© Ella Ling

Dmitry Tursunov

Ask Dmitry: Tursunov's agony uncle column


Dmitry Tursunov, the world No 61 and The Tennis Space’s agony uncle, answers readers’ cries for help (just not with a great deal of sensitivity).

Dear Dmitry,
   Any advice for how to deal with opponents who always starts a conversation with each other just as I’m preparing to serve? This is in a “friendly” ladies’ group in Cincinnati.
 Thanks! Love the column,
Maria H.
Dear Maria,
In all my time in tennis I have never seen a friendly ladies league match. You girls are marking your territories like rabid raccoons!

Why do I have to teach you everything?! Set their hair on fire, pour laxative in their drinks, compliment how well they’ve packed on the pounds or sound amazed that they are finally pregnant by pointing at their tummy. You’ve got to use your creativity to cause destruction. After all, you girls do it so well when you get married to a man, so just direct that energy towards your opponents instead. The whole point of these friendly matches is not to win them, but to obliterate your opponent emotionally. A high from a win will wear out in a day or two, but an emotional put-down will stay with them far longer than that. If this doesn’t work, practice hard on target serving. It will come in handy!
 Dear Uncle Dmitry,
What’s your stance on sun-visors? Manly or not manly?
Alexander, London
Well I just find them absolutely repulsive. Nothing says… God!..  Just any adjective I have in mind would be edited here, so… I don’t know… I just get violent when I think about them! I almost punched a lady sleeping in the seat next to me on an airplane when I read the question.

A visor is definitely a tool to destabilize your opponent. Or anyone looking at you, for that matter. You want to look like a tool? Want everyone to hate you? Want to give a middle finger to society? This is the biggest finger you can find!

What is the meaning of it?! Who thought it was better than a hat? Why do so many golfers wear it? I think it’s all self-explanatory. You just need a pair of khaki shorts, a pastel colored polo shirt with the collar sticking up, a pair of sports polarized sunglasses, and a belt-clip for your I-phone. Maybe a fanny-pack, to complete the look. Stitch your name on your golf-bag and say good-bye to your sex life.
Other than that, it’s okay.
Dear Uncle Dmitry,
I am at the end of my tether.  I’m 23 and my local tennis club has recently started a doubles competition. It’s mostly just for fun, to meet other members and make friends, but there’s just one problem. The mixed doubles partner I’ve been paired with is, well, she’s crazy.  She also happens to be the worst player at the club.  Whenever she makes a mistake she turns on me, shouting awful obscenities (even in front of children) and screaming about how awful I am, it’s just so unfair! The club say I have to deal with it myself and I was hoping you could advise me on how to approach this situation delicately as I wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings… too badly. Also, she’s 84 years old.
Sincerely, Edward, a frustrated tennis player
You are 23 years old and you sound as if YOU are 84 years old, not your partner. Awful obscenities… It’s just so unfair… Come on!

Have you ever heard a WTA match up-close? These girls swear worse than sailors at times! Emotions are part of the game and your partner just wears them on her sleeve. Most likely she is at the stage of her life where she realizes she ain’t getting any better at this game and frankly doesn’t give a rat’s ass anymore. She wants to go out with a win and you are, probably, dragging her down with your cautious attitude so she’s giving you some tough love. Remember, this is a chick who went through tougher times in her life than just a bad game of put-put tennis and in all honesty it sounds like she’s got some unresolved emotions built up, if you know what I mean.

You’ve got to step up your game! There is a saying – “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Show her who’s the man! Give her a nice slap on the toosh if she hits a good shot, the way basketball players do it. Take control of the situation! Take her out on a date! You are just being too timid and letting her walk all over you. Make some lemonade man, tame her wild side!
 Dear Uncle Dmitry,
Which is the best language to swear in? Every umpire knows English swear-words, and all the decent ones know all the naughty words in a few other languages too. I’m looking for a good language to swear in when I’m playing. Two reasons. One, I won’t get thrown out of tournaments. Two, it will make me look sophisticated (I think). Please help!!
If you are trying to impress the ladies, go with French or Italian. These are just superb at making you sound dead sexy to a woman. There must be something in the frequencies of these languages that women will literally have an orgasm if you speak these languages. I don’t have to speak them as I can achieve this result even if I whisper into a woman’s ear in Dutch or German, but if I wasn’t me, I’d learn these two languages first. If, however, you want to learn a language to avoid an umpire, which is unlikely, as you are a guy and guys only think about one thing (Oh, no! What? Nobody is calling me a man-hater for this one?!?!) I would go with something truly exotic. Like Hindi for example. I always wondered if Gandhi was swearing when he spoke. He probably did too, but he was so cute and disarming, and his head wouldn’t stop moving… You’d never think he was swearing at you! There is a large Indian population in London so you could practice your swearing as well.

For example, if I go to a Chinese restaurant, the waiters and the chef always look and sound as if they are about to start throwing knifes and frying pans at each other, so I think you’d come off too aggressive trying to speak Mandarin on the court. You can also give it a shot cursing in Tongues
Dear Uncle Dmitry,
I’ve read your first column on The Tennis Space and I’m so excited about your new position as ‘ATP sommelier of fan-girls’. Congratulations! Well-deserved. Before I send in my CV and photo for your review, I’d like to look my best first.  I believe I look good enough but one thing can be improved… I want Andrea Petkovic’s abs.  Best WTA abs so far. Hands-down. Have you ever by chances noticed hers? Could you please give me advice what she’s been doing during the training, what she’s been eating… With abs like hers, I’m confident that you won’t have a hard time ‘selling’ my CV and it would make your job easier. Win-win, eh?
PS. Your job scope includes retired players? You have Marat Safin’s address, right?
Thank you Angela! I completely agree – it is well deserved, but I try to be humble about it. It is a lot of work, as many of the tennis players tend to focus on themselves and their careers, overlooking the fact that it’s the fan-girls who allow us to lead the lifestyle. I just try to give back what I can.

Now, onto your question. First off, (Marat) and I do not like a hardcore abs on a woman. We are old-school types who feel a woman is sexier and more sensual when it’s a nice toned tummy with just a hint of a six-pack. Obviously I’m not talking about a beer-belly, but a man and a woman have different bodies and a woman naturally will have a little more body-fat. It is more challenging to get a six-pack for a woman. Pilates, Yoga, and some core exercises are all good in achieving a more toned look as the first two, in general, lengthen and tone your muscles rather than bulk you up.

The biggest issue however is the fact that there is a layer of fat between muscles and the skin so not only do you have to exercise to strengthen the muscle but also do some cardio to burn off the fat. I would suggest looking at your body-type first and foremost. You won’t cheat nature so you’ll work with what you have. Secondly, research on what you input into your body. Alcoholic drinks, breads, sugars, processed foods; sodas are all a huge factor of your well-being. By adjusting your diet, and exercises you can transform your body without radical sacrifices. Set small attainable goals, in terms of your regimen, make a list of all the foods in your household and make the necessary adjustments.

Also, remember that being sexy has a lot to do with how YOU feel about yourself. Well, that, and with what I tell you as well. I’m not promoting starvation, but neither do I promote eating like a pig and saying that people shouldn’t be superficial and judge you by your looks. There should be a balance and no radical changes right off the bat. Take it one step at a time. Control what you can. The less preparation stages the food goes through the better it is for you. Fruit, vegetables, grains are all substitutes for sugars, cornstarch, and Doritos. You just have to make right choices. Andrea does that. You know, its funny you mentioned her, because… I taught her a few moves myself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hSKwpiRCi8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

She pays attention to what she puts in her gas tank. Crap fuel will kill your engine. She also most likely uses the ab-cream from her boy-toy from Spain. I saw them rubbing it onto each other a couple of times in the lounge. Didn’t see the brand though…
Dear Uncle Dmitry,
Any tips on playing tennis with a hangover? I go out with my friends on a Friday night, and my club plays their league matches on a Saturday morning. I feel like crap every time I play. I don’t want to give up my drinking, though. Have you ever been drunk/hungover on court? Maybe I could drink black coffee during the changeovers? Or is that a bad idea?
Well here is a classy Aussie lady with some genuine conflict in life. Alcohol is a social lubricant so you might want to look into why you need to drink every time you go out with your friends. Are men that horrendous in Perth that you guys can only deal with them drunk?

The earlier generations of tennis players were more alcohol-resistant. The new generation is fine-tuned finicky bunch that will get drunk from a fart so it would be hard to give you a worthy answer. I think there is no way to combine tennis and alcohol much like driving and applying make-up, although women insist on trying to figure out a way to combine the two nonetheless. I don’t like alcohol in general, not even in a deodorant. I don’t like the way I feel afterward and frankly I’m okay with acting stupid without getting hammered prior to it. I find that drunk people look and act goofy and I want to be sober to witness it for my own amusement.

In this case, I would almost promote you continue drinking through Saturday. Start a fight on changeovers, serve at people for no reason, have an emotional breakdown. Would definitely be fun to watch this on YouTube afterwords, but as this is a family oriented column, I cannot officially condone such behavior. Drinking coffee is not a bad idea any more than getting smashed the night prior to a league match but it still is a stimulant. Stimulants in large amounts will take toll on your health so you have to weigh for yourself whether it’s worth it.
Do you have a confession or concern? Send your message to Dmitry via mark@thetennisspace.com with the emailed marked ‘Dear Uncle Dmitry’.

  • http://twitter.com/rafa4evva Judith Forde

    how do I ask a question?

    • tnosnibor

      Send your message to Dmitry via mark@thetennisspace.com with the emailed marked ‘Dear Uncle Dmitry’.

  • Cristianolambertucci

    Why do pro-players have often more than two rackets?  If I have two rackets to play in the weekends, what is the protocol to use them correctly? Should I use one until I wear out the strings and then jump to the second one? 

  • Ashokmads1

    Uncle dmitry is the best uncle I have…. You are a hoot…