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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 2

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
August 21, 2023 5:53 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 2

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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August 21, 2023 5:53 am

New Orleans Saints insider Ross Jackson joins the show | Brock Purdy gets his first taste of game action since injury | A new rivalry is born in men's tennis.


The heat definitely was a challenge for a lot of athletes, sporting events, fans, spectators taking place over this weekend, the third weekend of summertime. Enjoy it while you can because some some summertime is coming to an end relatively quickly, right? So we're within a month of the autumn solstice or that's not the what's the name of it? I forgot. The fall shoot. It's the autumnal something or other. I forgot the name of it. I sound so smart right now.

All I can think of is summer solstice but it's it's when we change seasons officially from summer to autumn and the name currently escapes me but you can find me on Twitter, ALawRadio and be the voice in my ear. You can be the reminder for me if you like or also on our Facebook page. It's always good to have you. Thank you to those of you who watched or listened when I was hosting for Maggie and Perloff on Friday afternoon.

I felt like a fish out of water but it's good to get outside your comfort zone always. So we're going to talk a lot more football. We're just over two weeks out from the season opener which happens the Thursday after Labor Day. We just quickly covered Patriots and Packers. We have a lot of starters who took reps this weekend. Is there a reason to be worried about the Buffalo Bills?

Maybe there is or should we not take anything away from the preseason? On Sunday night it was Saints and Chargers playing in LA. I'm not sure why except that that's what was happening at SoFi Stadium despite everything that was going on around the LA area with Hurricane Hillary bearing down. I've seen photos of Chavez Ravine and the Dodger Stadium and they were postponed. It's half underwater.

The parking lot is underwater. And there are all kinds of crazy photos right now from the weather. Not to mention that there was an earthquake and pretty much every other sporting event was cancelled. It's the NFL right? So again we're going to talk NFL preseason but we want to keep the main thing the main thing and that's the safety of not just the athletes, the teams but also the people who cover these athletes and teams. Our friend Ross Jackson of Locked on Saints safely back in New Orleans after covering the joint practices between the two during the week and going through training camp with this new look in New Orleans offense specifically.

We're pleased to welcome him to the show now. Well Ross, how surprised were you? They actually decided to go on with the game in LA. Well to be honest I actually wasn't that surprised that they decided to go on with the game because it just felt like that's what the NFL would do. That sweet sweet preseason ad revenue. Especially with it being an NFL Network game and stuff like that. I'm not 100% expected to play this game.

However I don't agree with the choice of doing it. I lived for over a decade in Los Angeles, the area of Los Angeles, Orange County. Not super well equipped for hurricanes believe it or not because they don't happen very often. So not the call that I would have made but not one that I'm surprised the NFL did. What did you hear from Dennis Allen, from any of the players about getting ready to play a game with this hurricane coming on bearing down but also there's an earthquake. Just kind of crazy that the baseball teams canceled their games or postponed their games but not the Saints and Chargers. Yeah I think the MLS also rescheduled some games as well over in the soccer leagues or the football leagues. But not football, no.

NFL said no thank you. It was a weird thing for them. Look the Saints had joint practices with the Chargers on the Thursday and Friday leading up to this game. The starters for both teams played like five different team drill periods. They got a lot of great work in. I think that maybe if it was up to the two teams, the two teams would have said hey we got good work in.

We're Gucci. We're good. Let's always just go home and get out of here. But the NFL didn't want to go that route. So then you had them getting ready to play this game making the travel up to Los Angeles. Then you have a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. Look an earthquake in California that's a 5.1 magnitude is just kind of like brushing dirt off your shoulder as you move on. You know what I mean?

Like it happens, you happen and then you move on and that's it. So I wasn't surprised that that didn't interfere. But then the really interesting one that Dennis Allen highlighted at the end of the game is that technically because of the glass ceiling of SoFi, it's considered technically an outdoor stadium. And so they were waiting to potentially experience a lightning delay of all things. So it just was a weird wild night for the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Chargers, but thankfully they got the game done. The New Orleans Saints just expected back in New Orleans around 3 AM.

Now it's just the travel getting back. Why did we not see most of the Saints starters? I think a good reason why is because of what I was just talking about with the joint practices of getting like five team reps for each of the first and second team over and over and over again. They worked two minute drills, they did goal line, they did red zone, they did down and distance work. I mean they went through everything for two days. So really they played 10 drives worth. The two team starters played 10 drives worth of game simulation during these practices.

So I imagine that had a little something to do with it. It's where they felt that the starters got a lot of work. A guy like Jake Hayner who played the entire second half with the exception of having to leave for a concussion protocol check for the New Orleans Saints at quarterback, he saw zero snaps in either of those joint practices. So this was really an opportunity for them to get a better look at their second unit, get a better look at their third unit led by Jake Hayner, get a better look at him and get a better look at the guys that are buying for roster spots as opposed to those that are still bit about roster spots. Since we didn't see the first team offense in this particular game, but we know that Derek Carr has played played in the first preseason game.

He's been talking a lot about the work that he's getting. What stands out to you so far about the integration of him as the new Saints QB? I think one of the biggest differences you see from him over the course of what you've seen at quarterback for the Saints for the past two years is his ability pre-snap.

His ability to diagnose what a defense is about to do, it fits hand in hand with what it is that the New Orleans Saints like to do. The Saints have these lengthy play calls, right? These like Falcon, Wright, X, Post, Z, Split, you know, wide, West Coast play calls, but that doesn't stop them from doing this thing that they realize you would actually call two of those plays in the huddle. So what they'll do is they'll come in, they'll send the quarterback in and they'll give them a call and then they'll give him a kill call and they call that next call the kill call, which means that we're killing the first play and we're going to the second play. And so you'll see them go up to a line of scrimmage and you'll see Derek Carr kind of check and look over the defense. If the look that the defense is giving him is best for the second play call than the first play call, you'll hear him change the play at the line of scrimmage. Those types of moments as well as his ability to adjust protection calls, adjust the play flow of the offensive line, all those things. Those are the things that make for a winning football team and things that specifically with the New Orleans style brand of football that the offense needs in order to operate at its highest level.

So I think he brings what the Saints need to be able to operate at their highest level over the offensive side. Have you ever been around a guy who's so exuberant and he just wears his heart on his sleeve and he'll put it all out there? The closest that I have to that, and now we have both of them, is that I started covering the team back in about 2017. So I've always had Cam Jordan, right?

Oh yeah. Yeah, and Cam is 100% that guy too. He'll talk about anything.

He will be very transparent, all the other stuff. So having both him and Derek Carr on the same team, as well as a couple of other personalities, like Demario Davis is an open book, as well as a couple of these other guys that do a lot of stuff away from football. You know, Derek does a lot of stuff in ministry.

Cam as well as Demario do a lot in terms of social work and social justice work and everything like that. So all three of these guys kind of have those personalities, but it is a lot of fun getting it from the quarterback position. You know, sometimes a lot of quarterbacks are very like plain and just very like to the point and then we're out of here. Like I don't want to give away too much, but Derek is very conversational in that way.

He definitely is. We're spending a few minutes with Ross Jackson in the wake of the Saints second preseason game. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. This is off the football field, but some scary moments and reports about Jimmy Graham did hear Dennis Allen say after the game that he was with the team.

What do you know, Ross? Yeah, scary situation. He was kind of found wandering disoriented by I guess it was Orange County police on Friday night on 7 47 30 p.m. Pacific time. And he was he was arrested and the initial reports that came out were that, you know, there was a controlled substance thing and stuff like that.

And this is why it's very, very important to be thorough as opposed to first when it comes to news, because we're talking about human beings and their lives out here. What actually happened, as we learned more, is that he was indeed arrested. However, he was experiencing what the Saints called, quote, a medical episode. I would call it medical emergency. That is believed to be a seizure. Now, Amy, I'm somebody that has been battling seizures since I was 15 years old. I have epilepsy and I understand sort of the situation to it when you're disoriented and you don't have anyone around you that knows what you're experiencing or, you know, that especially if it's your first time ever experience it and things like that.

You can be really dangerous. And so it was a great thing that Jimmy was able to get, well, first of all, out of police custody because come on. But then also the help that he needed in terms of the medical help. And so they're going to continue to do medical tests to figure out sort of the cause of what he experienced, if it indeed was a seizure. The good thing to know, though, is that sometimes seizures are complete one offs.

They can be complete one offs as opposed to somebody like me who has a lifelong condition and will be battling them forever. And that's sort of what you hope for, Jimmy, is that it was a one off situation that he'll be able to return to the football field. But until they know that, I wouldn't expect to see him anywhere near a football field for a little bit.

I could imagine your heart went out to him knowing what you have to deal with and the challenges in your own life. Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's one of those things where I can't wait to get back to the facility to kind of talk to them about it and everything and all because it is such a unique sort of experience to have that it's very hard to explain to somebody that hasn't experienced it.

But it's also very hard to openly find people who have experienced it. So I'm hoping to be able to kind of connect and be able to show a little bit of support around all that. Because, again, I know that, you know, we work in this sort of like media disconnection and all these other things. But at the end of the day, we're all human beings. And so we're all hoping well for Jimmy.

Well, thank you so much for sharing your personal perspective on that. Ross Jackson is with us from Locked On Saints. It's After Hours on CBS Sports Radio. I think the last time we spoke to you, we had talked about the division and now knowing there's still a quarterback battle for the Buccaneers. The Panthers have gone to the number one overall pick rookie. Atlanta is making changes yet again. It seems like the entire division is in flux.

So what stands out? Yeah, I think the thing that stands out is that quarterback conversation for sure. I mean, Derek Carr, regardless of who wins, with Desmond Ritter and Bryce Young, the starters in Atlanta and Carolina respectively. No matter who gets the starting role in Tampa, Derek Carr will have more years of experience than all three other quarterbacks put together, right?

So I think that that is the biggest thing that stands out. You also see a lot of coaching changes around too, or at least coordinator changes. So a coordinator shift over in the defensive side of the football for Atlanta, you saw an entire staff change over in Carolina that kind of moved on from the collegiate coaching staff that they kind of started to build.

As in implementing collegiate style football and some of these other things they were trying to do. You saw them move on from that and then go to guys like Frank Reich and McCown and all these other guys. And you see an offensive coordinator change over in Tampa. So along with the quarterbacks being in flux, you see a lot of coaching staff in flux as well.

And the Saints have kind of been the most consistent there. Because yes, they changed defensive coordinators because Ryan Nielsen, who is one of the co-defense coordinators, is now the DC in Atlanta. But Dennis Allen is the architect of the defense, so you don't really have much of a change there in terms of who is calling the plays, who's architecting, who's doing all those things, and they didn't make a change in offensive coordinator. And so really you just see them make the quarterback change. And what we've seen from the quarterback change so far is that the New Orleans Saints offense looks like the New Orleans Saints offense wants to look. The same can't necessarily be said about Carolina, who's dealing with massive pressure issues with their offensive line right now. Atlanta is consistently in flux and then Tampa is doing whatever Tampa is going to do at quarterback.

So I think that that's something that stands out is that even with the changes it seems to be a little bit more consistent than the other teams in the division. Before we talk about the defense, I just realized that I didn't ask you yet about Michael Thomas. It's a lot of anticipation for him being back on the field. How is he doing? He's doing well so far. He's still working his way back. I think that he has some days where you can really, really see that he's almost there and that he's working his way back and things like that. And there are other days where he looks like he's already there. And that's good. That's what you want to see from him, especially right now where there's still so much time before the regular season begins. And the thing about it, too, is that I've had a lot of people who have asked me, will Michael Thomas get back to 2019, 2018 Michael Thomas?

And I'm really pretty honest about that opinion. And my opinion on that is no, he won't. But it's not because he necessarily can't, which is worth arguing that he can't. They also don't need him to. I mean, you've got guys like Chris Alave and Rashid Shahid. You've got this young wide receiver in A.T. Perry who's really coming along, some veterans like Keith Kirkwood who are coming along, Shaq Davis, the undrafted free agent out of South Carolina State, the HBCU grad. He just had a great night. And so the things have a lot of skillful wide receivers and the ones that are going to really set the pace for the team aren't just going to be Michael Thomas by himself.

It's not going to be Michael Thomas, Chris Alave and Rashid Shahid. And so I think that goes a long way for New Orleans and it goes a long way for Michael Thomas that he can have a 90 catch season as opposed to a 149 catch season. It still really contributes to this team winning three or four more games than they won last year if he's able to do that. So I think that's what you're looking for from him. We're seeing steps in terms of his ability to get there and it doesn't hurt at all that he gets to go up against Marshall and Lattimore every single practice. Those two are just making each other better left and right. Ross Jackson is with us from New Orleans talking Saints here in the preseason after their second game.

Yes, they got out of L.A. safely. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. Cam Jordan, DeMario Davis, some of the others. There are some guys who have a lot of experience and can be leaders on that side of the ball. How important will that group be considering what you said about the division? Yeah, it's massive.

It's massive, right? I mean, you've got at every major position group for the New Orleans Saints, you have a bona fide leader. Like, even if you split up, you know, defensive ends and defensive tackles. The defensive end, you've got Cam Jordan at defensive tackle. They just brought in Colin Saunders, who has taken on a big time leadership role in that room.

You look at the second level. Of course, you've got the Mario Davis. You go back to safeties. You've got Tyron Matthews.

You go to the corners. If you want to split up safeties and corners, you've got Marshall and Lattimore. It's really, really solid for this team to have that amount of veteran leadership and presence while also having young guys like Carl Granderson and Peyton Turner on the edge. You know, Nathan Shepard and Brian Bresee in the middle of the defense or in the middle of defensive line.

Pete Werner in the middle of defense on the second level. These corners and Paul Sedevo and Alante Taylor on the outside. I mean, they have so much talent in terms of the young players, but they also have the veteran leadership that can tie it all together and help focus all of that talent into on-field production.

And I think that that's a big thing. The Saints, when they came into training camp this year, particularly on takeaways, which is a big focus, the Saints have five bona fide takeaways if we're not including turnover on downs. They've got five takeaways this season or so far during the preseason. They had 14 throughout the entire season last year. So you can see where the focus has gone. And look, the way that the Saints defensive staff focus on it is that they made every single one of those defensive players sit down and watch cut ups of the takeaways they almost had. The ones that they should have had last year and sort of said, do this differently.

Cut underneath instead of coming over the top. That's an interception. Look at how loose this player is holding the ball. That's an easy ball to punch out.

All those things. They had them sit down and watch through every single missed opportunity last year. And now I promise you that's on the top of that defense's mind when they're out on the field this year.

And so far, it's already showing from 1 to 90 as opposed to 1 to 53 throughout the preseason. What are the expectations for this team, though? Internally, the expectation for this team is just like every other team in the NFL. They want to win a Super Bowl, right?

And they've been more and more outspoken about it this year than they have been over the course of the past couple of years. I think that the external sort of expectation for them is to win the division and try to make a deep playoff run. I don't think that there's a lot of us that are looking at the New Orleans teams going, yeah, that's a Super Bowl team.

That's a Super Bowl contender. Because we just haven't seen them play together yet. I mean, we've gotten one drive, right, on the offense.

And then we got about what I would call maybe a drive and a half of the defense because the first one was a four and out, basically, turnover and down. And so I think we have to see it before we can start to make those expectations externally. But I know internally, this team very much believes in its ability to be a Super Bowl contender or be a Super Bowl champion.

And that's good. I mean, you want every team to feel that way. The Cardinals should feel that way. The Jets who just landed Aaron Rodgers, they should feel that way. Every team should feel that way.

And so I think that that's where they are. But I think for those of us that are looking at it, we're mostly just looking at, like, this is a team that should make the playoffs. This is a team that should win 10 or more games. And this is a team that maybe can win a playoff game. And then if they could do that, then we can start to evaluate where they can go after that.

But that's the first starting place for sure. Wow, it's days away. Are you ready, Ross? I can't wait.

I can't wait. It's a different sense of urgency. It definitely is a ratcheted up intensity around the broadcasting industry, too. It's kind of funny because you can feel it building now, even as they get through the second week of preseason, right? Everything gets more and more meaningful. We're going into this last week of the preseason.

We're talking about people potentially losing their jobs at this point. This is a huge week for players. And so that steps up their intensity, which steps up our intensity to cover it as best we can and be clear about what's going on and everything. I think the joint practices help with that, too. I love the joint practice feel. We went to Green Bay last year for the Saints and Packers joint practices.

This year was in Costa Mesa. Two pretty great places to leave Louisiana in August, not going to lie. Two great breaks from the heat. And usually a break from the Hurricanes, but we see how that worked out this year. But I do think that it is something to where as these days kick on and on and on and there's more context, there's more sort of consequence, there's more on the line for the players, I think we kind of pick up and feel that intensity as well.

Cannot wait. Alright, so you can find Ross Jackson on Twitter at RossJacksonNOLA and he's really running the gamut here. He writes, he reports, he's an analyst, he's got the Locked On Saints podcast as well. More great content. We're glad to connect with you. Again, happy football season. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. Oh my goodness, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on. Always a pleasure.

Y'all take care, stay safe and look forward to talking to you soon. And now just 40 minutes out from the Saints arriving back in New Orleans and we're glad to have Ross with us. And yeah, we didn't see Derek Carr this weekend, but he has played, he's been really active in this preseason. It's been a different type of preseason, don't you think? Where a lot of the starters are playing, even going back to week number one. We have not seen Aaron Rodgers on the field yet, but that comes up in this final weekend of the preseason that's on the horizon and it's a break for him, right?

He has not done this in years, but he's actually taken the snaps in a preseason game, but this is the Jets and the new, improved Aaron Rodgers. We'll start to do a deep dive. Coming up, Brock Purdy back on the field for the first time since the NFC Championship game when he got hurt. You can find me on Twitter, ALawRadio, also on our Facebook page, After Hours with Amy Lawrence. I will say this, got a couple of funny stories to share with you.

One funny, one scary, oh dear. Thank you for all of your tweets and your messages. Good to hear from so many of you. It's After Hours, CBS Sports Radio. You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. Purdy and the gun use check goes in motion. It's a play action. Purdy got a roll wrapped and he gets away from Bruce Irvin, throws on the run, wide open! Elijah Mitchell, touchdown!

San Francisco! I've worked up to get to this point to where my arm doesn't hurt or anything like that. Yeah, from throwing and stuff, any quarterback will tell you, hey, I'm going to go ice my arm or do whatever with my arm and do treatment on it. And that's where I'm at. And so, my arm feels great.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. The boys that won Brock Purdy, who was cleared to practice, first a couple of days in a row, then allowed to be out there three days in a row. Finally able to make his debut in the second weekend of the preseason. The Niners are full speed ahead and I still think back to their decision regarding Trey Lance to trade up to get him in the draft a couple seasons ago.

And while he is relatively cheap, they find Brock Purdy for so much cheaper and Trey seems to be blocked at every turn. First, it's Jimmy Garoppolo in his last year. Trey has an opportunity last season but then has the broken foot in week number two. Doesn't get to take advantage of what was supposed to be his first full year as the man for the Niners. And into that void steps the guy that was nicknamed Mr.

Irrelevant for being the very last player selected in the 22 draft. And now, not only was he this incredible revelation for them for a lot of reasons last year in leading them and sparking them to the NFC Championship. But he's taken over as QB1 and is in fact healthy and ready to go and we saw him on the field over the weekend. It was great.

I'm rooting for Brock Purdy. He is the man now for the Niners and I'm excited to see what he can do with that confidence and that full speed ahead mentality. It felt really good just to be out there with the guys in a game environment.

Obviously just get the nerves out a little bit. Just the build up to a game and everything and then being able to get an early completion to debo and get things rolling. So it felt really good to be able to get out there and drive and honestly just be in a game environment like I said.

So yeah, I'm excited about it. I thought he did real good. I mean all the plays that he had he made and I don't think he had a bad one. You know in that sack that wasn't... We busted a protection and we'll see if he could have done anything about it and got rid of it.

You always try your hardest to get rid of it because once you get sacked there it's tough to score but it doesn't look like there was much you could do live. They played the Denver Broncos and did rally for a win as it were. I do not give you NFL preseason scores any more than I belabor spring training scores in Major League Baseball. It's dumb.

They're dumb. That's not what matters. What matters is the reps. What matters is the rhythm, the flow. Having a chance to try out new guys to decide how you fill out your roster and those cuts are coming. But also an opportunity to just shake off the rust a little bit. In the case of guys who were injured it's important for them to try to get back in the rhythm and the flow.

Find a groove and then you've got position battles that are taking place too. But in the case of quarterbacks what you're mostly looking for is that they don't get injured because they aren't wearing the red jerseys in the preseason games. So awesome that Brock Purdy is back. Trey Lance played more than Brock did but this was Brock's first game action since the NFC Championship.

And every time I saw him or see a reference to him on social all I can think of is that moment with George Kittle. Middle of the NFC Championship where it's clear that they're out of options at quarterback finally. They've got Josh Johnson out there. He gets hurt. Purdy has to go back in the game. And all he can do is hand off because of the ulnar ligament injury. But that moment that was captured on NFL films in which George is asking Brock whether or not he can go ahead and fire the ball lefty just in case.

George was trying to make a joke and keep the mood light on the sidelines. Again it was clear that the NFC Championship was about to take a horrible turn. Was taking a horrible turn against the Eagles and Brock doesn't even smile. He can't even crack a smile or participate. He won't even take off his helmet.

That's how dejected and devastated he was that he finally had his opportunity. Meanwhile Trey Lance is in a battle with Sam Darnold to back up Brock Purdy. And if you know the Niners QB situation the last couple years you know they don't just need one.

Sometimes they need more than two quarterbacks to get through a season. So yes it does matter that Brock is healthy but it also matters that Trey Lance is healthy. And that right now he gets the opportunity to be out there. No more broken foot.

Just a chance to be ready. And I know he's tired of this song and dance. I can imagine it's been frustrating for him. Feels like when he's hurt that's when he coughs away these opportunities. But then he's healthy and there's someone in front of him.

So yeah it's tough. And what did the Niners do in the first preseason game? I think they had three consecutive three and outs. Trey Lance was sacked four times so if he can just find a comfort zone it's better for everyone. I think always when you don't go three and out it helps. So I think we got a little better rhythm for him. It still took a little while to get going.

Not just him but the whole group. I thought we were a little sloppy throughout the whole game. Way too many penalties. Seemed like when we did get some stuff going especially there in the second quarter.

It seemed like we always had a penalty or a missed assignment. By no means were we pumped about it. I was pumped how we finished. Pumped about the win.

Some good things but still got a lot to do to clean up. It was awesome seeing him being able to finish and put a game winning drive together. Set up Moody for the game winning kick. We all want to see him succeed and do great.

To be able to go out there and just chip away honestly. He put together two great drives at the end. It was awesome to see.

Really excited for him. Brock Purdy and the rest of the Niners rooting for Trey Lance. We know this is the case.

It's the standard pattern. Two thirds of the NFL uses multiple quarterbacks to get through a season because of either injuries or ineptitude. And last year the Niners used one, two, three, four quarterbacks. Now they still made the NFC Championship a second straight year. But it's been treacherous terrain for Kyle Shanahan. He's so tired of talking about quarterbacks.

Poor guy. We actually still have one quarterback battle that's taking place. As in we don't know the starter yet. Otherwise we have seen. Wait. Did the Texans officially name CJ Stroud their starter?

I guess they did not. So it doesn't seem like there's much debate over who should be the starter for the Texans. It feels like D'Amico Ryans would be better off just going with CJ Stroud. Unless of course they feel like they're putting him at danger or he's not ready. So technically the Texans have not announced either Stroud or Davis Mills.

But they're still an all out battle. A war if you will going on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We'll get to some more QB news in the wake of the second preseason weekend coming up in the next hour of the show. I want to let you know that whatever technical difficulty knocked us off the air in places around the country. We believe that it's all back to normal now.

Whatever normal is for after hours. It had nothing to do with us. We don't know if it was satellite related. It was distribution related.

It was not programming related. So I apologize if that's what happened to you. If your particular affiliate went silent or you lost us for a bit. Thank you Curtis in Dallas for letting us know that there was an issue with 105.3 the fan. We think we've corrected it.

If that's not the case you can reach out on Twitter. After Hours, CBS, ALaw Radio and we'll make sure we alert the engineers that we had an issue at all. So straight ahead it was hot, hot, hot in Cincinnati.

And I don't just mean on the court. Coco Gauff, Novak Djokovic surviving, advancing victorious in a Masters 1000 tournament. Last stop before the US Open which actually begins on Monday in New York.

You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. That is a match we will remember for a very long time. Seals it on his fifth championship point. After three hours and 49 minutes on court. Remember he was a second 4-2 down running on fumes. He saved a match point along the way.

Somehow he's found a way. This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. From tennis TV in Cincinnati.

Oh that kind of rhymes. It's After Hours here on CBS Forge Radio. This not even the US Open which begins on Monday in Queens. Instead it's a Masters 1000 a prep tournament in Cincinnati. High profile tournament where a lot of the top ranked players in the world will go first before making the trek to New York. And we were blessed to have yet another battle between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.

Now you remember the last time we saw them it was the Wimbledon final across the pond and Carlos survived. At the time, was he still 19 then? He's 20 now. He's the ripe old age of 20 years old. Novak Djokovic seasoned veteran. And the hard court is perfect for his game of both power and speed. And he's cunning, he's crafty. Gosh I don't know how many more years Novak plays.

I hope it's many more years. But we've got a new budding rivalry. The two are now head to head. Two matches a piece, two wins a piece. And on Sunday it was Novak prevailing. But both guys survived multiple match points. And Alcaraz rallied from a break down so his service was broken early in the match. But he rallied to grab the first set.

Novak won the second in a tie break. There was brilliant net play, passing shots. They were working the entire court.

All the angles, the lines. Forcing their opponents to run forward and back and laterally. And that's the beauty of hard court. It can be fast but fitness is so important.

And the fitness is important too because of the heat. This was a back and forth affair that required everything that both Alcaraz and Novak had to give. Crazy match that we've been through today. Rollercoaster of a match to be honest. I don't think I've played too many matches like this in my life.

Maybe I can compare it to Nadal finals in Australian Open 2012. When he played a poor game to give me the break and I was quite solid that game. And I thought okay, maybe I have a chance. Then I fought and believed that I could make it.

And then it was really anybody's game. Just one of the most exciting and toughest mentally, emotionally, physically matches that I've ever had in my career. That is some kind of a statement from Novak after the win. So yeah, in the third set Novak is up two games. So he's leading 5-3. And Alcaraz survives multiple match points to the tune of a couple of breaks.

And they get to 5-5 and have to continue moving forward. It's that type of match that requires absolutely everything these athletes have to give. But Novak says that's how you find out what you're made of on tour.

It's definitely a challenge that we both need to embrace and accept. Because that's what's required from both of us in order to win big titles. I feel proud of myself, honestly. I talk and I don't know why I was crying because I fight until the last ball. I almost beat one of the greatest of all time from all sports. And not to mention, even as Novak is doing that, he's calling up, conjuring up memories of matches against Rafael Nadal. And I think it's significant because Carlos Alcaraz is a Spaniard. The way they play tennis, they're known for not just the fitness but sacrificing body, chasing down every shot. This is the way that Rafael Nadal played. He challenged because his return game was so tough. Because he would make any sacrifice required of him. He would leave it all out there on the court in order to get the win.

And so you had to be relentless because he was relentless. And Novak certainly was pushed to the test as was Roger Federer with the three of them. But I love that Carlos Alcaraz is stepping into this void now as a 20-year-old. And the fact is, he's already made his mark as the Wimbledon champion and a force to be reckoned with. Obviously it's great that he knows that everything that he's going to play against me reminds him of playing against Rafa. Or against the best one. Because that means we are in a good path. He has played iconic matches, story matches.

He said that some matches against me was one of the toughest that he has played. It's great. And that means that my team and myself, we are doing the great work. Oh yeah.

It's great work, alright. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. As they say, they are headed to New York. So generally after a Masters 1000 tournament, especially one that is piggybacked directly with a major right on top of it. Because there was already qualifying going on this weekend in New York for the U.S. Open. They have a very extensive qualifying draw for all of these Grand Slams.

And so these two will have a couple days. They're going to have to go straight from the heat and the humidity and what was a physically exhausting hard court tournament. Alker, as I read, spent more than 10 hours on the court in Cincinnati because of the length of some of his matches.

This one alone was nearly 4 hours as you heard with the call. And so now they really have to recover and fitness becomes so paramount. Because again the heat in the summer tournaments but on the hard court, if you don't know this. Because the sun can bake the court, it heats up on the court.

This takes place in Australia a lot down under because it's summertime when they play in January. The court itself can be another 20 to 25 degrees hotter right there on the court. It's like you're in an oven there on the court. So it can be even more extreme when you're in the middle of a match.

I've been to matches at the U.S. Open where athletes regardless of how much Gatorade and water they're guzzling. They cramp up so badly they can't even stand up. I remember watching one athlete, he was dragging himself onto the court because one of his legs would not straighten up, would not work. And then ultimately even as he's standing on the baseline attempting to return a serve, he cannot move, he falls over. They're in the middle of a game and he falls over and has to have help just to get back to his chair.

Obviously had to retire. It was so scary really based on the dehydration and the cramping comes from the extreme heat and the humidity. As for Koko Goff, she gets a victory in the semifinals over world number one Iga Swiatek. And then herself wins over Karolina Muchova and gets her first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati. I'm really happy with how I was able to manage this week.

I got a huge win yesterday and a big one today. Karolina, she's not an easy player. It's really good to see her back at the top. I think she's one of the most talented players on tour and I'm sure that she's going to keep making strides on this level.

It's a big deal for Koko Goff who is still a teenager. She's 19 years old now just outside the top five in the world. People are asking her about filling the void left by Serena Williams.

We're a long way from that, as in a long way from that. And there is a void. There's a void with Serena being retired, sort of. I know she leaves the door open, but there's a void with no Rafa. There's a void with no Roger. And so Novak and Carlos and Koko and then Jessica Pagula, another young American, will see what they have in store for the U.S. Open.

Can't wait to see how that tournament unfolds. It's after hours, CBS Sports Radio. And with enterprise solutions that make warehouse optimization easy, ShipStation scales when your business does. No wonder 98 percent of companies that stick with ShipStation for a year become customers for life. Spend more time growing your business and start automating shipping tasks with ShipStation. Go to slash audio today and sign up for your free 60-day trial at slash audio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-24 07:22:18 / 2023-08-24 07:38:54 / 17

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