US Open Musings Day 6
I had a really interesting day at The Open today, starting with the bus ride from the Grand Hyatt to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. I was fortunate enough to sit by one of the USTA coaches, Vahe Assadourian, who is working with several players during the Junior US Open. He is based at the Carson facility in Los Angeles and works alongside Marc Lucero who was my recent podcast guest (click here to listen). We talked about everything from player development to coaching styles to how tennis has changed over the years – fascinating! I’m hoping to get him on my podcast in the very near future!
Once I picked up my credentials and got settled with my locker in the Media Center, I went to Court 17 to watch former UCLA Bruin Mackie McDonald and Yoshi Nishioka battle against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock. A very nice couple sat down next to me, and we started chatting. It turns out the husband is an accountant and is The Guy for many of the tour players, both male and female. It had never occurred to me that there would be a go-to person for the players to use to handle their bookkeeping and taxes, but of course there is! He was incredibly interesting to talk to, and it turns out he and his wife met during the BB&T Atlanta Open a few years ago, so we had that connection going for us. I also got to see Mackie’s mom, Vivian, and catch up a bit. We hadn’t seen each other in person since Mackie won the NCAA’s a few years ago, so it was fun to hear all about what she’s been up to lately.
Later on, I went to Court 11 to watch former Georgia Tech standout Chris Eubanks and his young partner, Coco Gauff, play their 2nd round mixed doubles match. I wound up sitting next to another very nice couple in the stands. The wife is a sports psychologist who works with many of the American tour players. I’m sure you can imagine how fascinating that conversation was! She shared with me some of the work she does and how she helps the players deal with losses, slumps, and other issues. We exchanged contact info, so expect to hear more from her in the coming weeks.
Next up for me was Christian Harrison and Christina McHale’s mixed doubles match on Court 12 where I sat with the Harrison Family. It’s always a big treat for me to see them and watch tennis with them. The cool connection here is that Christian is the younger brother of Ryan Harrison, and Christina McHale is the sister of Ryan’s wife, Lauren, so this was definitely a Family Affair. Christina’s dad was in the stands along with Christian’s parents, Lauren, and Ryan. It was great to see them pull out a tough victory versus the top-seeded team and move into Round 3.
I will be heading back out to the Open tomorrow morning in time to catch the start of the Junior matches starting at 11am. There are a ton of Round 1 matches as well as the completion of the final round of qualifying matches since several were rained out yesterday. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed to see who I’m watching!
Speaking of Twitter, I will be giving out another FREE COPY of the new book, The Complete Player, tomorrow. I had the good fortune to write a chapter for the book after meeting one of its main authors, Tim Bainton, at the Indian Wells tournament earlier this year. I will be tweeting out tips to win a copy all week, so be sure to follow @ParentingAces!
My day ended with dinner in the Media Dining room and running into Colette Lewis and her sweet husband, Paul. They had been at the Junior Qualies at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center for most of the day and filled me in on the happenings there. I suspect Colette and I will be seeing a lot of each other over the next few days. If you’re not already, be sure to follow her on Twitter here to keep up with scores and other pertinent information.
Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel as well. I’m posting live video there all week for you to enjoy!