Tag Archives: tennis

What Tennis Meant to Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy picked up tennis late in life, even though at one point seeing it as symbolic of bourgeois decadence. A look at the novel “Resurrection” explains why he changed.

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Federer, Unlike Ulysses, a Family Man Hero

Time and again with Roger Federer, thinking he is nearing his end, I have cited Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” He keeps proving me wrong. One reason may be because he has a different relationship with his family than Tennyson’s protagonist has.

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Sports Injuries, Declining Magical Powers

My tennis performance, once decent, has declined since I suffered a foot injury and underwent cataract surgery. I therefore find myself identifying with Ged In LeGuin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” and Taran in “Black Cauldron” when they suddenly find themselves stripped of magical powers.

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One Equal Temper of Heroic Hearts

Federer and Nadal resumed their legendary rivalry in the Australian Open finals and played a match for the ages. They are both old in tennis terms and by all rights should have been surpassed by the next generation. Therefore Tennyson’s “Ulysses” seems the proper poem to acknowledge them.

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Marriage & Tennis, One and the Same

Maxine Kumin’s poem “Prolhalamion” is at once a celebration of marriage and tennis. I share it today to honor Roger Federer, who continues to dazzle long past the expiration date for tennis players.

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Can Fed Keep Going? The Bard Weighs In

I fear that, in the upcoming U.S. Open, Roger Federer will be like Gremio in “Taming of the Shrew.”

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Strong in Will vs. Time & Fate

Roger Feder, like Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” braved time and fate and came up just short.

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The Agony of a Federer Fan

Federer’s early tournament losses bring about an agony not unlike that of poet Richard Shelton mourning the death of his beloved Sonora Desert.

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Victorie, No Gory Bed, for Andy

A Burns poems will serve to honor Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory while a Susan Bright description of Martina Navratilova applies to woman winner Marion Bartoli.

Posted in Bright (Susan), Burns (Robert) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Light Verse Honoring Wimbledon Finalists

A new “Sports Poem” blog features lyrics about tennis players Murray, Djokovic, and del Potro.

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Fed’s Little Cat Feet, Rafa’s Bullish Force

The Federer and Nadal era may be over. Here they are described in Flaubert, James Patterson, and Carl Sandburg terms.

Posted in Flaubert (Gustave), Hodgson (Ralph), Patterson (James), Sandburg (Carl) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetic Excuses for Losing at Tennis

Between the motion and the act of my tennis game falls the shadow. Translation: too much thinking.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Murray and Serena, Unapologetic Power

Andy Murray and Serena Williams were warriors as they won the U.S. Open, bringing to mind poems by Robert Burns and Tony Hoagland.

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A New York Tennis Poem

Caleb Gardner’s subtle but poignant tennis poem is about more than tennis.

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Tennis Playing–and Writing–at Its Finest

David Foster Wallace’s ode to Roger Federer comes the closest to capturing his beautiful game.

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Federer: Floating Butterfly, Stinging Bee

In the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee as he won his 7th Wimbledon title yesterday.

Posted in Ali (Muhammad), Pope (Alexander), Shakespeare (William), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tennis: Understand Your Desire to Win

Robert Pinsky has written a tennis poem that dispenses useful advice.

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Fed, Rafa, Djoker–A Sibling Drama

Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are like the brothers in a Dostoevsky novel or a Grimm Brothers fairy tale: the two older brothers focus on each other and then the unassuming younger brother comes in and takes over.

Posted in Aristotle, Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Ellison (Ralph), Grimm Brothers | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

High Strung, Ready to Explode

Abraham Verghese uses the tightly strung rackets of Swedish tennis great Bjorn Borg as a metaphor for the state of his marriage, pushed to the breaking point by his workaholism.

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Spain’s Tiger Burning Less Bright

Did the god that made the elegant strokes of Roger Federer also make the bruising style of Nadal? Like William Blake gazing at the lamb and the tiger in “Tyger, Tyger,” we can only shake our heads bemused.

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In Life as in Poker, Trust What You Know

Novelist Rachel Kranz talks about trust, both in poker and novel writing. Once you have the knowledge and the skill, she says, what remains is trusting yourself.

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2010 Sports, Seen through Literature

Sports Saturday – 2010 in Review Since New Year’s Day falls on a “Sports Saturday” this year, I’ll take the occasion to review the year in sports through the vantage point of renewal. The first year of the new decade had a number of joyous firsts. It was a year when the city of New […]

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Poetry at Wimbledon

Sports Saturday I’m still trying to process the Ghana and Brazil defeats and will write about the World Cup in the next two Friday posts.  For the moment, I’ll take a breather and turn to tennis. Trust Wimbledon, the classiest of the tennis tournaments, to work poetry into the occasion.  I wrote last year about […]

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Soccer Highs and Lows and a Tennis Epic

John Isner         Sports Saturday – “It’s incredible!  You could not write a script like this!” So proclaimed the announcer in the U. S. – Algeria World Cup match when Landon Donovan netted a stoppage time goal to avoid elimination and send the Americans forward to the next round. In other words, a sports announcer’s ultimate […]

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The Prizefighter vs. the Yokel

Sports Saturday So my tennis idol, Roger Federer, is out of the French Open.  Before the semi-finals.  Federer’s astounding streak of 23 straight appearances in Grand Slam semi-final matches is one of the great streaks in sports and will never be approached.  (To get a sense of its magnitude, consider that Rod Laver and Ivan […]

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Applying Kipling’s “If” to Wimbledon

An exhilarating and exhausting week at Wimbledon has come to an end with an exhilarating and exhausting match between Swiss player Roger Federer and American Andy Roddick. Roddick was once my favorite player and Federer is my current favorite so I felt torn as I watched the longest match in grand slam history. It came […]

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Roger Federer and the Cavalier Poets

I’m going to put off my follow-up post to Twelfth Night until Monday because I just came across an interesting article that invites a timely response. As a tennis player and fan of Roger Federer, I am still vibrating over his having won at the French Open this past Sunday. After his archrival Rafa Nadal […]

Posted in Lovelace (Richard), Suckling (Sir John) | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed


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