Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2021 US Open.

What a great start, middle, and ending to this 2021 US Open.

Over the course of the past two weeks, we wrote every day about this final Grand Slam event of the season. There’s nothing quite like covering a tournament day in and day out, even if you happen to do it sitting on your couch. That’s how you learn about the rhythms of the event, about the fun and less fun of a major event.

And, well, you tend to see things a bit differently when you’re fully invested in it. What have we learned from this year’s US Open? Well, we’re glad you asked.

The lessons from this year’s event

We learned that it’s possible to win a Grand Slam before you’ve even managed to grab an at-large berth for a main draw. Qualifier Emma Raducanu shockingly won it all against all odds in what was only her fifth ever WTA event.

We learned that if you want to beat Djokovic, you should win every single point on your first serve. In winning the first set of the men’s final, Daniil Medvedev managed to win 15 out of 15 first serve points. You simply can’t beat that.


We learned that the calendar-year Grand Slam is really, truly an impossible mission. Welp, it was a fun dream when it was still a possibility.

We learned that the goat debate is over. He may have lost the men’s final, but Djokovic has the inside track for the title of best men’s player of all time. Because at this point, it is easier and quicker to list the places and marks where he doesn’t have the advantage than the ones where he does.

Sure, what else?

We learned that the future of women’s tennis is excessively bright. As we wrote in our women’s final preview, a number of exciting and young players have upended the status quo playing an attacking and aggressive style of tennis. Just about any- and everyone seemingly has a shot in women’s tennis. That’s a good thing.

We learned that the ATP prefers to put its head in the sand. Only a few days before the event got underway, Ben Rothenberg published a follow-up article with Slate that detailed accusations of sexual misconduct against Alexander Zverev. This was a second piece on the matter after the one published last fall. The next time you see the ATP address the allegations will be the first time it does. It’s cowardly, pathetic, and infuriating.

We learned that it’s fun and cool to be a serve bot. Being a great server: it’s fun, you should try it.

Other lessons from the US Open

But of course, that’s not all. There were plenty of other things we wished we could have written about. We wish we could have mentioned the launch of the Billie Jean King Cup. Or how about the asinine comments on the COVID-19 vaccine from Stefanos Tsitsipas?

We wish we could have discussed in length the great Dominic Thiem commercial and, sure why not let’s embed it below.


We wish we had found a way to write about all the things that have changed for Aslan Karatsev, who’s definitely not the demigod of men’s tennis anymore. We also hoped we could have explained the current downturn and historic low in American men’s tennis.

You know, we wish we could have discussed all this, but at least we mentioned everything else.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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