P1010982Wayne Odesnik has arrested my attention here in Sarasota. I first noticed him late on Sunday afternoon when he ambled over to the outer court presumably to say hi to Jesse Levine who was hitting with his doubles partner Adrian Menendez Maceiras. As he walked away slowly, after a short greeting and conversation, carrying a very aged Babolat bag, seemingly still 1/4 asleep from the four-hour drive from Boca Raton, Wayne told Levine that he didn't play Houston because he mixed up his schedule and played a Challenger instead.Odesnik, 27 years old, from South Africa, and ranked 120 right now, won his first round match on an outer court. Then yesterday in the second round he played Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, from Germany on stadium court. I watched some of this match and became intrigued by Odesnik. Odesnik, who turned pro in 2004 and has a career mark of 41-52 (2-2 this year) is a lefty, bearded, looks almost like a pirate on the court, attired in a mixed bag of black Babolat shoes, no name blue striped shorts, white Under Armour shirt, Fila cap and a white/green/red Lacoste wristband. But unlike his sense of style, Wayne sure can play some ball.The ATP media guide says clay is his favorite surface. Odesnik can rifle the forehand or play smart, consistent, patient tennis, and his backhand is steady. He's quick too and has a very muscular upper body, for a tennis player. He won the first set 6-3 over Stebe, who is most famous for beating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets in Davis Cup in Germany - in the live fifth match, to clinch the tie for Germany. Stebe also told me he was invited by Roger Federer to practice for a week in Dubai not long after that match with Hewitt.Stebe had a leg injury and dropped outside the top 100 in the rankings and is in Sarasota with his dad, trying to get back up to the ATP level. Stebe, dressed immaculately in adidas with a clean cut hairstyle and headband, is a stark contrast to the image of Odesnik. Stebe edged a competitive second set 6-3 and so they went to a third.My lasting impression of this match was the changeover area of Odesnik, which was by far the messiest I've ever seen... Odesnik's chair was scattered with three bags, 12 water and Gatorade bottles (Yes, I literally counted 12 bottles after the match - it took three attendants to clean it all up), protein mix containers, towels, two pairs of extra shoes, bananas, and, on top of that, he asked his wife or girlfriend for something and a white plastic supermarket bag was also delivered to him on a break.On the other side, Stebe, had just one single bag, neatly placed on his bench. A picture of calm and normalcy, unlike the scene just ten yards away. Even the chair umpire seemed intrigued by Odesnik, as he watched him working curiously, head craned to his right looking down during changeovers. During the breaks Odesnik was always doing something, mixing drinks, taking his cap off and pouring water into his long dark hair, to cool off, leaving the bottles all over the place, some closed, some open, some in the shade, some in the sun.Stebe took the lead in the final set and was up 4-3 and 40-love but he blew that game and ultimately the match. The final point was a long, furious rally capped off when Odesnik hit an off-pace backhand down the line, Stebe, also a lefty, scrambled to get to it and attempted to send it back up the line to Odesnik's backhand. But the slower speed of the shot seemed to throw off Stebe and the ball hit the net. Odesnik let out a primal scream of joy. The German bent over in agony...he could not believe he had lost this match. After a few minutes of picking up all his belongings, Odesnik, the victor, trudged across the court slowly. Impressed, I applauded him from behind the bleacher behind the baseline. It was the only sound in the stadium. Odesnik, heard it and turned his head to acknowledge the source. He smiled and gave a wave of his hand. Just like Roger Federer.Into the quarters, Odesnik will next face the dangerous dirtballer from Argentina Facundo Arguello. A match I will surely watch on Friday. And try to figure out just how Odesnik, the son of a jeweler, is able to do it. P1010983P1010984