Belfast Telegraph

There's no US Open fairytale ending in New York for Rodger Federer

By Billy Weir

You may be down and out in Beverly Hills, sleepless in Seattle, be feared and loathed in Las Vegas or even dead in Denver, but there's one gang in New York you don't want to be stuck with. For eight hours.

That was the horror that we all faced on Sunday night as the US Open Mens' Final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer was hit by bad weather meaning Sky had a lot of time to fill, and only Greg Rusedski and Annabel Croft to fill it.

Presenter Marcus Buckland must have wished he'd been asked to fill something easier in, like the Grand Canyon, and I don't mean the Maple-leafed one's mouth, but thankfully he was helped in his quest by a cameraman with an uncanny knack of spotting film stars in the Flushing Meadows crowd.

So we had the likes of Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Gerard Butler, Robert de Niro, Hugh Jackman and even the biggest actor of them all, David Beckham, with Rusedski commenting that "this waiting game is fascinating". It's not the first 'F' word that sprung to mind, but at two minutes past midnight, we were ready to go.

"Listen to the noise as the gladiators arrive," said commentator Mark Petchey, only for the camera to pan in on Jackman, while in Michigan a camera trained in on Russell Crowe at a Wolverines game.

"The delay has just heightened the tension. It has also allowed the crowd to go out and get an early dinner with some beverages. They are rocking," added Petchey as those armed with beer goggles soon made it clear who was going to be hero and villain of this epic.

Everything Federer did was cheered to the rafters, as were nasty Djokovic's mistakes - and there weren't many - as the beast from the east savaged the most popular thing to come out of Switzerland since a Toblerone.

The game twisted and turned, going one way and then the other, before the evil one prevailed.

"For a large part of that he was almost being vilified for his own personal greatness because he was ruining other people's fairytale out there," concluded Petchey.

Don't be daft, there are no fairytales in New York. If you want a Hollywood ending, then don't go east, go west young man.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: A moment of hilarity during Man Utd’s dismal clash with PSV when my significant other scoffed that LVG’s men had lost to a bunch of taxi drivers. It almost made me forget how bad they are, but nothing could make anyone forget how bad Michael Owen is on BT Sport. Taxi for Owen.

The bad: MC John McDonald proclaimed on Fight Night Live on Sky on Saturday night that “this is the moment you have been waiting for” as Anthony Joshua took on giant Scotsman Gary Cornish. We didn’t have long to wait, 97 seconds in total. It would take longer to eat a Cornish pastie.

The ugly: I’ve seen some toe-curling, stomach-churning programmes in my time but Piers Morgan’s sycophantic interview with Mo Farah sits proudly on top of the rostrum with a shiny brown medal around it. Farah has no chance of winning gold in Rio, not while trying to run round a track with a grown man hanging out of him.

The good, the bad and the ugly: Merse Meets Gazza was a special Fantasy Football Club offering on Sky over the weekend when Paul Merson caught up with Paul Gascoigne. At times riveting, at times excruciating but always interesting, it was a fascinating insight into a man who could have been one of the greatest players of all time. And I don’t mean Merson.

Belfast Telegraph


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