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After trivial temporal comes the abiding eternal

Roger Federer hits a return to Novak Djokovic during their US Open men’s single final…on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

Roger Federer hits a return to Novak Djokovic during their US Open men’s single final…on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

Katrina Adams is the first African-American to be elected President of the USTA. She is not the first lady, as Judy Levering held that honour after succeeding Harry Marmion and preceding Chicago’s’ Alan Schwartz. Adams is also the first former tennis professional player to occupy the position, limited to a two-year tenure.

It was apt that she would speak at the conclusion of this year’s Open in which she last played in 1999. She reeled out the statistics of players, their countries, and attendance during the fortnight, describing it as the greatest tennis spectacle in the world.

Perhaps is what might have been; she handing over the trophy to Serena Williams, whose ouster by Roberta Vinci stands out in the event. Now that the trivia of hitting a little yellow ball over a net is over, it is time to reflect and focus on the lasting values.

The loss by Federer in the men’s finals provides the explanation for the Vinci upset over Serena Williams. Like in science, which is about basic principles; just as in life, the natural operate automatically, and provide the explanation for all happenings. What a man sows, he must reap.

The basic idea in tennis is to keep the ball in court and away from your opponent. He who fails to put the ball in the opponent’s court loses the point. The final outcome is the aggregate of points lost and games won.

In defeating Serena, Vinci had fewer unforced errors while her opponent missed in attempts to win points by sheer power.

In the men’s finals, Federer knew that the master retriever, Djokovic, would always get the ball back so he needed to hit many outright winners. As a result his unforced errors were high.

The Open also gave pointers to the likely developments in the game. Federer introduced new shots to the game. There is the underhand drop short from the baseline, hit so as to veer away from sideline.

Also, as your opponent is focused on making the second serve, hop in and play he ball on the rise (like batting in the game of cricket) and charge the net. We learned something from the ladies also.

The Roberta Vinci slice backhand shot kept the ball so low that it posed difficulty for the western forehanded and double- fisted hard hitters like Serena and Maria Sharapova.

Looking into history, we recall Arthur Ashe’s surprise victory over Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon Championships, with sliced, low dinky balls that the slugger Connors could not handle; especially on the grass-court in which the ball skids. There was also Francoise Durr, the French lady, whose unorthodox style and soft balls were an irritation to Billie Jean King, Margaret Smith, Rosie Casals, Virginia Wade, Nancy Richie and Julie Heldman at that time.

Katrina Adams will see to the completion of the roof over Arthur Ashe stadium and would have the honour that Harry Marmion held when his USTA Board approved the naming of Arthur Ashe stadium. It is also in her two-year tenure that the Louis Armstrong Stadium will be constructed and opened in time for the 2016 tournament.



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