Are the French Weirdos? A Rigorous Analysis

During his first-round loss yesterday, Stefanos Tsitsipas took issue with some of the chair umpire’s rulings. In protesting his treatment, Tsitsipas spat, “You have something against me, I don’t know what — because you’re French, probably, and you’re all weirdos. You’re all weirdos!”

What a weird thing to say. As far as insults go, “weirdo” is just laughable. It’s like being called a poopy-head by a five-year-old.

Perhaps it’s the very weirdness of the insult that got me wondering: Are the French weirdos? Let’s get scientific about this and look at the top four French players. Continue reading “Are the French Weirdos? A Rigorous Analysis”

Throwing Your Boobs

Have we talked about obnoxious match celebrations before? I feel like we have, but I don’t want to scroll through my whole site to figure it out. Besides, we have new, fun material to talk about.

A number of weeks ago, everyone’s favorite love-to-hate player Nick Kyrgios threw some shade at a few of the game’s top stars. He called out Rafa Nadal for being “salty” and Fernando Verdasco for arrogance.

But he saved his best shade for Novak Djokovic:

“I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger….This whole celebration thing that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy.”

Have you seen Djokovic’s celebratory ritual? I couldn’t help but laugh at Kyrgios’s characterization. Cringing describes my reaction perfectly.

And it’s not just me and Kyrgios. Djokovic’s ridiculous “I give you my heart” pantomime rubs other people the wrong way, too–so much so that someone coined a term for it: Boob throwing. Continue reading “Throwing Your Boobs”

Confidence Crises

Finally!

On Sunday, Rafael Nadal finally won his first clay court title of the year–in fact, his first title on any surface this year.

And–finally–we have a new blog post! I have been remiss. Inexcusably so, but let me offer some excuses anyway. First, I was taking a novel-writing class, so I was spending my creative juices elsewhere.

And two, I just wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t sure I had the bloggerly chops to tackle some bigger topics. I wasn’t sure the blog even mattered–to me or to anyone else. Out of nowhere, I was having a mini-crisis in confidence.

Which brings us back to Rafa. (You know everything eventually goes back to Rafa.) Continue reading “Confidence Crises”

The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll

“Kyrgioser and kyrgioser!” cried Alice…

Another day, another Nick Kyrgios controversy. If he isn’t getting fined for lack of effort or for needling an opponent about his girlfriend’s sexual history, he’s hitting head-scratching and/or controversial shots.

In this case, the shot was a dinky underhand serve to Rafael Nadal, who famously stands practically in the bleachers when he receives. I watched the first set of this Mexican Open match and heard commentator Lindsay Davenport wonder why no one ever tries an underhand serve against Rafa. She then joked that if anyone would do it, Kyrgios would. Continue reading “The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll”

The Beetle and the Ballboy

Here’s a little fable that played out at the Australian Open this morning. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic was playing Daniil Medvedev, seeded 15. Djokovic was up a break and receiving serve at 5-2.

A beetle on the baseline caught Djokovic’s attention. He bent over and flicked it with his racquet a couple of times, trying to move it off the court. Then he tried picking it up while a ballboy stood a few feet away. Unsuccessful, he finally stepped back to let the ballboy take over. Continue reading “The Beetle and the Ballboy”

The New York Open

This week and next, thousands of people will get to watch the Australian Open in person, and you won’t. Hardly seems fair, does it?

On the other hand, Australia’s really far, and I’m guessing decent seats are kind of pricey. Plus, from what I see on television, there are a lot of bugs. I hate bugs. Continue reading “The New York Open”

The Ranking System, and a Poll

Consider this scenario:

You and I are professional tennis players. (You like this scenario already, don’t you?) I’m the #1 ranked player in the world. You’re #2.

We both enter the Australian Open. You lose in round 2. I do better, eventually losing in the quarterfinals.

The tournament ends, and you become world #1.

Seems impossible, but it can happen, thanks to the sport’s quirky point system. Continue reading “The Ranking System, and a Poll”

A Rare Breed

Here’s some tennis news that may have slipped under your radar today. Lucas Pouille, ranked #32, has hired former pro Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.

Why is this noteworthy? Because female coaches in men’s tennis are exceedingly rare. Of the top 20 male players, not one has a female coach. To find a female coach, you need to go down to #27, Denis Shapavalov, whose mother serves in that role. There may be a few other players in the top 100 with mother-coaches. But the Pouille-Mauresmo coaching arrangement is almost certainly the only non-familial one. Continue reading “A Rare Breed”

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