Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Queen of Kooyong

So Sharapova is back in the final of the Australian Open.
I have not followed tennis for sometime now. To be honest, I lost interest, and prefer to just read the newspaper the next day if Fed-ex were able to add more to his grand slam. Don't get me wrong - I am waiting for the day when he overtakes Sampras in that department.
But I guess that will not be at this year's Australian Open.

In my years in Australia, I was hooked on tennis much earlier than I was cricket. It was a no brainer. Cool-iced Borg was at the peak of the rivalry with the hot-tempered McEnroe. Unfortunately for me, Borg was on the way down, so the last final we saw of him, he lost to McEnroe.
However, that didn't deter me from watching tennis, as there was a tennis star worthy of her place at the tennis' hall of fame.

Watching Chris Evert in action was like watching poetry in motion. She was beautiful and she was graceful. I would sit in my house at Bourke St in Leederville Perth, with my eyes fixed on her on the telly. I would buy tennis magazines that would have her on the cover.

Never mind that I had never touched a tennis racket in my whole life (then).

Moving on t0 Melbourne, Kooyong (which was just 30 mins train ride from Monash), then the home of the Australian Open, I could not find a friend who would accompany me to the Open to watch her. I didn't ask actually - I know they would laugh at me for wanting to watch her. I couldn't - I was a member of their usrah group!

One thing about Chris Evert, she was not as aggressive as Martina Navratilova. In fact they were so opposite. Martina to my eyes was a 'man'. Of course Chris being the 'lady' had difficulty coping with Martina's athleticism. Chris Evert was basically a baseliner who would wait for the opponent to make mistake.
She typically played a patient game. At times, baseliner may a be a bit boring to watch, but it is definitely not boring to watch Chris Evert.

And obviously, she was more fun to watch than Martina, for the obvious reason!

I had followed her career (18 grand slams, behind Margaret Court, Steffi Graff and Helen Wills) and life (from afar of course). I thought she and Jimmy Connors were an item then, but in the end, they didn't get married. She instead married John Llyod.

Now in her fifties, she had just gotten engaged with another great Australian, the Great White Shark - Greg Norman.

Well that was the 80s, and I guess nowadays people would be following another great tennis player, the beautiful (of all time?) Maria Sharapova.

Luckily for me, when I started working on my own, the first thing I did was getting rid Astro, so I cannot be watching her on the telly no more.

Of course in the look department, no one can beat Maria Sharapova. From tennis perspective though, I thought highly of Justine Henin, but I guess people - make it I - don't watch tennis simply to watch their skills.

Ah well, men will always be men.

But there will only be one queen of Kooyong for me.


Then again, later on in my student life, cricket took over my sporting passion with Allan Border and co being the in-thing for me, never mind that the Australian team was as bad as the current Liverpool team. Nowadays though, irrespecctive of whether or not Maria Sharapova ended up as the princess of Australian open, Manchester United is the only news for me, sport-wise.

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