World No. 1 and US Open champion Iga Swiatek speaks to CNN about the US Open in New York, a place she has visited thrice. (0:49)
NEW YORK — There are, of course, many things in which a person can be said to have a case of the blues. But the feeling of a lifetime ago playing in the US Open and not winning? That makes me feel like the luckiest man alive.
For me it was a case of getting to the final of the US Open with only two weeks to prepare for a tournament this size to finally get my chance at the top of the draw in a Grand Slam tournament.
It came when my best friend, Jeff, and I were at my parent’s house in Florida, and we were discussing what we were going to do to start a new life. I thought we would be in our mid-30s at that point, but as you know, I have always been a late bloomer.
After the conversation ended, I came downstairs and realized Jeff was already asleep. He had a cold, and he was probably just going to stay in bed all day. So I sat on the couch with him and watched TV.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me.
The US Open was right there. I could make it happen again, which meant the world to me.
I was so happy on the ride back to the airport after the US Open because I got to see my good friend, Jeff, and spend the day with him. He had bought an airline ticket to fly home, so he wouldn’t be able to make it through the US Open without me.
Jeff and I have been through a lot together. Through it all we were there for one another. I think we were so close that we couldn’t separate our friendship, and he was the only person who could make things work in the end. Jeff’s dad made him take some time off in order to go to the US Open, and for his first tournament since becoming a father, I took his place. He was at the US Open, and I was at the opening match at the US Open. (We joke now that his dad got him to leave for this tournament so he