Friday, February 18, 2011

The Dog days of Summer

While I'd like to make the focal point of today's blog something we've not covered before like that nutty Superbowl halftime show or quantum vs. classical physics but instead it's going to be about, yes, tennis.  (At least it's not more LOST).  The twist this time is that it's not about me playing (I use that term loosely).  This week last year I was in Rio learning about the craziest party in the world hence I missed the annual tennis tournament that rolls into town here for the week. It's no Lipton, US Open or Wimbledon but it has it's own charm and some of the best red clay courters in the world.

I was so eager to check it out, that I went to both days of Qualifying.  These are the days before the tournament even starts where 32 guys you've never heard of try to win 3 matches in a row to get one of 4 spots in the main draw.  These dudes are literally playing for a paycheck and it's not really a big one at that.  That doesn't mean the competition or skill level is any less intense.

That's one of the final qualifying matches in the nice stadium they have for the main matches.  There's a few things to be gleaned from this picture.  The first is that although the stadium looks empty, most people were sitting on our side or behind me in the shade to escape the hot hot heat.  I know I won't get any sympathy from my New york mates but I think we went 5 days in a row with not a cloud in the sky.  The sun just beats down on you till 730pm at night.  The other thing to note is LOOK AT WHERE THIS  GUY IS HITTING A FOREHAND FROM!?  He's a good 2 feet outside the doubles alley.  There is such stroke as a backhand but some of the players here will do anything use their strength and this guy hit a winner inside out from there so what do I know?

My buddy Pedro is good pals with the coach of a russian player named Igor Andreev.

I took a picture in his first round match when he came to net because that doesn't happen often especially on the slow clay.  Unfortunately, he lost that match but he is still alive in the doubles which is good for free tickets. 

In case you forgot what Pedro looks like he is the same as last year.  We've been hanging out every day and he's not quite tired of me yet, but I'm working on it.  One day we went to the tournament with all of the kids he trains.

That made me nostalgic for my days of teaching kids.  Screw you Wall St. for making me jaded and bitter.  Actually I'm not that jaded nor bitter but David Ferrer looks like it with that face he's making in the background.


In a nice touch they also have night matches here as relief from the incessant sun.  That's an up and coming player named Alexander Dogopolov.  He made the quarters at the Aussie Open already this year and has a very unorthodox game.  That is him right after he makes contact on a serve and look at the air he gets.   Who says white guys can't jump?  He lost this match of course, but I think he can make a serious run at Wimbledon given the way he plays.  Remember you heard that here first.
When we weren't suffocating in the heat we were doing what most Argentines do for dinner in groups. 

That's right, an ASADO.  It's very similar to an American style BBQ except the grill looks and works a bit different.  Here Pedro is supervising something.  

Here, I'm not sure what he's doing but the rest of us are happy after the tasty burgers.  

Aside from the above everything has been very tranquilo.  The girls whose Iphone I found took me to an Argentine brewery which was very nice of her as payback for returning it (as well as getting me two bottles of wine).  I'll take that over the $50 cool hard cash any day.  It rained all day today which was sorely needed so I stayed home and traded RIMM stock at options expiry making 5 positive trades which I'm fired up about.  We shall see what the weekend brings.

1 comment:

  1. ajjaaj, i dont know why I look so serious in the pic. you shouldnt use it! i was having a great evening...