Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poor Rafa


Dang blangit, as my neighbor in southeast Missouri would say. I returned to Columbia from the site of my bird survey (highlight: Connecticut warbler in the oak sprouts, flushed in from the storm), changed out of my tick-filled clothes and rushed off to Flatbranch Brew Pub where Ernie, a grass court tennis player, mans the sports television screens and the bar. At 1 pm, I didn't know that Nadal had been dethroned from his House of Clay by a Swede (a low-ranked Swede, no less). But the match was on NBC, everyone around me knew the results, and no one spoiled the misery for me. Thanks, Flatbranch.

Doug blames Nadal's performance on the pink shirt: "He looks like a Cosmos, with the bright pink shirt and yellow headband, you know, petals and stamens?" I myself was focused on Nadal's snappy shoes with the four French Open title logos emblazoned on the side, room for the fifth burst of flames proclaiming 2009. He played very uncharacteristically against a truly mediocre clay court player. I love Nadal because he clobbers tennis, he attacks the ball, he runs cross court for every point, he throws himself into every ball. He didn't do that today. His face looked like Molly's these days: drawn, tired, cranky. And in the third set he totally jacked up his knee, sending his calf one way, his thigh another.

I took the time to catch up on the matches I've missed by being in the woods: Sharapova is still in, Ivanovic is out (huzzah!), Djokovic is out, a real shame because I love to watch him play. I'm using comp time all week to camp out at Flatbranch to watch their big televisions in their comfortable room with their plates of raw vegetables and marinated tofu. I'll miss the finals next weekend to finish fire school, even though clay court tennis is really my favorite to watch. But with Nadal out, some of the thrill is gone. Wimbledon is around the corner, and maybe Rafa has just been spending too much time on grass so he can clean house in June?

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