Thanks to “nikdom” for picking out this quote from a recent LA Times piece on Oracle CEO/Indian Wells owner/tennis fanatic Larry Ellison:
Ellison, who calls himself a Rafael Nadal “fan boy,” spoke of the dramatic 2009 Australian Open five-set semifinal between Nadal and Fernando Verdasco and of the emotions two days later in the final when Nadal beat Federer, who cried when it was over. Nadal’s graciousness, Ellison said, was a lesson for everyone.
“Rafa was so upset Roger had lost,” Ellison said. “Rafa was really upset, he was almost in tears. As fierce as he is on the court, and no one fights harder than Rafa, he is even a nicer person. Rafa is the kid you want to adopt. Roger seems like a man. Rafa is a big kid.”
Okay, so I agree that Rafa is pretty adorable, but it’s a funny statement for a tournament owner to make. (Also, at 65-years-old Ellison may be a little long in the tooth to call himself a fan boy – how about a fan grandpa?) I imagine him meeting Rafa at a tournament cocktail party, throwing an arm around his broad shoulders and saying something like, “Well of course I could never substitute for your real father, but have you seen my collection of sailboats? It’s all yours. . .” (Snaps his fingers at a lackey behind him,who hands over some paperwork) “Just sign here!”
Roger sounds just a little wary of Papa Ellison:
“Obviously, it’s great for someone to spend so much money on our sport and even more so because it’s a person who obviously does love the sport, loves the game,” Federer said. “It will be interesting to see how much he will be around.“
I, for one, am just happy that Ellison helped keep Indian Wells in Southern California! Ellison’s purchase of the tournament kept Indian Wells from going to the Middle East or Asia (not exactly my backyard.)