• The politicians in Novak, Rafa



    Jamie Lee Curtis would err but on the side of caution.

    When asked a few years ago on who her role models were, she said she would rather not have even one.

    The sexy and smart daughter of Hollywood royalty explained that if she had idols and they turned out to have feet of clay like most ordinary mortals, then she would have been mortified.

    Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal would have validated Jamie Lee’s personal stand on heroes and heels.

    Djoko and Rafa, to this corner’s shock and grief, traded whatever legacy they may leave the tennis world for a total of 150 million bath ($4.1 million) for an exhibition match that lasted little more than an hour last week in Thailand.

    From all accounts, the Serbian and the Spaniard had known what they were getting into when they accepted an invitation to be paraded around Bangkok by the junta that has ruled Thailand for more than a year.

    The deal, according to reports, was for Djokovic and Nadal to agree to be “outfitted in traditional silk jackets in colors of respect for the country’s monarchy.”

    The reports said, “Djokovic wore yellow—the color that represents the King of Thailand—and Nadal wore blue, in respect for the Queen.

    Of course, Novak knew that yellow is not purple or fuschia, and Rafa surely can tell the difference between blue and periwinkle or tangerine.

    If they don’t, then they must really be stupid, clueless multimillionaires who had been sworn to sweating it out for the pile they had accumulated through the years of playing tennis professionally.

    And so Djokovic went yellow and Nadal, blue.

    Note that when Novak won the US Open over 14 days of backbreaking ball-whacking, not to mention tantrum-throwing, against Roger Federer, he pocketed $3.3 million.

    A day before the “Back to Thailand” moro-moro, Djoko tried to sound like ordinary Thais owe him big for the “visit,” saying he hoped to bring a “smile” to his fans’ faces.

    And Nadal also tried to deodorize the real reason for his second trip to Bangkok in almost five years, saying the purpose of the exhibition match was “to create good fun for the people.”

    How timely and appropriate to draw a “smile” and make some “fun” even if they are the least wanted by any other country suffering under military rule.

    For doing what they did (what were they thinking if they were doing that at all?), Novak and Rafa should not even be nominated to the Tennis Hall of Fame for giving the ATP dishonor and tennis in general a bad name.

    But, surprisingly, the Association of Tennis Professionals, which governs the men’s game, is quiet about the Bangkok Blunder.

    Well, this corner is not surprised, knowing that Djokovic and Nadal (even if he is ranked No. 7 now) are crowd pullers and big endorsers and are two of the top faces of the game.

    So the ATP bigwigs will just say that the $4.1 million blood money that Novak and Rafa “earned” was really “appearance money.”


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