Like in most sports, athletes always think of some reason to blame their lack of skill and training on outside forces like extra wind, hot air or bright sun. But really, do a little research about the places where you’re going to play. Train in a wind tunnel if you need to. Practice in Saudi Arabia (or Qatar). Or rent a space ship and play near the sun. Because, really, you’re gonna be making beaucoup cash.
The opening days of the Open were extraordinarily hot. Extraordinarily meaning in the 90s. Victoria Azarenka’s collapse signaled to all the other players that the heat was nothing to fool around with. But do you know where Azarenka is from? Belarus. You can’t expect a woman from the former Eastern Bloc to really handle a New York City summer. I’ve seen Do The Right Thing and it certainly gets hot in New York. So hot that it will burn an entire pizza parlor down! Still, if you weren’t drinking enough Evian water out there, you might get dehydrated. Plus, there’s all the sweat that could drop onto the court and make you slip.
But the real killer of the Open was the wind. As the players saw balls whipping at them from directions they could never have imagined, we all realized that something was going on there. As Federer took out Soderling through a windstorm, it came to be realized that Federer is really a magician. And possibly a storm chaser. Federer took the reins of the game as though he were playing in his backyard, while Soderling looked like he was in Twister. Federer was quoted as saying, "When it gets windy, I don't struggle much." Indeed, boss. I’m certain that none of you out there have ever tried to hit a tennis ball swerving toward your face at 100 miles an hour, so there’s no reason to mock Soderling. In fact, there’s really only reason to praise Federer and his superior element-powered skills. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
With gusts of up to 30 miles an hour, the real danger was the flying beach balls and brown paper bags from outlying Queens. Calm down, New York, it’s gonna be alright. And pretty please, be nice this weekend.