Monday, August 31st
US Open, Day 1. In the bubble of Flushing Meadows and with a notable player missing out at the last minute: Benoît Paire, who tested positive for coronavirus. The other French players who were hanging out with him in the previous days were allowed to play but were placed in a « bubble within the bubble. » Damned virus… And despite all of that, Alizé Cornet was adamant, « these are perfect conditions to play tennis », in New York. There were two surprise defeats in this first day on the court: Diego Schwartzman in the men’s draw and Cori Gauff in the women’s draw. « Mummy » Victoria Azarenka, who triumphed in Cincinnati, is back in the WTA top 20, just like Milos Raonic in the ATP ranking, as he reached the final in the same tournament, last week.
Tuesday, September 1st
Even if the start of the Tour de France can be a little confusing, leading us to believe that we’re in July, it is sadly the end of the summer and the start of the school year. With, again, a necessary awareness regarding the pandemic. In Brazil, we found out that the famous Chief Raoni has tested positive for Covid-19… The world of tennis also worried for Carla Suarez-Navarro who revealed that she has been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, and who will undergo six months of chemotherapy. We wish her a lot of courage. There were two heroines in Flushing Meadows: Serena Williams, who, as she defeated Kristie Ahn under the gaze of her daughter, won her 102nd match at the US Open, breaking Chris Evert’s record. But also Naomi Osaka who wore a different mask everyday, each one paying an homage to a victim of police brutality in the US.
Wednesday, September 2nd
With 79 years of marriage and 214 years between the two of them, a couple from Ecuador became the oldest married couple in the world. Congratulations to them. There is no need however to congratulate Neymar and some of his PSG teammates, who were possibly not careful enough and came back from their holidays in Ibiza with coronavirus… And no congratulations either for Kristina Mladenovic who lost a match in which she won the first set and was leading 5-1 in the second set. A physical and mental collapse which she justified with the drastic lockdown conditions that she had to comply with since her arival in New York. « I feel like we’re criminals », she stated. Benoît Paire was also angry, as he is bored in his hotel room which he can’t escape, even if some reports stated that a second test of his came back negative… Some good news, however, for French tennis: Caroline Garcia produced the performance of the day by knocking out Karolina Pliskova in the second round of the US Open.
Thursday, September 3rd
A few hours and he’s gone: Andy Murray was knocked out prematurely from the US Open by the talented Félix Auger-Aliassime. In the women’s draw, it’s also already over for Garbine Muguruza and for the seed number 5, Aryna Sabalenka, who lost a 100% Belarusian duel against Victoria Azarenka. A tough day for the losers at Flushing Meadows, but not as tough as the day of the man in Dordogne, France, who accidentally provoked an explosion in his kitchen as he was trying to kill a fly. The combination of an electric fly killing racket and gas coming out from the stove which caused the incident, which, thankfully, had no dramatic consequences. With only a superficial burn on one hand, the man was actually quite lucky.
Friday, September 4th
The big sporting feat of the day came from the Miami Heat, as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks for the third consecutive time in the semi-final of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. The leaders of the regular season, who host the MVP of the season Giannis Antetokounmpo, are only one defeat away from a surprise knockout. In New York, the best match of the start of this Grand Slam fortnight was won in five hard-fought sets by Borna Coric against Stefanos Tsitsipas. There was disappointment however for Caroline Garcia, who couldn’t build on her performance in the last round and lost against Jennifer Brady…
Saturday, September 5th
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the US Open: Kristina Mladenovic was not allowed to play her doubles match alongside Timea Babos as she was forced to withdraw from the tournament, after a decision was made by the American federation, as she had been in « close contact » with Benoît Paire, who tested positive for the virus. Another « close contact » of the Frenchman, Adrian Mannarino was, on his side, authorized to play - and lose - against Zverev… In front of so much incoherence, Annie Cordy has decided to leave us. The French singer of the songs Tata Yoyo and La Bonne du curé was 92 years old. RIP.
Sunday, September 6th
This 2020 edition of the US Open was bound to become historical because of the particular conditions in which it was organized. It has become even more historical with the disqualification of the number 1 favorite, Novak Djokovic, who was guilty of unintentionally hitting a line judge with a ball. The Serbian world number 1 had just lost his serve to Carreno Busta in the first set when he hit a ball, visibly annoyed, towards the back end of the court. The line judge ended up getting back up on her feet, but the rules are clear, and the decision to default Djokovic seemed unavoidable. Now, here’s the result: there will be a new winner at the US Open, as all the remaining player have never won a Grand Slam tournament! In the women’s draw, Serena Williams is still in the race to win her 24th major tournament. The second week already sounds mouthwatering.
By Régis Delanoë