US Open’s Significant Numbers - UBITENNIS
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US Open’s Significant Numbers

Though it was seventy-five years ago, Joe Hunt’s victory is still meaningful.



One of this year’s major US Open stories is in the numbers. The tournament is the fiftieth of the Open Era and the fortieth time it has been staged at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. But, for a select group of tennis devotees the August 27th until September 9th event is even more significant. It offers a “Lookback” opportunity, in truth a celebration, of Joe Hunt’s championship victory seventy-five years ago.


In 1942, Ted Schroeder slipped past Frank Parker in the US National Championships singles final, 8-6, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2. A year later, Schroeder, in the military because of national preparation for World War II, was unable to defend his title. Joe Hunt took full advantage of the situation. In another All-American contest, on a brutally hot and humid afternoon, he defeated Jack Kramer for the title 6-3, 6-8, 10-8, 6-0 on the grass at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York.

When Kramer’s last shot traveled long, Hunt collapsed on the baseline and simply sat there, because he had leg cramps. His opponent, who had his own issues dealing with food poisoning during the tournament, was similarly exhausted. He, none-the-less, hopped the net then sat down next to the winner, and shook hands with him. Many years later, Kramer jokingly commented that although he was weak, if he had been able to last a bit longer he may have triumphed by default.

Seventy-five years ago, the world was different. Beginning in 1939, World War II had devoured borders and changed Europe and Asia, (and not for the better). There were food and production shortages, and lifestyles were frequently altered. From a tennis standpoint, the annual fortnight in New York became a six-day tournament. The singles draws featured 32 players while the doubles had 16 tandems. Since many of the men were involved in military service, those participating in the event were not “match fit”. They hadn’t been competing since it was next to impossible to get leave from military commitments and, coupled with travel and gasoline restrictions, players were not focused on playing tennis tournaments. In fact, the US National Championships, (the only one of the four majors to be held during the war), had to rely on the government to release “limited amounts” of reclaimed rubber so that tennis balls could be made.

(Hunt would subsequently die fifteen days shy of his 26th birthday on February 2, 1945 when his Navy Hellcat, a WWII combat aircraft, crashed into the ocean while he was on a training flight off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida.)

Hunt’s great-nephew, Joseph (Joe) T. Hunt grew up playing tennis in Santa Barbara, California. He is now an attorney practicing in Seattle, Washington and he takes advantage of opportunities to get on the court regularly. More important, he has led the family’s effort to ensure that Joe Hunt isn’t forgotten.

“I have to really spend some time to gather my thoughts on what the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of Joe’s victory means,” he said. “I have so many of them.  Joe was a patriot from what is considered the greatest generation of our nation.  He is the only American tennis champion to lose his life serving his country in a time of war.  We lost him so early and so young.  He never had a chance to reach his full potential, yet he accomplished so much by the age of 25.  He was a remarkable young man, devoted to tennis, devoted to his family and devoted to his country.  The family lost him, and tennis lost him.  Over time, while the family continued to grieve the loss of our uncle, brother and son, tennis seemed to forget and not consider the meaning of this loss to the game.”

Tennis historians credit Kramer for developing the “Big Game” – meaning being a serve and volleyer. According to Bobby Riggs, a contemporary of his, Hunt used the tactic before the iconic Kramer.

“As maybe the first true serve and volleyer, Joe was changing the game itself,” his great nephew said. “He never had a chance to tell his story from his perspective.  I feel I have been his only voice in trying to tell the tennis world who he really was and what we all lost.”

The original Joe Hunt was one-of-a-kind not only because of his athletic ability, but also because of his blond good looks and his marvelous charisma. As a junior, he was a star, winning the National Boys’ 15 and 18 titles. By the age of 17, his success on court earned him a US Top 10 ranking. In 1938, he was USC’s top player and didn’t lose a singles or doubles match. He enlisted and transferred to the US Naval Academy. In 1940, he was a halfback (American football) and played against Army that season, earning a game ball for his outstanding performance. The next year, he became the only competitor [ever] from the Naval Academy to win the NCAA singles championship.

Hunt continued, “Joe went out for football at the Naval Academy because he loved that sport too. He also wanted to be part of a team.  He was the most famous player on the football team by a mile, and it wasn’t for football.”  But, with all his stardom, he spent the hot summer and chilly fall getting pushed into the mud by seasoned players who wanted to make sure he knew he was no ‘star’ on their field.  And he was fine with that.  When he had the choice of skipping football practice so that he could play Forest Hills and possibly win it, he went to football practice.  He would not let his teammates down, even though he was destined to spend more time on the bench than on the field as a backup running back.  But, those on the football team respected him for it.  They knew Joe’s tennis hands and legs were Davis Cup commodities and they saw Joe give them up for the team they were on.  That is why they gave him the game ball for the 1941 Army Navy game, and every teammate signed it for him.

“Now, after seventy-five years, the last remnants of the greatest generation are bidding farewell, and we as a nation are at a moment of moral truth.  How are we to say goodbye to them?  How are we to remember and honor them?  How are we to protect their legacy of saving the world for future generations?  Each soul lost in the war effort is a part of that legacy.  How will tennis address this?  We just saw a great remembrance of the return of the bodies of men who gave their lives in the Korean War.  Bringing home, the bodies after so many years was hugely significant to the families and the nation.  I think of Joe’s body, never recovered, at the bottom of the Atlantic with his plane.  It’s a sadness our family still bears.”

The times were unparalleled, which makes it no surprise that an unmatched backstory resulted. “I know that Joe was not the only player to not have a chance to defend his title, because Ted (Schroeder) won it in 1942 and was not able to defend in 1943,” Hunt pointed out.  “They both were Navy fliers stationed in Pensacola, Florida.  Neither was granted leave to play Forest Hills so they both entered the local Pensacola tournament held at the same time as the National Championships.  Of course, the local tennis community couldn’t believe their lucky stars to have the 1942 and the 1943 champions playing in the tournament.  It was billed as the ‘Clash of Net Champions’ and would supposedly determine the true No. 1 player in the country, despite that ‘other’ tournament taking place in New York.  Joe and Ted both reached the final where ‘urban legend’ has it that they played their match in front of thousands on September 4, 1944, while Frank Parker was playing Bill Talbert in the final of Forest Hills (and winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3).  I have spent hours trying to vet the truth of this story. I know that it is true, I just don’t know if it is 100% true that the two finals were played simultaneously.   In any event, Joe beat Ted 6-4, 6-4.  Despite what many have written, this was, in fact, the last tournament match of Joe’s life.”

Seventy-five years was too long ago to remember for most of us. Memories and treasures from that time are scattered here and there. Some are lost forever. In the case of Joe Hunt, his accomplishments, along with the individual himself, should not be left covered in dust and diminished by the passage of time.

Great nephew Joe Hunt said, “I think of a young man who stood for literally everything that is true and good in sport.  An amateur who wasn’t seeking to profit off his game.  He left his immensely successful life in Southern California to enter the Naval Academy, knowing that it would literally make it near impossible to achieve his dreams as a tennis champion. He intrinsically understood sportsmanship, camaraderie and good will.  Everyone loved Joe.  He played for all he was worth, but never took a ‘win at all costs’ approach to tennis.  He put the right things ahead of the game.”


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Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals



Iga Swiatek doing her best Hulk Hogan impression on Wednesday (

Are we just one round away from World No.1 Iga Swiatek facing World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in a humungous women’s final?


On Thursday in Paris, Swiatek and Sabalenka are both favorites to win their semifinals.  But Beatriz Haddad Maia and Karolina Muchova both provide challenging styles of play, and their chances should not be overlooked.

Also, the mixed doubles championship match will be staged, featuring an inspiring redemption story, and the 2019 US Open women’s singles champion.

Karolina Muchova vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Sabalenka is 34-5 this season, and is vying for her sixth final of the year, and her 13th consecutive win at a Major.  After losing her first three Slam semifinals, all by the score of 6-4 in the third, she broke through this past January in Melbourne with a straight-set victory over Magda Linette.  Aryna has claimed all 10 sets she’s played this fortnight.

Muchova is 22-7 on the year, and is into the second Major semifinal of her career.  She first achieved this feat two years ago at the Australian Open, when she lost a three-set semifinal to Jennifer Brady.  Karolina has dropped one set to this stage, and notably upset another Roland Garros semifinalist, Maria Sakkari, in the first round.

They’ve only played once before, four years ago on a hard court in Zhuhai, with Sabalenka prevailing in a tight two-setter.  Muchova’s variety is often quite effective in disrupting her opponents.  But based on the confidence Aryna has been playing with, her huge game makes her the favorite to reach a second consecutive Major final.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) – Last on Court Philippe Chatrier

Swiatek is 33-6 in 2023, and is looking for her fifth final of the season.  She is 17-2 on clay this year, and 26-2 lifetime at Roland Garros.  And Iga has been completely dominant this fortnight, losing only 17 games across nine sets.  She holds a 3-1 record in Major semifinals.

This is entirely new territory for Haddad Maia.  Prior to this tournament, she was 0-7 in the second round of Slams.  But she’s now 22-11 this year, after winning four consecutive three-setters at this event, and upsetting Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.

Beatriz is actually 1-0 against Iga, having defeated her 7-5 in the third last summer in Toronto.  She utilizes her lefty-ness well, and was intelligently aggressive during pivotal times of her match against Jabeur.  But on this surface, and in a match of this magnitude, Swiatek is a considerable favorite to reach her third Roland Garros final.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Miyu Kato and Tim Puetz vs. Bianca Andreescu and Michael Venus – Kato was defaulted from the women’s doubles draw after hitting a ball girl with a ball, but has owned that error and earned a lot of goodwill in the process.  This is a first Major final in any discipline for Kati and Puetz, while Venus won the men’s doubles title at this event six years ago, and Andreescu’s resume is well-documented.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit

Ons Jabeur has admitted she rushed back from injury just to play Roland Garros as she exited the tournament in the quarter-finals.



Ons Jabeur (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur admitted to rushing back from injury during the clay court season after exiting Roland Garros.


The Tunisian is out of the second Grand Slam of the season after a three set defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Jabeur had control of the majority of the first two sets but a third set capitulation saw her clay court season end in disappointing fashion.

After the match Jabeur admitted it was disappointing to lose but is proud of her tournament in Paris, “We always want to do better, unless we win the title, you know,” Jabeur said in her post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it is a great tournament. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals. Especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.

“I think it was good. I was trying to push myself until the end, but I think pretty satisfied with the results. You always want to push for more, but I mean hopefully next time will be better, and no more quarterfinal here at the French Open.”

Despite the result Jabeur can be proud of her efforts as she looks to build on a positive week and a half in Paris ahead of the grass court season.

Jabeur also commented on her physical state after a gruelling tournament in Paris.

The Tunisian said nothing is hurting but admitted she wanted to rush back from her injury in order to be back for Roland Garros, “Yeah, thank God, there is nothing hurting. I didn’t have much time to prepare for especially clay season because it’s more physical than any other surface,” Jabeur admitted.

“I’m feeling okay. I think I rushed my way back on tour, but that’s because I wanted to be ready for the French Open. You know, like all the training and the physical training, maybe I didn’t have enough time to prepare for that, but I did my maximum. I did what I could do in a short time period.

“But, yeah, she probably played longer than me, but she’s a beast, and I wish her all the best. I mean, honestly, what she’s doing for — I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.

“But, yeah, for me now I’m going to try to rest a little bit and be ready, but I’m good for now.”

Jabeur will look to be physically fit ready for the grass court season where she looks to defend her performance from last year where she reached the final.

The Tunisian outlined her grass court season towards the end of the press conference and admitted she’s hoping to play doubles with Venus Williams having played with Serena Williams last year, “Yeah, for now I think I’m going to have the same schedule. Berlin, Eastbourne,” Jabeur said.

“Maybe Venus wants to play doubles there. I’m not sure. She didn’t ask me yet. Then Wimbledon. Just trying to play as much matches as I can. To be honest with you, I want to enjoy playing on grass because I do enjoy a lot. I have my brother’s wedding before, so I’m going to party for a bit and just be ready.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon. I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted. Last year was unfortunate because I was very close. When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here.”

Jabeur will look to achieve her dream when Wimbledon takes place on the 3rd of July.

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Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek reaches her third Roland Garros semi-final with a straight sets win over Coco Gauff.



Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for a third time after defeating Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2.


The Pole extended her head-to-head over the American to 7-0 and 14-0 in sets as her title defence will continue into the final four.

It was a valiant effort by the American but ultimately fell short of reaching the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Next for Swiatek is Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals.

It was a positive start from Gauff as she played aggressive, smart tennis from the beginning to test Swiatek from the baseline.

However the Pole edged to a couple of service holds and would break to love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as her returning quality showed.

Gauff provided an immediate response in the next game to break back as she tested Swiatek’s rally tolerance and tested the Pole’s defensive rustiness.

The American was holding onto her service games despite producing below 40% of her first serves.

Swiatek continued to find big points in pressure moments as Gauff was producing some big shots on pressure points.

In the end the Pole’s returning presence and quality showed as she broke for the set with Gauff producing a number of errors.

There was a slight moment of hope for the American at the start of the second set as she overcame the poor end to the first set with some effective point construction.

Last year’s finalist set up three break points but made some fairly erratic errors as any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out.

Swiatek remained aggressive, proactive and produced world-class depth to take advantage of Gauff’s error-prone game.

The Pole’s level of play intensified and improved as she sealed too late breaks of serve in impressive fashion as she claimed victory in 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match Swiatek said the match wasn’t easy but was happy to get through, “For sure, it wasn’t easy – the first set, especially, was really tight and Coco was really using the conditions here,” Swiatek was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“I’m pretty happy I was able to work on it and win this match because quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches. Even though Coco is young, she is experienced so I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final.

“We play many tournaments in the year where we have to play day after day but I’m pretty fresh because, as you saw in previous matches. I didn’t really spend too much time on court so I’m actually happy today was a tighter match.

“I will be ready no matter what and not having a day off was something that I knew since the beginning of the tournament so I am ready for this situation.”

Another tough loss for Gauff to take as Swiatek seals her place in the semi-finals in Paris for a third time.

Next for Swiatek will be Beatriz Haddad Maia tomorrow.

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