U.S. Open: Maria Sharapova wants play-or-pay rule

Maria Sharapova, the 2006 women's champion, kicks off the second round against Alexandra Dulgheru at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., on Wednesday.

Five-time major titlist feels players should pay out of pocket for medical timeouts

Fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova faces Alexandra Dulgheru at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. on Wednesday. (Robert Deutsch/Reuters)

If Maria Sharapova's opponent Wednesday takes a medical timeout, the 2006 U.S. Open champion would not mind seeing that come at a cost.

Sharapova was asked after her first-round victory at Flushing Meadows what tennis rule she would like to change if she ran the sport and, tongue in cheek, she mentioned charging for breaks players are allowed to take to get a visit from a doctor during a match.

"I think we would all see who really uses them and who doesn't," said Sharapova, a five-time major titlist who faces Alexandra Dulgheru in Arthur Ashe Stadium in the second round.

"I don't know what we put on it, maybe like $2,500 or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun."

Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., is the lone Canadian in action in singles, taking on No. 32 Joao Sousa. 

In women's doubles, Toronto's Sharon Fichman and playing partner Chanelle Scheepers face the fifth-seeded duo of Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, while Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa teams up with Alicja Rosolska against No. 10 Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua.

Here are some other things to watch on Day 3 at the U.S. Open:

Dimitrov wants more 

For years, GrigorDimitrov has been pegged as the next big thing in men's tennis.

He even got tagged with a nickname, "Baby Fed," that attached his potential to the prowess of Roger Federer.

Dimitrov, 23, reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon last month, before losing in that round to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Now Dimitrov, who begins his U.S. Open by facing Ryan Harrison of the United States at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday, wants more.

"I'm happy to be at that stage," the seventh-seeded Dimitrov said. "But now my ultimate goal is to get even higher.

"Why not win a Slam?"

Venus wants double, double

Two of Venus Williams' seven Grand Slam singles trophies came at the U.S. Open, but she hasn't been past the second round in New York since 2010.

She can get to the third round by beating Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old American also is entered in doubles with her younger sister, Serena.

They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles as a team and the older Williams was asked whether she might consider dropping out of doubles in order to focus on — and save energy for — singles.

"I don't think that's wise because the doubles is a title," Venus said. "When they say your name and they say so-and-so has X number of titles, guess what? Those doubles ones feel real good.

"For me, the doubles is very serious. It's not, 'Oh, let's play for fun.' Those are Grand Slam titles that I am trying to win, so I never would withdraw from a Grand Slam competition — singles or doubles — lightheartedly."

Gulbis wants consistency

Anything is liable to happen when Latvia's Ernests Gulbis is on a court.

He's a volatile sort who takes pride in the number of racquets he breaks during matches.

He also is capable of sublime tennis, such as when he beat Roger Federer en route to the semifinals at the French Open in June. And equally liable to bow out of a tournament early, such as his second-round loss at Wimbledon later that month — or his exits in the first or second round at every U.S. Open since 2008.

So it's always a good idea to keep an eye on the 11th-seeded Gulbis, who meets Kenny De Schepper of France in the Grandstand in a first-round match.


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