1/23/2011 2:00:00 PM
Day 7 - Jan 23 - 1:44pm EST
Hello peoples! James is in fetal position after having mind blown from Francesca Schiavone/Svetlana Kuznetsova match, so is Dunlop to the rescue! I spend last two days in hospital after they drop me on Hisense Arena to show something called “dead spots.” Who ever hears of such a thing! It gives me concussion, they do not let me sleep and they take away my Milk Duds, so I am tired and hungry and filled with the rage!!! Perfect time for Shame Stick. If Dunlop accidentally stabs some players during beating, please forgive. Or at least keep bleeding to minimum.
SAM QUERREY: Sranje! You again? You make Dunlop’s arm tired! You are like Frasier wife on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, you roll eyes and act like you do not want to be here but you refuse to go away! Except when opponent has lead. – 5 whacks with Shame Stick. And a poke to see if you are still breathing.
Breakfast of Champions!
LEANDER PAES & MAHESH BHUPATHI: You taunt opponents until they want to beat you up! Is your tennis not good enough to win match? Maybe there is reason why you do not play for long time together. - Dunlop gives Feliciano Lopez and Juan Monaco Shame Stick, locks you in Thunderdome together.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: PlayStation play like Commodore 64, lose in first round to man named “Florian.” Dunlop cannot think of anything humiliating enough to punish you more. This beating will have to do. – 4 whacks with Shame Stick
LITTLE YANKEE DOODLE GIRLS: Dunlop is supposed to say Congratulations for doing the qualifying to Lauren Davis, Coco Vanweweghe, Alison Riske and Irina Falconi, but you all get red, white and blue pants pulled down in first round and win total of 11 games! Is terrible number for 8 sets but deserving number for beating. - 11 whacks with Shame Stick
FLU VIRUS: Half-naked Spaniard in Armani ads tries to win four Grand Slams in a row and you continue to make him sweat all over me. Go away!!! Until final, then come back so my Nole can beat him. Ajde! - 5 whacks with Shame Stick
HISENSE: Not only does arena built on haunted burial ground kill tennis balls, it claims lives of every single Serbian player in WTA and ATP top 100!!! Ana, Janko, the Bagra, Viktor, Bojana, they all die here on Serbian Graveyard! We must kill it before it can claim my Nole! – 1,000,000 whacks with Shame Stick and the exorcism!
MARION BARTOLI: You beat poor grandmother Tathiana Garbin 6-0 6-0 in last match of her professional career. So cruel! You are my kind of woman. - 0 whacks with Shame Stick, but maybe light spanking for Dunlop?
This is part of program where Dunlop answers your sexy questions!
artincircles ask: You! You broke Aga’s racquet. How will you make it up to her?
She owes Dunlop! We make many appearances together on talk show circuit. Magazines say we are in relationship, call us Dunwanska, brings her many new fans! Do not tell but we are now, how do you say, in negotiations for Off-Broadway show. Ajde jazz hands!
RacquetRequired ask: Who feels worse right now: Nalby, Hewitt, or Hewitt’s bawling son?
James, for Svetlana Kuznetsova. No, Svetlana Kuznetsova. No, James for Svetlana Kuznetsova.
pkultgen ask: thoughts on Jovanovski? Serbian and so far appears not melodramatic. Good sign or anomaly.
GVTennisNews also ask about Jovanovski: With your beloved Jelena Jankovic slipping, will Bojana Jovanovski be your new favorite?
Ana is Dunlop’s beloved, the bagra is his partner in glitter-covered crime, but the BoJo scares him! She beats him up in high school and steals all his Milk Duds! He hopes for Grease 2-like resolution.
BusWagon ask: I like your fashion analysis Dunlop. What did you think of Gilles Simon’s look?
He looked like stick of lime Juicy Fruit gum. Dunlop wonders if he too loses flavor after 3 chews?
Curtos07 ask: Do you think you can beat Ana in a Cannonball contest?
Not six months ago when she have all that, how do you say, junk in the trunk. But now with all the Funyuns Dunlop is eating, he makes much bigger splash! Ajde!
Ataraxis00 ask: Did you create the dead spot on Hisense so you could have a little extra t.v. time?
WHAT? HOW DARE YOU! DUNLOP ALMOST DIED! HE IS NOT FAME SEEKING OPPORTUNIST DESPERATE TO SEE HIS BIG STUPID FACE ON JUNBOTRON!!! Okay it was Jelena’s idea.
whatasneeze ask: Is there any truth to the rumour that you aided Janko’s downfall by flashing him a look at your layer of rubber surround?
Ah! You spell rumor with extra “u”. That means you are fancy! Or European. Dunlop guesses you could be fancy European. There are many! But not all are, that would be stereotype. Isn’t that funny word? Stereotype. Stereotype. Is fun to say. Sorry, what was question?
Oh we are out of the time. That is all for now. Rennae Stubbs just tells me about text someone send her so I am off to kick some dupe!
Day 6 - Jan 22 - 4:14pm EST
The 2011 Australian Open has seen its share of Down Under awesomeness. Let’s throw some Rochuses on the barbie and celebrate the people, places and things that made week 1 so damn sexy.
ETRA KVITOVA: In downing Sam Stosur last night in straight sets en route to the 4r, you were fearless, flawless and ferocious. Smells a lot like Maria Sharapova in ’04. Could we be hearing a Chihuahua bark after championship point? (And for those uninitiated, no, sadly she does not own a Chihuahua.) Oh, and you have braces. Beat that, Masha.
On to week two, eh?
MILOS RAONIC: You followed up a straight sets win over Michael Llodra in the 2r by downing No 10 seed Mikhail Youzhny in a hard-fought 3r match. Along the way you found yourself atop the stats board in aces (79 and counting) and serve speed (230 km/h – nearly 143 mph). And you’re CANADIAN! The first one to reach the round of 16 at a major this century. Suck it, hockey.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Yeah yeah, you’re into the 4r, and whatevs, you did it after having foot surgery in October. But you were the queen of the first week because you went VIRAL. A racquet snapping in half off a 40-year-old woman’s serve was funny enough, but that patented Agnieszka Radwanska deadpan made it a sensation. And an instant classic.
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV: Your dad coached Andrei Medvedev so you haven’t known a moment when you weren’t around a tennis ball. And hot damn, it shows. Especially in your suffocating five set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that landed you in the 4r. The fact that you and Sara Errani could successfully pull off a Parent Trap? Pure bonus.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Kitty has claws! You gloriously went on the offensive v. the media in one seriously hilarious press conference. Maybe if we put notepads in the hands of your opponents you’ll go for the jugular on court too. (Oh no he di’in’t! Oh yes he did!)
VENUS WILLIAMS: She’s always been a fierce competitor, but we didn’t know how fierce until her 2r match v. Sandra Zahlavova. Injured at the tail end of a first set, Venus came literally screaming back, playing through excruciating pain (to feel and to watch) to take the match in 3. And all while wearing something even Lady Gaga would say, “you know what, I can’t.” So much heart, so much respect. So much sadness that we won’t get to see the rest of her AO collection, which you know would’ve been bomb.
UPSTARTS: Julia Goerges’ shotmaking, Sandra Zahlavova’s she-beast fury, Sania Mirza’s brute force and Bojana Jovanovski’s assassin’s mentality not only scared the hell out of Sharapova, Venus, Henin and Zvonareva, it scared the hell out of me. Ladies, you may not have won your matches, but you certainly made the rest of 2011 a hell of a lot more interesting.
PENG SHUAI: Taking out Jelena Jankovic was sadly easier done than said, but closing out Ayumi Morita through cramps to make your first appearance in the 4r at a major showed just how tough you really are. A few weeks ago I called you the prototypical David. You’re playing a lot like a Goliath now.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You did it you did it you did it you did it! Nuff said.
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: You followed up a phenomenal effort v. Ana Ivanovic by hitting Nadia Petrova with a stick until all her candy fell out. All while hitting angles sharper than Reese Witherspoon’s chin. Thinking Kimmie has more than a little problem on her hands…
NICOLAS MAHUT: No wild card? No problem. The guy who could barely walk at the US Open comes through qualifying in Melbourne to the delight of Mahut-aholics everywhere. And Nic, not for nothing, but you managed to hold 53 more times to stay in your fifth set than John Isner did yesterday. (What, too soon?) Can I get an Allez?
BERNARD TOMIC: Beating Jeremy Chardy in 1r was good. Downing Feliciano Lopez in 2r was great. But playing Rafael Nadal as hard as you did last night took you to another level. Which kicks my ass saying it, because you sir are a brat. But winning forgives everything, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. So wise up. Cuz you got game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put my head in the oven to bake the cyanide pill I just bit down on.
Uh-oh. That sound you hear is Dunlop warming up his Shame Stick. See you tomorrow. And wear a cup.
Day 5 - Jan 21 - 3:11pm EST
I feel like fighting. And you can thank Day 5, which saw several players take a punch, say “Aw hell naw…”, break a Forty on the curb and cut a *****.
Who should lead the parade but Miss Sunshine, Caroline Wozniacki. After a ho hum match v. Dominika Cibulkova (and I have to be honest, as much of a supporter as I am of Woz’s right to claim the No 1 ranking, her defensive matches have almost become the definition of ho hum for me), Caroline came to face a press that’s recently been complaining about her being a ho hum interview. What she brought with her was the back of her hand and the distinct sound of a pimp slap. WHATCHA WANNA KNOW SUCKAS?! It was the tennis equivalent of the Natalie Portman Digital Short from Saturday Night Live (though since we’re a demure little sport, there was no talk of snorting all the yay). So it was, like, tennis’s version of gangsta. But it left exit wounds nonetheless. “No more questions.”
Next up, Svetlana Kuznetsova, another punching bag, but this time of Justine Henin. Svetlana is the Charlie Brown of tennis, and Justine is Lucy, lining up the football to kick time and again. And time and again she yanks it away with an Allez! as Sveta spins 13 times in the air and falls on her face. Rats. But not this time. Like the heroine in every Lifetime movie, Svetlana finally says NOOOOOO! and in the middle of a second set tiebreak/knife fight she RIPS the win from Justine. She then punches her in the face then writes ALLEZ on Lucy’s forehand, taking her tiny shoulder sleeves as a trophy.
Sevta rips the win from Justine
Roger Federer follows suit by notching his record 57th win at the Australian Open. Granted, Xavier Malisse himself didn’t require much of a fight, but you don’t get to 57 without a fierce amount of blood and tooth-spitting. Fed had to fight back from 2 sets down to Tomas Berdych here in ’09, he had that epic battle with Janko Tipsarevic in ’08, and hello, that five-setter v. Gilles Simon in his last round. 57 is a lot of boxing ring bells, and a lot of coming out swingin’. Bravo to him.
There was serious swinging going on on Hisense as Maria Sharapova found herself down a set to Julia Goerges. The intensity kept building and building until it crescendoed to a bludgeoning line-painting screechfest. In the end, the Sharapova we know and love (okay, I know and love) finally showed up in Australia, and that’s the one who’ll eat your babies and leave no bones to win a tennis match. I’d tell her that myself but I’m afraid she’d shank me.
Finally, Venus. Venus! No one personifies fight for me more this Aussie Open. Her grueling war v. Sandra Zahlavova in the second round, all while in vicious pain, was simply stunning. And unbelievably inspiring. So when she can’t play more than a game against Andrea Petkovic, you can’t help but feel awful for her and stand to clap. Oh wait, what? You can boo her for being a quitter?
ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?
This is the first time Venus has ever retired at a major, after giving you blood in the last round, and you have the nerve to come at her? Listen, I get that there are those who’d be disappointed for shelling out money for a ticket and getting a retirement, but that’s the nature of the biz. Did she know she wouldn’t be able to play? She FOUGHT to play, and that’s only to be admired. I can’t disagree with people more who say she took a spot on Rod Laver Arena away from someone else. She earned the right to play there, and retire there after a game, after the years she’s put in. This is a woman who fought from match point down in the Wimbledon final. Come on.
And she doesn’t even need to have earned it over a career, she earned it just with the round before. To fault a player for having nothing left in the tank for the next match when they wrecked themselves the round before makes no sense to me. Venus doesn’t deserve to be hassled just like David Nalbandian doesn’t deserve to be hassled for having nothing left in his next round after his insane five-setter against Hewitt. You don’t fight like hell for tomorrow, you fight like hell for today. They did that and for that they deserve nothing but respect.
And I will fight you on this.
HEATHER, HEATHER, HEATHER, OI! OI! OI!
She’s the 2009 U.S. Open Junior Champ, the youngest player in the Top 150 and she knows a thing or two about fighting. Ladies and gentlemen, my junk food soulmate, 18-year-old British phenom Heather Watson.
I’m looking at your Twitter. I see Funyuns.
Everyone loves funyuns
I love Funyuns! I’m obsessed.
I’m so with you.
It’s kind of a disease.
I know! My friends are like, how can you like them? I’m obsessed with them.
It makes my stomach ache after about 15 minutes but I can’t stop myself from eating them.
I know, I get those huge bags and I can eat the whole thing all in one day.
When you’re not tearing up the tennis court, what do you do for fun?
When I’m by myself I’m always singing and dancing. Even though I’m rubbish at singing. I’m okay at dancing though. I just like hanging out with friends. When I’m in Florida I always go to the beach. Watch a good movie on a Friday night, maybe with a hot guy.
Would you ever date a tennis ball?
If he had game, yes. A good pick-up line.
What if all he had were, say, Milk Duds?
I’d say hell no, get lost.
What if he brought you Funyuns?
Who’s your pick for Australian Open men’s champion?
How about on the women’s side?
Vera Zvonareva’s gonna do it. I think she’s great. She made two finals last year. I think it’s coming this year for sure. And she’s been really on form and I know she works hard during off-season because I was there with her [at Bollettieri].
Vera and Rafa are both in action on Day 6. For now, FUNYUN TIME. And with only one bag, we may be fightin’.
Follow Heather at twitter.com/mizwatson92. And James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.
Day 4 - Jan 20 - 4:30pm EST
Can Dunlop get a what what!
Hello Sexy Peoples
Hello sexy peoples! It is your favorite fuzzy yellow Serbian! You are wondering, where has Dunlop been? So has Dunlop. He went to party at beach house of Bud Collins and remembers nothing after Pam Shriver offers him “signature cocktail.” One minute he smells the Aqua Velva, pomegranate and gasoline, the next he is waking up inside Elena Vesnina’s ball machine. Cuckoo nuts!
So there was a very bad accident, James was killed by a Jamie Murray serve, and now Dunlop gets to do his favorite thing after applying kinesio tape to groin injuries - talk the fashion! First we have the player with biggest pig face on tour, who is of course--
James: Hey hey hey, Dunlop! What’s this Jamie Murray BS? Today is about serious tennis, not some dippy fashion chat.
Dunlop: Fine. We talk the tennis. Did you see Juan Martin del Potro match last night? It look like he hurt his wrist maybe?
James: I think Maria’s outfit looks great. Everyone else is rocking crazy colors but she’s keeping it subtle, understated.
Dunlop: Like corpse. How is possible that dress looks like one of her chests falls out and is still BORING?
James: Okay, how about Roger Federer? I’m loving the yellow. Peppier than we’re used to seeing him.
Dunlop: Is so lame even his initials are too embarrassed to be seen on it. Ha!
James: Andy Roddick—
Dunlop: Yankee Doodle is so dull he makes news when he puts color on his shoes!
James: Alright alright alright, Radek Stepanek. That’s not boring.
Dunlop: Throwing up on yourself after drinking grape soda Big Gulp from 7-11 is not boring also but that does not mean is thing to do.
Petrova in Purple
James: Okay, what about Venus Williams’s outfit?
Dunlop: Which one, the first one that makes her look like discount fish at sushi bar or the second that looks like diseased net that caught it?
James: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love players that go for the wow. Outrageously bad beats forgettable any day.
Dunlop: So you love Nadia Petrova in purple and blue thing?
James: The piñata that looks like it was fitted for an American Girl Doll? Uh…haven’t seen it. But how about Fernando Verdasco? I don’t care what you say, that hot pink shirt is cal-freaking-iente.
Dunlop: Feliciano Lopez wears same colors! Dunlop loves when partners dress alike.
James: How about Sam Stosur? She’s lookin’ nice and kick-back for the home cowd.
Dunlop: She is dressed for Promenade deck on Love Boat in 1978. Love Boat is big show in Serbia.
James: Speaking of, how about Ana, JJ and Novak? Wait, let me guess. Perfection. Ajde! Etc etc.
Dunlop: You agree with me! Especially my Nole! He looks like Pam Shriver’s sexy black bed sheets. Uh-oh, Dunlop is having flashback…
James: A lot of people are saying Stella McCartney had it out for Caroline Wozniacki by forcing her to wear something so fantastically--
Dunlop: …big floppy hat…shrunken head of James Blake…
James: You’re sweating.
Dunlop: Dunlop has to leave. He has to go. Now.
James: Wait, we haven’t said who was best and worst dressed. Where are you going?!
Dunlop: SILKWOOD SHOWERRRRRRRRR!!!
James: Okay, I’m going with Verdasco for best dressed and the piñata for worst. Off to peel a tennis ball from the ceiling. Poljubac, or whatnot.
Day 3 - Jan 19 - 1:30pm EST
CASE NUMBER: VT/45/53/451CB-3
REPORTING OFFICER: M. HAMMER
DATE OF REPORT: JAN 18, 2011
-- -- -- -- --
At about 2300 HOURS ON JAN 18 2011, I met with James LaRosa regarding what he described as a brutal attack. Mr. LaRosa said he went on a blind date with the 2011 Australian Open two days ago. He continued seeing the alleged perpetrator “cuz I like to mess with trouble.” Despite some unsettling moments (he kept rocking back and forth and mumbling about something called a ‘Safina’), he said he was unprepared for what happened on their third date.
First, LaRosa claims the alleged perpetrator “roofied my XXXXX off.” He describes going in and out of consciousness for much of the morning and mid-afternoon. He saw images of a one Ms. Caroline Wozniacki playing tennis against a Ms. Vania King. He describes lobs, unforced errors and unforced errors off of lobs. He passed out and awoke to a Ms. Justine Henin victimizing a British player, and then a Ms. Svetlana Kuznetsova doing the same to another young woman, who apparently not only couldn’t fight back but helped in beating herself. He blacked out again and while he doesn’t remember being fully conscious, he reported screaming out “HIT THE XXXXXXX BALL, ANDY!” repeatedly for over two hours.
Then his story becomes violent. He reports waking up to “a bloody fish”, which left only one American man standing, and then he being forced to watch a Serbian friend’s brain explode, causing him to hit a wall and fall victim to some kind of hot pink fever.
Venus' Easter bondage
And then, at approximately 1600 HOURS on Rod Laver Arena, he reports suffering a seizure after being slipped acid in the form of a Ms. Venus Williams. He describes the trip as some sort of Easter bondage experience that Jackson Pollock threw up on and then stole the underwear from. I didn’t fully understand, but it appears consistent with PTSD.
More violence came in the form of murderous screaming, a groin pull and a big fight, the result of which made his heart pound for another two hours. In his words, “it was mad crazy, yo. Hold me!” I did not hold him.
He reports injuries to two more women. Ms. Francesca Schiavone survived hers, a Ms. Marion Bartoli did not.
Lastly, he reported being beaten in the face and crotch repeatedly and “losing my shiz” tied to the loss of something called “a Mahut.” By the time a goat was pushed to the limit, so was he.
I’m conducting a survey of the scene but so far have turned up no bloody fish, brain matter, goats or “Mahuts.” Mr. LaRosa may in fact be delusional. I asked him if there were any witnesses and he held up a tennis ball with a Magic Markered face.
I obtained a sworn statement from Mr. LaRosa and provided him with a case number and Information Leaflet 99/07 (“What to do when a Grand Slam assaults you”). I entered the 2011 Australian Open into the station database as a potential predator and am seeking to crosscheck claims by other victims. LaRosa believes he is not alone.
I tried to talk him out of going out on a fourth date but he said something about Patty Hearst Syndrome and “Rafael Nadal.”
Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.
Day 2 - Jan 18 - 1:00pm EST
A holding room with no windows, not unlike the Hole from “Oz.” Inside, a stable of players penned like Foster Farm chickens. (Or are they the ones that get to roam free in the meadows? No matter.)
EXECUTIONER: Sybille, you’re up.
SYBILLE BAMMER: Yes! Vera lost to Pennetta in Sydney, she’s totally vulnerable. Hey Marcos, pass me some of that toilet paper, extra absorbent. Cuz Imma make someone bawl!
MARCOS DANIEL: Go get ‘em, Bam Bam!
He tosses her a roll. Sybille catches it behind her back, heads out.
LAUREN DAVIS: This is GREAT! I’m super pumped you guys. I haven’t lost a match since October! Plus I’ve been returning Madison Keys kick second serve so I’m totally ready for Stosur’s. BRING IT ON!
DONALD YOUNG: She’s got a lot of pressure on her shoulders too. No 1 Aussie! Too bad Sybille took all the toilet paper cuz you’ll wipe the court with Sam!
LAUREN DAVIS: And hello, Marin Cilic? I don’t think he even has a ranking anymore.
They high five.
EXECUTIONER: Donald, let’s go.
Good luck you guys!
They high five three more times. Donald leaves.
LAUREN DAVIS: Coco, you’re so lucky. I win the WC play-off but you drew Alize Cornet. My best friend’s Nana beat her in a Challenger in November and she’s been dead for five years.
COCO VENDEWEGHE: Yeah, but I have to play Clijsters in the third round, then Ana Ivanovic after that and then Jelena Jankovic after that. Hello!
MARCOS DANIEL: I get to play RAFA! He’ll probably default after peeing himself in the locker room thinking about playing for four majors in a row. JEALOUS?!
EXECUTIONER: Marcos. Vamos.
KAROL BECK: Excuse me, where’s Sybille? She’s taking a really long time.
EXECUTIONER: Oh, she’s killing Vera. Just killing her.
LAUREN DAVIS: I knew it!
MARCOS DANIEL: I’m just gonna take my tennis bag.
EXECUTIONER: I’d…take everything else with you.
MARCOS DANIEL: Oh. Okay.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Pick on his forehand, Marcos!
He shadowboxes, then walks out.
IRINA FALCONI: What’s the score in Donald’s match you think?
POTITO STARACE: I bet he broke the scoreboard. That’s what all the experts said he would do.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: They’re never wrong!
POTITO STARACE: I wish he will hurry back, I was not done telling him how bad I am going to beat Robin Soderling! He has never made it past second round here. It will be like taking candy from big pasty spiky-haired baby!
IRINA FALCONI: Alisa Kleybanova needed injury time outs for her back and her foot in her last match. She’ll be too gimpy to wring the sweat from a hair bun!
POTITO STARACE: Ooh, SNAP!
They bootie bump.
LAUREN DAVIS: Karol, what are you doing over there?
KAROL BECK: Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Petkovic have little dances they do when they win. I’m just workshopping a few moves of my own. I don’t want to improv something stupid when I school Andy Murray. You know he’s lost here in the first round before. Plus he sucks at majors. Says so in all the Brit tabloids.
Karol does some high kicks and the Soldier Boy.
POTITO STARACE: Ooh, do the Bend and Snap!
They do it together.
KAROL: Bend. And Snap. Bend. And Snap. I love it!
EXCUTIONER: Karol, it’s time. Lauren, Coco, you too.
LAUREN DAVIS: Where’s Sybille?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: And Donald, and Marcos. They should be back by now.
EXECUTIONER: They’re going to be awhile. They’re doing heaps of press with all the networks. Life changing wins, you know. Rafa was literally run into the ground. Had to do a memorial service right there. Roger wept. Tragic, tragic.
He walks them out.
POTITO STARACE: This is a day for underdogs! FORZA!
IRINA FALCONI: I just have such a good feeling, you know? This is the best Australian Open ever!
Irina sees something that stops her, something dug into the opposite stone wall. She looks closer. Her eyes grow wide. It’s Tathiana Garbin’s fingernails.
EXECUTIONER: Time to go now Irina.
She turns. Potito is gone.
EXECUTIONER: But first, it puts the sunblock on its skin or it gets the hose again.
All we hear are screams as he steps inside and the door closes on a brutally unforgiving Day 2.
Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.
Day 1 - Jan 17 - 1:03pm EST
A Grand Slam is like a blind date. You really don’t know if you’ve got a hubba hubba luvah or a stone cold psycho on your hands until you’re sitting across from them at the Olive Garden. Or, you know, you flip on your TV.
Our blind date actually started a day early, with the “Rally for Relief.” The star-studded exo benefitting Queensland flood victims was, in a word, scrumdiddlyumptious. We had Andy Roddick donning a hat and sunglasses looking more like a Boca Raton retiree than a linesman as he leered at a giggly Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. We had a mic’d Andy Murray and Ana Ivanovic playing points with such guttural grunts that we needed a four cigarettes and a Cuban afterwards. And we had Ana asking exo GOAT Novak Djokovic to get behind her while she returned serve, eliciting 70’s sitcom oooohs and catcalls. First impression of our blind date: kinda horny.
But that was just the date’s small talk (okay fine, nearly $2 million-raising small talk, but small talk nonetheless). The meat is the play, and our blind date suddenly gets kinda nervy the minute Maria Sharapova kicks off the action today on Rod Laver. Who could forget Maria losing here in the 1r last year? Clearly not Maria herself, who powers through the first set v. Tamarine Tanasugarn only to get a little shaky in the second. But she remembers she’s a trained killer and finishes off the poor vet. In Sharapova’s press conference afterwards, a New Zealand reporter who’s been dogging her across Australia (and who Maria only half-jokingly called a stalker in her last presser) showed up again with a cardboard sign that said “I am not a stalker.” She was not amused. Neither, reportedly, are Aussie officials. Our blind date is a CREEPSTER.
This is where our friend would call us on our cell with some BS story of a family emergency, but dammit there are no bars!
The World #1, highlights day 1
Next up is Caroline Wozniacki, who’s become the Frankenstein monster of the WTA, chased though the woods with torches and pitchforks because she has the audacity to rack up enough points to become No 1. BURN THE WITCH! The only thing that needs burning is her dress, and it should light up nicely as it looks like it was constructed out of Amtrak train curtains. Our blind date is LEGALLY BLIND.
Roger Federer and Andy Roddick demolish their opponents, who are gone too fast to catch their names. Our date is a BULLY!
Sam Querrey and Daniela Hantuchova lose in extra innings, Thiemo de Bakker loses after being up two sets and a dozen breaks on Gael Monfils (who rubbed salt in the wound afterward by saying “he snap in the head”), and the season’s first double bagel is forced down the throat of Tathiana Garbin by Marion Bartoli. Garbin said in November that the AO would be her final tournament as a singles player. So her last match would be a 0-6, 0-6 scoreline. Our date is a HEARTBREAKER.
Venus Williams is next. She of the can-can and corsets threatened more skin this go round, and when she walks on court covered head to toe I morph into a dirty old man, shouting “take it off!” When she does, I feel like I did after watching Geraldo Rivera finally open Al Capone’s fault. That’s it? Our date is ANTICLIMACTIC. Our date is also SNEAKY as Venus takes puffs from an inhaler hidden inside her towel. What the dilly yo, V? Pam Shriver attempts to get the scoop afterwards but sadly that microphone didn’t come with the Jaws of Life.
Oh but joy! Nicolas Mahut, who qualified for the main draw, sasses his way to the 2r, as does Francesca Schiavone and Mardy Fish, who battles back from 2 sets down for the first time in his career to throw the U.S. a bone after the exits of Querrey, Ryan Harrison, Alison Riske and Jamie Hampton – all without ankle socks!
Our car pulls up to the curb. The 2011 Australian Open walks us to the porch. What, no you can’t come inside, I slept with Wimbledon on the first date and I needed cranberry juice for a week. Okay, a kiss (but no tongue!). As it bids adieu and drives away, amidst all the mixed signals, our first impression is crystal clear: the ’11 Aussie is EFFING NUTS. But, like, sexy nuts, when you know you shouldn’t give them your ATM card but you just can’t help yourself because they look so good in those tight pants? We may end up broke and homeless when it’s all said and done, but at least it won’t be boring.
Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.