Diaries from the Australian Open
My racquet is my friend
Li Na is not about to join Andy Murray in smashing up her racquet, which she regards as her friend. After Murray took out his frustrations on Monday, during his match against ‘lucky loser’ Stephane Robert, Li said: “The racquet is my friend. She is with me on the court all the time, so I have to be friends with her and also she can be good to me.” Asked if she had a name for her racquet, the Chinese star answered: “I have eight racquets, so Li Na 1 until Li Na 8.”
In your face
The Australian Open has a new star after a ball boy took a ball to the face — and barely flinched. The stoic lad, standing by the umpire’s chair, had his head rocked back when a miscued return from Florian Mayer came at him full pelt. But he recovered instantly as if nothing happened. “Stop the Australian Open. We’re ready to crown a champion,” trumpeted Melbourne’s Herald Sun. “What poise. What class. Such stoicism in the face of extreme pain.” The incident recalls plaudits for another ball boy in 2012, who reached out one-handed and snaffled a ball travelling at speed from the racquet of Roger Federer.
Roger’s socks appeal
Roger Federer faced an interesting question after his latest feat — about his feet. An eagle-eyed viewer had spotted that the great champion was wearing two pairs of socks during his win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer, slightly taken aback by the question, asked interviewer Jim Courier: “Are you checking me out?” He said even his twin girls, Myla and Charlene, had been wondering. The answer is that they help protect his feet. “Even my girls don’t understand why I wear two socks, they ask me ‘why Papa?’” he said. “I tell them it’s softer that way.” — AFP