The Nutcracker (Starring Middle-Aged Men of Average Dexterity)

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TCHAIKOVSKY WOULD BE HORRIFIED: The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber revealed that President Obama‘s economic advisory team is a group of hardcore tennis fanatics.  Among the regulars are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (“He can materialize at net so quickly it feels like he served from mid-court.”), the president’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers (“Basically, he hits the crap out of the ball.”), top Geithner aide Gene Sperling (a scrappy baseliner), Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin and Assistant Secretary Alan Krueger. According to Scheiber, the on-court wars have played out on courts from Wyoming, to Switzerland, to Washington, D.C. and even to the Bollettieri Academy, where Geithner and others regularly hone their respective games via endless drills.  Says Scheiber, “Imagine the Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker; then imagine that the dancers are middle-aged men of roughly average dexterity, and you have the idea.”

LAW AND DISORDER: The Daily Telegraph reports that Mark Philippoussis is shopping rights to his wedding, a deal that could bring in as much as $200,000.  The Scud is set to marry Law & Order star Jennifer Esposito.

INJURY SCARE: Andy Roddick is on his way back to the U.S. to seek medical advice on a knee injury that forced him to retire against Stanislas Wawrinka at the Shanghai ATP Masters on Tuesday. A-Rod was leading Wawrinka 4-3 in the first set when he says he felt pain in his left knee.  “I don’t really know what’s going on in there,” Roddick said. “I’m not a doctor. I can’t really self diagnose myself.”

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are among the players who will open the 2010 season with a big-money, six-player exo in Abu Dhabi beginning on New Year’s Eve.

THE NUMBERS

35: Percentage of return games won by Rafael Nadal in 2009 — tops on the ATP Tour.

QUOTEBOOK

“My physical therapist is a super hot south american woman. The pain is worth it.” — A rehabbing Sam Querrey via Twitter

“so this guy at the next table to me at breakfast is slurping every bite of his soup with all his effort…If slurping is a sign of appreciating the food then i feel honored to have witnessed his best meal ever.” — A (pre-injury) Tweet from Andy Roddick in Shanghai

“In my opinion tennis in Australia and the way it is being administered needs addressing, as we are falling behind many other nations in the world, as well as other sports in our own country…The current administration appear excellent at talking things up, wanting complete total control of tennis in Australia and trying to be a Fortune 500 company. But the loser at the moment is the game of tennis and that is what is continually being discussed within the tennis community.” — Lleyton Hewitt, who is backing Paul McNamee in his quest to unseat long-serving Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard — a position he has held since 1989