The 2012 tennis season is upon us, and with its arrival comes the first Grand Slam of the season — the Australian Open. We are lucky to be able to watch tennis at a time when three truly great players are competing against one another. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two of the very best players of all time, and Novak Djokovic played better than either of them in 2011.
If 2011 was Djokovic’s year, we’re about to begin finding out to whom 2012 will belong. Can Djokovic maintain his ridiculous hot streak? Can Nadal stay healthy? Can Federer overcome age and the heartbreak of last year’s U.S. Open to win another Slam? The stakes for the Australian Open are high.
To preview the Aussie open, we thought we’d let you hear it straight from the horses’ mouths. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have all agreed to share their thoughts about the tournament exclusively for PCHA readers.
Hello. My name is Rafa. I come to Australia all the way from Majorca with my Uncle Toni. Uncle Toni is my favorite uncle — do not tell my other uncles! Even though Uncle Toni did not let me fly first class so I don’t get a big head. Majorca is a very small island in the Mediterranean, and I never forget my roots there growing up playing with a stick with a garbage bag on it for my racquet and a tennis ball made out of dirt. I am no different from all the other Majorcans, even though Uncle Toni tells me I am responsible for 80% of Majorca’s GDP. I do not know what that means.
I am so excited to be in Australia! I love it here. I will probably lose early in the tournament. Roger is best ever, and Novak is playing so good right now. I will play very hard to make Uncle Toni proud and to make Majorca proud, but I will not win. Hard courts are not my best surface. Roger or Novak will win. If I do win I will stay humble and say thank you to the nice lady who gives me the trophy and I will try to eat the trophy and I will always brush my teeth before bed and I will always live in my one-room shack in Majorca to remind me to stay humble. But Roger or Novak will win.
I love Australia! I make a new friend, his name is Little Uncle Toni! I love Little Uncle Toni! Here he is!
I take Little Uncle Toni with me wherever I go. I wish I had a pouch like the kangas so I could carry Little Uncle Toni around in it! I teach Little Uncle Toni about Majorca and about futbol and he teach me about being cute and furry and about throwing a shrimp on the barbie. G’day, Little Uncle Toni!
Real Uncle Toni tells me to stop playing with Little Uncle Toni and practice instead, but I think Real Uncle Toni is just grumpy because I do not win Wimbledon last year. Real Uncle Toni also tells me to stop eating my shrimp and steak dinner with my hands and to use a fork and a knife like civilized people. But when he hands me a knife to use, I say “That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife!” and I laugh and laugh and Little Uncle Toni thinks it is funny but Real Uncle Toni just frowns.
Greetings, everyone. When Pop Culture Has AIDS asked me to contribute to this Australian Open preview, I was initially hesitant because this minor, profane blog does not meet the level of sophistication or artistry I tend to require from my reading material. However, the proprietors of the blog promised to make a donation to my favorite charity — Three-Button Suits for Middle-Class Swiss Children — and so I acquiesced.
Of course I expect to win Australia in 2012. I proved at the United States Open tournament in August that I remain the best player in the world and should be the prohibitive favorite at every event I deign to enter. Were it not for one for one lucky shot — a shot that I dare say offended the sensibilities of true sporting fans everywhere — I would have hoisted the trophy high above my perfectly coiffed head and smiled with wan enthusiasm.
I have perfected the art of lovemaking. I have achieved its Platonic ideal. Several nights ago, when I was pleasing my wife Mirka, I discovered that an intercourse rate of exactly 71.4 thrusts per minute, delivered at precisely the proper angle, is the highest form that lovemaking can take. Did Mirka enjoy it? It doesn’t matter. You’re asking the wrong questions. The act itself was so beautiful, so transcendent, so precise in its execution, that it matters not whether either of the participants achieved climax. Their enjoyment, or lack thereof, is inconsequential when compared to the now-completed quest to perfect the act itself. Journal articles are being written as I dictate this.
I am aware that my supporters expect me to say that Rafael Nadal is a Neanderthal. But etiquette demands that I respect all my opponents, even ones who grow their biceps to quadruple their normal size and bash away at the tennis ball like a bear trying to beat open a shellfish with a rock. Even ones with a level of intelligence and savoir-faire most closely resembling the rock in that metaphor.
I have also perfected the art of stillness. I can remain more silent in mind and body than anyone who has ever roamed this earth. As such, I can come closer to achieving a state of ultimate grace — some would call it nirvana — than any philosopher, prophet or poet. I possess a level of discipline that would make Sisyphus weep. It is perhaps unfair to my opponents that I can achieve such greatness while exerting only minimal effort. I sense their frustration. They look up at me and shout “save us,” and I whisper, “no.”
My body has a natural filtration system. Whatever I consume — which I admit is typically only the finest grade of food and wine — anything that my internal computer considers to be a non-nutrient is instantly discard. Cleanly. Efficiently.
I expect big things out of Victoria Azarenka on the ladies’ side this year.
I AM SO FUCKING PUMPED UP FOR THIS TOURNAMENT! I WISH I COULD PLAY ALL SIX OF MY MATCHES RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND. WHY DO I HAVE TO SLEEP, THAT IS SUCH FUCKING BULLSHIT. I FEEL GREAT, I FEEL READY TO GO, I FEEL THE BLOOD RUNNING THROUGH ME AS IT TICKLES MY VEINS.
HEY, WHO TURNED DOWN THE PRODIGY? PUMP THAT BACK UP! I AM A FIRESTARTER!!!
I THINK THIS SHIT IS STARTING TO WEAR OFF. HEY ANDREJ, CAN YOU GO MEET MY GUY BEHIND THE 7/11 AND GET ME SOME MORE OF THIS STUFF? I’M NOT READY TO CALL IT A DAY JUST YET. SOMEBODY DANCE WITH ME.
ANDREJ. ANDREJ! HOLD UP. I DON’T WANT TO PAY THAT CROATIAN MOTHERFUCKER. HE CHARGES TOO MUCH. JUST GET THE VIAL AND THEN BEAT HIM DOWN WITH THIS CROWBAR.
AUSTRALIA, MAN. FUCK. IS THIS WHERE MICHAEL HUTCHENCE DIED? I BET THAT SHIT HE WAS DOING FELT REALLY GOOD BEFORE HE DIED THOUGH. ANDREJ, DO YOU THINK I SHOULD TRY IT? DO WE HAVE ANY ROPE? I AM GOING TO WIN THE FUCK OUT OF THIS TOURNAMENT.
IS MARTINA HINGIS HERE? DO YOU THINK SHE’D BE UP FOR A GANGBANG TONIGHT? ANDREJ, WHERE ARE MY PILLS, MAN? AND STOP TURNING DOWN THE FUCKING PRODIGY. WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED, PARTY PEOPLE!