The first day of action brought out the WTF in the ATP World Tour Finals.
In the first singles match of the tournament, Andy Murray beat Juan Martin Del Potro: 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. As Del Potro was getting gauze stuffed up his nose a la Vera Zvonareva in the first set, I sang to myself: Bonjour Jo-Wilfried! But the Argentine suddenly clicked into Playstation mode (an “on” button located high up in his nostril, perhaps?) and he started banging the ball off both sides for the better part of a set and a half. So the crowd got to inspire their hometown hero and Murray came out the victor in the end. Game, set, match London.
Things got really freaky when Roger Federer took the court against Fernando Verdasco. As soon as Roger was broken in the first game of the match, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I knew: the Bad Roger had come out to play! I don’t mean the occasionally surly guy who curses at disrespectful chair umps and argues with Hawkeye, but the evil twin who shanks forehands against Murray, smashes racquets against Djokovic and looks to be as excited about tennis as a teenage cashier at a US Open concession stand.
So what inspires this dastardly R.F. clone to rear his well-coiffed head? I wracked my brain for answers during the first and most of the second set, when I was convinced that he’d stuffed the real Roger into a locker and swallowed the key. Obviously things changed dramatically when Roger broke Verdasco at the end of the second set to take it to a deciding third. Suddenly the Real Roger Federer was striding around the court, vanquishing both his evil twin and the floundering Spaniard: 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
So maybe my theorizing was for nothing, but I’ll share my list with you for superstition’s sake.
Top 20 Reasons the Bad Roger Federer comes out to play:
1. 2:00am feedings
2. 4:00am feedings
3. 6:00am feedings
4. Boat ride to the tournament makes him queasy
5. And his racquets fell in the Thames on the way over
6. Blinded by Nando’s traffic cone orange shirt
7. Terrified that Verdasco or Carlos Bernardes might speak Spanish to him (click here)
8. Clause in new Lindt chocolate contract requires him to eat one chocolate bar per changeover
9. Weighed down by bulging bank account
10. Surprised to find that the court in London is blue and hard instead of green and grassy
11. Stayed up late with Mirka (and the Bryan Bros) watching Twilight: New Moon last night
12. Heart broken when Darren Cahill yelled “I love you best, Nando!” from the stands
13. Saving himself for Abu Dhabi
14. Worried that breaking a sweat might ruin his chances for AXE Deodorant contract
15. Overconfident from beating the other Spanish lefty 6-3 in practice yesterday
16. Can’t get the image of a crying Julien Benneteau out of his head
17. Caught a Karl Marx documentary on the History Channel and feels the urge to share the wealth
18. Pierre Paganini was on vacation last week and Dr. Walter Bartoli filled in
19. After this year’s run at the French Open, tournaments aren’t fun for him unless he’s coming from behind
20. After being fired by Andre Agassi, Severin “Slim” Luthi began a new life in Switzerland as Roger’s spiked-soda-pop-loving coach