Friday, April 24, 2009

Daney on tennis

Serge Daney did not just write about cinema. From 1980 to 1990, he wrote extensively about tennis for the newspaper Libération. Several of these articles have been collected in a posthumous book: L'amateur de tennis, POL, 1994.

Andy Rector at Kinoslang publishes the firs
t English translation of a text by Daney on tennis. The article was part of Daney's daily column on television "The zapper's wage" (le salaire du zappeur) written for Libération from September to December 1987.

The smash of rage
First published in Libération, 16 September 1987, reprinted in Le salaire du zappeur, POL, 1993.

To give an idea of the originality of Daney's writings on tennis (which is also revealing of the risks Libération took when it was a really innovative newspaper), I'm translating below the table of contents of L'amateur de tennis. Unfortunately a lot of puns gets lost in translation.

1980 - Roland-Garros
  • Connors saves two match points and ousts Caujolle
  • The birth of the tennis aficionados
  • The time factor
  • The peculiar sound of Borg's racket
  • Hana Mandlikofa easily eliminates Ivana Madruga
  • Gerulaitis unleashes himself against everybody
  • Women play seriously
  • Virtuosity paid
  • No pathos at Roland-Garros
1980 - Wimbledon
  • Borg-McEnroe or the beauties of pure reason
1981 - Wimbledon
  • McEnroe got almost madly angry against Frawley
  • Power change
1982 - Roland-Garros
  • Vilas' perpetual metamorphosis
  • Women's tennis: when one attacks, the other doesn't
  • The story of an acceleration that didn't come
  • Vilas is in the final, without losing a set
  • Tsetse final at Roland-Garros
1982 - David Cup
  • Noah-McEnroe: the aces of aces
  • Davis Cup: a tennis symphony in five movements
1983 - Davis Cup
  • USSR-France: great beach tennis against world-class
  • The immobile Soviet tennis
  • Davis cup: the French not as dull as the Russians
1983 - Roland-Garros
  • Entire afternoons on the central court
  • Roger-Vasselin, the smallest of the quarter finals
  • The Swedish syndrome
  • The French scripts
  • Vilas-Higueras: even the weather got depressed
  • The Wilander mystery
  • Wilander-Higueras: three hours without thrills
  • Noah-Wilander: 15h08 - 17h32
1983 - Wimbledon
  • And McEnroe found out the flaw
  • McEnroe has learnt to be bored
1983 - Davis cup
  • Davis cup: Noah goes through, Leconte doesn't
  • Davis cup: The French eat the grass
1982 - Roland-Garros
  • The privileged ones must sit down!
  • Where one can see the other tournaments in transparency
  • Bouncing emotions on red earth
  • On the eighth day, courts in-between raindrops
  • The image pit
  • Slices of today's matches
  • Lendl the executioner beats the elegant Gomez
  • Navratilova: grand slam in her sights
  • Lendl-Wilander: the hypnotizer trapped
1985 - Roland-Garros
  • High end Benhabiles
  • The two-head machine and the referee's madness
  • Refereeing: the year of all the troubles
  • 3 hours, 5 sets, 49 games: Leconte is good
  • A too quiet day under Swedish influence
  • Leconte, check Mats
  • Connors: no suspense for the last elected in the four aces
  • A real big moaner in the dinosaurs' pit
  • Jimmy Connors is less terrestrial than Lendl
1985 - Wimbledon
  • Wimbledon: the final gives birth to a little genius
1987 - Roland-Garros
  • When cracks get their fangs out, little crocodiles crack.
  • Mats Wilander, listen to indifference
  • Tyranny in three acts
  • Mecir, non-standard exchanges
  • Graf pins out Sabatini at the finish
  • Mecir trips over Lendl's soft shots
  • Ivan Lendl: bis
1988 - Roland-Garros
  • Yannick Noah gets the audience on his knee
  • Henri Leconte, intermittent tennis
  • Yannick Noah fighting on red clay
  • Andrei Chesnokof gobbles up Pat Cash
  • Wilander carves a break for himself
  • Half pint for Henri Leconte's thirst
  • Leconte in final, cracking? No.
  • An afternoon in red white and yuck!
1990 - Bercy
  • Sad day with second rank players
  • A killer on the road, two victims by the roadside

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