Entries in tennis (11)
My husband and I thought we were offering ourselves up like lambs to the slaughter for the Easter feast when we agreed to square off against Worthy Opponents Surinder Singh and Tam Thompson at the Prospect Park Tennis Center. Singh is undefeated for the indoor season, and Thompson is a tough customer on the doubles court. She's got the game and the guts to serve and volley, Haters.
"You can thank us later," we were thinking to ourselves as we made our intention to play together known to Tam and Surinder.
But here's an Easter miracle: We beat them in a tiebreak.
I think of the rise of extreme grips like the Western grip used by Rafael Nadal and Dinara Safina as recent developments in the modern game.
Here's proof that it was around as early as 1933, at least in France. That's when French painter Balthus created "The Street." This budding tennis player is one of several strange figures in the painting.
Check out that grip! And how she's pointing to the oncoming ball with her non-racquet hand! She's even got her weight on her back foot, ready to release into the shot as she follows through.
All she needs is some strings in her racquet and a ball with some bounce left in it and it's game on.
Here's the bigger picture, without glass glare.
Haters, I'll have to remove Andy Murray from favorite son status of I Hate Tennis. He's unrecognizable, physically and mentally, from the sulking, swearing player who let his mind get in the way of his considerable gifts.
Consider this comment he made after finishing his 2012 season with a semifinal loss to Roger Federer in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in front of his countrymen in London on Sunday:
"I would have liked to have finished with a win, but that didn't happen. But for me, it's been the best year of my career by a mile," he said.
Murray says his success will motivate him to work hard next month, when he begins what sounds like a grueling off-season training regimen. But first, a more grueling task: finding a Christmas gift for his coach, Ivan Lendl.
More on that in a moment. But first -- Murray, focusing on the positive? Haters, let us pause to consider this miraculous makeover. To quote another sulker, John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious."
The Sunny Scot beamed on. Here's more from the ATP's report:
"Why I would look back on that [his accomplishments this year] negatively now would be silly because I've achieved things I've never achieved before. I have to look back on it positively. If I don't, then that would be worrying.”
News flash, Haters: worrying about your shots is not the way to improve them. Murry told reporters he may have lost in the end to Federer, 7-6(5), 6-2, but he was pleased -- yes, he used that word, pleased -- with how he continued to try to make things happen on the court, to think about ways to win matches "rather than waiting for my opponent to lose them."
The 25-year-old has had a breakthrough year. He reached the finals of Wimbledon, the first Brit to do so since 1938. He lost to Federer and cried on Centre Court during the post-match interview, but didn't let those tears dampen his resolve during the rest of the season. Two weeks later, he beat Federer on that same court to take Olympic gold, then won his first major by beating defending champ Novak Djokovic at the US Open.
Murray elaborated on his new I Love Tennis outlook in for BBC Sport.
"Sometimes when you lose a tough match or a big final, you spend the next few days thinking, 'Is it worth it? Is all the training making a difference? Will I ever be good enough to win one of these big events?'" Just the next few DAYS spent ruminating like that, Andy? Me, I've taken the I Hate Tennis pledge as a Monthly Sustainer.
"I've been through so many highs and lows already," Murray told BBC Sport's Piers Newbery, "and to experience the sort of highs that I did in the summer made me realize it absolutely was worth it."
I've never actually got as far as vomiting in training, but I've certainly felt like it.
Absolutely worth it to train so hard, Murray can't take a breath.
"Most people would normally stop when they're struggling to breathe," said Murray, proving he's not only a master of the tennis court, but of the understatement. "But if you push yourself through that, you might feel horrible at the time but you'll feel better once you get off the machine or the track. It's pushing it that extra bit that makes all the difference."
But even Iron Man Murray has a breaking point.
"I've never actually got as far as vomiting in training [...] but I've certainly felt like it. Many, many times I've ended a session flat on my back with the world spinning above me."
Glad he got that off his chest, if not his stomach. It humbles me to think Murray is putting in that kind of work, and wondering about the usefulness of it all when he loses. What's my excuse, with just one lesson a week? I'm not struggling to breathe, Haters, I'm just struggling.
Meanwhile, Murray reveals his current struggle is not with being aggressive on the court or living in the "what if's" of a semifinal loss in the season-ending London event. It's finding a Christmas present for Coach Lendl, who rarely smiles while watching his charge, even when Murray won Olympic gold and the US Open trophy.
He says he's considering giving Lendl a sense of humor.
Haters, should I start calling you Lovers now? I've been having so much fun on the courts, it's thrown me -- and my husband -- for a loop.
Earlier this week, I teamed up with Worthy Opponent Nelson Simon against my Mark and Worthy Opponent Henry Strozier of the cranberry commercials. It was a beautiful morning. We've been having a run of them in New York City: bright blue skies, just this side of cool temperatures, a smell of damp wood and dry leaves in the air.
I'm so glad to be here! I thought. Well, what do you know about that.