In the early rounds of Australian Open, generally known as uneventful rounds in most Grand Slams despite fans' hopes of upsets, both Marat Safin and Roger Federer had fairly easy victories.
Now they are set to play each other in the third round, an exciting early meeting that will be a rematch of their classic semi-final in 2005, which Safin won (9-7 in the fifth) on his way to the title.
Safin, ever the rockstar of the tennis world, known for smashing rackets more often than Gallagher punishes watermelons, showed up in Australia sporting cuts, bruises, a black eye and an injured thumb. Apparently they are the result of a fight he had in Moscow before leaving.
"I got in trouble in Moscow but it's OK, I can survive," Safin said. "Just some small problem that I wasn't in the right place at the right time."
Maintaining the image of Russian peace and sobriety, Safin went on to confirm "Yes, I won the fight." The belligerent Australian fans have taken a fancy to him. However, he may not be so lucky with Federer, who defies the neutrality of his motherland with his ceaseless ambition and desire to win. He is one grand slam title away from matching Pete Sampras' record of 14.
In related news, Rafael Nadal has forsaken his trademark muscle shirts for a more conservative t-shirt. Perhaps as new world number 1 he has adopted a more mature approach, or else during recovery from a knee injury he lost some of the massive musculature his upper arms are known for. If you'd like to watch the Australian Open, make a lot of coffee and turn on Espn2 at 330am. Or else check back here for the headlines.