Your Favorite Pros Are Competing Online, But Stan Remains The Man

By Giri Nathan

It’s been a long quarantine for tennis players. They’re used to performing for a live audience. Some of them have just translated that act to the internet. Rafael Nadal has gotten into banana bread, holding the mixer with an unusual Western grip. Roger Federer, dressed for an afternoon at the shuffleboard club, challenged the world to volley a ball against a wall 100 times; the world responded in kind. Kristie Ahn represents the youth set well with her keen comic timing and goofy vision on TikTok.

Grigor Dimitrov caused Venus Williams to briefly lose consciousness with his stomach. Nick Kyrgios took a break from social distancing to get a new tattoo sleeve. It pays tribute to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Jordan-brand sneakers, and could most charitably be described as “large” and “evincing high pain tolerance.” And my personal favorite: Fabrice Santoro keeps playing the jester role even from retirement, challenging you to do something you absolutely cannot do with your foot and the frame of a tennis racquet.

But the overall quarantine MVP is likely Stan Wawrinka. 

On any given day, he might be staging arty shots of himself standing in a field of yellow wildflowers, or enjoying date night with a stuffed bear.

During his happy-hour livestream, he might be trying to wring some raunchy gossip out of Benoit Paire. Catch him the next morning and he might be starring in a sumptuously filmed slow-motion hybrid of food porn and thirst trap, full of halved oranges and glassy expressions. None of it really makes sense, or makes a strong case for existing. The production value is suspiciously high, even when it’s not blatant spon-con. There appears to be at least one photographer on site and inside six feet, and a video editor on retainer. 

Nowhere is the professional help clearer than Wawrinka’s quarantine signature: his image of a whole lot of Stans hanging out together.

There’s a video of several simultaneous Stans jump-roping, ab-rolling, planking, jogging, and juggling, all on the same blue playground.

On Saturday night the Stans carouse around a hot tub, playing with a toy dinosaur, brandishing water guns at himself, slugging bubbly, and simulating what would be a very bleak and lonely nap.

#Bored #And #Crazy, read the hashtag from one post. Another one:  #IThinkImLoosingIt. I do too.

When reached for an interview request, Stan’s agent said he was “focus[ing] his time with his family.” Does a gaggle of Stans qualify as a “family” now?

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