Dabrowski: Thoughtful, Detailed US Open Rebuttal

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2020 (by Michael Dickens

Gaby Dabrowski of Canada is one of the top doubles players in the world (currently No. 7) – a possessor of a set of unique skills that often goes under appreciated – and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. On Tuesday night, after the United States Tennis Association had confirmed that it would go ahead with this year’s US Openalbeit under strict health and safety protocols, including no fans, plus no qualifying, no mixed doubles and a reduced draw for doubles – Dabrowski used her social media platform to give a thoughtful and detailed rebuttal to the US Open. She didn’t hold back.

“For me, A SLAM ISN’T A SLAM WITHOUT QUALIFYING, DOUBLES, AND MIXED DOUBLES,” Dabrowski, 28, wrote on Twitter. “It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when so many players are against this event moving forward, and yet it is moving forward anyway. I can fully sympathize. With the financial situation everyone finds themselves in, but something just doesn’t feel right here. I know something has to give in these strange times. I wish we could use this hiatus to explore new designs of how and where we play tennis, like some real out of the box thinking. But maybe we’re just not quite ready to do that. I hope we can learn as we move forward and make the necessary adjustments to be able to bring our wonderful sport to people, while keeping everyone safe.

Dabrowski offered her viewpoint as a player who, under normal circumstances, would have played both doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open. She has won nine career WTA doubles titles and two major mixed doubles titles – 2017 Roland Garros (with Rohan Bopanna) and 2018 Australian Open (with Mate Pavic).

“With respect, while I am appreciative that the US Open put forth big efforts to operate, I have many concerns. Here is my perspective …”

This year’s US Open will feature no qualifying, no mixed doubles, and men’s and women’s doubles will be reduced to a 32-team draw using seeded players only.

Happy 40th Birthday, Venus Williams 

On Wednesday, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams turned 40 years old. She received plenty of tributes on social media. Here are a few:

Remembering Bud Collins

What they’re saying

• Frances Tiafoe on playing World TeamTennis for the Washington Kastles next month in West Virginia: “I’m excited to go to The Greenbrier to play there for the Kastles next month. Everyone knows 2020 has been a rough year so far. I am definitely looking forward to competing at such a historic venue in such a relaxed setting.”

• Greg Rusedski, former Great Britain player turned BBC tennis analyst: “As a tennis player you are an independent contractor. You have the choice to play or not to play. Life has always been about  risk & reward. The @usta is making the @usopen as safe as possible for all the players. I cannot wait for the tennis season to restart!”

• Prajnesh Gunneswaran, ranked No. 132, on the possibility of playing at the US Open: “Because I might get in, that doesn’t mean that I should be happy and change my tune just because I get to play. I still feel it is unfair.”

What they’re writing

Martina Navratilova, from her WTA.com column “Venus is a trailblazer and an inspiration”:

As she turns 40, Venus Williams continues to transcend tennis. She’s still inspiring millions of girls – and also boys – around the world… just not necessarily to pick up a racquet and play tennis.

I’m amazed that Venus is still playing on the WTA Tour at the age of 40, especially when you consider she has also been dealing with Sjögren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that can sap your energy. That significant birthday is the occasion to pause and recognise that Venus’s impact goes way beyond the tennis court. Her greatest impact has been socially, politically and culturally. As well as a champion tennis player, she’s also an iconic figure and a leader in the fight for equality.

For all that she has accomplished in the sport – including winning seven Grand Slam singles titles and holding the WTA World No.1 ranking – I don’t think she has actually inspired that many people to play tennis like her.

She’s just so tall, long and amazing that it’s hard to relate to exactly how she plays tennis. You can admire her tennis but it’s difficult to say: “I’m going to learn to play just like that.” But she continues to inspire kids to try tennis, or to get better at whatever else they are doing. That’s the beauty of Venus, that this is about more than just tennis.

What they’re sharing on social media

Taro Daniel / Challenge Tennis by collaboration …

Nenad Zimonjic / Thank you @djokernole for your invitation 

Stan Wawrinka / Hard work … it’s a gift.

Iga Swiatek / Reward