Paris Masters

Friday, November 05, 2004

Paris Masters
Originally uploaded by nardac.
and if you look really closely, you can see me out of focus and blurry in the background.

yup, that's right. Today I was at the Paribas Masters, the indoor tennis championship in Paris. It was the battle for the 8 final spots.

The tournament has been rocked by some heavy early withdrawals. Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roger Federer were sure not to come, Agassi and Nalbandian abandoned in the first round. All in all, it hasn't looked like the tournament is keeping its glam ground.

On the other hand, this is one of those tournaments you can be sure to see Safin, Henman and Roddick around. And that's what I did today.

Sidenote: the tournament is played on a new artificial surface called something like Toreflex. It's blue and we got a chance to test it out. I can attest that it gives quite a nice reasonably soft surface to run on, but with terrific grip on the materials. So you can really accelerate and stop quickly. The speed is a little slower than grass.

First, we started with a little Tim Henman vs. Mikhaïl Youzhny. Youzhny is another mid-twenty russian suddenly picking up his game. He's just come off a surprising victory in the St. Petersbourg tournament. Long story short, Youzhny demoralizes Henman in the tie-break of the first set, and then Henman turns himself into a piece of sashimi and games over 10 minutes later. Youzhny can shoot the line fine, just like our buddy Federer.

Second game, Lleyton Hewitt vs. Nicolas Massu. Massu was one of the guess who's of the Olympics. It's great to know that, but watch the Chilean leapfrog in in his ocean to know the poetry of motion. There's magic in his awkward hunch, his shorter shorts and tucked in shirt, a straggly ponytail like a dead-end rocker, and a face that looks like it came from a truck. It works...

Dacnar told me that massu, in french, sounds like the word for stone-age club.

Unfortunately, so does thunderhead Hewitt. I don't like that guy, and I'm glad Kim dumped him. But, Massu's down for the count with a back injury in the second set. Too bad. I'm gonna have to see my Chilean jumping guy some other time.

Then there's this other game after, featuring Max Mirnyi and Andy Roddick. Andy doesn't wear his hat anymore and it looks like he took some pounds off with the hair. He's still great. But Max is greater. He's a tall noble northeastern european man, wearing a bright royal blue polo, playing great serve and volley, and commanding quite a decent service. He wins in two sets, easily. Roddick even turns to his coach Brad at one point, to ask him what to do because he just didn't have anything.

then blah blah blah, french guy loses to boring swedish dude.

eating indian food.

Then final game: Marat Safin vs. Jurgen Melzer. Safin is a god. He comes in to a rock band playing "live and let die" band. Then he gets on the court and girls, I kid you not, this guy is 100% bear! Jaysus, when he's moving around, it's scary because he's really fast and powerful...and...and...

Yeah, the other guy was good too, and he's beat Safin before. But he was also wearing a Roger Federer headband ponytail combo. Bad decision. That and tossing his racket around. There was even a 20 second boo session that he orchestrated. So he lost. That's the end.