Sunday, July 04, 2010


Listening to: Radio 1

I just finished watching an almost clinical (well, save a few unnecessary unforced errors and 2nd serves) Wimbledon Final performance by Rafael Nadal. Rafa is my absolute favourite and I'm thrilled that it was so easy for him, but I had kinda hoped that Tomas Berdych (who is actually quite cute, btw) would rise to the occasion. He did against Federer and Djokovic, but not today. He's got potential though, and as with most of the players on the tour, he just needs to work more on his mental game.

While I was screaming words of encouragement at the monitor, my mind went back to a time when I wasn't into tennis. Yes folks, believe it or not, there was a time when I couldn't stand the stuff. Or cricket, for that matter. Oh how things have changed.

I used to be really into my Premier League football. I was a steady Spurs supporter (two words: 'Gary Lineker'). Tennis, in my opinion (if you can count the opinion of a 9 yr-old, that is), took far too long. Realistically though, there was a deeper reason. My father worked long hours, and I cherished the time he was at home...but with Wimbledon on TV, he might as well have been at work. I still remember that famous '92 Wimbledon final between Agassi and Ivanisevic. I was in the middle of a very tough 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and I wanted Thaththi's help. But nooooo, he and Ammi were screaming words of encouragement at the TV (sound familiar?). Hmph. I can't remember why I went and sat next to them, but I did. And I followed the ball, and the cheers. And the scoreboard. Before long, I had grasped the basics of the game. And you know what? It wasn't that bad. In fact, it was actually quite enjoyable. Maybe I would learn to like this tennis malarkey after all.

Or maybe not. We moved back to SL in '93, and had no contact with tennis for a while (except through the papers). But then somehow, we managed to catch the 1996 US Open. I saw Pete Sampras play, and I was hooked. For a while at least...I briefly lost interest when Sampras retired, and it took the first of the Federer/Nadal encounters to reel me back in. Their rivalry, combined with the excellent BBC tennis coverage, has turned me into an addict.

Like I said earlier, tennis isn't the only sport that I learnt to love. Considering that I thought tennis took too long, you can imagine why I didn't like cricket! Again, the Ashes would steal my father from me, and it irritated me that he would rather sit and watch some weird moustached man (Graham Gooch) instead of playing Scrabble with me. Double hmph.

Fast forward to January 1996. I was in hospital after my surgery, and utterly bored in my room. As luck would have it, the TV in the room would only show one channel. The same channel that was showing Sri Lanka's infamous tour of Australia. I had two choices: try and follow the cricket, or die of boredom. And so I followed. I listened to the commentary, and tried to figure out what the hell was going on. I filled in the gaps by quizzing my father during visiting hours. And then I was discharged, just in time for the World Cup. The rest, as they say, is history.

So yeah, what started out as a way to have some quality time with my father, or to relieve my boredom, resulted in a lifelong love affair. And now I couldn't care less about the Premiership. Funny how things work out, no?


  1. Yeah, long live the Test cricket fan!

  2. i remember my days when i fell in love with Hingis and Sampras, those were good times. :)
    tennis fans don't like cricket. its a thing.


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