Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts on the US Open

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed I'm a tennis fan. I stumbled onto Wimbledon while channel-surfing one lazy summer day right before I started high school, and I've been hooked ever since. (Wimbledon remains my favorite tournament, just in case you were wondering.)

On Monday, Andy Murray won the US Open, defeating Novak Djokovic in five grueling sets, and he won it in grand fashion. It's the first Grand Slam he's EVER won, even though he played in his first final back in 2008. And not only is he the first British man to win a Major title in more than seventy years, but he's also the first man EVER to win Olympic gold and the US Open in the same summer.

I had a feeling this US Open was going to be Andy Murray's breakthrough tournament, and he didn't disappoint. Murray's path to the championship match wasn't nearly as smooth as Djokovic's (he dropped multiple sets against multiple opponents), but in the end, he pulled it out. And he taught me a few things about writing along the way:

1. Murray's semifinal match was a tricky, less-than-ideal affair, but I'd go so far as to say that it was the adversity he faced that day that gave him the experience he needed later. It was easily the windiest match I've ever seen, but Murray managed the wind and even figured out how to use it to his advantage. When he faced Djokovic on Monday, the wind was a factor again, and Djokovic, who just a year ago won three Major titles and went on a forty-three-match winning streak, looked much less certain on the court. Murray had already taken on the wind and won, and that gave him the confidence to take it on again. In short, he took what might have been a setback and turned it into a stepping stone.

2. Murray was simply hungrier than Djokovic, and it showed. For years, sports writers have criticized Murray for choking, for not getting the job done when it counted, for not standing up to the one-two-three punch that is Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic (at least two of whom will probably go down in history as some of the best, if not THE best, men ever to play the game of tennis). But not so on Monday. Murray looked like a man balancing on the razor's edge between surgical precision and reckless abandon. He looked like a man playing for his life.

And in a way, he was. His tennis life, at least.

I want to write like that. I want to LIVE like that. And I never want to look back.


Bittersweet Fountain said...

"Murray looked like a man balancing on the razor's edge between surgical precision and reckless abandon." I love everything about that statement, and I whole heartedly agree that I want to live my life that way too.

And isn't it amazing how we can get inspiration about writing and life from things that seem completely unrelated? Like tennis. And yet, for me, it always works that way. I see something completely unrelated and then something else in my life or writing just clicks into place.

Great post, Krista. :)

Kelly Bryson said...

Hey Krista! I'm not a huge tennis fan (read: not at all) but I read Andre Agassi's "Open" a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Interesting man...Did we ever talk about it? I feel like we did. OH, and I stopped by to tell you I am sooo close to getting those crits back to you! I feel like I'm balancing on the razor's edge of uber-productivity and insanity:)

Michael G-G said...

Yay!! You've taken two of my favorite things--tennis and writing--and written one of the best blog posts ever.

There was champagne at our house on Monday evening in honour of Andy. (C.f. British spelling.) He did us Brits (including us ex-pat Brits) proud.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

EVERYTHING makes me think of writing these days, Mandy. Does that mean I'm obsessed? :) (Only sort of kidding...)

Kelly, we did talk about OPEN back when I was working on my teenage tennis phenom manuscript. (That one's obviously on the back burner, since I didn't like how it was turning out, but I've had a few ideas as to how I might resurrect that project...) And thanks for working on those notes! I know what a busy lady you are, though, so no rush, no rush!

Michael, I was thinking of you and Jemi Fraser when I wrote this, since I'm pretty sure you two are the only tennis fans who ever read my blog:) I'm glad you liked it. (And how did I not realize/remember that you're a British expatriate?! Andy Murray must be your man! (Assuming you're not English. Don't the English hate the Scottish, or is it the other way around...?))

Michael G-G said...

Some witty wag once said that when Andy wins he's British, and when he loses he's Scottish. Fortunately, my father was born and brought up in Scotland, so even though I consider myself (and sound) English, I root for Andy. (And I think it's the Scots who get bent out of shape regarding the English, rather than the other way around.)

Melissa Sarno said...

Hooray, I love finding more tennis fans in the writing community! The match on Monday was thrilling and I agree with you, Murray was just so hungry for it, so much fight in both players, but something extra in him that day. It was inspiring to watch. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament too.

Jess said...

I watched it, too. Good stuff :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Well, Michael, I imagine British people everywhere were happy to claim him after that win:)

I love finding more tennis fans, too, Melissa! Michael and I have already talked about taking a trip to New York someday to see the US Open live (and meet our editors, of course:) ). You'll have to join us.

Yay, Jess!

Donna Hosie said...

As a British tennis fan, and an Andy Murray FANatic, thank you for this post. He was awesome and the win was so thoroughly deserved.