Sometimes, being a manic fan can the most rewarding affliction in the world. Waving the Swiss flag in 2006, cheering on Novak Djokovic in 2011 in mispronounced Serbian, raising a knee and fist in time with Nadal in 2010; all good. At some point, though, things take a turn for the worse. Supporting Federer now without losing your dignity? It’d be easier to show more grace running naked up the street. Vamosing on Nadal can’t be easy either, and yelling for Murray? Well, who said that’s ever been anything but bad news? But heartbreak won’t stop a true fan. These are the people that admit they’re a little obsessive, that take the good times with the bad, and don’t stop being crazy for their player just because times are tough. Chances are, we all have a little mad fan in us.
But we’re not just about poking fun at others. So for our final three posts, we the writers at On The Go Tennis, will open up about our own fandom.
Today we present OTGT contributor, Lindsay Gibbs.
Name: Lindsay Gibbs
Twitter handle: @linzsports
Contributions to OTGT: Coverage of Legg Mason Tennis Classic in 2011 and weekly player profiles.
Other blogs/tennis-related achievements: Writer for TennisGrandstand.com, 10sWorld.com. Author of the novel “Titanic: The Tennis Story”
It’s surprising to learn that Lindsay, an accomplished writer and novelist, is only 25 years old. Reading her impressive list of achievements it’s easy to imagine her as far older, and her Twitter timeline rarely gives away the fact she’s but a girl in her mid-20s. That is until Andy Roddick steps on court. As soon as the self-assured American commits himself to a game of tennis, Lindsay’s demeanor changes to that of an enraged fan girl. Suddenly she seems as giggly and excitable as a One Direction fan.
Lindsay first laid eyes on Roddick when he was charming the pants off the host on a late night talk show. “I thought he was so funny and yes, very cute. I was a sports fan and a very casual tennis fan but from that moment on I started seeking out his matches and following all that I could, especially at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open,” she remembers fondly. Lindsay threw herself into tennis and into the tennis community, meeting new friends and learning life lessons along the way. She found much to admire about Roddick and tennis in general. “On the surface Roddick is a typical jock, but he has a great sarcastic sense of humor and a heart of gold. He keeps his guard up, works hard, and never gives up,” Lindsay says, adding that Roddick’s determination to never give up has inspired her during tough moments in her 25 years.
As with most Roddick fans, Lindsay’s endured her fair share of heartbreak, but she tries not to take out her frustration on Roddick’s main rivals. She claims she harbours no ill feelings for Roddick’s oldest foe, Roger Federer, but admits she felt some irrational resentment towards Novak Djokvoic last year. “Despite my best efforts I felt a little bitter about Djokovic’s run in 2011. I always thought he and Roddick had so much in common - winning a Slam early and then having trouble backing it up. Seeing him put it all together and take things to the next level stung a bit, even though it was amazing to watch and had nothing to do with Roddick.”
Despite her neutral feelings towards Federer, it’s hard to imagine Lindsay felt calm when she watched the 2009 Wimbledon final. In fact, Lindsay didn’t really watch the match diligently at all. Instead, she crouched behind her coach and spent the entire 4 hours and 17 minutes peeking out at it sporadically. Speaking like a child afraid of the dark, Lindsay defends her actions by saying she was ‘home alone’ and had ‘no Internet connection.’ Tennis wilderness indeed.
Lindsay uses the Internet to chat to other tennis fans who understand her obsession, which might explain why she considers basing her entire schedule around Roddick as ‘normal’. “I do the typical tennis fan thing- I wake up at any hour of the night to watch him and try and arrange my schedule around his matches the best I can,” she casually explains. Of course, most tennis fans would relate, but Lindsay’s family and friends might be a little more shocked.
Lindsay tries to play down her tennis obsession around her friends and claims she hasn’t ever canceled anything big for Roddick. However, there is the case where she reneged on her hospital duties in order to watch tennis. Lindsay’s mother was sick during Wimbledon, and Lindsay played the dutiful daughter, missing all the tennis to be at her mum’s side, only occasionally checking the scores. As luck would have it, the year was 2009 and Roddick made a run to the final. Lindsay decided to take some time off from the hospital to watch Roddick play his semi-final against Andy Murray. She spun a story sympathetic enough to coax her relatives into covering for her and spent the night on her couch (or behind it) watching Roddick overcome the odds. No doubt it was even more stressful that the atmosphere at the hospital.
Lindsay isn’t exactly sure how well she’ll take Roddick’s retirement, but she’s trying to mentally prepare herself for the inevitable. “I know it’s coming in the next few years, and I know that I will understand it and that it will make sense and that he will be happy, but I don’t think I’ll be prepared for it. He’s who got me really into tennis, and I can’t imagine the sport without him. There’s certainly no other player who I feel this strongly about, and I don’t think there ever will be.” Despite the pain and the tears, Lindsay is wise enough to cherish every moment. “As much as the losses hurt and the frazzling get to me, I know I’ll miss them when they’re gone.”
Linsday's favorite Roddick Videos:
Roddick Memphis Championship Point:
The Roddick interview she filmed in Memphis:
How crazy is she?
Lindsay’s self-rating: 4
Our rating: 4*
1= Misses the occasional match
2= Has to explain to romantic partners that ‘tennis comes first’
3= Has been known to sacrifice basic life materials (food/water) to watch said player
4= Has drafted a biography on said player
5= Verging on stalker