You know it's the winter break when...

Nov 28, 2013, 12:00:00 AM

You know it's the winter break when...
The tennis season is coming to an end, the tennis players went on holiday and the fan that you are is going to fill the void as he can. You know it's the winter break when...

Here we are again, another year of tennis has past. For you, it's a time of anxiety and denial: Six weeks without your yellow ball shaped sun? Impossible. In fact, your survival kit has been ready for a while: YouTube, Twitter and Lemon sport, there's nothing missing. And the light isn't so far away: the Australian Open is at the end of the tunnel.


....For you, the final of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the Thanksgiving of tennis.

...It's with a heavy heart that you watched Radek Stepanek hit his last overhead to bring the Silver Bowl to the Czech Republic. The ultimate point of the year.


...You finally have time to sit back and remember what happened over the past year. Andy Murray won Wimbledon, how cool is that?

...And Marion Bartoli too. Mass hallucination on the Centre Court?


...It’s time for six weeks of unbearable speculations: Will Federer go back to being Federer in 2014? Will Serena Williams keep pushing the limits of age? Will Rafael Nadal remain the king of clay?  Actually no, you've known the answer to this question for a long time.

...Is the season over, really? No way! You know that there's still a week of competition, particularly marked by the Toyota Challenger and the 46th Turkish Future of the year. You wouldn't miss the confirmation of Takanyi Garanganga's talent or Thomas Schoorel's race for the Australian Open qualifiers.

...You also know that the winter break actually doesn't exist. It's time to follow the crappy streams of exotic exhibitions that will help your favourite players get through these difficult months.

...It's the coaches’ reshuffle. Yep, tennis also has its mercato!

...The yellow ball news are just news brief: "Nadal wants to win the AO", "Federer's playing an exhibition for his foundation", "Djoko's trying to find a way to become # 1", "Tsonga is training hard", "Reduced suspension for Troicki".

...You can also read plenty of graphics and portfolios... But eventually the "big four" is now the G2!

...With your tennis fan mates, you keep talking about the best things that happened in 2013: the gorgeous point scored by Djokovic against Nadal in the fifth set of their semi-final at Roland Garros. Definitely the "turning point" of the season.

...You’re ready for two months of intensive YouTube sessions. The November/December period is the time when you catch up on all the matches you missed during the season and where you perfect your general knowledge. Raul Ramirez, what a player!

...For you, it's the beginning of the amateurs’ tournaments, you must honour your new ranking and/or forget a crappy season.

...You tell yourself "Come on, this winter I'll improve my ranking!"

...And you know you make it, you’ve just started to get the ball inside the court after two months of training...

....You’re too cold in the indoor courts of the MMU sports centre while Nadal is jet skiing in South Africa.

...However, on January 1st, your resolution will be, as usual, to play more often. A drunken oath.

...Because for you, holiday means August. But also December, April... etc.

...Actually, you mostly train to be a little less ridiculous after each break...

...Winter sports and English football have no secrets for you. Yeah, those are the only two disciplines that don't take a break in December. In fact, your sports year is like this: eleven months of tennis followed by the Four Hills Tournament and finally Boxing Day.

...Besides, you're happy not to be a cycling fan: with a season that starts in February and ends in September, you don't what you would do with your life during the remaining four months.

...The worst thing is that you can't even take advantage of it to go and hit the ball on the courts: with winter, the indoor courts of the MMU sports centre are freezing. Of course, there are the heated indoor courts, but they are taken by storm...

...Your Twitter timeline is flooded with pictures of tennis players on holiday on sandy beaches at the other end of the world. Chilling in the sun, ok, but still with their thumbs firmly glued to the iPhone.

...You notice that, curiously, not one has chosen a cultural holiday exploring the Tuscan and Andalusian heritage. And it was already like that last year.

...You try to guess which leading player will sacrifice to the traditional stupid injury during the holiday...

...And which one will show up in early January with a little overweight. A bet on the sugar daddy Marcos Baghdatis?

…You're weaned off that even tennis gossips are enough to make you happy: Dimitrov and Sharapova, Kvitova and Stepanek, Wozniacki and Rory her ex... You suddenly understand better your great aunt hung on the Daily mail and Closer.

...You've already prepared your little TV guide for 2014: Sky, Eurosport, ESPN... It may cost you an arm and leg, but you shouldn’t miss anything.

...You wonder what will Bernard Tomic do to make headlines during the holidays. Can he do better than the triptych drunkenness, speeding and brawl of twelve months ago?

...You can't wait for December 31st: NYE or not, there will be a TV at home on Eurosport to follow the first round of the Doha tournament. Doha, the Subutex of the tennis junkie.

...It's the festive season. The pros aren't crazy, they won't play any tournament on January 1st at 10 am...

...You keep watching the Australian Open's twitter feed. Pictures of the courts and behind the scenes, videos of the tournament's heyday, and the sun, always, in the austral summer... The season can't start soon enough!


By Guillaume Willecoq, with Jérémy Francisco