Thursday, June 29, 2006

Suicide watch list

Do not, do not, leave any of the following players alone with a razor blade, a noose or a sewing needle and a bar of soap. (Haven't you ever seen MacGyver?)

Marat Safin
While his sister battled down from a one-set deficit against Mashona Washington, Marat was up a set and closing in on another. Locked in a tiebreak with Fernando Gonzalez, Safin did something inexplicable. He won a point to go up 5-4 -- and railed at the umpire because he thought Gonzalez' serve was out. So. He wins the point. And yells at the ump.
Then he won the set and lumbered over to his chair, still outraged -- about the point he won. Most people are somewhat excited to go up two sets over a quality opponent. Some feel a sense of accomplishment. Safin? Slap in the face. So he decided: 'No. Screw this. Two sets. Ha! I could lose three right now."
(I consider Safin the most likely to use the needle and bar of soap for suicide. Anything else, for him, would be too easy.)

Robert Kendrick
So, you're Robert Kendrick. To which most people say, "Who?" You say: "I'm Robert Kendrick, dammit. I was up two sets and two points away from beating the number two player in the world. This was good, because this guy, Nadal, is a clay specialist, and as you know, Wimbledon is played on Grass. So I was thisclose to beating the number two player in the world. Two points away."
"Wow, that's cool as hell. So you beat him."
"Well, I lost in five. That's not the point. I was close. I got a little tired. It's effin' hot out there. In challengers, we don't get a lot of five-set matches. Or shots at some of the best players in the world. Oh, well, next time."
(Memo to Rafa: How would you feel about going a size bigger on the capris? (might cut down on the wedgies.)

Lisa Raymond
Once again, Venus Williams pulled a rabbit out of nothin', escaping the wily serve-and-volley veteran Lisa Raymond. Some would call it an escape, and others are probably still staring at their TV screens, saying "Why don't you run after that ball?"
Raymond was up 5-3, and (familiar pattern here) two points away from beating the defending Wimbledon champion, and sending Williams spiraling into the depths of the rankings purgatory her sister now inhabits. What happened at 30-15 is anyone's guess. This was the point when Raymond made a very important strategy shift: Stand in the middle of the court, and don't go for anything not hit at me. It backfired slightly. Raymond was the closest (and least active) observer while Venus approached, and hit, her stride. There's nothing wrong with being a doubles specialist, and looking forward to that part of the tournament. But it is not good to practice doubles, taking one side of the court, when you're playing singles, no matter how far ahead you get.

Fortunately, there's not all bad news for the losers at Wimbledon. Dominik Hrbaty may be trying to live down his pink shirt with the shoulder blades cut out, or maybe he's not. Aerodynamics and such. Regardless, he may have found his help meet in Bethanie Mattek, whose The '70s Show/trailer-park redneck inspired get-up offered the rare opportunity to see what Britney Spears might be looking like today if she didn't get rich. Um, thanks, Bethanie.
The young American, after winning one game from Venus Williams in the first round, says she's been fined before for her choice in clothing. After seeing her play, you've gotta wonder where this money's coming from. She's not winning any tournaments, is she? Or maybe she's getting some help from a sponsor.
Here's hoping she ends that clothing deal with Goodwill immediately.


Anonymous said...

Lol, classic post. Hi naf! lol, I'm also in pittsburgh (for the summer at least; I grew up here), and just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog.

Naf said...

Hey, thanks! If you play, you should head out to Highland Park. It's a great tennis hotbed. Enjoy your summer here!