State of the Nation: Tennis

March 22, 2011

For those of you who aren’t perpetually linked in to the world of tennis via a plethora of fancy tools that your parents call “hi-tech” and you call “my life, dammit”, you may not have had the same last several weeks as the rest of us, watching a little piece of yellow fuzz being hit back and forth by exceptional characters clad in various fashions showcasing specific examples of the amazing strength of the human body. Such shenanigans were going on in the state of California, in a little-known place just off Palm Springs, called Indian Wells.

Indian Wells is supposedly an oldies resort, where tennis courts and golf courses stretch on for mile after green mile, overlooked by the oh-so-purdy snow-capped mountains in the background. As players converge on this little spot of the California desert in the beginning of March for the first Masters Tournament of the season, it’s all about seeing just who’s held up since the last time the boys and girls got together in Melbourne: Will the up-and-comers (hi, Dolgy, Bernie, Milos, yeah you) live up to the hype? Is Novak Djokovic really on fire? Can Roger Federer cash in his superannuation yet? Does Caro really DESERVE the Number One ranking? (Yawn.) And, more importantly: How fat is Fernando Verdasco? Does Jada need a haircut for those cute blonde curls? Are all Serbian fans really that awesome? Will John Isner EVER get the girl?

The questions of tennis fans never cease, and we tend to have the important stuff covered: Food, fashions, children, celebrity friends, rumoured relationships, bromances with other sports, how men look with their shirts off. Tennis journalists, on the other hand, and dabblers in the sport we like to call “casual fans”, all have just one question, constantly, and damn it does get boring:

OMG, So, Like, Do you think, like, Roger Federer, isn’t he, just the BEST EVER? *gush* Followed by: How about that Nadal dude? What’s wrong with Andy Murray?

And lately, if you get just the right sort of tennis fan: “What’s up with Djokovic? He won the Australian Open, hey?”

And the zinger: “So are Federer and Nadal over?”

I love reading responses to this question because everyone pretends to know and no-one really knows and the fun part is, we’ll never know, until it happens, and THAT’S WHY WE LOVE THIS SPORT SO MUCH.

We love sport BECAUSE it’s unpredictable. Because there is no way of knowing what’s going to happen next. Because tennis, of all glorious wonderful sports, is so wondrous precisely because you can be staring three match points in the face at 5-4 in the 2nd set only to have it turned around to face ANOTHER match point in the tie-break to TURN IT ALL AROUND and win the goddamn match in the third set and then WIN THE TOURNAMENT. Because when your friend texts you to find out what time you’ll be done watching the tennis and you say “I don’t know” it’s because, You really don’t bloody know.

And that’s why it’s awesome.

We don’t know if Nole will end the year number one, or Rafa, or even (please not) Roger. We don’t know if Nole’s luck will snap, or he’ll finish Miami with the hard-court-major-trifecta (Melbourne, Indian Wells, Miami) and get the longest streak ever, or take over Number One by riding through clay season.

Or if Rafa will join a soccer team tomorrow and Roger opens a day-care center and leave the rankings open slather for the rest of the top 10. Andy Murray could win the next fourteen slams after this, and everyone will laugh hysterically at the hiccup of the first few slam finals he was in.

I’m happy to say that the Indian Wells results were true to life, in my humble, stream-watching-incessantly-tweeting opinion. I *do* think Caroline Wozniacki deserves the Number One spot, and I’m glad she proved it. I *do* believe Novak Djokovic is on an unbelievable hot streak and the better player of the big three – as he so proved to us this weekend. Having those two as our champions this weekend says something about the state of the nation in sport – and having two kids who are both pretty awesome, as far as kind, generous, funny (ok, only Nole, but Caro does give good tweet when Jisner is around), good-looking ambassadors to a sport that needs a bit of marketing help – is a total plus. As for what happens next? Who the hell knows. But I sure as hell can’t wait to find out.

THIS SPORT IS THE BESTEST, YOU GUYS.

Because no matter what happens tomorrow, I know I’ll be sitting somewhere in the world – whether in a hot and sweaty bar in Thailand, on a laptop in my apartment in Brooklyn, in an Irish pub in Spain, or courtside at a Grand Slam – and waiting with bated breath to see what happens next.


Matte or Dewy?

March 18, 2011

This video is wonderful for many reasons, including the view of Indian Wells, a tournament that is growing on me to the extent I’m considering planning a nice little tennis holiday next year this time. It’s also got a Hi from Kei, and if you look ruhlly ruhlly closely at 3.08, a pretty lady in a ponytail who may or may not be Ana Ivanovic warming up.

How much would you give to be the makeup artist so artfully patting gel in Delpo’s spikey ‘do…. Or spongeing Tomas with what we can only assume would be foundation of the dewy type. I’d recommend a liquid-to-powder formula, personally.


Rally for Relief: Pro Version

January 18, 2011


Contrary to popular opinion, some bright spark actually thought that we’d want to see some real tennis at Rally for Relief – rather than, you know, our favourite people in the universe show us their personalities for a change.

So after the kids went off court, it was time for the grownups to turn up, bringing their A-Games with them. I find it hilarious that Numbers 1 & 2 in the world Vera and Caro weren’t invited, instead leaving us clear Aussie hometown favourites Sammy and Kimmy. Or, you know, it could’ve been part of the “keep-Kim-as-far-away-as-possible-from-Lleyton” plot – though Brian and Bec appeared to be sitting none too far from one another at a certain point. PS: If you know me, you know I don’t bash Caro. I don’t! But damn, did anyone else find her extraordinarily irritating at R4R? Actually, I know what you’re going to say – it wasn’t extraordinary. But oh dear, it was for me. I defend that girl all year round. Then she goes and wiggles her bum and catwalks for Nole? Sad. But I digress.

Are you there, Gd? It’s me, Sammy.

Rafa playing tennis. It’s why they pay him the big bucks.

Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters

Rafa and Kim trying out the dynamics of male-female relationships. Apparently they’re both really good at it.

Rafael Nadal

Rafa still not grasping the concept of photography from the other side of the lense.

Roger FedererFed sitting around looking suave, which is why they pay HIM the big bucks.

Rafa on top. (If that comment were reversed and uttered by a Fed lover, I’d be pissed. So apologies.)

Very Freudian, I’m sure.

Awesome, Awesomer, Awesomest.

 

Pics: @rishegee. Please link me and notify me when reposting. Thanks.


Your job is easier

January 18, 2011

Like any good exho featuring the hilarious antics of Andy Roddick (I’m actually being serious), there comes the predictable umpire/linesman ribbing, and today was no exception. Andy was insistent on proving that the linesman’s job is easier, and even had him come up and serve for us.

Between tennis players posing as catwalk models (Caro), in the photographer’s pit (Nole and Rafa), calling lines (Vika and Andy), playing soccer (Nole and Muzza), being a proud father (oh wait… that’s Lleyton), and even baseball (Andy), the guys tried to prove to us again and again that they’re good for anything but playing tennis.

But we know the truth, sez we. You kids are tennis players, and here’s the Class of 2011 picture. Stop giggling.

Rally for Relief Stars

Like any good wedding photographer, I did the bit where you zoom in bit by bit.

 

Courier, Lleyton, Rafter, Murray, Ivanovic

Courier’s sad because he’s not with his best mate “Rog”. Why does he call him that?

Vera, Caro, Rafa, Andy Roddick, Kim

Ah, the racquet clutch. Perfect defensive position without looking too “arms-crossed” in an awkward situation. Like when you and your numerous “classmates” are forced to lineup for a cheesy pic. Why clasp each other’s stomachs and kiss on cheek politely if you can’t even put an arm around for a photo op?

Roddick, Clijsters, Henin, Federer, Stosur

Obviously, Roger has the friendly arm-wrap down. Dammit. He’s touching Sam. HE’S TOUCHING MY GIRL!

Tennis stars at Rally for Relief

the family all together

Looking gorgeous and playing gorgeous tennis vs looking at gorgeous pictures? My job is easiest.


Oh No. They Don’t Show This Stuff on TV. :(

January 16, 2011

After escaping the skirmishes of the #fangirlstampede, we were ensconced in our front row seats in Rod Laver – yeah, no biggie – and had two hours of time-killing ahead of us.

Lucky we had the shirtless – and surprisingly fit – Lleyton to entertain us, ripped torso atop wobbling hips, and the always lovely Tomas Berdych.

Lucky we could see….ooooh oooh wait, whoozzaat? It’s Roger Fedeerrrreeerrrr. Yeahhhhh Federrer. Heee’s like, oooh, you know, the gr8est tennis playaahh evaaahh. Whooooo. Federreeerrr, come here, ROGER!

We did a good job applauding all those glorious winners… The ones made by his hitting partner, of course, who we later confirmed was Richard Berankis. Good work.

And then finally – FINALLY! – this man came on court, and we could settle down into the smooth tones of his rich voice, announcing in my very favourite way, Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to Rod Laver Arena!

And the party began.


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.

 


“The House of Roger”

December 22, 2010

So the much-discussed exo happened, but first, it was time to pretend these two get all bromantic.

Love the half-assed hug. Honestly, much as I talk crap about Federer, I find this kind of sweet. It’s like seeing your workmate out of the office and trying to make a good impression with your fancy social life. I’m just worried about the real evil plan up his sleeve. Conspiracy theories, anyone?

“Is always pleasure for me, seeing cities around the world. And the house of Roger.”
He said it, kids, not me.


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