They Said What? Sept. 25

by: Peter Bodo | September 25, 2012

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“I want to be Davis Cup captain. It’s the destiny of a good player is to be a Davis Cup captain. It's a must. It can’t be avoided.”—Guillermo Vilas

Well, I guess that settles that. The only thing left to do is sit back and wait for the four-time Grand Slam champ and, arguably, the third greatest clay-court player in the history of the game (behind Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg) to take over and fix the Argentine squad.

The problem is, Argentina may take a lot of fixing, mainly because the tennis establishment there—top players included—seems mortifyingly dysfunctional. How else can you explain the way that lumbering, self-effacing, generally gentle giant Juan Martin del Potro seems to have been transformed, almost overnight, into a seemingly spoiled, bratty prima donna who’s totally unfit to take over the team from the spoiled, bratty prima donna who previously had that dubious honor, David Nalbandian?

This new twist is truly astonishing. Interestingly, if you read between the lines in this item, it’s clear that Vilas is suggesting that del Potro isn’t very happy with captain Martin Jaite, who somewhat inconveniently is the most obvious obstacle standing in the way of Vilas’s prophecy. You know what? At some point you just throw your hands up and say, “Who cares?”

My advice to Vilas and anyone else vying for the Davis Cup captaincy of Argentina? Go get yourself a job cleaning up nuclear waste without benefit of a hazmat suit. It probably would be more fun.

"I hope my story can inspire people of all ages and I am very pleased to be working with Penguin on the book.”—Li Na

I contacted Penguin after I read this blurb about Li’s autobiography, Duzi Shang Chang (which roughly translates to Playing Myself). It turns out that while Penguin remains Batman’s sworn enemy, the legendary villain who invented the world’s first “.45 caliber umbrella” has been undertaking selective literary projects, including helping Li pen her book.

“You know,” Penguin told me, “I’ve been a major tennis fan all my life. And anyone familiar with my life knows that I was forced to carry an umbrella as a child by my overbearing, overly protective mother. I saw a parallel there, in Li’s relationship with her overly protective Chinese tennis bureaucrats and government officials, and thought I could really empathize and help her tell her story. We made a good fit.”

Penguin also said that he believed that the habits of his pre-reform life, when he master-minded crimes that he sent others to commit, perfectly positioned him to work with Li. “I never won a tennis title, she’s the one who did all the work, but I know all about what goes into a grand enterprise, and I feel my experience really helped Li tell her story.”

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