Theyre like ballerinas, and were so tight and stiff.
The pros grunted with exaggerated gusto but their overhead slams and cross-court lasers looked effortless. By comparison, we stumbled about like Inspector Clouseau.
You come out here and appreciate the number of hours they have invested to reach this level, former Sen. George Mitchell said of these Outliers who have married rare DNA with rare dedication. The number of stars in our galaxy or the number of forehands Djokovic has hit in 20 years which is greater?
Cristina Daniels of Coconut Grove played with the smiling Serbs, Djokovic and Ivanovic, who complimented her amazing forehand. She recalled how Kim Clijsters set her up for a sure winner last year. This time, she scored twice against the Bryans.
Against the Bryan brothers, you dont know where to put the ball, so I tried their shoelaces, she said.
Fabricio Alcobe, 13, was most impressed with the machine-gun volley exchanges. He can tell his grandchildren he once surprised the great Djokovic with a passing shot.
Of course, he didnt hit it his hardest or he would have killed me, Alcobe said.
To flinch on an NFL sideline is to marvel at the physics of the collisions. To be trackside as half-ton horses gallop down the stretch is to be awestruck at jockeys fearless command. We are so inundated with TV action that we need to pause and fathom a gymnasts balance beam routine.
The pros navigate in a different stratosphere. Hitting balls against them was a revelation for those of us who played our finest tennis against the garage door, pretending to be Jimmy Connors on one shot, John McEnroe on the next crying, You cant be serious! to an invisible ump on a missed point.
Theres no handicap system and the lines are the same for everybody in tennis, said ESPN commentator and former pro Darren Cahill. These guys are responsible for the tremendous change in the sport from hand-eye coordination to very physical -- in which youve got to be able to crush the ball from both sides of your body, move like a sprinter, run a marathon and serve at 135 mph.
Djokovic was serving maybe half that to me, so I got a couple returns and deferred to Murray whenever possible.
Hes known in England as the dour Scot (the adjective is automatic, as it would be for the loud American) but I, also of Scottish heritage, found him to be a wonderfully dry Scot.
Good plan, he said with cracking sarcasm in that irresistible brogue, high-fiving after I dumped a backhand into the net.
Serious tennis resumes at the Sony Open. Tuesday the worlds best took time out to exude and inspire love of the game.
Lets play! they said. Lets play.