Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

U.S. Open has some issues

NEW YORK — Ten top topics at the U.S. Open, 2013's last Grand Slam, which begins Monday:

MURRAY'S DEFENSE: For the first time, Andy Murray is the defending champion at a Grand Slam, and he suspects he'll be more nervous than usual early.

RAFA RETURNS: Rafael Nadal has had many ups and downs the past two seasons, including a seven-month absence because of knee trouble — he missed two Grand Slams, including last year's U.S. Open — plus two more French Open titles and two quick Wimbledon exits. He improved to 15-0 on hardcourts in 2013 by winning at Montreal and Cincinnati this month.

FEDERER AT NO. 7: Roger Federer turned 32 this month, has fiddled around with a bigger racket, is coming off his earliest loss at a Grand Slam in a decade and is seeded No. 7.

ANYONE OUTSIDE THE 'BIG 4'? Federer, Nadal, Murray and Novak Djokovic have won 33 of the past 34 Grand Slam titles, a stretch that began in 2005. A discussion of other contenders must begin with the guy who kept it from being 34-of-34, Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Federer in five sets in the 2009 U.S. Open final. Another big hitter to keep an eye on is Tomas Berdych.

THE AMERICAN MEN: This U.S. Open is the 40th Grand Slam since an American man won a major title, Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open in 2003. Tampa resident John Isner, who can serve as well as anyone, is seeded 13th.

WILLIAMS' repeat trouble: One thing missing from Serena Williams' resume is a successful U.S. Open title defense. She won her fourth Open trophy last year. Williams is seeded No. 1. The last time that happened in this tournament was 2002, and she won.

notable absence: Maria Sharapova withdrew last week, citing shoulder trouble, leaving the field without one of the sport's top stars.

YOUNG u.s. WOMEN: Sloane Stephens, 20, is seeded 15th. She upset Williams en route to the Australian Open semifinals this year, made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Marion Bartoli and got to the second week at the French Open. Jamie Hampton, 23 and seeded 23rd, made the French Open's second week. Madison Keys, 18, is worth watching, too.

MONDAY, MONDAY: For the first time in the Open era, which began in 1968, the U.S. Open is scheduled to end on Monday, a result of a push by top players for a day of rest between the men's semis and final instead of the Open's long-standing Saturday-Sunday finish. Each of the past five Opens wrapped up on Monday but because of rain delays.

MONEY, MONEY: Another result of lobbying by top players, the Open is raising its total payout about 35 percent from last year, to more than $34 million.

Comments
FSU, Willie Taggart face unforgiving ACC slate in 2018

FSU, Willie Taggart face unforgiving ACC slate in 2018

By the looks of the ACC football schedules released Wednesday, Willie Taggart's first season in the league will seem more like an initiation than an introduction.Taggart makes his debut as FSU coach on Labor Day evening (Sept. 3) at home against Virg...
Updated: 2 hours ago
DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Gators’ Scott Stricklin joins College Football Playoff committee

Florida Gators’ Scott Stricklin joins College Football Playoff committee

Florida Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin is one of the new members of the College Football Playoff selection committee.Stricklin will serve a three-year term on the committee, which decides the four teams who will compete in the playoff.The o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sorry, Dad, no baseball for this Radke

Sorry, Dad, no baseball for this Radke

TAMPA — From the very beginning, Ryan Radke was surrounded by baseball.The son of former major-league right-hander Brad Radke, Ryan grew up in stadiums, playing with toys at ballparks all over the country while his father made a living during a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Abuse survivor confronts gymnastics doctor: ‘I have been coming for you for a long time’

Abuse survivor confronts gymnastics doctor: ‘I have been coming for you for a long time’

Two yearbook photos floated side-by-side on a projection screen in the Michigan courtroom.Both images caught the same small girl - in one, all gawky smile and bangs; the next, braces and long hair - a few years apart. Until this week, the child in th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Vegas-Lightning, of all things, is the biggest show in town

Vegas-Lightning, of all things, is the biggest show in town

TAMPA — It's Vegas night.Who would have thought we would have been circling this one on the schedule before the NHL season began?Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning.We've circled it just the same.It's Vegas night.The Vegas Knights, the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Could Mikhail Sergachev replace Hedman on All-Star team?

Could Mikhail Sergachev replace Hedman on All-Star team?

With Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman out 3-6 weeks with a lower body injury, he has to get replaced on the Atlantic Division team. There are plenty of strong candidates to fill the void, including the Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly and Boston rookie C...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How Urban Meyer helped J.T. Barrett prepare for the NFL draft

How Urban Meyer helped J.T. Barrett prepare for the NFL draft

ST. PETERSBURG – Quarterback J.T. Barrett is one of the most accomplished players preparing for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.He's the only three-time captain in Ohio State history, and he set at least 37 school/Big Ten re...
Updated: 5 hours ago