Sunday, September 08, 2019

Back to the future

Sometimes, it pays to be a mad clown.
As demonstrated by Medvedev, Daniil during a nonsensical 5-hour battle with the apex predator of the tennis food chain, Rafael Nadal.
Asked how he produced such a level of play as to knock every pair of socks off in the stadium, he answered that he fueled up on the energy of the crowd. This crowd, admittedly, greeted him with scattered boos upon his entrance into the stadium itself; then, feeding off each other, the mad clown and the iffy audience each drove the other on to produce a US Open final match that nearly killed both parties.
The only one still standing at the end of it all, as usual, was the Rafa. Or rather, not standing at all but flopped on the hard court that many said is his unfavored surface, sobbing wildly into his ultraviolet-colored shirt. Then they started playing this frankly ludicrous montage of his 19- gasp -19 Grand Slam victories, and he sobbed some more.(He nearly put out an eye while trying to hold back the tears, though.) I was back on the couch at this point, having run away earlier when things took a drastic turn in the middle of the fourth. Pointlessly ironing clothes, rearranging the dishes and beating the carpet to an inch of its life, I stayed away for much of that set and the fifth. It was J, rooting rather robustly for Med, who called me out of the kitchen while I was sticking my head deep into the pantry in order to restack the cans of beans by color. Against any other opponent, I too would have been in J's camp: after all, to quote Rafa himself, "the way he played, the way he fighted, was a champion way."
Indeed. Ladies and gents, the future of men's tennis has arrived. Who woulda thunk that this lanky, erratic trickster would rise to such heights, head and shoulders above his much-heralded peers? With a  shape-shifting game, a cunning strategist's mind and the airy movements of a (somewhat unwieldy) bird, he has it all. Now if only he keeps up the endearing, goofy-jester act that he pulled out at his final speech, I can safely say that he will be one to root for post-Big 3. Involved in a spat two years ago with peer S. Tsitsipas in which he infamously told the Greek player to "shut your fuck up", he has a temper; but I still feel that it is a quick burn- the impetuous rage of a child- smoothed over subsequently by a dimpled smile and green pixie eyes that sparkle while admitting, "I was an idiot."
But enough about mad clowns and their green eyes. The hero in this piece, ultimately, somehow, is still Nadal. Covered in glory, deafened by the thousands chanting his name. I am frankly bored by all the chatter of his catching up to Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams. Who cares?
While it is undeniable now that we have to look to a rapidly-approaching change of world order, I am rather firmly ensconced in the present for now.
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