Krystle Nicole Russin

Roger Federer Never Fails to Amaze Us

Allow me to be the millionth person to acknowledge Roger Federer on his  15th Grand Slam title.  What news could be greater for a soon to be father?  This isn’t something we will see the last of from Mr. Federer.

He’s the guy I can imagine with a record 20 wins if he keeps this pace.   He did announce hipes to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
I can’t tell you how many people surprised me by watching the match last  Sunday: a photographer, media people, etc., people who normally don’t have an interest in tennis but were fascinated by Roger’s brilliance.
“Who DIDN’T watch it?” someone put it.  To bring that to a sport is  simply magical, and for that and your wins, Mr. Federer, you deserve  congratulations.

Wimbledon in New York City

Anyone in Manhattan this week could have attended Wimbledon – from
Rockefeller Center’s big screen. Food, Wii, talking…and oh yeah,
tennis. If you went to watch that. It was a great event for families
to see.
The crowd thinned out from an earlier match when I went a few days ago,
with people interested in eating the free snacks, getting up every few
minutes. And eating. Eating. I felt like saying, “There’s a game on!
Sit down!” If they wanted to do this a week, it might have made a
better idea to run it during the quarter and semi-finals to peak more
interest. The place would have been packed for a grand Nadal-Federer
showoff!
People were talking among themselves, some about tennis, some about
visiting Rockefeller Center.
Recently, I’ve been fascinated by playing surfaces. I took back
everything I said about court preferences against grass that day. You
could walk around the grass court set up for an exhibition match, and
seeing how the grass ripped up, smelled, looked, etc. I understood why
the surface is unplayable for some on a wet day. I asked someone about
playing on clay the past weekend. It’s supposed to create lots of dust
that makes you cough as you play, make a horrible mess for a few wash
machine cycles, and is generally “gross. Grass is better.” I’m curious
now about the benefits of a grass court experience.
I, of course, grabbed a complimentary strawberries and cream the HSBC
Bank employees insisted was “the same they eat at Wimbledon.” It was
really frozen Cool Whip, not anything I would ask for a load of like the
others, but good fresh strawberries all the same. I guess free food
does that to people.
Over in a corner, the bank had set up about six televisions hooked up to
Wiis. The Wii tennis matches were really interesting for me, having
never played anything on Wii. The last time I remember playing a sports
Nintendo game was on an already old back then Nintendo Entertainment
System in eighth grade. I must have been the single person over 18
trying the Wiis.
The row of TVs had kids with full Lacoste sets I am sure will be
tomorrow’s commentators and tennis fanatics. Not our other row. My
“opponents” were an elementary girl and a high school guy who didn’t
follow tennis much but had probably won Wimbledon in the Wiis they had
at home. The guy was winning at the beginning from having set mine on
right-handed! I made sure to correct that to left – I’m right-handed
and forgot I am left-handed in tennis. I played as Roger Federer. I
felt like being someone who has hair left. The high school guy wanted
to be Ana Ivanovic, and we joked about the reasons for that.
The sport? Oh, right. The person I wanted to win lost that day.
Everything is elevated watching it on a bigger screen. The ties, set
losses, the wanting to egg on your player, is more intense than watching
it in your living room. I really wish people would continue this for
another week to watch the bigger matches.

Anyone in Manhattan this week could have attended Wimbledon – from Rockefeller Center’s big screen. Food, Wii, talking…and oh yeah, tennis. If you went to watch that. It was a great event for families to see.

The crowd thinned out from an earlier match when I went a few days ago, with people interested in eating the free snacks, getting up every few minutes. And eating. Eating. I felt like saying, “There’s a game on!

Sit down!” If they wanted to do this a week, it might have made a better idea to run it during the quarter and semi-finals to peak more interest. The place would have been packed for a grand Nadal-Federer showoff!

People were talking among themselves, some about tennis, some about visiting Rockefeller Center.

Recently, I’ve been fascinated by playing surfaces. I took back everything I said about court preferences against grass that day. You could walk around the grass court set up for an exhibition match, and seeing how the grass ripped up, smelled, looked, etc. I understood why the surface is unplayable for some on a wet day. I asked someone about playing on clay the past weekend. It’s supposed to create lots of dust that makes you cough as you play, make a horrible mess for a few wash machine cycles, and is generally “gross. Grass is better.” I’m curious now about the benefits of a grass court experience.

I, of course, grabbed a complimentary strawberries and cream the HSBC Bank employees insisted was “the same they eat at Wimbledon.” It was really frozen Cool Whip, not anything I would ask for a load of like the others, but good fresh strawberries all the same. I guess free food does that to people.

Over in a corner, the bank had set up about six televisions hooked up to Wiis. The Wii tennis matches were really interesting for me, having never played anything on Wii. The last time I remember playing a sports Nintendo game was on an already old back then Nintendo Entertainment System in eighth grade. I must have been the single person over 18 trying the Wiis.

The row of TVs had kids with full Lacoste sets I am sure will be tomorrow’s commentators and tennis fanatics. Not our other row. My “opponents” were an elementary girl and a high school guy who didn’t follow tennis much but had probably won Wimbledon in the Wiis they had at home. The guy was winning at the beginning from having set mine on right-handed! I made sure to correct that to left – I’m right-handed and forgot I am left-handed in tennis. I played as Roger Federer. I felt like being someone who has hair left. The high school guy wanted to be Ana Ivanovic, and we joked about the reasons for that.

The sport? Oh, right. The person I wanted to win lost that day. Everything is elevated watching it on a bigger screen. The ties, set losses, the wanting to egg on your player, is more intense than watching it in your living room. I really wish people would continue this for another week to watch the bigger matches.

A Little Sick of the Top 10

You readers know I’m an avid supporter of Mr. Sam Querrey and the  American guys, and I feel saddened to see Sam go in an American-American match against James Blake.  It’s almost like right when we are getting good American tennis exposure, we have the bad luck of the lineup  singling out our talent to the same old American man with an “R.”

At the same time, I’ve been hoping to see some new faces from other countries to replace our top 10 men.  For every Nadal win, Federer versus Novak, that’s another yawn.  I want to see the new guys shooting out of nowhere…

Do you know of any up and comers the media needs to focus on?

Nadal and Federer: Proof Tennis Has Arrived

I am sitting here passing time while waiting.  As usual, I grab a  magazine in the room’s stack of reading for bored individuals, this one a Vogue, and to my surprise, tennis has intercepted mainstream media.

Rafael Nadal is featured in slick glamour, hair pulled back.  Roger Federer’s wedding is covered on a full glossy page, part of the social
scene usually devoted to Hollywood.  Huh?  Tennis in a women’s fashion magazine?

When American Vogue is putting two of tennis’ top players in a single issue, that’s proof tennis is losing the “popular to everywhere but the
USA” reputation.  It has genuinely arrived.  Nadal has the potential to become the male Maria in endorsement appeal – his playboy charm wrapped in down to earth goodness and talent on court (ignoring a little French Open slip) make him a super estrella for sure.

Thoughts on this, anyone?  When did you realize tennis “made it” in a country obsessed with football and baseball?

Random French Open Thoughts

The fun for viewers is seeing who makes the French Open as wild cards, who often become tomorrow’s top players.  Look at Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who a while ago nearly won the Australian Open as an unseeded player!  Look at him today advancing at Roland Garros with a great win over Juan Monaco.

I hate how experts judge the wild cards on TV, “He doesn’t stand a chance against (fill in the blank).”  How do you know if the person doesn’t, having never played someone?  Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Unless someone’s playing a No. 1 or No. 2 players, why not?  And a No. 1 could possibly lose to an unseeded player.

Last year, I met a young gentleman normally playing doubles with the unfortunate experience of playing his first time as a singles player at the U.S. Open – against Roger Federer.  Talk about bad luck of the draw.  He did his best putting up a fight when he could’ve given up at the beginning.

On a positive, I’ve noticed a return of good commercials a la The Super Bowl in the Novak Djokovic in the stands gimmicks.  He’s very funny and natural in them, making me wonder how we could miss out on him as a sponsor.  It’s a very nice change from the boring silent commercials
with court clips.

Enjoy the French Open, wild card fans!  If you hurry to the right side of the stands, you may find a nice puppy dog balloon, gifted from Novak for your girlfriend…

Krystle Clear: The Maria Sharapova Dilemma

Maria Sharapova has been out of tennis the past year or so, and her rankings have dropped significantly.  However, her face remains present  on our billboards, Fifth Avenue, and commercials reminding us to “make every shot a power shot” with Canon.  This is the time where she must  decide if she will come back to tennis full force or a small pop, disappearing into Kournikova land.

At this point, she has earned more money than many people will see in  their lifetimes.  She won grand slams, performed what she needed to do to become a memorable female athlete, and if she wants to forget her number one ranking, I don’t know if I would do anything else in her place.  She is a young girl.  Tennis schedules get hectic, her other modeling/spokeswoman career is more lucrative and fascinating.  Why not play halfheartedly and enjoy life?  She could become an actress, movie producer, fund her own sports ventures, anything she dreams of!

The flip side of the coin is sports are about passion.  You don’t care about money once you have it but winning, being the best to save your dignity.  I believe that’s what other top players have and top athletes in every field: drive.  Miss Sharapova could demand to be the best, extending her presence beyond today’s tennis to ages from now, the way we talk about Babe Ruth, thei height of Wayne Gretzsky, etc.

It’s her choice.  What would you do?

Cut Richard Gasquet Some Slack

 As you know by now, French player Richard Gasquet has been suspended for testing positive for cocaine back in Miami this spring.  I am by no means suggesting drug use is appropriate, only that this punishment seems a little harsh for him.

How many athletes use drugs or alcohol off season when they aren’t being tested, when they are away from the public eye?  That’s right.  You can claim they probably don’t.  Honestly, you don’t know what people, these role models, are doing around the end of tournament season.  All we know of these players is how they conduct themselves at press conferences.

Worse, why is there a double standard in sports that partying with alcohol is given a “cool” pass while drugs are “bad?”  For anyone wanting to make the argument about being a good role model for kids, I want to hear your side on why overdoing alcohol is acceptable for NBA and MLB stars at the same time when Michael Phelps gets grilled in the media over one pot incident, possibly losing huge sponsors.

Hollywood actors can make comebacks after a few stints in rehab and if Britney can return with a concert tour, come on, give Richard Gasquet a chance.  I personally would have banned the guy from a few tournaments until he cleans up his act.  Keep in mind, this is a young man who probably spends most of his life not acting his age to become a top player.  Cut him a break and see if he can keep his promises.  If by then, he is still doing drugs, that is when you need to think about long term bans.

Krystle Clear: Book review, somewhat….casual

I’m the new Oprah with a book review for you guys.  I’ve been reading up on Roger Federer and stopped at a portion in the definitive book on him – The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.rogerfedererbook.com) – where he is quoted about frustrations.  He is quoted about saying he expected too much, too soon as a junior, and he’s the kind of guy to spend all night on the computer rather than a trendy bar.

That’s going on about tennis.  The core of it is what you can learn about real life.  The amazing Mr. F is a champion because he focused and tried, despite his frustrations.  He quit letting small things bother him to see what happens in the long run, spending his energies on tennis.

What does that tell us, the non-tennis playing world?  It makes me remember by days in high school/college being frustrated over “x” small teen girl problem.  In the long run, I barely remember, but it seems important at the moment.  When you worry about little things, you lose
your focus on what it is you really want to accomplish.  You get so wound up in minor drama that you succeed in allowing other people – bosses, jealous people, whatever your case – earn satisfaction by seeing you fail.  And don’t get me started on his second point about partying.
I love socializing for networking purposes, though notice I get more done when that is left to an occasional hobby.

He made his life tennis, and whatever it is you want to do, you have to make your life that goal.  That’s the part I need more work on, like most of us for sure.  And never be afraid to take a risk.  His life is really the story of a guy saying, “I don’t have a shot anyway, I don’t have much to lose, so I’ll go for it.”  The worst someone can say is no, and you go on to the next thing.

I get ticked off on occasion about not always getting what I want, and it’s usually for the best.  I sit and think about it.  Was it something I really wanted to do in the end?  No, for example, I may not have enjoyed writing for that publication in that specific role, or maybe something good happened to me after I was late somewhere, because it led me to meeting someone or doing something else.

This is an interesting read for anyone who likes tennis history or wants a good biography.  My personal favorite genre is biographies, because I always say we relate to people so different than we are in more ways than we ever expect, Mr. F being a perfect example.  Enjoy the book!

[ad#krystle-1]

Krystle Clear: Videoblog for TennisGrandstand

[manfred]nIfz3uOVjuM[/manfred]

[manfred]obZZCQO0w4U[/manfred]

Krystle Nicole Russin is a freelance writer and model living in New York City. She covers business and politics for online and print publications and tennis for TennisGrandstand.com and has previously hosted Illinois Stories on PBS.

[ad#krystle-1]

Krystle Clear: Are tennis players all work and no play?

You are probably watching the Tennis Channel’s European tournament coverage this week.  Rafael Nadal in his muscle shirt!  Glamour and fame!  Fans!

What TV matches don’t tell you is what each guy out there goes through.

These guys have to miss a lot of school and times they could’ve spent  hanging out with friends as teens.  They train 9 to 5 days, sort of a  day at the office without paperwork.  Imagine if you had to run on a  treadmill over an hour, huh?  OK.  We all realize nobody likes to go to  the gym, and much less doing that for a living.

You don’t go out partying on weekends.  Nope.  You can’t drink too  heavily if you want to stay in shape.  Beer translates into more sugar
into your body, aka. fat.  Late nights out throw out your body’s schedule, so you might find the balance harder returning to regular  practice.  Movies?  Sure.  But be home early enough.  When traveling,  sight see, but you can’t taste the city like regular tourists do.  You have a day job to put on the next day at a match.

Forget about time off.  Travel is essentially part of your job.  Back  home, you can’t leave.  You must train.  You need to study your  opponents, learn new techniques to improve your serve.  It’s like taking a college course on tennis, graded F or A+ according to how you play at  your next tournament.

By the time you get done driving home from practice, you hang out, maybe talk with friends, listen to music, eat and call it a night.  You go on  the computer and watch as everyone else believes you’re blessed, which though you are as a pro player, you don’t get the spare time everyone  else does to be goofy, take time to discover what it is you want to do in life.  Because for now, your life is tennis, and if you want to succeed, it has to be.