August 23, 2006
Draw Ceremony at the United Nations
CHRIS WIDMAIER: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming to the 2006 US Open Draw Ceremony here at the United Nations.
At this point I would like to introduce a very special guest and our host for the day, Djibril Diallo, the Director of the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace.
DJIBRIL DIALLO: Thank you very much. On behalf of the United Nations, on behalf of the Secretary General, I would like to welcome you again to the United Nations for the US Open Draw Ceremony.
For us at the United Nations, we are very fascinated by the US Open. Even though it's called the US Open, it's as international as can be. We are very grateful to the City of New York, to the mayor, our outstanding mayor, David Dinkins here, for receiving the United Nations, 192 member states.
We are always very honored, very excited, that this Open Draw Ceremony is taking place here, and particularly since many of you in the leadership of the United States Tennis Association and other parts have played such a major role to make the United Nations feel welcome in New York and elsewhere.
It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to the President and Chairman of the Board of the United States Tennis Association, Mayor David Dinkins; to Arlen Kantarian, the Chief Executive of Professional Tennis; Jim Curley, the US Open Tournament Director.
I also would like to say that I shouldn't have been the one to really welcome you here because we have an individual who has been appointed by Kofi Annan as the United Nations Messenger of Peace, so he should have been really the one to be here to welcome you, but in his true graciousness, he let me do this. I'm talking about our world-ranked tennis player, Vijay Amritraj. Let's give him a warm welcome (applause).
Thank you. Thank you very much.
It was Vijay, as United Nations Messenger of Peace, who first suggested the idea that the United Nations should be the rightful place for this draw to take place, and this has been going on for three years. We have had the honor of having at this very podium my very good friend under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, who is busy with some other challenging assignments right now. So it's with great pleasure that I am here to welcome you.
For us, we have an honor of witnessing the presence of the most important people that tennis can have to participate in this draw. Kofi Annan, when he came on board, among the many accomplishments that he has had focused on three important dimensions of the work of the United Nations. The first aspect that he focused on was really to open the United Nations up more systematically to civil society organizations. That's done. He established a global compact that in a very synergistic kind of manner opened the United Nations to the private sector. The third element that he has focused within the frame work of his actions on the economic and social dimension of the work of the United Nations is to see how we can use the convening power of sport in order to bring about more sustainable development.
With all the resources that we have in this world, it is just unacceptable that 1.5 billion people will go to bed hungry every night. It's just unacceptable. This is not an academic exercise; it's a reality. It's unacceptable that we have so many of our children, of our youth, who are infected by HIV AIDS. We have so many of our people who do not have access to basic education. We have so many of our people who are being impacted by the destruction of the environment.
So how can we deal with the convening power of sport in order to deal with these issues which deal with our day-to-day lives? That's what we call sustainable development.
The second aspect is, how do we take advantage of your convening power in order to promote peace to make this world a better place to live in? What is going on in the Middle East? What is going on in other parts of the world? I'm sure that with the convening power of sport we can contribute towards helping out in that front because sports knows no borders, knows no color, knows no political opinion. This is why he created the office that I have the honor to lead in New York which is called the United Nations New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace.
We look forward to working with you to make sure that we bring out the true spirit of sport, which, for us, sport is a school for life. Through sport, young people can learn how to manage victory, how to learn from failure, how to learn in terms of fostering teamwork, leadership skills. You may have an opponent, but you have to learn to respect that opponent. You have to learn to respect the rules of the referee, the guidelines, discipline, courage, perseverance, and so on and so forth.
We are working very hard at the United Nations in order to turn to sport to make sure that this happens. 2005 we had the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. This was a dynamic year where in 192 countries every country tried to use its own imagination, its own type of sport in order to promote peace, in order to promote development.
We would like to use this opportunity to explore with you all, with the USTA, how we can work together as United Nations to bring our partnership to an even higher level.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all of the players their best-ever tournament. Along with many of us millions of fans around the world, I look forward to seeing the results of the talent and also the application on the US Open courts, as has always been demonstrated by the superb skills.
So with this pleasure and with this welcome, I would like now to bring to the microphone the Peace Messenger of the United Nations, Vijay Amritraj, who needs no introduction because he is one of the United Nations, he's also one of you of the tennis world.
Vijay, please, you have the floor (applause).
VIJAY AMRITRAJ: Djibril, thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen, Arlen, Brian, Jim, distinguished guests, good friend and doubles partner, David Dinkins, your broad shoulders don't carry me anymore (smiling). Thank you all for being here. Patrick and Mary Joe, looking younger every year - unlike us so-called legends in our own mind. Nice to have you guys back at the UN.
Thank you very much. Once again, it is great to be back at headquarters and welcome the USTA and sports fans and all the media to this magnificent and impressive home of the UN. Lead by the dynamic Secretary General Kofi Annan, I've had the honor and privilege to serve as a Messenger of Peace for the UN for about six years, traveling the world and working closely with the various UN agencies.
If you get the opportunity to visit any of the UN projects, you will see firsthand what an amazing job the UN does in far-flung corners of the globe under incredibly difficult conditions. It just goes to show what passion and commitment the staff have for their jobs and how hard they work with people on the ground to really try and make a difference.
At the year end our Secretary General completes his term in office having lead this great organization through some amazing and historic times. I am thankful to him for having given me the opportunity to serve the UN and wish him and his lovely wife Nane the very best of everything in the future.
The US Open is clearly the number one sporting event in New York City. The fourth Grand Slam on the tennis calendar, it is probably the toughest to win as fitness of players is always in question. Clearly, the most exciting simply because it is the City of New York.
This year, as your US Open Series TV spots have shown, the retirement of a legend is huge news. Andre, who has served the sport so well for so long, plays his last Open, and the sport will truly miss him. But new stars are born every year. In men's tennis, they come from afar with tough names to pronounce like Baghdatis, Monfils, Ljubicic, and Djokovic. But there are the favorites like the champion, Roger Federer, and the challenger, Rafael Nadal. The Americans lead by Blake and Roddick, looking to bring back an American winner.
Among the women, if your last name ends with an "ic" or an "ova", you are doing very well. Outside of course Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne, you clearly have Sharapova and Dementieva, Petrova, Vaidisova and Hantuchova, not to mention the wonderful Martina Hingis.
Once again our sport will lift the spirit and make us try and forget the world around us. We are truly a global sport, more than any other, and as I've said the world over, through sport we can always communicate, and through communication, we can continue to strive for peace in our troubled world.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish Arlen, Brian, Jim, the entire USTA, the US Open staff, the very best for the coming fortnight. May you have an easy run, and may we all, as always, have an exciting and injury-free US Open.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much (applause).
It is now my pleasure to welcome to the podium Lucy Garvin, First Vice President and Board member, representing Franklin Johnson (applause).
LUCY GARVIN: Thank you for joining us this morning at the United Nations for the draw for the 2006 US Open.
The UN is the most fitting venue for the international spectacle of the US Open in the most international of cities. Thanks to Djibril, Vijay, and everyone at the UN for having us for the third consecutive year.
The President of the United States Tennis Association, Franklin Johnson, sends his best wishes to all. Unfortunately, he is unable to attend today. Franklin is in Seoul, Korea, for the International Tennis Federation's annual meeting. I would like to acknowledge his wife Ann, who is with us today (applause).
Before I begin, I'd like to recognize my colleague on the USTA Board, the 106th Mayor of the City of New York and the city's biggest tennis fan, the Honorable David Dinkins (applause).
The US Open, the world's highest attended annual sporting event, has become a global event that brings together fans from around the world. Tennis is the most international of sports and is played in virtually every country in the world. The lines of these draw sheets will soon be filled with the names of many of the sport's greatest athletes, worldwide ambassadors for both tennis and their nations. As we fill in these lines, we are in effect connecting the world that should always be the sport's highest aim.
The US Open is the greatest showcase for tennis in the United States and provides the funds for the USTA's ongoing mission to promote and develop the growth of the sport at all levels of competition from communities throughout the United States to the highest level of competition at the US Open. For these next two weeks, the US Open welcomes the world to New York to share in the unparalleled thrill of tennis.
The USTA is proud to have Arlen Kantarian as its Chief Executive for Professional Tennis. He has contributed so greatly to the recent growth and success of the US Open.
Please welcome Arlen (applause).
ARLEN KANTARIAN: Thanks, Lucy, and welcome again to the 2006 US Open draw. Obviously, many thanks again to our friends from the United Nations. Djibril, Vijay, thank you very much. I think it was three, four years ago, your idea, and certainly one of the greatest ambassadors of the sport and I think one of the world's classiest gentlemen. So thank you again.
As Lucy mentioned, we've had a spurt of growth in the last three or four years. I appreciate Lucy's comments, but that's been an enormous team effort - too many people to thank today on my staff, you'll hear from them all.
As importantly, we have two of our very significant partners here that bring the US Open to over 80 million people in this country. Our friends and our partners from CBS Sports have been with us for 25 years. I think they're represented here today by Rob Coria (phonetic), Senior Vice President. Thank you, Rob. As well as USA Network, bringing over 100 hours of coverage of the US Open as well; our executive producer, Gordon Beck. We welcome them here, as well.
Before we get into the draw, it's a tradition that we give you some insight as to what is new at the US Open this year. I think as you know over the past few years we have built in many new initiatives to really take this event from one of the world's greatest tournaments to one of the world's greatest experiences. Very simply, trying to build the US Open into one of the top 5 sports and entertainment spectacles up there with the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the Oscars, the Grammys; provide added value to our players, our fans, our broadcasters, the media; and certainly to provide a showcase for the continued growth of the sport.
Over the past few years I think you've seen a lot of new changes, a lot of new elements to the US Open, everything from the introduction of blue courts which has now caught on to public parks throughout the country. We put the women's final into primetime on CBS, it will be 8 p.m. Saturday night this year. Big screens in the stadium. Live entertainment throughout the grounds. Certainly record prize money and, as importantly, equal prize money to the men and women. We went from 16 seeds to 32 seeds a few years ago. We've introduced a new wheelchair competition at the US Open last year, and several other things. The US Open Series, of course, which took place over the last five weeks this summer which will culminate in the US Open.
Just three or four statistics. Vijay, Lucy and others talked about the growth of the Open. Just a few of the numbers. Last year, record attendance: 650,000 people coming from all different parts of the country and the world. As Vijay said, that makes this the largest single annually attended event in the world surpassed only by the Olympics, which of course is every four years.
TV viewership: Over 87 million people watched some part of the US Open last year. We're now broadcast in over 183 countries throughout the world including Armed Services bases throughout the world.
Website visits: 27 million from over 70 different countries.
We did another piece of research last summer. Record economic impact: The US Open brings over $400 million in direct revenues to the City of New York, and that is more - how am I doing here, Mr. Dinkins? - more than the Mets, Yankees, Knicks and Rangers combined bring into the city in any given year. It's a significant boost to the economy and to the City of New York, as well.
Before we go on, I think what the biggest change may be at the Open, as I mentioned, has been taking this from a tournament to an experience. There's a new energy. There's a new buzz I think in the last few years about the tournament. I think we have a three- or four-minute film that will give you some insight as to what we've been going through the last year and a half to gear up for this, as well as taking this from a tournament to showtime.
If we can run that three-minute clip...
(Video clip is shown).
ARLEN KANTARIAN: Every time I see that film, I have to thank our Marketing Director, Michelle Wilson, up there somewhere. Just a great job on that film. I don't know if the dancing photographer is in here or not, but that is a credentialed photographer you saw out there.
Very quickly, what is new for this year? We've got a lot of things going on, a lot of new stuff. I'm sure you'll see it all over the two weeks. We just put together a very quick top 10 list as to what you'll see that is new for this year.
Number one, we have Jim Curley has put together a new Champions Invitational that will feature 20 Grand Slam champions or finalists that will be playing and competing in singles and mixed doubles during the second week of the US Open. Features such names as Tracy Austin, Martina Navratilova playing singles, our own Mary Joe Fernandez - we got to get you out of the booth, Mary Joe, and on to the court.
On the men's side names including Todd Martin, Stan Smith, Mal Washington, Guillermo Vilas, etc., etc. How come Patrick McEnroe is not on the list? French Open doubles winner, come on. Maybe next year. Too much work in the booth.
Speaking of past champions, we will be inducting Saturday 4 p.m. right before the men's finals two more inductees to our Court of Champions attraction out by the South Gate, Martina Navratilova, 15 US Open titles including four singles. Don Budge, first-ever Grand Slam winner. Holds I believe five or six total US Open titles, as well. They'll join the likes of Connors, Evert, McEnroe, Billie Jean, and others in the Court of Champions. Be sure to see it. It was launched last year.
New technology will make its debut at a Grand Slam at the US Open in many different ways lead, of course, by interactive Direct TV. USA Network in partnership with Direct TV will offer up for those of you who have Direct TV up to six different matches on your screen that you can choose from, any one. Great for those ADD people like myself (smiling). For those multitaskers, you can watch all six concurrently on your TV screen if you so choose.
In addition, on USOpen.org you can track every point in Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong on the bottom left through IBM technology through PointTracker.
We will have a Polo Virtual store on site and here in New York City where you can do your US Open Polo shopping just through a computer.
We are expanding our live outdoor broadcast bringing the US Open to the people. Over 100,000 people viewed this in different locations. We're bringing it back to Rockefeller Center this year. It will also be in Madison Square Park on big screens outdoors live.
New TV campaign, new advertising campaign. Probably our most aggressive promotional and advertising push ever. We'll be in TV, print, radio. Over 400 movie screens in the City of New York are promoting the US Open.
We've launched a new creative campaign. We'll show you a quick 30-second ad that kind of brings together what we think this event has beyond any other event in the world, and that is that combination of sport, fashion, celebrity, all those things that we think makes pop culture important today.
Our new tag line you'll see is the US Open, it's Showtime. We are featuring a number of our players in very different settings, where high action meets high fashion, and we have several of these ads running in New York City and through papers throughout the country. I want to show you very quickly one or maybe it's two 30-second TV ads, if we have those up there, Michelle.
(Video clips of ads shown).
ARLEN KANTARIAN: "Showtime," thank you.
Okay. Also, very importantly, you heard this announcement last week. On opening night, on Monday night, the USTA National Tennis Center will be officially renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, obviously, in honor of one of our greatest champions, but more importantly a champion that took her success and made a difference in society. We are looking for a very special opening night, an historic moment both at the tennis center and throughout the world. Opening night, on Monday night at 7:30 p.m., we will have legends honoring this legend. Chris Evert, Venus Williams, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors will be on court paying tribute to Billie Jean King. We will be joined by our pop diva sensation Diana Ross, also honoring Billie Jean, and both Franklin Johnson and Mayor Bloomberg will make the official dedication on Monday night. We certainly hope to see all of you there for that moment.
Very importantly, instant replay will be making its Grand Slam debut at the US Open. It's been tested throughout the summer very successfully. Great reviews from the players, from the media - surprisingly.
But so far, so good. I think over 700 calls have been challenged by players throughout the summer, and over 300 of them have been corrected by the player challenge system. Roughly 55, 60% of the time the officials were right; 40% of the time the players were right. It's adding recourse for players, it's adding entertainment experience for the fans. You'll see it debuted at the Open.
Probably the single biggest thing talked about at this year's US Open, as Vijay mentioned, a final curtain call for one of the game's greatest ambassadors, greatest champions, obviously. I think you'll see when Andre comes out of that tunnel each night - hopefully several nights - at the US Open, you're going to see a special electricity in that stadium.
Then of course the US Open Series which played the last five weeks will all culminate with the US Open. We had five weeks of great action, close competition. Andy Roddick and Ana Ivanovic won the US Open Series. They will be playing for a $1 million bonus at the US Open. I think we're all aware of what the US Open Series consists of: 10 tournaments, finals every Sunday. Hopefully you've all watched it throughout the summer. The final standings at this moment, Andy Roddick, first place; Fernando Gonzalez, second place, he'll be playing for up to a half a million dollars of bonus money; Andy Murray, third place, playing for up to a quarter million dollars of bonus money.
As we said, Ivanovic has captured No. 1 in the US Open Series. She will be playing for a million dollar bonus. Currently, Sharapova and Clijsters in second and third place, but that is yet to be determined in New Haven.
That is the final of the US Open Series. These two players will be playing for a record purse.
At this point we should bring the lights up. We're going to go to our Draw Ceremony, the main event. Obviously, over 660 players will be competing. 900 matches. Over 2,500 press has been credentialed. Again, expecting over 640,000 fans competing for a record $20 million in prize money.
All of that, and we have only one Tournament Director and one referee, and we'd like to bring them up now. Jim Curley, our Tournament Director, and Brian Earley, our tournament referee.
Thank you very much (applause).
JIM CURLEY: Thank you, Arlen, and thank you, everyone, for coming today.
The US Open presents a unique challenge for players. It's a unique opportunity and challenge for players to capture a Grand Slam. In order to do so, they need to win seven consecutive matches. This year's US Open singles draws will include a total of 20 Grand Slam singles champions including our two-time defending champion, Roger Federer. Unfortunately, Kim Clijsters, our defending women's champion, will be unable to defend her title due to a left wrist injury that she sustained recently.
The purpose of today's draw is to determine the match pairings for the men's and women's singles competitions. Here are the basics. Each draw has 128 competitors. Last night, under the watchful eyes of the representatives from the International Tennis Federation, the ATP, the WTA Tour, we randomly placed the 96 unseeded players into each draw by means of a computer program. It's worth noting that one of these unseeded players is, in fact, Andre Agassi, who will be retiring after his last match at this year's US Open. This will be his 21st consecutive US Open, which I'm told is an Open Era record. Bear in mind in 1994 Andre became the only unseeded player in the Open Era to win the US Open. You'll see later on that he has, in fact, drawn Andrei Pavel of Romania in his first-round match.
Today we're going to place the 32 seeded players into each draw, and the seeded players are comprised of the world's top-ranked players. We're happy to have with us today to help us several United Nations interns who are wearing their native dress. I understand they are from Zimbabwe, Colombia and Senegal. They'll be helping us with pulling of the chips out of the trophies.
It's my pleasure to introduce in a moment our US Open tournament referee Brian Earley, who will take you through the process of completing the women's single's draw followed by the men's singles draw.
In addition, we are very lucky to have with us former top 10 player and current US Open commentator for CBS Sports, Mary Joe Fernandez. In addition, we have, as we said earlier, our French Open doubles champion, United States Davis Cup team captain and also a veteran CBS commentator, Patrick McEnroe. Mary Joe and Patrick will be providing their expert analysis of both draws.
Thanks again for coming. Without further delay, I'll turn the proceedings over to Brian (applause).
BRIAN EARLEY: You did a heck of a job explaining this process, Jim. If you ever choose to get out of tournament directing, you have a future in referee work.
We will do the ladies first. As you can see from the graphic up there, the No. 1 seed - and this is by ITF Grand Slam rules - the No. 1 seed goes on line number one. The number two seed - by the way, No. 1 is Amélie Mauresmo - No. 2 seed which is Justine Henin-Hardenne goes on line 128.
So what we'll do, we'll use the ladies' US Open trophy and we'll put seeds three and four in and draw for lines 33 and 96.
For line 33, No. 3, Maria Sharapova. Line 33, Sharapova.
That leaves us with line 96. Line 96, Elena Dementieva.
We'll now put seeds 5 through 8 into the trophy. For those of you scoring at home, it will go in order lines 32, 64, 65, 97.
For line 32, seed No. 8, Martina Hingis. Line 32, Hingis.
Line 64, No. 5, Nadia Petrova. Line 64, Petrova.
For line 65, seed No. 6. Line 65, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Line 65, Kuznetsova.
That leaves us with on line 97 seed No. 7, Patty Schnyder. Line 97, Schnyder.
A little housekeeping here...
All right. We will now put seeds 9 through 12 into the trophy for lines 17, 49, 80 and 112. First drawn for line 17, seed No. 12, Dinara Safina. Line 17, Safina.
For line 49, seed No. 11, Anastasia Myskina. Line 49, Myskina.
For line 80, seed No. 9, Nicole Vaidisova. Vaidisova, line 80.
That leaves us with seed No. 10 for line 112, Lindsay Davenport. Line 112, Davenport.
Okay, 13 through 16 for line 16, 48, 81 and 113. 13 through 16.
First line drawn, 16. Line 16, seed No. 16, Ana Ivanovic. Line 16, Ivanovic.
For line 48 seed No. 13, Mary Pierce. Line 48, Pierce.
For line 81, No. 15, Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Line 81, Groenefeld.
The remaining seed on line No. 113, Francesca Schiavone. Line 113, Schiavone.
Now we're going to put in 17 through 24. We'll start with line 9. I'll walk you through this rather than rattle through the numbers quickly. 17 through 24.
For line number 9. Seed No. 17 for line 9, Daniela Hantuchova. Line 9, Hantuchova.
For line 24, seed No. 18, Flavia Pennetta. Line 24, Pennetta.
For line 41, seed No. 24, Na Li. Line 41, Li.
Next drawn will be on line 56, seed No. 23, Anna Chakvetadze.
Next drawn for line 73, 19, seed No. 19, Jelena Jankovic. 73, Jankovic.
Next drawn for 88, seed No. 20, Maria Kirilenko. Line 88, Kirilenko.
Next drawn for line 105, seed No. 22, Katarina Srebotnik.
That leaves for line 120 Shahar Peer. Line 120, Peer.
Remaining seeds, 25 through 32 into the US Open trophy. Your Open line starting with line number 8.
Line 8, seed No. 32, Nathalie Dechy. Line 8, Dechy.
For line 25, seed No. 25, Anabel Medina Garrigues. Line 25, Medina Garrigues.
For line 40, seed No. 32, Elena Likhovtseva. Line 40, Likhovtseva.
And for line 57, seed No. 27, Tatiana Golovin. Line 57, Golovin.
Go to the bottom half of the draw for line 72.
Line 72, seed No. 29, Jie Zheng. Seed 29 on line 72, Zheng.
For line 89, seed No. 30. Line 89, Venus Williams.
For line 104, seed No. 26, Marion Bartoli. Line 104, Bartoli.
Which leaves us line 121, Ai Sugiyama, seed 28. Line 121, Sugiyama.
We'll just take a moment, do some double-checks here.
CHRIS WIDMAIER: We're going to begin commentary on the women's draw with Patrick McEnroe and Mary Joe Fernandez as Brian verifies the women's draw and we set up the men's draw. We're going to ask Patrick and Mary Joe for a few top line comments, and then we will open it up for questioning for the women's portion following your comments.
I'm going to turn it over to Patrick and Mary Joe. Why don't you get us started.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Okay. Well, to start things off, we've had a great US Open Series. On form, we haven't seen too much of the top couple ranked players in Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne, but they're playing at the Pilot Pen, so we'll know a little bit better after this week their form.
Sharapova, on form. Has played really, really well. Looking at her draw, she's on the top half. I expect her to get through that.
Pierce, last year's finalist, has not played that much. She only played one event and did not look as sharp as she did last year, so she might have some difficulty getting through that. I'd like Sharapova to get through that section.
Other players that played well. Dementieva, she drew a tough section there with Venus, but we haven't seen Venus at all either. But having said that, we know that Venus can turn it on at any given time like she did last year at Wimbledon. Dementieva-Williams, that's a third-rounder that would be exciting.
And then other players that have played well, Martina Hingis. She is top quarter, and she's got winnable matches. Tough matches. She drew China's Peng Shuai, who upset Clijsters last year, the only match Clijsters lost all summer long. But these are all players that Hingis can beat. She lost on Monday to Ivanovic who won the US Open Series. Big hitter, was on her game. You have to beat Hingis. I think with her draw, looking at it, I think she's going to get through her section and perhaps get to another quarterfinal.
Ivanovic and Vaidisova, the two young ones, I think they're the two best up-and-coming teenagers. They're ones to watch out for. Let's look for Ivanovic. Is in the top half. She's there with Serena. That was a big question mark, where was Serena going to be in the draw. Not seeded. She's got a couple winnable matches. It could be a repeat of this year's Australian Open where she lost to Hantuchova, but she just beat Hantuchova in LA. Serena has played nine matches in her comeback, been in two semis. I like the way she was playing. I think she was still a little rusty, a little match-shy, but I think she was playing, serving well, and she's gonna be a threat. I expect Serena actually to get through that section. It would be a tremendous third round with Ivanovic.
Vaidisova, I believe, is in the bottom half. She plays Chanda Rubin, who I'm so happy to see back. She tried to play in Stanford. She's had so many injuries the last few years, Chanda. She was as high as 6 in the world, but she keeps plugging away. She's 29 years old. It's great to see her. That's going to be a tough one for Chanda against Vaidisova, who lost to Clijsters in both her tournaments. She played Stanford and San Diego. She's already in the top 10, so it's pretty impressive.
Besides that, Kuznetsova, the '04 champ here at the US Open. She's in that Vaidisova section.
Jankovic has played well, another youngster from Serbia.
Venus, we talked about Venus not having played.
The other exciting name for me that's in the draw is Davenport. We haven't seen a lot of her. She's playing this week at the Pilot Pen. She only played one match this summer where she lost to Sam Stosur in LA. She was rusty, but fortunately she said after the match that she felt physically 100%. She's had a lot of back issues. I think if she can win a few matches this week, watch out for Lindsay in that bottom half.
Henin-Hardenne, we'll see. She can turn it on, as well. She hasn't played a lot of tennis.
Petrova has not been playing well. She hasn't won a match all summer. It's going to be tough for her to find her form, I think, quickly here.
Patrick, do you see anybody else?
PATRICK McENROE: I think you covered it, Mary Joe. I think we should open it up for a couple questions if there's anyone from the press who wants to ask a couple particulars. If not, I think we can move on to the men.
Q. It seems like Mauresmo has a particularly tough quarter there with Serena and Hingis.
PATRICK McENROE: Yeah, I think that's the toughest quarter. You've got Serena there, you've got Ivanovic who just had a big win in Canada, beat Hingis there. I think that top sort of 16 is pretty tough. With Mauresmo not playing much at all this summer, she's a little bit of a question mark.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Shaughnessy in the second round perhaps. Shaughnessy has been winning matches again.
PATRICK McENROE: She's a good hard court player. The big one to me is a Serena, Ivanovic to play Mauresmo in the Round of 16 there.
Q. What kind of shape do you think Serena is in, and can she make a run here?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I saw her this summer out in LA. I saw her play three matches. She won a couple three-setters. She actually looked a lot fitter than the last time I saw her which was in Australia. She was running a lot of balls down. She was actually pretty patient, which was a good sign for me. She wasn't just going for silly shots right away. She lost in the semis to Jankovic. I think she was tired. The matches caught up with her and she played a lot of night matches, had to come back and play during the day. I think that hurt her, as well. A couple matches she served over 10 aces per match. She had wins over Myskina, Kirilenko, Hantuchova pretty routinely. I think those are all good signs for Serena. I wish she would have played one more tournament to get a few more matches in, but she's trying to protect her body, making sure she is a hundred percent with her left knee. She's playing a lot better than when we saw her in Australia.
PATRICK McENROE: I think if she's trained hard the last couple weeks, I think she can make a serious run, yeah.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She went to Florida to train, so that's a good sign, too.
PATRICK McENROE: It might be worth, just lastly, noting that there's two players from China that are seeded. That's got to be the first time that's happened, right, Jim?
JIM CURLEY: As far as I know.
PATRICK McENROE: It's got to be. Got to be.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: As far as you know. Na Li and gee Sjeng.
PATRICK McENROE: Kind of interesting. You're going to see a lot more players coming from China the next few years from the women's side.
We'll go to the men's side.
CHRIS WIDMAIER: I believe we're ready, Mr. Earley. Is that correct?
BRIAN EARLEY: I'm all set.
CHRIS WIDMAIER: We'll now begin the men's portion of the draw.
BRIAN EARLEY: Procedurally, the men's and women's draws are the same. As you can see, the No. 1 seed goes on line number 1, and the No. 2 seed goes on line 128.
Line number 1, Roger Federer. Line number 128, Rafael Nadal.
For 3 and 4, we'll put them in the US Open men's trophy and draw for lines 33 and 96.
First drawn, line 33, No. 4. Line 33, Ivan Ljubicic. Line 33, Ljubicic.
TIM CURRY: No. 4 was picked.
BRIAN EARLEY: Line 33, David Nalbandian. Sorry about that.
That leaves us with Ivan Ljubicic, line 96. Line 96, Ljubicic.
Seeds 5 through 8 into the trophy for lines 32, 64, 65 and 97.
First drawn, line 32, seed No. 5. Line 32, James Blake. Line 32, Blake.
For line 64, seed No. 7, Nicolas Davydenko. Line 64, Davydenko.
For line 65, seed No. 8, Marcos Baghdatis. Line 65, Baghdatis.
That leaves us with 97, seed No. 6, Tommy Robredo. Line 97, Robredo.
Seeds 9 through 12 will now go into the trophy for lines 17, 49, 80 and 112.
For line 17, seed No. 12, Tomas Berdych. Line 17, Berdych.
For line 49, seed No. 10, Fernando González. Line 49, González.
For line 80, seed No. 9, Andy Roddick. Line 80, Roddick.
Seed 11, for line 112, David Ferrer. Line 112, Ferrer.
Seeds 13 through 16, lines 16, 48, 81 and 113.
Starting with line 16, seed 16, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Line 16, Ferrero.
For line 48, seed 14, Tommy Haas. Line 48, Haas.
For line 81, seed 15, Lleyton Hewitt. Line 81, Hewitt.
For line 113, seed 13, Jarkko Nieminen. Line 113, Nieminen.
Seeds 17 through 24 into the bowl. I'll just specify the line.
Starting with line 9, line 9, seed 21, Gaston Gaudio. Line 9, Gaudio.
For line 24, seed 23, Dmitry Tursunov. Line 24, Tursunov.
For line 41, seed No. 18, Robby Ginepri. Line 41, Ginepri.
And for line 56, seed No. 17, Andy Murray. Line 56, Murray.
Going down to the bottom half of the draw, line 73. Line 73, seed No. 22, Fernando Verdasco. Line 73, Verdasco.
For line 88, line 88, seed No. 20, Novak Djokovic. Line 88, Djokovic.
For line 105, line 105, seed No. 19, Dominik Hrbaty. Line 105, Hrbaty.
Line 120, seed No. 24, Jose Acasuso. Line 120, Acasuso.
Seeds 25 through 32 into the trophy. Open lines beginning with number 8.
For line 8, seed No. 29, Bjorkman.
For line 25, seed No. 28, Agustin Calleri. Line 25, Calleri.
For line 40, seed 26, Olivier Rochus. Line 40, Rochus.
For line 57 seed No. 32, Kristof Vliegen.
Going to the bottom half of the draw, for line 72, seed No. 30, Sebastien Grosjean. Line 72, Grosjean.
For line 89, seed 25, Richard Gasquet. Line 89, Gasquet.
For line 104, seed 31, Juan Ignacio Chela. Line 104, Chela.
That should leave us with line 121 and seed No. 27, Gael Monfils. Line 121, Monfils.
Stefan, Andre, we okay? Thus concludes the draws. Mary Joe, Patrick (applause).
PATRICK McENROE: Thanks, Brian.
CHRIS WIDMAIER: Some instant analysis, and then we'll take some questions.
PATRICK McENROE: The biggest question always was who was Agassi going to draw. He's got Pavel in the first round, which is certainly a winnable match, another guy in his 30s there. But I'm thinking that the second round is going to be extremely tough for Andre against Baghdatis, who has already made the semis of the Australian Open this year and the finals -- excuse me, the finals at the Australian, the semis at Wimbledon, for Baghdatis. That's a tough matchup I think for Agassi there.
Federer got pretty much of a dream draw for Roger Federer. No problems for him through the first week, I would say.
An interesting section just below Federer to get to the quarterfinals. You've got Tomas Berdych, a very talented youngster from the Czech Republic, who has a couple wins over Nadal. So he's very dangerous.
Dmitry Tursunov from Russia has a very good summer, excellent on hard courts.
The winner between those two would probably play James Blake who comes in as the No. 5 seed, the highest he's ever been seeded in a Grand Slam, although he struggled in the last few weeks. He's got a pretty good draw to get him through to that fourth round, which he would then face Berdych, Tursunov, and potentially Federer in the quarters.
The next section has Nalbandian at the No. 4 seed. He has struggled mightily, has had some injuries this summer, has not played well, so he's a bit of a question mark although he always seems to play well in the Slams.
Marat Safin, a former US Open champ, is in that section. That could be an interesting second-round matchup between Nalbandian and Safin, two guys sort of trying to find their game.
Tommy Haas is a veteran, a German. Sort of a guy you could look for in that section, I think.
The other one I would watch in this quarter would be Andy Murray who has had a great summer. He's at his highest ranking in the top 20. Of course coached now by Brad Gilbert. He actually, to me, looks like he's got a very good draw to get to the quarters, Andy Murray, assuming he's gotten some rest after playing a lot of matches this summer.
We go to the bottom half where, as I said, Agassi I think has a very tough second round with Baghdatis. This is probably the toughest quarter in the draw, this third quarter where you've got Baghdatis, Agassi, you've then got Roddick in there of course who's looking to bounce back from a first-round loss last year at the Open. He seems to be finding his game again, winning in Cincinnati. Has Jimmy Connors by his side. I'm sure that will get a lot of attention here, as it should.
Lleyton Hewitt, a former US Open champ, a huge question mark. He's had some injuries. His play has not been that good this year, and he's got a knee injury coming in, so he's a huge question mark.
Couple of interesting youngsters in this section. Novak Djokovic from Serbia is a very good talent and on his way up quickly. He's the No. 20 seed. I would look for him. I would be very surprised if he doesn't get through the first three rounds.
You've got then Ljubicic, the No. 3 seed, who complains about not getting any respect, and he'll have to have another good showing in a Grand Slam to get it here. He's sort of a quiet No. 3 in the world.
You've got Richard Gasquet in there, the only player, only youngster to get to the final of a Masters Series other than Nadal. He lost to Roger Federer up in Canada.
So a lot of talent in that section. I think that's the toughest section.
The bottom section is extremely weak in my opinion. You've got a lot of guys that prefer to play on clay of the seeds in this section.
Nadal could not have asked for a better draw to get through to the second week. He struggled a little bit this summer. One matchup that I think would be very entertaining would be Nadal-Monfils. Gael Monfils, the young Frenchman who is a great athlete, very talented, a lot of personality. That would be in the third round for Nadal. Of course he's got Philippoussis in the first round. Philippoussis, a wildcard from Australia, and part of the exchange that the USTA does with Tennis Australia. He's got a wildcard, but he's a huge question mark health-wise.
So any questions for us real quick on any of this?
Q. Patrick, why do you think Baghdatis is such a tough draw for Agassi?
PATRICK McENROE: Good question. Baghdatis plays a very similar style to Andre, and that's why I think it's a difficult matchup. He's very good off both sides. He can take the ball early and go up the line pretty easily. I think Andre likes to play someone at this stage that can't make him move that quickly, and Baghdatis has the ability to take the ball early and make Andre change direction quickly. So I think if Baghdatis is on and healthy and fit, I think that's a very tough match for Andre to win right now.
Q. My question may be more for Brian or Arlen. Arlen mentioned that when Agassi comes out of the tunnel at night for an exciting match. Has it been determined that he'll always be playing night matches? Is that something to make him more comfortable? We know that he prefers that. Is that a TV decision, a combination of both?
PATRICK McENROE: I could guess, Arlen, but I'll let you take it (laughter).
ARLEN KANTARIAN: No, nothing yet decided. The draws are up to the referee. We don't know when Andre is playing. That's a USTA decision and to be determined. I wish I could help you.
Q. Patrick, can you talk a little bit about what Jimmy has brought to Andy's game, how you've seen Andy's game change since they've been together.
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I mean, they've only been working together this summer, but I've already seen huge strides in Andy's game. His first tournament in Indianapolis he made the final there, lost in a great match to James Blake, and then Andy was injured for a couple of weeks and came back in Cincinnati and after a first-round scare he played as well as I've seen him play in a while. He seems to be playing more aggressively. He's stepping into the court a lot more, trying to return a little bigger off second serves, come into net a lot more. His mindset is very positive, and I think Jimmy has had a huge impact there, sort of positive reinforcement.
I think the fact that Connors was willing to take on the job, so to speak, I think said a lot to Andy. I mean, as we all know, Jimmy has not really been around tennis that much since he retired. He certainly never thought about getting into coaching, I believe. I think when he heard from Andy and was interested, I think that said a lot to Andy, that gave him a lot of belief that Jimmy Connors would come back to tennis to try to help him out. I think that combined with just the X's and O's I've seen on the court from Andy has been a huge plus. This year he comes into the Open, I think, a much different mentality than last year.
Q. From your perspective, Patrick, what has Andre Agassi meant to the game of tennis in this country, to the USTA, to Davis Cup, the US Open?
PATRICK McENROE: That's a pretty intense answer to give, but I'll try to give it as succinctly as I can. I don't think there's anyone that's meant more in the last 20 years from how he grew up as sort of a kid that didn't really -- you know, obviously had the great talent in the game, but didn't really have an understanding of the history of the sport and the traditions and what it means. To then basically be, you know, every time he says something, we all hang on the edge of our seats to hear what he has to say. He's really become the ultimate spokesperson for the game. The players respect him like nobody else. I think everyone in the game does.
You know, to me, it's sort of ironic that the USTA made this great decision to name the tennis center the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. When I think of people that have done more off the court or as much off the court, I think of Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King. Something tells me that in 20 years we may be saying that about Andre Agassi. Incredibly, what he's done on the court, I think he may do more off the court, as well, as he leaves the game as a player.
Q. Mary Joe, can you give us your perspective?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You know, when I think of Andre, I just think of my first few years on the tour. Whenever I'd be in hallways walking by him, he would stop, no matter what he was doing, and he'd always say, Hello, How are you, Who do you play. He knows so much about the game, women's and men's game, he'd always give me some tips on my opponents. I'll never forget it.
PATRICK McENROE: Did he give you tips when you played Steffi Graf? Did he give you tips then?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Back then, yes (smiling).
No. I just couldn't believe it. It meant so much to me that I still remember it. He's revolutionized the game. He has brought so much exposure. I just think he's a great person.
Now, to see him with his kids and what a great father he is, is tremendous. He's given so much to the sport. For someone that good to be away from the sport, to have the injuries, to start from the bottom, I mean, he started the challenger level to work his way back and really dedicate himself all over again, is so impressive. He's a great role model for everyone of every age.
You know, watching the video, you get the goosebumps. I can't imagine anyone who's not going to watch every single point of his matches at the US Open. I cannot wait to watch him.
CHRIS WIDMAIER: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.
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