Drinking Fosters Blurry Eyed

Jan 27, 2012 by

 

If my calculations are correct, I am down to 9,940 hours until I achieve some sort of expertise with this writing thing.  Thanks for the inspiration, Malcolm!  Until then, bare with me as my hours of practice continue.

Here is my latest offering on the 2012 Australian Open along with some other thoughts on this wonderful sport invented by the great Major Walter Wingfield.1

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Anyone intrigued by the women’s draw in this year’s Australian Open, or women’s tennis in general?  It’s like watching a meaningless mid-January basketball game between two teams from the Missouri Valley Conference.  There is a huge star power void amongst the top ranked women.  Not too long ago, casual sports fans argued they would rather watch a women’s match over the men.  I never understood this argument, however, I believe Anna Kournikova had much to do with this thought.  The current state of the women’s game is littered with parity, lacks any true consistency from the high ranked, and no one appears hungry enough to stay on top.

The current number one ranked women’s player, Caroline Wozniacki , doesn’t even have a Grand Slam title to her credit.  The games superstars (the Williams’s sisters and Sharapova) are in the twilight of their careers and it’s hard to root for anyone else, I just can’t tune in.

There is just no imagination in the playing style and match strategy in the women’s game these days.  Quite frankly, it’s boring to watch.  I grew up watching the greats like Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles, and Hingus play a unique and exciting brand of tennis.  The women ranked in the top ten during the 80’s and 90’s would simply dominate this era.

 I am going to make sure my daughter will serve and volley-on every goddamn point.   The baseline to her will be a place where unicorns are murdered.   Why would any girl go to an awful place like that?

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Andy Murray looks solid through the first week of the Australian Open with new coach Ivan Lendl calling the plays.  Lendl has introduced conditioning to Murray, a concept he once though was a requirement of other sports.  I’m betting Murray’s countless hours spent on the couch playing video games have greatly diminished. 

I am looking forward to this year’s Wimbledon, when Murray is bounced in the semis, sending the English tennis fans into months of early morning hangovers.  That’s when Murray, who’s no longer fond of running sprints, eating fruit  and knowing that every person from Edinburgh to London curses his name, parts ways with Lendl.

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I tend to think Roger Federer enjoys playing tennis.  I know what you’re thinking, why wouldn’t he or anyone else playing the sport professionally?  If you want to play this sport professionally, or hoist the championship trophy at the French Open one day, then you better start hitting balls at five years of age.  Most professional tennis players, especially the elite, eventually begin to burn out somewhere in their mid to late twenties.  Money piles up, they dread getting on a plane, practice is like heading to a funeral of a parent, and the wife wants them to spend some time getting to know the kids.  Tennis begins to be the dreadful office job that suffocates the spirit.  Once distracted from the one thing you’ve put every ounce of energy and focus into since birth; motivation to stay on top falls below the deepest depths of the ocean.  More times than not, the player are completely satisfied with that.  It’s how it’s always been.

I’m beginning to think Federer’s greatest achievement will be his desire to keep at it; even after all he’s accomplished.  I am not sure where this comes from; maybe he has some sort of codependent relationship with tennis.   Federer wants to go out on the court every day, break the heart of his foe and then spit on it.  Money, marriage, kids, GOAT conversations, and the most grand slams of any man to ever play don’t deter this assassin.  He’s competing at an age where most players begin thinking about the next chapter in their life.  He will be competing against the next big thing when he’s 38, not playing in the Champions tour against Jim Courier.

On Saturday, Federer trounced  the hopes of Aussie fans by dismantling native Australian Bernard Tomic in straight sets, yet again reaching another quarterfinal appearance in a Slam.  The win against Tomic, places Federer in his 31st consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.  Talk about ridiculously consistent.

I’m not sure what makes Federer’s mindset so different from ever other thirtysomething champion.  Connors is the one other exception, but even he can’t really compare.  Federer will have his Connors ’91 US Open moment, but it won’t be when he’s 39 as Connors was.  He’ll be 42.

I’m serious, you can write that shit down.

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ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open has been nothing but embarrassing.  Why did ESPN executives seek the broadcasting rights to the event in the first place?  The coverage is clearly a burden for the programming team.  They even canceled the rebroadcast of the Federer/Tomic match on Sunday morning, so those that couldn’t stay up past 3:00am just didn’t get a chance to see it. Apparently a rebroadcast of “The Year of the Quarterback” was must see TV.  Could you imagine this happening during a Golf Major?  Be honest, ESPN, you don’t give two shits about the Open.   

ESPN should relinquish their Aussie Open rights to the Tennis Channel

If John McEnroe is not available to call matches for ESPN, I would insist that no one does then.  Silence is preferred over this year’s Open team.

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The Australian Open on HD television represents the hot Australian summer quite well.  The players look bleached by the sun’s brightness, hell I can’t even see the fucking ball on my TV; the players just swing their racquets at the air.  It’s like watching hockey. 

The Australian Open should be played indoors with the crowd dimmed out, the lights of the stadium  beaming out big bright halogen rays of light on black courts with yellow lines, while the players smack deer hunters bright orange colored balls.

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  1. Never heard of him until about 5 minutes prior to writing this sentence.  I did not even  bother researching anything else on the life of Major Walter Wingfield.  So maybe the use of the word “great” is not appropriate since for all I know he could have burnt down villages or started a plaque of some sort.  I lazily viewed the first site listed from my Google search, “Who invented the game of tennis?”  So I might be wrong there as wel,l on the truth about the inventor of tennis.

 

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