While continuing to advance at the Qatar Open this week, tennis maestro, Roger Federer, hit another between the legs shot winner. The crowd went wild. See below:
One day someone will likely assemble a highlight reel of the many variations of this extraordinary shot by this extraordinary athlete. If this highlight reel exists today, I could not find it on YouTube.
As much as I enjoy seeing this shot, it scares me a bit, too, possibly because I know that I am a closet klutz. Recently, while walking down the subway station’s steps, en route to work, I narrowly missed tripping over a woman’s gargantuan handbag that she was carrying so low, it could have doubled as a weapon of major destruction. Had I caught my foot in her elephantine-sized satchel, I would have taken a flying leap down the rest of the concrete stairs, broken my nose and probably several select slow healing bones, as well as shattering my glasses, before tumbling onto the tracks into the third rail, and proceeding to fry to death while suffering extreme embarrassment. I listened to my inner mother’s warning to resist doing anything idiotic, and ignored the urge to pass this blockade on feet but by practicing restraint, I did miss my train.
Back to daredevil Roger, I know well that he is an elite athlete, and although I am not a male of the species, my ovaries always jump into my throat a little whenever I consider the tragic consequences if Fed did the unthinkable, misjudged the speeding ball and hit it high.
That horrifying mis-hit, and the viral video that would surely follow, would truly redefine the meaning of “the shot heard round the world.”
Fortunately, this living legend has already fathered twins.
The tennis world's Fred Astaire, Fed, and Gene Kelly, Rafa, pressing the flesh; will they finally meet in the US Open this year?
Milton and I have both been glued to US Open Tennis. He is a die-hard Roger Federer fan; “Fed” to Milton. My guy is Rafael Nadel; “Rafa” to me. We are both hoping that they will meet in the men’s final this weekend but in general, we do root for each other’s guy. I am very aware that Fed is a sensational player, possibly the greatest player of all-time, a style icon, and overall, a class act. It bothers me when he loses to anyone … but Rafa.
Milton is not blind to Rafa’s greatness, either, and he appreciates his athletic prowess, but when it comes to Rafa’s style or his trademark jock strap adjustment, Milton detonates. Milton is certain that Rafa is incapable of ordering a glass of wine without tugging at whatever’s wedged in-between his butt-cheeks. I am not a fan of this habit, but I pointed out to Milton that this quirk is an element ingrained in Rafa’s style of play. What completely drives Milton over the edge is Rafa’s history of dreadful wardrobe choices. Unlike my ability to defend the constant wedgie tugging I have to agree that pink shirts, plaid shorts, muscle tees, etc., are indefensible.
"I'll have the pinot grigio."
This year at the US Open, Rafa has introduced some serious improvements. He’s added a powerful serve to his game, and he has also made some welcome style adjustments. He has a new haircut, and a basic black outfit trimmed in yellow. Milton, in fashion police mode, has been pregnant with comment about Rafa’s makeover. Recently, we shared this email exchange:
Milton: I know your boy is still trying, and in some ways, the black works. But what’s with the yellow, boat-like sneakers? Is he dating Sweet Caroline?
Caroline "Sunshine" Wozniacki wearing Stella McCartney designed black & yellow.
Milton: With the slimming black, and the oversized sneaks, Rafa was reminding me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who. Then it came to me. See comparison below.
Rafa serving at the US Open.
Marvin the Martian -- Rafa's doppelgänger?
Me: Did you know that those Nikes he wears are inscribed Rafa in the back of the heel? They are ghastly.
Nadal's Rafa sneakers.
Milton: He’s earned the right to have his name everywhere. But the yellow. He looks like a bumble bee on the Atkin’s diet.
Once again, a foot-fault call at US Open tennis was in the spotlight when ninth seed Andy Roddick blew a gasket at a line judge for (correctly) calling this error on him during his loss Wednesday night to his Serbian opponent, Janko Tipsarevic.
Andy Roddick not asking, "What time is it?"
When the line judge explained her call to Roddick, she suffered an ill-timed brain-freeze and mistakenly said it was his right foot, when she meant to say it was his left. Therefore, he detonated, but his outburst was Sesame Street worthy when compared to the $82,500 fine-incurring profane meltdown that Serena Williams exhibited at last year’s Open. The New York Times recounted Serena’s outburst of hysteric proportion as follows:
“[Roddick’s] tempest was nothing compared with the most remembered match of the 2009 Open, between the powerful Serena Williams and a diminutive Japanese woman named Shino Tsurubuchi. After Tsurubuchi called Williams for a second-service foot fault, landing her a point from defeat in the women’s final against Kim Clijsters, Williams angrily confronted Tsurubuchi at her post outside the lines, threatening to asphyxiate her with the aid of the ball in her hand.”
Translation: Williams said, while clutching a tennis ball for emphasis, “I am going to shove this fucking ball down your fucking throat.”
Composed Serena three days after outburst at book signing on 9/15/09 where no one had the guts to joke, "Foot-fault."
Tsurubuchi was not the line judge that incurred Roddick’s wrath. Roddick’s loss sent him packing with his stunning Sports Illustrated swimsuit model wife, Brooklyn Decker, calling to mind the Fur Fish and Game assistant document shredder, Staten Island Plotnick, that I dated some years back, proving the new adage that we mate (or date) what we rate.
US Open Tennis and Wimbledon are my two favorite sporting events, but I do follow the other Grand Slam tennis tournaments as well, the Opens in Australia and France. Even though her personality is deficient, I admire Serena’s athleticism, but as a human being, I prefer her sister, Venus, approximately one million times more. I would love to see Venus, at age 30, win this year’s women’s singles final. The fact that Serena withdrew claiming a suspicious foot injury increases Venus’s chances of capturing this top prize once again.
Ironically, the highest paid female athlete today is not the top seed, Serena, but number fourteen, Maria Sharapova. In January she signed an eight-year contract with Nike worth $70 million. Milton and I find this mind-blowing since she last won a Grand Slam in 2008. Serena’s won five Grand Slam titles in the last two years. Unlike Serena, Sharapova has a winning personality, and coincidentally, she looks like a model. Sharapova easily won her match Thursday against Iveta Benesova. If Sharapova reaches the finals against Venus, that would be exciting. Neither of them has won a Grand Slam since 2008.
Without Serena playing, the women’s draw overall is much less exciting this year, but even without Roddick, the men’s draw remains very competitive. The final I would love to see is Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal. They have played each other 21 times, but never at the US Open, the only Grand Slam tournament Nadal has yet to win. If this match happens, my allegiance will be with Rafa, but if Federer wins, and it is not because of a foot-fault call, I will be okay with it since I like him very much, too.
About Federer … what to make of this video? Did he really knock the can off this guy’s head twice? He will not confirm or deny it. Hm.
Shoes are also news in the US Open. Federer is wearing ones decorated with the New York skyline, which I much prefer over the pompous Federer crest blazer he wore in 2006 at Wimbledon.
Federer's New York State of mind tennis shoes.
Last year, the teenage upstart from Marietta, Georgia, Melanie Oudin, got very lucky when she somehow managed to beat three far superior players, including Sharapova, while wearing shoes inscribed “Believe,” until Caroline Wozniacki, wearing shoes invisibly inscribed, “Reality bites,” knocked her out of the running. Yet, Oudin, a spunky blonde, was last year’s media darling.
Melanie Oudin's 2009 Believe tennis shoes
While serving as play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports during weekend coverage of the Open last year, Dick Enberg gushed that Oudin “is the kind of kid you wish lived next door.”
Oh, you really think that, Dick? Clearly, you don’t know me.
This year Oudin wore tennis shoes inscribed “Courage.”
Melanie Oudin's 2010 Courage tennis shoe
She got knocked out in the second round. I don’t think foot-faulting was a significant factor. I do think if she let go of the shoe inscribing, and focused more on her serve, that might take her game in a more winning direction. Of course, this is easy for me to say as I foot-fault my way through life.
Lame Adventures Woman Disgruntled Jack Purcell sneaker
According to the American Heart Association, healthy American adults should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt). Keep this in mind and read on.
On Sunday, the Fourth of July, Milton and I were in our respective hovels situated on the East and West sides of Manhattan watching Rafael Nadal put a definitive stop to the Tomas Berdych Express at Wimbledon, so all was right in the tennis world once again. Elaine, my company’s Marketing Director, is telecommuting and Skyping from the UK, so she was able to attend Wimbledon last week where she saw Roger Federer advance to the Quarterfinals when he soundly defeated Jürgen Melzer of Austria.
Roger Federer on the far side of the court at Wimbledon June 28th, 2010.
Victorious Federer waving.
Elaine basking in Roger's victory.
Two days later living tennis legend Federer was soundly defeated by Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
In response to Federer’s early exit from her homeland, Elaine emailed me, “I am TOTALLY GUTTED–I can hardly speak.” Milton, who shares as deep a love of Federer as Elaine (they have similar taste in men) was more sanguine about the loss that sent shock waves throughout the tennis world, but possibly this was due to the fact that he was on vacation all of last week and was self medicating with Sangria. It was not until Berdych blew a hole through Novak Djokovic, another player Milton adores for both his athletic prowess and his looks, or as Milton recently said of Djokovic’s face, “He’s part athlete, part Margaret Hamilton and I find that so sexy,” that Berdych finally succeeded to get on Milton’s nerves.
Novak Djokovic channeling his inner Margaret Hamilton.
Margaret Hamilton channeling her inner Novak Djokovic.
Milton declared that he hated “Berdick” (actually pronounced “Ber-ditch”) so much he was not going to watch the men’s’ final. Rafa’s my guy so I was going to watch no matter what. I was hoping for a massacre since I was being denied the match I most wanted to see – Federer vs. Nadal. Yet, Milton did tune in, and although he was pleased that Rafa won, he pronounced the trouncing “boring.”
Possibly, Milton would have been more entertained had he switched the channel to that American tradition being broadcast live on ESPN, Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, sponsored by Pepto Bismol. Viewers tune in hoping to see a competitor vomit, the exact reason why I tune out. Odds are good that Milton would have found this monument to competitive eating boring as well since the reigning champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut could not compete against his archrival, Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi, of Japan. These two are the titans of the competitive eating world, the overeating equivalent of Federer and Nadal.
This year, Kobayashi refused to sign an exclusivity contract with Major League Eating, the body that sanctions competitive eating events, so he was barred against competing on Sunday. He tossed a fit after the competition and got arrested. Although he was starving to compete, in jail he was served a single sandwich and glass of milk. Kobayashi was released on Monday. He is now claiming free agency, but it baffles me who is going to sign him if he does not re-sign with MLE. Possibly the hapless Knicks will go after him when they fail to sign LeBron James?
Kobayashi in happier times flaunting a gut full of dogs.
Without having a fellow elite eater in his midst, Chestnut, who devoured 68 hot dogs and buns (or HDBs in competitive eating jargon), in ten minutes last year against Kobayashi’s 64 ½, gave a performance screaming, “diet!” on Sunday. He ate a mere 54 HDBs. Chestnut’s goal is to eventually eat 70 HDBs, but that might be hard for him to reach without a competitor of Kabayashi’s caliber and twenty pound stomach capacity to spur him on.
Victorious Joey Chestnut with his post-competition beverage of choice.
Since my gastroenterologist has tube steak at the top of the list of the 7,416 foods I am supposed to avoid, I researched the amount of sodium in a single Nathan’s hot dog with the bun – 684 milligrams. After devouring 54 HDBs, Chestnut ate the equivalent of 16.05913 teaspoons of salt or one-third a cup of salt. Writing that sentence alone was enough to make my heart race. It’s doubtful that the American Heart Association will ever sanction this event, but maybe Ex-lax will come calling in 2011, and Kobayashi will get his crap together by then as well. Whatever the future holds for the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, I am steering clear of the vomitorium. My TV is going to remain tuned to Wimbledon.