Tag Archives: Tennis

Federer finds sweet spot below the belt

Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic in semifinals of US Open 2009Tennis Grand Slam tournaments are for fans of Lexus, Chase, Netjets and JP Morgan, apparently. JP Morgan executive Mary Callahan Erdoes was even on hand during a commercial break to “thank the fans.”
But at today’s US Open, Roger Federer showed that Heineken drinkers aren’t above circus hijinks. Federer scored the second to last point of the men’s semifinal round with a swing between the legs. Note he is looking at neither the ball, nor the court, making not just a save, but placing a return beyond the reach his opponent. Physical intuition.

Spain reaches French Open final after all

Second game of French Open final between Roger Federer and Robin SoderlingIn the second game of the final match of the 2009 Roland Garros, a spectator leapt unto center court where he tried to drape Roger Federer in a flag. Television didn’t want to dignify the antic with explicatory coverage, as if the interruption was another Basque ETA outburst. It turns out the red and blue standard wielded by the nimble interloper represented Football Club Barcelona. Streaking is dead, no place for a logo.

Ragged Spaniard cleans Swiss clock

Rafa NadalI watched the Wimbledon finals with a fan who would brook not a peep of admiration for the adversary, regardless who was sporting the better form.

Rafael Nadal, to be specific, was a Garanimal-wearer who had no place even crossing Federer’s shadow. Feigning scorn, I couldn’t help but come to another conclusion about his tennis.

I agree Nadal looked a sleeveless fright with white srtiped extremities and wrapped in a billowy sail. But outside of the fashion concern, the young Spaniard accelerated the play at each stroke, that much was obvious. To my mind, he forced the elder Swiss to play the mole in a bout of Whack-a-Mole. Nadal’s strength differential brought the wall in so fast on Roger Federer, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I might as well have been watching you versus Muhammad Ali.

True, Federer showed top-seed finesse as he persevered for what became a record length match. He may have been more impressive than that, but I didn’t get to see it. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll admit the small Nadal-dominated segment of the Sunday match was all I saw until I was driven from the family room for my non-partisan enthusiasm.

Normally I like to favor the underdog. In Whack-a-Mole for example I would probably favor the guy in the hole, for animal-rights reasons. David and Goliath would be another matter however, now that I’ve seen the tribe David begat. Certainly when survival is at stake, I hope it is instinct to root for the disadvantaged.

Perhaps the TV-land many were concerned for the survival of Federer’s winning streak. That mindset may be what distinguishes the true sports fan. For me, in a sporting match meant to rank athletic prowess, it seems counter-productive to hope the lesser best wins.