Special Report: Indian Wells

This is my first-ever pro tennis tournament and what I immediately notice is combat straight out of Beowulf, with the dragon slaying and guttural grunting.

These players raptor up. They load their huge wing-spans and then whip the ball. The ball goes howling. Somehow the players not only withstand contact but give it back just as good, k-bang for k-bang. It’s primal. There is derring-do. There is jaw-dropping.

Pro tip: bounce the ball MANY times before serving. All the pros do! I’m gonna try it.

I remember being disappointed after watching the Australian Open that balls didn’t explode off my racquet, so I’m not gonna expect that. I do feel confident I can bounce the ball multiple times, that feels within my skill level.

A stretch goal would be to hurl the ball way up high when serving — way up — high and higher — Jackie Wilson — Fifth Dimension — way up in the air — that high.

That’s a dream but I saw Ben Shelton doing it in practice, just havin’ fun. Last time I saw Ben Shelton he was having a blast at the Australian Open. Here he was, about ten feet away from me. If he can do it, I can try.

Up, way up

Indian Wells totally delivered on its you-can-see-your-favorite-players right up close practicing. That’s very cool, for an event to live up to the hype. I dug the concessions, too. I got two Pinks hot dogs, one for me and one for my dad, who was watching this like he does all sports events with me, from above.

It’s like what this quiet-until-suddenly-booming-voiced young girl in a yellow sweater with a giant Sharpie-signed tennis ball screamed out when Emilio Nava was finishing off a gladiatorial set with Pavel Kotov and he shouted VAMOS as if rallying every hawk riding every thermal in the Coachella Valley to his side. She answered back fiercely


and very soon Nava was chomping on his victory banana.

Earlier this morning:

I’m the number one fan!

Early momentum

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