Alejandro Davidovich Fokina probably wouldn’t enjoy living in the city where I grew up.
My birthplace — Phoenix, Arizona — is a desert city in which the surrounding architecture, either commercial or residential, is beige. So many buildings, so many homes, are close to the color of the hard desert dirt and sand. Why developers or homeowners go along with this assault on the eyes is beyond me, but it’s real. Phoenix and its larger metropolitan area don’t leave a lot to the imagination with the color schemes of large structures.
You can see why Alejandro Davidovich Fokina would not fit in a city such as Phoenix.
ADF — the latest in a line of talented, young tennis players with Russian mothers, and whose diverse background epitomizes the global reach and identity of tennis in the 21st century — lost on Saturday in the Estoril Open semifinals, falling to Pablo Cuevas in three tough sets. Davidovich Fokina, 19, notched his first main-tour ATP match win this week. He collected his first main-tour semifinal. He is not used to the grind at this level of competition, and his body clearly wore down in the last two sets against the 33-year-old Cuevas. Stamina — and the skillful defense of Cuevas, who is a gifted player in his own right — bounced Davidovich Fokina from Portugal more than the teenager’s own tennis did.
This was a magnificent coming-out party for a player who has a lot of Gael Monfils in him, and who had so much fun imitating Monfils that he DEFEATED the Frenchman in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Davidovich Fokina — against Monfils on Friday, Cuevas on Saturday, and throughout the week in Cascais, Portugal — showed how deftly he can wield a tennis racquet:
I mean how many times today? D. Fokina is more Monfils today than Monfils. pic.twitter.com/tXpCRztGRW
— Del (@Stroppa_Del) May 3, 2019
Underarm serve 🤔 why not?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 4, 2019
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) May 4, 2019
What a feast for the tennis senses. What a delightful game to behold with two eyes.
If Phoenix is a land of beige and brown houses, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is an orange and yellow front wall with a royal blue and forest green interior and a crisp shade of red painted on the shed in the back yard.
Who knows how high he can climb. All I know is that a 19-year-old who can so clearly paint a Gael Monfils-style portrait is a player to watch, cherish, and root for — not in the sense that any writer is allowed to cheer in the press box, but in the sense that talented players succeeding is undeniably healthy and positive for the sport of tennis.
Oui Gonna See what Alejandro Davidovich Fokina can do in the 2020s. This big splash of vivid and fresh colors will certainly brighten the tennis landscape if he can make himself a fixture in due time in the upper reaches of the ATP Tour.