It’s a Day of Dreams at Friday’s US Open
Steve Fogleman in New York
Friday qualifying has always been my favorite day of the year, and it’s finally upon us. When some people think about dreams coming true, they think of someone like Naomi Osaka winning a grand slam final in her first attempt. I don’t completely agree. Osaka’s run to the 2019 US Open title was indeed an incredible feat, but it’s likely to happen to less than 1% of pro players in their entire careers. For the rest of them, the dream isn’t winning the US Open, it’s playing in it. These athletes spend enormous amounts of cash to come to New York with their team and it’s a gamble unless you make it to the third round. A win in the third round, though, and it’s all gravy and glory: a $90,000 check awaits today’s main draw qualifiers.
These athletes won’t be talking about the money today, though. They’ll be talking about how they’ve watched the US Open since they were kids and always wanted to play here. They’ll be talking about their success stories in the past in juniors here and how they always wanted to compete with the grown-ups in the main draw.
Today’s qualifiers, by and large, harbor no delusions of grandeur. They’d love to win majors, but they know you’ve got to play in the main draw to reach the next career goal. Yes, dreaming of winning the US Open final may tantalize them, but in the end they can achieve a manageable goal of playing in the US Open main draw and come in here next week with house money looking to knock out a top seed. Today could also be a pinnacle career highlight for some qualifiers, the greatest memory they ever have when they finally put the racquet down for the last time.
Either way, it’s a day of dreams come true for the best 32 players on an uncharacteristically cool August day in New York. You must be dreaming if you think I’d miss it for anything.