Tag Archives: tennis

An Emotional Embrace

I was gutted for Andy Murray when he lost in the 2012 Wimbledon final. During the customary post-match speeches, one could feel the appreciation of the British crowd for Murray, who was always considered as too dour. Being an athlete myself, I found his emotional display heartwarming.

Perhaps no other moment could better signify the newly-minted Olympic Champion’s ascendance into British hearts than Henry Caplan’s memorable hug.

Read: “You’re my hero and you deserve a hug! Schoolboy’s embrace with Olympic champion Andy Murray captures buoyant mood of the nation”

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Rafael Nadal vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

Check out this cool Nike ad featuring Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Sports as a Career

I read an article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday about Jeson Patrombon’s decision to skip college for at least a year to focus on his tennis career.  In contrast, the Philippines’ other junior ace, Francis Casey Alcantara, chose to attend Fresno University on an athletic scholarship. Patrombon is one of the Philippines’ eminent junior tennis standouts. The Iligan-city native is currently 30th in the ITF junior rankings.

Read the PDI’s “Patrombon Chooses Tennis over Studies”

The stocky Patrombon had reached the second round of the French Open juniors competition. In the Inquirer article, he aims to be the first-ever Filipino to reach a Grand Slam singles event in the open era (Felicissimo “Mighty Mouse” Ampon once competed with distinction in Roland Garros).

Reading the article reminded me of the legendary John McEnroe’s approach on developing future tennis stars. The mercurial McEnroe, a revered figure in international tennis, advocates a holistic approach to tennis, where promising talents are allowed to live like any other kid his/her age. This is in stark contrast to McEnroe’s brother Patrick who espouse a sports-school based infrastructure.

Read ESPN’s article on McEnroe’s alternative tennis academy

Back in my days as a college-level athlete, I was always faced with the dilemma of prioritizing sport over academics (or vice-versa). Since I was a student-athlete, my role as a student came first. Besides, being a professional track & field athlete was nothing but a pipe dream. Reaching the Olympic final was just a far-flung dream! I knew for a fact that the sport, no matter how passionate I am for it, cannot encompass my future career.

But if I were given the skills to compete in the highly-competitive global athletics circuit, I would have answered a resounding “Yes!” to the offer.

On one hand, I see the wisdom of John McEnroe’s approach. A single-minded compulsion for one particular goal can be a double-edged sword. It threatens to consume one’s being, if the athlete is not careful. The pressure of elite-level sport can make the most resolute of athletes succumb (think Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis). If an athlete is bound to spend a good part of his/her best years spending time in various hotel rooms around the world, why not provide the athlete a simple, nondescript childhood?

On the other hand, the contrasting Nietzschean philosophy bodes well for one’s athletic development. Truly, living and breathing the sport 24/7 can do wonders for one’s game. And if one’s passion indeed lies in pursuing the sport, why not dedicate every single living moment of life for this passionate pursuit?

I wish the best for Patrombon. Amongst all other Filipinos his age, Patrombon has taken the road less traveled.

It’s high time someone from our country qualifies for a Grand Slam.

Federer: A Modern-day William Tell

Well, not exactly.

While Roger did not shoot an arrow over his son’s head like the mythical Swiss hero, the following trick shot is still amazing!

Got the video from Lance Armstrong’s twitter page. Thanks Lance!

Video credits:

GilletteVideosUK

Isner prevails over Mahut

I stayed up late last night just to finish John Isner and Nicholas Mahut’s ultra-marathon tennis match. Although Mahut seems to be the fresher one, with Isner appearing almost lethargic and obviously exhausted (if you’ve been playing for 11 hours, who won’t be?), the latter finally seized match point after three days of play. It took 11 hours and 5 minutes to determine the winner.

I feel bad for Mahut. Too bad there aren’t any dead heats in tennis.

The match is a certified classic. I’m glad that I’ve watched it live on the boob tube. Too bad we won’t be seeing any replays any time soon.

Some quotes from Isner, Mahut and the Chair Umpire after the epic match (from BBC & Wimbledon.org):

Isner on Mahut (BBC): “What more can you say? The guy’s an absolute warrior. It stinks someone had to lose. To share this with him was an absolute honour. Maybe we’ll meet again somewhere down the road and it won’t be 70-68.”

Mahut (Wimbledon.org): “At this moment, it’s really painful. But it was amazing to play these three days. We played the greatest tennis match ever at the greatest place to play tennis.”

Umpire Momaned Lahyani (BBC): “When you are so focused and every point feels like a match point you just don’t even think about eating or needing the bathroom. I travel Economy so seven hours sitting still on court is nothing.”

Additional Links

BBC Article

Wimbledon article

Blow-by-blow account of the 5th set

Photo Credits

Guardian.co.uk

Cbcsports.ca

Metro.co.uk

Roland Garros

It’s French Open time again. It sucks how I don’t have the time to follow the games as much as I want. As a child, I used to watch tennis matches all the time with my dad. For one summer before 3rd grade, my brother and I learned the basics of the game. I never had the passion for it. Perhaps I was just too lazy as a kid!

Nevertheless, the interest in tennis still remains. It’s a beautiful game (especially women’s tennis!) to watch. The French Open and Wimbledon are my two favorite Grand Slams. Through the years, I’ve rooted for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Justine Henin and Ana Ivanovic. It’s a pity how Roger got kicked out by Soderling, but then again, that’s how sports go. To make matters even worse, my new tennis crush – Caroline Wozniacki – also suffered an early exit!

Wozniacki

Photo credits:

http://upload.wikimedia.org

Great Nike Ads!

I like the Three Stripes better than the Swoosh. There’s just something elegant about Adidas. But then again, Nike makes the best sports ads.

Here are some of the Nike Ads I love best:

1.) Write the Future (2010) –
I’m not a football fan, but this somehow gets me into the World Cup groove. I like how the clip explores the various outcomes of a football match – and the touch of humour as well. The fact that Kobe and Federer are featured in the campaign bridges the football divide.

2.) Nike South Africa (2006) –
I used to recite the lines uttered in the video back in college. It exudes the gung-ho, no-fear attitude one has to have to succeed in sports. I’m not familiar with most of the South African athletes in the ad, aside from Godfrey Mokoena and the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, nevertheless, it’s a quite a powerful commercial.

3.) Nike Training –

Liu Xiang and Manny Pacquiao in one commercial. Need I say more?

4.) Nike Courage (2008) –

The following ad is short, but the awesome soundtrack and classic sporting moments (Liu Xiang, Carl Lewis, Derek Redmond, Michael Jordan!) featured in it contribute to one inspiring, bad-ass ad – the best among the three.

Sports and Corporate Life

I used to espouse a Nietzchean approach to things. Take track & field for instance. Back in college, I dropped all sorts of extra-curricular activities- from school org’s to my social life – just to be faster, stronger and better.In the corporate world, such line of thinking is hard to live out. One must learn to find balance.

I admire businessmen/family men/athletes like Wilfred Uytengsu and Jean-Henri Lhullier. Both are active physically, with Uytengsu being an accomplished triathlete and Lhullier having decades worth of experience in tennis.

I long to have the financial flexibility to engage in such pursuits, but then again, I’m quite far off the top of the corporate ladder. Come to think of it, I do not even know what I’m passionate about outside track & field. It’s a puzzle, all right, but I’ll be finding my way around things as I move on in life.

I’m particularly impressed with Uytengsu. In fact, reading that Rogue Magazine article about the Alaska Milk CEO was one of the driving factors in my attempting a comeback. If one of the country’s top business leaders can juggle business, family and triathlon training, I’m quite confident that I can manage a two-pronged balancing act.

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