Seven Silly Questions for Tennis Channel Blogger James LaRosa
James LaRosa is a television writer based in Los Angeles. He’s also a regular contributor to TENNIS, SMASH and TennisLife Magazines. He has his own irreverent weekly column, LaRosa’s Sweet Spot, for TennisChannel.com. James took time out to answer a few questions for Global Village Tennis News.
KFJ: Please tell us about your Tennis Channel Blogger “Cinderella” story. Tennis fans want to know about how it all came about!
JL: Ah, my Cinderella story. I’m actually a screenwriter by trade. One who coincidentally already had designs on doing some tennis writing. But I had no idea how to jump in. Then I saw that Tennis Channel was having a “Write to Roland Garros” contest. The winner got an all expense paid trip to blog the ’07 French Open. Airfare, hotel, food, the whole nine. Not sure if the clouds actually opened up, but I remember some parting.
Of the 500 entrants, I was one of the ten finalists. It was then opened up to an online vote, and in winning that I truly became a Man of the People. Turns out the People are as twisted as I am. Seriously though, it was a pretty genius contest. What other writers are elected? TC liked what they saw in Paris, invited me back for the U.S. Open and the rest is history. Now I’m a freelance writer for TENNIS and SMASH magazines. And I’ve got a contract with TC so they couldn’t get rid of me if they tried. Suckers.
KFJ: Do you play tennis yourself?
JL: I’m a better writer than a player. Though being 6’3″ has certainly never helped in front of a laptop.
KFJ: The 2008 tennis year was a year of great and not-so-great matches. If you were doling out doughnuts for this yearâ€™s tennis performances, your favorite type of doughnut for the best performances and your least favorite doughnut for the worst who would receive them and what kind of doughnuts would they be?
JL: Donuts! I spell them d.o.n.u.t. because that’s how Dunkin’ spells it, and I run on Dunkin’. They don’t have them here in L.A. so now you’ve made me both hungry and grumpy. The perfect time to judge!
My favorite donut is a chocolate frosted. I’d give that to Rafael Nadal, without a doubt the star of 2008. What he did at the French could only be eclipsed by what he pulled off at Wimbledon. And he’s such a nice guy. I don’t know if people know what to make of him today, but when all is said and done I think he’s going to be one of the most revered men in tennis. Like Monica Seles is on the womenâ€™s side.
I’d give a plain glazed (should the chocolate frosted be unable to perform its duties…) to Maria Sharapova. Her AO run was pretty thrilling. Her year was cut too short. The tour needs her back stat, frankly.
I’d give a jelly donut to Nicole Vaidisova. What a mess! I’m speaking strictly of her year, and the brick of napkins you’d have to go through to wipe it up.
I’d give a Bavarian Creme to Richard Gasquet. I understand that people like them but I don’t get it.
I’d give a donut hole to Amelie Mauresmo. Super delicious, not entirely filling and mildly confusing as to what it’s actually trying to accomplish. But I can’t stop eating them.
KFJ: What does your crystal ball tell you about whatâ€™s going to happen in 2009. OK it can be Dunlopâ€™s crystal ball. “Dunlop” is Jamesâ€™ Grand Slam blogging partner and tennis ball sidekick.
JL: Ugh, Dunlop gets all the play. He is a good scapegoat though. So, uh…Dunlop told me to tell you…Jelena Jankovic will finally have her Slam, Roger Federer will equal Pete Sampras but not pass him, Maria will win Wimbledon, and the big story will be the more and more serious talk of combining the ATP and WTA. And Robby Ginepri will pose for Playgirl (Dunlop, you’re the worst!).
KFJ: Tennis Channelâ€™s Open Access recently aired a “Fashion Sense” edition, which ranked the best-dressed players. Putting on your “Fashion Police” hat, which players get arrested for felonies and misdemeanors with their on-court fashion and how would you punish them?
JL: I’d throw the book not at the players but at the apparel makers. Tennis clothes, for me, are just hyper-boring. I’d punish them all by making them wear it themselves 24/7. See how long it takes before they start clawing at their own faces. Frankly, the ones who are doing anything at all, from Roger and Maria to Bethanie Mattek and (yes) Dominik Hrbaty, get my vote.
KFJ: If you were able to choose a current tennis player, one male and one female to star in a reality series, which players would you choose and why?
JL: I’d cast Dinara Safina and Marat Safin in a show where they had to find dates for each other, all while doing circus stunts. And Mary Murphy from “So You Think You Can Dance” would have to be a judge.
KFJ: Whatâ€™s coming up for you career-wise in the tennis world in 2009? Do you see yourself making the move into the TV booth in the future? Do you have any “tennis” resolutions?
JL: I’ve got my weekly column and Slam blogs for tennischannel.com. There are more articles and interviews coming up in the magazines, check local newsstands. Could a microphone be next? Quite possibly. Maybe TC will hold a contest…
Read James LaRosaâ€™s weekly tennis blog every Wednesday on TennisChannel.com.