Tennis Magic

A lot has happened in Shanghai this week.  It’s like a scene in a movie: there’s plenty of tension in the air.  We’re in a crowded city in which thousands of people are frantically trying to find a seat, pushing and shoving –  another fight is about to break-out between gladiators at this world renowned stadium, somewhere in the far east, in the fall of the year, the darkness of winter approaching; yes, the end is near.  The stadium is shaking now.  Something big is about to happen.  One feels there will be massive sorrow, massive joy, delirium. There will be casualties, lots of them; people will fear the worst, even death.

And a hero will emerge from the debris when the fighting has ended and the crowd’s cries and screams of agony and victory have faded into the night.  The hero will lift his people in his muscular arms and carry them. . . who knows where.  Who cares.  He’s their hero.

He’s Rafael Nadal.

Sorry.  I was inspired to tap-out that little ditty of bullshit since that’s all that’s dancing around in my head right now: Bullshit.

Nadal: “Being in the semifinals is a great result for me,” said Nadal. “I hadn’t played the semifinals on hard court all year and now I am playing two weeks in a row in the final rounds. That’s a big improvement for me. In terms of confidence, in terms of level of tennis, I am playing better. Very happy for that because I am working so hard” (tennis-x).

That hard work is paying-off for the Spaniard.  He’s the hardest working man on the tour, I guess.  Because his form has gone from the toilet to the near top in a 500 last week and now a Masters 1000.  Unreal.

I think it was early Beijing he was still hitting his backhand into the bottom of the net, his forehand looping safely into an opponent’s net-approaching wheel-house.

Now he’s world-class.  Just like that.  It’s called tennis magic.  See my previous post for what we call tennis excellence.  This here is an entirely different stick of gum.

I had a dream (here I go again) that I was in the hotel where Roger and Stan were staying (they were staying in the same hotel).  I told them that Rafa was “coming.”  It’s going to be a bloodbath.  Get out of town now.  Do it.  Don’t fuck around and make the QF, Stan.  Roger, you too.  Don’t even look at the draw.  He will destroy Stan and then it’s you.  Rafa is going to eat you.  Get out of town now.

Roger turns to me and says, “No worries, Matt. I actually do have some plans.  Hanging with MJ and then Tommy Haas and I are going to get the hell out of here, go party back in Basel.”  Good man, Rog.  MJ_RF2

Stan had left the room.  He was nowhere to be found.  Roger, Mirka and I knelt and prayed for Stan.  He’ll be okay, won’t he? whispered Mirka.  Roger and I kept our heads bowed.  A door slammed in the distance.  Someone screamed. . . ok that’s enough.

Need less to say, I don’t buy this found form from Rafa.  I guess I’ll have to process that as he beats Tsonga (God willing, Stan was just a walk-over and Tsonga will spank Nadal in straights.  But Tsonga could just go belly-up as he so often can). Sure, this is the real deal.  Rafa is coming.  Seriously.  Hide the women and children.  #PrayforNovak.

Here’s what needs to happen.  Don’t you agree?  You have to be reading my mind.  You know that little creative opening about the screams from the crowd, the bloodshed, the hero, etc.?  That’s the tennis world going upside down, burning to the ground in a kind of apocalyptic hysteria.

Here’s what needs to happen: Nadal beats Djokovic in the finals.  Wouldn’t that just be the most horrific, I mean incredible display of warrior tennis in the history of the world?  I want to hear Djokovic nation launch an investigation.

We’re that close to this going down, folks.  The SF begins in a few hours.  The match will be over, perhaps, by the time you’re reading this.  We’re hours away.  Most likely, we’re looking at a Djokovic v Nadal Shanghai final.  And if the guy who was playing clown tennis just a month ago, part of an incredibly dreadful display of tennis for the entire 2015 season, overcomes the streaking Serb, all hell is going to break loose.

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

I want to know why Rafa’s inconsistency is a dirty little secret.  Why doesn’t anyone care to make more of this giant hairy mole on his championship chin?  2015 is no different from other years where he’s gone missing, vanished, absent from tournaments, majors, etc.

Do you know how many majors Roger has missed in his career? Zero.

Djokovic? Zero.

Nadal?  Nine.

Of course he has been prone to juxtapose world class tennis with these vanishing acts.

I know what a lot of tennis fans are calling Shanghai, other than another chapter of Djokovic’s 2015 dominance: the (redundant) end of Roger and the rise of Nadal; Roger ducked Nadal.  I’ve read the bullshit, the fanaticism.  STFUP. It blows my mind.  Roger, coming off an insanely successful summer, still with a bunch of high-level tennis to play, got caught by a solid performance from a touring pro.  Whatever.  What a year.

Rafa, on the other hand, is back to his magic tricks.  Journalists are spinning stories of confidence and strokes of luck.  Toni Nadal is talking about his nephew’s found forehand.  His fans are screaming “Vamos!”

The place is about to erupt.  I want to see it.  Plain and simple.  Rafa v. Djokovic.  Welcome to bananaland.

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