The Art of Understatement

Gstaad, Final

Granollers d. Verdasco, 6/4 3/6 6/3

Hands up who remembers that American Express ad from some years back, the one in which Andy Roddick stoically endures those side-splitting situations that arise when one transports various trophies via commercial passenger jet? He blocks the aisle with an oversized novelty cheque, and the in-flight movie with some Queens-calibre silverware. It’s very relatable. At one point the overhead locker springs open, and a trophy lands on his head, which next to ‘groin’ and ‘awards ceremony’ is the most hilarious place to be hit by a trophy. While the ad is intended to be funny, the comedy derives more from the amply-explored sub-genre of large things getting in the way, than from the patent absurdity of Andy Roddick winning enough events that this could be a problem. It’s been many years since that’s been an issue, which rather dates the piece.

Even so, it is never far from my mind during the European indoor swing, which for aficionados of ludicrous trophies is considered high season. How do the titlists get these things on the plane? I can only imagine the disappointment that would ensue for a trophy shaped like a pair of giant nail-scissors. Given the apparent flimsiness of the overhead compartments, Roddick is probably lucky not to have won more in Europe. Certainly it’s a good thing he never won Gstaad. Marcel Granollers just did, and has been rewarded with the opportunity to have his skull caved in on the flight home. He saw off Fernando Verdasco in the final, consigning the senior Spaniard to a paltry 0-3 record in finals this year, and 5-11 for his career. Still, there are worse finals to lose than Gstaad. We might say he dodged a bullet, except that it was clearly ammunition for a catapult.

On the subject of obscene trophies, Alexandr Dolgopolov earned the first of his career in Umag. I don’t know if he packed appropriate luggage, although he was thoughtful in coordinating his outfit.

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