcott had to dig deep in the first set but his class shone through as he wrapped up the match on his terms, sealed with an incredible backhand winner on match point. The stunned look on Alcott’s face said it all.

A two-day delay helped Alcott mentally and physically reset for a match that he was no certainty to win, given the rising standard of his opponents around the world.

The 30-year-old rarely gets emotional but this latest victory, away from friends and family who watched on at home in Australia, meant more than any of his decorated career.

“That was the hardest tournament I’ve ever played,” Alcott said. “I feel like an old ancient man. I’m in agony. I’m just so thankful and grateful that I was able to get it done. I’ve worked so hard. The Australian public’s got behind me and my career, the whole Paralympic movement, I’m just such a proud Paralympian. I’m proud of my disability.

“I was almost done after Rio and then I just kept going. [These Paralympics] got delayed a year. I was in a dark place when it got delayed because I was done and I found a second wind and my family got me through and my team. I didn’t think I was going to make it. The extra year was so bad for me because the Dutch kids got awesome. We found a way to keep motivated. I’ve got a few more tournaments left in me but not three years left. It’s so special to go out on top like this.”

Alcott wrapped up his final in straight sets.

Alcott wrapped up his final in straight sets. Credit:Getty

Alcott will travel to the United States in coming days for the US Open, where he will attempt to lock away a fourth grand slam in 2021 to go with his latest Paralympics heroics.

While supporters and admirers will continue to talk about the golden slam, Alcott reiterated it wasn’t something that motivated him.

“Everyone’s been crapping on about the golden slam but I couldn’t care less right now,” Alcott said. “I’ve got to celebrate this for what it is, which is one of the biggest achievements of my career, I’m just honoured to be here and to get it done.


“The US Open, I’ll think about when I get to New York. I’m a Paralympic champion for the fourth time [in] basketball and tennis. It’s incredible stuff.”

Minutes after his match, Alcott cracked open a Corona with his doubles partner Heath Davidson and said he was looking forward to celebrating his second individual wheelchair tennis gold medal in style.

“I’ll drink ten thousand beers,” Alcott said. “Get ready, Tokyo. Get all your beers ready. I’m so excited, I haven’t had a beer in ages.”

‘It’s the sweetest of all my wins’: Alcott finishes final Paralympics as a champion www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/it-s-the-sweetest-of-all-my-wins-alcott-finishes-final-paralympics-as-a-champion-20210904-p58ot5.html?btis


Sent from iPad. Pls excuse typos.

Worried About Breakthrough Infections? Here’s How to Navigate This Phase of the Pandemic | NYT

If you’re vaccinated, you should think about a number of variables, including your overall health, where you live and the risks you take.

Many people are seeking definitive answers about what they can and can’t do after being vaccinated against Covid-19. Is it OK to travel? Should I go to a big wedding? Does the Delta variant make spending time with my vaccinated grandmother more risky?

But there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to those questions because risk changes from one individual to the next, depending on a person’s overall health, where they live and those they spend time with. The bottom line is that vaccines are highly protective against serious illness, and, with some precautions, will allow people to return to more normal lives, experts say. A recent study in Los Angeles County showed that while breakthrough infections can happen, the unvaccinated are 29 times as likely to end up hospitalized from Covid-19 as a vaccinated person.

Experts say anxiety about breakthrough infections remains pervasive, fueled in part by frightening headlines and unrealistic expectations about the role of vaccines.

“There’s been a lot of miscommunication about what the risks really are to vaccinated people, and how vaccinated people should be thinking about their lives,” said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “There are people who think we are back to square one, but we are in a much, much better place.”

While the Delta variant is causing a surge in infections in various hot spots around the country, including Florida and Louisiana, there will eventually be an end to the pandemic. Getting there will require ongoing precautions in the coming months, but vaccinated people will have more freedom to enjoy life than they did during the early lockdowns. Here are answers to some common questions about the road ahead.

What’s my risk of getting Covid if I’m vaccinated?

To understand why there is no simple answer to this question, think about another common risk: driving in a snowstorm. While we know that tens of thousands of people are injured or killed each year on icy roads, your individual risk depends on local conditions, the speed at which you travel, whether you’re wearing a seatbelt, the safety features on your car and whether you encounter a reckless driver on the road.

Your individual risk for Covid after vaccination also depends on local conditions, your overall health, the precautions you take and how often you are exposed to unvaccinated people who could be infected.

“People want to be told what to do — is it safe if I do this?” said Dr. Sharon Balter, director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “What we can say is, ‘These are the things that are more risky, and these are the things that are less risky.’”

Dr. Balter’s team has recently collected surveillance data that give us a clearer picture of the difference in risk to the vaccinated and unvaccinated as the Delta variant surged from May 1 through July 25. They studied infections in 10,895 fully vaccinated people and 30,801 unvaccinated people. The data showed that:

  • The rate of infection in unvaccinated people is five times the rate of infection in vaccinated people. By the end of the study period, the age-adjusted incidence of Covid-19 among unvaccinated persons was 315.1 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period compared to 63.8 per 100,000 incidence rate among fully vaccinated people. (Age adjustment is a statistical method used so the data are representative of the general population.)
  • The rate of hospitalization among the vaccinated was 1 per 100,000 people. The age-adjusted hospitalization rate in unvaccinated persons was 29.4 per 100,000.
  • Older vaccinated people were most vulnerable to serious illness after a breakthrough infection. The median age of vaccinated people who were hospitalized for Covid was 64 years. Among unvaccinated people who were hospitalized, the median age was 49.
  • The Delta variant appears to have increased the risk of breakthrough infections to vaccinated people. At the start of the study, before Delta was dominant, unvaccinated people became infected 10 times as often as vaccinated people did. By the end of study period, when Delta accounted for almost 90 percent of infections, unvaccinated people were five times as likely to get infected as vaccinated people.

What’s the chance of a vaccinated person spreading Covid-19?

While unvaccinated people are by far at highest risk for catching and spreading Covid-19, it’s also possible for a vaccinated person to become infected and transmit the illness to others. A recent outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., where thousands of people gathered in bars and restaurants, showed that vaccinated people can sometimes spread the virus.

Even so, many experts believe the risk of getting infected from a vaccinated person is still relatively low. Dr. Jha noted that after an outbreak among vaccinated and unvaccinated workers at the Singapore airport, tracking studies suggested that most of the spread by vaccinated people happened when they had symptoms.

“When we’ve seen outbreaks, like those among the Yankees earlier in the year and other cases, almost always people are symptomatic when they’re spreading,” Dr. Jha said. “The asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic spread could happen, but we haven’t seen it among vaccinated people with any frequency.”

Another study from Singapore looked at vaccinated and unvaccinated people infected with the Delta variant. The researchers found that while viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated workers are similar at the onset of illness, the amount of virus declines more rapidly in the vaccinated after the first week, suggesting vaccinated people are infectious for a shorter period of time.

Is it still safe to gather unmasked with vaccinated people?

In many cases it will be safe, but the answer depends on a number of variables. The risk is lower with a few close family members and friends than a large group of people you don’t know. Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings. What’s the community transmission rate? What’s the ventilation in the room? Do you have underlying health issues that would make you vulnerable to complications from Covid-19? Do any of the vaccinated people have a fever, sniffles or a cough?

“The big question is can five people sit around a table unmasked if we know they’re all vaccinated,” Dr. Jha said. “I think the answer is yes. The chances of anybody spreading the virus in that context is exceedingly low. And if someone does spread the virus, the other people are not going to get super sick from it. I certainly think most of us should not fear breakthrough infections to the point where we won’t tolerate doing things we really value in life.”

For larger gatherings or even small gatherings with a highly vulnerable person, rapid antigen testing using home testing kits can lower risk. Asking people to use a test a few days before the event, and then the day of the event, adds another layer of protection. Opening windows and doors or adding a HEPA air cleaner can also help.


Bathroom stall: Tennis toilet break rules

How long is too long to take in the bathroom

Article I, Section W, Paragraph 4 of the 2021 Grand Slam rule book limits women (who play best-of-three-sets) to one trip off court and men (best-of-five) to two trips “for a reasonable time for a toilet break, a change of attire break, or both.”

The discussion at, ahem, Flush-ing Meadows on Tuesday swirled around whether it was “reasonable” that play was delayed for more than eight minutes because Tsitsipas took his time while exchanging his sweaty outfit for a fresh one between the fourth and fifth sets of a nearly five-hour victory over Murray a day earlier.

“What’s your opinion on this? You’re umpiring the match,” three-time Grand Slam champion Murray could be heard saying to the match official. “Give me your opinion. … You think this is good?”

Murray, who swapped shirts while seated on his changeover bench before the final set, is among those who have advocated for some sort of rule switch.

Put a specific time limit in writing, say. Or have stronger consequences than the simple warning that Tsitsipas received from the chair umpire for a time violation Monday, when he and Murray both were soaked from 70% humidity and heat in the low 80s Fahrenheit (high 20s Celsius).

“It’s so vague. Another vague rule in tennis. And I think that’s what Andy was complaining about,” 18-time major champion Chris Evert said during ESPN’s telecast Tuesday. “Let me tell you, eight to 10 minutes, that gives the player time to sit with himself, to figure out what he needs to do, to reset if he needs to, to reach into his bag and get a phone call. Or reach into his bag and read a text. It opens the door to a lot of things that maybe aren’t fair in tennis.”

Calling pace of play “an important issue on our sport,” the U.S. Tennis Association said it needs to “continue to review and explore potential adjustments to the rules, whether for bathroom breaks/change of attire or other areas, that can positively impact the pace of play for our fans and ensure the fairness and integrity of the game.”

The ATP men’s tour said reviewing toilet break rules and those governing medical timeouts “has been an area of focus in recent months,” calling it a “work in progress.” The WTA women’s tour noted that it changed its bathroom rule to allow one break instead of two during matches, adding: “As with any rule, the WTA is always open to conversation and evolving rules if changes are necessary.”

If Tsitsipas’ purpose was gamesmanship, it worked.

Murray lost focus and, he explained later, the lengthy pause in play cooled him down, causing issues physically for a guy who is 34 and has an artificial hip.

This isn’t the first time the issue has come up with Tsitsipas — or other players. Just one example from Monday: No. 19 seed John Isner left the court for what amounted to a break of more than seven minutes between points after the second set of this three-set loss to Brandon Nakashima in an all-American match Monday.

A little more than a week ago, Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev accused Tsitsipas of getting help via phone messages from his father, who’s also his coach, on a lengthy trip to the bathroom during their semifinal at the Cincinnati Masters. Coaching is not allowed during matches.

“He’s gone for 10-plus minutes. His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out, and all of a sudden, his tactic completely changed. It’s not just me, but everybody saw it. The whole game plan changes,” No. 4 seed Zverev said after his win Tuesday. “I’m like: Either it’s a very magical place he goes to or there is communication there.”

Zverev said he views what Tsitsipas does as the “kind of things (that) happen at junior events, at Futures, at Challengers maybe, but not when you’re top three in the world. You are allowed to do that, but it’s like a unwritten rule between players.”

Tsitsipas and Isner did have their defenders.

“We’re drinking. We’re hydrating a lot. We have to use the bathroom. To change my socks, shoes, my inserts in my shoes, shorts, shirt, everything, the whole nine yards, hat — it takes five, six minutes,” No. 22 seed Reilly Opelka of the U.S. said after reaching the second round with a win Tuesday. “Then, by the time I walk to and from the court … .”



Dutch young guns win Wheelchair Tennis quad doubles gold

Dutch young guns Sam Schroder and Niels Vink are the new Paralympic quad doubles champions after defeating Rio 2016 gold medallist Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia at Ariake Tennis Park.

The Netherlands’ Sam Schroder and Niels Vink have won gold in the quad doubles besting reigning champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia 6-4 6-3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

It marked a changing of the guard as the 21-year-old Schroder and 18-years-old Vink won gold on their Paralympic debut and have undoubtedly shown the new generation of wheelchair tennis players are ready to make big waves.

“I have no words. It’s just crazy that we achieved this at such a young age already,” Schroder said after the win.

“It’s incredible to win a gold medal being only 18 and 21 and in our first Paralympic Games,” Vink echoed.

The gold medal match started off evenly with neither side able to find the break in the first six games.

Play was put on hold momentarily during the first set to close the roof of centre court at Ariake Tennis Park after it started raining. But just two games later the Netherlands pair found their much-needed break after five unforced errors from the Australian duo saw Schroder and Vink take the first set.

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men's Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men’s Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

2021 Getty Images

With momentum now falling the way of the young Dutch duo, they took an early 3-1 break in the second set.

Australia, who were willing themselves to stay within the match, took the chance to break back at 3-4 before the Netherlands stole the break back, making it 5-3.

With the gold medal put into the hands of Vink, who was serving for the game, he didn’t put a foot wrong as the Netherlands pair soon found themselves as gold medallists.

Unfortunately, there won’t be too much celebration going on tonight with both Schroder and Vink back in action on 2 September.

“Not too much because he [Schroder] has a gold medal match tomorrow (in singles), and I have a bronze medal match,” Vink said.

Meanwhile, in the quad doubles bronze medal match, Japan’s MOROISHI Mitsuteru, and SUGENO Koji were leading Great Britain’s Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthrone 2-1 in the first set before rain interrupted play Court 1.

After the match resumed on Centre Court, it was the Japanese duo who were victorious in a three-set thriller 7-5 3-6 7-5 that finished around 2:00 am JST.

U.S. Open Quiz: Put Your Tennis Knowledge to the Test – The New York Times

Novak Djokovic serving at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2010. Suzy Allman for The New York Times

“Jeopardy!” is on summer break. But you don’t have to wait to get your trivia fix, tennis fan.

Below are 21 questions for the 2021 U.S. Open. (All of the questions pertain to tennis’s Open era, from 1968 onward.) Let’s begin with an easy one:

1 of 21

Name the only player to win the U.S. Open on clay, grass and hard courts.

Bjorn Borg

Jimmy Connors

Rod Laver

2 of 21

Who is the only woman this century to lose the first set in the final and still prevail?

Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams

Maria Sharapova

3 of 21

She lost in the final four years in a row and never won the title.

Hana Mandlikova

Evonne Goolagong

Lindsay Davenport

4 of 21

For 16 straight years, from 1996 to 2011, the score line of the women’s final had a commonality. Name it.

Every final ended in straight sets

Every final went to three sets

There were no tiebreaker sets

5 of 21

He lost the men’s final four times and never won the title.

Vitas Gerulaitis

Bjorn Borg

Arthur Ashe

6 of 21

She’s the only South American to raise the women’s trophy.

Gabriela Sabatini

Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario

Flavia Pennetta

7 of 21

Novak Djokovic has won the U.S. Open three times. How many times has he lost in the final?




8 of 21

Who was the last player with a one-handed topspin backhand to win the women’s singles title?

Justine Henin

Francesca Schiavone

Amélie Mauresmo

9 of 21

How many times has a man rallied from two sets down in the final to win the singles title?




10 of 21

She was the youngest player to win the women’s singles title.

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf

Tracy Austin

11 of 21

Name the only South American other than Juan Martín del Potro to win the men’s singles title.

Gustavo Kuerten

Guillermo Vilas

Fernando González

12 of 21

He was the last man listed under 6 feet tall to win the title.

Stan Wawrinka

Andre Agassi

Lleyton Hewitt

13 of 21

Name the last man to successfully defend his singles title.

Roger Federer

Andre Agassi

Pete Sampras

14 of 21

The first year the tournament was played on clay, 1975, a lefty won the men’s title. Name him.

Manuel Orantes

Jimmy Connors

Rod Laver

15 of 21

In 1985, Ivan Lendl won the title. In doing so, he broke this most peculiar U.S. Open streak on the men’s side.

Lefties had won the title the previous 11 years

No European had ever won the men’s title in the Open era

He was the first man with a one-handed backhand to win the title in the 1980s

16 of 21

He was the last man to win the singles and doubles titles in the same year.

Stefan Edberg

Boris Becker

John McEnroe

17 of 21

She won the last U.S. Open women’s final of the 1990s — and she’s still on tour!

Venus Williams

Kim Clijsters

Serena Williams

18 of 21

He was the only teenager to win the men’s title.

Marat Safin

Pete Sampras

Juan Martín del Potro

19 of 21

She won the women’s title a record four years in a row.

Chris Evert

Steffi Graf

Martina Navratilova

20 of 21

Andy Roddick was the last American man to win the title, in 2003. Who was the most recent American man to make the final?

James Blake

Andre Agassi


21 of 21

This player completed the career grand slam — not the calendar slam — by winning at Flushing Meadows in 2010.

Maria Sharapova

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic


NYTimes: Roger Federer’s Biggest Legacy? It Might Be His Billion-Dollar Brand.

It was moving day in the California desert, and Roger Federer was up before dawn. We met on the tarmac in Thermal, a short drive from Indian Wells, where Federer had lost the day before in the final of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open to Juan Martín del Potro. Just the previous month, Federer had capped his remarkable late-career surge by reclaiming the No. 1 ranking for the first time in more than five years. At 36, he was the oldest player to hold the spot since the A.T.P. published its first rankings in 1973. But Indian Wells was a rather disappointing sequel. He served for the title against del Potro at 5-4 in the third set and failed to finish him off despite holding three match points.

It was the sort of reversal of fortune that happened rarely — but more often to Federer than to his rivals at the top of the game. He has lost more than 20 times after holding match point, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have lost fewer than 10 such matches. “I know it’s bad to say this,” said Günter Bresnik, one of tennis’s top coaches, who has known and respected Federer since his teenage years, “but I sometimes call Federer an underachiever in tennis, considering all the matches in big tournaments he lost being already up. The guy should be at 30 Grand Slam tournaments if you’re talking about del Potro, Djokovic, Nadal and all these matches he lost where he was clearly ahead.”

And yet as we talked on the tarmac, Federer, with his long-horizon perspective and preternatural ability to compartmentalize, seemed well equipped to cope with the letdown. He was far from grumpy as he chatted and yawned in the cool of the early morning on too little sleep. “Five hours,” he said. “Not enough after a match like that.”

This article is adapted from “The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer,” by Christopher Clarey, published by Twelve on Aug. 24, 2021.