E-Crap Challenges Baghdatis!

Could I Beat a "Crippled" Baghdatis?

This CLASSIC article first appeared @ E-Crap in September of 2006

By now, most everyone knows that Andre Agassi extended his career early this morning by knocking off the #8 seed from Cyprus, Marcos Baghdatis, in a nearly 4-hour long thriller. Going into the match, I thought Agassi was going to get smoked. I've seen Baghdatis play before and he is the real deal. A 21-year-old up and coming star, already in the the world's top ten rankings. Quick feet, powerful serve, and loads of confidence bordering on cockiness. And after watching Agassi struggle the other night against a stiff with a bad back and diarrhea, I thought he'd be no match for the upstart Cyprusian (Cyprusite)?

The match was tied 4 all in the deciding 5th set when Baghdatis' thighs cramped up. He had been treated a little while before by his trainer, and the follow-up cramps happened during a live game. The officials would not let him receive medical attention, as they deemed it the same injury. Either he'd have to wait for the game to end and players to change sides, or he'd have to forfeit the match. For the next several minutes, Baghdatis hobbled, fell, grimaced, stumbled, but fought gamely. Even had several break points, but ultimately ended up losing the game. Then, during a two-minute stoppage, his trainer was able to provide some care. While he ended up losing the match soon after, he seemed to not have any further serious cramping issues. And even if he did, it would not have been an excuse for losing to Agassi. He should have wrapped the match up long ago instead of falling behind by losing the first two sets.

As Baghdatis lay writhing in pain on the court, I had a (typical) strange thought... would I be able to beat Baghdatis in a one set match if he were in the same crippled state he was when he first received the injury? I am not a good tennis player by any stretch, but at one time I was fairly decent. While I haven't even picked up a racket in about ten years, I could probably still find a way to hit the ball over the net. Would that be enough? I even devised a bet - if he loses he'd have to hire me as his press agent for one year. And if I lost, I'd do my best to get him a date with E-Crap columnist and former Playboy model (and columnist) Rita G. Granted, I remember seeing Marcos' girlfriend (or acquaintance) at a recent match cheering for him and she was model quality... but I think he'd play along.

So before I had my people contact his people, I started thinking about the strategy I might use. I pictured that first serve of Agassi's after the injury, and how Marcos barely even made a move after it. Well, that was accentuated since the serve was about 120 MPH. My serve would be more like 50 MPH, so even a crippled player could probably reach it without exerting. And once reached, he's return it for a winner since I have little range, or court sense. Okay, so I decided he'd probably break my serve every game, even if he was playing on his ass. Hell, he could probably wiggle via ass to the ball faster than I could run to it, and hit the ball with a lot more authority. He did hit a ball from between his legs last night (don't go there! :) The problem I was running into in my thinking was that any time he was able to remotely reach the ball, he'd probably hit a winner. Then, I wondered if maybe my best chance would be to break HIS serve. He seemed to have some problem turning his hips with the injury, often making his serves wide to the middle of the court. But even if he stood straight and changed his form, he'd still have enough zip to ace me most times.

Before I thought anymore, I realized how much of a loser I had become. I couldn't beat Marcos Baghdatis if he was crippled, lying on his ass, or even if his freaking hands were tied! How do I know that? Because after he missed a shot last night, he playfully put his racket handle in his mouth and swung it. And when a mouth racket swinging scares you, perhaps it's time to forget the bet. Sorry Marcos, but you'll just have to meet Rita on your own!


for E-Crap.com


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