For the last year and a half, every tennis Grand Slam for me has either been a full body experience that I’ve physically attended, or a close to non-event due to travel, which has limited my reading/blogging/watching.
Today marks the start of the French Open, Roland Garros, the clay slam and a wonderful two weeks for clay fans and those with the American time difference who don’t have to work. It’s also the start of the inevitable Grand Slam Awesomeness Overload that plagues us tennis fans, which I’d forgotten extends out of the stadium to those of us glued to our laptops at home.
Awesomeness overload works a certain way at Slams: You arrive, and there are eighteen courts, maybe more, all chock-full of your favourites. And not just a random favourite ranked 76 in the world (Hai, Dima… *winks*) but every single favourite of yours and others who are ranked as high as top ten and have fans spilling out of the stands plus lone countrymen and countrywomen who have only a few fans and need the support to the random qualifier who has only a few straggling spectators in the stands and need some support so you throw your lot in with them. Between all the awesomeness on court, and the excitement of the practice courts, and the general atmosphere of the slam, you’re running this way and that like a headless chook and although my analogies are out of whack this morning, the fact is, it’s all pretty nuts.
But thinking back to my last two Day Ones at the Aussie Open and the US Open last year, when I ran and frazzled and fretted and queued and ran to catch the end of the upsets and finally gave up and sat down to watch a full match of just one favourite from start to finish (you got me, Dmitry Tursunov, and you stole my heart, Viktor Troicki), and that seems paltry compared to the effort required from the at home fan.
I’ve got my laptop in front of me, which brings with it the responsibilities of IBM Slamtracker, Pointstream and every other statistical measure available online; Roland Garros radio and liveblogging with endless commentary; the incessant sounds of the peanut gallery with my Twitterverse cheeping in unison over every upset, withdrawal, practice court decision, and tweeted photo from a fan on the ground; the general frazzle of watching a match of your favourites; the six-split-screen option of watching five courts at once as you determine which match will turn into “the” epic match that goes five in round one; and of course, the never-ending supply of images that are usually scrounged around from the Internet but arrive in a cascade of awesomeness from our good friends at Getty Images and the tournament themselves. It’s enough to make contemplating the Grand Slam iPhone battery drainage, constant scoreboard checking mid-match and practice-court-decision making of live Grand Slam attendance an easier option.
The clay is most definitely redder on the other side.
But in other news this morning, it’s Roland Garros you guys! Let’s watch some tennis!