The Greenville University tennis teams are full steam ahead as week 5 of the fall semester nears an end and practices continue. Though the season for these men’s and women’s teams are not set in stone yet, the world of tennis has had lots going on. As the national pandemic continues and sports are beginning to make first appearances since the worldwide shutdown of them, the U.S. Open took place at the legendary Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York.
The event was a big one, deemed only the second installment of the Grand Slam events when the U.S. Open is usually the fourth. It was the oddest and unconventional tennis event in America’s history. This year was the first one the tournament did not host spectators due to the Coronavirus and the first time in all Grand Slam’s 143-year tenure. After being approved by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, the players were allowed to participate in the event along with rigid COVID testing and safety protocols. Notable players that decided not to play in this year’s event due to safety reasons were Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu. The players only had one scare with the virus when a player who had tested positive was in contact with Adrian Mannarino and resulted in a delay of the match between the two until Mannarino was declared able to partake.
The tournament came to an end in what turned out to be a great event and an overall safe environment. The men’s singles winner was Dominic Thiem, who has been in this situation many times but on the wrong side of history. Thiem is 0-3 in Grand Slam final matches, so to finally push through and take the shiny silver cup is a huge step in the right direction for an evolving career from the 27-year-old from Austria. The women’s winner was also a new face, as another player not projected to win it all takes home the hardware. Naomi Osaka, a 22-year-old from Osaka, Japan has had just the start of a tennis career anyone could ask for. Diving headfirst into the best competition in the World, Osaka skipped most junior circuits and went straight to the WTA Tour. She won a pro match at 16 years old and was ranked in the top 150 players in the world. Now the young star can add a Grand Slam title to the early collection, as well as being able to say that she out-powered the most powerful player in the sport, Serena Williams.
Although not a winner, tennis all-star Serena Williams has leveled up her bid for the greatest tennis player ever. In his tournament Williams achieved her 100th win at historic Arthur Ashe Stadium, the first player in history to ever accomplish it. Not first woman, or first black woman, first player. Ever. Parker Lutz, a Greenville student and avid Williams fan said that to see her continue to achieve greatness is “something special for so many reasons… not only is she a role model on the court, she is using her platform and influence for social justice [off the court] too.” To put it into perspective how amazing this career milestone is, the person with the second-most wins at Arthur Ashe is tennis legend Roger Federer… with 77. William’s legacy on the tennis World is already known, as she continues to stamp her mark on the game.
Media by Seth Isringhausen.