Well, Tribe, I'm off on a three-day weekend at the farm in game-rich Andes. Father-in-law George is up from Washington, D.C., to spend a little time with the family. We'll probably go to Cooperstown on Sunday - the Farmer's Museum there is awesome, and so is the art museum. It's a very cool town and people are always surprised to hear that the Baseball Hall of Fame is not some grotesque theme park, but an incredibly low-key, old-fashioned, dripping-with-atmosphere shrine. Seriously, visit the town if you get a chance. It has fine restaurants, all kinds of antique boutiques (and a healthy number of junk shops, which is more my style), and it's on a gorgeous lake.
But back to the business at hand. I have a Do It Yourself project in mind for the Tribe for this weekend. How about we all get together and make a player who can beat Roger Federer on the surface of his choice? (Tari, you're excused, and not just because your Tiggers have some baseball to play. . .)
So here's the deal: I've got a team of medical technicians on hand here, white lab coats and all, and they are ready to remove any appendage from any living tennis player - active or retired, so guys like, oh, Pat Cash, qualify - in order to put together somebody who can beat The Mighty Fed. The parts can be "as is" or "factory refurbished" (in case you want to use, say, Goran Ivanisevic's left arm). Our team of technicians has all the scalpels and operating tools, as well as a rubber mallet, a hacksaw, and assorted power tools to facilitate the construction of our TennisWorld Frankenstein.
As a note, let me say that I've been pondering this "how do you beat TMF?" issue for quite some time. And then I had one of those light bulb-over-head moments. Viola! (note to potentially angry emailing grammarians: I prefer to this to the original French). Nobody on the tour with the exception of Jet Boy Nadal (sometimes) knows how to beat Fed, so how the heck am I going to do that.
What we do know, however, is how not to beat TMF, which is by playing a baseline or all-court game based on staying away from his forehand and the vague hope that TMF will miraculously morph into Mardy Fish somewhere along the way (no disrespect intended, I just enjoy writing that name). So with that in mind, let's build a player from the ground up, and here's a template to ponder as you get ready to dismember your candidates.
Legs: footwork/speed - sample: the swift and nimble Bjorn Borg
Mid-section: torso - sample: Miloslav Mecir had a long torso and wide hips, good for generating a lot of pace with minimal effort.
Height: - sample: Ivo Karlovic (no blood involved here; technicians take coffee break and check on TennisWorld blog).
Head: for mental toughness - sample: Marat Safin.
Okay. Now we move on the give our DIY champion actual strokes:
Serve - sample: Paul Goldstein (remember, though, he's now got Ivo height, so that serve is looking better. . . See, it gets complicated!)
Forehand - sample: Ivan Lendl
Backhand - sample: Andre Agassi
Forehand Volley - sample: Pat Cash
Backhand Volley - sample: Andy Roddick (whoops! Did I say something wrong?)
Drop shot - sample: Miguel Seabra
Overhead Smash - Marcos Baghdatis.
Okay, everybody get it? Now I'll make it a little easier. Here's the template below; sans commentary. You can copy and paste it into your comment and just fill in the blanks!
- Legs, footwork -
- Mid-section, torso -
- Head -
- Serve -
- Forehand -
- Backhand -
- Forehand Volley -
- Backhand Volley -
- Drop shot -
- Overhead Smash -
Have at it, and have a great weekend, everyone. Steggy is going to drop a fun post on you tomorrow or Sunday, and she'll be back with Monday Net Post as well. Let the Gringo Especiales and Sake bombers flow! We're going to beat that Federer yet!