The Deuce Club, 11.1
I wrote this post last night with a funny reflection on wisdom teeth surgery and left it timed to go up, but I had to come back in to rewrite it after today’s shocking news. Let's start with the fun stuff first, shall we?
Happy day-after-Halloween! This picture isn't from this year, actually, but this is Beth's daughter Missie with her kitty pumpkin from a couple of years ago. Isn't that cute? I must say that I also like the scarecrow in the background, which looks considerably taller than Missie but shares her blond hair.
Beth also sent a vivid description, if not photo, of son Jake's prize-winning vomit pumpkin. He took the pumpkin innards that you scoop out, dyed them green, and poured them back in to spill out of the carved face. Isn't that creative? Some of us just, y'know, debated triangle vs. circle eyes.
Hope everyone had a great Halloween and benefited from the extra hour offered by Daylight Savings being pushed back a week! I was always very angry as a child about being cheated out of my hour of light on Halloween. Being a night owl these days, I don't like it on any other day, either!
I must say, I could have used a Federer win to settle me down and assure me that all was well with the world, but I guess the tennis gods really had it in for us today (except the Nalbandian KADs). No doubt Fed was distracted as well.
I was stunned when I saw the news this afternoon that Martina Hingis had retired under the shadow of a positive test for cocaine at Wimbledon. So stunned that I passed into that self-contemplative stage in which you are stunned at your own astonishment. A few hours later, I find myself settled down to a normal level.
That normal level is pretty high, due to a perfect storm of factors: first, all the match-fixing allegations, Davydenko’s ‘lack of effort’ fines, and the PR anxieties that have accompanied those. Then there is Martina herself, the five-time Grand Slam champion in singles, youngest ever this, youngest ever that, Swiss Miss, not perhaps the most silent of champions like Justine Henin, but certainly not the most out-there of celebrity players like Maria Sharapova. Add the fact that it was cocaine, and at Wimbledon, and you’ve pretty much shut my tennis mind down for the day. Sorry, Kolya, no tears left for you. None for Roger, either.
I’ve never been a huge Hingis fan, but we’re about the same age and I’ve grown up watching her bump her way through adolescence and adulthood right along with me. I’ve always respected her achievements and style of play, so to see her accused of this is a blow.
It also took me back to another big sports drama, not Marion Jones or Barry Bonds or any of the others that have been mentioned in the threads, but oddly enough, the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan knee-whacking scandal in 1994. I was already a big (figuratively) skating fan at that age, and the whole episode was hugely confusing and maybe even traumatizing for a young fan to deal with -- not least because of the inability of the sports’ governing bodies to do or even say anything about it, much as we’re currently experiencing with the bland expressions of regret issuing fast and furious from everywhere. I can remember many of my pathetic diary entries hoping that Tonya was innocent and the whole thing would just go away, but also saying that it was all too unlikely.
I bring this up, because regardless of Martina Hingis’ innocence or guilt, she has a long, hard road ahead to try to clear her name, and while that happens, I have a feeling that many young fans will be just as sad and disillusioned as I was back then. So take a moment to feel bad for them (and yourself), as well as for Martina, her friends and family, and the tour officials who will be fretting over how to soothe everyone.
Back to original post.
Don't forget to keep the pics coming! I think it might be time to start the TW poster profiles -- stay tuned for that. Some of you have had trouble sending to my tennismagazine address, but I don't know why, so keep trying it for now. Hopefully, it was a temporary blip.