Davis Cup Envy: Why I Like Bernie Boy

January 25, 2011

I’m a little late to the game, but it’s time for me to say my piece about little Bernie.

Tomic, that is.

I talked a lot about this boy last year, having been one of the few brave-hearted souls who stuck around and braved turning into pumpkins to watch him take on Marin Cilic in 5 sets in the 2nd round. That was 2010. In 2011, Bernie’s got the formula down pat, taking on two Top-50 players of extraordinary hotness (which seems to be completely relevant, Jeremy Chardy and Feli Lopez, to be precise) in his first rounds and setting up a Saturday Night Hot Date with the Prom King himself, Rafa.

While half of Australia mouthed off about the glorious future of Australian tennis and the others rolled their collective eyes at the spectacle BraTomic was making again, I sat quietly in the corner (perhaps mumbling to myself). Not even a Tweet was uttered. Because, while I had no interest in seeing Rafa crash out early, and in my heart of hearts hoped he would be the sole survivor, I also was quietly, calmly, excitedly, happy to see our Great New Aussie Hope do well.

Pic: Reuters

See, there’s this condition I’ve recently been suffering from, and every day I spend at Melbourne Park it gets harder and harder to overcome.

It’s called Davis Cup Envy.

It started on Day 2, when I found myself at my 2nd Serbian match of the day, at the House of Ajde on Court 18. I screamed myself hoarse for Ruski favourite Dimitry as he was swiftly taken apart by Viktor Troicki, and marvelled at how only a few short weeks ago, I’d been Ajde’ing him from my Brooklyn apartment (bed, shall we be honest?) at the Davis Cup final. Finding myself sitting with some members of the Serbian tennis contingent with no knowledge of who they actually were, I spotted Nenad at the sidelines and later, on returning for Janko’s match, saw the whole crew again. The next night, at Novak’s match, as we slipped into the rows behind the player box, spotting Papa Djoe’s and Marion’s head, we found our Serbian friends yet again. And the twinges began.

The next night, I whet my appetite at Mikey Llodra’s match against Chela before moving into full-Frenchie-frenzy on Margaret Court Arena as Tsonga’s supporters grew in strength and noise. After days of watching Frenchie stunts all over the grounds, it couldn’t be denied. The twinges were growing closer together.

Several days later, congregating on Margaret Court Arena to watch Nico (Nico Nico!) being ushered on the Spanish Armada, killing him off swiftly and silently, the twinges intensified. By the time I was at Tommy’s 3rd round match on Friday afternoon, my coach magnet having me sandwiched between Marc Lopez and Tommy’s own coaches, the Armadians vamosing in a sea of red tipped me over the edge.

I was in serious Davis Cup Envy territory.

The Argentinians, the Spaniards, the Frenchies, the Serbians. They all bring it out of me.

I want me one of them find cups, and I want it now.

And having a kid like Bernie around gets me closer and closer to that day.

In a sport like tennis, that’s all about individual, we don’t often get nationalistic. The Australian Open differs from most other slams, that all of a sudden everyone’s face painting and flag-swathing and reminding everyone that their auntie’s grandma’s petsitter’s boyfriend is from Montenegro. Actually, just kidding. Australia is an awesome place in that 99% of the people you will encounter down the street tell you they are from another country, and it’s not uncommon to ask someone, “What Nationality are you?” same as you ask them their name. But despite the huge volume of navy flags and green and gold facepaint around the joint, it’s the Serbians, Greek Cypriots and Spaniards who have something to dance about while us Aussies dance to a dying tune by the time the second week starts.

So let’s stop whingeing about his whingeing, and set a nice example. The boy plays interesting tennis, and he’s going to make it real interesting in the years to come. I’m behind him. And if, somewhere in the mix, he gets to pose in a green-and-gold tracksuit with a pretty silver cup? I believe my symptoms may subside.

Word Of The Day: AJDE

December 7, 2010

It’s no secret to those of you familiar with us that we have a penchant for anything Eastern European, especially in tennis.

Maybe it’s Grandma’s Russian blood that has us Davay-ing left right and centre for Misha, Dima and Kolya (Marat needs no explanation, obvs) but it’s a little inexplainable what’s drawn us to Ajde left, right and centre.

The boys of Serbia have been mates of ours since way back when. LP will tell stories of Novak hugging her and handing her his towel, and I’ve already shown y’all the fabulous footage where we sang back to him the joyous Christmas songs.

Ajde became a favourite when, drunk on joy and nothing else (true story) following Rafa’s triumph at AO 09, we roamed around Melbourne Park taking what are now famously our ‘farewell’ pics on the last night we attend the AO. We pose by the Rod Laver Arena sign, we frolic around garden square, and even farewell our favourite toilets (for the record, the ones by Court 10 are totes the best).

On asking some lovely fellow spectators to photograph us, we noticed a foreign accent, and always up for making new friends at the tenny, discovered they were Serbian.

SERBIAN! Sez LP and M, eyes open wide.

Indeed, was the reply.

We of course asked for Serbian words, and were given a full rundown on the word Ajde. Apologies to those Ivanovic fans who have been familiar with the vocabulary for years on end – we were new to it, in all honesty, and fell in lurve with this delicious new vernacular.

We’ve been Ajde-ing ever since.

And never louder than during yesterday’s triumph.

Apologies to my Brooklyn neighbours who may have been bewildered at the noises coming through the thin walls. YES, YES, JUST LIKE THAT! I shrieked. AJDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Came a long, loud utterance.

Yes, babypies. We did it. Serbia are the Davis Cup champions, and LP and I, along with most of ‘my’ known Twitterverse (apologies to the lovely Lindsay), couldn’t be more rapt.

The boys were pretty happy too. Callin’ a bad bromance?

Here’s our Vik.

Despite it being a well-publicised fact that the boys planned to shave their heads if they won, Janko wasn’t so sure about it.

But the shaggy crop is gone, and instead we have lots of gorgeous baldies. Anyway, we saw him with that beanie during the match. He needs nothing framing the face, my hairdresser will agree.

Oh, and we love Nenad too, I promise. It’s easy to lose focus on the stalwarts of the team when heroics pull you through (think Janko in the semis, and all the three years of playoffs to get to this point), but while Viktor may have been riding high, we have all the other boys to thank. I’m going to put it out on a limb and say that aside from Nole pulling them through in singles rubbers, every friggin’ time, he also needs to be recognised for being there as an inspiration for the team. Nole’s success in slams was definitely something that would have taken this otherwise average team and propelled them to the top, knowing they can do it. There’s no shortage of talent there either – let’s hope Nenad’s doubles awesome teams up nicely with sad Mika Llodra, who bawled his eyes out yesterday and made even the most hardcore Serbian supporter melt for the poor Frenchies. So I will end with congratulations to them, for doing well and all, and then…

Let’s end with a word from the wise, shall we? Janko Tipsarevic, Speccie-Wearing PHD of all that is techno, speaks:

On The Ball: Asia-Pacific Style

May 6, 2010

Huge thanks goes to the Twitter-ers @TennisAustralia who hooked us up with a video clip of today’s Davis Cup draw in Brisbane. They even tweeted me directly which is much appreciated from one busy lady to another.

As expected, Our Lleyton is number one for the singles, however the surprise comes with the fact that American export and Aussie homeboy Carsten Ball has been named as the other singles player. Fitzy attributes it to Looch nursing a “wrist niggle” but Looch himself reckons he’s “fine now”…. We’ll see what happens if he needs to head out on Sunday to finish off the Japanese!

Either way, it should be great to see Carsten step up to the big time. He’s a tall man, and a lefty, and the best bit – the Japanese have been doing their homework on Looch for the last few months now. Ball’s Papa played for DC way back when so it’s sweet we’re keeping it in the family. It might also teach him a wee bit more about the true blue fair dinkum ways – he’s been hanging with his mates in Cali a fair bit and it’ll be nice to have him involved with the boys in green and gold for a change. That accent needs to go, stat!

Streaming starts at 2pm tomorrow. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

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