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The Tennis Gods Rapture

Posted By Deepa On May 30, 2011 @ 4:56 am In Top Story | No Comments

So, the rapture didn’t come. We are all still here, living to see another day, although some of us are doing that with considerably less money. However, those among us who are still looking to fulfill that feeling of an intangible and all-knowing being coming down to earth and intervening in our daily goings-on need not look any further than the first week of Roland Garros. Looks like the Tennis Gods have a sense of humor based on the rapture-worthy twists they decided to serve up this week. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the proceedings:

Even though he did the draw himself, Rafael Nadal had the displeasure of drawing human tree/tennis player John Isner as his first round opponent. Now, the fact that he is an American and can’t fit in an airplane seat should make you think that this will be easy work for the King of the Clay. I am sure Mr. Nadal was as surprised as I was to find himself down 2 sets 1 after losing two tie-breaks to the beanstalk doppelganger. While Isner never managed to serve his way to any match points, he certainly gave everyone something to talk about when he made Nadal look undeniably human at Roland Garros between the 3rd and 4th sets. Rafa managed to make it happen in the end, playing his first 5 set match at Roland Garros ever. Raptured.

Speaking of Nadal, remember that guy who is his main rival? No no, I’m not talking about Novak Djokovic. I’m talking about that other guy, the one with 16 grand slams and a gold medal, the man who today made it into his 28th consecutive grand slam quarter final today? Roger something right? There is no clearer sign that the world may actually be coming to an end when “Roger Federer” and “under the radar” are used in the same sentence so many times in one week. The mighty Fed has been left out of the conversation to such a degree that ESPN showed a post-match press conference of his in which there wasn’t a single English question asked. Sign of the times? Raptured.

Speaking of favorites, remember Kim Clijsters? She was nearly every “expert’s” pick to win the whole tournament. This prediction was made despite the fact that she hadn’t played a clay tournament for multiple years and that she hadn’t played a match since her loss in Miami to Victoria Azarenka and the fact that she injured her ankle recently while dancing at a wedding. Still, Kim was undoubtedly a favorite for one reason or another. Then the tennis gods struck. Clijsters went down to the 114th-ranked Aranxta Rus of the Netherlands in the 2nd round. So long favorite. Clijsters made a total of 65 errors during the match, 66 if you include that unfortunate get-up from Fila. Raptured.

What about our women’s no. 1? What has Woz been up to these days? Well, as of yesterday, she has moved on from the clay to the grass as she was kindly shown the exit by veteran Daniela Hantuchova.   By all accounts, Sunshine should have won this match. She has a winning record against Hantuchova who is as famous for her ability to choke away a match as she is for her portfolio. However, as is the case in the slam with no lights, the sun set on Caroline Wozniacki as Dani held her nerve and showed the world no. 1 (who is eight years her junior) how they do things in the pros. Raptured.

As I may have alluded to earlier, there isn’t much expected of Americans when it comes to clay-court tennis. That’s why it may be surprising to know that all 6 American boys in the juniors draw won their first round matches. Raptured. Patrick McEnroe will be happy with that.

Oh, and to top this week off, Maria Sharapova has become a top favorite to win this whole thing. She has made just 9 double faults in this tournament so far. Not in a set, not in a match, but in the whole tournament.

Oh Roland Garros, I was hoping for a quiet week.

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