US TENNIS OPENFLUSHING MEADOWS (AUG 28-SEPT 10)
NEXT up at the US Open for top seed and defending champion Roger Federer is Vince Spadea whose recent behind-the-scenes book on the ATP Tour has ruffled a few feathers in New York.
The 32-year-old American journeyman’s Break Point: The Secret Diary of a Pro Tennis Player hit the bookshelves this summer and while it hardly breaks new ground, it did offer a rare glimpse of life at the top of the tennis tree.
Among other cameos. Spadea expounds on a wild weekend with the younger Andre Agassi in New York, double dating models in Australia with Andy Roddick and calls into question the sportsmanship of James Blake.
The Rap music afficionado also, according to Tennis Weekly, answers such questions as “Who are the biggest womanisers on the ATP Tour? Who are the Tour’s biggest dogs? And what are the drawbacks to engaging female groupies?”
Not surprisingly the book has received a frosty welcome from Spadea’s fellow pros on the ATP Tour and Blake in particular has been incensed by the claims that he is not as nice a guy as he is portrayed.
“If you read it, you must have been one of the 10 books he sold,” Blake commented following his opening round win at Flushing Meadows.
“A lot of people are upset, not just me. I know he said stuff about Andre Agassi, my brother (Thomas Blake) and Mardy Fish.
“I don’t know any better guys than that, especially my brother. I don’t know what he was thinking. He doesn’t really know us.”
Spadea, however, is unrepentant saying that one “well-known” coach had even come up to him and criticised him for not being candid enough.
“You can’t control everyone’s opinion,” he said after defeating Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman to set up the third round tie with Federer.
“Obviously there were certain excerpts in the book about that individual, James Blake, so obviously he’s going to have a biased opinion on his total outlook on the book.
“But the book’s not about him. It’s just an expose to the maximum as far as I’m concerned.”
Blake though may not be alone in feeling put out by the Spadea “revelations” and the fact that he broke the unwritten code that says that what is said in the locker-room stays in the locker-room.
Another American, Robby Ginepri said that he had yet to read the book but had heard misgivings.
“I’ve heard a few comments from players and they weren’t too happy with it,” he said.
“You would think that pretty much it’s confidential, locker room talk.”
Fortunately for Spadea he had no dirt on the squeaky-clean Federer for which he could have paid a heavy price in their third round tie.
And he said he has taken hope from Andy Murray’s recent defeat of the world number one.
“I think that (defeat) mortalized him a little bit. It was a huge, huge upset so it kind of inspires me.” – AFP