Watch out, FIFA Scouts

March 22, 2011

When you watch as many post-match pressers and read as many tennis profiles as I do, it’s easy to start assuming that tennis is kinda the uncool little-brother sport to it’s cool-big-brother sport of football slash soccer. Many players admit to wanting to play football when they were younger, some dropped out in order to make room for tennis, and there are still a few who readily acknowledge they would’ve preferred to be better at their bigger, glitzier, shall we say more-universally-renowned big-bro sport. As a hardcore tennis fan, this is when it’s apt to grin smugly that “we” got that dude who looks rather dashing with an unclad torso in “our” camp, even though he clearly wants to be bromancing it up on a muddy field with twelve of his equally dashing European-or-South-American-but-either-way-from-a-hot-looking-country mates.

Luckily, some tournaments let our boys release that inner energy, and that’s why last week at Indian Wells the grassy turf killed about seventeen birds with one stone, giving the boys a chance to get kickity and the girls a chance to watch. (Credit to C Note for doing an amazing job stalking – I mean, blogging – and keeping us posted with the soccerhotness.

Now we’ve moved on beyond a few minutes of boys kicking around a tennis ball at the end of practice, Melbourne-style, or some serious grassy matches, a la Indian Wells. In Florida, the childhood fantasies get indulged and your favourite specimens of men-with-unclad-upper-torsos will be showing off their goods – for a good cause.

I know I’ve made this sound trivial, but it’s not, so let me go on: This is really all about Japan, and the ATP guys have gotten together to raise money for the victims of the disastrous earthquakes and tsunami of the last week. This is not the first time this sporting organisation has gotten together to raise funds for relief to those hit by natural disasters (see: Haiti; Chile; Queensland) and it’s a very special thing to see. This week in Coconut Grove, Florida, an ATP all-star team of tennis players will be bringing their soccer skillz to the stadium so you can all throw your cash at them and make sure it goes to help the people of Japan. Who need it. Really bad.

According to Nole, who, let’s face it, is teacher’s pet of the ATP at the moment:

“I am very concerned for the people of Japan and think it is only right that we do whatever we can to help those in need,” Djokovic said.

“I would love to see all of Miami support both events by showing up Wednesday, March 23rd at the Ransom Everglades High School soccer field at 7:00 pm to cheer on your favorite team and attending the dinner afterward.”

More facts:

The match against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers will take place at Ransom Everglades High School (3575 Main Highway), a couple miles south of the tournament in Coconut Grove at 7:00 pm. A dinner and auction will follow the soccer match at an undisclosed Miami location. Info at http://www.GR8Miami.com.

Confirmed ATP Players
Novak Djokovic (Team Captain, obvs)
Kei Nishikori (Japanese rep, vital)
Rafael Nadal (Little boy’s dream, couldn’t be left out)
Andy Murray (Nole doesn’t leave out his besties)
Fernando Verdasco (Too cool for the tennis court. Also, looks good shirtless)
Feliciano Lopez (See above).

Also included are other fine graduates of the European summer outdoor training scheme and unclad torso specimens:

Richard Gasquet; Viktor Troicki; Marcos Baghdatis; David Ferrer; Jurgen Melzer

Kick away, lovely gentlemen!


Seriously? You Play Tennis?

March 10, 2011

Whenever Feli joins us on court, I feel like the cool kid’s come to a party but he’s rolling his eyes at the rest of us geeks.

So it’s kinda disconcerting hearing Feli talk about how he’s played tennis since he was a kid, and always really enjoyed it.

Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by exceptionally good looking Spanish men.

Let the last line speak for itself.


Practice Porn

January 16, 2011

Friday dawned fine and sunny… oh no wait, that’s a lovely start to a story but I can’t take my poetic license *that* far. Friday dawned in that fine way Melbourne does, with rain and clouds and a helluva lot of showers, basically waving the wet in the face of all the tennis-watching and tennis-playing hopefuls at Melbourne Park and snickering as they donned boots and jackets and brought umbrellas to the site… and waited for the clouds to clear.

That’s what happened on Thursday, and in a very un-Melbourne-like fashion, the clouds never cleared. Friday however, Lady M was back to herself, and showed us her favourite trick. At 12.36pm precisely, the clouds parted and – hola – what on earth is that? Oh yes. Blue skies. And LP’s carefully selected outfit of black tights, boots and a lovely cardigan over her dress was deemed obsolete as it was suddenly tennis weather again.

I love my city, and I adore the concept of Four Seasons in a Day. If anything, it’s great for scaring tourists. I was kinda prepared this time, not even getting dressed until the sunshine arrived.

And it was Melbourne Park time again.

First stop for qualies, we visited Miss Sabine Lisicki. A Twitter favourite of mine and sadly missed during 2010.

Sabine Lisicki

Highlight of the match was all the orange-clad people sitting next to me, who I proudly told LP next to me “Ooh look, Dutch people. Wearing orange” only to realise that we were, ahem, at a Dutch girl’s match. Brain scientist, I tell you. Sabine was also lovely and sweet and won her match and smiled at us and said hi when we congratulated her. All sweetness.

While the qualies had all been carefully scheduled for Courts 1 – 14, on the main side of Melbourne Park, closer to Garden Square and Rod Laver, Courts 16 – 22, namely the famed Court Sixteen and Court Seventeen, were being used as practice courts for the hallowed faces of our sport. They were accessible to media only.

That is, until a full day’s backlog – thank you, Mother Natch! – had the schedule filled to the brim, and including Courts 18-22 on the schedule. Which meant? What’s that? Oh yes, why wouldn’t we stake out Court 16 and see who might grace us with their presence?

As we did. Practice porn for y’all, namely in the form of one Deliciano (we passed Judy, heading in the other direction. Clearly she’d already her fill.)

Check the calves.

Question: Will I ever have too much Feli on this blog?

Actually not enough. Though aside from the multiple female complaints regarded his shirted state, LP and I were riveted by the hairstyle. A little half bun, secured by a headband? Cleo should help us recreate that look.

On the other side of the court, we were riveted to see none other than the Evil One himself, Mr Robin Soderling, performing an exercise that I am only familiar with due to a particularly slave-driving personal trainer who coined them “knee highs”.

But you can call them whatever you want. Because tee hee hee, he looked really funny.

We sauntered over to another court, checked out Simone Bolleli, the famous Grigor Dimitrov, and were about to head over to another side of town – when we dropped past Court 17 (home of our favourite concrete potplant, perfect for climbing to catch a glimpse of a crowded Rafa practice) to find none other than this lad:

The argyle has totally grown on me. To quote the girl next to me, “It’s growing on me as we speak.” It kinda suits his little Scottish personality, and it’s weird to imagine that it’s all athletic and dri-fit – it looks like it belongs on a sweater alongside the crackling woodfire hearth in ye olde highlands of Scotland. So I like.

Let me just say, for lovers of all things Muzza. I haven’t seen the boy up close – really, ever – and I liked what I saw. A few little new sideburns, a little bit of ranga coming through, and some bee-yoo-tee-ful tennis. I’m not going to pretend I understood what he was trying to work on, but he looks well and ready to get over that hump he faced last year. And it was hot, and his vampire skin held up real well. Which is always important.

And then he drank some water. Or maybe Powerade.

Gatorade, perhaps?


Holiday Candy

December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays to all my Court Thirteen lovelies!

I haven’t forgotten about dishing out the pressies either, so here’s some tasty treats for you to chew over during the long weekend.

Fernando Verdasco, doing what he does best: Strutting. Papped at AAMI Classic Kooyong. (Photo credit: M)

Juan Martin Del Potro, biceps triceps deltoids, oh my

JMDP. That wrist doesn’t look too sore there now, does it? Biceps, triceps, delts, oh my!

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal

Our world, summarised. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Novak Djokovic

Feliciano Lopez

Delicious.

 


Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

December 23, 2010

With all the chat going on about wildcards and those that are left (Yes, there are a lot of lovely Aussie boys at challenger-level seeking WCs, and yes, it’s a shame that some have to miss out. Personally I believe a few of them – ahem hem Bernieboy – are capable of doing it through qualies, but that’s enough from me.) and let’s move on to who is actually getting them.

Exciting news today that the French reciprocal is going to hilarious hottie Benoit Paire. Ranked 152nd, the kid’s got game, but that’s highly irrelevant when more importantly for the tennis world, he is brimming with personality and has the looks to match.

Benoit Paire at US Open 2010

Snuggle up, children, for some eye candy of the day and a bednight story from Rishe G. Those who followed my USO exploits may be familiar with this Frenchie for the heartache he put me through one cloudy Friday afternoon in Flushing Meadows, where he stole my heart – or more likely, ripped it away from the Spanish Adonis across the net, who was magically entrancing the gaggle of ladies on the left sideline (the ball was called good). I refer, of course, to round two, when he pushed Feli to five and had us in hysterics. Falling over theatrically and swearing in French at your coach is kinda funny, but kinda juvenile at a Grand Slam event. Motioning to the heavens, the earth and your audience and commentating on every move? It’s bloody gold. Mimicking our cheers of “Lopez, Lopez” complete with eyerolls and carrying on a French conversation as if we were in a Paris cafe had this boy on my list, even if I had to make sure he didn’t beat Feli in the process. Happiness abounds. Feli made it through, Benoit is our new Frenchie fave, and guess who’s coming to Melbourne?
Benoit Paire on-court antics
Benoit Paire, mid-service


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