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Tennis's Connection To Ballet

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Hi all. Besides being a ballet fan, I love watching tennis. There is a fun article and blog in today's NY Times titled Tennis's Connection With Ballet by Greg Bishop. The blog is called Straight Sets. The author and a NY Times dance critic discuss the connections. Federer is compared to H. Cornejo, Venus is compared to Maria Kowrowski. Fortunately, nobody is compared to Serena. I would not want to be compared to her after her rude, obscene outburst. Enjoy.

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I wouldn’t want to have anything in common with S. Williams except her bank balance. I suppose a woman stepping forward to claim the Tennis Championship Boor Award is progress, of a kind. Luckily, there are rules to deal with that sort of thing, and they were enforced.

abatt, I like tennis and I like ballet, but I don’t think the two have all that much to do with each other. Every once in awhile, however, a tennis player comes along whose personal style invites such comparisons. It’s impossible to watch Roger Federer when he’s in the zone and not think of ballet – his combination of grace, speed, lightness, and coordination are almost eerie – like something out of The Matrix, as the late David Foster Wallace once observed. There was a moment during this year’s US Open when Federer lost his footing and wound up on his hands and knees, and although such moments are always awkward (and distressing, if there is injury to the player) this one seemed unnerving – Federer normally has an Astaire-like inability to do anything clumsy and you feel not only that he won’t fall or trip over himself, but that he can’t. But generally I’d say a fine mover in tennis terms is just that. Some players are more elegant than others, true – although I’d say individual styles are more homogeneous today than in the past.

Little guys who move very fast sometimes remind me of Michael Chang, though.

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Some more:

Martina Hingis- A player who used finesse and intellect to win. (Wendy Whelan)

Bjorn Borg-A cool, understated playing machine who looked like a God. (Peter Martins)

Ivan Lindl- The often overlooked champion, more of a players player. (Bart Cook)

Chris Evert- America's sweetheart, a lady and a champion. (Patty McBride)

Martina Navratilova- The survivor, always there year after year playing with her heart laid out on the court. (Kyra Nichols)

Jimmy Connors- Charming All-American boy/rebel. Played equally with emotion and skill. (Eddie Villela)

I can't think of anybody for McEnroe. :)

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Good choices, perky, although not everyone would consider Jimbo in his heyday to be especially charming. He had good feet, though, which any dancer could appreciate - very tough to catch Connors out of position.

I can't think of anybody for McEnroe.

That's a toughie, I agree. Maybe Nijinsky.

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Yes, Nureyev is closer, certainly in temperament, although a few people have tried to excuse Mac’s behavior by claiming he’s nuts. I thought of Nijinsky because they both have a special mystique – the young genius who has a few great years and then flames out.

Did anyone else think that Juan Martin del Potro could be the younger brother of Marcelo Gomes? In looks only, I can't attest for his dancing skills!

Barbara, there is a little resemblance, now that you mention it. Del Potro is six foot six, I believe. Although he moves well for a big fella I have trouble envisioning him leaping through the air with the greatest of ease. He took a spill during the final and it was like the felling of a redwood.

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I always attributed McEnroe's outbursts to an excess of flight-or-fight adrenalin. Not to excuse it, but it would have explained his inability to restrain his rage.

He could restrain it. He tended to behave well around Borg, for example. The tantrums did get worse after 1985, along with his game, and it was then that the four letter words began flowing freely - the really ugly episodes date from that time - inexcusable stuff. Serena can thank him (and Connors and Nastase) for the more stringent rules on conduct in place today.

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Re: comparing McEnroe to Nureyev -- YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

:thumbsup: Poor Ruddi, he was never that bad. Some of his antics were tongue in cheek.

You only had to witness his grin or twinkle in his eye. If you saw him having his hair cut in the early days by a rather large lady who was the then wardrobe mistreess, you would not have believed your eye's. He was perfectly behaved, appart from the expression on his face!!!

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