Saturday, September 8, 2012

In honor of Super Saturday at the Open, DFW on playing the wind...

From his essay "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" from the essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace talks about the challenges of playing tennis in the wind (as Murray and Berdych are attempting to do right now):

"Wind did massive damage to many Central Illinois junior players, particularly in the period from April to July when it needed lithium badly, tending to gust without pattern, swirl and backtrack and die and rise, sometimes blowing one direction at court level and in another altogether ten feet overhead.  The precision in thinking required one to induct trends in percentage, thrust, and retaliatory angle--precision our guy and the other townships' volunteer coaches were good at abstracting about with chalk and board, attaching a pupil's leg to the fence with clothesline to restrict his arc of movement in practice, placing laundry baskets in different corners and making us sink ball after ball, taking masking tape and laying down Chinese boxes within the court's own boxes for drills and wind sprints--all this theoretical prep went out the window when sneakers hit  actual court in a tournament.  The best-planned, best-hit ball often just blew out of bounds, was the basic unlyrical problem.  It drove some kids near-mad with the caprice and unfairness of it all, and on real windy days these kids, usually with talent out the bazoo, would have their first apoplectic racket-throwing tantrum in  about the match's third game and lapse into a kind of sullen coma by the end of the first set, now bitterly expecting to get screwed over by wind, net, tape and sun." (page 9).

Think positive thoughts for Nole this evening!!!!

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