Tomorrow is the opening day of the French Open, which is perhaps my favorite major tennis tournament. [Well, actually, they are all my favorite as they approach. I’m fickle that way.] So to celebrate, I’m inflicting Roland Garros or tennis related things on the interwebs.
1. I’m entertained by the idea that I could buy a little pot of clay as a souvenir, or even a key chain with a bit of the terre battue.
2. ESPN has coverage starting at 5am EST tomorrow, along with multiple channels on DirecTV and additional coverage on the Tennis Channel. Just in case you were wondering if it might be available in your area. #sleepisfortheweak
3. As @TennisSavesMe pointed out, it’s LOL-worthy that Tio Toni’s bag gets monogrammed, too. But I’m a little sad the “Tio” is not included.
4. Vamos, Rafa! And the whole Spanish Armada, of course.
Looking pretty smiley — so practice went well?
Today is the final of the Barcelona Open, a 500 level Masters event that has, not surprisingly, been won by a Spaniard for the last 9 years. By default it will be once again this year, since the finalists are David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal. Six of the last nine titles belong to Rafael Nadal, with single wins also belonging to Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, and Carlos Moya.
As big a Nadal fan as I am, I still very much appreciate what Ferrer brings to the game. The consensus is that he’s the hardest working player on the tour: while he has no single skill that stands out, unlike other top 10 players, he is a tireless gamer. He’s been variously called dogged, Energizer Bunny-like and the best “right-wing” player of the game. He’s playing in his fourth Barcelona final today, all against Nadal, against whom he has a losing head to head record. I don’t really know who to root for. I suppose in the end, I would just like to see a good match, regardless of winner.
Confidential to The Tennis Channel: why is this being aired by tape-delay? Will the ratings for the shriek-tastic Stuttgart final (Azarenka v Sharapova) really be greater than the all Spaniard final? I doubt it. *off to find a live stream*
Definitions for merengue that I already knew:
1. noun: dance
2. noun: meringue (as in dessert)
3. adjective: related to Real Madrid
4. adjective: Real Madrid supporter
5. noun: weakling
Given the context, it was referring to a RM fan rather than dessert, dance or weakling.
So, yesterday at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, there were a LOT of Chilean fans in the stands. Flags waving, chanting Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le etc.
More specifically, they were cheering for Fernando González. Every so often, someone would yell out what sounded like, Vamos, Fenya. I couldn’t figure out it at first. Were they saying, Vamos, Fe[r]n, ya? Turns out I was trying too hard. It’s a nickname: Feña.
And today there was a fellow wearing cap and soccer jersey in Argentina’s colors, cheering for Juan Martín del Potro (called del Porto at least twice by the umpire, I’d swear). His favorite cheer? Vamos, carajo! Uh, okay. My experience of this word is mostly via friends of Mexican descent, who use carajo as a curse word or epithet, not to cheer a favored player. Different usage in Argentina, perhaps?
The crowd in the stands could have been a virtual UN. Heard French, Italian, German, Russian, varieties of Spanish and English spoken.
Check out this interview of Rafael and Toni Nadal. I’m not sure if they are speaking Catalan or Mallorquí, the local dialect. It is interesting to listen to, either way: the words sound enough like Castilian Spanish that I could understand without the subtitles, but also different enough that I had to concentrate in order to understand.
A lot of the interviews done for the Barcelona were also in Catalan, and are available on Youtube if you’re interested.
What if the Americas hadn’t been “discovered” by Columbus? Obviously, the world would be a different place today. And the distribution and populations speaking certain languages would be quite different as well. According to this article (in Spanish), Spanish would be just another European language, 27th on the list, between Polish and Ukrainian, instead of being spoken by ~10% of the world’s population, if Isabella and Ferdinand hadn’t sponsored his attempt to find an Atlantic/eastern route to the Far East.