bronze_ribbons: Wawrinka with towel in mixed zone (stan with towel)
Rattle has just published as its Sunday poem "Look at that, you son of a bitch" (the title comes from the late astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who threw a javelin on the moon 45 years and a few days ago).

Meanwhile, I've been training my lens on tennis players in Memphis:

And, from the Department of Tennis Can Provide a Metaphor for Anything -- here's a glimpse of partners getting their signals scrambled...


(Oliver Marach of Austria and Fabrice Martin of France)

...and one of Kei Nishikori strrrrrretching (and sliding and squeaking) his way out of trouble (eventually -- between Sam Querrey's unreturnable serves and Kei's tendency to hit wide/long during the first half hour, it was not a good first set for him):

Nishikori v. Querrey
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
... two of my favorite snaps from Cincy 2014:

"I'm giving you a longing look..."

[Note to the slashers and shippers: nice hugs at net and afterward, complete with mutual cheek-patting ;) ]

Stan Wawrinka

(From these reports:
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
I'm covering the early rounds of the Western and Southern Open for Tennis Buzz, and I have five reports so far at the site. (Several more in progress.) As time permits, and because I can't put all the photos I'm happy with into the posts, I'm also tweeting some snaps (@b_ribbons) and uploading others to Flickr albums. The sets so far:

Sunday practice - Jelena Jankovic
Sunday night doubles - Fognini/Fyrstenberg vs. Garcia-Lopez/Giraldo
Saturday practice - Jelena Jankovic
Friday night - draw party

Over breakfast, I was skimming through the tournament program, which includes a Pete Holtermann interview of Tony Trabert. This paragraph in particular caught my eye (especially in light of Connors's not-too-successful stint with Sharapova last year):

PH: John McEnroe was on your Davis Cup team. What was he like to coach?

TT: John McEnroe played his first Davis Cup ever when I was captain. And he played great. With all sincerity, he was the most coachable player I had on those teams. The only thing I couldn't get him to do was to behave on the court. And I talked to him the whole time about that. He came to all the team meetings, he came to all the team dinners, and when we worked out a strategy for a given match he would use it to a tee. And he was very gifted. Conversely, Connors was not coachable at all.

I am, as always, wishing that I could be in twenty places at once, and at the same time delighted at what I happen to see just running around, even when I don't have my camera handy (or using it wouldn't be appropriate) -- yesterday in the stairwell to/from the players lounge and media center, Stan Wawrinka was walking up (reading his phone, mais oui) as I hurried down. I didn't get to the mixed zone for Monfils because I didn't want to miss Taylor Townsend's conference in the main room:

Taylor Townsend

I also glimpsed her in practice Saturday morning and watched her match against Riske Saturday afternoon. Y'all, she is so much fun to photograph, and a pleasure to listen to, too, what with her great attitude and perspective. She clearly enjoys learning and playing (the gist of her philosophy is that win or lose, she wins, and it's fun), including the figuring out how to keep things basic rather than over-complicating them (as in, during a match, she needs to go for the win rather than riffling through all the options at her disposal). She entered the press room laughing and joking with members of her team, and it ended with laughter as well (someone asked about her hat, and she cheerfully admitted that it was for the look (hadn't gone fishing ever).

Matches start at 11, but there are practices going on even as I type, so it's time to wrap up my prep and head to Lindner. More soon!


7/8/14 12:40
bronze_ribbons: Sveta kissing her French Open trophy (Kuz kiss)
A couple of things that I just realized didn't x-post fully...

UUA Board apologizes to victims of clergy sexual misconduct

MFK Fisher and Betty Fussell (aka food-writing legends)

I'm wrapping up a big project today while scampering and scrambling after loose ends (at some point, there will literally be the sewing and/or the knotting of them). Tomorrow I leave for Ohio, where I'll be covering a tournament for Tennis Buzz through Wednesday. Then I head to a wedding and a couple of meals with beloveds I haven't seen in years ... and I tried to factor in enough time to get enough sleep and poke my nose into a couple of roses along the way and staying within posted speed limits, but we shall see. ;-)

Prepping for Cincy
Taking along twenty-four blank scorecards is probably overkill -- especially since I'll also have a proper camera around my neck -- but preparation is confidence, so.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
In the July/August issue of the University of Chicago alumni magazine, there was this tidbit:

Max Liberles, AB '61, writes that he still plays tennis at least three times a week (doubles); hits the gym; walks in the Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, FL; ad works on that '63 Morgan. "I'm working on my cardiologist to let me make a singles comeback try soon, but this is an uphill climb."

I've resumed reading Paul Metzler's Advanced Tennis (rev. ed., Macmillan, 1972). What he says about self-consciousness and concentration applies to so much more than tennis, and maybe I'll quote some of that some other time. But what I bookmarked to blog some months ago was this:

Temper is not a match-winning attribute. Overcome it or you will be carrying a cancer about with you all your tennis days.

You may think you have a quick temper by nature and cannot really be blamed for your actions. If so, it is time you got things straight. Everyone has a temper, even the calmest-looking people. A so-called quick temper is in essence no more than an uncontrolled temper, and in tennis this is not an asset. . . .

People who lose their tempers on tennis courts generally seek to justify themselves in several ways. They explain that they are only wild with themselves, and that no offense is intended to anyone else. They usually say they could scarcely play if they didn't let off steam once in a while. Some add that they cannot get worked up into a winning mood if they have to smile pleasantly all the time.

Displays of temper do give offense to others. Spectators come to see tennis, not tantrums. . . .

You do not have to smile politely all over the place, and you shouldn't try to. It can make you feel like a fool and perhaps even look like one, and it tends to make your play timid and your concentration sloppy. If you are the type who likes to play a tight, taciturn game when really trying to win, by all means do so.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (masha RG 09)
Sunday night:

bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)

Just to hit the ball is clearly a remarkable feat; to return it with consistency and accuracy is a mind-boggling achievement. Yet it is not uncommon. The truth is that everyone who inhabits a human body possesses a remarkable creation.

In the light of this, it seems inappropriate to call our bodies derogatory names. Self 2 [*] - that is, the physical body, including the brain, memory bank (conscious and unconscious), and the nervous system -- is a tremendously sophisticated and competent servant. Inherent within it is an inner intelligence which is staggering. What it doesn't already know, this inner intelligence learns with childlike ease. It uses billions of memory cells and neurological communication circuits. If modern man undertook to create an electronic memory of a capacity equal to the human one by using the most sophisticated computer parts yet devised, the finished product would be, according to a friend of mine who is a computer expert, larger than three Empire State Buildings. Furthermore, no coputer yet made is capable of doing the calculations and giving the necessary muscle orders involved in returning a fast serve in the time required.

The foregoing has only one purpose: to encourage the reader to respect his body. This amazing instrument is what we have the effrontery to call "a clumsy oaf."

-- W. Timothy Gallwey

[* Gallwey uses "Self 1" as a term for "ego-mind"; self-confidence requires harmony between Self 1 and Self 2.]
bronze_ribbons: Sveta kissing her French Open trophy (Kuz kiss)
I've glimpsed at least two versions of this on Twitter so far:

[The photos depict Roger Federer blowing a kiss to the crowd after one of his Wimbledon victories and after today's loss to Novak Djokovic. The poem has a history with Federer fans, because he and Rafa recorded a reading of it together three years ago or so.]

Coincidentally, I pulled a clipping from a file a few minutes ago where Joni Mitchell calls "If" "just about my favorite poem." In the article, which appeared in the New York Times in 2007 (Working Three Shifts, Plus Outrage Overtime, about her collaboration with the Alberta Ballet). I suspect I saved the article in part because it talks about Mitchell's interdisciplinary interests ("Music, art, dance: Ms. Mitchell calls it 'crop rotation'") and night-owlery (the "'short moment' [the Alberta Ballet's director] had requested turned into one of her inimitable all-nighters..."), and especially because Mitchell and her interviewer (David Yaffe) discuss a song she was working on. Yaffe writes:

There was simply too much to express.

''You've only got so much space, and that's the point,'' she said. ''That's the art. In a very short space, you need pertinent details while knowing what to leave out.'' One song she's still revising is called ''Shine.''

''It starts, 'Shine on Vegas and Wall Street/Place your bets,' '' she said. ''You could write a thousand verses. 'Shine on the dazzling darkness that mends us when we sleep/Shine on what we throw away and what we keep.' I have written about 60 different verses and rhyming couplets to this thing, and I've kept 12. Are they the best ones? I don't know. I could write 60 a week. What are the 12 most important things to illuminate? It's overwhelming.''
bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)
Venus & Serena: Serving from the Hip -- Ten Rules for Living, Loving, and Winning (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005) was written with Hilary Beard, a writer who played tennis as a child. This appears on the dedication page:

For Charles A. Beard, who weeded the grass courts at Newport's tennis casino
yet, because he was Negro, was not allowed to play there;
and Peggy Lanton Beard, who taught me goodness, optimism, and courage.
bronze_ribbons: Sveta kissing her French Open trophy (Kuz kiss)
(compiled by Charles Kightly, Thames and Hudson, 1987)

The entry for May 27, "Tennis now in season," includes this quote:

The Tennis Court, whereby I would have you to recreate your mind, and exercise your body sometimes: for besides pleasure it preserveth your health, in so far as it moveth every part of the body. Nevertheless I approve not those who are ever in the Tennis Court like Nackets, and heat themselves so much that they rather breed than expel sickness: nor yet commend I those, who rail at the Tennis-keeper's score, and that have banded away the greater part of their wealth in playing great and many sets. It is both a hurt and a shame for a nobleman to be so eager in that play.

    - James Cleland, The Institution of a Young Noble Man, 1607
bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
(1) UK journo assumes Esther Lee (the physical therapist for the Williams sisters) is Li Na:

(2) Yesterday, I was mistaken for a church chaplain ... who happens to be the other Taiwanese American woman in my congregation. This happens several times a year, even though she is shorter, younger, and doesn't wear glasses. Moreover, my hair is green.
bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
(Went to see ETHEL's Documerica last night, thanks to a comp from 12th and Broad, and going back tonight to see ETHEL +.)

(I've been to the space once before -- a corporate dinner some years ago, back when it was still the HQ of the cigar company. Nifty displays, then and now.)

From a recent profile of the founder:

OZ, Ozgener says, is his gift to Nashville.

"As you come to a stage in your life, you think of your life in general, what you have done in your life, how much you have taken from society, things that have helped you in climbing the mountain," he explains. "And the place where you live is very, very important, the place where you have taken energy from.

"I didn't know anything about cigars, but I liked them, and that's how I got involved in cigars — as an engineer, I always tried to improve everything that I see. I was trying to improve the cigar that I smoked and I liked. Same thing with the pipe that I smoked. That's what I do as an engineer."

At BAM, it shouldn't have taken Hopkins long to realize she was dealing with a formidable personality. In person, Ozgener exudes worldly charm and infectious curiosity. But underlying them is fierce determination. Whatever the game, he says, he will figure out how to win — something Schermerhorn learned in their tennis matches. Despite the late maestro's towering over him ("Kenneth was an octopus," he recalls), Ozgener used his engineer's eye to angle the ball return after return into the middle, where his friendly rival's reach was useless.

"I have a deadly drop shot," he deadpans.

bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
photo diary of last night's Cash-Connors-Lendl-McEnroe triple-header in downtown Nashville
bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)
Are you there, Rafa? It's me, Roger

Also, yay Kimiko-san! [42 years old. 3rd round of Wimbledon. WOOT.]
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
I went to the Preds vs. Coyotes game on Valentine's Day (the skate girls, cheerleaders, and mascot all wore cupid wings, and the organist wore a red jacket). The Preds have a player from Bern named Roman Josi. "Yos"'s program mentions that he "would like trade places with Roger Federer for a day" and that his favorite book is Andre Agassi's Open.

I was doing some research on horses yesterday. It looks like there have been at least six thoroughbreds named "Wimbledon" (including one from Jamaica and one from Ireland). One was sired by a stallion named "Second Set." There is a Florida mare named "Serena's Sister" that gave birth to a filly named "Doubles Partner." I see two horses named "Roland Garros" (a Brazilian mare and a Nevada gelding).

ETA: Also, four horses named "Federer" and seven named "Nadal" (including the son of "Grand Slam"). :-)
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (masha RG 09)

During yesterday's Open Sud de France final in Montpellier, Paire reportedtly complained to the chair umpire (and later on Tennis Channel) about being distracted on court:

There may be a slang reference I'm missing here, but all this made me giggle all the more when I saw one of Benoit's tweets to Stan today:

[Loose translation: The clay feels good! Have a good time training, Stanley! And I hope the cake was good. Kisses!]
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
Wednesday: Maria won in singles and lost in doubles; both matches were on side courts, so no stream for me. I watched part of the Taylor Townsend/Sachia Vickery match. It was amusing to hear the commentators kind of knocking Sachia's defensive (aka counterpunching) style early in the match (along the lines of not having offensive weapons, especially compared to Taylor) but later praising it for its consistency (as it became increasingly likely she was going to win in straight sets). The gist of the narrative by the end was that consistency trumps having a lot of choices but (1) not choosing the right one and (2) not turning to Plan B when (1) keeps happening. (The funny thing is that I saw Sachia hit more winners than Taylor, but my attention was split 85-10-5 between cooking dinner, peeking in at the match, and trying not to trip over the dog.

Today: Watched a little bit of Sanchez-Duval. It was mostly baseline rallies, but when I checked back in later in the second set, Maria hit the 2nd and 3rd of three volley winners in a row.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
Maria Sanchez is scheduled for two matches tomorrow up in Michigan: the last day match on Stadium Court (playing doubles with Irina Falconi) and the second match on Court 3 vs. qualifier Maria Fernandez Alves (who is playing against Sanchez/Falconi, with Samantha Murray). (Order Of Play posted at Admission to the day matches is free.

The matches on Stadium Court are being livestreamed via the tournament site ( I watched parts of Mallory Burdette vs. Stephanie Foretz Gacon, and Taylor Townsend/Samantha Crawford vs. Coco Vandeweghe and Jill Craybas. The commentators seemed especially impressed by Taylor Townsend (they employed the phrase "unbelievable pickup" multiple times), but they had good things to say about all the players in the doubles match, and spent a fair amount of time explaining how rankings work and how life on the challenger circuit is not cushy for these women (including how air travel is expensive, since they cannot book tickets far enough in advance for cheap rates, and how Midland helps out by providing home hospitality for most of the players). While I knew much of this already, it was really nice to hear the commentators talking about the players actually on the court and about the match in question (those of you who followed me on Twitter during the Australian Open may have heard me rant at and about Jeff Tarango and other sinners...); it struck me as a good introduction for people who haven't looked at how the system works, and even those with a vague idea of it. (A close friend watches tennis only during the Slams, and talking to him is a useful perspective check to me, since he was asking me questions about WCs, and others have asked about SEs, PRs, LLs, etc. -- it's useful to be reminded that normal people don't keep tabs on this stuff. )

Also, Douglas Robson's story about the tournament is a nice read. I especially liked this part:

The tournament's long track record means Woody can recall some of the big names when they were small names.

He says seven-time major winner Henin of Belgium quietly read in the players' lounge between matches, and China's Li Na blew through the final in less than an hour when she won in 2002.

Sharapova's arrival at 15 also sticks out. Flashy marketing materials preceded the Florida-trained Russian, who has gone on to win four majors, including Wimbledon at 17.

"She was already sensationalized," Woody says.

Sharapova had a cold and lost in the first round but sent Woody an apologetic post card thanking him for making her feel so welcome.

"That's when you go, 'Wow, pretty classy person,' " he says.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
My project: to learn more about the lesser-known US players in the the WTA. I'm starting with Maria Sanchez, the highest-ranked player I hadn't heard of until now.

I just added these links to the Wikipedia entry on Sanchez:

* her Twitter:
* posts about her at Tennis Grandstand:


bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)

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