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James - Los Angeles, CA | Read James' Second Entry

TO: Tournament Directors, Players, Mary Carillo

FROM: James LaRosa

DATE: March 2, 2007

RE: Blockbuster Tennis

Between lattes and a maddeningly difficult Sudoku at my favorite Beverly Drive coffee shop, I've somehow found myself Commissioner for a Day of (!) tennis. As a Hollywood screenwriter, I'm of course aware that the biggest thrills in life are scripted. As such, my single act as B.M.O.Court is providing an outline for how the season will play out. Follow it. Times have changed, its Q rating is down, it';s up against Idol. We need to pump up the jam here or risk losing fans to PS3 and reading. Responsible for such daunted fare as Spring Break Shark Attack (check local listings), I feel I'm most qualified to speak to this. If I could sex up something as drab as Spring Break, I can certainly sex up the sport of tennis.

Open with a bang. Every blockbuster needs a big opening. This one will be the Australian Open, where we'll establish our main cast, zeroing in on a brash upstart and a beloved veteran. Age vs. experience. Hubris v. humility. Note: they both have to be hot.

Sex by page 10. Not necessarily actual sex. Though that would help. Let's stir up some romances at the joint tournaments. Indian Wells is a hotbed of impropriety. There's Commitment Contract money in it for those who drum up the most Yahoo searches.

By the end of ACT ONE, we lay out the central conflict. In this case, who'll finish the year on top. (It'll be Federer and Sharapova, but don't hint too hard, audiences are savvy these days and will see it coming).

Our halfway point is where we throw in the curve ball, the change-up to the central conflict. In this case: clay. It's dirty, and it doesn't favor Americans. It's got to play in the States if you want to make the big money. Switch it to astro-turf and paint Justin Timberlake's face on it.

ACT TWO builds through to Wimbledon, where our protagonist and our antagonist meet again. A bad call swings the match in someone's favor. Cries of foul. And a determination to prove who's the best. (This is a great place for a psycho parent, if you start losing the audience here.)

Finally, ACT THREE. The Showdown. The U.S.Open, where the crafty veteran, plagued by a last-minute injury, will still somehow pull out the strength to beat down the young upstart and finish the year #1. In the process, the newbie learns something valuable and vows, with a wry grin, to see their opponent next year.

The epilogue, the year end championships. Both are defeated in the semis, allowing a new face who just barely qualified to seize the day. Sequel money out the wazoo.

Following this script will ensure a thrilling season that'll maybe, just maybe, make the cover of Sports Illustrated.

And if all this doesn't work, we'll just add sharks.