Tennis bores me. I once dated a hot chef who was so into tennis, I dutifully stayed up way past my bed time to watch live telecasts of slam events. Of course after the whole cuddling-on-the-couch routine finishes - which takes all of five minutes - I proceed to snore whilst white-clad players grunt and moan and yell amid the metronomic sound of racquets hitting the ball.
Tennis bores me, but I'm infatuated with its players. When I was in high school, I idolized Martina Hingis. I wanted to be Martina Hingis. I enjoyed reading about Agassi - Sampras matches. I would wait for the morning paper and grab the sports section to hunt down photos. All that wet hair matted with sweat would give me palpitations. Agassi was tennis' own Brad Pitt. And Sampras just had an alarming amount of hair everywhere, anyway, he looked as though he hadn't fully evolved. It was thrilling.
In university, I followed the beautiful ones. Kournikova, Sharapova, the Williamses. The shrieks, the court couture, the diva hissy fit at parties, the tabloid fodder.
Whilst we waited for tennis to give us the next generation of male superstars, Novak Djokovic kept us entertained with his hilarious impersonations.
And then the Roger Federer - Rafael Nadal rivalry ripened.
I never cared much for Federer; his brand of tennis is clinically precise. Antiseptic. He dispatched with his opponents like a doctor would with millions of tiny, little germs. There's no contest - so who cares? But oh, I loved it when Nadal made Federer cry. That's when I finally saw that Federer might be human, after all, and not an android. And it was Rafa who broke him.
Rafael Nadal is tennis' own Spartacus. The Thracian hair, the imposing muscles, the intimidating power... Heck, he doesn't even need to play tennis. He just needs to be.
Rafa is the anti-Roger. Whilst Roger is graceful and composed, Rafa is wild and unpredictable. He's more instinctive rather than calculating. He lays it all down on the court. Which is why he seems more prone to injury.
Rafa and I got married straight after he deposed Federer in the epic "Clash of the Titans" battle at the All England Club. Instead of saying "I do," we vowed to: "Release the Kraken!"
And so began our quest for the "Rafa Slam."
Lo and behold - when I opened the morning paper today and read about Rafa's premature exit at Rod Laver due to injury, I cried.
Can you blame me? I was just as invested in this as Rafa was.
Rafa, they are specks of dust beneath our fingernails. Your very breath is a gift from Olympus. Let me loose upon them. We will claim victory. Just as long as I don't get bored first.