Friday December 23rd, 2011


The holidays are a time for seeing family and friends who you may not see regularly throughout the year. Regardless of how large or small the gathering, there are certain personalities in attendance that are universal. Everyone has the one inappropriately drunk uncle, the too-cool-for-school cousins and hyperactive little cousins who repeatedly come within an inch of banging their head on the corner of a table as they run amok around the house.

So what about our tennis family? Wouldn't it be fun to get everyone under one roof and see how it all plays out? Well put your imaginations away, folks. I've done all the hard work for you.

Here are the characters around this imaginary dinner table:

Andy Roddick: The cool cousin who talks to you like an adult and has no problem spiking your egg nog if you ask nicely.

Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro: You know these guys. These are the cousins that the little kids swarm. Every time you look over there are at least 5 kids cinched to DelPo's arms and legs, and every other kid in the house has decided to burn off Christmas dinner calories by repeatedly dog piling Rafa. They're loving every minute of it, but man, DelPo is going to need a nap.

Serena Williams: Ah yes. The cousin around whom everyone tiptoes for fear that one false step might turn your perfectly nice holiday dinner into an episode of The Sopranos. You thought you could keep the conversation light and fun with questions about Kim Kardashian's wedding, but, well, there goes that plan. Thanks for nothing, Kardashians!

Novak Djokovic: He's the life of the party, gregarious, quick to let loose a belly laugh and always trying to keep everyone engaged. You love this guy! He gives the best gifts! He's your favorite cousin! Until he's not. The act gets old after you've chugged a half a gallon of Grandpa Charlie's hot buttered rum, the recipe for which has been a closely guarded family secret for generations (hint: there's no butter).

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy: The perfectly affable young couple always seems to find themselves stuck somewhere between the kids table and the adult's table. When in doubt, it's off to the short table for you two smiling kids! Accordingly, they get stuck babysitting all evening. This is an important role. Do not belittle this role. They do it so you don't have to.

David Ferrer and Dinara Safina: Do not let them near the kids!

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova: The super suave cosmopolitan cousins who talk about things you've never even heard of. You love being around them because it makes you feel fancy, but their jet-setting, luxurious lifestyle also make you hate yourself for living in your mother's basement and eating four Cup o' Noodles a day (sorry, that might be me projecting there). They give Hermes scarves and cashmere socks for presents, that's how fantabulous they are. You have no idea what to do with these gifts, but you're also pretty sure they're worth more than your car.

Kim Clijsters: The laid back bohemian cousin, she runs her own DIY shop on Etsy, has a wonderful recipe for something she calls Kombucha-Nog and brought a salad made entirely of produce from her rooftop garden. You'll need to write her a thoughtful note thanking her for your hand knit technicolor yoga pants.

Andy Murray: He's come to Christmas dinner dressed in Adidas track pants and an oversized hoodie and he's firmly slumped himself on the corner of the couch. Don't worry. That's him being happy. Give him a Playstation controller and he'll be just fine.

Marat Safin and Ana Ivanovic: The off-the-charts good looking cousins that have your friends offering you all sorts of excuses and bribes to get themselves invited to your holiday dinner. You say no and yet they're still standing outside in the snow, staring through the window to try and catch a glimpse (seriously, you need new, less creepy friends). These are the family members we're a little embarrassed to be related to for their extreme good looks. Happy Holiday and safe travels from your team here at Beyond The Baseline!

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