Does it hurt to be this cute all the time? Is that what’s wrong with Rafa’s knees? Can any of you wait until they’re both old and show up to tournaments and make fun of how the new kids are all wimps and bad at tennis? Because I can’t. It’s going to be fantastic. It’ll be like Ian McKellen and Peter O’Toole, only with fewer cigarettes, and slightly more daring clothes.
I hope he didn't bite this one; that looks like it could end badly.
He looks that happy after beating Roger Federer in a quite meaningless match in Abu Dhabi. Which is like looking happy after taking out the trash. If your cordial nemesis was also taking out the trash, but you did it better. And it maybe wasn’t even your trash, but you figured you’d do it, just for kicks. And then someone gave you a spittoon? And you were just thrilled.
But they do provide some hilarious photos. Here’s the best of this year’s crop, from a reception at No. 10, Downing Street:
What are those things on the walls?
I think the best part is how Roger Federer looks fifteen years older than everyone else, because he has a real person haircut, a pin-striped suit, and an expression that doesn’t make him look mentally deficient or stoned. And I really want to know what he could possibly have said that made Nadal that non-plussed.
We're running photos of Mardy as long as we can. Woo, Mardy!
You’ve seen this happen. You’re watching tennis, and someone gets unbelievably lucky hitting the net-cord, or a shot that was mostly desperation and very little hope lands in. At this point, unless the player concerned is a complete and utter jackass, he will make some gesture of apology.
I think this is the right thing to do. The woman commentating (badly) on the Fish vs Clement match on usopen.org radio, however, disagrees with me. She says something along the lines of, “You’re not sorry. You won the point. Don’t say you’re sorry. I don’t understand why they do that.”
No, of course he’s not sorry he won the point. But that’s not why he’s apologizing. He had no control over the outcome , and he is acknowledging that Lady Luck has (at least temporarily) deserted his opponent. You should never apologize for being better, but you should always bemoan someone else’s misfortune. Unless he’s Novak Djokovic. Then you just point and laugh.
I was surprised that there is disagreement on this behavior, since I’ve always assumed it was a universal practice. But I’ll sound you out.
Let me tell you a story. There are two American tennis players, and they know each other, and one of them has progressed through to the third round of the US Open, and the other has not. Let’s say that the one who has is giving a press conference. Should you ask him about his own performance? Or do you just want to talk about a guy whose name may or may not rhyme with Shmandy Shmoddick?
Guys. Mardy Fish is still alive in the tournament. He appears to be on the up. Let’s ask him about him, because he’s still interesting right now. And I’ve never noticed sweat dripping off the brim of his ballcap.
They mostly get yelled at by players and fans, and their job is really not that easy. They are also, as a rule, not that cute.
But Carlos Ramos is. So, in the spirit of featuring an actually obscure sporting personage on this blog, as we said we would do, here he is.
He’s actually a pretty good umpire, as well. I can’t remember a bad performance, at any rate, and I hold grudges. He’s certainly more dashing than Pascal Maria, and carries those white shoes off with considerable panache. (He may be slightly too short for the Roland Garros chairs, as one of the truly bizarre camera angles I’ve seen this tournament showed his feet, and they were dangling. The shoes were still white, though, which on clay is impressive.)
And I think he’s pretty cute, although we can put it to a vote.
Things that do not add to my enjoyment of a major final: Mary Joe Fernandez in the stands, sticking the microphone in the face of someone who clearly does not want to talk right now, and whispering inanities.
Look, play is going on. That’s really what most people want to see. If you tune in for the Aussie Open final, what you mostly want to see is, shockingly, the Aussie Open final. Ken Rosewall has no time for you. Probably because he actually likes tennis.
Also. If you are aware enough that what you’re doing is inappropriate that you whisper awkwardly the whole time, why can’t you complete the thought and just shut your mouth?