This week heralds a time when the colour of our screens change and life becomes happy and breezy again.
Here are a few reasons why we love it when the dirt of Europe takes over our lives and makes tennis full of joy, love and laughter.
10. Sliding is Sexy
9. The View’s not bad from here
It’s one thing to be a jet setter and travel all over the world on your yacht and private plane.
It’s another thing to be a tennis fan, where you can head over to the most gorgeous countries – and some pretty boring, grey ones as well – and get a glimpse of what they have to offer.
Clay season takes it up a notch. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want to be?
The View from Monte Carlo is salivating:
Nice makes you want to take a spoonful, cover it in hot fudge and dig in.
And I love the ancient statues in Rome right up against the brick-red clay.
8. Longer Rallies make pretty watching
I love it when you settle in to watch that first clay match and just like the players have to readjust their game, we’re readjusting our watching eyes. The rallies are longer and for those of us who like to watch, it doesn’t get much better than that.
7. Rafa on Fire
There are reasons this sport was invented. This is one of them.
6. Time Difference makes ALL the Difference.
Australians all let us rejoce for we are young and free….
Free. That’s right. We’re so free that we’re on the other side of the world, a 24 hour planeride from most – except a handful of Southeast Asian countries, some islands for occasional holidays, and a random nation that copies our every move and then whinges about it.
We’re also desperately alone every morning as we venture into the day ahead, stealthily creeping into Monday, or Tuesday, or the 1st of January in the knowledge that we are going where no man has gone before. We take it on the chin for those of you on the other side of the dateline, because we’re hardened up Aussies and we like being adventurers. But sometimes, when you’re all still having a party up on Sunday and we’re stuck into Monday morning, it brings on the yuckness.
That’s where Clay season is made of joy, because come 6.30 in the PM, we can sit round the Teev with our dinners and our glass of wine and have a night made of fun right in front of us (or at least, after MasterChef. And for those of us without Fox Sports, in front of the Livestream). If you’re going until the late match, you only need to keep your tired peepers up until the relatively earthly hour of 2 or 3 am and then off to beddy-byes you go. Thanks Europe.
5. Umpire Love
Any self respecting tennis nerd will admit that aside from having a host of player crushes, the favourite umpire fan clubs are still reigning strong. Readers of Court Thirteen from Australian Open days (oh yeah, we still have more pics to show you from that) will recall that these particular ladies are fans of the gorgeously adorable Carlos Ramos and his Spanish bestie, Enric Molina.
Which is why the clay season brings umpire stalking to a whole new dimension, when the adorable man in chair gets off his fancy high horse and comes down to examine the line. Also provides many opportunities for cutesy umpire convos.
SO much more fun than the hawkeye “oooooooh”.
Unless you’re Gonzo….
4. Sammy is an Aussie and she plays on clay.
For anyone out there who isn’t Spanish or Swiss, it gets pretty irritating after a while when your country harps on about how title starved they are.
Aussies are no different, with a favourite topic of discussion being whether we will ever have a homeboy raise the trophy on our home slam ever again.
It’s also a rife time to whinge and complain at how hard it is to play on clay when you just haven’t been brought up with it, and for Aussies, Americans and Brits to shut their eyes and take a nap until grass season starts.
But for those of us backing Aussie Sam, it’s been a lovely time and the winnage is just going to continue.
3. Spaniards Rule (always). And even more, on Clay.
Watching the hottest guys in existence, play deep into tournaments week in, week out?
Say anything in a French accent and it will sound tres chaud. Just try listening to the scoreline being called after Jeu, Set, et Match.
1. Rafa Nadal
The King of Clay deserves two entries.
Please let me see more of this in the next few weeks?