Tag Archives: US Open

Όχι, παίζουμε… The Big Croat sweeps away hyper-touted Japanese opponent

9 Sep

09MENS-1-master675-v5 Credit Barton Silverman/The New York Times

The media are so enamoured with young, come-out-of-nowhere under-dog narratives — and calling Djoković, 27, and Murray, 27, old — that they exaggerate things wildly.  Even — or especially — in today’s world of high-bio-tech training and conditioning, two years do not make or break a champion.  Like this Times story which will seem embarrassing in its prophetic pretensions just a few months from now; that’s my prediction: Tennis World Wobbles as Competitive Axis Begins to Shift“.

Čilić, 25, steamrolled supposed wonderboy Kei Nishikori, 24, in straight sets: an elegant 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.  That Djoković played an unpardonably childish and bad game against him in the semis Saturday did not automatically elevate Nishikori to the Hall of Legends.

Times coverage: Marin Cilic Defeats Kei Nishikori at U.S. Open for His First Grand Slam Title

And The Guardian live:  US Open Final: Marin Cilic beats Kei Nishikori – as it happened

US Open Tennis Photograph: JASON SZENES/EPA

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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

marin‑cilic-2012-01(click)

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Bosna_regija_update

*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)

 

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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