SIMON: The 2012 tennis season is in the home stretch - or is it the last set? What do we call it? The U.S. Open in New York, and it's been eventful. We'll also hit the gridiron in a moment. First, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from New York. Howard, good morning.
Venus and Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Donald Young will be among those vying for Grand Slam Glory at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, which start Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Those four are the only African-Americans who rank among the top 100 men's and women's players in the country at this stage. Some tennis enthusiasts say the game has got to do better than that – and they are working at the grassroots to level the playing ground.
Brian Baker, 27, is a tennis player from Nashville, Tenn., who's had a Disney-like comeback season after being out of the sport for seven years with injuries. Baker started the season as 458th in the world. He's now 79th after making it to Wimbledon's fourth round. Now, Baker will be playing in his first U.S. Open since 2005.
For the first time in a long time there is actually more than a modicum of interest in the women's side of a Grand Slam tournament. And, of course, it's all strictly due to a party of one: Serena Williams.