The Great Bridge Boycott

During the last week of August, the European Bridge League held a qualifying tournament for the 2021 World National Team Championships. Nineteen days before it began, two well-known German players withdrew. In a brief post on, a lively online forum whose participants include many of the world’s best players, they explained why: “Fulvio Fantoni is confirmed to be a player on the Italian national team.” Fantoni and a regular…

October 13, 2021

Ben Simmons And The Acceptance Of Failure

If Ben Simmons gets his way, and—despite the four years and hundred and forty-seven million dollars remaining on his contract—never plays for the Philadelphia 76ers again, the last shot he took for the team will, fittingly, be one he didn’t want to take: a free throw. He took that foul shot this past June, against the Atlanta Hawks, with a minute and forty-eight seconds left in the fourth quarter of…

October 3, 2021

Djokovic Finally Won The Crowd, But Daniil Medvedev Won The U.S. Open

Daniil Medvedev is a player worth watching in isolation. Forget his opponent for a game or two, forget the score, and just watch him. Watch how he serves—how nonchalantly he seems to toss the ball to the sky, how little he bends his knees or back before swatting the ball. Watch how he waits to return a serve, way back near where the ball kids stand, loosely dangling his racquet:…

September 13, 2021

A Tennis Fairy Tale In New York

There was no way to know what to expect from the U.S. Open women’s final, because, for two weeks, the teen-agers Emma Raducanu, of Britain, and Leylah Fernandez, of Canada, had been making a mockery of expectations. An undersized scrapper ranked seventy-third in the world is not supposed to beat the defending champion, the 2016 champion, the fifth seed, and the second seed—usually by playing her best, bravest tennis in…

September 12, 2021

The Joyful Teen-Agers Who Have Taken Over The U.S. Open

In June, Emma Raducanu was ranked three hundred and sixty-sixth in the world. She was the twelfth-ranked female player in Britain. She had spent the long lockdown rebuilding her forehand—new grip, more spin—and studying for end-of-school exams. It had been a year and a half since she had played an official match. She is eighteen years old. After a wild run into the third round at Wimbledon, where she had…

September 9, 2021

The U.S. Open Is Open Once Again

August 31, 2021

There were nearly thirty-one thousand people on hand Monday for the first day session of the U.S. Open. That’s about ten thousand fewer than attended two years ago, the last time spectators were in the stands. Last year, on account of COVID-19, there were no tickets sold, and the ongoing pandemic was likely a factor in the fall-off in this year’s attendance, with fewer foreign visitors, and uneasiness among people—particularly…