Thursday, February 17, 2005

Goodbye Toad, Tennis Report part 1

I woke up not feeling like a toad at all. So that was a plus, a big plus. A huge plus. What wasn't so good is we fell asleep with CNN playing. Maybe that explains why my dreams focused exclusively on the problems of the Lebanon. I woke up at 8 a.m. to some newsguy saying, "... and that concludes our in-depth, highly graphic account of the violent political situation in the Lebanon..." Thanks, guys...

I went somewhere cool today, and watched something that I have always loved, but never seen live before. No, no, I didn't finally get to see Hootie and the Blowfish! And no, it wasn't a live sex show either. It was... well, I doubt anyone will guess...

It was tennis.

It's the Memphis International Open this week, a tournament that brings some of the best players from the men's and ladies game to the city. Me and Hannah went along and watched bits and pieces of the afternoon matches. Now, when I was growing up, I always dreamed of being a tennis writer, watching and writing about great matches, traveling around the globe, perhaps even being invited along to a tennis player's private party and munching cheeseburgers laced with human growth hormone, who knows...

So today I will live out that childhood fantasy by bringing you an Extreme Unction round-up of the day's play. But first, to get everyone in the mood, here is a picture of Andy Roddick.

Match 1 Akiko Morigami (Japan) vs Eugenia Linetskaya (Russia)

I will concede that I only saw the last five minutes of this match as I had spent the previous hour eating a salad at the local Chilis. Nevermind, I can still outline the essential drama with a few dramatic strokes of my pen. This was a confrontation between the East and, well, someone from even further East, and while the girl from Japan put up a valiant fight, nothing could stop Linetskaya from using her power and accuracy to steamroller her way into the next round.

Result: Linetskaya wins 6-2 6-2

Match 2 Max Mirnyi (Belarus) vs Cyril Saulnier (France)

I caught most of the second set of this match. My first glance at Max Mirnyi was as he powered a ferocious ace past a static Cyril, a scenario that played out with monotonous regularity over the next 30 minutes. Some note must be made of the physique of Max, it was extraordinary. This man has arms five feet in length. His legs are also five feet long. The overall effect was of a man who had been crossed with a stick insect in some godawful experiment by renegade Russian scientists.

"Behold, Vassily Ivanovich! My creation is complete!" (see picture below)

Poor Cyril. Poor, poor, Cyril. Not only was he a Frenchman in the land where insulting French people is now a popular bloodsport, he was also a mere mortal. The match conformed to a classic formula, that of the Small Skilful guy vs The Big Lad who Stole His Lunch Money (and spent it on anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and injections of stick insect DNA)

As the match wore on, I was torn between my earlier description of Max as Stick Insect, and the dawning realisation that he may also be a Robot.

Robotic Stick Insect, anyone? Okay.

Despite some fighting spirit from Cyril, Max utterly destroyed him. He did everything but eradicate the man's bloodline, using nothing more deadly than a tennis racket. I was both impressed and appalled.

Result: Mirnyi wins 7-5 6-4

(I will save the second part of my round-up for tomorrow)


Blogger gymnut said...

It is good to see that you have left behind the years of being a toad. I am interested what it was that triggered the metamorphic event.
Was it the 1st visit to see One of the greatest games invented or just a good day to be alive?

9:43 AM  

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