Tennis Elbow: The boring life of sitting in an IKEA chair at Roland Garros

June 9, 2014 · Print This Article

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2014 French Open.

Well, talk about boring. Right? Rafael Nadal won the 2014 French Open by defeating Novak Djokovic in four sets of 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 and 6-4 in three hours and 31 minutes.

There’s no way around it. Nadal is boring. Specifically, him winning Roland Garros is boring. Boring is boring, and nobody likes boring. And that’s why we do it. What, exactly?

In anticipation of the French Open every year, we assess the forces on the ATP World Tour and we fool ourselves. We reason that Novak Djokovic, the second best player on clay in the world (the privilege of which is to hold a now tidy 0-6 record against Nadal in Paris), may win the tournament this year. That he might complete the career Slam. We ground our reasoning on whatever, because that’s essentially as good a reason as any other one.

We say that Djokovic might complete the career Slam, but why exactly? Because it’s time. Because he’s donated the prize money that he won for capturing the BNL Internazionali d’Italia to the flood relief efforts in his native Serbia. Because he’ll soon be a newlywed too, and that he’s about to be a father.

You want other reasons? We even come up with some that are at least somewhat related to tennis. We posit that the weather may give the advantage to the Serb, if only it can be cool and rainy. We mention that Djokovic has turned a corner since the above-mentioned win in Rome, as if all roads to France went through Italy. Oh, but not everyone stands strong. Sometimes, we predict that Novak will win only to do an about-turn at the very last possible second and explain that actually, Nadal should be the favourite. (Greg Garber also writes that Ladbrokes had made the Spaniard a 4-to-5 favourite entering the final. That was our cue—the house never loses.)

But mostly, we do it, because it’d be so much fun. Most of us like boring in our daily lives—we don’t like, necessarily, to see the IKEA chair we’ve just assembled lose its leg just as we sit down on it. But goddamn is it not funny when that same thing happens to our best friend. Well, every year in Paris, we assemble our IKEA chair and ask our best friend to sit on it, and when he does and nothing happens, then we fume. Because we know that we’re the only other person that’s going to sit on it, and of course the leg will fall.

That IKEA chair is Djokovic and Nadal playing at the French Open. We like boring in our daily lives, sure, but we hate it in sports. Change is hard, but it’s so much fun in sports.

Well, we’re wrong. All of us. Year after year, Nadal winning the French Open is anything but boring. Legend has it that he’s actually lost once in his career in Paris, though nobody can confirm that it has happened. (It would help if Robin Soderling were to give us a sign that he still knows how to hit a crosscourt forehand. I mean, where are you, Soderling? Oh, really?? Don’t call it a comeback! This loss just adds to Nadal’s mystique. Sure, he lost, but a relative unknown.)

But that’s what’s fun. Excellence is fun. Being in awe is a great feeling. What do you say when you’ve run out of things to say? When a man has won one Grand Slam tournament two more times than any other man in history has won any other Grand Slam? When this man hasn’t lost on this court in 1,833 days? When this man has a 31-win streak in France that’s not the longest ever, because he’s currently riding a 35-match streak at this same event? When he’s a career 66-1 at the Porte d’Auteuil? When everyone already knows all those statistics? What do you say then?

You say it’s boring. But how can this be boring? Now sit on your IKEA chair.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

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3 Responses to “Tennis Elbow: The boring life of sitting in an IKEA chair at Roland Garros”

  1. What Else Remains in the Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic Rivalry? – TennisNewsLine on June 11th, 2014 8:08 am

    [...] Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in another historic French Open, not all tennis fans are raving about their rivalry. This might be difficult to understand for their respective fanbases, but have we already seen the [...]

  2. What Else Remains in the Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic Rivalry? | on June 11th, 2014 8:13 am

    [...] Rafael Nadal degraded Novak Djokovic in another ancestral French Open, not all tennis fans are raving about their rivalry. This competence be formidable to know for their particular fanbases, though have we already seen a [...]

  3. What Else Stays within the Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic Rivalry? | Sports News on June 12th, 2014 3:23 am

    [...] Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in one other historic French Open, not all tennis followers are raving about their rivalry. This could be obscure for his or her respective fanbases, however have we already seen the easiest [...]

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