Led by John McEnroe, the purists are relentless in their lament: There's no poetry in tennis these days. We challenge that with this preview of the Australian Open.
There once was a Grand Slam Down Under,
The logistics, the source of some wonder.
The year's first major tourney
Entails a long journey,
And the Super Bowl plunders its thunder.
But they all make it down to Australia,
Pros with their stringed paraphernalia.
They joust at Melbourne Park,
Bent on leaving a mark
On this two-week tennis saturnalia.
Djokovic is among those who'll attend,
Which means: He's likely to defend
With strokes that are symphonic
And a new coach, Teutonic,
To Number 1 he will re-ascend.
With a mature and professional demeanor
Our women's pick? You guessed it: Serena.
Though she fell last year to Sloane,
She quickly reentered The Zone.
It's hard to imagine a new intervenor.
But Azarenka the Belarussian Warrior
Puts the victor in the name Victoria.
For all of two weeks
We'll get plenty of shrieks.
Could the last one be caused by euphoria?
Sharapova has laid it quite bare,
She's back—other players beware.
This blond, East Bloc-ette,
Has legs like a Rockette,
But she kicks something other than air.
A mere year ago the unwise wrote
That Nadal's career was barely afloat,
But his play has since commanded
Praise fore- and backhanded,
And he's back, closing in on the GOAT.
Then there's all the surmising
Over Federer's game—and its revising.
He may be regressing,
A thought that's depressing,
But how sweet would this be: an uprising?
Speaking of Fed, we hoped to sate
Your appetite for tennis verse on this date.
This will end today's rhyming,
These bad puns and worse timing,
By calling it a day—or a g'day, mate.
With his Avalanche cruising along, volatile rookie coach Patrick Roy has been on good—and kind of dull—behavior. Last week NBC's Jeremy Roenick visited practice. In 1996, Roy memorably said, "I can't really hear what Jeremy says because I got my two Stanley Cup rings plugged in my ears." Asked how his visit with his old nemesis went, Roy, who went on to win two more titles, said, "I had the other two rings in my mouth; I couldn't say anything to him." He meant it lightheartedly. Sigh.
THEY SAID IT
"It's the carrot at the end of the rainbow."
Brandt Snedeker, on his attempts to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Snedeker had an eventful week: On Twitter he offered football coach James Franklin golf lessons for life if he'd stay at Vanderbilt (Snedeker's alma mater). Alas, on Saturday, Franklin accepted the Penn State job.
DAVID CALLOW FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHARAPOVA)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SNEDEKER)
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LYNNE CARTY: JACK DEMPSEY/AP (ROY)