Seven Ways of Looking at Dominic Thiem’s Backhand

After Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

  1. When Zeus throws a lightning bolt, his easy power is bestowed upon him by god-like men or man-like gods from the ancient world. Thiem’s one-hander is modern. As with lightening, all the electrons/muscles fire at different times, lighting up the kinetic chain of his body: legs, core, triceps, wrist, elbows, back . . . 
  2. Thiem’s left hand cradles the racquet’s throat so the right arm’s free from tension . . .
  3. I “murder to dissect,” try to explain each muscle in the kinetic chain. I stop explaining.
  4. Seven artists ponder Thiem’s backhand. ItchiRAE places energy, light beneath Thiem’s feet. The atom has been split, computers invented.
  5. The moment of contact. The moment after.
  6. Some prefer sound: The explosive WHAP than WHOOSH of 97 mph yellow fuzz whistling . . .
  7. Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport laugh: “That’s how they taught us to hit backhands.”

Artist Bio: ItchiRAE (Ricardo Acosta) is a popular digital artist from La Paz, Bolivia who specializes in sport graphics. You can check out his fantastical works on tennis players here or on instagram. You can also follow him and his great artwork on twitter and on his facebook page.

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