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05 April 2012

Blog: Two Bobs?


Photo: Corinne DubreuilBob and Mike Bryan (USA)

By Sandra Harwitt in Roquebrune Cap Martin

Which one is Bob? Which one is Mike?

For 14 years now the tennis world has struggled to tell the Bryan twins apart, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so successfully.

Yes, there are a few tricks to use in solving this puzzle. Bob is the lefty so his wedding band is on his right-hand as is his watch. And he’s very helpful in wearing a necklace of beads – Bob’s beads is alliteration at its best.

Normally, Davis Cup is a place where identifying which Bryan is speaking is easy. That’s because players wear team jackets with their names on it.

Normal, however, was not the status at the Davis Cup draw ceremony at the Monte Carlo Beach Club on a sunny Thursday afternoon. The Bryans actually managed to make it even more difficult to spot which brother was which. How so, you ask? Well, both brothers wore jackets that said, “B Bryan.”

“I actually lost my jacket yesterday and Bob had two,” offered Mike, as an explanation for causing the confusing situation. “So it’s a sick joke.”

Bob added to the conversation by laughingly asking, “Who’s Bob? Who’s Bob.”

A new daddy of two-months, Bob was asked about his daughter, Micaela, by Craig Gabriel, the intrepid reporter at the USA v France tie.

“She’s great,” said Bob, pushing things along a bit faster than nature allows. “She’s starting to talk a little and playing a little piano.”

In the swim of things

By Sandra Harwitt in Roquebrune Cap Martin

It’s hard to tell how many of the Davis Cup players on stage during the draw ceremony could swim a 400m freestyle race.

One guy taking part in the festivities, however, is considered good enough to make a big enough splash at the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London to score a medal, maybe even a gold medal.

No, we have no swimming experts amongst the guys wielding tennis rackets. We did have French swimmer Yannick Agnal on hand. Agnal, 19, hails from Nimes and is the French national 200m and 400m freestyle record holder. He won three medals at the 2010 European Aquatics Classic, including the gold medal in the 400m freestyle. He was a nine-time medalist in the European Junior Championships.

Agnal was not asked to show off his talent in the Olympic-sized pool at the Monte Carlo Beach Club. He was asked to pick the name of the player who would get the tie started on Friday – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came out of the Easter egg and will play American teen Ryan Harrison in the opening match.

Wait a second? Out of an Easter egg? Yes, the four singles players names had been put inside extra large chocolate Easter eggs – Easter is on Sunday – which Agnal had a bit of trouble getting to open to get to the name.

What happened to the Easter eggs? We didn’t notice, but presumably all the chocolate was not going to go to waste.

Tennis’s loss, actings gain

Foodies know that Castellon province in the Valencia region of Spain is a perfect location for all kinds of gourmet goodies. The site of this weekend’s Davis Cup tie between Spain and Austria, those coming to Oropesa del Mar for the tennis will likely feast on giant prawns, cured beef, field mushrooms, shellfish and cottage cheese.

But Castellon isn’t only known for its foods and beautiful vistas off the Mediterranean. They have a celebrity or two that come from Castellon, too.

Handsome Spanish actor Miguel Angel Silvestre, most known for his role as Nacho on the Spanish TV series “Motivos Personales,” was born and raised in the area. In 2002, Silvestre was named Mister Castellon at the Mister Castellon pageant.

But here’s another interesting factoid about Silvestre. Before he thought about acting he was planning on becoming a professional tennis player. Those plans were dashed when he suffered a knee injury at a Hungarian tournament.

On to another sport, well-known golfer Sergio Garcia is also from Castellon. The 32-year-old has been a consistent Top 10 ranked golfer on the PGA Tour and a star of the Ryder Cup’s European team through the years.

The morning after a bad night

By Maximiliano Boso in Buenos Aires

The morning of the Davis Cup draw ceremony in Buenos Aires was really sad. Not even the clear sky and the sun light could keep everyone’s mind out of what had happened the night before.

At the exact moment of the official dinner, a ferocious storm over the capital city of Argentina blew down trees and destroyed roofs, cars and commercial signs everywhere. As a consequence, at least 14 people died, not only in Buenos Aires, but also in the suburbs and in the Province of Santa Fe.

The strong storm has hit fiercely in the city limits and in open areas, such as Parque Roca, in the south, where Mary Teran de Weiss Stadium will hold the World Group quarterfinal tie between Argentina and Croatia from tomorrow.

In this sense, most of the people attending the official dinner were already inside the enormous VIP tent, waiting for the speeches to begin. Even the MC was ready and on stage. But at the precise moment when he was about to ask everyone to go to their seats…

The rain, the wind, everything shaking. Someone in the scene recall: “This is like Twister, the movie."

In the first minutes, the Argentine players were laughing, talking and waiting for the rain to pass. The Croatian team members, clearly excited for playing in Argentina, were trying to capture the moment in their camcorders.

However, after a few minutes, the strong wind started to tear away the fabrics covering the tent, the water entered the gigantic room, the glasses ended up broken in the floor and the expression in everyone’s face quickly changed from laughing to fear.

The loss of energy turned the lights down. That was the moment of major uncertainty. Fortunately, the organisers quickly evacuated the place and the teams were lead to the locker rooms before returning directly to the hotel.

After a night of hard and against-the-clock work, the place looked in perfect condition today, almost as if nothing had happened. But everyone's thoughts are still with the victims and their families.

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ARG Flag Argentina v Croatia CRO Flag 6 Apr 2012 - 8 Apr 2012 View details

CZE Flag Czech Republic v Serbia SRB Flag 6 Apr 2012 - 8 Apr 2012 View details

FRA Flag France v USA USA Flag 6 Apr 2012 - 8 Apr 2012 View details

ESP Flag Spain v Austria AUT Flag 6 Apr 2012 - 8 Apr 2012 View details


    Sandra Harwitt

    Sandra, an American sportswriter for longer than she's willing to admit, has travelled the world to cover tennis for major publications, such as, The Miami Herald and Associated Press. Her biggest problem of late is managing to pack worldwide purchases into suitcases and still meet the airline weight restrictions.





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