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Meltdown of the Week


Finding Roger Federer Meltdown footage on YouTube is like finding a seat on the Number 4 Lexington Avenue subway at 9:30 in the morning. [Non-New Yorkers, take note: it's rare.] The Greatest of All Time usually deals with blown shots by dragging his middle finger across his forehead and tucking his hair behind his ear. Not this time. This was a semi-final match with Novak Djokovic at the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Djokovic just broke Fed in the third and deciding set and was up 15-0 when the Greatest of All Time took his eyes off a routine approach shot that could have evened the score. Federer went through lots of racquets when he was playing the junior circuit; wonder if he felt a little wave of nostalgia upon banging this one hard into the court.

On the Sideline

Thursday Doubles: Service Hold, куда вы идете?

My banya rally cap. It exudes confidence in a match. Just ask Henry Strozier.No, I did not just post a naughty phrase in Russian, though you're right, Haters, to think I would.  It would certainly expand my on court repertoire, which has fallen into an F-bomb rut of late.  

куда вы идете 

is Russian for "Where did you go?"  I'm thinking like a Muscovite today, in homage to the new film version of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina."  (A delightful piece in the Dance section of the NYTimes focused on the movement in the film).  

I also used today's game to unveil my new rally cap: a felt wool hat I picked up while doing a post-Sandy/Election Day/Nor'easter shvitz at the Brooklyn Banya.

The hat protects the top of your head and ears from the intense heat of the steam and sauna rooms at Russian bath houses.  Today, it shielded me from my own internal inferno of scorn and dismay over my vacationing service game.  

Worthy Comrade Henry Strozier and I were defeated soundly by our Worthy Opponents, husband Mark and USTA women's league 3.5 stalwart Nancy Bowen, 6-2.  I was broken every time I served.  I also missed several cupcake floaters that Mark lobbed to my backhand. Instead of licking the frosting off my fingers, I was licked by my own tendency to swing and to look over at the other side of the net to make sure the court hasn't moved on me in the last 2 seconds.  

Me, Henry Strozier, Nancy Bowen: ready for our post-match platza.Mark got into a rhythm on my slow serves, slicing them back low and short, right past my Worthy Comrade Henry Strozier. Nancy didn't miss a trick at the net, pounding back everything I tried to get over her head.  (Yes, Haters, I was reduced to defensive lobs from the baseline.  It's a respectable shot, I know, but I'd give a million rubles for a good, hard drive.)

On the plus side, I won an overhead dual with Mark, finally getting a weak reply from him at the baseline that drifted wide.  And my banya cap did not fall off in the process!  It's a keeper. 

I haven't seen "Anna Karenina" yet, but it's on my 2012 bucket list.  It looks beautiful and tragic.  Just like tennis.

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