Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam; Es El Rey de Reinas; El Maestro del Melbourne, El Centro del Corte de Centro, y Popa del Paris

 Rafael Nadal, at only 24 years young, completed a career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 U.S. Open over a game but frail Novak Djokavic last night. Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Lever, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, and Roger Federer are the only other men to have won all four Grand Slam Tournaments in their career.

A major asterisk, though, for my main man Jimmy Connors. In 1974, Jimbo won the Aussie, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but was barred from entering the French Open because he had signed up with the fledgling World Team Tennis League. Moreover, Connors is the only man to win the U.S. Open on all three surfaces that it has used; grass and later clay in Forest Hills and then hardcourt in Flushing Meadows.

Does Nadal's achievement cheapen R-Fedz' same Career Slam, achieved last summer at Roland Garros?To quote John Starks, "No question." But for my lucci, I'd take Federer at his height and in his pomp. To paraphrase my man S-Boomz' thought on R-Fedz from Saturday night, his game is too beautiful to live. It's remarkable that Fedz reign was as long as it was, what with his one-handed backhands and exquisite netplay. Modern tennis, with its increased speed, power and insane world travel eats its stars. In doing so it robs us of marquee match-ups. Without longevity, tennis must constantly produce new stars as the current ones flame out by 25, and because that is impossible its popularity suffers.

 I watched last night's match online through the U.S. Open web site. They used a different camera angle than the tradish 3/4 angle on CBS. The stream was much lower to the ground, almost putting us at eye level with the players and made for much more exciting viewing. For all the changes to teevee technology there have been almost none with the camera angles with which sports are televised.
 That's Rafa Nadal's sister. Que Bonita.
I went to the Open on Friday with Pop Dukes and Coups, got to see Rafa, Fedz and Bryman's gurrl Venus practice up close as they all practiced side-by-side outside Arthur Ashe. They're all metronomes.
My main man Jimmy Connors, I still own his replica metal-framed racket. In 2005 I attempted a Connors-esque haircut, which is pretty much the same haircut John Ritter rocked on Three's Company, but for me, it was bad company.
 On the Billie Jean King United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center grounds (that's a mouthful!), there's a bizarre statute of a tenny-playing dad with his kids. The dad looks a lot like George H.W. Bush, no?
 When they reminisce over you. Or, Killa Hills, 11375.

Finally a note on  Arthur Ashe Stadium. I heard gasbag Dick Enberg repeatedly refer to this dump as a "grand arena." It is a high-school football stadium expanded to 23,000 seats. From the outside it's horrific, what with the grotesquely exposed seats of the upper tier and the watered-down Camden-Yards motif on the halfway built facade except it's not even brick but tile. What is it with the modern trend of exposing the backs of the seats rather than have the facade reach the top? And, of course, there is no roof. Tradition-bound Wimbledon has a roof at Centre Court. Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne has a roof. The French are installing a roof at Roland Garros. What's the holdup? The Open is a cash cow. This is the third year in a row that the Men's Final was postponed to a Monday. On the broadcast we heard that, once again, the Open was not prepared for a postponed final and so most services were lacking. Big Dood was there all day and reported that nary a drop of beer was to be found. That's no way to enjoy the tennis.

If Arthur Ashe had a roof from day one the Nets could have been balling it up all these years in front of full houses. The Isles could be skating there, avoiding bankruptcy or worse at the Coliseum. Billy Joel would have someplace to warble in the winter. Helen Marshall could give a series of speeches where she'd explain what exactly her job is and why she is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for it.

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