Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 13 of the 2020 US Open.
What’s so dumb is that they did it for every court but the two most important.
In a move that was ultimately highly successful and not in the least because this year’s event was held in the thick of a pandemic that continues to kill thousands of people every day and that proscribes that we maintain good social distancing, the US Open organizers decided to forego the need for line umpires because of a new experiment and tool they unveiled over the past two weeks.
You see, with this new tool called Hawk-Eye Live, every line call was now being judged by the same electronic line-calling system we’ve come to love and hate during player challenges. In turn, this has meant that there isn’t any need for line umpires, which has helped for social distancing, etc. etc. We know what it means.
So far, so good. Right?
Well, the problem lies in the fact that for this year’s event, the US Open installed Hawk-Eye Live on every court but two, on every court but Louis Armstrong Stadium and Arthur Ashe Stadium. One of the reasons for why the powers that be decided not to install the technology on the event’s two most important courts, at least according to a report from the New York Times, is because of a sponsorship contract between Ralph Lauren, who provides outfits for the line umpires, and the US Open.
You probably see where we’re going with this. That’s right, Novak Djokovic might have been disqualified because he lost his temper and threw a tantrum but also because the US Open wanted a few more bucks to outfit the line umpires it didn’t really need anyway.
The sound you just heard was our palm hitting our forehead. Now, if you’ll excuse us we have a polo shirt from Ralph Lauren to purchase.
Here is our prediction for the women’s final.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Naomi Osaka  vs Victoria Azarenka (not before 4pm)
While the two women’s semifinals produced extremely competitive and compelling tennis, we’re thrilled with the results. On one side we have a young champion, someone who’s been vocal about her support for the oppressed and those suffering (and dying) and who’s been looking to embolden the voices of those who don’t have one that’s currently heard. On one side stands Naomi Osaka, two-time Grand Slam winner, former World No. 1 and current ninth-best player in the world at age 22. On one side, we have an amazing player.
Her opponent will be Victoria Azarenka, who at 31 years old is a former World No. 1 and also a two-time Grand Slam winner. The Belarussian, currently ranked No. 27, is finally out of the woods after a messy and lengthy custody battle for her son just about cost her her career and definitely cost her a spot in the Top 200 (i.e. she was at No. 208 in November 2017). She too is very amazing at playing tennis.
This is a rematch from the Western & Southern Open final that happened a mere two or so weeks ago and that Azarenka won after Osaka withdrew. Here, let’s give Osaka the win in three sets.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG