I arrive about 3 to the U.S. Open day one qualies. After picking up my credential I pass by all the outer courts to see what's going on. Clement vs. Dancevic are in the first set (Frank The Tank - he told me in his Biofile that's his nickname on the Tour - would later win 6-3 6-3). Urszula Radwanska is just beginning her match with Anna Lena Groenfeld. Inside Armstrong is Tsonga hitting with Stan the Man Wawrinka (photo). Adidas coach Sven Groenveld is behind the baseline observing. We greet and chat a little about my Rios book, which will be available sometime next week. Sven also tells me about the earthquake that shook the grounds about an hour earlier. I didn't feel it in New York City at the boxing press conference in Chelsea (Andre Ward vs. Carl "The Cobra" Froch) but Sven said he was dizzy for about five seconds after and Andy Murray also tweeted that he felt dizziness too. Gosh, an earthquake is about the last thing America needs now, let's keep our fingers crossed about that fault line.On grandstand, Monfils is hitting with Kohlschreiber. Something unusual always happens when Monfils is on the court and sure enough, it happens after about four minutes. Kohli pulls La Monf wide on the forehand side, WAYYY wide, where Monfils hits the ball about five steps outside the doubles alley and about an arm's length from the wall. La Monf misfires the shot and then requests to be fed four more balls from that strange court position. La Monf playfully tries to hit it four more times but can't find the corner. Outside, young American Dennis Kudla is locked in at 3-3 in the third set tiebreak with an Italian lefty named Andrea Arnaboldi. Kudla ends up down two match points but saves them both, before winning it 9-7. Another very impressive performance by the talented teen who was a finalist here last year in the junior finals, where Jack Sock defeated him. Jesse Witten was out watching this conclusion. I tell him, There's the man who had Djokovic staggered on the ropes in Armstrong. Jesse, gives a friendly smile back. He's fifth on against Bozoljac. Witten says they are pretty even in career head to head but the Serbian strung together a few consecutive wins over him indoors with his big serve. I later see Witten lost the match 6-3 6-2.Michelle Larcher De Brito is playing a Ukrainian girl but the former top Bollettieri prospect is down 1-3 in the first set and looking rather negative about her chances. Her grunts on each stroke sound desperate and not forceful and her baseline game seems featherweight compared to her middleweight opponent. It's unbearable to watch but the Portugal former prodigy is a tenacious fighter and I hope she can turn the tide. Over there leaning on the bleachers around court 6 is a coach of a young American junior girl who advanced deep into the draw last year and this year is in the qualies of the main draw. I met him last year. He is very knowledgeable about the sport and speaks with a gentle but forcefully convincing confidence which is fascinating in a different kind of way. We talk about the men's game and he adamantly believes Nadal has got to change his backhand to beat Djokovic, there's no other way. And Murray has the arsenal to beat Djokovic and Nadal and Federer in big matches but he's "a wimp." This coach adds that Murray does not send the body language message to his arch-rivals that says: "I'm gonna kick your ass." He likes the games of Tomic but feels Harrison, at this point, is too basic, he does everything right but nothing special. He likes Dolgopolov too but the question about him is will he adapt and mature and change his game in the near future, or is he content where is now, to make a living at pro tennis? Richard Berankis dominated his opponent from Spain Guillermo Acaide, winning 6-2 6-2. Berankis looks noticeably more muscular in the legs. I spotted Thomas Hogstedt twice. The coach of Maria Sharapova was around the grounds with Maria's hitting partner Vladimir Volchkov, watching a women's match, and also in the food court with pals. It's kinda strange to see Hogstedt outside of his standard courtside seat, stoically watching Maria battle it out. Everyone is excited to be here for the unofficial first day of the 2011 U.S. Open. I run into co-owner Dan Markowitz, with son Callum in the food court. Callum still remembers beating me in Newport on the grass court and the match point where he pulled me wide to the forehand and forced me to dive for the shot, where he then countered with the backhand winner. Though we were playing on the half court without a net, 5-year-old Callum showed good consistency and a tireless zeal for competing, like his father, and a likable playful streak as he does not hesitate to remind me of our epic point. Late in the afternoon I see Michael, the famous commenter from this site and ace photographer, who I also accidentally bumped into and met at the Dustin Brown vs. Hidalgo match one year ago. Michael is at the Noppawan Lertcheewakarn match. We share a laugh about some of my inconsistent comments and Red's ability to ruffle readers feathers. Michael is the ultimate Open ironman, from 10 am to midnight just about every day, he is shooting, shooting and shooting, rarely taking a seat. Then he comes back and does it again the next day, and again...Wow. I just looked up the Larcher score at USOpen.org and she won a third set tiebreaker 7-3 over Lesia Tsurenko, the 20th seed. I can't believe it. Tennis is the greatest sport...[caption id="attachment_3642" align="alignright" width="300" caption="tennis-prose.com contributor Christian Koskorelos, who used to hit with American rising star Christina McHale at 6:30 in the morning, enjoying the qualies action with Scoop."][/caption]How about these quotes from ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale...Q. How do you both look at what's going on with Nadal this year? Had such a dominant year last year. Djokovic's rise has done something to his psyche. How do you feel about how he's handling it and how he looks at 25? CLIFF DRYSDALE: You know, the game for me, it's changed for both Federer and Nadal with Djokovic. You know, clichés and stuff. But unbelievable to me how Djokovic has changed the mix of the whole field because you take away -- when somebody makes the kind of move that he's made, it has an effect in the locker room because the rest of the field now takes a look at Federer and Nadal - your question is about Nadal - but they see those two in a different light, and they see they're beatable by a guy like Djokovic who makes a move that he made. So I think that's one of the issues. The other issues we're not sure about. He's just come out with this book that sort of identifies some of the issues he's had in the past. But psychological maybe and physical also. Potential that this foot issue he talked about in the book is a problem for him. Outside of that, to explain his problems, I think it can be summed up in one word, and that is the man from Serbia. Q. It's very interesting to watch how he's handling or not handling Djokovic compared to Federer. He solved Federer. He clearly has not solved Djokovic. Is it simply he's butted his head against a guy he just can't figure out? CLIFF DRYSDALE: Again, I'm going to repeat myself. But to me it's really an important point. I'm interested in the mechanics of this game and the strategy of it. I felt all along that a player who can hit the ball flat and hard, and do it consistently, that's not an easy assignment, that's not something that's easy to do, that would cause him problems because he has so much spin. Nadal has over the years adapted his game to his competition, there's no question about that. But, you know, Federer doesn't have the flat ball hit particularly off the backhand side, so that was a vulnerable side for him, and that's how Nadal was able to get the better of him. But he cannot do that against Djokovic. He wants to. He wants to figure him out. But it's going to be very difficult for him to do that, in my opinion, as long as Djokovic stays healthy because this kid has got the flat ball.------------------Met Andres Bella who is an artist, he was with us watching the Klahn-Sandgren match. He creates tennis related art and definitely worth a look: www.andresbellaart.com