US OPEN 2013
Smyczek Wins Running On Empty At US Open
New York, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
It became clear right at the beginning that Wednesday was going to be a day of stops and starts for Tim Smyczek.
He left for the US Open grounds bright and early for his first-round match, but soon found his chauffeur-driven journey unexpectedly interrupted.
"Yup we ran out of gas on the way to the courts. Just sitting on the side of the road..." he tweeted from the highway at 8:51 AM.
A few minutes later, the 25 year old posted a photo from beside the official transport car, writing, "Might as well get out and stretch my legs!"
Smyczek received many responses to his tweets from entertained readers, including some fellow players.
Half an hour later, he reported he was finally on site. "Thanks for the messages, we made it! Time to get ready for my match," he wrote.
Afterwards, he said he had no idea why the car was short of fuel but related more about what had happened. "We're going down the highway, and I noticed the cars started passing us. We were kind of slowing down. I look up and you can see the rpm meter. It's at zero. I'm like, 'Wait a minute, why are we just coasting?'" said Smyczek, adding that the car kept going for a little while before traffic conditions forced them to pull over and notify officials.
"Then a guy... who works for the tournament just happened to be passing by. He pulled over and said, 'Hey, you guys need a ride or something?'" he said. "He got us here on time."
There was time to spare since his match was scheduled second on Court 17 and didn't begin for almost three hours. "I get everywhere really early. I gave myself way too much time this morning. This one time it paid off," said the World No. 109, who received a wild card into the tournament.
But that turned out to be only the beginning of the delays. Rain interrupted his match against James Duckworth for two hours in the third set, with another delay lasting two hours, eight minutes shortly afterwards.
Smyczek finally won 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, nearly eight hours after first taking the courts. Play itself took two hours, 56 minutes, but the one-sided fourth set lasted 50 minutes in the humid conditions.
By the end of the day, he was the one running on empty. The American began cramping in his hands and arms during the fourth set.
"As soon as I got in the locker room, I just started to drink as much water and electrolytes as I could. I drank way too much because my stomach, I was really struggling the last hour and a half or so," he said.
Smyczek next plays Alex Bogomolov Jr., and might just be sneaking a peek at the gas gauge before he sets out for that match. "You better believe it," he smiled.