Tremendous Ball Striking

Hopman Cup

Djokovic d. Golubev, 4/6 6/3 6/1

Anthony Hudson began his post-match interview with Serbia’s sweat-slicked Ana Ivanovic by declaring ‘You’re looking pretty hot’, and it only grew more awkward from there. Positively radiant from exertion, victory and genetics – although not in that order – she is doubtless well-used to strong men developing gallant stammers when they gain proximity. For my wife’s sake I lambasted Hudson’s effort as roundly as she, but privately I conceded that I would probably fare no better.

Her beauty is not of the haunting variety, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t stay with you. The lingering effects might explain why her compatriot Novak Djokovic began his match so distractedly, pushing and prodding while his opponent Andrey Golubev carved and blasted. For the first set we were treated to the commentary stylings of Lleyton Hewitt, who was determined to point out whenever he could that Golubev is a ‘tremendous striker of the ball’. I can’t say for certain if Hewitt was more impressed by Golubev’s skills, or the phrase itself. Down a set, Djokovic picked it up a few notches and began to strike some tremendous balls of his own, clearing out whatever cobwebs had accrued in the scant weeks since the Davis Cup final. By the third set Golubev wasn’t striking the ball very tremendously at all, and Hewitt had long since fled the premises. Djokovic romped home 6/1.

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