Ted Robinson, leaning back in a makeup chair in the USA Network office, seemed to stifle a yawn.
"At least," said the signature voice of late-night tennis here for 22 years, "I'm vertical.
"Believe me, I sound and look much better than I feel."
And that is something of an upset. Although much has been made of the Beijing Effect here at the U.S. Open -- the difficult double players faced in playing the Olympics and the U.S. Open with only one week in between -- consider Robinson's ludicrous one-day turnaround. That's right, one day.
Call it Ted's Not-So-Excellent Adventure.
Robinson, 51 and working his sixth Olympic Games, was in Beijing to broadcast the various diving events for NBC. His last day of work was Saturday, but after final editing and voice-over work, he didn't get back to his hotel until 6 a.m. Sunday.
"The restaurant was serving breakfast," Robinson said, "but we convinced them to serve us two Tsing Tsaos [beers]. It was a highlight."
His 14-hour flight left later Sunday, at 4 p.m. Beijing time. Sleeping much of the way to Chicago in a slightly reclined seat -- he didn't fly in the 747's first-class cabin -- Robinson didn't arrive in his New York hotel until 10 p.m. Eastern time Sunday. By then, his body rhythms were "completely out of whack."
Exacerbating the extreme jet lag he was feeling was the sleep deficit after surviving the previous five days with less than five hours of sleep because of the heavy workload. USA Network went on the air at 7 p.m. Monday, and Robinson called the Jankovic-Coco Vandeweghe match, then the James Blake
encounter that followed.
"The cumulative effect is what hits now," Robinson explained. "The good news? I don't have to run around and whack a ball. I can just sit on my rear end and watch them do it.
"It's part of what we do. If you accept this as your job, then you have to accept the lifestyle that goes with it."
This is a sound philosophy, and it might have carried him through the second match, but there was an unforeseen development.
"I was in pretty good shape until Donald Young won the fourth set," Robinson said, laughing. "I had to have them make me another cappuccino -- there was no chance I was going to make the fifth set without some kind of boost.
"The problem is I go back to the hotel at 1 a.m. -- and was wide awake for two hours. So, Donald Young's excellent showing cost me a couple of hours of sleep."
In all candor, Robinson looked pretty good Tuesday night during a visit to the media center. Oh, his eyes were a little red in the corners, but his energy level seemed strong as he ran down some information on Federer's opponent, Maximo Gonzalez
There's another incentive for Robinson to tough it out here after Beijing.
"This is our last waltz," Robinson said. "Working with the same people for so long -- 16 years with John McEnroe and 20 years with Tracy Austin -- you don't have that luxury in our business very often."
USA Network is in the last year of its contract to cover the U.S. Open; ESPN owns the cable rights beginning in 2009. And what of Robinson?
"Who knows?" he said. "To be determined."
Bad news, good news
's bum right shoulder prevented him from performing at his best against Robby Ginepri
in their first-round match, which Ginepri won 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (5). The Bosnia-born, Jacksonville-raised member of the University of Illinois 2003 NCAA championship team said he injured himself at the ATP event in Los Angeles earlier this month, but an MRI failed to locate the source of the pain.
Delic tried to rest the joint and didn't hit serves in practice for two weeks, but he couldn't get much leverage Wednesday. "It's tough to play one of the best returners in the game without a serve," he said. "I had Plan A, B, C and D, and I had to play Plan F."
But in the big picture, normally good-natured Delic is an even happier guy these days after undergoing surgery to correct a congenital condition that causes excessive sweating and has given him untold hassles through the years. Delic has used topical creams to try to deal with the problem, and went through heaps of towels and wristbands at every practice session and match to make sure he could maintain his grip on the racket.
When he first heard about the surgery -- through former Illini teammate Kevin Anderson's girlfriend, a fellow sufferer -- Delic wasn't sure he wanted to take the risk. It's a 30-minute outpatient procedure that involves deflating the lungs, going through small incisions under the arms and clamping a nerve between the second and third ribs on both sides.
After going ahead with the 30-minute operation in April, Delic now says he wishes he had done it a long time ago. "It's been life-altering," he said.
--Bonnie D. Ford
The Cup runneth around
The Davis Cup trophy is finishing up a rock-star-like national tour with an appearance at the U.S. Open. Encased in protective fiberglass, the 231.5-pound treasure, three wooden plinths topped by the famous silver cup first contested in 1900, is positioned at one of the entrances to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. A steady stream of people pose daily for pictures with the inanimate celebrity.
See it while you can. The U.S. team might have a hard time retaining the title it won over Russia in Portland, Ore., this past December, the country's first in 12 years. Nadal & Co. are hosting the semifinal on outdoor clay in a Madrid bullring next month. If the defending champions did pull off the upset, they would face either Argentina or Russia away, also presumably on clay.
U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe will formally announce his team next week, and barring injury, the usual suspects are expected to make up the roster: No. 8 Roddick, No. 9 Blake, and the doubles team of Bob
Bryan. McEnroe also has spoken to No. 61 Ginepri -- who advanced to the round of 16 at this year's French Open -- to consider coming as a fifth player who could replace Blake or Roddick. Ginepri, a faithful part of the team through the years, said he is weighing the decision.
The practice partners for the team will be younger Americans Scoville Jenkins
, Austin Krajicek
and Wayne Odesnik
--Bonnie D. Ford