David Ferrer was the energizer bunny of the ATP tour in 2010. And he made pretty good money doing it, too.
San Francisco --
Like most of you, I'm not really sure when this whole adventure begins or when it ends. I'm just happy to be around to witness some of the grandeur, some of the tennis gospel that goes down over the course of a season. I'm not sure why all of you have chosen tennis as your religion -- as for me, I can only speak for myself and say it was purely random -- but I do know that if you're reading the Fan Child, you've either got issues or you're hooked on tennis. Maybe both, like me.
Whichever one is closer to the truth, I just wanted to take the time to say happy holidays to y'all, and to mention how thrilled I am that we are sharing this moment in cyberspace.
I don't want to write the typical run-of-the-mill year-end piece for my blog, so I've decided to take y'all on a little adventure. Think of this piece as your antidote to a million top-tens gone awry. Call it a quest for authenticity if you will.
Anyhow, the show must go on, so here goes:
1. David Ferrer -- I chose him as the Year in Random Blurbs (YRB) cover boy, because he's a freak of nature and he deserves some credit. At this point and time, it's pretty clear that David Ferrer is a very long shot to win a slam, but that doesn't mean we can't spend a good chunk of our valuable time appreciating the fact that he is a guru of fitness and the epitome of sheer grits.
2. Vera Zvonareva -- Holy crap is she a player to watch in 2011. Vera has been to the finals of two consecutive Slams. If I need to say more, you need to check yo'sef.
3. Sam Stosur -- Sam is pretty much in the same boat as Vera -- 2011 is THE YEAR to get over the hump. Yeah, there's always the chance to pull a Schiavone, but wouldn't it be better to win the next two French Opens and have everybody convinced that you're unbeatable?
4. LaMonf -- What can I say? Once again, while consistently maligned for his perceived lack of "tennis IQ" the guy plays some of the most inspiring tennis in the history of the sport. Monfils is an artiste, end of story.
5. Funky Fed -- What a funky year Rog had, but the plain truth is that he started strong and finished strong, and he cried less. All three are good news. Now is not the time for Roger to cry. Now is the time for him to prove that he can still kick ass.
6. Serena -- Man if I had a nickel for every time I was confused about what was REALLY AND TRULY going on with Serena this year, I'd be rich, but still confused. And still waiting...
7. A Rhetorical Question -- How can you really decide which match was the best of the year when they were all so incredible? I really love tennis on TV but my favorite ones were the ones that I saw in person. I'm a sidecourt kind of guy. Honestly, I watched Blake and Almagro play this year at Indian Wells and it was some of the most remarkable smashmouth tennis of the year. Things like that always get overlooked in these year-end pieces.
8. Give it up for Rafa -- This was his year, one of the most remarkable I've ever witnessed. It's really hard to put it into words, what this guy does. I think the best word I used all year regarding him was SHAMAN.
9. Masha the Masher-- This woman is INTENSE and don't expect marriage to change that.
10. U.S.A. Men -- All that hype about the crestfallen stars and stripes and we finish the year with 4 in the top-20?
11. Elena -- When you watch Elena Dementieva strut her stuff on the practice courts in her short shorts, you realize the type of physical presence she is. She has the body of a world-class athlete, if you were a statue maker, Elena's the one you'd want posing with the racquet in her hand. Her shoes will be pretty tough to fill, that's for sure.
This is the first of 10 installments leading up to the new year -- think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.