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US Open Diary - Murray, Djokovic Sing New Tune; Witten Riding The Wave

Day 4

Andy Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray stretches at practice Thursday.

Highs And Lows
After guaranteeing himself a $48,000 pay day by reaching the US Open third round - more than double his entire 2009 earnings to date - American qualifier Jesse Witten is happy to know that he can bankroll his career for a little while longer. With no main draw tour-level wins in his career before this week, Witten says that there were times this year when he worried he may need to give the game away because of traveling costs.

“I've completed the spectrum, I think, this year,” Witten said of the highs and lows of a tennis player’s life. “Beginning of the year I was playing Futures events where it's a total purse of $10,000.  The winner gets $1,200 or something and it's a long week. You have no ball kids. You don't change balls, so the balls get this big... I lost my sponsor who was helping me with expenses... So I was looking at [retirement] hard.  That's when I was fortunate to win a couple of tournaments and got on a roll, and it just kept building."

Read More On Witten

Young Fan Stands Her Ground
Fans were snapping up souvenir balls at a fast clip on Grandstand Thursday during the doubles match between top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan and Jose Acasuso and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Whether it be from smashes, angled volleys, ricochets or shanked returns, balls were flying into the crowd at a rapid clip – often twice a game. At one point a ballboy attempted to encourage a young teenage girl to hand back her souvenir, but she remained firm in her refusal. The US Open allows fans on Ashe, Armstrong and Grandstand courts to keep balls that go into the stands. Chair umpires replace balls lost to fans from a reserve bag that contains balls of varying wear and tear.

Vassallo Arguello had fans in stitches at one point when he pretended to make an attempt to take a ball back from a butter-fingered fan, who fumbled several times before finally claiming his souvenir.

Move On Down
Kudos to the USTA official who was the architect of a creative plan to speed the transition between the day and the night sessions. Around 7 p.m., when the night session was scheduled to begin, the last match of the day session – James Blake vs. Olivier Rochus – was only midway through the third set, with a fourth set guaranteed. In a win-win for the tournament and fans, fans in the upper deck were instructed to move down to the lower seats, giving them a better view of the action and tournament staff a chance to clean the upper bowl while the Blake-Rochus match continued.

Hey, Big Spender
As the winner of the Olympus US Open Series, Sam Querrey stands to pocket $2.6 million should he upstage the likes of Federer, Murray and Nadal and win the US Open title. Knowledge of the potential windfall promoted this exchange with a playful reporter:
Q.  If you end up winning the $2.6 million, will you buy pizza for the press corp.?
A.  I'll buy a small pizza for everyone to share, sure.  Take everyone out for pizza.

Murray, Djokovic Sing New Tune
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have lent their voices to a new track produced by the Bryan Bros. Band, the band consisting of top-seeded US Open doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan and David Baron. Their vocals will be heard on a song called ‘Autograph’ and the brothers are also trying to entice John McEnroe to sing on the track. Bob Bryan told how Murray took a little convincing in the beginning to be part of the song. “Andy kept putting it off. It was going to be in the morning that he did it, then at night, then we got a text late at night saying he’d do it later. We finally got him into the hotel room. He seemed a little nervous at first but then he loosened up and nailed it on the third take. Novak, as you would expect, was a real natural.”

The Bryans will be releasing several songs on iTunes next Tuesday, however ‘Autograph’ won’t be available until a little later. For more information, visit

Roger’s Twin Connection
Roger Federer sought out the Bryan brothers late one night in Montreal to talk about life with twins, the Bryans revealed on Thursday. “It was about 12 o’clock at night and we were just coming out of the training room and we must have spoken to Roger for about half an hour,” Mike Bryan said. “Seeing us dressed together as twins I think he felt a connection and he opened up about what things were like in the hospital and how he kept the secret about having twins.”

Surface Stays
The US Open’s trademark DecoTurf surface will remain at least through 2014 after the USTA announced Thursday that it had extended its 31-year contract with the US Open. DecoTurf has been the surface of the US Open since 1978.

Tweet Of The Day
Can anyone else not stand the sound of people chewing gum?
Andy Roddick


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