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February 2012
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IT'S TENNIS SEASON!

Yep, it's that time of year again.

I love tennis, even though I suck at it. When people find out that I played on the tennis team in high school, they all say, "Oh, you must have been really good!"

Uh, no. Not really. My high school was just so small, making the tennis team was pretty much a matter of showing up and looking vaguely interested. My parents had both played, so I did start learning the basics at a relatively young age, but I was never going to be more than just adequate.

Still, I loved it and had fun, and if I gave up everything I was bad at, I'd never do anything.

Watching the elite of the sport, though, has always been AMAZING.

I loathe Roger Federer with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, but I have to give him credit for making tennis look like the easiest thing ever. His physical grace on the court is truly astonishing, and in the current era of power tennis, points to him for sticking with the one-handed backhand.

Rafael Nadal has the most savage forehand I've ever seen, and an impressive-- if overwhelming-- game that raises the power game by several orders of magnitude. Sometimes I wonder, though, why nobody else realizes that he's OCD, and that his numbers are all odd. It must be killing him by inches to be ranked No. 2. Maybe that's why he can't seem to beat Djokovic.

Ah, yes, Novak Djokovic.

I've had my eye on him since he turned pro in 2003, when he was just some Serbian throwaway who showed up on TV long enough for the big guys to wallop into the ground. He caught my attention, though, because his style of play reminded me of Ivan Lendl, who I'd admired very much back in his heyday. So I kept on studying Djokovic, watching how he improved and climbed steadily up the ranks, and then came the 2008 Australian Open. When he won the trophy, I said, Someday that kid's gonna be Number One.

Everyone in the sports world called Djokovic a flash-in-the-pan. When he made it to the Number Three ranking, they said he'd never get any higher. When he kept losing in quarterfinals, semifinals, even finals of majors, they said he'd never win another title. They sneered at his fits of temper, his on-court antics, the dramatics of the family members who made up his entourage. He wasn't as courtly and polished as Federer, as humble and likable as Nadal. It was easy for them to badmouth Djokovic.

And then came the 2011 season.

The No. 1 ranking finally his, an astonishing 70-6 record . . . and still, the naysayers are out there trying to tear him down.

I think a big part of it is that Federer and Nadal have had things locked up for so long, anyone else who challenges their duopoly is dismissed by the tennis world as an interloper. It's "ostrich tennis", in my book . . . they refuse to acknowledge Djokovic, so therefore, he doesn't actually exist. Part of it is that tennis is seen as a gentleman's sport. It's very rule- and class-oriented, even if people don't like to admit it out loud. There's not much room in there for upstart young players from war-torn Balkan nations. Tennis is extremely snooty-- remember the fuss when players started adding color to their ensembles? ( And to wear anything other than all-white at Wimbledon is still unthinkable. ) The establishment of tennis likes its players to come from a certain world and to behave a certain way. It's what made Federer their poster boy.

Then Nadal roared in and didn't just upset the status quo so much as he bulldozed it flat and poured new courts over it. But he was so personable, so likable, that everyone was utterly charmed by him. Even Federer, I suspect.

Djokovic comes across as very genuine, however. He's not always charming, though he often is. Sometimes he's snippy, even through the constant joking around that earned him that ridiculous nickname. He has a temper that he has to work to control, just like everyone else in the world, and sometimes, he fails. He turns that temper on himself, though, rather than on others like Murray does. In the 2010 US Open, during his loss to Nadal, there was a point where Djokovic actually turned away and started smacking himself on the side of the head with his racket. It was a very . . . humanizing moment. He gets carried away with his celebrations and does crazy things like rip his shirt off or eat blades of grass, but when he takes that brief moment and crosses himself, it seems very sincere. So does his congratulations ( commiserations? ) at the end of the match for the opposing player. It looks like more that just the obligatory, "Good game!" that we all remember from our own sports days, don't we? Of course, remember too how we were secretly thinking "HATE YOU!!" the whole time?

I bet that's what Nadal is thinking now, every time he has to go to the net after yet another loss to Djokovic. Heh.

But be all that as it may, I think that Novak Djokovic is going to turn the tennis world on its head, and I think he's here to stay.

At least, until someone younger and hungrier comes along and chews the court out from under him.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy
Current Music: "Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
MOSTLY TV CATCH-UP.

Totally had to clean out my poor DVR, which was at 87% full and threatening to explode, so this was a TV weekend.

Yesterday was "series day", which means that I watched the last two episodes of White Collar. I LOATHE Eliza Dushku, and I devoutly hope we never have to see her again, but I have the unfortunate feeling that she'll be back. Dammit. I am, however, enjoying the struggle in Neal's character. Looking forward to seeing where this goes when the season picks up again in the fall.

Then I watched the last two episodes of Haven, which also made me very happy. I've been rooting for Audrey and Nathan since the series started, so I hope it works out for them. One of the things I like best about the show is that none of the actors are Hollywood-gorgeous . . . you know, men with chiseled features and equally chiseled abs, women like skeletons with breast implants and flowing manes of hair, flawless features and equally flawless makeup. Lucas Bryant is very attractive, I'll grant you, but not in the currently popular mode. For one thing, he's too skinny by the standards of typical Hollywood hunks-- as is Eric Balfour, whose features have become almost satanic as he's aged. Again, neither of them are leading-man material. And Emily Rose is adorable, but she's also not typically attractive by current standards.

So all that is what originally drew me in to the show. Yes, generally I choose my TV viewing based on the quality and the quantity of the pretty, but Haven really sucked me in because it was so different. Then I stayed for the plot, which has been absolutely fascinating. Sure, a couple of weak episodes here and there, but over all . . . really enjoying it. Though I rather hope something nasty eats Luke Perry's character soon, as he gets on my nerves in a major fucking way.

I've also been following Alphas, but I'm not sure how long it will hold my interest. At the moment, it's interesting, but it also has the potential to become formulaic, I think. Did you know that the guy who plays Hicks in Alphas played the vampire leader, Luther, in SPN? Yeah, I had to look it up, too. I knew he looked familiar, but I couldn't place him for the life of me.

Still behind on Necessary Roughness. Callie Thorne just annoys me SO FUCKING MUCH, I'm having trouble watching it, even for the hotness that is Riley Finn I mean, Marc Blucas. Maybe if I mute the volume I can deal with it better.

Of course, I also had to take a few breaks to watch men's tennis, specifically the Western & Southern Open. My TV tennis boyfriend, Novak Djokovic, made it through the semifinals but had to retire in the beginning of the second set of the final today with a injured shoulder. It's obviously been a hard slog on all the players . . . there have been a lot of disappointing matches these past two weeks, with players withdrawing left and right with injuries or just plain playing well below their usual standard of talent. When Djokovic has won this week, it's either been a long and ugly slugfest, or the the other guy has tapped out--which is its own kind of disappointment. Tsonga went down that way, and so did Berdych, both of whom would have been great matches.

The ATP doesn't give the two-day breaks between matches that the Grand Slam events do, and I think it shows in the weariness of all the players. All the top guys just looked utterly exhausted even after Montreal, and then you add in the weather in Cincinatti? Yeah, small wonder that they're dropping like flies. Djokovic traditionally doesn't seem to do well in the heat, and I naturally sympathize. I'd curl up like a salted slug if I tried to even breathe outside in weather like that. Yuck. I just really hope he went home and faceplanted into his couch and is going to stay there for the next week, recovering and resting up for the US Open. 'Cause I really want to see him win some more titles and prove to all the naysayers that he DESERVES to be Number One. There's still way too many people out there who are pooh-poohing his success, calling him a fluke and a flash in the pan, and to them I say NO.

I've been watching Novak Djokovic since he turned pro in 2003, and I've been waiting for him to have this year. He deserves it, and I hope he gets to keep it.

Abrupt ending here, as it is now late, and I must pack for another work-week staying at Mom's house. *yawns* Glad I had that nap earlier, 'cause I'm sleepy.

Good night!

Current Mood: recumbent recumbent
Current Music: NFL - San Diego Chargers at Dallas Cowboys
ZOMBIES FOR BREAKFAST. YUM.

So with my bowl of cereal this morning, I got to watch Resident Evil: Afterlife, which was a pretty awesome way to start the day. I'm a surprisingly big fan of the RE franchise, considering that I generally loathe zombies, but RE 1 & 2 totally had me hooked from the very first time I saw them. What I liked most was the emphasis on strong female characters-- action heroes in their own rights-- not just cupcake rewards for the manly men to rescue.

Okay, okay, and the slash in both movies totally wrote itself.

Of course, then RE 3 had to come along and ruin EVERYTHING, but I'm glad to see that somebody pulled it together for RE 4. I have great hopes for 5, which I understand will be coming out next year some time.

One of the things that I thought would bother me was that Wentworth Miller was playing the part of Chris Redfield. Originally Jensen Ackles was cast in the role, but he pulled out, I'm guessing because of scheduling conflicts with SPN's shooting schedule. And although I think Wentworth is hot like burning, I deeply, deeply resented that he was NOT Jensen.

Yet, much to my surprise, I liked him quite well. I did, however, find it easy to imagine how Jensen would have played the role instead. I really would have liked to see what he would have done with it . . . but, oh well. Nothing to be done for it, I suppose.

And now I am settling in on the couch to watch my TV tennis boyfriend, World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, beat the crap out of some other guy at Wimbledon. ( Yeah, yeah, I know. Baghdatis. Whatever, I care NOT. )

It's gonna be a good day.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: Wimbledon
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