Me, Watching Tennis

Me, Watching Tennis
Me, Watching Tennis

Monday, December 3, 2007

We Won The Davis Cup!

Wow! We did it. After a twelve year draught.

But the only thing that stands out in my mind is the chewing tobacco. Mardy Fish, his lower lip bulging with tobacco, spitting into an empty pepsi bottle. What is up with that? Are they pretending to be baseball players? Next thing you know, they are going to get all fat, too. I'm sorry, but it was just a little gross. I also think it was possible that I saw James Blake chewing tobacco before his match! Huh? Maybe I imagined that. I can't imagine playing tennis on a serious nicotine high with the slimy, sour taste of chew in my mouth. You see, I've chewed tobacco on numerous occasions. I know, it's not very ladylike. But a buzz is a buzz. I've also played tennis. And I can say, having done both, that the two things, chewing tobacco and playing tennis, should not go together.

But we won. Convincingly. No one choked. The crowd worked for, not against, the players- they handled the pressure well. But they chewed tobacco, too. Oh well.

I will say this: I saw Gabashvili on the bench for the Russians. That was cool, because, as you all know from my former posts, I like him tons. I also liked seeing Donald Young on the US's bench. He's a great character for tennis, with his messed up hat and bling.
Yours truly,

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Men's Year End Championship: A Summary

There were two exciting things that happened in Shangai this year. One: Federer proved his dominance despite a less dominant year than the years before. I like to see him waver and then not waver. The second thing was: Ferrer's ass-kicking move into the top five or whatever he is now- six? My point is -- watching him beat Nadal and then Roddick was thrilling. I don't really understand why he didn't give Federer a better match during the final. But that is why tennis and all sports are so fascinating: the mystery of performance. The way some people "own" other people. Why does Berdych beat Nadal and Nadal beat Federer? Doesn't Santoro have a winning record against Safin? I watched Karlovic beat Hewitt once and it didn't make any sense. Ferrer incredible run ended with a not very good match. It's too boring to say that Federer just played better than him. But it might be the truth.
I'm sad that we now have a break from the tennis season. But I guess I'll watch whatever they happen to show on the Tennis Channel. Including exposition matches? Hell, why not.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Women's Year End Championships

Well, I tried to watch a bunch of this and only watched some of it. I blame Tracy Austin for this although her fellow commentator-- is it Tim Ryan? I think it is--didn't help much at all. I try not to be a "hater". And hate is too strong of a word to describe my feelings for Tracy Austin. But the timber of her voice is like nails on a chalkboard. And she's arrogant. Maybe she just has "conviction" and maybe one needs that to blabber on. But I don't like to watch TV with the sound off and I don't like her voice and so this creates a huge problem. And Tim Ryan is boring. Tracy annoys and Tim -- sorry dude, you are not very exciting or funny. I feel bad. Like I said, I hate being a "hater". But maybe I'm just an annoyed person, and not a hater? Another thing about Tim; he's so passive. He's, like, submissive to Tracy. She's so flipping domineering with her shrillness. Maybe if I imagined Tracy in a black leather outfit with a whip and sharp high healed boots and Tim in a diaper on his knees with one of those balls in his mouth, I could enjoy watching the ladies play tennis better. Hm. I'll try that.

Here are some deeply insightful comments on the tennis:

What was up with those wierd tape thingies on Serena's legs? I have never seen such strange things on an athlete's legs. And the worst thing is, they didn't help. She had to retire because her leg/knee was hurting her badly. I worry it's because of those funky things she had on. She likes to look good! She looked wierd and maybe the wierd look hurt her knee. Just a thought.

I like the Russian, Chakvadatze. Do you know why? She looks like she is on the verge of tears at all times. Something about her eyes. They are so sad! So Russianly sad! And she's a teenager, a cute one, with her long braid and perky athletic body. But when she opens her mouth, she sounds like a male fifty year old former boxer. It's unsettling, man! What is up with the deepness of her voice? My husband and I make politically incorrect jokes about the possibility that the Russian daughters of serious Russian athletes- Kuznetsova, Petrova, and perhaps, mournful little Chakky --are a little "different" due to the vast amounts of steroids that their parents took. Now, that's not nice of me. But it is a joke and I don't really believe it. But Chakky's voice! I love it, too. It's so incongruous and incongruity is good. It is.

I know I should say something here about Henin and Sharapova. Here's what I'll say: they are good tennis players. Sharapova's outfit is not working for me, but hey, like she cares what I think about her outfit. She's rich and famous and I'm just the latter- just kidding! I'm not famous. Someday, I'll write about Henin's boobs. But not today.

I am not going to say anything about the matches and that is the fault of Tracy and Tim, who chased me away from the television so I could not watch much of them. But now that I have a new visualization strategy, the future could be better. I hope to watch more Ladies matches even if Tracy and Tim are the commentators.

Off to watch more men's tennis.
Yours Truly,

Monday, November 5, 2007


Well, I am so overjoyed that I could roll around on the floor touching myself gently but ecstatically and screaming and screaming and then eventually whispering and moaning, and then barely able to talk anymore, still managing to get out the words, the painful, beautiful words, "Nalbandian! Nalbandian!" Or better, "David! David!"

He won his second masters in Paris. He bageled Nadal. He looks like my husband. He is Argentine and speaks a million languages. He has class. He sings on youtube-

I forgot to talk about Martina Hingis and how she tested positive for cocaine. Do you know why? I don't really care. That said, what I really think is, give the girl a break. Every single person in London does cocaine. Really. It's wierd. It's gack central. Instead of people offering you, say, a pretzel, people offer you cocaine. Everywhere. It's not not just Kate Moss and her sexy scary Babyshambles boy, Peter D. It's just the way it is there. It's different there than NYC, where far fewer people do cocaine. People used to do tons of cocaine here in NYC. But now they don't. Things changed here in that people do less gack. And in London, people do more gack. GACK! Indeed, the last time I was in London, a stranger in a bar told me in a very light-hearted manner that he couldn't talk to me anymore because he had to go by cocaine. He said it like someone here in Brooklyn would say, "I gotta go buy some toilet paper." Or actually, not even like buying toilet paper, which is always a little embarrassing, even though we all need it. There was no embarrassment. It was more like- now I got it!-- "I gotta go pick up my daughter from pre-school". Yes. That is how it is in London with cocaine. It's like picking up your daughter from pre-school. One just has to do it. No shame, like buying something with which to wipe your butt. Just, you know, something you gotta do five days a week. So why are people angry about Martina doing cocaine whilst at Wimbledon? That's like being angry at her for picking up her daughter from pre-school. It just doesn't make sense. But I am not happy that Hingis is retiring. She shouldn't do that.

What else? Te quiero David!! Te quiero!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

I Start Blogging and Nalbandian Starts Kicking Ass. Coincidence or Fate?

Well, Nalbandian beat Federer again. This time, in straight sets and this time the commentators on TV gave him the love he deserved. One thing I like that one guy said more than once, is that Nalbandian kept Federer "off balance". I felt one could literally see this, that is was visible, how off balance Federer was. A lot of the "unforced" errors that Federer made actually seemed forced to me. And only in South America have I seen statistics for forced errors: the clay court events in Argentina, Chile and Mexico keep stats on "forced" errors. It's tricky to call an error forced or not, but I think that Nalbandian really pushed Federer around and made him reach for shots he wasn't ready to hit.

After that match, who could watch Youhzny vs. Haas? Sorry folks, I could not.

Right this very second, I am watching Nalbandian play against The Turtle (not the Ferret! No! see post called Tennis as Lullaby Plus Ferrets), David Ferrer. Nalby -- as he is affectionately known in this house -- won the first set, barely. Now, I love Nalby. But I think after beating Federer, he is going to have some kind of a "let down". Then, turning on the TV, I find out that Ferrer's record against Nalby is 6 to 2. So, Ferrer normally beats him. Hmm. I saw these two play and wrote briefly about it for (link to the actual article will be up soon) and it was a tight three setter. I stil feel a pang of guilt for not letting my youngest son use the bathroom because we had snuck up to the first row for the match and I didn't want to lose my seat. Hey, he didn't pee himself or anything. Sometimes, when you are on a car ride with your kids, they gotta wait a bit, no? I want you all to know that if he'd seemed in any way in any physical discomfort, I would have given up my stolen first row seats and taken my boy to the bathroom. Or I would have let him pee in an empty water bottle right there- just kidding! Also, Nalbandian won that match against Ferrer.

Now, after Nalby won the first set this evening, I thought, well, now he's going to lose the next two. You see, Nalby likes coming from behind. He loves to lose the first set. Indeed, he famously lost the first two sets against Federer at the year end champions two years ago and then went on to win the next three sets and beat R-Fed. But when he wins the first- danger. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule! For instance, people, last night against Federer! Also, one of my favorite wins, was Nalbandian in straights (three of them, it was Davis Cup) over in Hewitt- on GRASS-- in Australia!

But here tonight, Nalby just lost the second set and they are playing the third set now and perhaps my not so generous generalization about Nalby will prove true. Truthfully, I like Ferrer a lot. OK, he doesn't hold the same place in my heart that Nalbandian does, but I'm happy he's had such a good year. He's in the year end chamionships! I think he's number 5 n the world! Damn! Go Ferrer! But if I was hooked up to a lie detector, strapped down on a table, and someone could reach deep into the dark folds of my very innermost, sensitive, er, soul, I think I would want Nalbandian to win. I'll let you know what happens.

People! Wow! He did it! I didn't think he could and I'm ashamed I wasn't more confident in my man. But I will say this- 18 aces and 0 double faults. For a man who is known as a grinder, as the best returner out there, he has really done something with his serve. Also, as my tennis teacher Chris mentioned, and I was unaware, Nalbandian has a new coach and perhaps this is helping him reach him potential!

Now comes Nadal and Youhzny. Then comes Gasquet and Murray. (I'm pulling for the Frenchie, Gasquet.) Back to the hard work of watching tennis!
Yours Truly,

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Day Two of Paris, Or Why I love Gabashvili vs. Mahut

I know, I know, Federer, Nadal and for you real wierdos, Andy Roddick means tennis. They are in the American Express Ads. They're on the covers of magazines. They're rich as shit. And Nadal is a wet dream to boot.

But Day Two of Paris inspired me in ways that somehow Day One didn't. And it wasn't because my favorites were playing--although, frankly, I still have to watch the evening matches. The hard work of watching tennis in the early rounds is never ending, man! It's almost as if there are not enough hours in the day! Whew. It's hard work, but someone's gotta do it. And that person shall be me.

So yesterday, feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed by other, unimportant shit like being a mother, getting ready for Halloween, dealing with my renovation, or stupid, unimportant shit like that, I, of course, decided to watch tennis as a means of mental escape.

But instead of really escaping, I delved deep into something inside me, although I still managed to avoid other stuff, like housework.
Which brings me to the title of this post.

Gabashvili vs. Mahut. Mahut is French and was playing in Paris, so he had the crowd behind him (although not as much as Santoro would have later), but in reality, Mahut is not the most well known player in the world. I would look up his actual ATP ranking right now for you all, but I don't want to accidentally see some results since I am a bit behind in my watching. Mahut is a serve and volleyer, practicing a dying if not basically dead art-form of tennis. Mardy Fish, Karlovic, Sam Querry-- am I forgetting someone? Of all of those, he is perhaps the least well known, but he had these incredible runs earlier this year(or was it last? Yikes, but my point is still the same). He made it to the final of Queens, the very prestigious grass court, lead up event to Wimbledon, where he barely lost to Andy Roddick. I think he cried there. And there was some other event, also on a fast court, which my husband claims he won. (Again, I can't look it up right now! I don't want to see any results!!) But what I am fairly certain about, is that the guy is like 29 years old. He's not some young guy! This is it for him. He's got maybe three to five years left, and he's in not in the top one hundred--or maybe he is now, only after his incredible summer-- and he's been playing tennis his whole life and probably just getting by. Tennis doesn't pay very well when you are battling it out at the far end of the ATP, going to challengers and futures and making a few grand here and there.

And yet, of course, he's a very talented player. One can be very talented and still not get to where one should be. And that is my understanding of him. It's not just talent. What else is it? I'm not talking about the genuis of Federer or the insane athletic ability of Nadal, I'm talking about, let's say, how one gets to number 75 in the world and stays in the top 100 for a nice run. And how others never get past 375. Anyway, when Mahut barely lost to Roddick, I was so moved. So moved. He had done so much, perhaps more than he thought he would ever do. It reminded me of Bartoli at Wimbeldon. So perhaps this is about something very elusive- self belief.

So I want to hug Mahut and tell him I believe in him. I also wierdly wanted to tell him that he had accomplished so much and that that was enough. Of course, he could do more. But that didn't matter. Sometimes, if I vacuum but I didn't do anything else all day- it's still enough, you know? And what he accomplished was huge and would be passed down for generations- as in, "My grandfather Mahut got to the finals of Queens, here's his trophy", that sort of thing. How many people can say that? Very very few.

But even moreso, in some way, I want to hug Gabashvili. Now, Gabashvili is higher ranked than Mahut (or so I think! I can't look this up right now, as you all know) and I've had the great pleasure of walking past him in Canada (where I go every year). I could make all these comparisons to Karlovic, because of Karlovic's stutter, but I won't right this second. Gabashvili is Georgian/Russian, from a part of the world where women sell themselves as Russian brides to dumbass American men out of desperation, and men do things like, behave corruptly. Now, this is a huge generalization! But an important one if you consider the geographical make-up of the top players in tennis! I'm sure there are lots of wonderful things going on in Georgia/Russia, but it's not an easy place to be from! I hear it's beautiful! But I gather that life is hard there, you know?

So here is this guy with this impossibly strange name, tall, gangly, and like Mahut--not wearing some fabulous gear provided by Nike. (Although I will say I think they both have deals, clothing, racket and shoes, but not deals like Roddick or R-Fed.) And he has horrible acne scars. And I think of him as a teenager, pustules on his face, so tall, playing tennis and playing tennis and playing tennis, in godforsaken Russia (think of Ivanovic playing tennis in some emptied out pool, which she's spoken about, and you get an idea of where Gabashvili had his origins). And you think about the intense dedication. The desire. The ability to dream of a world so different than from Where One Comes. So we are sort of back to self belief. What is it? Yes, I'm sure he has talent, don't get me wrong.

But watching him out there, fist pumping, jumping up and down, talking to himself, trying so hard -- getting so emotional! -- you have to think this man, this acne-scarred, somewhat lowly ranked (in comparison to most of the players at this event, and Mahut being French probably had a wild card), a man who probably had to win two or three qualifying matches to get to the first round, a man who has to be careful how he spends his money on tour, who is not a star -- you have to think he has self belief. And not a total, hard thing sort of self belief. But the honest kind- the kind that wavers and falls and soars and drops. And God, he is brave in the face of so much adversity. The adversity of the land from where he hails, of the unliklihood of making it in the terribly hard world of professional tennis, and of the difficulties of being on national television with pockmarked skin. And there he is, pumping his fist.

And when he lost I wanted to cry. But at the same time, I hope he know what Mahut's grandchildren will know- I hope he knows very very few people ever qualify for a first round at a Masters. Very few people ever travel the world playing professional tennis. Very few people get as far as he has gotten. Most people are like me. Vacuuming is a good day. And if he dreams big and he feels disappointed, I hope that later in life he can be realistic about his accomplishment: it is huge. And I want to hug him. And I hope he has some great results. And I love him even though he has acne scars and maybe even I love him more because of his acne scars. God Bless Gabashvili.
Yours Truly and a Bit Emotionally,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The First Day of the Last Masters

Well, I am very proud to say I got through the first eight hours of the first day of the Paris Masters, although I feel as though I retained very little of it. The first day of any Masters can be very exciting. The top players can end up playing each other in early rounds, unlike, for the most part, the Grand Slams. That said, for some reason I was very underwhelmed yesterday. My understanding of my underwhelmitude is that the Madrid Masters, just over a week ago, was so fricking amazing that I'm still in the "let down" phase, that phase of sadness that something so great is over.

Maybe today's matches will grab my imagination a bit more than yesterday's.

Fish beat Tursunov- that was a bit of an upset. But I missed most of it. I did watch some of Feli Lopez playing Del Potro. Now, I love Feli. Once, I was in the hotel bar with my husband in a hotel in Toronto and it just so happened to be the same hotel that all the players were staying. (That, my friends, is a joke - we stayed there purposefully knowing all the players were there). I had spent the day at the Canada Masters and had seen Feli lose to Jonas Bjorkman, one of the oldest dudes on the tour, and a person to whom Feli should not lose. I was sitting next to Feli's coach, so Feli kept coming over to talk to his coach and it felt like he was talking to me. Feli is very, very handsome. In fact, I belong to a Facebook group called, Feliciano Lopez tiene calor. Anyway, he was sad he lost. In fact, he was so upset when they drove him away on a golf cart I may have yelled, "Te Quiero, Feli!" But I don't remember. (He was crying. I once saw Hewitt cry, too. Only on TV, but still. He had just lost ot Karlovic.)

So later, my husband and I were in the bar and watching the night match and having a nightcap. And guess you walks into the bar? By the way, my husband and I were the only ones there besides the very nice bartender that - to this day-- I feel badly that I didn't give him a better tip. I am math challenged sometimes. One of these days, I'm going to find that man and give him an enormous tip. In fact, I had my son run by the hair salon the other day and re-tip my haircutter lady because of my math challenged state that day. Anyway, Rafa Nadal and Feli came into the bar for a minute and looked at the match- it was Bagdhatis vs. I don't remember. But I do remember Nadal. I stared. My mouth dropped open. I felt shy around him because he had become a huge celebrity. But Feli? Well, I felt a little shy because he's so damn hot. But he's not nearly as big of a worldwide celebrity. Maybe he's big in Spain. Plus, I'd seen him be so vulnerable that day! That very day. So I said to him, "Juegas bien." (You play well._ He said, "Gracias." (Thanks.) And then I died of embarrassment.

Anyway, he lost to Del Potro. The most annoying thing was that they were wearing the exact same outfits. That drives me nuts. I don't get mad at the players- I don't really think it's their fault--but there is a reason they make hockey players wear whites when they travel (and darks at home, or vica versa.) It's nice to know the difference! AndDel Potro and Feli have, like, the same hair! Mostly I was sad that Feli lost. I like him more than Del Potro.

Later, I watched a bit of Clement vs. Youhzny (sp? sorry folks). Youhzny won. But - well, let's hope today I'm more engaged! There is another eight hours! And then the night matches!!! Maybe Nalbandian is playing today....
Yours Truly,

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Past Three Days in Tennislandia: Eccentric Ladies, good outfits and the Paris Masters Starts

The first semi-final of the Ladies Linz Generali highlighted one of my favorite aspects of the women's game: these ladies are nuts. I like nutty people. Patty Shnyder vs. Bartoli represent two of the most wonderfully nut-bar ladies in the game. Schnyder once more or less quit tennis to be a part of some cult thing. OK, that's not very specific, but its true. And I'm fairly certain the man who is her husband and coach-- always a nice wierd touch when your husband is your coach-- also "saved" her from the cult. She also has sci-fi-ish, self help sort of book and accompanying website:
And as a lefty with some amazingly funky spinny shots, I love watching her play. Love it.

Then there is Bartoli who looks more like a cheese shop owner than a professional athlete. She hits two-handed on both sides. That is rare, and therefore nutty. Her father is her coach; less exciting than a husband, but still fun, especially because he is a doctor and he makes her do the wierdest drills on the tour- tie tennis balls to her shoes and use a fishing rod to practice her serve. Announcers always suggest she's a bit of an outcast on the tour because of the wierd shit her dad makes her do. There is something so soulful about her. And she can do such great damage to a short ball.

Shnyder won. Bartoli seemed out of gas and Schnyder- she's so crafty!

Then came-- as my husband so politically incorrectly said -- the battle of the concentration camp guards. Hantuchova vs. Vaidisova was definately the battle of two six foot tall, blond, Eastern Europeans. But Danny Hanny- as she is affectionately known in our house --has occasionally looked like a camp victim more than a guard (this was said to me by Matthew, and he has a point) as she has struggled with eating problems. She looks healthy now, although not in comparison to Vaidisova who my husband says "scares" him. Vaidisova is a big, fierce girl. She whomped Danny Hanny in the first set. But Danny fought hard and played well and Vaidisova, since she is still a girl, got emotional in her game and made a bunch of errors. Danny won.

Being a fan of both Danny and Schnyder is good and bad when watching them play: good because I get to be happy whoever wins; bad because I also don't give a shit. Danny won. Also, being a big fan of tennis fashion, I love seeing what the ladies are wearing. I liked Danny's outfit- she was in a skin tight black Nike ensemble that my husband liked even more than me. I also thought that Bartoli's layered pink outfit was very cute.

At four o'clock today, I turned on my television. I had been taping the men's Paris first rounds since five in the morning. The first match was Mardy Fish vs. Tursunov. I immediately felt overwhelmed with the amount of tennis ahead of me. So I did something I often do. I muted it and let it run and came upstairs and did something else; namely, helped my kids with their homework. Unfortunately my children are smart and need very little help with their homework. But it gave me a little breather from the enormous amount of tennis ahead. I like Tursunov and Fish for not disimiliar reasons that I like Danny Hanny, Bartoli, or Shnyder. I've seem them both act like crazy unstable types on the court. It's amusing. But, they are not Spanish, nor Argentine, and therefore the TV continues to run downstairs, while I am up here, making dinner.
Yours Truly,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tennis As a Lullaby Plus Ferrets

Sometimes, while watching tennis, I fall asleep. This is not because I find tennis boring.In fact, I really like watching tennis. But tennis can also soothe me in ways that other things don't soothe me. In fact, tennis can be like a lullaby and indeed so calming and soothing that I fall asleep.

I just fell asleep for the second time trying to watch the Zurich final, which consisted of Henin vs. Golovin. The first time I fell asleep watching this taped event was last night. We'd just gotten back from Hale Eddy, where we spend our weekends. We put the kids to bed, and then turned on my new, enormous flat screen high def TV to watch the ladies final. Oh wait, it was retaping at eleven pm, so first we watched a CSI. But then, soon enough, it was eleven o'clock and tennis commenced. Around five or six games into it, I fell asleep. My husband woke me and said we should go to bed. He was right.

The second time I fell asleep watching the Zurich final was just about two and a half hours ago. This time, I managed to stay awake to watch the entire first set, where Tatiana, up a break, managed to get broken back and then broken again. Then I fell asleep. When I woke, briefly, it was the end of the match. Henin won in straights and I felt a little disappointed that Golovin couldn't keep up with her, but hey, Henin is number one for a reason. Then they both said nice things, held bouquets of flowers and little glass trophies. Meanwhile, I was irritated that I was awake! It was so much nicer to be asleep.

So, I did something I don't like to do, but I do on occasion, out of some deep inner need for the soothing sound of tennis balls being whacked, commentators commentating, crowds clapping and the bright glimmer of television light hovering in the not so far distance. I watched an old match that I still had on my DVR, but that had happened a few weeks ago.

Now, maybe others don't feel a bit sheepish when admitting to watching a tennis match that happened a while ago. I do. I feel like it's not relevant, so it makes me feel desperate. Also, I only watch old matches when I am desperate. So which came first, the desperate feeling or the tennis match? That is too hard to answer. It's as hard to answer as which came first, the chicken or the egg. It's just unanswerable.

It was the Japan final, featuring my much beloved David Ferrer vs. Gasquet. And before I nicely fell asleep again, just as I wanted to, I heard some very interesting commentary by some -- I hope -- drunk, English guy. He was talking about Ferrer, who he likes very much. But he said, "I'm from England, and Ferrer makes me think of ferret. A ferret is a little animal that gets everything, all of its prey. It'll climb into rabbit holes to get the rabbit. And Ferrer reminds me of a ferret. He just gets everything."

Now, I may not be quoting him exactly. But a ferret is not a very nice rodent. And Ferrer is a nice man! I don't know him personally, but once I saw him in a hotel lobby and I've also watched him play Nalbandian in Canada, where he lost a tight match and I was in the first row. So even thought I don't know him, I've been relatively close to him, physically speaking. And I think he wouldn't want to be compared to a long, stinky rodent.

That said, maybe I'm feeling threatened by the commentator because I thought I was the only one to compare Ferrer to a small animal. But I, in my house in front of the television, at events where I've seen him play, have commented that Ferrer looks like a turtle. Now, turtle doesn't sound like the name Ferrer, as does ferret, but Ferrer actually reminds one of a turtle. He has that very hunched over back thing that some, not many, tennis players get from always sort of leaning over to hit a tennis ball. I'm actually surprised that more tennis players don't look like turtles. But Ferrer does. Im my house, we call him The Turtle. Not the ferret! The Turtle! Not that rodents shouldn't be loved. I know rodents are loveable; as a child I owned mice, hamsters and guinea pigs. But the Spanish, Ferrer being Spanish, are very proud. And I don't think he'd liked to be called a ferret. So out of respect for the Spanish cultural tendency to be proud, I think that drunk English commentator should not have called him a ferret. In fact, I was going to keep my nickname of The Turtle a secret, because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But I think turtles are noble creatures-- perhaps all of God's creatures are noble, OK, but some animals evoke certain feelings in us humans -- so I don't feel so badly about thinking of him as a turtle.

Anyway, Ferrer was whomping Gaasquet, who I also really like. But then I fell asleep. When I woke, the match was over. They were both sitting down and waiting to get up and receive enormous checks. There was a lot of awkward silence from the commentators. It was a very long wait. Anyway, at this point I was awake and so I came upstairs and made a cup of tea. Tennis really served me well today. I needed a nap, and it helped me to nap. First I napped thanks to the Zurich final, then I woke but wanted to nap again, and then I watched an old match and even though that alarms me about myself, it helped me nap again.
Yours Truly,

The Battle of the Uncircumsized Penises

Before I get to the very important tennis concept mentioned in the title of this particluar entry to my blog, I'd like to quickly discuss the quarterfinals, semis and the amazing final to the Madrid Masters.

David Nalbandian is God! That's right all you naysayers! Well, my man did it. I have a few men on the tour that are my favorites, but as you all know from reading the previous post, I have a very, very specical place in my heart for David. In the quarters, he beat Rafa 6/1, 6/2. A spanking. I like Rafa. In fact, this post was going to be called, I Liked Rafael Nadal Before You Did, which is true. But even though I like Rafa and liked him before you did, I still wanted David to win because Rafa has won plenty of times, but David tends to lose more than he should.

The commentators kept saying how poorly Rafa was playing which may have been sort of true - but people! David played really, really well. Then, when David beat Djokovic in the semis, they kept saying how poorly Djokovic was playing. Then, even while beating Roger Goddamn Federer, they had to say that The R-Fed was playing poorly. I wanted to pull my hair out. In the final, to the credit of the announcers ( a tiny tiny bit of credit), they gave David a little love.

The truth is, he played brilliantly in those last three matches. He served amazingly well- at 70 percent sometimes -- and he owned Federer's second serve! Owned it! Did anyone else hear the announcers talk about how David owned Federer's second serve? No. Because they weren't paying attention. They were too busy feeling awkward-- and this goes for the Rafa match and the Djokovic match -- about how wrong they were about David. So they didn't even watch what he did so well, which were many things. Taking control of the points, keeping the ball deep, finishing up at the net whenever possible. And he did this against Rafa and Djokopvic, too. He played very, very well to win those matches.

Now, four years ago, I was in Toronto with my sons at the Canada Open. Of course, we were trawling the back courts rather than sitting in the stadium watching a match. And there on a uncrowded back court, were Nalbandian and Nadal, practicing with Uncle Tony and the then coach of David's (with whom he is no longer). And both of them had their shirts off! David had a very sexy tat on his arm. And this was around the time when Rafa turned from boy to man. He was suddenly big. The year before, he hadn't quite filled out. But the point is, they are buddies. And both such good sports. Did you see their hug after David whomped him!? I love these two. Oh, and on that practice court, when David left, everyone watching left, except for me and my sons. David at that point was the bigger star! No one knew who Rafa was, except for me. That's why I was going to title this, I Liked Rafael Nadal Before You Did. So I stayed after David left and watched Rafa hit forehand after forehand. Without his shirt on. And another thing! He had been speaking Spanish with David when they were both practicing. But after David left, he spoke Catalan with Uncle Tony! How cool is that? I feel like I know something very special about Rafa. That he is Catalan/Mallorcan. Of course, the Catalan they speak in Mallorca is different than the Catalan they speak in Barcelona, but still. I know something special about him, like if I'd seen a little birthmark or something that the rest of his fans hadn't seen.

And what about the great sportsmanship of Djokovic? Putting his arm around David to congratulate him? I just love these guys.

But back to the Rafa and David match and to the very important topic mentioned in the title of this post. (Although, Djokovic and R-Fed come into play here, too.) While I was watching Rafa anad David play and the camera was focussed on Rafa's big, sweaty forarms and heaving chest, I thought, this guy is uncircumsized. And then I realized, so is David, probably. And so is Djokovic most likley! And R-Fed! What Swiss guy gets circumsized? The Spanish don't do it, either. And then a very big, hard, long, throbbing thought struck me upside the head: what if the reason why American players are not doing so well in tennis is because they are circumsized? People say that not being circumsized makes you have a lot more feeling in your penis. Maybe, somehow, this extra feeling in the penis makes them have extra powers on the court. And so I wanted to try and make a list of all the top one hundred players who are not circumsized. I don't know if the Russian do it, but my guess is not. So Safin might go on this list. And definitely Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer and possibly Juan Monaco, although I'm not entirely certain about the Argentines. Perhaps the ATP or the ITF would like to do a study on this. I would be more than willing to help. I could help by, firstly, gathering information. I'm sure that the players in the locker room all have a general idea about who is circumsized and who is not. But I could do a better, more thorough investigation into this all important matter. I would look at each player's penis and, with a clipboard in hand, write down their names in one of the two categories that I would have on my clipboard. The two categories would be circumsized and uncircumsized. It would be very scientific.

So I wanted to share this revelation. Perhaps this is something we can do here in America to make better tennis players; leave our boys uncut. Just a thought. Thanks for listening. I'm going to go watch the Women's Zurich Final (I think it's Zurich, I have it taped..) which consists of Justine Henin against the pretty lady, Tatiana Golovin.
Yours Truly,

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Think That Nalbandian Sort of Looks Like My Husband

David Nalbandian, from Argentina, beat Juan Del Potro, also from Argentina. I love David Nalbandian. I even pronounce his name the right way, the Spanish way, with the emphasis on the last syllable, like DaVID. (Even though he is part Armenian, hence the very un-Spanish last name, but I have no idea how to say David in an Armenian way, and besides, he is Argentine, even if he's part Armenian.)

Last night, around midnight, my husband went to bed but I stayed up until one in the morning watching the match. I really, really love David. Everyone, in particular, Johnny Mac, talks about how great Del Potro is, how he will be a top ten player. He is tall, I'll give him that. But I don't smell the magic. Now, I know what you are thinking. Johnny Mac knows more about tennis than I do, that is what you are thinking. But I don't care. In fact, maybe I should find someone who will make a bet with me about whether Del Potro gets in the top ten in the next two years. Like, a bet for a hundred bucks. A two year bet, seeing and watching if Del Potro gets into the top ten. Yeah, than I'll prove that Johnny Mac could be wrong and I could be right.

But Del Potro is very tall. Nalbandian, on the other hand, is a little shorter than my husband. I know this because two summers ago, my husband approached him in the hotel lobby where we all just so happened to be staying (that is a joke, by the way, as we really very purposefully stayed at the hotel where all players were staying for the Canada Open) and - David was a little shorter than him! He politely asked David for his autograph and said, "para mi esposa", which means for my wife. Now, that embarrassed me. I said to my husband, why didn't you say it was for your sons? I got a little angry.
But then I got over it.

But what I would like to share is that when I first fell in love with David Nalbandian, I did so partially because he looks like my husband twenty years ago. Some people don't see it, but I do. Both of them have sort of small heads on a big body, although my husband's head is a wee bit smaller. Both have little blue eyes rather close set. In fact, their eyes -David's and my husband's -- sit right next to either side of their noses. And they both have long, big shnazzes. And, well, so to me, they look alike. Same noses, same postioning of eyes? Of course, my husband used to have long, wavy, curly hair, too. But he doesn't anymore.

Oh, and another thing I like about David is his personality. His character. He's got that Argentine Orgullo (Pride ) thing going on, but he's not an asshole. In fact, no one is more impressive with his on-court manners than David. Federer is even a bit prickly in comparison to David. Really. He never throws hissy fits, like Roddick. He doesn't do wierd gamesmanshippy things, like a lot of nutjob players do. He's so cool out there. And I would love to get naked with him. Once, I did see him exchange words with Hewitt, but Hewitt in my mind deserved it. Hewitt has to have a bodyguard when in Argentina because the hate between him and all the Argentines is that big.

Anyway, David kicked Del Potro's ass which made me very happy. I love David's game - his groundstrokes are fierce, his serve can be very good and he gets everything back. He is possibly the best returner in the game when he's not injured, or getting all mental and sucking hard, like Verdasco did last night. (David can do that, too.) He made Del Potro look very awkward out there. I feel sort of badly not cheering on the underdog between these two, but love is love. I also feel badly for Del Potro because he's not as handsome as David. But, hey, he's a professional tennis player. He probably gets more tail than pin the tail on the donkey. (I stole that from Josh Homme, too, like I stole zeroing. Thanks Josh.)

Yours Truly,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Verdasco versus Djokovic is More Exciting than Koubek versus Ljubicic.

Verdasco versus Djokovic is more exciting than Koubek versus Ljubicic. There. I said it.

Well, friends, it is true that Verdasco has managed to win the first set against Djokovic. And he played so well to do so! Really really well! It wasn't that Djokovic started playing badly, no. It was all Verdasco making the shots. Big forehands and all that. Now, Verdasco is very much the underdog -- he is ranked 35, Djokovic is ranked number 3 and beat Federer this year -- but there are some reasons to feel for Djokovic, although maybe in the grand scheme of reasons to feel for someone, not very big ones. Here goes it: Djokovic is not nearly as attractive as Verdasco. That's right. And Djokovic is cute, but Verdasco is supermodel gorgeous. Although, I've met people who disagreee with me on that. But Djokovic has a very strange looking hair thing going on. It's sort of like a brillo pad. At this moment, he is sporting a goatee, which I'm liking. But when I saw Djokovic play doubles in Montreal on a back court, I was embarrassed for him due to his not very nice way that he stood to receive the ball. He really, really stuck his butt out.

Now, the first time I saw tennis up close and personal (years ago, I might add), I was moved -- really emotionally affected in a complex way, not all in a good way, and not all bad, just moved, my friends -- at how big and round tennis players butts are. In fact, walking by the much missed crazy Gaston Gaudio on a practice court, I almost gasped at the width, thickness and altogether outwardly goingingness of his behind. It is because they run a lot. Running can make your butt a huge muscle. Which makes it big. So when Djokovic sticks it out -- in this sway back sort of way, honestly, and it's very unappealing -- I want to go tell him not to do that. Kim Clijsters did that and I found it alarming on her, as well. Because they also wiggle their butts whilst sticking them out. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. And it embarrasses me. If I were watching a porn movie, the butt wiggling and sticking out wouldn't embarrass me. But these people are not trying to get someone to stick something in their ass. No. They are waiting to return a serve in a game of tennis. But you know what? Both Kimmy and Djokovic have great personalities, so it's really OK that they stick their butts out.

And the other reason to feel for Djokovic -- and this one might be a better one -- is that Verdasco has a home court advantage. And even though I will be jumping around alone in my living room going, "Vamos! Vamos! -- if Verdasco were to win this match, my money is still on Djokovic to win the next two sets. I will go see and report back to you.

Well, sadly, Djokovic just took the second set and broke Verdasco twice to do so. It was as if Verdasco just "went away" as they say. The Madrilenos are hushed and miserable. A tiny little bit of polite applause came when Djokovic won the set. What happened, Fernando? Why? WHY? How is it that you play so well and then you start sucking? Error after error. I think it is a lack of faith in yourself. I want to work on that with you. Give you faith. Because, as everyone says, not just me you know, you have the talent! You do! OK, I'm going to go watch the third set.

I just had the misfortune of watching Verdasco spray three, that's right, three forehands in a row. It's his weapon, and his achilles tendon, his forehand. They are still on serve, it's still the beginning of the third set, but I feel this sense of doom. I also burned my mouth on a piece of pizza. So you can imagine I'm feeling grumpy.

It's over. Verdasco lost. He had ten break points and didn't convert one of them. The mean commentator -- one is nice, one is always semi-hollering and never has anything nice to say about anyone, not even Federer -- said, about Verdasco, "He's ready for Dr. Phil after this match." I don't think that's a very nice thing to say, but I know where he's coming from! Verdasco is not mentally tough. He, inside of his head, is very different than his big manly chest, which is all tough and hard. (I've seen it many times in the flesh on the back courts of tournaments. The guy never wears a shirt and who can blame him?)

I personally just want to comfort him. If he were here, I would give him a big, big hug. And stroke his hair. And kiss him. And so on and so forth. And I bet I'd cook him something, too. Or maybe I'd be in Madrid comforting him and we'd go out for dinner instead. My favorite restaurant in Madrid is El Lando. But we probably would go to his family's restaurant, because they own one in Madrid. And that wouldn't be very intimate, but he'd be surrounded by loved ones instead of just me, whom he doesn't know. And I bet that is what he'd want. Which just made me sadder than I was -- I'm feeling a little sad he lost.

But it's only the third round so I'm going to go watch more tennis now.
Yours Truly,

The Reason Why I Am a Tennis Fan, by Paula.

The reason why I am a tennis fan, by Paula.

About five years ago, I was depressed and unhealthy. I had two beautiful children -- I still have them--who I felt I did not deserve and felt that I failed everyday. I had people in my life -- I still do, although perhaps less of them - who I also felt I disappointed. To relax and get out of the house and get away from it all, I would go to my corner bar and shoot pool. Before I was married, I played pool for the Bud Lite League, where I was ranked and 3.0 player (out of 6). I loved pool. In life, I think it is important to walk around and be nice to people. Compassion is the very reason for our existence, or should be. Or something like that. But, inevitably, people are awful to you after you show them compassion. For instance, once I had a friend who needed a lot of compassion and I wanted to give it to her! But she was always a total bitch back. When she was a bitch back, I would think compassionate thoughts, like, oh, she's being a bitch back because she's not comfortable with how needy she is, how much compassion she needs. Which made me feel more compassion for her. One of our last phone conversations went like this:

Ring Ring. (that's the phone.)
(It's Halloween eve, and I'm busy with my kids. We are having fun! It's Halloween.)


Hi, Paula, it's Blake.

Hi Blake! Happy Halloween!!

I've decided not to take the kids trick or treating. And I think that's OK.

Sure, Blake!

We are just going to stay here and give out candy. I think that's fine.

Of course that's fine!

It's just as fun.

Sure! We stay in and give out candy and go out! It's all good fun!

Well, I'm not going out.

Well that's just fine.

(This goes on for awhile. I want to get back to my kids! It's Halloween! We're having fun!)

You're great, Blake. Have a great rest of the night. I'm going to go back to my kids now.

What are your kids for Halloween?

Yugi O and a fake-muscled Power Ranger! They are so cute!

Oh. Yugi O? Power Ranger? My kids are not, repeat not, cartoon characters from the televsion. (Sniff. Cough.) We would never let our kids wear costumes of TV cartoon characters.

All right, Blake! Gotta go! Great talking to you! Happy Halloween!

And so it was. She shat on me while I tried to make her feel good. Truthfully, I think it's nice to take one's children trick or treating, but I wasn't going to say that to her, because clearly she was feeling badly about not taking her kids trick or treating. So, I'd rather just make her feel good than share the honest feeling of - Man, take your fucking kids out even if you don't want to. Because what would be the point of that? It would have only made her feel worse than she was already feeling. Now, I don't ever ever regret kindness. But it doesn't always come back at you. In fact, the people who need it the most then NEED to shit on you, because they are so unhappy or insecure or whatever, that after you are nice to them, it even makes them feel BETTER if they shit on you, because they think that when they shit on you, they are being superior to you, instead of being a pathetic, mean asshole.

And so shooting pool is about beating someone. About making them lose to you. And I was a polite pool player, but I wasn't playing pool to make someone feel good about themselves! I was trying to kick some ass, man! And it felt good. It felt like getting away from the daily life of being nice to people. It was a balance. A balance, yes but, also so named by that wonderful band called Eagles of Death Metal, as a thing called "zeroing". That's righ, zeroing. For instance - be nice to people plus kick someone's ass at pool equal - zero. Get it?

But I would drink and smoke a lot. And I was unhealthy.

So I did some thinking. What if I played tennis instead? I had never played tennis in my life. I was too busy shooting pool and smoking. But I thought, tennis is one person against another person. (Just like pool.) Tennis is angles. (Just like pool.) Tennis involves a ball. (Pool involves balls.) And you generally don't play tennis in a bar! Which makes it better than pool if you're getting all unhealthy from spending all of your spare time in bars smoking and drinking! And -- AND!! -- you try to beat the crap out of people! And that doesn't mean that you're not nice! It's part of the game!!!

So I started taking tennis lessons. It took a few years for the switch to happen, the mental switch, the - I'm obsessed with tennis, not pool switcheroo. And now, my appreciation of all sports and their true purpose in our lives is a fully realized major part of my consciousness. The almost Divine Purpose of Sports is soooo evident to me. People exist, so must sports exist. First there were people, then we had sex and had more people, and then we started to play sports so that we could be nice to people, except when playing sports. So we could "zero' (thanks, Josh Homme). So we could try to kick someone's ass and then go be nice. And we wouldn't have to smoke and drink whilst doing so.

During that time, I also began watching a lot of tennis. My children, who I failed and who I didn't deserve, were now in school full time. My husband had a job.I would watch tennis and think. Look at these beautiful people! Look at that beautiful shot! Look how they put themselves out there, literally out in front of other people, alone, trying to do the best they can, trying to win. How valiant. How noble. And, honestly, when they fail, it is in some ways even more noble than when they win. Because they took a risk and they failed publicly and what takes more balls than that? And I realized that every little accomplishment, every effort toward accomplishment, was an act of beauty. A tiny little ripple in the small, insignificant life of a human being. In a life full of disappointments, failures, laziness, fear, bitches, self loathing, dirty houses, children who deserve better than you, is a little, shining beacon of hope of a ripple. And when I realized that, the little tiny accomplishments of my life- being patient with my sons, vacuuming, being nice to someone who was a total bitch, getting up in the morning before noon -- felt like little ripples, too, like little beacons of light in the dark world of the world. And I realized we are all just here to make ripples. And that is enough. And I stopped being so depressed.

So not only is tennis away of zeroing, of getting to try to kick ass after being nice all day, it is also a way of making a ripple. A beautiful, human ripple, filled with so many ripple unforced errors. But beautiful nontheless. And this is all we can ask from our lives.

Yours truly,

People! The Madrid Masters is playing right now on the Tennis Channel!

Dear fellow tennis fans,
I was digressing in my facebook group, Fernando Verdasco, about the women's Moscow final and got cut off by the persnickity word limits there and I don't think I can accurately capture the spirit of that digression but -- I must write about tennis NOW.

Verdasco, on my DVR, is playing the world's number three, Djokovic. They are in Madrid. Verdasco is from Madrid. In fact, his family own a restaurant there. And, the last time I was in Madrid, I seriously considered trying to find his family's restaurant there, and then eating there, and saying, "Hi! I think your family member -- perhaps he is your son? -- is very handsome and such a great tennis player. I am his fan!" I would have said that all in Spanish, which I speak rather well. And maybe they would freak out and think I am a stalker. Or maybe they would bring me some free tapas. I most likely would have been with either my entire family, two boys and a husband, or with just my two sons, or with one of my sons. And most stalkers are alone. I'm just a fan!

Anyway, last night at midnight, I was watching this match, feeling a little worried that Djokovic was going to kick Verdasco's ass on his home turf. (Confession- I have not finished watching the match, because it was late last night and I was sitting by the window smoking and had a vodka in my hand and I didn't want to smoke and drink anymore, although I only had two cigarettes, but man, that is enough, and I didn't want to feel like complete shit this morning, so I'm going to go watch the rest in a minute). But I was also very happy to watch Verdasco strut, because that is what he does. He struts around like a Cock, like a male chicken, but I prefer to compare him to a bull, or a Spanish bullfighter, because comparing him to a chicken isn't very nice, even if it's a male chicken, and I really love everything about this man.

So, it's a night match in Madrid and the ball girls are... Models!! Right? You all know that, I know, but I feel the need to clarify. And the models are wearing pink mini-dresses that are totally skin tight. And in very big letters is the logo BOSS right on their squeezed boobs. And every time they bend over to get a tennis ball--which is every time they pick up a ball, my friend! Every time! And they are ball girls! So that's what they are out there to do!! -- their boobs sort of bounce and fall downward toward the little tennis ball on the ground. And the back view? Bending over to pick up ball in a tiny skin tight mini-dress? Something special. But -see here is the problem-- I had trouble focussing on the tennis. And I like guys! In particular, I like tennis players! And even more particularly, I like Spanish Tennis Players! But I kept getting distracted by the ball girls, because I am human. And male, female, tennis fan, non-tennis fan- when presented with jiggling boobs and the possibility of seeing someone's gentilia, one looks. Yes, one looks. In fact, I bet that more women looked at Britney Spears' crotch shot photos than men did. Right? Want to bet? And that doesn't mean they are gay. (Not that there is anything wrong with being gay! Au contraire! Being gay is great and maybe even better than not being gay! I'm just riffing on why a very boring straight lady like myself stares at boobs and crotches while trying to watch male tennis stars that I actively fantasize about in very specific, sexual ways.) It's like when I drove past a street load of hookers in Berlin when I lived there. I tried not to look, but I did. Not that these ball girls are hookers. They are not. (Not that there is anything wrong with being a hooker, or more politically correct, a sex worker! There's not!)

I'm going to go watch some tennis. Go Verdasco! Although, I like Djokovic. He signed my kids' oversized tennis balls in Montreal in August, where we purposefully stayed at the same hotel as all the players. He's sweet. But I am a bigger fan of Verdasco. So I go to cheer him on right now. I hope your Thursday morning is as productive and deep thinking as mine.
Yours truly,