By Randy Walker
Much has been made of the numerous two-sets-to-love comebacks in the men’s field at the 2012 US Open.
Mardy Fish of the United States became the 10th man at the tournament this year to wedge out of an 0-2 hole, defeating former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 Thursday.
However, perhaps the biggest comeback at the 2012 US Open didn’t happen on the courts.
It happened in the press room.
One year after injuring his knee in a freak fall in his hotel room at the 2011 US Open, legendary journalist and tennis personality Bud Collins made his return to tennis Thursday. It had been 12 months since Collins had been in attendance at any tennis event – missing the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, the French Open and others. The tournament that he is most closely associated with, Wimbledon, was without Collins this year for the first time in 45 years.
Since last year’s US Open Collins has undergone 10 knee surgeries – one more knee surgery than Billie Jean King’s infamous knees had in her entire playing career. Multiple procedures were needed to heal his leg that for years so famously were covered in the most colorful and garish patterned pants.
You could say that Bud staged his own two-sets-to-love comeback victory Thursday.
Soon after his arrival on the grounds in Flushing, Collins and his wife Anita soon went to the media seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium to take in Fish’s comeback win. Retreating to the press room, he was greeted by a cavalcade of hugs, photos and salutations from his numerous friends and admirers, happy to see the man they all looked up to for so many years. Among his media colleagues, Bud is still accorded with top-seeded status – a “protected ranking” one could say, using WTA and ATP Tour tennis lingo accorded to injured players who miss significant playing time due to injuries.
Collins, 83, is covering the U.S. Championships for a 59th consecutive year. He will do some writing and reporting, spread his usual charm and good will, although a bit slower with a cane this year, and of course, he will be signing copies of his famous tennis encyclopedia THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS almost daily at the US Open bookstore. Fans can also buy the historical tennis compilation here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Collins-History-Tennis-Authoritative/dp/0942257707/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346415653&sr=8-1&keywords=bud+collins+history+of+tennis
Let’s count Bud’s “win” as the 11thtwo-sets-to-love comeback victory so far at the 2012 US Open.
Photo courtesy of Anita Ruthling Klaussen