Friday, 3 July 2009

Tennis: how to handle a one-trick pony

I don't watch much tennis on televsion. In fact, i very seldom plonk myself in front of the idiot box to watch ANYTHING. Part of the reason is because my family lords over the television set 90 percent of the evening and by the time they retire, well, it's too late for me as well.

But I do know Roger FEDERER from David FERRER, Juan Carlos FERRERO or a FERRARI because I read quite a lot. I make up for the lost opportunities in front of the television by reading a lot on the Internet and the newspapers. Nevertheless on Wednesday evening, I managed to catch about 30 minutes on the Wimbledon quarter-finals on television because I successfully hijacked the idiot box from my aunt who happened to fall asleep on the couch.

Federer and Ivo Karlovic were playing on Centre Court and they were in the third set already. Ivo Karlovic. The tallest player in the tennis circuit. Checking in at six foot ten inches. Must be a rarified atmosphere where he stalks all other professional tennis players. Breathing a different kind of air at that height.

Karlovic. Curiously enough, my memory of the only other time I've seen him on television was at about this same time way back in 2003. It was also the Wimbledon then and Karlovic was in the process of blowing away the defending champion, Leyton Hewitt, in the very first round with an eventual 1-6 7-6 6-3 6-4 scoreline. Hewitt just couldn't handle all the power serves that came at him in that match. Left, right and centre. A very poignant image was the difference in height between the two players. When they came together at the end, my first thought was that a man was toying at tennis with a small boy. Hewitt was a sorry sight. At five foot 11 inches, he looked like a small boy as compared with his lanky opponent.

So back to the Federer and Karlovic match. Could Federer handle Karlovic's big serves? Apparently, yes, because he had already won the first two sets when I sat to watch the rest of the game. And it was more than that because once Federer neutralised Karlovic of his serves, the tall guy had nothing left. "He's only a one-trick pony," my friend Eric described him. Yes, quite rightly so.

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