Tennis star Maria Sharapova is compeiting in the BNP Parabis Open tennis tournament taking place in picturesque Indian Wells through March 20. (photo by Photo Courtesy Matt Hynes)

I intended to write about the famous BNP Parabis Open tennis tournament taking place in picturesque Indian Wells through March 20. Besides the Grand Slams, BNP Parabis was last year’s most widely attended tournament (340,000 visitors), and for any tennis fan in Southern California it is a must. But, as the computer Gods would have it, when I woke up this morning I was flooded with over 75 unexpected e-mails from readers and friends. (I had no idea I was so popular. Turns out I wasn’t.)

Apparently in the wee hours of the morning a virus got hold of my address book and sent out an e-mail in my name with the subject line “A Present For You” extolling the virtues of Viagra. (Why couldn’t it have been Nigerian prince offering cash?) I have a “reader” e-mail list of over 300, which is not exactly Charlie Sheen’s Twitter numbers, but then again I don’t go on a rooftop waving a machete.

So, to over 300 readers, I’m probably now seen as the columnist version of Bob Dole. (Next I’ll be writing about myself in the third person.) Adding insult to injury, many who responded actually wanted to know if Viagra was really that good. Even worse, many female recipients of my bogus e-mail wrote various forms of, “Did you really think that was funny?” (It just goes to show that when you think you can’t be further humiliated in life, you discover there’s even a lower level you can sink to.)

I immediately began running my virus scan, all the while trying to respond to as many of the e-mails as I could. I apologized profusely even at the risk of sounding as though “I doth protested too much.” I explained that it wasn’t I who sent the e-mail, adding that I’ve never used Viagra and have no plans to start. But, by mid-day, I started getting responses suggesting that there’s nothing to be ashamed of if I need Viagra but in the future maybe I should keep it to myself. Yikes!

But back to tennis. The photo above of gorgeous Maria Sharapova, who’s currently at Indian Wells, was taken by a Santa Monica photographer friend of mine, Matt Hynes. I love the focus in Maria’s face as she’s about to pound the ball.

Practically every top tennis player in the world is at Indian Wells, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, ranked 1, 2 and 3 in the world. So is American Andy Roddick who recently won his 30th ATP event and is ranked 8.

The women’s field includes Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva, ranked 1, 2 and 3 and the aforementioned Ms. Sharapova who, due to injuries, has fallen to 18 in the world.

In the meantime, as I write this, my virus scan has failed to yield the culprit(s) and I continue to get more negative responses to a Viagra endorsement I didn’t make! Grr. (All of a sudden flailing a machete from a rooftop doesn’t seem so crazy.)

I love tennis as it features a unique combination of grace and power. And sunny Indian Wells, complete with snow-covered mountains in the background, is the ideal place to watch the best in the world compete. (This year’s tournament features enhanced seating capacity and the Hawkeye line-calling camera on all outside match courts.)

As I couldn’t write without them, I should also point out that I love computers and the Internet. That is, except when they make me look like the west coast rep for Viagra.

Indian Wells tourney info is at: bnpparibasopen.com. Meanwhile, if Jack isn’t too busy running his Spybot Search and Destroy, he can be reached at Jnwww.smdp.com

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