Delray Beach Open Final Thoughts

Well, it’s Sunday and the Delray Beach Open has wrapped up with an anti-climactic finish. Highest seeded player, Milos Raonic withdrew from the final, and that leaves a win for Jack Sock. They really need to come up with a new rule for when someone withdraws from a final. Maybe the other semi-final player plays instead? Kind of like Miss Universe. If she can’t fulfill her duties, the runner-up steps in. Same concept.

Three final thoughts as we bring this tournament to a close.

  1. If I have to hear the commentators talk about players today hitting the ball harder, faster, better, stronger one more time, I’m going to scream! YOU are not Kanye West, guys, so just cool your jets with the catchy phrases!
  2. The red Porsche on center court….is it necessary? I thought it was ridiculous, especially during the semis when their were spectators sitting IN the Porsche DURING the match. Distracting!
  3. The Nike shorts! I swear, did you purposefully design a black and white keyboard stripe right down the front leading to the players’ nether regions? You might want to rethink this!

Next week, we’ve got all the big players back on court in Dubai! Murray, Federer and the gang! Looking forward to some great court action!

 

Ah Youth!

This week we saw a young 18 year old Norwegian, Casper Ruud, make a pretty impressive run at the ATP Rio Open in Rio De Janeiro. He was so impressive, Brad Gilbert is already thinking up his nickname and offering up suggestions on Twitter! Will it be Casper the Ghost, Ruud Awakening? I’m thinking about tweeting “Roto-Ruuder” because of the way he drills forehands down the line.

But alas, his age and inexperience caught up with him in the semi-finals today. He was up a set and had match point at 5-2 in the second, and he completely crumbled. It was heart wrenching to watch really. You could see nerves creeping in and he just melted. The serve is always the first to go, then the feet turn into cement. And if you can’t move your feet, you can’t return a shot. His opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta kept his composure, finished out the second set 7-5, then slaughtered the third set 6-0. Painful!

Why is this significant, you ask? Back in the glory days of Sampras and Agassi, (the best time, if you ask me) the teenage years were the breakout age! Pete Sampras turned pro at 16, and it only took him a couple of years to win his first major, the US Open, at the age of 19, becoming the youngest player to win the US Open. Andre Agassi also turned pro at 16 and won his first major shortly after Sampras. There were others…Michael Chang, John McEnroe, Jim Courier to name a few.

That’s what I miss. I want more young talents shocking the tennis world like these guys did back in the day. “Young” these days mean early to mid 20’s. No…I want to cheer for more Sasha Zverev’s and Casper Ruud’s! Is that too much for a cool cat to ask? Here’s hoping we can see a little more of that this year! Go teens!

Soapbox Instead of a Cloud

The Memphis Open was this week, and the Americans really took a shine. You would think I would be thrilled….on cloud 9, really. But I’m annoyed. And instead of floating on a cloud, I’ve climbed up on my soapbox. Here are the top three things that annoyed the fur off of me this week.

The Isner bias – while watching Donald Young beat John Isner in not one, but two tiebreaks during the quarterfinal match on Friday, all the announcers could do was talk about Isner! Young was the better player that night, coming up with some pretty remarkable shots, and instead of praising him, they were talking about John’s efforts. Even the tournament director slipped and said everyone was rooting for John. Come on, guys! You’re going to have to get over it! John is NEVER good in tiebreaks. I wish his coach would work with him on closing out matches. The outcome should never have to the come down to a tiebreak every single time!

The ladies in Champagne Row – there was a group of cougars (my relatives giving us cats a bad name) sitting in Mumm Napa’s Champagne Row, right behind John Isner’s chair Friday night. Every time the camera shot to them, they were oggling Isner as if he was a La Bare dancer. I don’t know how much those seats costs, but this is Champagne Row, NOT the Champagne Room, ladies!

Cell phones on the court – I get it, it’s an instant gratification, digital world that we live in. But the minute Ryan Harrison won his semi-final match against Donald Young last night, the first thing he does at his chair is pull out his cell phone. Why? What’s so pressing? Can’t it wait? I just think it’s rude. I might have to get over it because I see more and more players doing it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Until next time….

True Cat Confession #2 – Valentine’s Day Edition

Can you feel the love tonight? Or should I say, can you feel the “love-love” tonight? One of my favorite songs by my distant lion cousins over at The Lion King! Fun tennis trivia…why do they call the score of Zero, Love? It comes from the French word for egg, “oeuf”, because a zero has the shape of an egg. The English thought it sounded a lot like love, so it stuck. (Some wise tales say that two components are equal at the start of a match, hence “love-love”, but I’m not buying it.)

It’s Valentine’s Day and that got me thinking about love. My human loves me, this I know. One night we were chilling on the couch watching tennis like we do, and she reaches over to me, gives me a big hug, kisses my forehead and says “I love you.” Much to my chagrin, she did this five times in a row! This was not out of the ordinary of any other night…she does this to me all the time. But it got me thinking…how often do I hear “I love you” in a single day? And how about other signs of affection?

As I recently confessed, I love numbers, data, research! So I decided to count how many times a day my human expresses her love to me. This will be hard because she may become aware that I’m doing this, so I must be careful and catch her off guard. I’m a fierce hunter, so I will be super sly. I decided to collect this data over a weekend. Two days, Saturday and Sunday and then average the two. Here are my results:

“I love you” – 23 times/day

“Look at your little face” – 17 times/day

Kisses on my forehead – 26 times/day

“You’re so beautiful” – 13 times/day

I’m a pretty lucky cat, don’t you think? Here’s wishing all of my tennis loving friends a day full of love and affection from this fluffy little fur ball! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Where My People At?

Wow, talk about action off the court this week…or lack there of. On a random weeknight this week, my human and I were casually flipping through the channels, and of course we checked in on our favorite channel, the Tennis Channel. Right there on our TV were two opponents, playing on a beautiful red clay court somewhere in Ecuador, and not a single spectator in the stands. And when I say “not a single”, I mean no one, zero! I didn’t even see any coaches sitting in a coaching box! Can you imagine? There are likely more people who watch the practice sessions at the US Open on a single day than who bought a ticket to this tournament in Ecuador.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Two players slugging the tennis ball back and forth, line judges judging, ball kids chasing down the loose balls, chair umpire…they were all their fulfilling their obligations, but not a solitary spectator to witness. If there are no fans to witness, did the match even happen? Does the win even matter? Why bother? What’s the meaning of all of this?

Whoa, slow down there Frazier! I fell down a metaphorical rabbit hole there for a second, but I’m slowly clawing my way back up. It does speak to the resilience and determination of the hundreds of men and women who choose to make their living as professional tennis players without the big sponsors and name recognition. They may not be a Rafa or a Serena, but tennis matters to them. And for that, I’m grateful. Now let’s go out and give them all a little love.

 

True Cat Confession #1

OK, confession time. I know you don’t normally think of cats as nerds, especially when they are as gifted in the cuteness department as I am! BUT…there is nothing I love more than crunching numbers. Maybe my cat treats I get anytime I ask (yeah, I’m pretty spoiled like that). But numbers. Data. Analytics. Statistics! Catnip!..oh wait, no, that’s another story.

Here is an excellent article from ESPN introducing new software used at the Australian Open to analyze every aspect of the players’ game. From fastest forehand to the reaction time of a return…all very fascinating. Hope you enjoy!

http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/18535448

Intro to the Sunday Slice

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a section of my blog called “The Sunday Slice.” As I was planning out the purpose of my blog, I knew that I didn’t want to feel the pressure of writing something every day, but I knew I wanted to be consistent in my postings and keep everyone up to date on my thoughts about my favorite topic…tennis! That’s why I created The Sunday Slice. You can check in here every week to see what keeps my up at night. Who am I kidding, I sleep 23 hours a day! But what am I dreaming about during all of my cat naps? Here is a random thought I had this week…

I’m still on that silly little acronym GOAT. I know I should get over it. It’s a thing, you know, GOAT (Greatest of All Time)…it’s even in the Urban Dictionary. Ugh! But I just can’t let it go. Once I get my mind on something, it stays..until I’m bored with it and then I go take a nap. It’s like when my human gets out my favorite toy, it’s all I think about. Favorite toy, you ask? Ah yes, a light blue sewing tape measure. Not the hard kind of tape measure my human uses when building things in the garage, but the soft kind she uses when sewing…or measuring her waistline (if I’m honest). She keeps it wrapped up in a perfect swirl, like a small blue cinnamon role. Yum..warm, gooey, decadent cinnamon rolls. Wait…back to the tape measure. Well, she likes to unroll it, dangle it above my head a little and let me jump for it. Then she pulls it up and it springs higher out of reach. Again and again. Then she lays it on the floor, wiggles it a bit and I leap for it. And just when I think I got it, she snaps it back, dragging it further out of reach. Sneaky. We can go at this for hours for I am a fierce hunter!! SO MUCH FUN! OK, maybe not hours, but really, nothing kills an afternoon like playing with my human and that tape measure.

I digress… GOAT. It has so many negative connotations. Scapegoat, got your goat, the Chicago Cubs’ curse of the billy goat. None of these are positive. Matter of fact, they are all quite negative. So why would it be a good idea for us the call the Greatest of anything in all the World a goat, for heaven’s sake?

OK, I think that’s off my chest. I’m going to try and let this go for now, but I swear, if this GOAT issue gets brought up at Wimbledon or something, (and trust me, it will be brought up when Rafael Nadal wins the French Open), there may just be a cat fight on our hands!