Even if you’re not a tennis fan – I think you’ll appreciate this story.
2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece – I was fortunate to participate as an English speaking announcer at the tennis venue. It was an unforgettable experience, and I made some great friends…and side-income teaching my new Greek buddies important English phrases not taught in the classroom…
And now, for a long overdue public apology: Patricia Tarabini – I am a complete and utter moron. I am the announcer who totally botched your intro 8-years ago in Athens, before a truly pivotal match in your career.
Patricia is a grand slam champion, owns 15 career doubles titles – and won Bronze in Athens, with her partner Paola Suarez. Here’s the thing – in 2004 Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual were the top doubles team in the world. I had announced those two names together for three solid years at the U.S. Open. But this was the Summer Games – Paola’s from Argentina and Virginia’s from Spain – so they couldn’t play together. Yet, in my infinite stupidity, being a creature of habit – when bringing Argentina’s Paola Suarez and Patricia Tarabini onto the court, I announced the pairing as: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual.” << Crickets >>
Patricia actually turned around, looked directly at me and put her hands in the air as if to say: “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” Not a proud moment – one that I’ve never forgotten…and I hope this audio somehow finds Patricia at the University of San Diego where she’s now a revered coach and amazing mentor to up-and-coming talent.
Patricia – sincerely: I apologize. Please come to the U.S. Open this Summer and run me all over the court. Make me look like the fool I am.
Now, the reason I bring this up today – it has relevance, believe it or not – is because after retiring in 2007, Patricia’s Bronze medal partner Paola Suarez is making a comeback, so she can compete in the London Games this Summer; and at the BNP Paribas Open, this week in Indian Wells, 35-year-old Paola and Gisela Dulko made it to the Quarterfinals – playing inspired tennis!
So basically, I’m trying to capitalize on Paola’s current success to finally issue a long overdue apology to an Argentine tennis player who deserved better during her run to Bronze in Athens – Patricia Tarabini.
Yet at the same time, I have to congratulate Paola – who made it deep into the tournament at India Wells despite having been retired from the game for 5-YEARS. Paola, you are inspiring.
And be thankful I’m not working the event, or I would have probably introduced you as Flavia Pannetta, Gisela’s regular double’s partner on tour.
Have I mentioned that I’m a moron?