Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Mystery of the Evil Pinky Solved!

TV Alert! ESPN2 will broadcast a one-hour highlights show of BNP Paribas Masters Series from 1:00am to 2:00am Monday morning, Nov. 7.

Fans will remember last month's Davis Cup controversy in which Roddick exchanged some words with Belgium's Davis Cup captain, Steven Martens, during the traditional dinner that precedes Davis Cup play. Their acrimony was carried over into the matches played throughout the weekend, particularly during Roddick's singles match with Christophe Rochus.

As you'll recall, after Roddick sewed up his comfortable win over Rochus, he high-fived his Davis Cup team and then curiously began waving his pinky around and putting it to his lips. This behavior had tennis boards buzzing, wondering what the mystery gesture was all about and what secret message Roddick was trying to send.

Did Dr. Evil steal Andy's Mojo?

Many tennis fans immediately picked up on the Dr. Evil gesture but they missed Roddick's insinuation that Steven Martens is a dead-ringer for Dr. Evil himself.

The October 2005 issue of Tennis Week magazine offers the missing pieces to the puzzle:
"At our official team dinner earlier this week," Roddick revealed after the tie, "he [Martens] made some really disrespectful remarks to me and to our team, kind of making fun of my early exit at the U.S. Open. And this was in a room full of 50 to 75 people! It was probably the most unprofessional thing I've ever seen in my career, and I took it personal."

Just after the main course was cleared from the tables and before dessert was served, the two team captains stood near their tables to make their remarks. U.S. Captain Patrick McEnroe was genial, [. . .] saying that the team members were enjoying themselves in preparation for the good competition they were anticipating for the weekend. Martens, however, took a different approach.

An animated sort anyway, Martens bounded from his seat and drifted from the Belgian team table more toward the center of the room. As soon as he said the words "U.S. Open" and "American Express," American guests at the dinner began to cringe and cut their eyes toward Roddick, whose first round loss at the Open was magnified by the American Express ad campaign that asked the question, "Where's Andy's mojo?" Martens was clearly trying to be funny, pulling various credit cards from his wallet, saying that those brands of cards were welcome throughout Belgium, but not American Express—at least not during this particular Davis Cup weekend. His jokes failed miserably. A couple of Belgian VIPs even apologized for his misstep at humor.

Image hosted by
Belgium's Davis Cup captain, Steven Martens. Is this the face of evil?

It was clear that Roddick didn't find anything funny in Martens' remarks when, in the middle of them, he shot back, "Has anyone ever told you you look like Dr. Evil?" referring to the villain of the Austin Powers films that popularized the notion of mojo.

"It was the most unbelievable thing you would have ever seen," Roddick told a surprised Belgian press corp after his tie-clinching, five-set victory against Olivier Rochus, "to the point where even Kim Clijsters came up to me two days ago and apologized for it. So, yes, I was very pissed off at the captain the whole weekend. If that's his idea of being a good captain, then I seriously have to question that."

The real Dr. Evil.

Martens [. . .] said that he knew Roddick misunderstood his intentions the day after the dinner when they crossed paths during the teams' practice sessions. While Martens engaged James Blake in conversation, Roddick would not say a word. "I could see that he was upset," Martens said, "so I thought it best to just back away."

Martens was indeed surprised to hear that Roddick considered what he had intended as good-natured humor instead an insult. "I used to have great respect for Andy as an athlete and as a person," Martens said. "I still have respect for him as an athlete and as a person. But I see now that he is still very young."

Said Roddick, in his final thoughts on Martens' dinner speech, "If Patrick had done the same thing, I would have told him to sit down and shut up." —TW

On an unrelated-to-this-story note, there is still no official word yet on whether Roddick will not attend the Masters Cup. Personally, I feel it's still pretty much a go, with a week's rest at home stuffing himself with Mom's home-cooking and getting treatment for his back, he should be ok for Shanghai. Says Roddick, on whether the back injury will prevent him from attending the Masters Cup: "I don't know. I hope not but, obviously, I'm not as optimistic as I was two days ago. I'll go back, we'll treat it and if I feel like I can go, I'll go. If not, then I won't. It felt okay walking around earlier in the day but as soon as I started moving, it just really stiffened up and made it tough to move and hit my shots. It's low back, it's just tight. The doctor used a bunch of medical terms I'm not intelligent enough to understand. We're going to evaluate it again here and when I get home."

Another friendly piece of advice to Roddick from myself: please quit putting yourself down so much, kiddo. You're not as think as you dumb you are.



Noelle De Guzman said...

Ohhh! Thanks for the info. I think I'll mention it in today's blog post.

Ellen (williaer) said...

tangy, that post was the best

im glad the evil mystery is solved!!

Jace said...

i love you i love you i love you i love you! don't let hubby see that! *lol* keep the sweet entries coming, esseh.

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