What could be more unusual in the tennis world than the 1988 Australian Open? From Wikipedia:
Another event dubbed a “Battle of the Sexes” took place during the 1998 Australian Open between Karsten Braasch and the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world’s top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both. Braasch was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple of bottles of ice cold lager”. The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park, after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two shandies. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.
The gender-neutral (ATP) final match featured an elderly Long COVID survivor who went to prison rather than accept the Sacrament of Fauci (see Avoid travel to Australia now that Novak Djokovic is on the loose?). What were the odds of this unsanctified spreader of Covid competing against another Denier of Science? “Why So Many Tennis Players Don’t Want the Covid Vaccine” (NYT, August 2021):
Third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas caused an uproar in his native Greece this month after he said he would get vaccinated only if it were required to continue competing.
“I don’t see any reason for someone of my age to do it,” said Tsitsipas, 23. “It hasn’t been tested enough and it has side effects. As long as it’s not mandatory, everyone can decide for themselves.”
Giannis Oikonomou, a spokesman for the Greek government, said Tsitsipas “has neither the knowledge nor the studies nor the research work that would allow him to form an opinion” about the necessity for vaccination, and added that people like athletes who are widely admired should be “doubly careful in expressing such views.”
Who watched the match? We were on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas and were too busy with Flowrider to spectate. At $100 per day per adult (kids free), the passengers were a representative cross-section of America, including quite a few Blacks and Latinx. Together with about 150 of our fellow cruise fans, we watched the first half of the Eagles-49ers playoff on the ship’s big screen and the crowd burst out laughing when the announcer referred to “Doctor Jill Biden” being in the audience. (We’re still in a COVID-19 emergency (not to be confused with the “existential” climate crisis), which is why filthy unvaccinated foreigners like Novak Djokovic cannot come here on a two-week paid visit, and our nation’s top physician has time to watch a football game?)
A view of the Finnish-built magnificents on the walk back from the charming all-natural island of Coco Cay on game day:
(Pro tip: Try not to visit Coco Cay until March or April. The huge pool is unheated, there is no hot tub, and the ocean is cold!)
Here’s what Flowrider is supposed to look like:
Beginners lie down on a boogie board until they end up in a tangle of limbs up at the top. (I told everyone that I made more than $3,000 in two Flowrider sessions… female spectators paying me to put my shirt back on.)Full post, including comments