How are people not tennis fans? I mean, it's like Gossip Girl meets Friday Night Lights meets Freaks and Geeks meets Arrested Development. How can that not be appealing (granted, none of those shows has/had a huge audience anyway)? So many frickin' amazingly heartwarming, heartbreaking, hilarious , and absurd human interest stories play out on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. I don't need soaps, just give me my WTA and ATP.
Take Dina for example. Sodapop posted this article and it may be the greatest thing I've ever read.
Some choice excerpts:
Yesterday, Krajon said that when he first encountered Safina she lacked confidence on the tennis court.
"She knew there was something inside of her but she couldn't get it out," Krajon said. "She knew she had the shots, but she didn't know how to put it all into place. She always believe that she could be one of the best, that's the most important part, but she didn't know how to do it.
"She had problems with why she didn't believe in anything. She wondered why she didn't have confidence. I didn't have to change anything of her technique in tennis, was fine, it was just the mental part — she had lost all her confidence."
It was this time four years ago that her older brother pointed out that his little sister needed to "grow up" and listen. She had just lost 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 to Amelie Mauresmo in the second round in Melbourne. A then 18-year-old Safina, world No. 44, had choked.
Marat was gently asked this question; "She lost today, obviously, but has her tennis improved a lot in the last year, do you think?".
Marat candidly replied: "She needs to have a character and she needs to be a little bit grown-up woman. Of course, she is little bit young, and I know everything everybody saying to her, she is still young, she has big future in front of her. But I'm sorry, if you don't really understand yourself what's going on, it's little bit difficult for somebody to fix it and explain it. Nobody going to tell her what to do; she has to decide for herself, you know. It's my duty to help her, but if she doesn't want to listen …"
But in the past year Safina has started to understand herself better and is listening. This week, Marat praised her maturity and ascent on the tour. On the eve of the Open he tipped her as a good chance to win.
Safina has become mentally tough. And Krajon fires her up with motivational phrases to keep her confidence on a high. He will not disclose exactly what he says to keep her on track.
"There are many things I say to her but I will not, should not, say because then everyone will know," Krajon said. "There is always different pressure for losing, for winning the crowd, but unfortunately I won't talk about it."
Then there's the "secret" motivational books.
"She's reading some of the books I was reading when I was tennis player and now as a coach," Krajon said. "But I'm not going to mention them because maybe all of the sudden it gets out and everyone knows her secrets. Some secrets have to stay secret."
And of course, the infamous L'Equippe interview:
During the Kremlin Cup in 2004, Marat interviewed her for French newspaper L'Equipe and her adoration of her brother was clear.
"You're my god," Safina said. "When you play, I love watching you. When you lose, I'm even sadder than when I lose. When you're hurt, I suffer. When you talk to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I'm beside myself with joy. I hate hearing or reading something bad about you. I know you are hard-working and that you do everything you can to be number one. For me, you have the biggest talent of any player and I don't have half of your talent."
Dina FTW, people. FTW.