Raining in Rome

David Foster Wallace taught us tennis is a matter of geometry and dystopia.

One sorry day during the Nineties, tennis went black in Italy. Exclusive broadcasting rights were bought by a pay-tv, so we started watching black matches. Negative images, barely recognizable players moving silently along the baseline. My coach decided to pay, so we could go to his place and watch the matches and listen to our favourite reporters, Gianni Clerici, Rino Tommasi and Ubaldo Scannagatta. But a couple of years later I went to University, my coach moved, Edberg had retired anyway, and the rivalry between Sampras and Agassi was not that interesting to me. More time passed, and I became a pioneer for analogical satellite tv in my neighbourhood, watching German tv from the Astra satellite, and so I discovered that Eurosport.de was broadcasting a lot of tournaments. In the meanwhile, the Federer era had begun.

And here we are today, Italy hasn’t been able to see a single tennis match since, not even the Internazionali d’Italia, with the exclusion of a couple of WTA events and the fabulous Nadal-Federer in 2006, without paying.

Last night Djokovic played Murray in the semifinals of the Internazionali d’Italia, and Rafa Nadal n.1 of the ATP ranking wasn’t able to see the match from his hotel in Rome, because the hotel had no pay-tv. He had to imagine it, the geometry of it, and later watch the recording.