Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bouncy and Floppy

Mrs. Bouncy and Mr. Floppy belong in a fairy tale. They both sound like characters pulled from a Velveteen Rabbit or Winnie the Pooh cast, but lo and behold, the two names actually belong to Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray, both professional tennis players.

Mrs. Bouncy
You remember Marion Bartoli, don't you? She was the one-slam finalist wonder, from the way back year of 2007. She beat Justine Henin...and Jelena Jankovic...come on, don't you remember?

Well it might be tough to recall Bartoli's name in a year from now the way the Frenchwoman has played since Wimbledon. Her quirky two-handed game got her all the way to the finals at the AELTC, but the bounce couldn't quite take her all they way, and now Mrs. Bouncy seems to be on the downfall.

Fairy tales usually end in happily-ever-afters, but for Bartoli to find her feet again, she must take one match at a time, forget her horrific summer that followed a dreamy spring, and focus on what she does well: strikes the ball. At Wimbledon, she was an unlikely player on an unlikely surface, but now, at the Open, she's a likely player on a favorable court - but can she deliver?

Mr. Floppy
Andy Murray always has been a little floppy, hasn't he? His game has its quirks, with its all-court tendencies, firing groundstrokes and awkward movement, he's an unlikely candidate to be a Top Ten tennis player, but, as storybooks go, his career has been a Cinderella story thus far.

Coming into the clay court season, Murray was 23-5, with a second career title at San Jose under his belt and two wins over both Roddick and Davydenko. Murray had 'flow' in floppy figured out.

(Mr. Floppy wants to get back to the form that has made him a Wimbledon hero. Photo by Mercerballs via flickr.)

But then came a couple bad clay losses, a bum wrist, and a doubtful grass court season. It seemed as though England's new great hope would instead be an 'Ope!' for the year.

And so as Andy Murray makes his return to the tour this week in Canada, he's had both a 'flow'-ing match and an 'Ope'-ful match. His floppy-ness is something he can't help, it's been written in the script since day one. But the Scot is hoping for a little magic to carry him in to the US Open.

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