Here's how this week's arts and culture column begins:
“Welcome to Tennis Paradise” reads the flower-encrusted archway over the entrance to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
And for once in this culture of fake news, that’s not total hyperbole.
A bit of backstory: One day at a time, for more than 30 years, I have surrendered my addiction to alcohol. But nature abhors a vacuum, and one of the things that has sprung up in its stead is a fervent — an unkind person might call it obsessive — interest in women’s professional tennis.
I started by acquainting myself with the four annual “grand slams” — the Australian Open in January (hard court), Roland Garros aka the French Open in June (clay), Wimbledon (grass) in July, and the U.S. Open (hard court) right around Labor Day.
Then, slowly, God help me, I came to understand that the tournament schedule lasts, with the exception of December, the whole year. I learned the difference between a Premier Mandatory, Premier 5, Premier, and International Tournament. I pored over the WTA ranking system.
I downloaded an app — ATP/WTA Live — that delivers live scores, daily schedules and for every match the bios — height, weight, place of birth, current residence (why so many in Monte Carlo and Geneva? Ah — tax purposes!), WTA ranking, total career money earned (fascinating!) and previous record between any given two players.
I downloaded another app called Time Snap so I could sync, as need be, with the clocks in Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Prague, Tokyo, Wuhan. I started sleeping fitfully when an exciting middle-of-the-night PST match was taking place halfway across the world.
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|CAMILA GIORGI, I'M YOUR FAN!|
THE ONLY REASON I DON'T FELLOW MEN'S TENNIS AS WELL
IS THAT I HAVE TO WORK DURING AT LEAST SOME DAYLIGHT HOURS, AND PAY RENT...