It looks like Maria Sharapova got a welcome break from her struggles; her beatdown of Nadia Petrova at Stanford should help her confidence. She won 1-and-2, and made this trenchant observation afterward: “I was aggressive the whole way through. I didn’t have many letdowns and even when I made unforced errors I stayed with it." That's the key to playing 'Pova's type of tennis: keep pressing, and don't get rattled or retreat into a more conservative style if a few forehand happen to fly into the fence, or smack the net cord. It takes a measure of composure to stay the course (gosh, I can't help but think of poor Andy Roddick at Wimbledon every stinkin' time I write those words!).
And how about our pal Marat Safin, who's in the midst of what my colleague Tom Perrotta quite brilliantly dubbed The Magical Misery Tour? Ernests Gulbis may be struggling these days, but the 6-4 in the third win for Safin had to be encouraging - dare we think Safin still has one significant statement to make before he drifts away to retirement? Inspired by our poet laureate, Madame Highpockets, I've been toying with the idea of writing an Ode to Marat. You may stop laughing. Now.
Actually, maybe we'll have a general Marat Appreciation Day, where you can all direct your tributes (or throw various undergarments) his way, in verse or otherwise. Let me think on it and feel free to post your suggestions below.
I like this idea of being a poet. it seems to give you license to drink like a fish, punch out people who irritate you in bars, seduce your best friend's wife, and descry the philistines of this world - all without having to pay a price. BTW, one of my favorite books is a comic novel about the misadventures of one Samson Shillitoe, a poet; it's a little-known gem called A Fine Madness.
I'm distressed to see the book is no longer in print, or at least not available at Amazon.com. But the movie version is pretty good and I recommend it highly if you'd like to pick up some tips on how to live a hugely self-centered life and earn sympathy for it. The companion piece to this book is The Horse's Mouth, brilliant Irish novelist Joye Cary's equally hilarious tale of Gulley Jimson, a brilliant, amoral, scheming painter. Cary is a great stylist who employs stream-of-consciousness, but not the wordy, tiresome Joycean kind. His sentences are clipped, brief, and imagistic. I may have mentioned these volumes before, but the readership here changes, and is a lot bigger, all the time.
I've got a busy day here at the office, and over the next week or so. We're moving, and you don't want to know how excruciating a process it is to buy and/or sell an apartment in New York (we're doing both), and by next Thursday, by which time we'll theoretically be homeless, Cowboy Luke and I are going to light a shuck for Montana, and the Milk River Country. We'll be going down with our friends, the Aagesons, to the Hays pow wow in beautiful Mission Canyon on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (home of Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes). Luke will get his first taste of native dancing, singing, crafts and horsemanship demonstrations. Perhaps I'll purchase him a nice little war club, or scalping knife.
Of course, I plan to have Your Call posts on the days I'm away (we return on the 11th). Anyway, we have a few days to go before then, and you know what to do below.