Saturday, January 29, 2011

The World's A Mess But There's Always Tennis

As Egypt plunges further into chaos and the Northeast is a pit of frozen snow and sludge,  there's always the Australian Open Tennis Tournament to warm one's heart. This year's tournament has not been as exciting as years past.  On the women's side, the absence of defending champion Serena Williams, and injuries to Hall of Famers like sister Venus and Justine Henin made Kim Clijster's win rather predictable.  Now we hear that momma Kim is
thinking of retiring.  

On the men's side, no Rafa slam and no Roger final.  Those two account for pretty much 35% and 50% respectively of all the juice on the ATP tour.  The rest of the players maybe 15%.  In a few hours, we shall see if Andy Murray finally becomes the first British male to win a major since Fred Perry in 1936.  Murray possesses a fine all-court game.  His singular flaw (besides being born during the Fedal era) is a forehand that is at times too safe and some unsteady nerves that have plagued him in big spots.

His opponent will be the supremely talented Serbian Novak Djokovic winner of one precious Aussie Open during the Fedal era.  Novak's big strength is one of the best forehands in the history of tennis but an at times anemic serve hurts him in tight matches particularly tiebreaks. However, he seemed to have solved this problem during his brilliant take down of Federer in the semis.

My thinking is that Djokovic wins in 4/5 sets.  I hope however for the sake of the Brits that Murray wins.  He very well could but Dkokovic has been the best player thus far in the tournament and in slams that's usually who wins.

For those of us watching from places like Manhattan the pretty summer pictures from Melbourne have been both welcome and a bummer.  A bummer because I'm here.  And like everything else in the our age, someone says exactly what you feel on some site.

The fine writer Steve Tignor wrote the following the other day about what it was like to actually be in Australia:

I've been pondering that last sentence every hour since I read it.   When does that gross rodent come out of the ground?  Oh, yes, next week. Hope springs, spring hopes.

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