Point / Counterpoint
Keeping It Simple with Blair Henley
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Roger Federer’s Diary: A Magical Journey Begins
By Blair Henley
January 15, 2013 - Morning
I woke up feeling fresh and energized. My nighttime facial mask composed solely of sea urchin secretions must be doing its job. As I write, I have my lucky patch of Wimbledon sod placed underfoot. There’s just something about the way it feels between my toes. Plus, as has been well documented here in my sacred diary, the luscious greenery provides the perfect place to lie down and have a good cry. It’s remarkably cathartic.
People still think
, the legendary groundskeeper at Wimbledon, retired after the Olympics last summer. No one suspected I retained him specifically to maintain my transportable sod garden. I suppose some things can still be kept private.
But I digress.
Today could be the beginning of yet another magical journey. I can envision myself hoisting the Australian Open trophy at the end of the fortnight, but I mustn’t get too far ahead of myself. Anything can happen. And then I remember that it’s been eons since I last lost a first round match at a Grand Slam, which eases my nerves. Still, I’m emotional. Mirka tells me that’s okay.
Right now, she’s in the other room with the girls. Myla is currently sitting in timeout after she snuck into our bedroom last night and ate several of my
. That wouldn’t have been so bad if she hadn’t also found my gold dust in the bathroom and proceeded to sprinkle it all over her handcrafted baby dolls. Silly girl. She knows that’s only used for Daddy’s bath time.
My hairstylist should be here any minute for my daily blowout, and then it’s off to the courts.
January 15, 2013 – Evening
What a spectacular day. It was slightly warmer and more humid this afternoon in Melbourne, which brought out the natural curl in my locks. I wouldn’t mind it if it weren’t for those pesky flyaways.
As desired, I kept my match with Benoit under an hour and a half. The poor Frenchman pulled out all the stops in the final set – unsuccessfully. My game felt fantastic, magical even, and my new Nike apparel collection mirrored my aura. My polo is such a stunning shade of turquoise, perfectly reflecting my unquestionable masculinity.
After the match, I had to give an obligatory press interview with
, and some impeccably coiffed blonde from ESPN. McEnroe kept congratulating me on starting my own Facebook page. I wanted to say, “Excuse me, Pat? You mean
page has long been in existence, and a picture of me eating a bowl of Cheerios is likely to garner somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2 million likes and 760,000 shares.” I refrained.
As usual, Chris Evert talked a lot (though, I feel it necessary to document, I have no recollection of what she actually said). I silently wondered if she was having that effect on the fans watching at home. Hmmm. Pat mentioned that I need to give Chris “some love” if and when I tie her record by winning my 18th Grand Slam. I smiled politely, of course. But I’m more likely to rip my shirt off after that win, exposing my strong, but not overdeveloped pectorals, than mention Chris Evert in my acceptance speech.
After a delightful dinner with the family, it’s now time to turn off the lights and settle in. I’ve already summoned Mirka. She should be in any minute with my cup of warm milk.
January 16, 2013
Today was an off-day, but I made sure to stick strictly to my Grand Slam routine. Mirka awakened me with a soft, magical kiss to the cheek, and after I tousled the hair of my young offspring, I headed to the bath for soak. And what a soak it was. Invigorated, we drove to the courts where I fit in a solid practice. As usual, fans lined the court to watch.
once told me he feels like a caged rhinoceros during tournament practices. I, on the other hand, feel like a piece of art. The court is my gallery.
Later, as I was changing clothes in the locker room, I felt a tap on my bare, moisturized shoulder. I turned, wondering who had entered my personal space unannounced. It was
. I should have known. He’s been pestering me for months, asking if I will give him “classiness tutorials.” I think the whole
nickname has really messed with his head. On top of that, he supposedly hit the “
shot of the year
” in 2012 and, well, his ego expanded more quickly than his ability.
Our exchange went something like this:
: Fed, please, give me a chance. I promise I’m a quick learner.
: My dear Grigor, we’ve already discussed this. You need to find your own identity. Besides, what are you doing here? Didn’t you lose already?
: That’s exactly my point! I’ve failed my fans. With your help, I can at least learn to win them over with class and refinement.
Given my bustling schedule, I had to decline yet again. Grigor didn’t take the news well. I did, however, invite him to speak with Mirka about what life is like to be
with an international sports icon.
As I made my way back to our tournament lodging, I received a dispatch from my dear friend
. I invited her to fly out to the Land Down Under (where beer does flow and men chunder…great
) to sit in my friends-and-family box, but she declined. She also said that she would be inviting
Gwen and Gavin
over for a pajamas-only watch party at her manse. I do wish I could join them. But such is the price of athletic superstardom.
Tomorrow I’ll face Nikolay. Until then…
Blair Henley is a tennis writer and a proud owner of a
. That, and her silky locks, are all she has in common with Roger Federer. Follow her on Twitter:
(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve)
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