Tuesday, January 25, 2005

East Coast Australia, East Coast North America

News break: I'm a tennis fanatic.

Even so, I rarely watch the Australian Open.

For one thing, I'm not in the tennis mood yet. That is, in part, b/c I don't usually watch indoor tennis on the carpet. I prefer hard court or even grass. Summer tennis.

For another thing, there is a 14 hour time difference. They play while I theoretically sleep.

They do play on tape while I'm theoretically awake, but it loses all its charm and excitement. There's a spoiler. As a match progresses, for example with men's tennis, the same guy has won the first two sets in the best of five competition. When they're playing in the 3rd set and you know there's only 15 minutes of televised tennis remaining, it is a safe bet that the same guy wins the third set. It doesn't go to four or five sets. There's not enough of a television slot to fit additional sets and they would have been cutting and pasting and editing the whole match to get snippets of a longer match in, if needed.

The punch line is prematurely revealed.

Sometimes, I will try to watch to see the athletic prowess and to hear the sounds. Love the sounds.

Last night I stayed up. Andre Agassi was playing Roger Federer. I am in love with the grace and power of Roger Federer, however this classy guy seems to have gotten a bit boastful, well, in this tourney's sound bites, anyway. He's earned it, 4 Grand Slams last year, the first to do it in about 40 years, plus the guy hasn't lost a match since the Olympics. He's a machine.

Andre, I've seen him play in person so many times. Last year, his warm up guy (brother?) gave J a tennis ball as Andre was coming in the stadium to practice the day before the local tourney. He's just as intense at warm up as he is in matches. During interviews, that's when you get the funny, self-depreciating Andre. On the court, he's all business. I respect that. I also appreciate the eye he has for the ball, how he can attack when others retreat.

Andre is 34 now. Roger is 23. Roger plays so much like Andre's old rival, Pete Sampras (my personal favorite), that sometimes I get glimpses of Pete and my heart aches. Pete is younger than Andre, having retired several years ago, but Andre is still hanging in there, having great successes. His wife has a lot to do with it, I'm betting.

But Roger made him look bad last night. I watched from 3:30 to 4:30am, only as an unmedicated insomniac can do. Even with the score of 6-3 in the first set, it was entertaining, but Roger was a Mack truck and Andre's doe eyes turned into deer-in-the-headlight eyes.


DeadBug said...

*sniff, sniff* for Andre. Love him. Loved Sampras, too; can't get into Federer so much yet. Your "machine" description is a good one.


Cricket said...

During the match I watched, Patrick McEnroe was talking about Rochus. He said the guide lists him at 5'5". Patrick said that if that is the case, then Patrick is over 6'0". He said Rochus is 5'2" at best, but he plays much bigger than that. Interesting.

I used to wonder what Michael Chang would have accomplished with a little height. Then there are the big guys like Todd Martin and Richard Krajicek, both in the 6'5" range, who do so well muchly b/c of their wingspan, but lack the mobility of Michael Chang.

Life's always a trade off.

Anonymous said...

Andre has always been my favorite. I practically made Pete Sampras my personal rival during their most competitive years! Lately though, I've been really into Andy Roddick too... saw him play Andre a couple times, and it was some of the best tennis I've seen. Love your blog, and so excited to see you're a tennis fan too!