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In addition to an opening Saturday full of dramatic college football finishes, the weekend offered a memorable end to the professional tennis season. First, the men’s semifinal gave viewers a classic five-set battle between tennis legend Roger Federer and future legend Novak Djokovic. Roger won the first two sets, then gave up the next two, and had two match points in the fifth set. Novak answered with a killer forehand return to extend the match, then rallied the crowd and himself to seize victory, celebrating with a trademark dance. He outlasted Rafa Nadal in the final on Monday to take his first U.S. Open Championship.
Longtime JETLaw Blog readers are probably asking, “Hey, it looks like you just watched a lot of awesome tennis matches and football games this weekend instead of choosing a blog topic with legal relevance. What gives?”
Let me finish. This U.S. Open did raise an important legal issue. Andy Roddick may lead the charge to create a players’ union after concerns over dangerous, slippery courts delayed certain matches. According to Roddick, tennis players only receive about 13% of total revenues, far less than some other sports. A union would provide far more leverage to negotiate higher pay.
Another consideration is that professional tennis has thus far avoided a steroid scandal; will a players’ union affect steroid use? The greatest success of the MLB players’ union was avoiding steroid testing, thus ruining the game of baseball. Hopefully a tennis union will avoid providing a similar cushion for its athletes.
- Andrew Ralls
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