Friday 7 September 2012


One of my all time favorite tennis players retired this week. As most of you know that read this blog, I’m a tennis fanatic, and have been watching it since I was young when my mother would have Wimbledon on in the house. Back then I remember liking the civilized, almost hypnotic nature of the game (must have calmed the chaotic kid mind!), the sound of the ball being whacked back and forth, the singular sound of the racket meeting the ball (this was long before the uber moaners and grunters that now fill the game), and of course the occasional, ‘you can’t be serious!!’ hurled out by McEnroe (when I was a teenager I truly started appreciating Macs outbursts).

Anyway, I’ve had many favorites along the way. It began with Borg, although back then I think it was all about how he wore his small white shorts, with that magical wooden racket of his and Mac of course; a fleeting thing with Edberg (although he was always on the dull side) and Graf always won my admiration for her sheer drive and unflappable calm on the court (by the way, the woman reached 31 Grand Slam finals, winning 22 titles. Why the hell is she never mentioned when people are talking about the greatest tennis player ever? Federer, Shmederer). There were other dalliances here and there until Agassi came along, and then it was sheer dedication to the little pigeon-toed wonder from Las Vegas. As a brief Vegas inhabitant myself, I appreciated the flair he had for the dramatic, not to mention the crazy outfits he would bust out from time to time.

But it was in 2003 watching Andy Roddick win the US Open against Juan Carlos Ferrero that my obsession truly was born. I’m not sure if it was his rocket fueled serve that first hooked me, or his quick, don’t mess with me pace, or his overall witty, brash demeanor (I knew there was a softie in there somewhere), but I would go on to follow this man’s career like a true fanatic. My husband can tell you that I don’t take my tennis lightly. It’s not a pretty sight, but I’m woman enough to admit that actual tears have been shed in this house over Roddick matches. The 2009 Wimbledon loss to ahem, that Swiss person, almost killed me. After that tortuous loss (it went to the fifth set, 16-14) my admiration for Andy and his composure and dignity after that game skyrocketed. I would’ve most likely beaten Federer over the head with his little RF monogrammed blazer, but that’s why I’m not an athlete.

That was the thing about Andy. He played hard and fought even harder, but for every win, there was also an ‘almost.' And as a fan it was frustrating as hell (I’m sure he felt the same way come to think of it). But, the loyalist that I am, I never gave up on him and was happy to boast to anyone who dared pick on him that there was nothing shabby about 32 career titles, one grand slam, four grand slam finals, and remaining in the top ten for over ten years.

This is the part of sports that I love the most, the fact that you can rise with an athlete and ride along for the journey, the ups and the downs, the injuries, and the unbelievable matches that make you run around the living room screaming like a lunatic until the neighbors complain (is that just me?). Even the King began to support dear Roddick, purely because he found it hysterical when mommy would shout at the television for no apparent reason (to a toddler, the little yellow ball was clearly the main attraction. He didn’t care who was hitting it).

So Andy, I know you don’t know me, and would probably issue a restraining order against me if I came careening towards you in a restaurant wanting an autograph for the King…okay, for me…but I must thank you for the years of tennis watching pleasure. Your skill, your drive, your 140-mile serves, tip of the hat, and occasional grab of your crotch will all be sorely missed.

Happy Friday all. 

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