Is Roger a GOAT?

 

This past Sunday, Roger Federer won the Australian Open, solidifying his post as the greatest male tennis player of all time. But does that make him the G.O.A.T.?

G.O.A.T. – Greatest of All Time! I get it…it’s catchy, it’s short so that it can easily fit in a 140-character Tweet. But come on…is that the best we can do? I love goats as much as the next cat, but really? Sure, they are cute farm animals that provides fresh milk and cheese, helps with yard maintenance and make great companions. But I wouldn’t want to be called one. And I bet Roger doesn’t want to be one either.

Now let’s be clear. I am not arguing that he is not the greatest, finest, most skilled male tennis player that has ever played the game. And I don’t say this lightly. My human talks relentlessly about her favorite player, Pete Sampras, and she has declared him the greatest tennis player ever. She’s even declared him her secret boyfriend…so secret, not even he knows. But even she had to change her tune after she watched Roger Federer live at the US Open the first time in 2011.

We can do better, fellow kitties. We’ve already come up with some pretty good acronyms…NASA, NASDAQ, RAM, OPEC. I bet we could come up with something clever yet appropriate.

Can’t he at least be a B.O.A.T.? Best of All Time? Boats are useful…they keep you afloat, from not drowning out at sea, they haul things (like catnip and cat food), they can be used for pleasure or used to fight battles. Yeah, he’s the B.O.A.T.!

Or is he? I love Roger, I really do. But let us not forget that Serena just won her 23rd grand slam title. Roger has won his 18th. Serena has been dominant and shows no signs of slipping. Every time Roger plays, we all hold our breath and hope for the best. Serena has way surpassed being a G.O.A.T. She is simply the BEST!

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The Legend Continues…Federer Wins

Well folks, it was the finale we all dreamed of. Two legends, Federer vs Nadal in the Aussie Open Finals. Both in their 30’s, both coming back from injuries…neither one of them having to play Djokovic or Murray on their way to the finale.

Personally, I was hoping for an edge of your seat, nail biter. The kind of match where my human holds her breath, rocks back and forth, clinches her fists, tells me to hold her coffee so she can yell at the TV in between gasps of disbelief. But that’s not what we got today. As you can see from the final score 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, that is not what this 5 setter was at all. It was more of long periods of lapse of concentration from both players. And just when they are down, say 0-4 in the second set, you can almost hear them tell themselves “What the what? Doesn’t he know who I am? Don’t I know who I AM? I’m Roger Federer for God’s sake!” And then there would be a shift in momentum.

For me, I like to root for the undercat. The one who really has no chance of winning, but wouldn’t it be darn cool if they did. In this match, there was no such player. Ultimately, it came down to a fifth set, Roger getting the best of Rafa. Honestly, I thought Rafa had it, but Federer was relentless and put it away in the end. It came down to a challenge on Rafa’s side, which then led to a very anti-climactic finish. Roger wins #18.

With that, the Australian Open is a wrap. No more waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch a match on the other side of the globe for my human, which means no early breakfast for me :(….until next year. If this opening of the grand slam season is any indication of what’s to come this year, I am super pumped! Remember, I predicted a Nadal win at the French Open and a Federer win at Wimbledon. Maybe I really do know what I’m talking about. Stay tuned…

No Words…

After the almost 5-hour semifinal match between Rafa Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov today, I have no words and I’m exhausted. The problem with watching a match like this is, deep down inside, you want both of them to win. Rafa because well, he’s Rafa. He’s a legend, he’s a fighter, he’s come back after multiple injuries, and frankly no one, and I mean no one fights harder for every single point than this guy. And then you’ve got Dimitrov who has been slowly plugging away, gaining skill and confidence. Once known as “Baby Fed” is no longer a baby anything. I enjoy watching him play because his emotions are a little more inward and you can almost hear the quiet dialogue he is having with himself to win the next point or to forgive himself for the point he just lost.  And let’s face it, he has become a much more likeable player since he is no longer dating Maria Sharapova.

But in the  end, it was Rafa who pulled it out. His dad knew. While the rest of his box were watching from the edge of their seats, Uncle Tony up on his feet with encouragement, Carlos Moya whispering some coaching nugget into Uncle Tony’s ear, Rafa’s dad was sitting there arms folded, smiles, side glances to his box like “Told ya so. He’s got this.” His dad knew.

One thing is for certain, I didn’t know. I had my doubts after the second set loss. And I’ll admit I had my doubts through the entire match. But isn’t that we watch tennis? Because the tides can shift at any minute. Because anything can cause a shift in momentum. A leg cramp, a bad call, a medical emergency in the crowd. Nothing is ever certain.

One thing is for certain, we have a classic Federer/Nadal match up on Sunday. Nobody, including the two players, could have predicted this. But there they are. Rivals, friends, the best and the best, battling it out for a more more chance to raise the trophy, to add to their already impressive grand slam totals, to continue their legend. I will be up with my human, early Sunday morning, getting my breakfast a little earlier (lucky me) while my human makes the coffee. Regardless of who wins, it is one for the history books. And that is what this sport needs, another great story for the books.

Vintage Tennis in 2017?

Vintage tennis is alive and well at the 2017 Aussie Open. It is exciting, surprising, a bit baffling, but I am totally loving it!

We’ve got Roger, we’ve got Rafa! We’ve got Serena AND Venus!  Holy cow, I can’t even believe it! You would think it’s 10 years ago, 2007! Yeah, Roger was #1, Rafa was #2 back then. And here they are, all in their glorious 30’s, playing with skill, power, speed, desire…heart. You can see it with every point, every set, every victory. It is palpable.

Yes, I know…I got it wrong earlier last week when I said Roger was on his way out. I’m calling that match a slight hiccup now because since then, he has been on point! I do think he will get it handed to him when he plays Stan Wawrinka next. Yep, I predict Stan the Man will win the whole damn thing.

And Rafa! Whaaat? I mean look at the guy. Sometimes my human and I hit pause on the TV and do just that…look–at–him. Ahhh, Rafa! If I didn’t know any better, I would think my human has a slight crush. And he’s so strong and hits his shots with such precision. And just when you hold your breath and doubt every single slice backhand he hits, the slice lands exactly where it’s supposed to and Rafa wins the point. Damn!

Venus! Possibly my favorite women’s player on the tour is killin’ it! She’s got CoCo CoCo Vandeweghe next, and I predict CoCo is going to win that match quickly and precisely. But still, it’s Venus and she is a bad ass!

Serena…yep, I predicted she will win every major this year, so I’m not at all surprised that we see her at the stage.I predict she takes down Konta in three sets.

So sure, let’s step back in time to ten years ago and enjoy this vintage tennis that is the Aussie Open 2017. Wait, hold up. I wasn’t here ten years ago, so that’s no good. I guess I’ll just settle for the here and now, where “the greats” are still GREAT!

Vamos Rafa!…”I am the present”

Raphael Nadal vs. Alexander Zverev! I knew it would be close. As Rafa himself put it in his post match interview…”[Zverev] is the future of this sport. I’m the present.” You got that right! It was a classic “legend versus up n’ comer.” I mean really, Zverev is all of 19 years old, and he did great. He even fought through leg cramps in that fifth set when a lot of players would’ve wimped out. He’s gonna be great, just not today. Not today, Sascha. Not today.

5 sets, 4 hours and 6 minutes. Yes, I spent over four hours of my life watching this match, but hey, I have 9 lives, so why not spend them how I like!

Takeaways from that match:

  1. Never underestimate Rafa’s slice backhand.
  2. Adding Carlos Moya to his coaching staff has done wonders for his confidence (and added a little somethin’ somethin’ to look at while we watch the match.
  3. Never underestimate Rafa, period!! He’s seeded 9th y’all, not 99th. He’s got just as good of chance to win this thing as any of the top 10.

For all of us old school fans out there…VAMOS RAFA!!

GO GO Coco!

Coco. Nah, she’s not a Serena or a Venus, or even Madonna for that matter…recognizable by first name only, YET. But she will be soon. Very soon, my fellow kitties!

Coco Vandeweghe won a fierce three-set, third round match against Eugenie Bouchard last night, and I have to tell you, I really didn’t know if she was going to be able to pull it off. Eugenie Bouchard, the player who made Sheldon Cooper swoon in 2014, couldn’t come up with the goods. First set, Coco was grinning the whole way through. Second set, she kind of lost her way. But the third set, she had to get really fired up, served a boatload full of aces and finally won 7-5!

Unfortunately, the other American that I am watching closely this year, Jack Sock, just couldn’t outlast Tsonga. And I really though he had a shot. If only he would shave off his weird chin strap.  Not today, Sock. Not today.

USA, USA!!

Reigning in a New Era?

All right, I’ll admit it. I’m still a little stunned by Novak Djokovic‘s loss last night against Denis Istomin (who???). I knew he wouldn’t make it to the finals, but to be taken out in the second round by some practical, no-name…or if he’s been around, I certainly have never heard of him. I just don’t understand. And Roger…he’ll be lucky to make it to week two, the way he is playing. And Rafa…he’s got another good year, maybe.

But maybe it’s time and I just wasn’t prepared. The tides are changing, the winds shifting, the pages are being turned….my pillow has been flipped to the cool side! It’ll be fine. My human and I have survived this before…first when Sampras retired (my human cried buckets), then when Agassi made that eloquent speech at his last match (again with the water works!). So, this is nothing new. But if there is going to be a changing of the guards, please let there be some interesting leaders that I want to follow!

Stan Wawrinka is going to take the lead on this, even though he is part of the old crew. He’s got it. He’s strong, confident, has a good looking coach! Don’t think I don’t notice these things.

Nick Kyrgois…man, the entire tennis community is begging you to get yourself together. Get a coach (maybe Agassi?), surround yourself with a good team (Agassi could recruit Gil Reyes to help?), start fostering your talent instead of blowing it at the big moments. Please!

Alexander Zverev…yep you, young man. I see very good things in your future.

Milos Raonic…you got this! Just relax, dude.

Who else am I missing? Well, it’s time to have our eyes and ears up for the next wave of tennis superstars. I just hope they are as great as The Greats.

Roger’s Future?

Well, it is evident from last night’s match between Roger Federer and Noah Ruben that his days are numbered. I mean, I love him as much as the next cat, but if he plans on making any sort of news-worthy run this year, he is going to have to step up his game.

Sure, he beat the guy almost half his age in three sets. Yay! But that third set though. You could see it is his eye maybe around the “down 4-2” when he was like “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let this go to a fourth set. Hell no!” That’s when he started pelting a couple of aces (I don’t know how many, and my human wasn’t counting either). But he managed to get the job done, and he is off to the next round.

I will give Noah some props, though. It was cute when he would make a cool shot against Roger. The look of utter  disbelief on his face…kind of like “Holy cow, I can’t even believe I was able to pull that off!” And then when he was waving his arms up to the crowd after he won one game. “Come on, guys. Give me some of that Roger love.” But is was not meant to be.

Roger plays Tomas Berdych next, and I predict it will go to a fourth set with Roger eventually pulling off the win. But to be honest, I am mostly looking forward to seeing his new coach, Goran Ivanisevic, in the box! I don’t know what happened between 2001 (when he won Wimbledon) and now, but Lord, that man is a real looker! My human will certainly be paying close attention to that match.

Is there room for MPB in tennis?

Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). Yep, I’m just going to leave this right here for a second in my fun little blog about tennis.

Sure, it’s day 2 of the Australian Open and I haven’t had a chance to watch all of the day’s coverage, yet. I will, don’t worry. My human controls the TV and she had to go to bed last night. Something about work this morning….

But, I was able to watch Rafa’s match and my takeaway was…he is still a bad ass! I mean, what is his body fat percentage…like -1%? Seriously! But I was struck by the commentators’ (Chris Fowler and John McEnroe) about Rafa’s haircut. Yes, Rafa cut his hair. Yes, he is slightly losing his hair. It’s just hair, people! In my opinion, men look much better with a shorter haircut than trying to grow it longer and faking a comb-over. He looks his age (30) and he looks damn good. Damn good!! I don’t understand the funny comments and even under the breath giggles from Chris and John. What the hell, guys!

Andre Agassi is a good case in point. He was losing his hair…big deal. He decided to shave it all off and it did worlds of good for him. He basically got a new lease on the tennis court and I would venture to say, played some of his best tennis of his career. Listen, we cannot all be blessed with locks like Bjorn Borg, but we gotta work with our mama gave us.

Opening Day Down Under

Day 1 of the Aussie Open! Meow…one of my favorite days of the year. This tournament sets the tone of the whole year, in my opinion, yet by the time the US Open rolls around, it seems so far away.

Here are a couple of takeaways I had from today:

  • “36 is the new 26.” Yes, Venus. Preach it, girl!! Venus Williams survives first round! Yay!
  • Nike…better, ever so slightly. But the men’s shorts, though! NO! That diagonal pattern seems to work very nicely on the women’s skirts, but does not at all work for the men’s shorts. Maybe you could change that before the French?
  • Coco Vandeweghe pulls out a win, even after yacking on the court! A pretty purrfect day for the Americans today, all around!  USA USA!
  • Andy Murray is a class act after withstanding that incredibly awkward on-court interview after his match. It was a rough start, but you managed to wrap thing up nicely.
  • Last but not least…those umpire chairs! Is it just me or do they look like blue versions of the green robe that the Ghost of Christmas Present wore in the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carole?

Fantasy Tennis 2017 Grand Slam Picks – Women

OK, here are my predictions for the 2017 Grand Slam winners on the women’s side:

  • Aussie Open – Serena Williams
  • French Open – Serena Williams
  • Wimbledon – Serena Williams
  • US Open – Serena Williams

Well, it may not go just like that, but I have no doubt that Serena will win Grand Slam #23 and pass Steffi Graf’s record at some point this year. And if I had to guess, it will be at Wimbledon…and then maybe the US Open. NO DOUBT!! And wow, wouldn’t it be awesome if she won all four at her age!

In other news, I really think we are going to see a breakout year from Karolina Pliskova. By the end of last year, her playing was on point and she could certainly be a Grand Slam contender. With the help of Darren Cahill in her coaching box, I predict Simona Halep to get to at least two finals this year. And last but not least, let’s hearing it for our American players. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Madison Keys get to a final? Go Madison!  USA! USA!!

 

Fantasy Tennis 2017 Grand Slam Picks – Men

All right friends, here are my predictions for the 2017 Grand Slam winners on the men’s side:

  • Aussie Open – Stan Wawrinka
  • French Open – Rafa Nadal
  • Wimbledon – Roger Federer
  • US Open – Juan Martin Del Potro

Yes, yes….I know what you’re thinking. Frazier, where is Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic on this list. Listen, I know that both of them will win at least a couple of majors each, but this is my blog and can’t a cat have fantasy tennis picks?

New Year’s Resolutions I Wish They Would Make

As we begin the 2017 tennis season, here a few resolutions I wish the players and tennis community would make.

Nick Kyrgios – I resolve to get my s*#@ together this year. I am way too awesome of a tennis talent to waste it on a poor attitude and weak effort. I mean, seriously….I could win a major this year if I put in the time.

Jack Sock – I resolve to shave off my chin strap beard. It is weird and totally unnecessary. Think about how much better I would be if I spent more time practicing and less time trimming that thing.

Milos Raonic – I resolve to relax and have fun. I’m talented and skilled on the court, and I finally got rid of that ridiculous compression sleeve. It’s time to loosen up and enjoy the game.

Nike – I resolve to change the color palette of the outfits I make the players wear. For the love of all things right in this world, I will…I promise. They’ve suffered enough.

John Isner – I resolve to learn how to close out sets earlier and more efficiently. There is no reason to have to go to a tie break every single freaking match. Haven’t I learned from my Wimbledon experience? (and many other matches, for that matter)

Andre Agassi – I resolve to become a commentator for ESPN. (Pleeeeaassse) John McEnroe, we all love you, you know we do. But it’s time to scoot over and let the rest of us have a shot. My fans want to know what I have to say.