Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 4 of Indian Wells Preview

It's another gorgeous day here at Indian Wells as we begin our 4th go-around of coverage here on The Outer Courts. Yesterday was filled with excitement, with record crowds on the grounds to watch Nadal and Federer begin their tournaments, John Isner surprisingly upset by a resurgent Lleyton Hewitt and the debut of world #1 (and girlfriend of Red Foo, an individual who I was unfamiliar with until yesterday but who now makes me LMFAO) Victoria Azarenka. Today isn't quite as crowded or energetic, but that doesn't mean that the action won't be intense (or at least I hope it is intense, because I have to get out of this media room before I go nuts at the guy behind me who will not stop yelling about bagels). The top four matches that I am looking forward to this afternoon/evening:

1. Djokovic Gets it Going:  One of the stranger rhythms of a big-time tennis tournament is the way the format meanders early, causing some of the top players to debut far after the tournament has actually begun. The action here at Indian Wells began on Wednesday, but the world's #1 male has yet to take the court. That will change today as the man everyone calls "Djoker" (I have noticed a tendency for tennis media to want to give everyone nicknames...but they are all terrible. People refer to Novak as "Djoker" like he is their friend, even though every time I have seen him, he seems to be friendly with a variety of people, none of who are wearing media badges) takes the court for the first time. His opponent is a likable fella named Fabio Fognini, and Italian who is playing the best tennis of his life and who one female photographer in the room called "dreamy." I have learned that Fabio's nickname is "Fogna," which I plan on saying with confidence throughout the match so that everyone will think we are friends. I might even say things like, "last night me and Fogna went out to Agua Caliente, which for  those of you who don't speak Spanish means "Hot Water." Fogna did what Fogna does and the next thing you know, it was off the chain. It was so Fogna."  People will be so impressed.

2. The Comeback Goes Forward:  Former Grand Slam winner and internet world icon Svetlana Kuznetsova is making the same attempt at a comeback from injury as Rafael Nadal, but with much less fanfare. Her win over Jelena Jankovic raised some eyebrows in the last round and now she gets her first top ten test of the season versus Marion Bartoli. It is the final match on the Stadium One court and if last night is any indication, most people will leave before it is over. I must say that I have been disappointed with the Indian Wells' crowd's insistence on leaving the main event women's match midway through completion, causing most of the players to finish with a virtually deserted building. If you have ticket's to the night session, and you are coming to watch tennis, stay! What else do you have to do? We are in the desert...and I know you have nothing better to do. When Drew finishes his last blog post of the night, loyal Outer Courts readers hold on and wait to see the final thoughts I will come up with to finish the evening. You should do the same for these women of the WTA Tour.  Your mothers/daughters expect nothing less.

3. Ivo Karlovic Tries to Make the Magic Continue:  Drew and I came to Indian Wells with one goal...find a lower-ranked player that we could embrace and make the favorite of The Outer Courts. Our early contender is Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who as Drew showcased the other day, has the best Twitter account known to man. He is tall, stoic and possesses the fastest serve ever recorded in a match (156 mph). Add to the fact that he ended the stiff reign of the volatile Jack Sock, and he could be the player we embrace for the entire season. But we need another victory from Ivo to get the train rolling and today he has the chance as he faces another American, Sam Querrey.  Now don't get me wrong. Rooting against Americans is not what I am about. I am not the Jane Fonda of irreverent tennis blogs, ignoring those draped in the stars and stripes (these colors really don't run) and there is very little chance at this point in my life that I will marry, or even meet, Ted Turner.  But when you see a man with wit, talent and a sense of humor, you can't help but respect his game. Ivo has a chance to become an Outer Courts legend today. Seize the day dear Ivo!

4. Your Favorite Arruabarrena-Vecino:  The names of many members of the WTA Tour are fascinating. For most of you, the English alphabet contains few opportunities to visit the majesty of the letters "V" or "Z", as they are utilized far too few times by American families. But on the WTA Tour, these letters are crucial to the nomenclature of the event, with at least half of the players finding a way to include them in their surname. My favorite name so far however is Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino who makes up for her regrettably short first name (Lara) with a last name that is an astonishing nine syllables. I challenge any Outer Courts readers to find a last name anywhere with more syllables or more chances to sound poetic in its repition. Arruabarrena-Vecino sounds like a description of a beautiful sunset or a Spanish artistic style and her tennis game, which at this Tournament included an upset win over another fine name Varvara Lepchenko, seems to be following. She is ranked at the highest point of her career and a win today over top ten ranked Roberta Vinci would be a huge step. For nine syllable last name individuals from around the world (both of them), Arruabarrena-Vecino is carrying their flag and we salute her on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

So that's it...your preview guide for the day. Stay tuned to The Outer Courts for more, and watch Tennis Channel, where Drew and I may run onto the set and sing "Justin Gimelstob" to the tune of "Gangham Style"...try it at home. It is fun.