Dave Worsley: Heaven forbid, tennis stars speak their minds at US Open

OPINION: There's personality out there and it's hitting you - balls first - in the face… and you may not like it.

Yes, that's right, tennis players are letting rip and actually speaking their minds, instead of just the boring old 'one match at a time, blah, blah, blah'.

At this US Open, we've had Roger Federer utter a naughty word, as he defended accusations that he personally influences the scheduling of his matches.

"I've heard this shit too often, and I'm sick and tired of it."

The genial Swiss master showed some aggro and it was refreshing.

Defending champ and world No.1 Novak Djokovic did more than that - he channeled Liam Neeson from the movie Taken, when he told a heckling spectator: "I'll come find you after the match.

"Trust me, I'll come find you."

You really don't want to upset some of the Serb's supporters and countrymen. They're not people to be messed with.

American qualifier Taylor Townsend has added some thoughtfulness to media conferences, relating how she considered retirement, with her career going nowhere, but persevered and has been rewarded with an unorthodox playing style that thrills crowds and has seen her into the fourth round.

Taylor Townsend in action at the US Open
Taylor Townsend in action at the US Open. Photo credit: Reuters.

Her answers to all questions have been considered, educating and eye-opening, and other top players are taking notice.

Wildcard American Kirstie Ahn, ranked No.138 in the world, made the main draw for the first time in 11 years and also reached the fourth round, but says her parents keep asking when she will retire from the sport.

She has a science degree from Stanford University and her parents want the 27-year-old to pursue that career, not a sport where they see limited future.

Apparently, Ahn's father is disappointed she wants to continue playing as a pro - despite supporting her for three years on a handshake deal - and her parents take little interest in her results.

Then fifth seed Daniil Medvedev has trolled a boisterous New York crowd by telling them their booing helps him win and encouraging them to continue by giving them the finger.

In New York, everyone loves a villain. Just wait for your next match, Medvedev!

At certain times over the past 20 years, tennis players have been accused of being too boring or too nice. Right now, there are stories to tell, personalities emerging and conservatism being called out.

And notice there's no mention of Nick Kyrgios, who had fans lining up for an hour before to his match to see him play…

Balls to you all, tennis players have become hot again.

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports producer, covering his 14th US Open.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz