Thursday, April 23, 2009

Snap Judgments: Family Circle Cup

The April Charleston sun doesn't bake you; it gently cooks
Certainly it is no way as fierce as the August New York sun. It also helped that the tournament sponsor, Garnier Nutritioniste, was pretty generous with the sun block samples. I still have a slew of samples of Skin Renew for my eyes. I expect any day now that my eyes will start looking luminous. And no, Garnier did not pay me to say that. It's the least I could do given all the free stuff I pocketed.

I've never been to a tournament with one court before
I'm used to multiple matches happening at the same time and having to choose whom to see and whom to miss. It was kind of cool to be able to see it all because it was all happening back to back on the same court. But if a match sucked - like say some of the doubles matches - well too bad, there was nowhere else to go. And then of course there is always the mistake of assuming that you know how a match will turn out so you decide that it's OK to leave. Which I did in the doubles match between Yan and Peng vs. Schnyder and Dekmeijere. General Peng, despite being ranked lower, was clearly the leader. She did a brilliant job of giving orders to Yan who did a decent job of executing exactly what she had been instructed. Against such an organized mini-militia, I did not think that Schnyder and Co. had a chance. And then I found out next day that the Asians had retired. I was shocked. Now I regret that I did not stick around to see what had gone down.

I love Big Babe Tennis. Lisicki plays BBT style. Therefore I love Lisicki.
Here's how BBT tennis works. First, only a woman can do it. (Sorry guys, but it's just not the same when you do it. Moving on.) Second, you have to be a Big Babe to play BBT, duh. Short chicks don't count. I don't care how hard Bartoli tries to hit the ball, she can never play BBT style. But Serena can. So does Lindsay Davenport. So does (did?) Sharapova. Here's how BBT tennis works. You hit every serve big. You hit second serves almost as big as the first. It's OK if the first serve goes into the net because there is a big second serve right behind it. You crush returns of serve, especially second serves which you dismiss with panache. Your opponent must stand there looking like she doesn't know which Mac truck just rolled out and slammed her. Big Babes go for their shots - even if this means racking up high numbers of unforced errors. That's a price they're willing to pay for big wins. The Chair sometimes has to call for new balls before the sixth game - that's how destroyed they become. Big Babes play big powerful beautiful fearless gutsy tennis. And they play with utter confidence. Only weaklings like Wozniaki keep calling for their coaches in the middle of the match. Big Babes don't need that shit. They know what to do and they know exactly how to do it. Lisicki made Wozniaki look like a Junior. And I loved every moment of it.

Watching Cliff and Mary Jo phone it in
They set up a booth just inside the entrance. Cliff and Mary Jo sat behind it and a small crowd gathered around them. Probably folks looking for their 15 minutes - I don't blame them, that's our culture. Cliff praised Lisicki using his best earnest face. Mary Jo chimed in smoothly. Their partnership seemed easy and comfortable, if a tad lifeless and desultory. They looked like an old couple that has gone past the sex and moved into the sweats and Vicks vaporub. They made a few kind noises about the doubles. Mary Jo commented on Mattek-Sands' game. If Mary Carrillo was there she might also have commented on Mattek-Sands' silly outfit which consisted of an overlong white vest over a gray tube top over a red bra with a black skort. Still aiming for the sexy vibe but I suppose now that she is married, slutting it down a bit. She looked stupid. Cliff and Mary Jo were too polite to say that. Tennis needs a Chelsea Handler.

It kinda sucks to be the designated driver at a tennis tournament
I was able to get freely liquored up at the US Open because I was taking the subway home. But this time the car was mine and I was the designated driver. No booze for me. There's nothing crueler than having to watch Wozniaki defeat Dementieva over three long boring ass hours with not a drop of liquor in your body. Cruel and unusual punishment, yes.

There are a lot of trees in Charleston, but few flowers
There are also no bill boards. And few gas stations. I almost ran out of gas one night. What happened is that I took the wrong turn to get back to my hotel and by the time the GPS got me back on track, the engine light was on, saying "Feed me Seymour". Not that my name is Seymour but cars have no way of knowing. So then I started hunting for a gas station. The GPS took me back to the Family Circle Cup area and then announced proudly "You have arrived!" I looked left and right but could not see a damn gas station. So then I drove back towards the hotel because I remembered that I had seen a Wal-Mart nearby. Got to Wal-Mart around 10pm. It was closed. Drove back to the hotel on fumes. No partying for me that night.

But Charleston does have a fancy ass bridge,
The Ravenel Bridge looks like a pair of ship sails. I wish I could have stopped at the top and taken a photo. But that would have been illegal.

And mules that can find their own way home,
Charleston has held on to its history like few other cities. But I can't stand it when tour guides give you the sanitized version of said history. Little mention of the slave trade and only to say that slaves were free to sell their products in the market because that's the kind of forward-thinking town that Charleston has always been. In which fricking lifetime, I wanted to ask. Maybe I'll just sic PETA on them instead for beating their mules with steel-tipped whips.

In a town that clearly loves tennis.
Thanks to the organizers. I know a lot of work went into this tournament. Don't let my potshots
distract you from my genuine appreciation.

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