Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Backhands and Compliments

Whenever a player is interviewed on-court at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the first sentence usually goes a little like this:

So great to be here in New York!


Really love it here in New York!


So happy to have the support of the fans here in New York!

And in the stands those big city cattle cowpie themselves each time New York is mentioned. Those jaded New Yorkers who have seen it all. Those wile New Yorkers you can't put anything past. Each time they fall for the oldest trick in the book; referencing the hometown.

No one does this kind of pandering at the other Grand Slams, which is weird when you consider that those tournaments also take place in grand locations.

The French Open is in Paris. The city of love. The city of lights. The city where newlyweds go to put a bow on their marriage. The city where oldieweds go looking for a way to tolerate each other for a few more years. The city where gals with terminal illness go to regret not running off with that waiter they thought loved them but who in reality forget their junk-riddled cabooses the second they left the cafe.

Paris is perhaps the most written about city on Earth, yet you never hear players say:

I really love playing on the red clay here is Paris! Red like my heart, 'cause I love this city!

Wimbledon--the most coveted Grand Slam--is in London. The home of the Crown. The nerve center of what not so long ago was the most far-reaching empire in human history. Sam Johnson once remarked that, "When a man is tired of London he is tired of life." Can you imagine a Wimbledon player saying:

So happy to be here under these grimy gray skies in front of you sour snot fans. But hey, that's London for ya! (raises pint glass)

You may laugh at these examples, but are they that much more ridiculous than the spectacle of watching players who travel the world beg for the approval of fans in New York, many of whom are from out of town?

The Australian Open is held in Melbourne. Melbourne, the city of...well, three out of four ain't bad.

If players at the Australian Open bothered to reference Melbourne, it would be something like:

I hate Melbourne. You hate Melbourne. And if it weren't so far away from everywhere else we all know you'd leave.

Watch me hit groundstrokes over on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/greatMikePayne

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