Amy Maestri: Tennis Aficionado

I watched my first almost full tennis match the other day. It was a women’s match for a title of some sort. I tuned in right at the beginning of the 2nd portion of the scoring table thing that has 3 sections. As you can see, I am already an expert. As soon as I tuned in one of the women was at the little referee high chair throne thing complaining about something. Her name was something or other Jankovic. Jankovic was whining about her opponent, Maria Sharapova. Saying Sharapova was taking too much time by turning her back before a serve or some non sense. You could see Sharapova not looking too thrilled over her opponent’s outcry as she kind of smirked and rolled her eyes. (rolling your eyes at someone acting stupid always gets you major points with me right away, so that was excellent work for a first impression) The ref didn’t seem to be too impressed by Jankovic’s Tanya Harding impression crying over this either. Now that I think about it, I am going to refer to Jankovic as ‘Tanya’ for the rest of the story. Typing Jankovic is kind of a pain so let’s make it easier.

So right away, without knowing the first thing about tennis I was already on Sharapova’s side because of Tanya’s complaining and Sharapova’s excellent rolling of eyes ability. I don’t like seeing complaining like that in sports. I hate the one who is always on the ground crying, or yelling at the ref, or head butting other players in the chest because they felt like it. (For all you fellow soccer fans, you’re welcome) Just play the game, you know? So I continued watching, not always sure what the score meant or what they were talking about but I found myself getting really into it. The more I watched, the more I realized Tanya was in fact the biggest offender in wasting time, not Sharapova. In between the mini battles of swatting the ball with their rackets, Tanya would walk back to her coach in the crowd, get a little pep talk and a gold star if she did something good, wipe her face which wasn’t sweating with a towel, and then come back to the court. While she was doing this Sharapova was jumping on her toes anxiously waiting for the next battle of swatting while playing with her racket like those tennis pros do so well. What are they doing when they do that anyways? They always start picking at their racket like there are bugs in it. Wait! Is that it? From the swinging, do they collect bugs in it like a car on the freeway? Wow, I really am a tennis expert now. Point for me! Now that I have solved one of the greatest mysteries in sports history, let’s get back to the match. It was a really good battle. Anyone who can appreciate good athletes and good competition I think could have gotten into this match. It was back and forth and no one had a clear edge for more than a couple turns before the other one fought back. But I soon noticed something about Sharapova that really made me start pulling for her even more. She never once looked like she was going to be defeated. She looked frustrated at times of course, but it would only be for a moment before she got this intense game face back on. Anyone who knows me or who has read my stuff knows I am a big Hope Solo fan. No doubt, Hope Solo is the queen of the universe of the intense stare down and game face. My friend Dawn said she has tiger eyes, and I have to agree. A tiger who knows they can destroy you with one swipe and then be asked to be on Dancing With The Stars. You know, one of those classy tigers who can jitterbug. But I have to admit, Sharapova has a pretty good stare down too. Hers is one of pure concentration and focus. She had that look for most of the match and her body language stayed strong and confident. By the end you wouldn’t know that this match was pushing 3 hours by her body language. Tanya looked decently poised by the end also, but she just didn’t seem to have that edge, that inner force pushing her to win it. When it comes to one on one competition I have crazy respect for those athletes. It just comes down to you. Sharapova seemed to internalize everything and really motivate herself to win. I respect that. I also have to say that quite possibly one of my favorite things about the whole match was Sharapova screaming “Come on!!!!” and pumping her fist when she was pleased with a strong play. I love that she never changed it up. No “Yea!” or “Woo Hoo’s” just straight up, “Come on!!!” I was so inspired by it that later that day I found myself yell “Come on!!” after finally opening a jar of pickles I had been fighting with for a couple of days. There is no doubt in my mind those pickles felt like giant loser pickles after hearing my sheer joy from my victorious triumph. I may have to start using that more often in my day to day activities. Anyways, it was just great to see an athlete so passionate and focused all around. In the end, Sharapova did come out with the win after a very hard fought battle between the two. I will hand it to Tanya, she seemed to do very good with the whole swinging of the racket and darting from side to side thing, but just couldn’t hack it against Sharapova and her fist pumping cheers of glee.

This match definitely gained my interest to continue watching and try to become more knowledgeable on it. Although, as you can clearly see from this I am already basically a certified tennis expert. So in conclusion I just have one more thing to say. Aside from Sharapova’s obvious athletic ability, determination, and skill, I think she also had a clear advantage past all that. Anyone watching could tell you she deserved this win and this is why. Her lady tennis player grunts were far superior. I didn’t hear Tanya grunt once, not once! What kind of women’s tennis player is that? As Sharapova would say, “Come on!!!”