Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Deuce Court: Serena Said What?

The Deuce Court is The Fan Child's soapbox. Today we discuss Serena Williams eye-opening comments about her lack of love for tennis and Rafa's heavier stick.

Deuce #1: Serena Said What?

Everybody and their mother's cousin has already posted takes on Serena's latest attention-grabbing remarks to the press, but if you haven't read or heard enough yet, I encourage you to follow along with me.

Actually, I don't really have much to say. Serena probably fell out of love with tennis a long time ago. It's not really big news. And can you blame her? The same tour stops, year after year; the same questions from the same people, year after year; she's thirty, but after the year she had last year, she must feel like she's going on 130.

Worry not, die hards! The fact Serena chose to have a little fun with the media doesn't necessarily mean that she's at the end of her wits, contemplating retirement, or burned out beyond repair. For all the criticism that she takes, the fact that Serena is quick to lively up the press room with her abstract sense of humor is something that we should praise her for. We watch tennis to see competitors, and Serena's always been there to give us what we need in that regard; we watch press conferences to get a glimpse into what kind of people the athletes really are, and Serena's always been quite good at that too.

She really is quite hilarious (Brad Gilbert had some interesting comments on her on ESPN today), and it takes a rare athlete to be as convincingly good as often as Serena has been in her career while also being convincingly, well, strange. Just listen to her remarks: "I've actually never liked sports...I don't like working out, I don't like anything that has to do with working physically...if it involves sitting down or shopping, I'm excellent at that."

What? I actually never liked sports? Are you telling me I'm supposed to do anything but laugh at that?

There are a lot of ways to interpret Serena's words, but to think or expect her to give away these last few years of the prime of her tennis life because she's tired of working out is ludicrous. This is, after all, a women whose pressers frequently devolve into discussions of nail-painting techniques, hip-hop chart-toppers, and the size of Nadal's butt.

With Serena's pressers the message has always been clear: Interpret at your own risk. The real proof, as it always has been, will be found on the court. She's done a pretty good job of proving herself over the years, and I don't suspect that she'll have a problem doing so in 2012, whether she's in love with tennis or she'd rather host an 80's practice than hit the gym.

Ad Out: Rafa's Heavy Stick

We've covered Rafa's butt, as seen through Serena's eyes (she did call Rafa her "fellow booty brother" last year), and now it's time to cover Rafa's racquet. This story is pretty much for Rafa fanatics (who isn't) and gear geeks (how could you not be?), and the gist of it is that Rafa has opted to add weight to his Babolat AeroPro Drive GT. Check out Tennis.com's newest gear maven, Justin Difeliciantonio's piece for more in-depth analysis. Or, if you really want to get specific, check out Matt Cronin's tweet (@tennisreporters) which reports the following:

Babolat re Nadal's racquet: "Fine-tuning Rafa's swing weight, slight addition of weight near headsize part, modifying weight by 7 pts.

Reportedly, Rafa is searching for a little more pop on the serve and a little more zing on the two-hander. My guess is that he finds it, but here's my question: will he find it before he takes his February sabbatical?

"My preparation is not the perfect one, and I'm trying to play with a little bit heavier racket, to get a little bit more power," Nadal told reporters on Monday.

I pulled this question and answer from Rafa's Doha press conference today. The whole transcript can be found at Nadalnews.com.

Q. Are you starting to get a bit of rhythm with the new racquet? Are you starting to get the feel of it?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think I did a few things very well today. I hit very good with my backhand. I really believe that the racquet can help me with the backhand.

With the forehand I felt I hit the ball most of the times where I want to hit the ball. Few days ago and yesterday in the practice, you know, when I tried to hit the ball, sometimes I hit it a little bit left, sometimes too early. That’s why I didn’t have totally the control of that, you know, the speed of the racquet, no?

But today when we have rallies, I really felt that I have really positive control of the ball. Not perfect, for sure, but in general I think I felt most of the shots the right way. So that’s really positive.

1 comment:

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