Passing thoughts: FREEDOM! FREEEEEDOMMM! FREEEEEEDOMDOMDOMDOMMM!
What’s that smell in the air, you ask? It’s the scent of freedom folks! And summer! Endless days of heat and sun and lounging around doing absoluf*ckinglutely nothing, but enjoying every minute of it.
And yes, tennis too! Doots is back in action and ready to frazzle over Hairy Roger and the group of Death-Eaters he’s landed himself with for WTF.
Must admit my frazzling skills have diminished since Wimbledon. I’ll need them in fine form for the Aussie circuit next year, gotta do better.
1. Has anyone seen this tennis article on the Telegraph website?
Rafael Nadal in full battle dress was a hell of a sight and tennis fears losing its heartbeat
Tennis lovers and tournament organisers from Majorca to Melbourne are joined in prayer this morning, pleading for a sign that tells them that the light is not fading in Rafael Nadal.
Umm … yes, let’s all form a prayer circle for Nadal.
2. Mentioning Nadal, it’s been strange reading a series of frank interviews with him in the English media, but I’ve enjoyed it. The latest from the Guardian was an insightful glimpse of the effect his injuries and his parent’s divorce had on him this year.
“My parents’ divorce made an important change in my life. It affected me. After that, when I can’t play Wimbledon, it was tough. For one month I was outside the world.”
Nadal looks terribly young amid that quiet admission. “I am OK now,” the 23-year-old says of his parents’ divorce, “but you need time to accept. And it’s more difficult to accept when you are outside home and don’t know what’s happening. At least the injury gave me time to be with my friends and family.”
But what struck me most about this interview was this passage:
“[The] year before I lost to Roger in the fifth set. It was hard for me to lose when I had three or four break points in that fifth set [which Federer won 6-2]. What killed me was that second break. If I lose 6-3 or 6-4 with one break I accept. But I was angry with myself to lose that second break. That made it seem as if I wasn’t ready mentally.”
What killed him about that match wasn’t the simple fact that he lost, but that he lost with a double break. Isn’t that exactly the sort of person that Rafa is?
And it seems that he’s softened his stance a little on Andre too.
His words contrast with Andre Agassi’s claims in his recent autobiography that, despite winning eight grand slams, he “hated tennis” and sought refuge in crystal meth. Nadal raises an eyebrow. “I think it’s impossible to be on the circuit 15 years and hate tennis. I always saw Andre playing with motivation and passion.”
Have Agassi’s confessions damaged tennis? “It’s a big thing for the ATP. I understand if he was depressed he might have taken something so I don’t want to criticise Andre for taking crystal meth. But everybody must be treated the same. Just because he is Andre Agassi he should not escape sanction. Tennis is a hard sport. There is a lot of competition all year and you play alone. Mentally and physically it is one of the toughest sports – but that’s no reason to take these products [drugs].”
3. Mentioning Andre, I’m reading his biography and lovin’ it.
I can’t help but feel that all the transformations we thought Andre went through from a rebel to an elderly statesman of the game was simply a media construct. This book itself is Andre’s final act of rebellion.
And in a perverse way, I admire him for it. Haven’t we all wanted to tell someone exactly what we think of them at some point in our lives? It takes a degree of non-fuckeriness to publish those thoughts in a book.
4. Pete Bodo wrote something nice about Roger without any of the usual machismo. On a scale of 1 to me-complimenting-Andy-Murray, this is pretty damn fair.
5. It sucks to be a Federer fan sometimes. But at some point in the days after Wimbledon, I realised that complaining about how much it sucks to be a Federer fan is a bit like being a millionaire and complaining about the interests being too low on your savings.
I mean, where does that leave Andy Roddick fans?
That’s the second year in a row that he’s had to pull out of the year-end championships. And that’s on top of drawing Isner third round at the US Open, and losing to Federer 4 times in a year, twice in slams, in two different ways.
By some order of divine injustice, the Tennis Gods won’t give the guy a break.
6. Besides the tweener, what’s your favourite Federer shot this year? I’m asking this because I have all the time in the world and a youtube account.