How do you do, Ms.Carillo?
Cricket commentators often talk about the game being a great leveller - add airline baggage services to the list. How else could I end up in the same queue as Mary Carillo? If that name doesn't ring a bell, well, suffice to say that Mary Carillo is one of the most recognisable voices in tennis, this side of Bud Collins. In the event, I reined myself in and saved Ms.Carillo the irritation of a fawning fan even as she was exasperated with her missing bags, but by then the damage was done, as I kept staring and thinking to myself, I know that face! She was extremely casually attired, a denim jacket and an orange something (slacks?) and looked suitably tired at the end of a 14-1/2 hour flight (mind you, she might have not flown what call 'cattle-class'). By the way, last year at the open, I ran into Bud Collins at a hotel near the tennis centre, so at this rate, my chances of running into John McEnroe in the year 2009 look very bright indeed. I just might need to extend my visa. Mary Carillo, for the uninitiated, was quite a good player herself in the '70s and reached a high ranking of 33 in singles. She had an illustrious partner in mixed-doubles who she won the French Open in '77 with. In turns out that she was also romantically involved with the said gentleman (I'll leave it to the visitors of this blog to have a go and guess that name - we are incredibly fond of quizzing on this blog, you see!). She has worked with basically every TV network in the USA on tennis and other sports and has covered pretty much everything in tennis. Plus, she is good - as good as they come. In any case, Mary Carillo's presence served to announce the impending Australian Open starting tomorrow, if I needed a reminder. Last year was the first time I watched a Grand Slam in person, and it was a memorable experience. It should be fun again this time, and I'll definitely be looking forward to supporting Sania, Mahesh and Leander. Ironically, now that Sania is seeded, she won't be running into the top guns early, so she'll mostly feature on the outside courts. Hopefully she'll at least get the Margaret Court Arena or one of the two show courts, considering her (desi) crowd pulling potential. The promo punch line for this year's championship says it right - Bring It On! - NK