© Ella Ling

Mad 12

Oddballs and Oddities


Apologies for the absence of Oddballs last week. It got drowned in all the blue clay in Madrid. So here’s a bumper list of quirks and quibbles from the past week.

What the…
Madrid is one of the biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar. And yet none of the women’s matches have been broadcast on TV. It’s headscratchable. And outrageous.

Yes, the blue
There have been enough words written about the blue clay for me not to go into it here. But here are just a few things it has been compared to. Smurfs, the Cookie Monster, Slurpees, Bronco Stadium, and one great big mess. Any more?

First blue, now orange…
There may or may not be blue clay in Madrid last year, after Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s very public condemnations of it, but Ion Tiriac, the entrepreneurial owner of the Madrid tournament, already has his sights set on a new innovation. Phosphorescent green or orange balls. Too much time on your hands, Tiriac?

One more colour for you.
Pink. It’s the choice of the Federer twins.

Only Roger Federer…
…would have a street named after him. So Halle, Federer’s pre-Wimbledon grass court event of choice, to which he is committed for life, have done exactly that. It’s called the trip-off-the-tongueable ‘Roger Federer Allee.’

When informed, Federer said he was ‘extremely humbled.’ But his twitter alter ego, PseudoFed, went one better. ‘I was very upset about not renaming the entire town. It already begins with the correct letter. #humble’ he tweeted.

First RF, then the bull horns, now ND
Novak Djokovic has followed Nike’s lead, who have made millions with their ‘RF’ Federer merchandise and the bull horns Nadal logo, by developing his own ‘ND’ brand.

When in Kentucky…

Wear a big hat. Or white. Graf and Agassi, ladies and gents.

Remember Sam Groth, the Australian tennis player who married Jarmila Gajdosova, moonlighted as her coach, and then broke her heart? Well, he’s back in the headlines, claiming to have surpassed Ivo Karlovic’s current world record for the fastest serve. Groth, the world No 340, claims he delivered a 163mph ace during a doubles match. If verified by the ATP, it would pulverise Karlovic’s current 156mph effort.

Looking after their players
Who said tournaments don’t think about their players. Look at this cake Ryan Harrison got. Yum. Judy Murray would approve.

Jelena Jankovic tried to pinch Serena Williams’ famous hitting partner, Sasha Bajin, who has become almost as famous as ReRe herself. JJ made the approach while Serena was recovering from her litany of injuries in 2010-2011.

Speaking of Serena
Giving interviews and playing tennis is not the only thing the younger Williams has been up to. TMZ reported that she’s ‘laid down some tracks’, as the term goes, releasing her own rap number with B Major Music Group. I guess the girl needs to occupy herself somehow, since announcing she’s taking some time away from dating. ‘Life,’ was her way of describing her past relationships.

Bit of a problem…
…for wheelchair tennis player Marc McCarroll, whose chair was worthy only of the scrapheap after an unfortunate encounter with baggage handlers in Atlanta. The bright sparks tried to put the chair on the baggage reclaim belt, it got stuck, they then tried to kick it through, then reversed the belt. Hey presto, the frame snapped.

McCarroll was left playing in his regular ‘day chair.’ And lost.

And finally.
Roland Garros gear. Check them out.