I have not written in over a week, because I have been watching the Australian Open all day and night. If I haven’t returned your phone calls, I still love you; I just have to put those feelings on the back burner for the next few days. I hope you’ll understand. I’m still making my way through Gilbert’s Winning Ugly but it is slow going. It may be a tactical masterpiece but it is not great literature.
While there have been some flashes of genius this week, nothing has surpassed Verdasco and Nadal’s epic 5-setter of ’09. I guiltily confess that I’ve been concentrating more on the player’s ass-ets than the plays. As George Clooney‘s Ryan says in Up in the Air: “I’m like my mother. I stereotype. It’s faster,” while summing up his fellow travelers. I have been busy doing the same, using the men’s on-court shenanigans to guess at their sexual prowess. Lots of time on my hands clearly! The French have been streaky with traces of brilliance that take your breath away; the Spaniards are slow and steady, willing to stay out there all day if necessary; and the Russians have been as efficient and as resolute as you’d expect. Ryan’s mother would be proud!
I like my little gander, so I took it the distance and applied it to players that have come across my radar this week:
Gael Monfils –you see the arms, the legs, and you think are in for one powerful ride, which he manages for a few rounds until he suddenly loses interest. You are not sure why, maybe he starts to think about his next meal or you’re not reacting enough to his fancy plays, but he checks out. You may get a few invigorating hits now and then but short of giving him a shot in the arm, this puppy seems unable to go the distance.
Richard Gasquet – you didn’t quite believe him when he said he got coke in his system from exchanging a kiss with a random chick he met in a bar but, all his friends rallied around him and said he was a decent guy with a killer backhand, so you decided to give him a chance. He’s off to a fantastic start, not only is he showing you his backhand, he seems full of confidence and ready to get over his mental breakdowns. You can feel your excitement growing; he’s taking you places you knew he could and then NOTHING. He had you and then he decided he couldn’t hack it, so you had to take care of your damn self.
Tommy Robredo – Well, he’s not the flashiest guy in the Armada crew but he’s grown on you. He doesn’t really have any major weapons to bring to the table but he’s the tortoise, slow and steady; there’s something to be said for that guy. But today he didn’t even make it through the door. He knocked and you just thought meh!
Robin Soderling – oh he’s the new IT boy! He’s a nerd for sure, but he doesn’t hit like one. Maybe he’s Clarke Kent! Nobody knows what you have and that’s how you like it. He can be a head case but he’s your lovable head case. But unlike at the French, you get no play; you end up playing momma to his injured boy and that’s just one big letdown.
Feliciano Lopez – Oh FELI! He’s so beautiful, it’s hard to take him seriously. But when he opened the door, you saw that he was rocking a serious game face. He probably took a cold hard look in the mirror and gave himself a good talking to: “damn it, you’re better than this! No more partying, drinking, and smoking! You are ready to commit!” You can see his resoluteness in his bearing and that is just damn sexy. Ohhh! He’s doing everything right: he’s taking his time; he’s being careful; and he’s using all his strengths to make it good for you. You are starting to think you might have misjudged him, there is something beneath the flash and you are ready to embrace what he’s offering. Hold up, what are you doing? Why are doing that? That is not going to work. Damn it, he’s lost focus, you try to rein him back in, but he’s finished. Still, he’s so pretty, you might give him another shot.
Stanislaw Wawrinka, aka “Stan the Man” –shoot, he just got married and though you want to care, you can’t find him anywhere. You hope it’s not the end, but you suspect you might just be over him.
David Ferrer – you know what you are getting with this guy. He wants to take his time and make it worth your while; you may be done but he’s just getting started. That’s not always a bad thing especially if he comes through in a clutch, then it’s very good. But this time around, it was a case of going back to the well too many times, he didn’t have anything left. You’re starting to wonder if he’s ever gonna make it with the big boys because it’s all well and good to be the energizer bunny but sometimes you want it quick and dirty!
Jo Willy Tsonga– you have had your eye on this one for awhile. Sure not everyone with potential delivers, but you have a feeling that there’s something to this guy. He’s healthy and fit and he’s been impressive. You’ve gone a few rounds and though he’s gotten a bit distracted when you don’t pay him enough attention or cheer him on, he manages to get it together in the end. You knew there was a reason why you checked him out in the first place and he may just be ready to deliver on all that promise. Maybe you’ll be rocking something flashy by the end of next week.
Roger Federer – since the kids, he just makes you feel sentimental. You want only good things for him, even if he doesn’t get you hot and bothered anymore.
Andy Roddick – you thought your infatuation would stay but sadly it’s worn off. You’re some kind of crazy because you only seem to register him when he loses.
Juan Martin Del Potro, aka “Delpo” – you were hoping for more in this relationship! Maybe last year was too good; it was inevitable that he would taper off; he just doesn’t seem as eager and willing to please you with the big plays. He’s tentative and distracted and that’s just making you very nervous ‘cause you’ve thrown your lot in with this guy. You’d like a slow and steady ride instead of this dizzying roller coasting one but maybe that’s just love.
Fernando Verdasco, aka “Nando”– you fear he is getting a big head. You like to hear his talk about goals and see his belief in himself increase but you hope he hasn’t forgotten what made him come out of the shadows last year: playing within himself! He didn’t come on strong and powerful, unleashing the beast willy nilly, he waited and picked his moments and he almost took you to over the edge. You need him to stay focus and not celebrate until he hands you the bling!
Rafael Nadal – this one just makes you crazy! You enjoy it when he does his thing but something in you is reluctant to give him his props: you like to see him punished! It’s a devil if you know why but you have been enjoying his streakiness far too much. Maybe it’s because you know he’ll get you where you want to go in the end and you need to see him sweat!