TENNIS.WRITING

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Serbian Geometry

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm

When the Belgian ball-striker David Goffin, #58 in the world, double-faulted at 5-5 in the first set tiebreak, it could not have come at a worse time. It also could not be less surprising. In 2011, Novak Djokovic didn’t just revolutionize the game of tennis through a dedicated fitness routine and (nearly) unparalleled athleticism. He also revolutionized basic geometric theorems used to describe physical space.

Everything Goffin does is subject to these extraordinary constraints. Like the groundskeeper before the match, Goffin is a professional at brushing the lines. He can settle for nothing less.

Djokovic has an incredible ability to take control of points from out of reach shots. It’s not just that he can chase down balls that would get past (most) others, but almost relishes the expanded angles this allows him. A sharply-angled, cross court half-volley from Goffin at 3-2 in the 2nd, only a foot or two from the sideline, is not a near winner. It is the set-up that Djokovic has been looking for. With a quick stride from the baseline, a long stretch, and a deft flick of the wrist the point is Nole’s.

Insomniac’s Replay: Wawrinka vs. Nadal

In Tennis on May 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Perhaps, amidst the presumably tasteful heat of the Madrid spring, it is possible to join the partisan crowd in chants of ‘vamos!’ as their champion enters the court, bucking like a long-haired, championship starved bull, his groundstrokes breaking thunderously like hooves on the terre battue as he ventures ever forward.

But on a chilly night in Brooklyn, with egregiously honking cabs and impossibly awake flocks singing as they jingle their keys, it’s much easier to fall in love with the cracking, elegant, puppy-dogged matador.
Stanislas Wawrinka, like his illustrious country-mate, is tennis personified. While his muscle-bound opponent is said to have a normal arm and ‘big’ one, Stan is more aptly described as having one normal arm and a skinny arm. But really, the left is only neglected because the right one does so much. There are few sights in tennis quite like a perfectly struck one hander, and it is a sight that fans were treated to time after time in the Madrid Open finals. To complicate and mix the bullish metaphor, it is most accurately described as a lasso, gracefully looping through the air to snag a perfectly timed winner.

Losing like this is hardly losing at all.