NEW YORK - Count Roger Federer among those against the idea of on-court coaching.
The women’s tour is experimenting with the rule change, using it at a U.S. Open tuneup this month in Montreal, where coaches wore microphones so TV viewers could hear the consultations.
Federer was asked about allowing coaches to help players during matches, a no-no in tournament tennis, after he opened his bid for a third consecutive U.S. Open championship by beating Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 Wednesday.
“What do you think I think? I think it’s a joke,” Federer said with a smile. “It’s been like this forever, so why change it?”
Of course, this comes from a man who managed to win three Grand Slam titles in 2004 while he was between coaches. And from someone who complained that rival Rafael Nadal was getting improper coaching help during their five-set final in Rome this year.
“We don’t need it,” Federer said. “We will be the only sport who doesn’t have it, and I think that’s good about it. You don’t need to be like the other sports.”
Ryan Sweeting played a game of fill-in-the-blanks after reaching the second round of the U.S. Open when his opponent, 2004 French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, quit with a right thigh injury.
The ATP Tour Web site doesn’t have Sweeting’s photo or much of any information about him, so he gladly provided plenty, from his date of birth (July 14, 1987) to his height (6-foot-4). He was born in the Bahamas and moved to Florida when he was 12. So while he’s already played in the Davis Cup for the Bahamas, he says he’s now keen on joining the U.S. team, because he’s a citizen.
Coria was hurt in the third game of the match, and quit after five games.
“I wish we could have played the whole match out and seen what would have happened,” Sweeting said.
Not him again
Tim Henman’s victory over fellow Briton Greg Rusedski earned him earned another Grand Slam meeting with Roger Federer.
Henman lost to Federer in the second round at Wimbledon, and they’ll square off at the same stage at the U.S. Open.
“It’s as tough a test as you can have. But it depends which way you want to look at it. Do you want to look at it as a tough draw or a great opportunity?” Henman said after his 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-3 win over past Davis Cup teammate Rusedski, the 1997 Open runner-up.
“I was watching golf the other day,” Henman added. “One of the golfers said, ’Tiger Woods is the best in the world, but he’s beatable. I think that’s the same with Roger. ... You hope he has a bit of an off day.”
Known for her kooky outfits, Bethanie Mattek looked more suited for the Roman Open than the U.S. Open.
Mattek also brought back her knee-high socks — these were also beige; she wore pink at a tournament two weeks ago.
Mattek won’t get a chance to reprise her outfits this week. She lost to Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday.
Born in Minnesota, Mattek moved toward more outlandish fashions when she lived in Miami. She once wore a leopard-print dress at the U.S. Open, and sported a tube top over a halter top this year at Wimbledon.
Blake on book
James Blake isn’t so sure he likes the idea that Vince Spadea, a former top-20 player, wrote a book about life on the tennis tour.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“I would never bring other guys into it without either their approval or just letting them know that something from the tour is going to be put in a book,” Blake said. “I feel like in writing that book, he may have made a mistake and may have kind of rubbed a few people the wrong way and not made so many friends in the locker room.”
Spadea, currently ranked 84th, also won Wednesday, eliminating Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. A year ago, Muller upset 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick in the first round.
Rafa Nadal made short work of his great rival Roger Federer to win the Italian Open, while Serena Williams took down Victoria Azarenka in the women's final.
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