Player: Michael Yani
Current Ranking: 151
Today's Result: loss to Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) in five sets
The Singapore-born veteran Yani qualified for his first French Open and celebrated by playing a 71-game match against Lacko, the longest match in games since tiebreaks were introduced for the first four sets. The match started yesterday and finished today.
I have seen quite a variety of reactions to last night's Lost finale but if you are like My Wife, I imagine you are feeling somewhat betrayed by how matters have been left. And so, devotees, as you begin to adjust to the cold, aching void, I offer you Roland Garros to ease your pain. First, a few ways in which I hope tennis will be more satisfying for you:
- It is unlikely that a polar bear will attempt to charge Rafael Nadal during a match, though I am completely confident he'd be able to handle the situation with a cool comparable to Sawyer's. If it did happen, a bestselling expose on the polar bear and its troubled youth would hit bookstores in short order and we'd soon know more than we ever wanted. The bear would be the must have for the exhibition circuit in the off-season.
- The plot is MUCH easier to follow. You win, you lose, no time travel.
There are areas where tennis can match Lost's strengths as well:
- Interaction. My Wife, a devoted fan of the show, yells with exasperation at the screen during Lost in a manner befitting a sports nut. I half expected a few McEnroesque "you cannot be serious" volleys from her last night.
- Plenty of morally ambiguous characters. Villain one day, hero the next: that's tennis in a nutshell. Take your pick: Serena Williams, Justine Henin, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, the list goes on. Very few manage to stay in the good guy camp forever. Even Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters get wisps of bad press from time to time.
- Mr. Eko. Eko Tunde was far and away my favorite character on Lost and the day he was killed by the smoke monster was the day my interest in the show began to fade. A reformed African drug lord trying to pass himself off as a priest. Not really a priest but a genuinely good man. Plus, the whole thing about his dead brother in the plane. That storyline had promise and, like so many in the Lost saga, it was gone in a flash. Tennis has plenty of Mr. Ekos, players who show great promise only to fade as reality sets in. For me, it was Paradorn Srichaphan, a flashy, yet humble shot-maker from Thailand who rocketed to the top 10 only to gradually fade away. At least with tennis, it was easy to stick with the larger story.
I'll let someone else tackle 24...
My Weekends Only Slam
I've crashed out of the suicide pools, both the men's and women's draws, in a single day. I knew Stephanie Dubois (Canada) was a risky pick but Feliciano Lopez (27th, Spain)? That was a surprise. There's clearly an art to this game and I haven't quite sorted it out yet - not that I'm going to stop trying!