Rockville native Paul Goldstein won his first-round match at the U.S. Open today, but afterward there was no joyous screaming, no pumping of fists. Instead, Goldstein went to the net for a quiet talk with Australian Scott Draper, who he defeated, 6-3, 6-1, 6-0. Draper lost his wife, Kellie, to cystic fibrosis about six weeks ago, and Goldstein wanted to offer his condolences.
"You play that kind of match with a heavy heart," Goldstein said. "For him to step on the court and play the entire match -- you just have a great deal of respect for him. You wish him the best because he's all class."
Draper obviously had trouble concentrating during the match, his second since Kellie's death. He said he considered skipping the tournament, but he had to come over to the United States anyway to sell a house he owns in Orlando. He also thought it might be good for him to get back on the court and get lost in the rhythm of the game.
"Believe me, I didn't want to come -- my heart didn't want to come," Draper said. "I just think that you can't walk away. You're not going to get anywhere in life just walking away. I just did it -- got on the plane, came over, sorted out things, saw people, played tennis. That may help me out in the long run."
Draper had been married for about 1 1/2 years; he and Kellie went ahead with the wedding even though she was already ill.
"When you're married, you say, `For better or for worse,' " Draper said. "Whatever the person brings with them, that's just it, they bring it with them into the marriage. Whatever problems she's got, I've got to deal with.
"It wasn't a decision that really I even thought about. I'd do it all over again."
Sampras Rests His Back
Pete Sampras, who strained his lower back in a practice session Sunday, skipped practice entirely today, preferring instead to stay in Manhattan. Tournament officials have honored his request that his first-round match against hard-hitting, 19-year-old Marat Safin be scheduled for Wednesday, so he will have one more day to heal. Sampras pulled out of a tournament in Indianapolis two weeks ago with a hip flexor strain, but that injury is healed and is unrelated to his back injury. . . .
Mashiska Washington, younger brother of former top-20 player Malivai Washington, lost his first-round match to Jan Kroslak, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.
Washington, who hit his highest career ranking of No. 290 in the spring, was playing the tournament as a wild card. When asked if he thought he would have been awarded the wild card if his father, William, had not accused the USTA of racism earlier this year, Washington, who is black, said: "I think that's a self-explanatory question. Would I be drinking from the same water fountain you would if certain people wouldn't have protested? Do things come up voluntarily or do they accidentally happen? . . . As an American, I think all Americans should have the opportunity to play America's tournament." . . .
Attendance this afternoon was 27,809, a single-session record. . . .
Venus Williams said she wished reporters would ask her more unusual questions, such as "when was the last time I went to Dunkin' Donuts?" The answer: "yesterday."