Scenes from Queens: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Simona Halep shocked by qualifiers Daniel Galan and Daria Snigur; more from US Open's Day 1
NEW YORK—Day 1 at the US Open, personified in the shape of that twisted, breaded, salted doughy item also known as a New York pretzel. Forty-four years ago, on opening day of the first US Open played at Flushing Meadows, my friend Mike and I arrived at the US Open for the first time, the last leg of our cross-country drive from Los Angeles. There was a pretzel that day too, chewed as we squeezed through a crowd to watch Jimmy Connors practice.
Since then, it’s my opening-day tradition (well, one of them). Now today, with the temperature a sticky 82 degrees, the craving for the pretzel is underway. Stand now near the fountain and the big video screen, showcasing three courts—2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in control versus Harmony Tan until she isn’t, American Sebastian Korda in a tight one against qualifier Facundo Bagnis, 2016 US Open winner Stan Wawrinka still zinging his backhand, today against lucky loser Corentin Moutet (alas, Stan would retire). But the pursuit of the pretzel must continue.
Head south and gaze at Court 14—No. 30 seed Maxime Cressy. Back when I first surfaced here in 1978, net-rushers like him were the rule. Now, Cressy’s an outlier, but skilled at it well enough to currently be frustrating world No. 98 Marton Fucsovics. Just to the west, on 13, No. 31 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili is struggling versus qualifier Yibing Wu.
In line at the Kosher Grill. At last, the pretzel, mostly doughy, reasonably salted, mildly crisp, splatted with mustard. Back now through thick crowds, headed in all directions. A few of the pros, carrying their racquet bags, headed to practice. The pretzel has lasted seven minutes. Other US Open rituals to follow.—Joel Drucker