February 11, 2015 -- I always considered tennis the most boring sport in the world, these guys standing in their shorts hitting the ball back and forth. I got interested in tennis for the first time when I was scrolling through the channels and caught the semifinals of the 2012 US Open in New York City. There was a tornado warning, papers and even chairs were flying around, and this big Czech dude was trying to serve, the wind carrying the ball away. It was great stuff. I watched the whole thing and stayed to watch the second semifinals where this wimpy Serbian guy complained about playing in a wind tunnel. Thank God Americans are made of tougher stuff. The officials didn't listen to him, but when the tornado neared the stadium, they called a halt.
I have never been prouder to be an American than watching the US Open officials defend themselves. The idea that there should be a roof on the court is pathetic. Let tennis be tennis. When the officials learned that the TV ratings were great, they made one of the most important decisions in the history of the sport. They moved the US Open to February. As you know, that has changed the whole nature of tennis. It's dramatic stuff hoping for a blizzard so the players can really show what they are made of.
I'll never forget the 2014 final, Serena Williams' last year. Falling behind in the final set as the snow fell on the court, she took off her snowsuit. On the verge of hypothermia, she held on and won her final US Open title.
Clearly one of the reasons John Isner has emerged as the top American player is the way he has handled what is known as the Great American Challenge, the US Open. Who can forget his straight set triumph in 2015 against an obscure Brazilian who had never played in subzero weather before?
Who cares that many of the players from the rest of the world no longer compete at the US Open? They are a bunch of wimps. And think how this new tennis has advanced the sport in so many ways. The new all-weather rubber balls are fantastic. Tennis stores are selling rain gear, boots, and real warm-up suits. And kids are getting back on the courts in what has become a major winter sport.
So let me just say thank you US Open officials for everything you have done. And thank you CBS for pushing the officials to keep to their primetime schedule and getting such great ratings. I've even started playing tennis. I look out the window and if the wind picks up, or it starts to rain or snow, I'm out there with my buddies hitting away.