Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Roland Garros: Heart, Mind, Soul & Idiosyncrasy


If you’d asked me for my dream SF line up at the start of the event, I wouldn’t have picked these four. I simply wouldn’t have the audacity.

There’s what you want. And there’s what you know to be feasible. You tend to settle for a happy medium with a sprinkling of magical realism and then hope for the best.

Sometimes these concerns overlap (Pova, Fran, Vika). Others are just fairy dust (Marion, Li, JJ).








I honestly don’t know if there’s a bigger story than Pova winning her career Slam right now. I really don’t. The comeback from shoulder injury, the “cow on ice” narrative, an iconic fighting spirit to rival both Serena and Rafa…..I don’t know how you fight that.

I’m personally less enthused by the 1.3 Billion people narrative now that I’ve heard it nearly 1.3 Billion times. There’s no doubt it should form part of the narrative. My problem is that it tends to distract people from what I consider to be an essential truth: that Li Na is an impeccable tennis player with perhaps the most perfectly executed groundies in the business. I can actually stare at them all day – even when she’s using them to punch holes the size of China through Vika (*sob*).

And if you don’t understand Cesca’s charm, then I simply don’t know what to do with you, you  ideologically unsound, sordid piece of work. (Aside: Cesca is now the highest remaining seed left in the draw. Permission to smear axle grease in the face of every doubter that claimed she wouldn’t even come close to defending her title?) 

And then there’s Marion. Where do you even begin with Marion?  Her run ins with the French Tennis Federation? Her compatriots? The fact that no one seems willing to sponsor her? The double-handed groundies off both wings? That she continues to be treated as an unsightly distraction that should have no business playing tennis? That she probably burns more calories hop-scotching on the spot in between points than in actual matchplay?

Common denominator: she’s ferociously talented, and couldn’t seem to care less what anyone thinks.

Heart, Mind, Soul or Idiosyncrasy? Fairy Dust or feasibility?

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