Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 3 of the 2020 US Open.
This godforsaken year just simply won’t ever get better, will it?
You keep hoping it might but, as the days turn into weeks that turn into months, things just relentlessly remain miserable. In 2020, we just can’t have and enjoy nice things.
You see, a week ago, before the US Open singles draw ceremony, Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro announced that she was withdrawing from this year’s edition of the event. «Due to health reasons,» she wrote on Twitter. At the time, there was nothing too ominous or awful about the announcement. Maybe this would be “just” a minor issue, we thought naively.
Well, the other shoe dropped yesterday. And it hurts, by lord does it hurt.
Me toca afrontar una realidad complicada. Toca aceptarlo e intentar salir adelante confiando en el consejo médico. Siempre con positivismo ante la adversidad. ????
Patience and self-belief guided me through my career. Not the easiest rival to deal with. I’ll need my truly best. pic.twitter.com/lF9oVChWRh
— Carla Suárez Navarro (@CarlaSuarezNava) September 1, 2020
The 31-year-old’s health scare, it turns out, is a hodgkin’s lymphoma, a disease that will force her to step away from the sport and go through six months of chemotherapy. It’s a relatively rare cancer, one that apparently accounts for about 0.5% of all cancers and, well, hodgkin’s lymphoma is really the same as any other cancer: They all suck.
Let’s wish Suarez Navarro, who’s about as beloved a player you can find in tennis, a speedy and complete recovery. She doesn’t deserve to see her whole world get rocked this way completely overnight, which is just another way of saying that life in 2020 freaking sucks.
Let’s move on to today’s daily previews, shall we? Welcome to the Big Apple for Day 3.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Denis Shapovalov  vs Soonwoo Kwon (Not before 5pm)
Welcome to the tale of two opposites: on one side stands 22-year-old Soonwoo Kwon, ranked No. 73 and sporting a 7-5 record this season on his way to amassing about $183,000 in prize money. His opponent? Twenty-one-year-old Denis Shapovalov, seeded No. 12 at the US Open and ranked No. 17 in the world. What’s his record in 2020, you say? A mere five wins in 13 matches with a little over $419,000 in prize money.
Tennis is a weird sport is what we’re getting at. That, and Shapovalov is great.
Court 17: Petra Martic  vs Kateryna Bondarenko (11am start)
Look, we’re on the record expecting good-to-great things over the next couple of weeks for the Croatian Petra Martic. It might be great to start watching the 29-year-old at some point, wouldn’t it?
This second round match doesn’t exactly jump off the page but it’s a great chance to see from up close one of the players from the WTA who’s in the midst of quite the stretch.
Court 17: Taylor Fritz  vs Gilles Simon (Fourth day match)
Taylor Fritz, the future of American tennis, has surely but steadily climbed the ranks since first breaking through the Top 100 at the beginning of the 2018 season, so much so that he’s now become somewhat of a worthy contender on the sport’s biggest stage. We would lie if we said it’s what we always expected from the young man.
Opposite him today will be veteran Gilles Simon in what could be one of your final chances to see him as a functioning professional player. Don’t miss it.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG