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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2005, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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US Open 2005

U.S. Open's 'Arthur Ashe Kids' Day' To Feature Rihanna and The Click Five
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August 19, 2005

U.S. Open's 'Arthur Ashe Kids' Day' To Feature Rihanna and The Click Five
Saturday, August 27th the U.S. Open tennis tournament will host their annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. This year the event will feature concert performances by Rihanna, The Click Five, and Jesse McCartney in addition to a tennis exhibition by Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams and Andy Roddick.

Tickets are only $10 for general admission and $20 for loge seats if you plan to attend in person. See details at the official U.S. Open web site. CBS will broadcast highlights from the event Sunday, August 28th 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET.

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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 11:32 AM
 
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U.S. Open's 'Arthur Ashe Kids' Day' To Feature Rihanna and The Click Five
Top 40/Pop Blog


August 19, 2005

U.S. Open's 'Arthur Ashe Kids' Day' To Feature Rihanna and The Click Five
Saturday, August 27th the U.S. Open tennis tournament will host their annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. This year the event will feature concert performances by Rihanna, The Click Five, and Jesse McCartney in addition to a tennis exhibition by Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams and Andy Roddick.

Tickets are only $10 for general admission and $20 for loge seats if you plan to attend in person. See details at the official U.S. Open web site. CBS will broadcast highlights from the event Sunday, August 28th 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET.

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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:52 PM
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Yay!!
Rihanna and Serena in one day!
What else can I ask for?!


serena
naomi osaka × aravane rezaï × sabine lisicki × venus williams × destanee aiava × sloane stephens
taylor townsend × kristina mladenovic × aryna sabalenka × naomi broady × jelena jankovic
margarita gasparyan × cori gauff × marta kostyuk × danielle collins
maria sharapova × amanda anisimova


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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 06:46 AM
 
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Go Williams Sisters!
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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Federer, Clijsters look like Open favorites



By Scott Riley, Tennis Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With the 2005 U.S. Open less than a week away, it's probably safe to say that Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters look like the odds-on favorites to title in the Big Apple.

The amazing Federer just secured his ninth title of the year last week by handling Andy Roddick in the blockbuster final at the Cincinnati Masters. And by the way, the former world No. 1 Roddick fell to 1-10 lifetime against the reigning No. 1 Federer, who's been atop the ATP ledger now for 82 weeks and has beaten "A-Rod" in their last six meetings.

Due to inactivity from Federer, Roddick managed to win the 2005 U.S. Open Series, which will allow the American to double his prize money at the Open.

I'm running out of things to say about Federer, who's won his last 22 finals, has won his last 28 matches on hardcourts and is an unbelievable 64-3 overall this year.

Federer will head to Flushing as the defending champ, as he destroyed former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in last year's finale at the sprawling USTA National Tennis Center. The 24-year-old "Fed" has won four of the last seven and five of the last nine Grand Slams.

Meanwhile, the ultra-popular Clijsters is red-hot among the women, as she'll head to New York on the heels of her back-to-back U.S. Open Series titles in Los Angeles and Toronto.

FYI, Clijsters captured the women's portion of the U.S. Open Series.

The former world No. 1 Clijsters is still seeking that elusive first-ever major title, having finished as the runner-up at four Grand Slam events, including a setback at the hands of her fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the 2003 U.S. Open final.

Clijsters titled at last week's Rogers Cup in Toronto by carving up her fellow former No. 1 Henin-Hardenne in straight sets in a marquee final.

Clijsters has won five of her tour-leading six titles on hardcourts this season, which certainly bodes well for the athletic star heading into America's Open.

Who will challenge Federer on the men's side? Well, I've limited the number of other contenders to just five, including the massive-serving Roddick, French Open champion Rafael Nadal and Aussie Open winner Marat Safin. The other two with a chance in New York, in my opinion, are Hewitt and possibly Andre Agassi.

The 19-year-old Nadal is 2-1 lifetime against the Fed, including a huge semifinal victory at this year's French Open. Nadal, like Federer, also owns nine titles this season, but eight have come on his beloved clay (a surface that cannot be found at the National Tennis Center).

Nadal pushed Federer to five sets in the entertaining Miami Masters final earlier this year and beat Federer on that same Miami hardcourt last season.

Federer has won one major and four Masters Series events this year, while Nadal has nailed down one Slam and three Masters Series shields. Needless to say, these two guys are hogging up all the heavy hardware on the circuit in '05, combining for all seven of the Masters Series championships and two of the three majors.

Not too bad.

Nadal plays well on the slower hardcourts, but let's see how he does on the quicker stuff in Flushing.

The 2000 U.S. Open champion Safin, a two-time major champ, beat Federer in the Aussie Open semis way back in January, even after the Fed held a match point, and the big Russian is always a threat to win any tournament he enters.

The question is, as always: Which Safin will show up in New York?

The 2003 U.S. Open titlist Roddick has lost to Federer in the last two Wimbledon finals, and I wouldn't expect the result to change if the two lock horns at any point in NYC over the next few weeks.

The 2001 U.S. Open winner Hewitt was this year's Aussie Open runner-up to Safin and was throttled by Federer in last year's U.S. Open finale, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0. Hewitt is hoping he doesn't have to meet Federer at the upcoming Open, as the soaring Swiss has won their last eight matchups, including 15 straight sets.

The speedy Hewitt is a two-time Grand Slam champ, with his other victory coming at Wimbledon 2002.

That leaves us with the 35-year-old Agassi, who owns eight major titles, including the 1994 and 1999 U.S. Opens. Does he have enough in the tank to overcome the young field in the Apple? I say no way, even though he recently titled in Los Angeles and reached a final at the Canadian Masters before losing to the intense Nadal.

Agassi is 71-17 lifetime at the Open, including his two titles and three runner-up finishes against his long-time rival Pete Sampras. If he wants another title in the Apple, however, short matches would seem to be the answer for the iconic racquet man.

Summary. Federer.

If the Fed reaches the final, it's in the books.

In the ladies' draw, Clijsters can expect challenges from a bevy of stars, including newly-crowed No. 1 Maria Sharapova, Henin-Hardenne, Lindsay Davenport, and the Williams sisters. Reigning U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova and Amelie Mauresmo could also figure into the equation.

Note: Sharapova supplanted Davenport atop the rankings just this week.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova assumed the top-ranking even though she was idle last week and hasn't reached a major final since her Wimby success in the summer of '04. The glamour girl was sent packing in the third round at last year's U.S. Open.

Henin-Hardenne, like Clijsters, is enjoying a comeback season in 2005, as she missed a good portion of 2004 and the early part of '05 while fighting back from illness and injury. JH-H is a four-time Grand Slam titlist, including her impressive run at the French Open in June.

The three-time major titlist Davenport has played very little tennis this summer while recovering from a back injury suffered during her Wimbledon final loss against Venus Williams early last month. The big American is still seeking her first major title since the 2000 Aussie Open, having lost to Serena Williams in this year's Aussie Open finale and Venus at the All England Club.

Davenport captured a U.S. Open title in 1998.

Serena has battled knee and ankle injuries for a majority of 2005 and will head to New York having played very little tennis. She pulled out of Toronto due to a sore ankle last week after reaching the third round at the Rogers Cup.

The former No. 1 Serena is a seven-time major champion, including U.S. Open titles in 1999 and 2002.

The five-time Grand Slam champion Venus stunned the tennis world by running the table at Wimbledon in late June/early July, fighting off a match point to stun Davenport in the all-American final at SW19. It marked the former No. 1's first major title since the 2001 U.S. Open, where she also titled in 2000.

That leaves us with Mauresmo, Kuznetsova and, perhaps, Mary Pierce. Mauresmo is always one of the women that we talk about heading into a major, but she always seems to come up short, with her only ever trip to a major final coming at the 1999 Aussie Open.

Kuznetsova will head to New York as the defending champ, but I don't think she'll leave there with another title next month. The sturdy Russian has not played the same type of ball this season as she played in 2004, and is currently nursing a back injury suffered in Toronto last week.

Kuznetsova bested Elena Dementieva in last year's historic all-Russian final at Ashe Stadium, but I don't see either one of 'em making a return trip in '05. Kuznetsova is ranked fifth in the world, while Dementieva is sixth, but those numbers seem a bit high.

Pierce is in the midst of a resurgent campaign, highlighted by a trip to the Roland Garros finale and a hardcourt title in San Diego earlier this month, but she's been slowed by a quad injury and two weeks of Grand Slam tennis may not be the remedy for the French star.

What the heck, I'll pick Clijsters to get on the board with her first-ever major. Barring an unusual circumstance, there will be five former men's champions and five former women's winners on hand at the Open.

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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2005, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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A Look Forward...
Alan Murphy / 1:24am, 24-08-2005
The excitement. The sheer athleticism. The drama. The glamour. It’s almost here. Yes, this Monday, the US Open kicks off in Flushing Meadows, New York, and one thing is for certain – we’re in for a real treat. Sure, it may lack the tradition and prestige of Wimbledon, or the brutal physicality of Roland Garros, but there is just something about the US Open that sets it apart from the other Slams. Maybe it’s the dynamic atmosphere of the night sessions; maybe it’s the big screens, loud music, and even louder fans; or maybe we’re just dying to see what Serena Williams will wear next. Whatever it is, the US Open is probably the most exciting of all tournaments. You’ve just got to love it. The Open personifies New York – it’s loud, brash, edgy and larger than life. There’s never a dull moment that’s for sure! And this year promises to be no different...

So now that’s out of the way, it’s on to more important matters – most notably, who’s gonna win it? Well come on, we can hardly look past defending champ Roger Federer now can we? After his phenomenal year – winning a third consecutive Wimbledon, a record 4 Masters, losing just 3 matches all year – all arrows are pointing at him to lift the coveted trophy again this time round. And rightfully so, he’s one of the most dominant players the game has ever seen. A tennis God he’s a been called. The best ever perhaps. So will he win it then? Almost definitely. Let’s just say if I had bet the house on him, I don’t think I’d be losing too much sleep over it.

So what of the challengers then? Can anyone take Federer's crown? Well there’s one guy that stands a more than fair chance. You might have heard of him. His name’s Rafael Nadal. Yes the teen prodigy has pretty much matched Federer this year trick for trick. And sure, we all know he’s the clay court whiz kid…the master. But it doesn’t end there, not by a long shot. Nadal is a major force on hard too. He proved this by winning Montreal a couple of weeks back, and he was points away from destroying Federer in Miami in March. If anyone can beat the Swiss maestro, Rafa can. And he did just that on his way to his French Open title. Heck, his ruthless fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude makes even Lleyton Hewitt look like a little pussy cat in comparison.

And what of the others then? Well it was only in January that we were all talking about the Big 4 – Roger, Hewitt, Marat Safin and Andy Roddick. How things have so quickly changed. Yes Andy and Lleyton are both former winners at Flushing Meadows, but they have become nothing more than Roger’s whipping boys over the last year or so. Will that change here? It’s seriously doubtful. Both of them better pray hard that someone else takes out Federer – it’s the only chance they’ve got!

And then this brings us to Marat Safin. It looked in January that the burly Russian would finally live up to his true potential when he sensationally won the Australian Open. But oh no, Marat has hopped back on that rollercoaster. And who know’s if it’ll be up or down when he gets to New York. If he is in top form though, however unlikely that is looking, then you’d better watch out. Marat at 100% is virtually unbeatable. Just ask Roger!

Anyone else have what it takes? Well, Robby Ginepri has been one of the most in-form players in the lead up, but realistically he’s not a serious threat. Gaudio, Nalbandian, Coria perhaps? I can tell you now, there won’t be an Argentinean winner this year, I can bank on it! Tommy Haas has unlimited talent, but the German seems destined to remain a perennial underachiever. Wildcard Mark Philippoussis has done nothing all year, and he’ll continue to do nothing at the Open. Britain’s Greg Rusedski has shown some good form in recent weeks, and could pull off a scalp or too, but that’s about it. And what about his compatriot Tim Henman – what a truly awful year he’s been having. Tim has so much to lose here (semi-final points to defend), and losing is pretty much all he’s done in 2005.

So finally, this brings us to the one man that I think we’d all love to see lift the trophy on the second Sunday. Yes can Andre Agassi, at 35 years of age, possibly have one more run left in him? A final swansong? Well, he’s showed renewed vigor this summer winning LA and reaching the final in Montreal, and he’ll definitely be one of the favourites. And if he’s on, then he still has the game to take it to Federer. But in all seriousness, his chances aren’t too good. He’ll need a pretty open draw, a lot of luck, and an easy first week. But even then, can he win a semi-final and final in the space of 24 hours? At his age? A miracle notwithstanding, I don’t think there will be a fairytale finish to Agassi’s career, as much as I’d like to see him win the whole thing. Still, stranger things have been known to happen in the tennis world…Goran winning Wimbledon anyone? But then again, maybe this isn't even the end for Agassi. He's surprised us before - He might have a couple more years in him. Who knows?

So that’s the men more or less covered, now what off the women? The question a lot of us are asking is can Kim Clijsters finally make the break-through and win her first Slam? She tore through just about everybody this summer, nabbing 3 titles along the way, but when it really comes down to it, when it’s all on the line, can Kim win the big one? Probably not, I’m afraid. She’s shown in her 4 previous Slam final losses that she can’t step up in the very end. And the longer she doesn’t win that Slam, the harder it’ll be for her to ever win one.

Unlike in previous years, this US Open really is wide open. I don’t think anyone can pick a definite winner. But hey, let’s give it a try.

No one can ever count out the Williams’ sisters, that’s for sure. Venus showed that she’s well and truly back, after steam rolling through the field to win her third Wimbledon. And despite a quiet summer, she’ll be rearing to go, and very difficult to beat. Venus wants this, trust me. She's a top contender. And what of her sister? It’s funny, just this time last year, we were wondering if Venus would ever recapture her dominating form, now this time round, we’re thinking the same of Serena. It’s hard to believe that when Serena won the Aussie Open in January that the type of year that she’s had would follow. Sure, Serena has struggled with injuries, but it looks majorly like she’s also struggling with motivation. She was not only out of form but out of shape at Wimbledon, and things didn’t look much better last week in Toronto. I really hope that Serena re-dedicates herself in the coming months, but on a more immediate scale, I hope that she at least turns up for the Open. And regardless of her fitness, if she means business, she’ll be tough to beat! Love her or hate her, there is no denying that Serena is so good for the game. Hell, she provides more drama than a whole series of Desperate Housewives.

Now, it’s on to the brand new World Number 1, former Wimbledon Champ, and women's sexiest player - the one and only Maria Sharapova. Yes she is indeed top of rankings now, but that was more by default than anything else. While Maria has had a great year, she just seems to fall short to the really top players when they are playing their best – Serena in Australia, Kim in Miami, Venus at Wimbledon. Still, she is only 18 after all. Regardless of her new ranking though, Maria will struggle to be number 1 in this tournament.

Then there’s Lindsay Davenport. Boy was she close! That match point in the Wimbledon final’s gotta hurt. She’s been consistently on top all year, but her summer was blighted by injury, and one has now got to question her fitness. There are definitely seeds of doubt being planted. Maybe though the rest will have done her some good. It won't take her too long to get into her stride. Lindsay says she wants one more Slam. Well, if she is fit, then she better go all out to win it here. She won't have too many more chances. No room for nerves.

Others like Amelie Mauresmo, Anastasia Msykina, Elena Dementieva, and of course last year’s winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, are all capable of going deep into the second week, but most likely won’t be around on the final Saturday. Mauresmo and Myskina are too mentally frail, and Dementieva’s dire serve will prevent her from going all the way yet again; while Kuznetsova this year seems to have forgotten to use her brain on the court. She’s a powerhouse capable of big things, but someone needs to introduce her to the word “control.” Maybe though she’ll be inspired by memories of her remarkable run 12 short months ago.

Now we can’t forget about that gritty little Belgian with the most exquisite backhand in the game. Yes Justine Henin-Hardenne proved she was well and truly back after roaring through the clay court season. And while she did bow out at the first hurdle at SW19, the same won’t happen here. My advice is, don’t overlook Justine one bit. The champion of only 2 years ago could actually be the main contender to win the whole thing. Although she lost quite easily to Clijsters in the Rogers Cup final last week, do you think that result would have been the same if it was a US Open final? I don’t.

Regardless of who has the most potential to win in Flushing Meadows, it doesn’t matter if you’re not fit. And nothing has become more synonymous with women’s tennis in the last couple of years than injuries. Serena, Maria, Lindsey, they all have question marks over them. In the women’s game, nobody will know who’s going to turn up to play until they are out on court. Injuries have torn the women’s tour apart in recent years, in what should be the most exciting time the game has ever seen. Never has there been such depth in the game, and never has the outcome of Slams been so unclear. Let’s just hope, everyone turns up on Monday – then there definitely will be fireworks.

One person though could benefit from the uncertain fitness of several players, and that is the rejuvenated Mary Pierce. With a bit of luck, Mary could shock us all. She has the game. Sure, she has her flaws, but she wants this. All I’m saying is don’t count her out.

So they are the contenders for the forth and final Slam of the year, a strong field on both sides, isn’t it? But no matter who wins, we’re guaranteed all the action we can handle – and more. The US Open is where athleticism, fashion and celebrity collide, which results in an explosion of nail-biting drama, and edge of the seat tension. I can’t wait. Bet you can’t either…

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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2005, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Roddick, Agassi and Williams Sisters among US Open favorites, according to Sportsbook.com
Wednesday August 24, 10:00 am ET Odds maker posts odds on season's final Grand Slam

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ - Sportsbook.com has posted odds on the US Open, the final Grand Slam event of the tennis season which starts Monday, August 29 at the USTA National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, New York. American stars Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport are all listed among the pre-tournament favorites, but competition will be tough as they try to keep the crown on US soil.


On the men's side, defending champion Roger Federer is an overwhelming favorite at 1-2 odds. Federer has only captured one Grand Slam this year, compared to three in 2004, but has been dominant with a total record of 54-3 in 2005. In fact, Federer has an incredible record of 138-9 over the past two years and has won 22 straight tournament finals.

Battling Federer for supremacy will be young French Open champion Rafael Nadal (3-1) who won his first hard court event in Montreal last week. Americans Andy Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion and Andre Agassi, champion here in 1994 and 1999 are 5-1 and 10-1 favorites respectively. Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion is listed at 12-1 as is 2000 champion Marat Safin.

Kim Clijsters leads the way on the women's side of the draw. Clijsters, a 2-1 favorite, is the hottest player on the women's tour having won three hard court tournaments this summer at Stanford, Los Angeles and last weekend in Toronto. However, Clijsters has never won a Grand Slam event and will be in tough against fellow Belgian and 2003 US Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne (11-5), Maria Sharapova (4-1) and the Williams sisters.

Venus, a US Open winner in 2000 and 2001 is a 6-1 favorite followed by Serena, US Open champion in 1999 and 2002 at 7-1. After a poor 2003 season, both Serena (Australian Open) and Venus (Wimbledon) won Grand Slam events this year and seem to be back in form. Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is a 20-1 long shot to repeat. "Wimbledon has the history behind it and the French Open is more popular with some of the European players, but the US Open is probably seen as the most exciting tennis tournament," says Peter Childs, Odds Maker, Sportsbook.com. "Fans and players really get behind this event in the United States, whether it's the New York crowd or the fact that it's the last chance of the year to win a Grand Slam, there's something electric and a little different about this tournament."

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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old Aug 25th, 2005, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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American Express Offers Up Ultimate US Open Experience


* 2005 Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams Accepts Challenge for US Open "Summer of ACES" * Tennis Star Andy Roddick's 'Mojo' Takes Manhattan * Flushing Meadows Comes to New York City's Madison Square Park and World Financial Center * Monica Seles Tennis Clinic and New York Sports Legends Doubles Challenge * Cardmember Benefits at the National Tennis Center to Enhance US Open Experience NEW YORK, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express is set to bring theexcitement of the US Open Tennis Championships to New York City with specialevents at Pershing Square, Madison Square Park and the World Financial Center,as well as significant presence and Cardmember benefits on-site at FlushingMeadows. "Summer of ACES" Continues with Venus Williams ACES Challenge - Aug. 26 American Express launched the Summer of ACES Program last month where forevery ace served during match play on stadium court throughout the US OpenSeries and US Open, the Company will donate funds to the USTA Tennis &Education Foundation's "Aces for Kids" initiative. This is the firstintroduction of the American Express ACES program in the United States,building upon the global success of similar American Express-sponsored ACESprograms at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup presented byAmerican Express. American Express will now kick off the US Open leg of its ACES Program onFriday, August 26 at 12PM when reigning Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams willask New Yorkers to take the "ACES Challenge" at Pershing Square (Park Avenue,between E 41st and E 42nd Streets). For every ace served against Venus,American Express will donate $1,000 to support the "Aces for Kids" initiative.In the US, to date, American Express has raised more than $100,000 by donating$50 per ace served throughout the US Open Series and will continue the "Summerof ACES" with $100 donations for aces served during match play at the US Openin Arthur Ashe Stadium. An additional $350,000 has been raised since theinception of the ACES program at Wimbledon 2004, and subsequently at thisyears' Australian Open, Wimbledon and Rogers Cup tournaments, for a globaltotal of more than $450,000. "American Express presents US Open Live at Madison Square Park and WorldFinancial Center" - Sept . 3-11 Continuing the American Express tradition of bringing the excitement ofthe US Open to Cardmembers and fans throughout New York City, the Company willhost satellite viewing events at Madison Square Park (between 5th and MadisonAvenues and 23rd and 26th Streets) and the World Financial Center (bordered bythe Hudson River and West, Vesey and Liberty Streets). From Saturday,September 3 through Sunday, September 11, both locations will be transformedinto interactive tennis experiences complete with jumbotron screens where fanscan enjoy the live broadcast of each day's matches from 11AM - 11PM, stadiumseating, special concessions at Madison Square Park provided by New Yorkeateries Blue Smoke and Tabla, pro instruction, daily ticket sweepstakes andan assortment of other activities, including a New York Sports Legends DoublesChallenge, player appearances and more - all open to the public and free ofcharge. See below for a complete listing of satellite event and on-siteactivities and offers. American Express presents US Open Live at Madison Square Park and WorldFinancial Center - Sept . 3-11 * Meet One of the Greats: Monica Seles offers tennis tips and answers fan questions at World Financial Center from 12:30PM to 1:30PM on Tuesday, September 6 and Madison Square Park on Wednesday, September 7. * New York Sports Legend Doubles Challenge: See some of New York's greatest sports legends serve it up on the tennis court to support the ACES program in a fun filled doubles challenge on Thursday, September 8 from 5:30PM - 6:30PM. * Watch the Matches: Reserved Cardmember seating section with prime views of the jumbotron featuring comfortable beach chairs. * Get Tickets Promotion: A daily drawing enabling the general public to win a pair of courtside-level tickets to the next evening's matches (note: Friday, September 9 and Sunday, September 11 for day sessions only). Attendees can enter the drawing from 11AM- 5PM daily. * Interactive Tennis Zone: Instruction courtesy of Prince tennis pros, a Speed Serve Cage and Rally Wall will be available for attendees to hone their tennis skills with the new Prince O3 tennis racquet. World Financial Center will feature a full court interactive zone. * "Pose with the Pros" Booth: An interactive photo experience from American Express will allow fans to pose next to an image of Venus Williams or Andy Roddick (available at World Financial Center only). Andy Roddick's 'Mojo' on the Loose American Express' sponsorship of the 2005 US Open Tennis Championshipswill be brought to life through an interactive communications campaignfeaturing tennis star, Andy Roddick along with Andy's Mojo or alter-ego whovisits jazz clubs, restaurants, and more, showcasing how the AmericanExpress(R) Card opens doors to a world of service. The campaign, which spansbroadcast, print, outdoor and online channels, is tagged "Have You Seen Andy'sMojo?" and includes a broadcast spot that breaks on August 25. A secondbroadcast spot will launch after the tournament begins. The web extension, http://www.andysmojo.com will provide an interactive,multimedia portal to the campaign for American Express Cardmembers and fans.Borrowing the campaign's creative themes, the site will allow visitors toclick on Mojo's various trappings - receipts, restaurant matchbooks, etc. -each item of which will clue the visitor daily into a new stop on Mojo's NewYork City tour. For the tennis fans and the Andy-intrigued, the site willcontain multiple features, including an interactive map of the USTA NationalTennis Center, a NYC restaurant guide, including special offers fromparticipating restaurants, information about American Express' exclusiveCardmember benefits and more. "American Express has a long tradition of bringing unique experiences tothe US Open and this year promises to be one of the best for American ExpressCardmembers and fans alike," said Fred Jubitz, vice president, Charge CardMarketing, American Express. "Whether in Flushing Meadows or Manhattan, fanscan share in the benefits that American Express brings to the US Open andaccess unique events involving tennis stars Venus Williams and Andy Roddick aswell as two great tournament viewing events in Manhattan." Cardmember benefits and services at Flushing Meadows(1) As always, American Express Cardmembers have the advantage at the US Openfor the tournament August 29 - September 11. The following services will beavailable to Cardmembers: * Use points to buy tickets: Cardmembers enrolled in the Membership Rewards(R) program(2) can use points to purchase tickets to the US Open. To purchase tickets: Call 1-866-OPEN-TIX or visit http://www.ticketmaster.com. * American Express Radio Live at the Open: Cardmembers who present their Card at the American Express Radio booths will be provided a radio for the session that carries the live TV broadcast of the matches from CBS /USA Network, providing an opportunity for Cardmembers to get even closer to the action.(3) * American Express Concierge Services Program: Cardmembers can use the concierge service for recommendations and reservations for post-match meals at select city restaurants, access to reserved on-site restaurants and NYC transportation assistance to get back home. * US Open Shops / http://www.usopen.org: By charging a cumulative $75 or more on merchandise, restaurants or concessions with the Card at the US Open (or at the US Open Store at http://www.usopen.org), Cardmembers can receive a commemorative pin featuring Andy Roddick or Venus Williams.(4)

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U.S. Open Draw Disappoints the Williams Fans



By LIZ ROBBINS
Published: August 24, 2005
A soft collective groan came from those gathered in the auditorium at the United Nations today when Serena Williams's name was randomly selected into the same group of 16 players as Venus Williams for the United States Open.

There will be no all-Williams final in the Open, which begins on Monday. And because the Williams sisters have been injured, sick or idle throughout the summer since Venus surprised fans by winning Wimbledon, not even a fourth-round sister match is assured.




The women's side of the draw is ripe with intrigue, with contenders including the Williams sisters; Maria Sharapova, the new No. 1 player in the world; second-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who is recovering from a back injury; and Kim Clijsters, the top hard-court player.

The men's side, meanwhile, consists of the defending champion Roger Federer and 127 other challengers.

"Any draw for him is a good one," said the tennis commentator Patrick McEnroe, alluding to Federer's dominance in recent years.

For the other men's players, any draw that keeps them away from Federer as long as possible is a good one. Andy Roddick, seeded fourth, and Andre Agassi, seeded seventh, ended up in separate quarterfinal groupings on the bottom half of the draw, away from Federer, who has been ranked No. 1 the last 82 weeks.

Rafael Nadal, the second-seeded men's player from Spain who beat Agassi in the final at Montreal two weeks ago, could meet Agassi again in the quarterfinals. But Tomas Berdych, 19, of the Czech Republic, who upset Nadal in the first round of Cincinnati and is seeded 32nd, could be a third-round opponent for Agassi.

Another dangerous teenager, Richard Gasquet, who upset Federer in April, is in Roddick's group of 16.

The most interesting first-round match may be between Greg Rusedski, with his rocket serve, and the local favorite, James Blake, who entered the tournament as a wild card.

Sharapova should have a fairly easy trip through the quarterfinals if she gets past her first-round match with Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. Daniilidou upset the French Open champion, Justine Henin-Hardenne, in the first round of Wimbledon, but she sprained her ankle three weeks ago in Los Angeles.

The defending champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, is seeded fifth and is in the bottom half of Sharapova's quarterfinal group , but Kuznetsova badly wrenched her back two weeks ago at Toronto.

In the women's draw, it seems that health is the wild card. Vera Zvonereva of Russia was to be seeded 19th, but she withdrew this morning because of a left ankle sprain.

Serena Williams, seeded eighth, has been bothered by a sore left knee, which she said she aggravated while recovering from her sprained left ankle following the French Open. She played just one match this summer - in Toronto - and withdrew after hobbling to a three-set victory.

Her match fitness is a concern, as is that of Venus, seeded 10th. Following Venus's Wimbledon victory - her first major championship in four years - she reached the final at Stanford and lost to Clijsters. Venus Williams, citing the flu, pulled out of two tournaments and started training again only last week.

Serena, who starred with Venus in their own reality show, preferred to look positively at their lack of summer preparation.

"We're going in really fresh," Serena said before the Toronto tournament. "We're going to have fresh legs and bodies, we're going to be able to stay the distance, and that's our goal."

This time, however, the "distance" popped up quicker than each anticipated.

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Sisters' Bumpy Road Could Still End With Open Win
By Greg Garber
ESPN.com





The first Serena sighting of the summer, last week in Toronto, was not an encouraging one.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion was broken by Stephanie Cohen-Aloro to open their match at the Rogers Cup, and lost the first set.

"I was so angry, I just wanted to crack every racket," Serena Williams said later. "But I didn't do it. That's a plus."




Venus Williams returned to glory with her Wimbledon win this summer.




Barely. Williams, struggling with a weak right knee, rallied to defeat Cohen-Aloro, a Frenchwoman ranked No. 91 on the WTA Tour.

"I didn't feel very good at all," Williams said. "I wasn't even moving to any balls. I'll have to see what my therapist says."

The physical therapist, presumably.

A day later, Williams withdrew from the tournament.

But here's the funny thing: Heading into the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday, Williams and her older sister Venus are in line to collectively win three of this year's four Grand Slam titles. Serena, ranked No. 7 on the WTA Tour, won the Australian Open back in January and Venus, ranked No. 9, was a surprise winner at Wimbledon.

"They're back -- sort of," ESPN analyst Mary Carillo said. "They do more with less match play than anyone I can think of. Must be nice.

"Still, they both continue to impress with their ability to come good when they're truly committed to winning an event, in spite of recent bad form, injury or absence."

When you break it down, it really is amazing.

Since crashing out in the third round at Wimbledon, where she lost to Jill Craybas, Serena has played one tournament, the rusty one-match exhibition in Toronto. She withdrew from three tournaments -- Stanford, San Diego and Los Angeles -- with a left ankle sprain. In Canada, Serena said her ankle sprain had healed, but her left knee -- the same one that required surgery and forced an eight-month layoff in 2004 -- was bothering her.

After winning Wimbledon, Venus Williams also played in only one tournament, losing the Stanford final to Kim Clijsters, before withdrawing from Stockholm and Toronto with the flu.

All of this inactivity underlines the fragile, sometimes fractured state of women's professional tennis. In a three-week span, seven of WTA Tour's top 11 players withdrew from tournaments or retired from matches.

Clijsters, who missed 20 weeks last season with a wrist injury, is the prohibitive favorite at the National Tennis Center -- a testament to her recent run of good health. Justine Henin-Hardenne, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova, along with the Williams sisters, have all struggled with physical issues.

Since the Spring of 2002, women's tennis has seen eight different No. 1-ranked players -- Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne, Amelie Mauresmo, Davenport and, now, Sharapova.

In the same time frame, men's tennis has seen just four top-ranked players: Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer.

The irony? As the U.S. Open unfolds, Sharapova moved to the top of the rankings after withdrawing from the tournament in Toronto with a strained pectoral muscle.

Reality check

Being a tennis pro has its advantages: fame, fortune and all the free Evian you could possibly want. There is a downside, however. It's tough keeping up with your favorite reality shows.




ABC Family
Serena and Venus Williams are still out to do it all -- tennis, fashion, interior design, writing and a new reality TV show.




"It's hard for us," Serena told Miki Turner in an ESPN.com Page 3 interview. "We're always overseas or something and we get really upset when we miss them."

The solution was to create their own "reality" show, "Venus & Serena: For Real," which aired this summer on the ABC Family Channel. It was a six-part series, cobbled together from footage shot earlier this year at home in Florida and at several WTA Tour events.

"We consider ourselves role models," Serena said, "and we always thought that a lot of teenagers and a lot of pre-teens look up to us and say, 'I want to be just like them. They're positive and they're fun.'"

There was some positively funny stuff, if watching Serena recite Shakespeare or driving a golf cart is your idea of a good time. But as some critics pointed out, there was very little footage of the Williams sisters working on the practice court. In fact, the show reinforces what people in tennis have been saying for years: That tennis follows behind fashion and entertainment interests in the food chain that is the Williams' lives.

"Tennis is definitely still No. 1," Serena insisted. "It's our anchor."

Nevertheless, the two sisters have combined for only 64 matches this year, including the Toronto tournament; Patty Schnyder, by comparison, had 57.

That Serena came into the 2005 season cold and won seven straight matches in Melbourne was mildly surprising. She took out Nadia Petrova, ranked No. 11, in the round of 16, then defeated Mauresmo (No. 2), Sharapova (No. 4) and Davenport (No. 1) for the championship. It ended Serena's Grand Slam draught at five, including two in which she didn't play.

The reemergence of Venus as a major champion was far more noteworthy. She, too, defeated the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players (Sharapova and Davenport in the semifinals and finals, respectively) on her way to the Wimbledon title. Venus' unbridled joy after the win -- she jumped up and down with the enthusiasm of a small child -- underlined her absence at the top.

Venus went 14 Grand Slams (missing only one with injury) without a championship, dating back to the 2001 U.S. Open.

"It's just very satisfying for me in my career because that's the whole goal -- to be successful in pretty much whatever I try," Venus told Page 3. "I think the whole experience was amazing. I played the two top players in the world and I was able to get through that."

Venus' win at the All England Club, Serena said, brought new excitement to her game.

"I've been like super-motivated and super-charged," she said. "I've just got this great new battery pack that's never going to end. I've got an Energizer battery. I'm working out really hard and looking forward to next summer."

Next summer? What? Isn't there one more Grand Slam left this year and an entire fall season?

And so, we head into yet another Grand Slam with no effective baseline regarding the Williams sisters' chances. They've played one tournament apiece since Wimbledon and limp into New York with knee and respiratory issues.

Remember Carillo's observation: "They do more with less match play than anyone I can think of."

Must be nice.

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U.S. Open women's seed report

Jon Wertheim, SI.com






Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the U.S. Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.

Top 16

1. Maria Sharapova. Newly minted world No. 1 has become player to beat. Remains to be seen how thoroughly she's recovered from the pectoral injury -- but most of her rivals are in sub-optimal health as well. And if she wins, she finally may start landing some endorsements. Will get challenged by Eleni Daniilidou out of the box.

2. Lindsay Davenport. Champ of 1998 has endured a brutal stretch of bad luck since reaching the Wimbledon final. The Californian rested her back injury, and if she can sustain the form she showed early in New Haven, she gives herself a real chance to win her fourth Major -- the reason she's still competing. Like Sharapova, she has a potentially tough first-rounder, vs. China's Na Li.

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3. Amelie Mauresmo. The scouting report hasn't changed for years. A talented, athletic stylist who has yet to prove she can negotiate pressure on the big stages. Deep in the third set against a tough cookie like Justine Henin-Hardenne (a likely quarterfinal), we don't like Mauresmo's odds.

4. Kim Clijsters. Barring injury -- no small condition in the women's game these days -- genial Belgian has a terrific shot of winning her first career Major. Already won five North American hardcourt events this spring. Why not make it a half dozen?

5. Svetlana Kuznetsova. Even before her back injury in Canada, the hulking Russian has regressed in '05. Hard to recall a defending Open champ who's returned with less momentum and less buzz.

6. Elena Dementieva. The pelmeni dumpling of a serve is always problematic, a shame since the rest of Dementieva's game is quite solid. Though she was a finalist last year, don't be surprised if she falls before the middle weekend. On the other hand, her draw is fairly soft.

7. Justine Henin-Hardenne. We've heard very little from the Belgian since her French Open title. Health is always a consideration, but she has a complete game, she competes well and she has won the title before. If she's healthy, she'll go deep.

8. Serena Williams. We all know the half-empty factors: She's out of shape, she's an emotional wreck, she's played precisely one match since Wimbledon, she hurt her knee last week. How about some reasons for optimism? She did win a Major earlier this year. And Venus' surprise Wimbledon title ought to be the source of both inspiration and motivation. On the other hand, she's in a brutal quadrant that includes her sister.

9. Nadia Petrova. Athletic Russian must win a garden-variety tournament before she competes for a Major. Could play a spoiler -- as she did in 2004, knocking off Henin, then the defending champ -- but that's about it.

10. Venus Williams. Hasn't done much to build on her stellar Wimbledon, but how does anyone not count her as a contender? Also worth pointing out that she achieved the Wimbledon-U.S. Open double in '00 and '01. She's likely to beat Serena if they meet in Round 4.

11. Patty Schnyder. As a rule, a lefty head-case is always fun to watch. And she did come within a point of beating Venus on the cement of Palo Alto. First-round grudge match against Conchita Martinez has big throwdown possibility.

12. Mary Pierce. Definitely a player to watch. In the throes of perhaps the best stretch of tennis of her career. Alas -- all together, now -- she is nursing an injury. Never the healthiest player to begin with, Pierce would do well to win her first few matches as handily as possible.

13. Anastasia Myskina. After a forgettable spring and early summer. Myskina has shown signs of life lately. But one suspects that -- quite understandably -- her head is elsewhere.

14. Alicia Molik. In perfect health, she would be a real contender, her attacking game well suited to the courts. (Think: female Pat Rafter). But alas, the likable Aussie still hasn't recovered completely from that weird middle-ear infection.

15. Nathalie Dechy. French veteran as a knack of living up to seeding, little more, little less.

16. Elena Bovina. The forgotten Russian, Bovina has a big game and has tended to play well on American tennis. She can't complain about her draw.

Seeds 17-32

17. Jelena Jankovic. Talented teen ready for her close-up.

18. Anna Ivanovic. See above. (A shame she meets Clijsters so early.)

26. Nicole Vaidisova. Though we're awaiting the Slam breakthrough, there's a lot of game here.

29. Anna Chakvetadze. Young Russian is steadily moving up the ranks.

31. Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Perhaps the biggest server in the women's game.

Dark-horse nation

Shuai Peng. Best of the Chinese contingent is the only player to beat Clijsters since Wimbledon.

Sesil Karatancheva. Still learning how to play, but dangerous nonetheless.

Kveta Peschke. Veteran quietly enjoying best year of her career. Too bad she meets Vaidisova right away.

Anna Smashnova. Wins scads of smaller titles. About time she made a run at a Major.

First-round matches to watch

Sharapova vs. Daniilidou. Brutal first-rounder for top seed.

Shenay Perry vs. Molik. Good test for returning Molik. Good chance for Perry to make waves.

Mashona Washington vs. Sania Mirza. Two of the more compelling figures in the cast.

Martinez vs. Patty Schnyder. Watch the postmatch handshake.

Vaidisova vs. Peschke. Could easily be a fourth-round match under different circumstances.

Doubles winner

Martina Navratilova and Groenefeld

Semifinals

Sharapova vs. Clijsters

Henin-Hardenne vs. Davenport

Finals

Clijsters vs. Davenport

Winner

Cljisters

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Open-Williams sisters aim to defy convention again
Fri Aug 26, 2005 08:12 PM BST
By Simon Cambers



NEW YORK, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The Williams sisters have never been players who bowed to convention.

While others have competed in warm-up tournaments and will arrive at Flushing Meadows with plenty of match practice under their belts, Venus and Serena go into next week's U.S. Open having spent more time recently off the court than on it.

That has not stopped them succeeding in the past. Serena won the Australian Open in January with little practice and Venus triumphed at Wimbledon in July after many people had written her off.

Although this time their preparation has been blighted due to illness and injury, the sisters will still go into the final grand slam event of the year as title contenders.

"My preparation hasn't been ideal," Venus told Reuters here on Friday, having arrived in the city late the previous night.

"But I feel like I bring a lot of experience with me. I've been in a lot of these situations before and I think I can find my best tennis when I need it."

After winning Wimbledon earlier this year for her fifth grand slam title, her first since 2001, Venus reached the final of the WTA event in Stanford where she lost to in-form Belgian Kim Clijsters.



SHORT OF ENERGY

Her Wimbledon effort appeared to leave her short of energy, however, and she pulled out of a couple of events because of flu.

"I wanted to play in some more tournaments, to try to get my ranking up, but it wasn't possible," she said.

"I know what I can do and I know that not many people want to face me. I want to get past the first round, then we'll see.

"The U.S. Open is fantastic...it's always a great feeling playing there, the atmosphere is more alive."

Serena began the year in outstanding fashion, winning the Australian Open to take her tally of grand slam titles to seven.

But since spraining her ankle at the WTA event in Amelia Island in April, she has struggled with injury.

After losing in the third round at Wimbledon, she did not play again until earlier this month in Toronto where she withdrew from her third-round match citing knee trouble.

The 23-year-old has only played five matches in four and a half months, and even for someone of her ability it is asking a lot for her to make a strong run at Flushing Meadows.

The Williams sisters are seeded to meet each other in the fourth round in New York.

"I am just thinking about my first-round match and then we'll take it from there," Venus said. Tenth seed Venus plays Rika Fujiwara of Japan in the opening round while Serena will face a qualifier.

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Venus better than Serena heading into Open

Matthew Cronin / ********************

Posted: 13 hours ago

Two months ago, it would seem laughable if it were suggested that Venus Williams might go down in history as a better player than her younger sister Serena.

She was mired in awful slump, hadn't won a major in nearly four years and had collected just the one minor title in 2005.

Serena had won her seventh major in typical gritty fashion at the Australian Open, and it seemed like anytime she showed up at a Grand Slam ready to play, she could simply will her way to victory.





Serena Williams has struggled to find her game this year. (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Oh, how times have changed after Venus' improbable run to her third Wimbledon crown.

If Venus, 25, wins the 2005 US Open, she'll own six Slam titles, just one short of 23-year-old Serena's mark.

Moreover, Venus owns 33 titles to just 26 for her actress and designer sister, who obviously has more outside interests than she does.

"We're two different people, two different players with different lives," Venus said. "But we support each other."

Serena has only played 11 matches since early April and hasn't won a title since the Aussie Open. She's dealing with a serious ankle injury, is at least slightly out of shape and has spent more time at movie premieres this summer than she has on court.

For her part, going into the U.S. Open, Venus has grinded all year long, playing 10 tournaments — which ties her for fifth amongst the top 10 women — two Fed Cup ties.

There's a perception out there that like Serena, Venus has all these other off-court interests, but that's simply not the case. Oh sure, she participated in their Reality TV show, but she spends most of her time practicing, working out and playing tennis, which is why she completely exhausted herself playing a brutal schedule from mid-May through the beginning of August.

Name another top player who competed in Istanbul (which she won) the week before the French Open; then played Roland Garros; then worked out hard for two weeks; then won three straight highly stressful matches to take Wimbledon; then flew to Moscow to play three Fed Cup matches on clay; then flew back to the U.S. to compete in World TeamTennis; and then played Stanford, where she was so tired that she finally let down in the final against Kim Clijsters.

No other woman, except Venus Williams.

So while it is true there have been times in Venus' career where she has gone on mental walkabouts, it is completely unreasonable for any high-level commentator to push the perception that all she does is "just show up at the Slams and play."

But that opinion is still pushed, largely because there are analysts out there who can't bring themselves to separate the lives of the two very different sisters.

Serena has admitted that she rests on her laurels sometimes, but you will rarely get that from Venus, except for the times when she is playing lousy and will offer that she should practice harder, but that's a common refrain from every player on tour.

No, Venus sucked it up in a big way this year and put herself through a meat grinder emotionally, because she knew she hadn't performed up to snuff during the past couple of years and wanted to prove to herself that she could still be a champion.

She had lost her confidence prior to Wimbledon, and finally found something that brought it back when she experimented with a relaxation technique which helped her rid herself of tension.





Venus Williams is one of the favorites to win the U.S. Open women's title. (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)

"I need to slow things down in my mind," she said. "You have to be able to relax. I was putting way too much pressure on myself all the time before Wimbledon. Now I know not to think too far ahead. I expected too much. At Wimbledon, I expected myself to perform well, but I wasn't thinking seven rounds ahead."

Venus cleaned up some of the technical glitches in her game, trained smarter and got her body healthy and went back to what made her a Hall of Fame player: steely defense, backed up by mind-blowing counterpunching.

So now it's Venus who will go into the U.S. Open as one of the two co-favorites (the other being Belgium's Kim Clijsters) — not Serena.

After Stanford, Venus pulled out of the rest of the U.S. Open Series warm-ups, saying she caught a flu bug and needed to rest. And for anyone who saw her dragging her body around at Stanford against Clijsters, it was clear that she did.

"I feel a little more tired than usual," Venus said this week. "I've had to recover from everything, my illnesses and things this summer. It's not perfect circumstances, but I'm definitely going to be out there and hopefully have my letdown after the Open ... I think I'll go in mentally a lot better. When it comes down to it I don't think anyone really wants to play me because I have a lot of weapons and not a ton of weaknesses. My main weakness would probably be an occasional self-destruction mode. So I'll try not to touch that red button accidentally."

Venus knows the prize that looms is a huge one. Should Venus win the U.S. Open, it will be the third time she has gone back-to-back in London and Flushing Meadows, something that Serena has never done.

The last player to pull off that remarkable feat besides Venus was Steffi Graf, who did it five times, and is considered by most to be the best ever.

Believe it or not, the last time Venus was this tired was when she won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2001. She smiled when she was reminded of that a month ago, but promised she would show up with a full tank in New York.

She'll need it, because she will be facing a potential clash with Serena in the fourth round, Clijsters in the quarters, and maybe new No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the semis.

But if she's to go down in history as the best player in her family, she'll need to lock in the same steely gaze that brought her to the Wimbledon crown and loosen up the tireless legs that have already made her one of the best players the fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium have ever seen.

"I won't be burned out," she said. "I'll be challenging for a lot of balls. I'm looking forward to following up on my success."


(www.foxsports.com)

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Williams betting on experience to win TVM 27-08-2005

Wimbledon tennis champion Venus Williams hopes that her experience on the court can seal her third U.S. Open title. The five-time Grand Slam champion won the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001.

Venus has not played much tennis since the warm-up U.S. Open Series tournament in Stanford, California in July. She reached the final before fatigue caught up with her. She also pulled out of tournaments in Stockholm and Toronto in recent weeks because of influenza.

The 25 year old rediscovered her match-winning form with a record-breaking win at Wimbledon in early July. The final match, which was the longest Ladies match in the history of Wimbledon, was her first Grand Slam title victory in four years.










Wimbledon tennis champion Venus Williams hopes that her experience on the court can seal her third U.S. Open title. The five-time Grand Slam champion won the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001.

Venus has not played much tennis since the warm-up U.S. Open Series tournament in Stanford, California in July. She reached the final before fatigue caught up with her. She also pulled out of tournaments in Stockholm and Toronto in recent weeks because of influenza.

The 25 year old rediscovered her match-winning form with a record-breaking win at Wimbledon in early July. The final match, which was the longest Ladies match in the history of Wimbledon, was her first Grand Slam title victory in four years.

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Top American women in short supply

With U.S. Open to begin, only four, all veterans, are ranked among top 50

By Lisa Dillman
Los Angeles Times
Originally published August 28, 2005










It was a perfect moment for a line and Andy Roddick's timing and delivery were almost impeccable after he had won the U.S. Open in 2003.

"No more, 'What's it feel like to be the future of American tennis [stuff]?' " he said as he took a seat in the interview room. The newly crowned champion had a point. Not only had he been asked the question, directly and indirectly, almost daily, but it also seemed as though Roddick alone was shouldering the burden of U.S. tennis.

This issue never came up on the women's side in those days. Not with Venus and Serena Williams having combined for four consecutive U.S. Open titles, and Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport each having won three singles championships in Grand Slam events.

Maybe it should have come up.

If anything, the continued scrutiny of the U.S. men - Roddick's 2003 Open victory remains his only Slam triumph - helped camouflage the lack of depth in the U.S. women's game. The only American female, other than the Williams sisters and Davenport, to win a WTA Tour title in 2004 or 2005 was Amy Frazier, who beat Shinobu Asagoe of Japan in Hobart, Australia, in January 2004.

Frazier will turn 33 on Sept. 19.

Those who've wondered about American tennis in the post-Davenport, post-Williams era got a sneak preview in Southern California earlier this month. That glimpse into the future was bleak.

With the three stars out because of injuries or illness, there were no American women in the quarterfinals at the Acura Classic in Carlsbad or the JP Morgan Chase Open in Carson. In the latter tournament, there wasn't even an American among the 16 top seeds.

Asked if the cupboard was a bit bare, one of the sport's best-known coaches, Nick Bollettieri, said, "Perhaps more than bare."

As of yesterday, there were four U.S. women ranked in the top 50 - top-10 players Davenport and the Williamses, and 32-year-old Lisa Raymond, who is 47th. Lurking just outside the top 50 is Capriati, who has not played since late 2004 because of shoulder surgery.

There are eight Russian women in the top 20 and 13 in the top 50. They range from top-ranked 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova to Maria Kirilenko, No. 49. Each is 18.

As for 18-year-old U.S. prodigies in the top 50, there are none. Jamea Jackson (No. 91), who turns 19 on Sept. 7, and Angela Haynes (No. 95), who is 20, are about as good as it gets in the top 100.

The view wasn't much rosier a few thousand miles away from Bollettieri's Florida office. Robert Lansdorp, the former mentor of Tracy Austin and Davenport, works with Sharapova when she is in the Southern California area.

"Once Davenport stops and either Venus or Serena says, 'This is it,' it's going to be very difficult to find American females to step up there," Lansdorp said.

"I think it's going to be a bad scene, and it's going to take awhile to get another American to get to the top."

With the U.S. Open starting tomorrow, Austin herself addressed the issue on a conference call Thursday. The two-time U.S. Open champion, now a television commentator, was a true prodigy, winning her first pro title at 14 and becoming No. 1 in 1980 at 17.

Austin was asked why there were no Michelle Wies in tennis, and whether girls were now choosing golf instead of tennis.

"I'm not particularly worried about women's golf vs. tennis," she said. "But I am worried that I don't see any top young ones coming up. I think there are plenty that are trying to make it, but it seems like right now the Russians are beating us to the punch." The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Top American women in short supply

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