Secret Santa: Tennis Edition
You all know how the “Secret Santa” ritual works, right? Each person draws the name of another person (usually a friend, colleague, or family member) out of a hat, and is then obliged to get a present for that person.
What if the ATP and WTA pros decided to celebrate the holidays with a Secret Santa round of their own? This is what the results might look like:
Jerzy Janowicz draws Viktor Troicki . . . Recalling his own “positive” experience with anger-management classes, Janowicz gives Troicki a coupon worth five free sessions at the McEnroe/Youzhny Self-Actualization and Emotion Management Academy at the New York Sportimes athletic club on Randall’s Island, New York.
Andrea Petkovic draws Sabine Lisicki . . . Petko really felt for Lisicki, watching that lopsided Wimbledon final a few months ago. And, having literally sobbed through an interview after losing to Bojana Jovanovski in the first round of the U.S. Open last September, Petko knows what’s required when a mere handkerchief just isn’t enough. She gives Lisicki a proper, 11 x 18-inch “crying towel” made of plush, close-weave terry cloth.
Fabio Fognini draws David Ferrer . . . After poking around on eBay for a long time, Fognini finally settles on a framed, vintage poster that was once an ad for the American rental car agency, Avis. It shows a car with a cute girl sitting on a fender under the bright red letters of the famous slogan, “We Try Harder.”
Roger Federer draws Ivan Lendl . . . After much agonizing, Federer decides to be a prudent Swiss. Instead of blowing a lot of money on something like a new set of golf clubs for the links-crazy eight-time Grand Slam champ, Federer gives Lendl one of the replica Wimbledon trophy he’s accumulated after winning the tournament seven times (the champions never get the real trophy, just a tiny imitation).
Sam Stosur draws Victoria Duval . . . Trying to be really big about this unfortunate turn of fortune, Stosur presents Duval with a Spongebob Squarepants lunch box. But Stosur, who still harbors painful memories of the media frenzy generated by Spongebob fan Duval at the U.S. Open, can’t refrain from snapping: “If that little upstart thought I’d get her the Spongebob thermal racquet bag after what she did to me at the U.S. Open she’s got another thing coming!”
Juan Monaco draws Janko Tipsarevic . . . Juan sends Janko the DVD of the Academy Award winning movie, The Way We Were. Monaco is down 32 places from his career-high ranking of No. 10 in July 2012, while over roughly that same period Tipsarevic has fallen 28 places (he was No. 8 in the spring of 2012). Monaco adds a note asking Janko not to get the wrong idea just because TWWW is a love story.
Victoria Azarenka draws Agnieszka Radwanska . . . Feeling pity for her former friend Aga, who labors in near utter silence on the court, Azarenka decides to give Radwanska a signed copy of the smash hit CD, Sounds of the WTA—a compilation (mixed and produced by Redfoo) featuring Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Francesca Schiavone, and Michelle Larcher de Brito, with a special bonus track by Monica Seles.
Ernests Gulbis draws Rafael Nadal. . . Seeing Nadal as one of those poor guys who “just wins,” often without being nearly as good a player as his opponent, and tired of boring Nadal quotes like, “I try my best, no?” or, “We gonna see,” Gulbis gives Rafa an autographed picture of. . . Ernests Gulbis.
Bethanie Mattek Sands draws Li Na . . . Married to Justin Sands (a good friend of mine), Bethanie knows a thing or two about dudes who snore, so she gives Li the best possible present—a full year’s supply of Breathe-Rite Nasal Strips. You remember Li’s snoring husband, Jiang Shan, right?
Novak Djokovic draws Andy Murray . . . Aware that Murray, like himself, is lover of cute little dogs, Djokovic at the last minute gets a brainstorm and decides against that red Maserati. Instead, he gives his long-time friend a 2014, spiral-bound wall calendar printed on high-quality stock, featuring the photo of a cute little Pomerania, bichon frise, or lhasa apso for each month of the year.
Caroline Wozniacki draws Simona Halep . . . Feeling somewhat embarrassed to be ranked ahead of Halep in a year when the 10th-ranked Wozniacki won just one title and No. 11 Halep bagged six, Wozniacki graciously offers to change ranking places with the diminutive Romanian dynamo.
Lleyton Hewitt draws Bernard Tomic . . . Knowing how unlikely it is that anyone will ever again work as Tomic’s hitting partner (at least while father and head-butter-in-chief John Tomic is calling the shots), Hewitt decides to cancel what would probably have been his farewell tour and sign up for the gig for 12 months. “I want to see young Aussies do well,” Hewitt explains. “Besides, who the hell is afraid of John Tomic?”