The tennis news (but not only) of the week: Nadal, a middle finger and a big avocado

Feb 16, 2021, 6:00:00 AM | by Florian Cadu

Rafael Nadal
We Are Tennis by BNP Paribas brings you the best of the past week, on and off the courts, day after day. A week at the Australian Open where a spectator flipped off Rafael Nadal, and where the biggest avocados in the world were found in Hawaii.

Monday, February 8th

There were tears, to start off the week. And they didn’t come from the American road racer Josh Herrin, who entered the Guinness Book of Records after driving 30 meters at the speed of 162,4 km/h with… his elbow on the ground. As this record is much less painful than Gaël Monfils’ defeat at the first round of the Australian Open. After conceding seven consecutive defeats, and having not one a single match in the last year, the Frenchman was emotional during his press conference. « I’m playing badly, I can’t serve, I can’t seem to hit a forehand, I’m making errors, I’m six meters between the line, not hitting the ball well… I feel judged, I’m already on the ground and you guys are shooting me, » said the saddened world number eleven. Maybe he should share a spleen Tonic with Benoît Paire, who also lost his first match in the competition, to console himself? 


Tuesday, February 9th

As she was facing the fierce Ashleigh Barty, the poor Danka Kovinic went home after losing 6-0 6-0… An even bigger failure to carry than the biggest avocado in the world, which weighs 2,54 kg, and which was found by the Pokini family, who live on the island of Maui (Hawaii). At least, there’s no need to look for food until the end of the Grand Slam tournament. 


Wednesday, February 10th

Three different problems, with three different solutions. As she suffered an ankle injury during her first set against Sara Errani, Venus Williams decided to play through the pain instead of giving up, and managed to finish her match with honors, despite conceding a large defeat (6-1, 6-0). On their side, parents living in Limoges (Haute-Vienne, France), chose a more attacking option to deal with their child who wouldn’t finish its plate: they called the police, who arrived to solve this « major family issue ». Finally, if Nick Kyrgios got angry against the let detector, which he considered to be not so accurate - « Turn off the machine, or I won’t play anymore! », the Australian managed to stay focused and qualify in five sets. Nick, the real hawk eye.


Thursday, February 11th

Have you ever seen… two Italians arguing in their mother tongue at the end of a very tight match? Now, you have. The unapologetic Fabio Fognini and the loser of the day, Salvatore Caruso, bickered on the court in this first ever 100% Italian duel at the Australian Open in the Open era. It ended with a stressful super tie-break, and no hug in the end… A supervisor even had to break the fight which was starting between the two Italians. « We’re going to talk, don’t worry. I’ll keep you posted, and if you give me your number, I will send you a text, » Fognini, the winner of the day, then laughed off in front of the journalists, as he was happy to run the show this Thursday. As for the weather, a cold spell came in France, where the TV channel BFMTV showed footage of the city of Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle) as they were speaking of… Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin). Nothing important, just 160 km between the two cities. 


Friday, February 12th

In general, when a match is played in five sets and isn’t affected either by the night arriving or the weather, the stands are more filled towards the end of the fight than at the start. But it was the complete opposite during the match between Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz. How come? Because of coronavirus, of course, which forced the spectators to leave in the middle of the match, as a cluster was identified in a hotel, and provoked a short, five-day isolation period which started at the end of the day. Suffering from an abdominal muscle injury, the Serb managed to qualify in a venue which, all of a sudden, started to sound very empty. Please don’t let him use extra-strong glue to fix his muscles. Tessica Brown, who lives in Louisiana (US) tried this technique on her hair to replace her usual hair gel and is still regretting it: her hair hasn’t moved in a month, and she will have to undergo surgery to remove the chemical product which is fixed on her head. Thankfully, her cry for help led her to collect 15 000 dollars in donations on the internet. A very far-fetched story, overall. 


Saturday, February 13th

« Alcool famously desinhibits, but I’m usually like this. I’m not really a Nadal fan, he’s boring and he always has these rituals because of his obsessive-compulsive disorders. The fact that pictures of me became viral show how boring his matches are, otherwise, why would we focus on a spectator? In fact, I was in this stand because I’d bought a ticket for the previous women’s match between Coco Gauff and Elina Svitolina, and I then stayed to watch boring Nadal. » These were the explanations of the tennis fan, who, a few days earlier, allowed herself to give the Spaniard the finger in the middle of his match. « Stop with you OCD! », she also shouted. « He looked at me, and that’s when I flipped him off, » she said. A gesture which provoked a short interruption to calm the woman down, under the glance and the smile of the insulted Spaniard. Who described the episode as « strange but funny »: « She might have drunk too much gin or tequila, I don’t know. It’s true that I was surprised, but at the same time, I was thinking ‘Poor girl’, because she was probably drunk or something like that. » Another strange and funny episode occurred in the US as a 90-year old American named Aaron Epstein spent 10 000 dollars to buy ad inserts in different newspapers, to put in a letter he wrote to his telephone operator, asking them to give him a better connection. 


Sunday, February 14th

It’s Valentine’s day! If you’re lucky enough to be a couple, you can now buy a cockroach, as a present for your better half: for a couple of years now, the Bronx zoo (New York) has transformed Madagascar hissing cockroaches in symbols of love and is selling them for the occasion. If you’re sadly alone, careful with solitary pleasures: a Japanese man ended up in hospital because of an orgasm, as a brain hemorrhage occurred while he was masturbating. And if you don’t really know where you are at the moment, you won’t resist Aslan Karatsev: the latest hype at the Australian Open, the world number 114, who went through the qualifying rounds, managed to defeat Félix Auger-Aliassime to reach the quarter-finals (he’s the worst-ranked player to reach this stage of the competition since Patrick McEnroe, in 1991), and is displaying such an attractive game (he destroyed Diego Schwartzmann, defeated Egor Geramisov 6-0/6-1/6-0, and has only conceded two sets since the start of the tournament…). Finally a good reason to fall in love!