Monday, January 19, 2009

5 Hours, 36 Minutes in 96 Degree Heat

Aside from sleeping, when was the last time you did one single activity for 5 hours, 36 minutes? It's tough to think of one thing that could hold any level of focus and intensity for nearly a quarter of a day.
Now fold into this recipe a 96 degree oven in which this endeavor takes place. I would venture to say there are precious few of us that would even have the audacity to think they might have, once in their life, by choice done such a thing.
Last night in the first round of the Australian Open, Gilles Muller and Feliciano Lopez brawled in the summer heat for 5 hours, 36 minutes until Muller came out on top 16-14 in the 5th set. No quarter, no complaining, no respite.
And don't be fooled by this 96 degree business. That's what the grounds thermometer showed, but a tennis court is like a cast-iron griddle; it retains and emanates a stunning amount of heat. It's that rugged, dry, enveloping heat that makes your feet burn and your eyes dry up. I've played in those conditions for a few hours, but wouldn't even consider trying to play for that long.
This first round match will likely disappear from our memory as the tournament goes on, but attention must be paid to such an incredible effort. The focus, fitness, and heart these two showed in a first round match is something to marvel at.
Oh, and Wayne Odesnik lost in 4 sets (along with just about every other American male in the draw save Andy Roddick)

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