Nights in New York radiate energy like no other, a quality that transfers directly to matches under the lights at the U.S. Open. Not every night match is a classic, of course, but year-in and year-out, the most enthralling tennis is contested after the sun goes down. And hardcore fans get a sense of when something special is brewing.
As I write this, James Blake, American hero and heartthrob, is fighting off a determined challenge from the crafty French journeyman Fabrice Santoro. You can feel the electricity in the crowd and the drama on-court; it's unlike any other experience in tennis. Santoro, nicknamed "The Magician" by none other than Pete Sampras for his unorthodox style and unfathomable shot execution, has played Blake tightly for two sets before fading a bit in the third.
Although perhaps not destined to be a classic in the Agassi-Sampras 2001 Quarterfinal mold, their contrast in styles and the shifts of momentum have made for extremely entertaining tennis. Suddenly, even the most well behaved tennis fans may find themselves possessed with a bit of NYC attitude, hollering and pumping their fists in a manner befitting a football game. Blake has just gone up two-sets-to-one, but Santoro has broken in the first game of the fourth. Here's hoping for a five-setter!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find an empty beer can to crush against my head. -Wyman Meers