Miller's U.S. Open Quest Ends in Straight-Set Loss

Hawaii heat—and a pretty good tennis player—put American ski star in his place at sectional qualifier.
Bode Miller tennis thumb

Looks like skiing needn’t worry about losing one of its brightest stars to the tennis circuit. Bode Miller has long since proven himself one of the world’s best at racing. We’ve watched him take down NFL backs and track stars in the ABC Superstars competition (joining guys like Herschel Walker and OJ Simpson among past winners of the event). But his shot at a walk-on qualification for the U.S. Open wilted in the Hawaii heat Thursday. Miller, the two-time overall World Cup champ and 5-time Olympic medalist, went down in straight sets to former collegiate tennis star Erik Nelson-Kortland, 6-4, 6-2. It wasn’t a total loss for the Sugar Hill, N.H., uber-athlete. He was competing in the sectional qualifier at the U.S. Tennis Association’s invite. The organization paid travel expenses and made a donation to Miller’s favorite charity. Miller gave up an early break in the first set, battled back to tie at 4-4, but then flamed out in 80-degree heat. “I had no time to prepare,” Miller told the Associated Press. “No time to have a guy come hit 1,000 balls at me like I used to do when I was little,” Miller said in a post-match interview with The Associated Press. "If you don't do that, you don't have any reason to have expectations." And for a guy used to competing on frozen slopes from Cannon Mountain to Kitzbuhel, the heat was a crucial factor. “It gets hot like that, I get claustrophobic, can't breathe, can't motivate myself to focus,” he said. “Between sets, I was dying. I had nothing left.”