If I Were A Betting Cat, I’d Be Broke

Furriends, we are wrapping up the clay court season, and that means the start of the French Open!

Image: lizabiggers.com

We are only two days in, and everything is already topsy turvy!

Here are some French Open wagers I would have lost!

I would have been all in for Dominic Thiem to win the whole tournament! But yesterday, in an inexplicable match, the second best clay court player right now, and my purrsonal favorite, lost in the first round to Pablo Andujar! Thiem took some time off earlier this season to get his mind and body right, so I guess he’s just not totally back yet.

Given his track record on clay, I would have bet a straight flush against Daniil Medvedev winning a single match at Roland Garros! But sure enough, this morning, he wins his first round match in straight sets. Now whose $$$ would be flushed?

I would have played the odds and gave Francis Tiafoe the upper edge against fellow aging American, Steve Johnson. Tiafoe is young and fierce, so I thought he had the upper hand in this first round match. I was wrong. Steve Johnson came back from two sets down, to win it in five.

I would have never made a blind bet that World #1, Naomi Osaka, would withdraw from the French Open because she doesn’t want to do the press conferences, stating mental health issues. She was fined $15,000 for skipping her press conference following her first round match. She, subsequently, withdrew from the tournament. I just think it’s a real shame it had to escalate to this.

Image:istockphoto.com

I would have won a small stack of change for this last bet: Roger Federer winning his first round match. He’s 39 years old, he’s been out with knee issues since before the pandemic, and clay is not his favorite surface. He looked good today, taking his opponent down in three sets. His next opponent is Marin Cilic, who, if I’m being purrfectly honest, is also in the twilight of his career, so this should be interesting.

The only wager that is safe to make at this point is the one you don’t make!

So in the wise words of the great American country singer, Kenny Rogers:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em,

Know when to fold ’em,

Know when to walk away,

Know when to run.

And I know when to just relax on the sofa and keep my money in my pockets!

Dominic Is Back!

Clay court season is nice. Clay court season with Dominic Thiem is better!

Image: yahoo!sports

And it couldn’t come at a nicer time!

We are midway through the 2021 clay court season that travels like my passport’s fantasy European vacation. Spain, Italy, Monaco, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland…and leads up to the pièce de résistance in Paris, France…the French Open!

Dominic Thiem took a much needed wellness break during the first half of the season, but has returned in time for the Masters 1000 event in Madrid. Has he looked sharp as a tack, fresh as a daisy? Not quite. But he’s winning and that’s what counts. His biggest test so far came yesterday in the QF’s against John Isner, who is notorious for his booming first serves. He challenged Thiem for three sets, but Thiem eventually got the win.

He will play Alexander Zverev in the semis today. Zverev, in an inexplicable turn of events, beat Rafa Nadal in his QF match. And it only took his two sets to do it. I really couldn’t believe what my kitty eyes were seeing.

Let’s not forget that Rafa also lost to Andrey Rublev a few weeks ago in Monte Carlo, so maybe Rafa IS human! AND, Novak Djokovic was also taken out early in Monte Carlo by Dan Evans. I’ve said it before, so I don’t want to jinx anything, but…it there a bit of a breakdown in the Big Three? Time will tell.

In other Madrid news…one of my new faves, Casper Ruud, won his QF match and Italian cutie patooty, Mateo Barretini won his QF match, so those two will face each other in the semis. That will be a close match up, I think, but I am predicting Ruud will reign the winner.

So, settle in and enjoy the return on Dominic. Maybe this will be his year to hoist the La Coupe des Mousquetaires!

Frazier Interviews Hubi

So…this happened today…

Hubert (Hubi) Hurkacz was summoned to do a press conference after his win today against Thomas Fabbiano. When he got there, there were no journalists on the Zoom, so he just sat in awkward silence, waiting. After a bit, he was allowed to leave.

He was cool about it. Polite and laughed it off. Turns out, this was an ill-communicated press conference and there were no journalists in the Zoom! That’s unfortunate because you have the winner of the last Masters 1000 event in front of you. He’s not one of the Big Three, or a trouble maker who makes a fool of himself on court. If you ask me, that makes him more interesting! I would have a lot to ask! I want to know more!

Tiny confession…my human is half Polish, so we are huge fans of anything that is from Poland! We make sure Grandma knows that Poland is being proudly represented on both the men’s and women’s tennis tours. I like Hurkacz, Kubot and Swiatek! And the others!

Anyway, I thought maybe I could right this wrong, and interview him, myself! Now, I know it takes two people to conduct an interview and I haven’t been in touch with Hubi. I’ve never been to journalism school, so some of my questions might not fit into a traditional press conference room setting, but seeing how the other journalists had ZERO questions, I figured I’d try my paw at an interview! Here we go!

  1. How did you feel you played on court today?

2. It took three sets to secure your win? Was there any point in the match when you thought you’d lose?

3. You had your first Masters 1000 win in Miami last week! Congratulations! What did you do to celebrate?

4. With only a week between tournaments, how do you find the transition from hard court to clay courts?

5. Are you a fan of clay? What’s your favorite shot on clay?

6. What’s your favorite tournament and why?

7. How often do you get to go home to Poland?

8. I see that you were born and raised in Wroclaw! That is one of my favorite cities! Do you have a favorite gnome?

9. You play Dan Evans next. What do you think of him as a person? Are you friends with him on tour?

10. How will you prepare for the match?

OK, well thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck with the rest of the tournament!

Until next time, Furriends….

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Three Random Thursday Musings

What should be a slow tennis news week has turned into “What’s happening now?” Some good news, some bad news, and some news that’s not news at all.

I saw today in tennis news that young Canadian rising star, Felix Auger-Alliassime, has added Uncle Toni to his weaponry on the eve of the Monte Carlo Masters next week! To which I say…Yes, please! I fully support this decision. Felix is raw talent and who better to assist on the clay than Rafa Nadal’s forever-coach, Uncle Toni Nadal!! This makes me so happy, I could roar!

Image
Image: @felixtennis

I also saw on the news today that the French Open is being postponed by one week. What??? They are saying the reason is due to France’s third national lockdown due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. I’m no scientist, but will a week really make a difference? I appreciate them trying to be safe. And these are difficult decisions to make, especially when it impacts the players and the rest of the tour schedule. But a week? Hmmm….It’s just a total drag! That is all!

And third, I just want to mention how happy I am to see Ash Barty back on tour. She’s one of my favorite female players and she basically nowhere to be found last year (on tour)! So, I am super excited to see her playing again! I am an Ash fan!

Ashleigh Barty of Australia poses with the trophy after winning her match against Bianca Andreescu of Canada during the finals at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Barty won 6-3, 4-0, as Andreescu retired due to injury. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Image: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Until next time, Furriends….

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Dear Clay Court Season,

I’m a fan! Honestly, Clay Court Season…a HUGE fan! So much so that this year, I forewent my usual Ode to Clay poetry and jumped straight into a Fan Letter!

Image: meduim.com

You may be wondering, “Why the fanfare, Frazier?”

Well, I’ve always enjoyed the clay court season. You break up the monotony of hardcourts, which are played for the rest of the season, with the exception of the very short grass court season that leads up to Wimbledon. You give me something different to look at. The style is different. You see red (sometimes green) courts, long slides into shots, lots of topspin, and the surprise, “gotcha”, drop shots that fall just over the net, leaving the opponent running from deep behind the baseline, to get it.

Rafael Nadal sliding in the clay during the 2018 French Open.
Image: Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

You are the great equalizer, Clay Courts. It takes special skills to be successful on clay, and not everyone has them. It’s difficult to find a player whose games translates to all three surfaces well. We need look no further than to the King of Clay, himself, Rafa Nadal. Although he’s had success on other surfaces, no one will argue he is the greatest clay court player of all time.

Last year, the pandemic really did a number on the Clay Court Season. Most of the tournaments were cancelled or postponed, with the French Open being played AFTER the US Open, in Fall! That is literally unheard of! And yet, it was heard of! It really had me messed up!

So this year, I am going to celebrate you! Every topspin-fueled baseline rally, to every finessed drop shot. Every slide, every awkward bounce, every time the chair umpire has to get out of his perch from above to examine a ball mark. All of it!! Because I’ve missed you and I’m glad you’re back!

I Need A Hero!

I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night!

He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast and he’s got to be fresh from the fight!

No, I’m not holding out for the kind of hero who plays chicken (Kevin Bacon) with trackers just to impress a girl (Lori Singer) in the 80’s classic, Footloose. Very reckless, Ren and Ariel!

Image: Yahoo sports

I’m talking about young American, Sebastian Korda, making his first win against a top ten player, Diego Schwartzman tonight at the Miami Open. It was a claw-biting, three set match, and I wasn’t sure he was going to close out that third set. But, finally, he commanded his serve in that last game and closed it out at 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

To be purrfectly honest, the jury is still out on this 20 year old “next gen” player. He’s been very im-purr-essive this year, but to be the real deal, I am holding out to see him have a huge win… at a major… best of five… against a top five player. Do that, Sebi, and you will be the American hero we have been searching for all these years!

A few years ago, I wrote about who I thought would be the next big American rock star, Tommy Paul. I’m still a fan of Tommy’s and I will always tune in and cheer him on. But he didn’t rise to the top like I hoped he would. Tommy is ranked 52 at the moment. Meh!

I’m really hoping for someone who can knock the Big Three off their thrones. Yes, I know that’s a big ask, but a cat can dream, can’t he? It’ll happen one of these days.

So, I will keep my cat eyes on Sebi Korda and I’ll let you know if he’s gonna be sure, because it’s gotta be soon. And he’s gonna be larger than life!

In the meantime, enjoy this gem:

Is it just me or does Korda look like a young Kevin Bacon?

Image: eurosport.com
Image: vulture.com

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Final Showdown in Acapulco

I hope you made a final visit to the Acapulco Lounge last night before the Love Boat left port because the Final between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alex Zverev was a real showdown!

When I first turned in, Tsitsipas was up 4-1 in the first set. I had secretly predicted that Zverev would not be strong enough (mentally) to take down Tsitsipas. I thought this match would be a quick one so, I closed me eyes for a brief cat nap and woke up to Zverev up 5-4! Meow! I was NOT expecting that. Shortly after, Zverev wrapped up the first set 6-4.

The second set was much tighter! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! It’s hard to watch these two, if I’m being purrfectly honest. Tsitsipas is a very arrogant player and Zverev looks lethargic between points. And to top it off…every time Zverev has to take a second serve, you never know what’s going to happen! A wicked dink into the net? Wildly wide? Just right? Who knows!

Well, Zverev pulled it off and won the second set in a tiebreak!

Alexander Zverev posing for the camera: ATP 500 - Mexican Open
Image: © Reuters/CARLOS PEREZ-GALLARDO

One of the main reason’s I love this tournament so much is the trophy!! They get a pear!! And a sombrero! I just absolutely love it!

This next week, they will travel to Miami, keeping with the beach tennis theme! Apparently Zverev is the one to beat, with the absence of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Thiem. I’ll still watch! Some of the best tennis happens without the Big Three.

See you in Miami!

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Meet Me In The Acapulco Lounge

It’s that time of year when we travel south to the sunny beaches of Acapulco! And if you’re like me, you are transported back to the Love Boat!

Didn’t they have an Acapulco Lounge on the Love Boat? If they didn’t, they should have! Get the writers on the phone for me!

And if they did, here are the headliners:

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas in action at the ATP Acapulco Open.
Image: lastwordonsports.com

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev Australian Open
Image: tennishead.net

And the surprise guests: Lorenzo Musetti

Lorenzo Musetti | Overview | ATP Tour | Tennis
Image: ATP Tour

Dominik Koepfer

Dominik Koepfer vs Diego Sebastian Schwartzman ATP Wimbledon 04.07.2019 |
Image: tennis-predictions.net

And of course, there were a few opening acts from earlier this week: Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Francis Tiafoe, Fabio Fognini, Milos Raonic, and more!

It’s been a great, entertaining week for tennis in Acapulco and we have two matches left to determine who will play in the finals.

Tsitsipas vs. Musetti

Zverev vs. Koepfer

In a purrfect world, Tsitsipas and Zverev would win their matches and will face each other in the finals. A growing rivalry that I am looking forward to that don’t mention the “Big Three.” It is not a foregone conclusion because these other cats have been playing off the charts this week. We will all watch tonight to see how it turns out.

Meanwhile, you can also check out world class, best of the best doubles!! Herbert/Mahut vs. Granollers/Zeballos and Ram/Salisbury vs. Skupski/Skupski. You can’t get much better than this for beachside entertainment!

A refreshing drink, with a tropical paradise in the background
Image: iStock

So grab yourself an umbrella drink and meet me on the Lido Deck!

We’re headed to the Acapulco Lounge!

And….He’s Gone!

Well, Federer’s return was a short one! Today, he faced Nikolos Basilashvili, and he just couldn’t make it happen.

Now here’s a mini-confession. Any time I get to see Basilashvili play, it’s always a special treat (not as special as the Greenies my mom just brought home) and I will most likely root for him. There is just something about his brooding eyes that I get lost in. Wouldn’t you agree?

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Now, don’t be sad for Roger! It was great to see him back! And he felt good about his return. From ESPN.com:

“I would have loved to play tomorrow, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, I’m also happy to get a rest,” he said. “I’m happy how I played today. I’m happy how I did yesterday. I’m happy I am back on the Tour. I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me.”

I’m sure we will see him soon…maybe playing some clay court tournaments, getting ready for Roland Garros? Who knows?

Another player who was here yesterday and now he’s gone…Dominic Thiem! My hopes for him is that he didn’t peak at the US Open last year. I would be terribly disappoint. Please Domi, my tender kitty heart couldn’t take it.

I do want to give a quick meow-out to Taylor Fritz! He had a great match today against Denis Shapovalov. Go Taylor!

He’s Baaacckkk!!!

That’s right my furriends, Roger Federer is back!

Roger Federer - GETTY
Image: Getty

He played his first match in Doha today since the pandemic sent everything into a grinding halt last year. Honestly, he would have taken this hiatus whether we had the pandemic or not. He announced he would be out for knee surgery last year at this time.

Anymeow…

He played Englishman, Dan Evans in round 2 of the Qatar ExxonMobile Open and, kittens, he looked purty good!

The first set was close and went to a tiebreak that Federer won, 7-6. Evans got the best of the second set, 6-3. And then Federer snapped back to and won the third set 7-5. It was a close match the whole way. Dan Evans was in good form, so it could have gone either way.

Even though, earlier this year, I said that Federer should retire, it was really great to see him back on court!

Also back in play this week…Dominic Theim, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and all the players in between!! It’s going to be an excellent week of tennis for this old cat!

Welcome back, Herr Federer!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Frazier’s Racket

Happy Valentine’s Day! Can you feel the love tonight?
I certainly didn’t last night! Valentine’s Day Eve was nothing but disappointment after disappointment! Some victories, but also some real shockers!

Image: Frazier’s Racket

We had many of my favorites playing in the fourth round last night, and it was one surprise after another.

Let’s start with the good news. Serena, Simona and Naomi made it through their matches…shocked that all had to fight it out in a third set, but they got it done. And then let’s not forget the 35 year old, Su-Wei Hsieh. She’s playing her best tennis and finished her match in short order, 6-2, 6-2. Pawtastic job, women!

And then we have the men! I’m not sure what was going on. Dominic Thiem lost his match to Grigor Dimitrov in three quick sets. I’m happy for Dimitrov, but man, Thiem looked pawful! And then we have Felix Auger-Aliassime. Bless his little Valentine’s heart! The kid can’t catch a break. He was up two sets against gualifier, Aslan Karatsev, and couldn’t close it out. Dude, get it together!

On the more predictable side of things, Zverev cruised through his match in three sets against Dusan Lajovic. And then we have Novak Djokovic against Milos Raonic. I was hoping against all hope that Milos would find a way to win this. But alas, it was Novak with the win.

Tonight, I am going to channel all of my best paws-itive love for the players. We’ve got some good ones to snuggle up with…Jen Brady/Donna Vekic (go Jen), Ash Barty/Shelby Rogers (go Ash), Mackie MacDonald/Medvedev (I’m roaring for the undercat, MacDonald, but we’ll see what happens), Fognini/Nadal (should be a good fierce one, but Nadal will take the win), Tsitsipas/Berrettini (my heart’s on Berrittini, but my money is on the Greek), Rublev/Ruud (this will be Rublev’s but I can hope for an upset?). And many more matches, but these are the ones I’ll have my cat eyes on!

Whatever happens, it is always Love, Love on Valentine’s Day!

The Adidas Identity Crisis

Adidas is having an identity crisis! It doesn’t know who it wants to be.

I’ve already declared that this year, I am going to be nice. That’s who I’m going to be! No crisis here.

With that being meowed, let’s get started.

Are you an outdoorsy hotdog? This mustard and brown combo? Great for a hike, maybe? Separately, I think the two colors would work, but together on court….hmmm!

Image: yahoo!sports

And then you’ve got the white tank on Zverev. You know there is a slang term for a men’s sleeveless white tank top and I just don’t think that’s the best thing for him to be wearing at the moment. But that’s a choice.

Image: yahoo!sports

And then you switch gears and totally knock it out of the part with Dominic Thiem’s shirt! I love this so much! The print is a map graphic of the Great Barrier Reef! One of the best I’ve seen in a while!

Image: Ausopen.com

So who are you, Adidas? In these weird pandemic times, I guess we are all just trying to figure things out!

Burning the Midnight Oil, But Worth It!

Did you know that the average cat sleeps 16 hours a day? Well this old cat didn’t get a wink of sleep at all last night during the five-set thriller between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aussie’s own, Thanasi Kokkinakis!

After being out with injuries and illnesses for several years, Kokkinakis entered the grand slam in true rock star fashion, beckoning back to one of my favorites, Billy Idol. Who’s Your Idol?

Kokkinakis made a successful return to the #AusOpen
Image: @TKokkinakis

Sure, on paper, Thanasi Kokkinakis was the underdog, wild card going in. Tsitsipas, ranked #6 in the world, should have had this match wrapped up in a bow in short order. But this is Australia, and this is one of their own! And this is grand slam tennis in front of real live crowds…something we haven’t seen (or heard) since last year, and Thanasi had other plans!

Thanasi clinched the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6. Tsitsipas took the next two sets easily, 6-4, 6-1, and I thought for sure this is lights out for Kokkinakis (and for me…night, night). But no! Kokkinakis found a place deep inside this heart, and legs, and lungs, and managed to come back in the fourth set and win it in a tiebreak, 7-6.

Now we are down to the final set. Do I make a pot of coffee or just watch the drama play out? I went to the kitchen, opened the coffee can and took a deep breath! That was a enough for me…I thought, if Thanasi can fight through this, so can I! Of course, he downed a vile of pickle juice to keep his spirits up. To that, I say “no thanks.”

Thanasi fought hard, but Tsitsipas fought just a bit harder. In the end, Tsitsipas wins the fifth set 6-4. I was crushed. Thanasi was crushed. The crowd was crushed. But there is nothing one can do in a moment like this…except appreciate what you just witnessed! It’s moments like this that give me all the feels. Amazing tennis played with heart and soul.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got to get my beauty rest.

ZZZZ…..

Fashion Fun on Day One

Remember when you were little and you would plan out your “first day of school” outfit? Well, apparently, this first grand slam of 2021 is no different! The players had fun with their fashionista choices and I was living for all of it!

Serena’s nod to Flo-Jo!

Serena Williams in action in the first-round of the Australian Open - Getty Images
Image: yahoo!sports

I, fur one, was totally loving this look. This is an outfit fit for a strong woman on a mission, and she ain’t skeerd of you! Yes, two paws up for this!

Fritz’s frosted tips!

Image: @taylorfritz

I’m a fan of Taylor Fritz! He’s the only American men that I follow right now. I’m not sure what made him frost his hair…in my cat dream, he is sitting in the salon with his mom while she is getting her hair dyed. The colorist says “Hey Taylor, I have some extra dye. You want to frost your tips?” And like a good son, he says, “I would love to.” I’m purrty sure that’s NOT how it happened, but a kitty can dream! You do you, Taylor! As long as you’re playing solid tennis!

Sleeveless Sascha?

Image: yahoo!sports

Let’s face it…Sascha is no Rafa! But here is my armchair therapist analysis of this tank…He has gone through some personal stuff this past year (that I am not condoning, just simply pointing out), and I think he is like “new year, new look”. I just wish it was a different color. The white is just too white and washes him out. Again…Alex, you do you, man! Paws up!

So, what do you think? Did I miss anyone? How did you feel about Naomi Osaka’s kit?

This year, I am going to embrace everyone’s fashion choices, no matter what! I think it’s great that these players are feeling their inner divas and expressing themselves to their fullest! After being cooped up last year, I say let’s have a little fun with fashion! Embrace our funky side and show the world tennis players can let loose!

Australian Open is Here!

It’s here, furriends! Finally! The first grand slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open!

Tennis has been feast or famine during this pandemic…months of no tennis at all, and then you turn the calendar page to February 2021 and it wakes you up like a big Fancy Feast!

Tennis Australia gave us plenty of warm up events this past week to get the players ready and to give us fans something to purr about! The ATP Cup and several warm up tournaments…I could barely keep track.

But today, the big wait is over! First round coverage starts tonight and I am ready. While the rest of the US will have their sights on Tampa and Super Bowl Sunday, I will be tuned in down under! There are some excellent first round matches to keep you entertained! Here are my top first round picks:

Men:

Dimitrov vs. Cilic

Nishikori vs. Carreno Busta

Shapovalov vs. Sinner

Ruud vs. Thompson

Basilashvili vs. Paul

Pospisil vs. Medvedev

Anderson vs. Barretini

Sandgren vs. De Minaur

Women:

Pliskova vs. Watson

Sakkari vs. Mladenovic

Gauff vs. Teichmann

Bouzkova vs. Svitolina

Flipkens vs. V. Williams

Siegemund vs. S. Williams

So grab your snacks, cuddle up on your favorite tennis watching chair, and let the games begin!

I’ll keep you updated on the latest happenings from down under!