Nothing like a little classic rivalry to lift one up out of ennui. I refer to exhibits A and B, otherwise known as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
First, they crept up to the finals of the Aussie Open early this year, shocking me out of total indifference towards tennis since late last year. Of course Fed won the whole thing, spoiling things just a tad, but the match was so close that I was overjoyed anyway. Poor Fed! He's had a heck of a year with his bum knee. And then Rafa with his never-ending wrist troubles. No one believes me when I say I adore Fed; it's just the blind adoration that gets in the way of that if the other one is on the scene.
So that was the beginning of the beginning.
They rapidly went on to the finals of two more tournaments. Here too, Fed unkindly snatched the trophies from Rafa's waiting teeth. (It's been awfully long since we got to see Rafa chomping down on his trophy at any tournament.)
Now, thank heaven, he has stayed out of the Monte Carlo Masters. Monte who? I would normally ask, having been so far predisposed to care solely for the Grand Slams. But with age comes wisdom. Or at least the realization that since Monte Carlo is a tournament Rafa has already won 9 times, it might be something special if he went for the 10th.
So when I watched him in the second round against one Kyle Edmund, I was rather keyed up. Too bad the high point of the match came when a rotund and very determined pigeon interrupted proceedings by perching, hilariously, on the net. Rafa vaguely waved his racket in its general direction, not looking too perturbed. No, he won the match quite coolly. Must be my spirit animal, though, that there pigeon.
On a side note, neon purple seems to be his chosen color for the tournament. I heartily approve. So much so that I am inspired to apply for the position of his stylist; never mind if men's fashion ordinarily bores me to tears.