Wake up and read the Bergen Record and on page two there's a photo of Roberto Vinci but the paper misidentifies her as Sara Errani, her fellow Italian quarterfinal opponent. I wonder for a few seconds, how many readers besides me catch that error. I'm out to the Open today to deliver some Rios books to the U.S. Open bookstore. Rick Rennert put them right on the front table next to Wertheim's "Strokes of Genius" and Rene Stauffer's Fed book "Quest For Perfection."The first match I see is the Harrison Brothers on grandstand but they are down a break in the first set to Rojer and Quereshi. The Harrison's are surprisingly competitive, considering that Christian looks like a kid playing with men. Christian can hang but one of his second serves hung for Rojer who, from the ad court, blasted a laser up the line by Ryan, who could not even move for it because it was already by him.Paes and Step are getting ready to start on 17 against Julian Knowle and his partner. Can't believe the tall lefty Austrian Knowle, now 38, is still around. I did a Biofile with him about five years ago (it was fantastic - see below) and he seemed on the tail end of his career even then. But rain stops the warm up. And then a short while later they come out again and rain again sends them back before they can start. Rick Leach, is the coach of Paes, and I get to talk with him about Rios and Federer. I give him a copy of my Rios book in exchange for a Federer memory and he gives me a good one about playing Fed in doubles in Monte Carlo years ago with Prince Albert watching. Leach, who was #2 in the world in doubles at one time, winning numerous major doubles titles, also shares a Rios memory. Rios used to urinate all over the toilet seats in the player locker rooms, and not clean up. Typical early career rude behavior by the one and only Rios. I ask about his ol' partner Ellis Ferreira, and Leach says he is still close with the South African who I met in Longboat Key this past winter. Leach says they keep in touch "all the time."No juniors are playing today because they assigned all junior matches to courts off grounds at various indoor clubs. But there are a few juniors practicing on outer courts. That's got to be a bummer, a junior comes to NY to play the US Open and he or she has to go to a local club in Great Neck. But that's tennis. I go in to watch Gasquet-Ferrer on Armstrong and Ferrer is up two sets and tied 2-1. I'm in the front row on the side next to Ferrer's box, I can tell because one of the guys has a Bovet cap and Ferrer wears the Bovet patch on his arm. They are pretty quiet when I'm there.I have never seen Ferrer play from this close. What's initially striking about seeing Ferrer in action is how intense he is. He does not miss and when he executes a perfect drop shot to win a point, he has no reaction whatsoever, whatever he feels he totally contains. But he does play all out on every ball. On TV it looks like he is hitting every ball as hard as he can but live that's not true. Ferrer plays many balls at far less than 100% power, he actually mixes up speeds and paces. When Gasquet nails a shot to Ferrer's backhand, which lands deep in the corner, it's amazing how well Ferrer can handle that shot and do something with it. The Ferrer backhand is automatic. Also Ferrer glances to his box quite frequently though Michael told me he talked a lot with his team, which consists of three males, in the first two sets and it probably wasn't about dinner reservations. Ferrer is so consistent it looks like he could hit balls without missing for 48 hours if he wanted to. The man is a machine. And he is a very physically strong man when you see him up close. Thick legs and arms, muscular, defined. A very strong presence. But also a gentleman at the same time. You never see Ferrer get nasty or foul on the court, he is a consummate pro.Gasquet shows more emotion and facial expressions than you see on TV. After misses or bad calls, he makes gestures with his eyes and head that TV doesn't catch. He steps in and lances the slice return but then immediately drops back about three or four steps. He's most comfortable in the backcourt.I noticed Gasquet also glance to the Ferrer box, to his left, for a flash a few times, but more in an inquisitive way, not to intimidate or send any kind of message. Gasquet's coach Sebastian Grosjean is watching with Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement. Another rain delay comes at 3-3. Grosjean and Clement are waiting near the popcorn stand just inside Armstrong, before they learn the delay will be more than a few minutes.The mood is different here today, with the threats of rain, most people apparently skipped coming. The crowd size has the feel of a qualifying day, but with far less excitement and energy in the air. My friend had an Ashe ticket for Azarenka-Stosur but her friend decided to not come with her. Her ticket was $450 and her seats were not close to the court at all. Her ticket was from a rainout from last year.Peter Bodo was hanging outside the media center with some friends during one drizzle delay. Also spotted Chris Clarey and Kamakshi Tandon coming back from the food court with some grub. The former Knicks announcer John Andariese was talking with friends near the big fountain in front of Ashe. In three hours at the Open today I saw about 25 total points played. After the second delay and talking with some familiar faces, I surmise that the skies are looking very gray and the drizzle does seem ready to relent. It's time to head back to NJ.
BONUS BIOFILE Julian Knowle (from 2007 U.S. Open)Status: 10th seed in doubles at the U.S. Open with partner Simon Aspelin of Sweden will play the Doubles final today. Ht: 6-2 Wt: 158DOB: April 29, 1974 In: Louterach, AustriaHobbies/Interests: "Well I'm a big soccer fan (AC Milan) and I like to ski."Tennis Inspiration: "Well, when I was a kid my idol was Edberg and I loved watching him. But now it's - well, I'm picking here and there but it's not - I don't have those idols any more. Too old for it [smiles]."Favorite Movie: "That's a tough question. Can't tell."Favorite TV Shows: "America's Next Top Model [laughs]."Musical Tastes: "Pretty much everything but U2 is my favorite band."First Car: "VW."Current Car: "Alpha Romeo [black]."Favorite Meal: "Pizza."Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Chocolate. Is this about tennis also [laughs]."First Tennis Memory: "That's Tarp (France), under 14 junior tournament, where I played with like 6,000 people, TVs and everything. Played finals, I lost to an American guy Brian Dunn. But that was huge. In juniors."Pre-Match Feeling: "I don't tell [smiles]."Greatest Sports Moment: "I would say Wimbledon finals in doubles in 2004."Most Painful Moment: "There are a lot. But there was for sure one here when we lost to Gonzalez/Massu 7-6 in the third. The French Open again, quarterfinals, Gonzalez/Massu 7-6 in the third."Favorite Tournament: "Wimbledon."Closest Friends In Tennis: "There are some. I would say Austrian players - Jurgen Melzer, Alex Peya. From other countries - it's the guys I'm playing with - Simon (Aspelin), Mario Ancic. A few guys."Toughest Competitor: "The Bryans."Funny Memory: "Well it's not so funny, I was practicing at the French Open, when I was still playing singles. I don't know if you've ever been there, you go up to the practice court, you go up the stairs. And downstairs the people eat outside. And I was practicing and I was little bit pissed off. And I throw the racquet and the racquet went a little bit too far and it went down where the people were sitting. So I was really scared to go down to pick up my racquet. So luckily it didn't hit anybody. (You didn't go to get it?) I had to go. My coach send me there. And it was Salvador Navarro - he's coaching Garcia Lopez now - he was there at the table. He was telling me some not so nice words [smiles]."Embarrassing Memory: "That was pretty embarrassing [smiles]. The most embarrassing was when I played a kind of invitation tournament. And I was a junior, like 17 or 18. And it was in my hometown and I played against Michael Stich, he was Wimbledon champion a year before. The year before I played against Emilio Sanchez, the match of my life. And I played really well. And I come back a year after and I couldn't put a ball in the court. I think I served about 35 double faults. And it was 0 and 1 and the people were whistling and I wanted to leave the court right after the first set [laughs]. Then the changeover he told me, Take it easy, don't be so tight. On the shake hands he tells me, Do you want to play another set? Let me go, LET ME GO OFF THE COURT [laughs]."Favorite Players To Watch: "Today, well, Federer. And I like also Haas to watch. I think he's great, great to watch."Last Book Read: "I'm still working on that. How do you say it in English - it's about shares - stock market."Last Vacation: "When I was 12-years-old, to Italy of course. My favorite country."People Qualities Most Admired: "The most important is that they are honest. That's for me the most. I don't mind if they like me. Honesty. And you miss that a little bit on the Tour."