The Right Story For a Tennis Star

When it comes to actually watching tennis, I tend to become restless, because during every serve and back and forth, there’s always the anticipation of the moment when someone drops the ball, when you let out the breath you’ve been holding, like you just did after reading this terrible run-on sentence. However, when it comes to tennis stars, I’m always biased towards Andy Murray because he won the gold medal in London 2012. Also, a little girl I interviewed said her favorite Olympic athlete was, “the swimmer, Andy Murray.”

I spent 20 minutes looking for the right picture

Look at that smile! AWWW.

Unlike a sport such as football or soccer, big tennis matches are not lead-ins to a grand finale. Each one is a grand finale in its own right — specifically, the Australian Open, US Open, Wimbledon (the fancy name the Europeans call their tournament), and the French Open are all considered “Grand Slams.” That means tennis is not about winning that one tournament, but winning as many as you can.  The New York Times rounds up this year’s tennis narrative:

So it went in a year that despite all of Djokovic’s earthly achievements and supernatural flexibility will belong in the history books and the memory banks to Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Nadal was both the player of the year and comeback player of the year, brimming with urgency and accuracy after serious knee problems and winning 10 titles — six on clay and four on outdoor hardcourts — while compiling a 75-7 record.

Murray secured himself a permanent place of privilege in his class-conscious island nation by beating Djokovic to become the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon (his book “Seventy-Seven” is now available for purchase).

Lately I’ve been fascinated by the meta-narrative between tennis’s biggest stars. Continue reading

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How Londoners Stopped Worrying And Learned to Love the Olympics

The main reactions I’ve seen from residents of London (based on random interviews around London) about the Olympics has been:

a) Fear

b) Cautious excitement

c) …Followed by actual excitement

d) Devastating snark

Let me break it down.

The first is likely because everyone was worried about the devastation we visitors and tourists would do to the transportation and general aura of the city. Although it’s primarily about how stuffed the Jubilee line has become — although it really is nothing compared to the PATH train from New York to New Jersey.

Jubilee Line At Canning Town

Er…at least everyone is standing politely.

The cautious excitement came after the realization that actually, it wasn’t all that bad. The tourists were nice enough. The city hadn’t broken down. It was like a sigh of relief. The Opening Ceremony was particularly promising, with its rampant wit and references to James Bond and Harry Potter and Mr. Bean.

Mr Bean

via News.Com.Au

And that cautious excitement became actual excitement when various British athletes — such as Jessica Ennis, Rebecca Adlington, and most recently, Andy Murray, began to do the country proud. People gathered in pubs and at home to cheer these people on.

Andy Murray and his awesome Union Jacket via the Guardian

And finally, there’s the devastating snark, hinted at during the Opening ceremony, that I’ve seen all around. Here are some (unfortunately mostly unrecorded) conversations I’ve been a part of (though I’ve also been eavesdropping):

“Did you seen the Queen during the opening ceremony? When they went to her when the UK finally came up in the nations walk, she was looking at her nails. And the commentator said, ‘Here’s the Queen, clearly riveted.’ It’s like, no she’s not, she’s just looking at her nails!”

“I like the signs that tell people where to go. But they’ll be pointing all in one direction until you turn a corner and then they’ll point the opposite way!”

Me: (in conversation with someone else) “It’s really hard to get British people to talk to me [on camera].”
Random woman standing in between us: “Oh, it’s really hard to get us to stop talking.”

“I believe Usain Bolt is the Noam Chomsky of the Olympics — it’s just really easy for him to do what he does.”

“I could run as fast as Usain Bolt, if I tried!”

“Oh, Michael Phelps, is he the pothead?”

Announcement on DLR: “I’ve just heard that Andy Murray has won the gold, everyone! Let’s have some cheers for him!”
Everyone in the front cheers; everyone else: “Yeaaaaahhh…!”

“I love Jessica Ennis, she’s like the next Princess Diana!”

“My favorite athlete is the swimmer, Andy Murray.” (Admittedly this came from a seven-year-old.)

“Oh, the Olympics. I should watch that.”

Finally, this woman in Stratford, directing people around the Olympic Park:

This woman

To various fans passing her: “You alright, sir? …Are you alright? …You’re alright, of course…You alright?”

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