Steve- You just earned your keep! Truly inspired writing and the combat that actually tennis is. The difference between being close to action v/s what's manufactured on TV couldn't be anymore starker as much as they seem different a sport. Hope you will have plenty more opportunities to provide a bullring eye's view of gladiatorial contests....you know who we mean in particular;-)
Posted by ata08
05/27/2010 at 11:42 AM
picture, most perfect...
Posted by Alain
05/27/2010 at 12:57 PM
Awesome piece of writing, Steve. Lots of "substance" there...
Posted by Vie
05/27/2010 at 12:58 PM
Steve - is there a a story to this court, the Bullring? I haven't seen a match close range.
Posted by SimonSays
05/27/2010 at 12:58 PM
Posted by Pspace (Hopp Fed and Ajde Glitter Queen!)
05/27/2010 at 01:05 PM
What a great piece! As a Murray follower, I really enjoyed it. Haven't had the chance to see him live yet. Need to get on it asap.
"From my pressroom monitor, errors appeared to have been produced by mental lapses or stupid risks. “How could Petkovic hit that into the net? She must be choking. Kuzzie, will you ever learn?” But when you get on the court, you can see that while there are pointless misses, the majority of them come because each player feels that she must live with a certain amount risk in her game—Petkovic aims for the baseline; Kuznetsova swings from the heels—because if they play it safe, they’re going to get killed on the next ball. Women’s tennis 2010: Don’t call it a bash fest; call it an arms race. For better and worse, hitting the hell out of the ball is playing percentage tennis. Only seeing it up close, closing the distance between yourself and the players, will let you appreciate this. Stylistic variety? That's an aesthetic element of the sport which is emphasized by the colder, distanced view of the TV camera. Here you feel the sparks of the athletic combat that goes on beneath."
Posted by FM (Vamos Rafa!!!!)
05/27/2010 at 01:26 PM
Excellent piece! I felt I was in the court experiencing the fight. Thanks Steve!!
Posted by Nam1
05/27/2010 at 01:30 PM
another winner, Steve, can you please give Bodo over there some lessons..
Murray seems to be a nice guy but one of the commies yesterday said he "looked permanently tired"... I think I see that in him, he hangs his shoulders the minute something goes off plan....I think once he learns to leave the negative moment and move on, he will improve his overall mental strength.
Posted by Euphemism
05/27/2010 at 01:35 PM
Ages ago (1994), I bought a bullring ticket from a scalper; it ended up being in the press section, a couple of rows off the court. The match I remember was Rafter v Muster. It was a super-competitive, very testy match. Muster kept complaining about missed calls, and repeatedly ordered the ump to get down to check the mark. At one point the ump indicated that he wasn't going to get down from the chair because the mark in question was clearly out. Voice dripping with sarcasm, Muster's like, "Just because I've been right the last three times, now you think my luck run out?" Through it all Rafter was getting more and more annoyed, because Muster's bluster kept delaying the games. When, finally, Rafter won a set on an ace, he leapt over the net to Muster's side of the court and outlined on the clay where his ace had hit. It was pure theatre - the dashing muskateer vs. the cartoon villain - so the crowd was loud and intense, and being close enough to the court to hear Muster muttering to himself and see Rafter's raised eyebrows at every tantrum made it that much more fun.
In other words, I love the bullring too...
Posted by Ramana
05/27/2010 at 01:38 PM
Felt like I was watching live, great work, write some more of these "real and close encounters" variety rather than some theoretical stuff about Roger and Rafa
Posted by skip1515
05/27/2010 at 02:24 PM
Great write-up. Thanks.
Posted by tennis101
05/27/2010 at 02:33 PM
Great writing steve!
Make me feel like im there , please continue with this articles.
Posted by Kate
05/27/2010 at 02:34 PM
Hi, Dan. Welcome.
Posted by felizjulianidad
05/27/2010 at 04:01 PM
This happens with certain sports. If you get a panorama view of a sport, you take too much of the "execution" for granted and you view it with a certain blasé detachment. This is true of tennis, of soccer, and I imagine so for sprinting and other track meets. When you're there in the thick of things, the chaos, the anarchy, the struggle, become so much more palpable, and you realize that the fact that players can exude some semblance of strategy amidst all that violence is indicative of a skill simply beyond that of the rest of us mortals.
Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeee!/We gonna see, no?)
05/27/2010 at 04:13 PM
Wow, Steve. That was great. You really captured the sights and sounds of the matches. What I enjoyed about this piece (actually, all of your work) is that it reads like a love letter to the sport. No matter how much tennis I watch (and these days, it's quite a lot!) or how much I -think- I know about the game, the players, and their quirks, I read your work and it makes me excited about watching matches all over again, if only to try and catch a glimpse of the moments like the ones you describe here.
Posted by fedfan
05/27/2010 at 05:26 PM
Great post. Yes, we do get the idea. I wonder if they will ever develop the technology to allow television viewers to get some of the feel of the action you have described here. However, it is good to be reminded that the skillful use of the written word can convey experience very well, too. Tennis reminds me of the Medieval sport of jousting. Your post shows some of the reasons why.
Posted by Geellis
05/27/2010 at 06:21 PM
To add my two cents, great article.
I would have been interested to hear your take on the Monfils match. I hear the crowd booed Fognini when he came on court. Seriously now. Someone needs to educate the French crowds on proper eticut at a GS tennis match.
Posted by greenhopper
05/27/2010 at 06:23 PM
Great writing, Steve. Completely agree about Sveta's ground-strokes. I don't know if it's power or pace or what, but when she was on yesterday, I had a feeling Andrea had no chance. "Thunderous ring" is a wonderful expression. Sometimes I watch Sveta just to "hear" her shots, the sound really is amazing. They both take a ton of risks which made for an excellent match viewing experience despite Andrea's apparent "collapse".
Love your reports, Steve, as always. Thank you.
Posted by Pat
05/27/2010 at 06:40 PM
Steve, reading your impressions from Roland Garros is the next best thing to being there. I can't thank you enough.
Posted by zolarafa
05/27/2010 at 07:21 PM
Thanks so much for these great reports. Great observations and great writing style. What else can we want?
Posted by pov
05/27/2010 at 07:31 PM
Again kudos! Your writing continues to be engaging and superb.