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my latest tennis hero - nicolas escude, the 21 year old frenchman.

after michael stich of germany retired at the age of 28, there is no one else in the tennis circuit that i could REALLY admire. michael stich is an excellent tennis player. he was a former world no. 2 and remained in the top 10 for a very long time. i also think he is quite handsome. He also appeals to me in many other ways. Thus he became my favourite tennis player. After he retired in 1997, i had to look for another tennis player to look on to. There are a lot of other tennis players that i like, including pete sampras *the world no.1*, carlos moya, marcelo rios, goran ivanisavich *spelling!* etc. and i also liked andrea agassi and pat rafter. (but not anymore, for various reasons.) but no one could fit into michael stich's place for me.

then appear nicolas escude in the australian open 98. i saw a glimse of him on tv (he was playing in a *show court* against Reneberg). he flashed across my eyes for about 2 secs, and i thought, oh wow, maybe he's the one! *something like love at first sight but of course, it is not love *i suppose*
i then saw him play at the center court against australia's todd woodforde. of course, everyone was cheering for todd *yelling - TODDYYY!!!!!!* but i clapped and cheered exciting for nicolas. he won :)
i looked at him through my binoculars for so many times that my friend Gen laughed at me.
anyhow, he then continued to win over nicolas kieffer (it was quite an experience *some sort of psychic experience* for me.)
he then lost to marcelo rios. rios IS an excellent player. nicolas was clearly not experienced enough. and poor guy, he couldn't run all that well, he got blisters in his feet.

I saw him play 3 times, read his interviews and almost fall in love with him. i love his style of playing tennis, his beautiful backhand stokes, his beautiful face, his gestures, and he seems even poetic and dreamy to me. and now, i hope i can meet this wonderful guy :)

this is an amazing shot. nicolas went up to the net and volley but his opponent kieffer return the ball with a loop. nicolas had to run back to the baseline, having not enough time to turn around, he hit the ball with his back to the net, and hit the ball inbetween his legs. awesome shot. and he won the point! (including the match)

nicolas' great backhand.

read this article on *the age* about nicolas.