Thursday, September 2, 2010

The giant-felling has started

It’s like Tipsy read my manual, didn’t he? Honestly there were moments during his match against Roddick last night when I literally laughed out loud. The combination of the sight of Tipsarevic in that ridiculous red and black outfit, with his pretentious Japanese tattoos, and bizarre prescription glasses, plus Roddick falling clumsily all over his feet while his poor wife looked as if she would start crying any minute – it all made for unintentional humor. Call me a heartless biyatch but I’m still getting the giggles when I replay certain moments in my mind.

And of course Roddick’s defenders have rushed to claim that he is suffering from “a bit” of mononucleosis. I’m not sure how much mono it takes for it to be just “a bit”, but this is the same Roddick who seemed fit and healthy enough when he lost last week to Mardy Fish in Cincinnati. I’m not saying that he isn’t sick. I’m just saying that I’m not convinced that illness explains his unintelligent performance against Tipsy yesterday. No, what happened is that Roddick got himself a good old-fashioned beat down. Frankly, I am beginning to wonder why Stefanki keeps wasting his time.

One of the more exciting aspects of a Grand Slam is the frisson of excitement one feels in anticipation of which giant will be among the first to fall. I mean they can’t all make it to the finals, no matter how great they are. Come Sunday – if hurricane Earl and his pals don’t completely deviate plans – there will only be two men standing on Arthur Ashe court at Flushing Meadows. Which means that between now and then, some giants are going to topple. And yes, I do find that to be kind of exciting.

Of course if the giant happens to be a player whom I adore, well then there’s always going to be some sadness. But as long as my player goes down in an exciting blaze of glorious tennis, well then I will just have to be consoled by that.

But I was not at all consoled when the giant Davydenko went down today to Richard Gasquet. It wasn’t the fact that Davydenko got felled that bothered me. No, I take that back. The fact that he got beaten bothered me greatly, but not for the loss in and of itself, but more so because I have been on a gender kick lately and I wanted to be able to say that his wife-coach was obviously doing a damn fine job. As it is, Davydenko got beaten easily by a player who combined the standard corner-to-corner baseline strategy with sweet drop shots. I guess all the cocaine he kissed off that woman’s lips have finally worked its way out of his system and Gasquet is playing focused tennis again.

One of the things that I find totally annoying is watching a giant get felled by some upstart who then folds up like a wet blanket in the subsequent match. I mean, if you’re going to be man (or woman) enough to slay a giant, well then have the cojones (or its female equivalent) to back it up by at least winning the next match. That’s not asking too much. There’s no point in taking out a giant if you’re going to just turn around and cave easily. You might as well have left him in the damn draw, right?

This is my fear for Tipsarevic. Tipsy can slay any giant on any given day. But I’m not convinced that he can back it up. And that to me is a huge waste of giant-slaying talent.

Next up Tipsarevic faces Gael Monfils. I not so long ago criticized Gael for being a French clown who squanders his damn talent prancing and jumping around on the court. Except I’m sure that my words were way harsher than that. But to be honest, lately Gael has seemed a bit more mature, more grounded. I have been impressed by the absence of pointless theatrics during his matches. I won’t mind at all if he sends Tipsarevic packing.

I don’t know that Marin Cilic can be considered a giant in tennis but he certainly has giant potential. So I did not at all expect him to go out to Kei Nishikori. I first noticed Nishikori in 2008 when he beat James Blake at Delray Beach. But I haven’t heard a peep from him since then. Indeed, for a while there, that win against Blake started looking like a fluke. But if he can take out the 13th seed, maybe it’s time to consider his application for the Tennis Chick Club of Giant-Killers.

Among the women, the giants are all still standing tall. In fact Wozniacki fed her opponent a double-bagel. I’m not a fan of her baseline bashing but I am a fan of her heartlessness. Her performance against Taipei’s Kai-Chen Chang was brutal. She crushed her with no mercy. Smells like true giant spirit.

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