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US Open - Tuesday Diary

New York, U.S.A.

Gulbis© Getty ImagesErnests Gulbis' partying days are firmly behind him.

ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at the news and talking points at the US Open on the first Tuesday.

Bubka Just Misses Record
6’3’’ Ukrainian qualifier Sergei Bubka narrowly missed out on setting a new world record in his first-round win over Andreas Haider-Maurer. The right-hander, son of a famous Olympic and world champion pole-vaulter by the same name, cracked a serve at 157mph, but it was called a fault and didn’t count. 6’10’’ Ivo Karlovic is the current record-holder after striking a 156mph serve in the fourth set of a Davis Cup doubles match against Germany this year, breaking Andy Roddick's previous record of 155mph.

After his win, Bubka said he hopes he can breakthrough from his father’s shadow with a strong showing in New York. "He was watching the live scores. He didn't sleep but he's very happy that I'm improving and I broke through," Bubka said about his father, who is unable to watch his son in New York as he is at the athletics World Championships in South Korea.

"Everybody, every week asks me 'Are you the son of the famous pole vaulter?'" he added. "I just hope that I will continue improving and I will be known for Sergei Bubka the famous tennis player and not the son of a great pole vaulter. I like my name but I'm just a regular guy."

Niland’s Major Disappointment
He could not have asked for a more exciting, or terrifying, first-round match on his US Open main draw debut. But on the eve of the biggest match of his life against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Irish qualifier Conor Niland was struck down by food poisoning.

The Limerick native explained, "I got sick everywhere after my 30-minute warm-up. I thought I could bluff my way through but you can't do that against the No. 1 in the world, I just found out. I thought I was going to vomit after long points. I just felt really, really rotten out there."

The Maturing Of Gulbis
Ernests Gulbis celebrated his 23rd birthday in style on Tuesday in New York. Not by partying the night away in the Big Apple, but by upsetting No. 16 seed and 2010 semi-finalist Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.

Afterwards, the Latvian declared he has turned over a new leaf and is dedicating himself 100 per cent to tennis. Speaking to the NY Times, Gulbis said, “I will go to sleep as fast as I can [tonight]. No celebration. I’ve had enough celebrations in my life.

“I’ve done all the possible wrong things that you can do in a tennis career. But I’m very happy I made the mistakes that I did. That’s important to understand. They were my mistakes, not others’, and I learned from them.

“The mistakes are simple. After playing a good tournament, you get a week off. You can spend that week the right way, going for a one-hour run each day or going to the gym. Or you can do nothing like I did. You eat and drink whatever you want and not sleep at night. After that one week, maybe at 17 you don’t feel it. At 22 years old, you start to feel it. And you don’t play so well.”

More Main Draw Misfortune For Dancevic
Qualifying Grand Slam Man Frank Dancevic again fell in the first round of a Grand Slam after qualifying into the main draw. He was forced to retire when trailing by two sets against Marsel Ilhan on Tuesday. The Canadian became the first player ever to qualify into all four Grand Slams in the same season, but subsequently lost in the first round of each. In his four other qualifying attempts at regular ATP World Tour events this season he failed to make it through.

Read: Dancevic Is Qualifying’s Grand Slam Man

Can There Be A Teenage Grand Slam Champion?
The question was put to both World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and former teenage sensation Donald Young whether there could be a Grand Slam champion aged 17 or 18 in the modern day men’s game. Neither thought it likely.

“It's really hard to say,” said Djokovic, who won his first major title aged 20. “It's hard to predict if that's possible, but maybe I'm wrong. In my opinion, it's much harder to have teenagers as Grand Slam champions or No. 1s nowadays because it takes time for a body to develop and to get stronger and to get experience. It's so competitive physically much more than it used to be.”

Young, now 22, was among the winners on Tuesday and agreed with Djokovic that physicality would be a factor. “For sure it's different. I mean, unless somebody that's 17, 18 is 6'5" and really fully developed, it's going to be tough. Mentally, also. I don't know what the stat is in the Top 100, but someone told me the average age is 26, or something like that, and the Top 10 is 27. It's just tougher mentally to do it, and your body is probably not ready to do it day in and day out against grown men who work very hard.”

Comeback Kings
Three players came back from two sets down to win their first-round matches in five sets on Tuesday in New York. Two-time US Open semi-finalist Nikolay Davydenko, unseeded at this year’s event, ousted No. 32 seed Ivan Dodig 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. Marathon man Nicolas Mahut – of longest-match-ever-played fame – fought back to defeat Colombian Robert Farah 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to earn himself a crack at defending champion Rafael Nadal. Finally, in a re-match of their second-round clash at Winston-Salem last week, Steve Darcis defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-7(4), 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(0).

Murray Hearts NYC
Andy Murray has made no secret of his love for the US Open and told BBC Sport just why he enjoys visiting the Big Apple. “It's just an amazing city,” said the 2008 US Open runner-up. “So many big buildings, so many lights, so much stuff to do, good places to eat. There's just so much energy. The centre court is an unbelievable atmosphere; it's different to any other court. There's music playing at the change of ends. They have the night matches, which I've always enjoyed playing in. Everyone's normally had a few drinks and they're pretty loud. New York's just a really fun city to be in.”

Tweet Of The Day
@ivokarlovic - The paparazzi in front of hotel asked what's your ranking? Then I heard him saying to his friend: I'm not gonna take his photo if he's like 90

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