Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trailer Trad Hall of Fame: My Favorite Russian

I am kicking off my first edition of Trailer Trad Hall of Fame with a purely selfish nomination. She has been called the greatest female tennis player never to win a grand slam title. That is enough to gain her entry right there. Her name is Elena Dementieva, the most beautiful Russian tennis player that you’ve never heard of.

Why does she deserve to be nominated to the Trailer Trad Hall of Fame? Her statuesque blond beauty certainly helps but it’s her quirkiness that makes her trailer trad. She’s very traditional – but in the Russian sense. Her biggest tennis goal was not to win a major, but to bring home the singles gold for Russia in the 2008 Summer Olympics, which she did. While most of the other hotties on tour are cashing in with huge conglomerate sponsorships, residing in Monaco and training in the U.S., Elena remains fiercely patriotic to Mother Russia by living in Moscow and by obtaining few Western endorsement contracts (compared to Maria Sharapova, at least).

WTA Star Ana Ivanovich

She had been somewhat of a hard-luck story on tour for a few years even though she stayed in the top ten. Few on tour can match Elena’s strokes or her physical gifts but she had a nasty habit of choking away matches. This became even worse when, after recovering from a shoulder injury, she changed her service motion which caused her problems on her serve. ‘Train wreck’ is probably more accurate to describe those crucial moments in matches when she would double-fault after double-fault. At times, she would look up to her mother/coach for support (she’s so traditionally Russian, she remains a momma’s girl into her late twenties. –Disconcerting, but traditional). Some commentators would roll their eyes at whether she had what it took to win at majors.

That changed at Wimbledon in 2009 where she fronted for one of Wimbledon’s major sponsors, Evian bottled water. –What a bargain that was for Evian considering how well she performed against Serena Williams in the semi-finals and how, um, healthy she looked in her white tennis togs. In one of the most spectacular WTA matches in years according to many, Dementieva played brilliantly but came up a hair short losing to Serena 6-7, 7-5, 8-6. She remains one of the few players who can match the Williams’ power stroke for stroke and seems set to have a very successful year on tour in 2010.

To honor Elena Dementieva, one of the great players and also one of the nicest people on tour, I advocate a new holiday – Wimblefest!

It combines the elegance, tradition and athleticism of Elena at Wimbledon With plenty of beer served by blond waitresses in festive dirndls

Resulting in …. Voila! You’re very welcome. As Charles Dickens might say,”God Bless Elena Dementieva and Merry Wimblefest Everyone!”

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