And much respect for the Big Croat…

6 Sep

…who — I think it’s accurate to say — satisfyingly creamed the pretentiously heir-presumptuous Federer in straight sets.  (I love that his trainer has no last name.  He’s just “Goran” — another big bearded Croat.)

I would’ve given ANYTHING for a Djoković — Čilić Final, but I can make do with this.

Marin CilicMarin Čilić — “Well might he roar.” Photograph: Darron Cummings/AP

Guardian‘s live blog of both matches – whole day: US Open 2014: Marin Cilic beats Roger Federer – as it happened

Tennis Aegon Championships(click)

And some interesting side things you learn from the most unexpected places, like American TV tennis coverage: Čilić, it turns out, is from Medjugorje in Herzegovina, the Croatian Lourdes, capital of a Catholic-Virgin-apparition national cult, in the most virulently nationalist part of Croatian-held BH.*  (Not a reflection on Marin, of course, who’s actually best buds with Nole; one reason I wanted to see them go at it in the final would’ve been the pleasure of watching how quick “best buds” flies out the window when two Alphas are forced to go for the jugular.)  Always interesting how these cults always have an unerring way of appearing in just those regions, and just when you need them.  And a sad indication, also, of how we’ve written off Bosnia-Herzegovina as a viable entity: CBS’ US Open blurb-profile of Čilić listed his birthplace as “Medjugorje, Croatia.”

Medjugorje is famous as the site of some of the most vicious Ustaše massacres of Serbs during WWII and of subsequent vicious massacres of Franciscan monks and priests by Serbian partisans.  Of course, the Virgin only decided to appear at Medjugorje in 1981 — just one uncanny year after Tito‘s death — when Croatian nationalist sentiments and separatist grumblings had already gathered unstoppable speed and volume, and Yugoslavia was immediately — almost upon cue with Tito’s departure — starting to show signs of coming apart at the seams.

See whole Wiki page: Medjugorje




*Desperately poor traditionally, rocky, marginal Herzegovina, the barren plateau just a short steep inland climb from the idyllic, Italianate Dalmatian coast, is one part of the Balkans for which the Serbo-Croatian word vukojebina was coined — “wolf-fuck” — and is not just famous for producing rabid Croatian nationalists, but rabid Serbian and rabid Bosnian and — I think a tiny section that considers itself Montenegrin — rabid Montenegrin nationalists too.  These are not the Croats that Rebecca West could throw her hateful lawyer epithet at.  And don’t let the stunning beauty (below) of any part of ex-Yugoland fool you.

Hajdučka_Vrata“Hajdučka vrata” (the “Bandit’s Den” or “Κλέφτικο Λημέρι”) on Mt. Čvrsnica in Herzegovina (click)



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