tampabay.com

Loss didn't keep teen from high notes

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 1, 2006


NEW YORK - Vania King hoped fans would hear from her at the U.S. Open. They did, on and off the court.

Playing at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the American teen made several nice shots Thursday despite losing to second-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-1, 6-2.

Already a tennis pro at 17, the aspiring singer then moved over to Arthur Ashe Stadium hours later and performed America the Beautiful before the night matches.

"Walking out there, it really hit me and I got very nervous," she said after her daily double. "I think it went okay."

Standing beyond the baseline in a long brown dress, arms at her side, King closed her eyes as she hit her early notes.

"That helped me calm down," she said. "After that, I could just sing."

King, from Long Beach, Calif., came into the Open with a career-high ranking of 70th. She beat Alicia Molik in the first round.

COMPETITIVE DRIVE: Lleyton Hewitt found out firsthand what a lot of New York commuters already knew: The city's traffic can be terrible.

The 2001 Open champion got stuck on his way to his second-round match, and his prematch practice time was cut in half.

The 15th-seeded Australian had little trouble, though, in posting a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over Jan Hernych.

"We had to end up going a totally different way that I'd never been before," Hewitt said.

"I got to see a bit more of New York than I probably would have liked to (Thursday) morning."

QUIET, PLEASE! In Lindsay Davenport's opinion, what happens in the locker room should stay there.

The former Open champion hasn't read journeyman Vince Spadea's new tell-all book, Break Point, but said, "I heard that some players were upset."

Davenport said there's a code among players about tattling that shouldn't be broken.

"It's kind of an unwritten rule," she said. "I don't feel like it's secrets and stuff, but you have a mutual respect for all your fellow competitors."

Davenport also said the women's locker room is not be a prime place to gather intriguing material for a gossipy book.

"Not much happens in ours," she said.

"Maybe it's a different story in the other locker room."