Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Rio wrap: Waxing on sauerkraut, socks and why the Olympics matter

It’s more than three days after the conclusion of the Rafael Nadal/Juan Martin del Potro throwdown classic, and I am still laid out on the floor in sheer ecstasy and exhaustion. Not literally, but wow, did the Olympics offer up some great matches. It was a little scary for those of us who saw the early exits of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic and thought

I know I said that the fact that many of the guys decided to bail on Rio made the men’s draw boring. But, for the first time in TWA history, I must admit that I was wrong. It’s because of the likes of Nadal and del Potro mostly. Nadal, who is still struggling with his wrist, came to the Olympics anyway. (There is a decent chance that this is because he might call it a day before 2020, due to his issues with injury.) He left with a gold medal in doubles (with dream dubs partner Marc Lopez.). Del Potro is also finding his way back after a long layoff, and I would say he did just OK. Seriously, I hope he keeps up the fine form.
It’s important to play for your country, even though it’s just sports. Do you wonder why Venus Williams, even though she was sick with a virus, still threw her hat in the ring for mixed doubles? Just because she was hanging around anyway? No. She in all likelihood had no idea who Rajeev Ram was (although she probably knew he was no Jack Sock), but it was important, so she tried one more time and became one of the most decorated tennis players in Olympic history, earning a silver medal.
Their attendance at the Games illustrates one thing. The Olympics still matter. It sure as hell matters more than your average tournament. Oh, jeez, nice job, John Isner, winning Atlanta or whatever he played instead of the Olympics. And I know it’s poor form or just outright rude to point this out, but Isner is not going to win the U.S. Open. If he wins the U.S. Open, I’ll eat my writing hat and top it with mustard, sauerkraut and baked beans. And I will Snapchat that thing like nobody’s business.
Anyway, the Olympics are important. Let’s resume that conversation in four years, when the American No. 1 dodges Tokyo. In other very important Olympic business:
1.       Gold medalist Bethanie Mattek-Sands, I would like a pair of your socks.

2.       Gold medalist Usain Bolt, I would like your warmup shirt.

3.       Gold medalist Andy Murray, I still think your attitude stinks sometimes, but you are earning quite the reputation lately of performing under pressure. Remember, I believed in you when nobody did!
4.       OK, I threw the slightest bit of shade – it was just a shadow really -- on Monica Puig the other day. She deflected that shade with her new piece of jewelry. Seriously, what a gutsy tournament. She took every scalp she encountered and earned Puerto Rico its first gold medal. Ever.

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