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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tennis

Rafael Nadal wants Daniil Medvedev to slow down in US Open final

Rafael Nadal shoes

Rafael Nadal is a notoriously slow player on the tennis courts, and the issue of pace came up again during the US Open final on Sunday between him and Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev was serving to start the fifth set of the championship match and was leading 40-15. His first serve was a let and he wanted to attempt his next serve. Nadal asked him to slow down, complaining that he couldn’t hear anything.

What did Nadal need to hear? Bianca Andreescu also complained that the crowd noise in the women’s final prevented her from being able to hear herself think, so maybe Nadal had a similar issue.

Medvedev won the point to go up 1-0 in the deciding set.

Nadal took the first two sets before Medvedev rallied to win the next two and send things to a deciding set.

Roger Federer has always played at a good pace and complained about slow players before, leaving both Nadal and Novak Djokovic to respond. It’s no surprise the issue resurfaced for Nadal on a big stage Sunday.

‘She the North’ – Bianca Andreescu receives love from Canada on huge win

Bianca Andreescu champion

Bianca Andreescu is continuing the huge sports year for Canada.

In June, the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA title, becoming Canada’s first team to win the league’s championship. Then on Saturday, Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a grand slam singles championship. She did so by defeating Serena Williams at the US Open — something she apologized to American fans about.

Canadian sports fans and teams could not have been more proud. They created a “#ShetheNorth” hashtag on social media, a nice take on the “We The North” rallying cry the Raptors use.

Andreescu received shoutouts from all sorts of Canadian teams:

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Canadian Bianca Andreescu apologizes to American fans for beating Serena Williams

Bianca Andreescu champion

Canadians are renowned for their politeness to the point that their habit of apologizing has been turned into a comedic bit. That made Bianca Andreescu’s post-match comments at the US Open after beating Serena Williams so on brand.

Andreescu, who was born in Canada, moved to Romania, and returned to Canada, actually apologized to the US Open crowd in New York for beating the country favorite in the finals 6-3, 7-5 to win her first career major.

The manners and politeness she showed are remarkable. Some players act like heels to the crowd when opposed, but not Andreescu. The 19-year-old had to battle both Williams and the crowd in order to win. She even was shown covering her ears and later said that was because the fans were so loud in favor of Serena she couldn’t hear herself think.

The warm feelings seemed to go both ways; Serena was congratulatory of Andreescu and said if anyone but her or Venus could win the tournament, she wanted it to be Bianca.

This image of Bianca Andreescu celebrating US Open win is perfect

Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu pulled off the unthinkable and beat Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 at the US Open on Saturday to win her first career major.

This image of her celebrating her straight sets victory could not have been better.

Andreescu captured her first career major in the most deserving way possible. She beat Serena — the best player in women’s history — in New York when the entire crowd wanted Williams to win. She almost blew a 5-1 lead, allowing Williams to tie things at 5-5 in the second set, but did not get shaken and rallied to win the next two games. The 19-year-old has become Canada’s first singles grand slam champion. She earned every bit of it.

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou: She is in a much better place

Patrick Mouratoglou

Serena Williams returned to the US Open final for the second straight year, only she was looking to enjoy a much different fate from last year.

Williams had a high-profile, controversial meltdown at the US Open after being penalized for a coach violation. Her poor behavior in response, including berating the umpire and accusing him of gender bias, caused the issue to make national headlines.

Entering the finals this year against Bianca Andreescu, Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou said the 23-time major champion is “in a much better place.”

“I feel she’s in a much better place than a year ago. She’s fitter, she moves better, so the consequence is she feels much better on the tennis court and she feels much more confident on the tennis court.”

The results have reflected Mouratoglou’s belief. Williams had only dropped one set entering the final and dominated her previous two opponents.

Daniil Medvedev embracing his US Open heel status

Daniil Medvedev

You don’t see too many professional athletes embracing the heel role in sports these days, but Daniil Medvedev is one of the few.

Medvedev has turned himself into an enemy of the fans at the US Open, the guy they root against. And he seems to be loving it.

Medvedev’s heel status began in the third round of the major when he beat Feliciano Lopez. Medvedev snapped at a ballperson, triggering a code violation. He flipped off some people and got into it with the chair umpire. Then after his match, Medvedev thanked the fans for energizing him with their boos.

After he won his fourth-round match, it was more of the same:

He has played his way into the semifinals against Grigor Dimitrov, which is the best major finish of his young career. You have to respect the way the 23-year-old isn’t shying away from the negative attention and instead is leaning into it. You may not like it, but he is using his villain status to help propel his play.

Manu Ginobili supports countryman Diego Schwartzman at US Open

Manu Ginobili

Tennis is becoming a big thing among NBA legends.

Not only was Kobe Bryant hanging out at the US Open and supporting his guy Novak Djokovic, but former San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili also attended the grand slam as a fan. Manu was seated among countryman Diego Schwartzman’s group during the Argentine’s quarterfinals match against Rafael Nadal Wednesday night.

Among those in the group was former player Guillermo Cañas, also an Argentine.

Ginobili doesn’t just watch tennis; he also plays it. Tony Parker shared a photo on Instagram two days ago showing the two on the court:

Tennis is an individual sport that requires lots of running and movement and produces a great workout. It’s no wonder Ginobili, Parker and Kobe are turning to it in retirement.

As far as celebrity athlete fan power rankings go, Nadal still has the big edge on Schwartzman though.

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