Bits and Bobs
Feet of (blue) Clay
Play is underway in Madrid, and I tuned in this afternoon to see, to my amazement, Djokovic down 5-1 against Daniel Gimeno-Traver (who?) in the second set, then to lose the set 6-2. He went on to win the match, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, but … whaaaat?
This proves a theory I said out loud but not actually to anyone, so like all my theories it has no weight – Djokovic’s mojo was dented by that recent loss to Nadal, no matter what the circumstances. Yes, he was stricken and grieving over his grandfather’s passing, but sports operates on more levels than just the personal, and Rafa’s emphatic “schooling” of Nole in Barcelona carved out an inlet of vulnerability in the Serbian. Now he both seems, and is, more vulnerable to all the other players, not to mention Nadal. Will he be strutting and chest-pounding on the blue courts of Madrid? Of course he will, but will he win? This seems in question (which no one could have believed, four months ago).
Serena on the blue clay: “Blue clay is fine. I could play on ice if necessary.” Yes! That’s a great quote, and a good attitude. I like her willingness to be funny. She said about Roland Garros: “I’m always ready to win the French, and I never do.” Snap! That’s a good line. People who kvetch about Serena never seem to mention her self-deprecating humor or her generousness in rustling up good sound bites. Doesn’t that make up for her threats to jam her racquet down umpires’ throats? (I keed, I keed.)
Where Are the Women?
Unless I've missed it, Tennis Channel has shown not one minute of one women’s match since starting coverage of the Madrid tournament. What’s the thinking behind that? You start wondering if the women are even in Madrid, since the players often play separate tournaments, but they are there, just not shown to the public. Shades of shrouds, facial coverings and other obscuring measures! Come on, Tennis Channel!
Oh my god, this guy is like a oversized, athletic-virtuoso Tony Curtis from his glory days. Raonic is a funny mish-mash of old-geezer and young buck – his wide hips and flat shoulders seem like a throwback to men’s physiques in the olden days (1940s, I mean) but his rockabilly haircut, black shorts and smoldering demeanor have something inexplicably hipster about them. What’s mesmerizing about watching him though is how these elements work together to form a forbidding, powerful foe. I tremble for Federer, who plays him tomorrow!