There are certain things Rockville native Paul Goldstein does to tell you he's on his game: He spins his racket in his hand, sometimes tossing it up and catching it. He bounces a ball between his legs, basketball style. And he jumps into the air when he's hitting a particularly tough forehand, raising himself higher than his 5-foot-9 frame.
He didn't do those things today. Instead, Goldstein looked a little worn as he lost his second-round match at the U.S. Open, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, to Jan Kroslak.
"I think it was a case of peaking maybe a week or so too early," said Goldstein, who reached the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington two weeks ago. "I just think I played a lot of tennis this summer, and today it showed. Maybe I wasn't quite as fresh as I needed to be, more mentally than anything else."
Kroslak also played well in Washington, beating fifth-ranked Tim Henman in the round of 16. Here he looked just as sharp, mixing his shots and serves to throw Goldstein off his game. Some questionable line calls that went against Goldstein didn't help either, as he lost some of his concentration in the second set.
"I think Paul just needs a break right now, so he'll take that and then gear up for the fall swing," said Goldstein's coach, Scott McCain. "He's still adjusting to the schedule of being a professional and he's still adjusting to the bigness of it all. He's got to adjust to the fact that there will be plenty of matches where now he's expected to win; he can't just rely on being the underdog."
Goldstein, 23, has had an excellent summer, winning at least one match in every tournament he entered and advancing to the third round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He also won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games, representing the United States.
He will stay in New York for a few more days, then spend some time with his family and friends in California, where he graduated from Stanford last year, and in Maryland, where he will give some charity clinics on Sept. 18. He will also try to sort out some matters on the business side of tennis; he recently signed a contract with Nike and said he is now trying to decide whether to renew his contract with his agents at ProServ.
Injury Sidelines Moya
The men's draw lost another seed to injury when No. 8 Carlos Moya retired from his match against Nicolas Escude with a back problem. Moya, who left the match losing, 6-1, 6-4, 1-0, received several visits from the tournament trainer during changeovers.
"I've had this pain for 10 days already -- it just got really worse and really bad," Moya said. "I hit one backhand and froze the muscle and it really hurt."
Top seed Pete Sampras and two-time defending champion Patrick Rafter each departed from the tournament with injuries Tuesday. Sampras has a herniated disc that will take one to two months to heal; Rafter has a slight tear in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.