Tennis Tug of War

Four weeks! The countdown to my favorite grand slam of the year begins! The US Open in NYC! But before we get to the city that never sleeps, there is a fabulous series of tournaments across the US that leads up to the Open. First stop…Atlanta!

Atlanta loves its tennis. The city has the most recreational players in the entire United States. So it’s only fitting that we begin there. The final came down to two Americans (again, very fitting since it is the US Open series), John Isner and Ryan Harrison. The only way I could describe this match would be like watching tennis Tug of War.

Image: clipartsall.blogspot.com.au

Picture two players, one of each side of the net. Each is holding one end of a rope, and there’s a puddle of mud in the middle. The first person to tug on their rope hard enough to drag the other person into the mud wins. For the entire first set, they were steady, each player pulling equal tension. No movement towards the mud pit. Isner wins the tiebreak of the first set. Harrison’s toe touches the edge of the mud pit. Second set, Harrison tugs ever so slightly, moving Isner closer to the pit. But no, Isner pulls back to steady the distance between him and the mud. In the end, Isner tugged one final time, and Harrison comes crashing into the pit of tennis defeat! Final score: 7-6, 7-6. It doesn’t get closer than that.

I’ve mentioned before about my disdain of smashing and throwing of racquets. Every once in a while, a player will also think it’s a good idea to punch their racquet strings. You know, like as if it was a person’s face (which it’s not). The racquet head is a series of very thin strings woven closely together designed to strike a tennis ball with force and spin. IF you decide to punch your strings in the face, please note the strings WILL cut your knuckles and bleed. Then you’re dripping blood on the court, your shorts, the towel (that the ball kid has to carry around for you), and you’re playing with a bloody hand like you just lost a bar fight. Listen…you’re not going to win. The strings always win. Don’t punch your strings (John Isner).

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One Lovely Blog Award

Rules of the Award

  1. Thank your nominator and share a link to their blog
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers and inform them of the nomination

I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Turtledesk! Thank you so much! Yellow Fuzzy Duck over at Turtledesk specializes in graphic design, studio art and poetry. Here is an example of Yellow Fuzzy Duck’s art: Bird Sketches

And….the Turtledesk website quotes Thomas Merton, and who doesn’t love that!!!

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton

Seven Facts

  1. My favorite color is orange. My human’s favorite color is blue.
  2. I love drinking water straight out of the faucet.
  3. If my human is in the kitchen, I too, must be in the kitchen with her.
  4. When my human gets home from work, I greet her by flopping at her feet and begging her for a belly rub.
  5. I’m a BIG kitty. When stretched out, I am close to three feet long.
  6. The US Open is my favorite grand slam tournament.
  7. I’ve been blogging for about six months, and it has been super fun. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it!

Nominees:

I follow many wonderful blogs and I find it hard to narrow down my nominations. Even though I am a cat who likes tennis, I follow all kinds of blogs….lifestyle, cooking, wine, advise, travel, thoughts, tennis (obviously), you name it. If I follow you, please consider yourself nominated for this award. I think that every single one of you are unique and lovely in your own way. You help me become a better writer!

Thanks everyone,

Frazier

True Cat Confession #6: What’s Your Angle?

As I finally began to shake off the Wimbledon hangover, I emerged from a deep cat nap. Normally when I am in such a relaxing nap, I dream of things like chasing the bird that visits me on the patio every morning, playing kitty baseball with my human (you know…she throws a crumbled up paper at me and I bat it with my paw…I’m a pretty talented kitty cat!), or simply laying on the dock of a beautifully calm lake, basking in the warm of the midday sun.

But not today….today I dreamed about geometry! Triangles, in particular.  You know, the three sided shapes that come in all different varieties! You’ve got the equilateral, the obtuse (my favorite one to say), the isosceles, acute….you name it. Any different way you can connect three points, you’ve got yourself a triangle.

What do triangles have to do with tennis, Frazier? Well, it’s simple. If you watch tennis closely, part of the strategy comes down to what type of triangle the player plans to make when striking the ball. The three points : Player 1, Player 2, and the imaginary line the player travels to get from one ball to the other. The idea is to create an angle that the other player can’t get to.

Here is a good example:

This is a right triangle. Let’s pretend the server is in the lower right corner, on the baseline. He serves across court to the top left point. The returner hits the ball straight down the line to the bottom left corner. If he hits it fast and hard enough, he could win the point because his opponent will not have time to get to that side of the court.

So, as you are watching your next tennis match, and there will be plenty to watch in the next couple of months leading up to the US Open, pay attention to the angle strategy that the players use!

This is just my amateur, tennis fan observation and know that much more goes into playing the game. But, I hope this makes your tennis more enjoyable to watch!

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The Class of 2017

I need to go to Rhode Island one of the these days. New Port, Rhode Island, to be specific. See, that is where the International Tennis Hall of Fame is, and for any tennis fan, I think that is it is a bucket list trip! They inducted their Class of 2017 this weekend.

First of all, I must be behind the times because I didn’t realize Todd Martin was the CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame! No better ambassador for the sport I love than Todd Martin. Who’s Todd Martin, you ask? Just one the great American tennis players who has had some memorable night matches at the US Open. He always played well at the Open. One night match in particular in 2000, against Carlos Moya, went to five sets and lasted well past 1am. I remember watching this match at home thinking “I have to get to New York to the Open so that I can witness tennis like this!” It was a few years later, but I finally made it there!

Class of 2017:

Andy Roddick – American men’s player, former world #1, US Open Champ, philanthropist

Kim Clijsters – Belgium women’s player, former world #1, winner of 4 Grand Slams, mother of three (one of the few women who were mothers when they won a Grand Slam)

Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch- Dutch women’s wheelchair player, Paralympic Gold medalist participating in three Paralympics (Seoul, Barcelona, and Atlanta)

Steve Flink – American tennis journalist, author and historian, still contributes to the Tennis Channel

Vic Braden – American tennis instructor, researcher and broadcaster

This is obviously a broad-strokes description of everyone, but I encourage you to read more about them here Tennis Hall of Fame. Especially if you have never seen wheelchair tennis, it is totally impressive! You will be hooked! It is unfortunate that it does not get any TV airtime…but maybe that’s a topic for another blog.

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There’s No Crying in Tennis

Or is there? I have never seen so many tears on Centre Court of a Wimbledon final in all of my nine lives! Let me set the scene.

Our two opponents…Roger Federer and Marin Cilic. We all know Roger…the “GOAT’, as they say. Having a resurgence this year, winning the Australian Open, and going for his record breaking 8th Wimbledon title and 19th grand slam title. And Marin Cilic, the quiet giant. He’s beaten Roger at big moments, including the semi-finals at the 2014 US Open and went on to win the title that year.

But alas, the moment was just too great for Marin. Some may say it was physical…a problem with his foot. He had it re-taped around the end of the second set. But no, I say it was more psychological, in his head, emotional. And who blames him? Not me. I mean look, he’s playing on the biggest stage in tennis against the best men’s player to play the game.

He lost the first set 6-3, and was down 3-0 in the second when he called the trainers out. But instead of the trainers attending to any body ailment, they knelt next to him while he had a meltdown. They didn’t even take his blood pressure like if he was having a panic attack. Nope, at one point, he put the towel over his head and openly cried under his make-shift shelter for one.

Photo: http://www.express.co.uk

After getting his foot re-taped at the end of the second set, he did come out with a little bit of fire. But it was too late. The match was too far gone and Roger won the third set. Final score: 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. It’s just a shame Cilic couldn’t collect himself before the third set because I think we could have had a very competitive match.

Then there’s Roger. If you’ve been watching tennis for as long as I have, you know that Roger Federer is one of the most emotional guys on tour. He’ll cry if he wins, he’ll cry if he loses, and I’ve seen both!

Photo: http://www.thesun.co.uk

And wouldn’t you, if you were him? What he has achieved and continues to achieve is nothing short of spectacular. And just as I told my human’s mom on the phone this morning, we are just lucky to be around to witness it!

I, however, did not shed a single tear this morning watching this final. I’m proud of myself for holding it together…especially when Marin Cilic seemed so helpless. Bless his little heart!

But, that’s a wrap for Wimbledon this year. Now on to the rest of the summer season and looking forward to my favorite slam, the US Open!

Have a great Sunday, everybody.

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Blow Out at Wimbledon’s Women’s Final

The table was set for a phenomenal Women’s Final today. Or as I like to think about it…my food and water, my best treats, and my favorite comb, were all waiting for me this morning at Wimbledon today. With Serena Williams out on maternity leave, that left things wide open for big sister, Venus, to step in and take the title. And why not? At 37 years old, she has been playing some of her best, flawless tennis this entire tournament. Unfortunately, so has her opponent, Spanish player, Garbine Muguruza.

I first noticed Garbine when she made it to the Wimbledon finals in 2015. Her opponent? Serena Williams! Nothing you can do when your playing Serena except pray that you don’t look too foolish on the court. Then she won the French Open in 2016. So I knew this would be no walk in the park for Venus.

Of course I was behind Venus the whole way. It’s no secret that she’s one of my favorite female players of all time! (Venus!) But you can’t will/pray/wish someone to win a Major. They have to do it on their own, and Venus just didn’t have it today. She gave a convincing effort in the first set, but when Muguruza went up a break to win it 7-5, not was no turning back. Muguruza won the second set in a quick 22 minutes, 6-0. Bye, Venus!

Even in defeat, Venus Williams is gracious, classy, and displays all around sportsmanship! A true role model and winner in my book!

Notable Spanish presence at the Women’s Final: the King of Spain, Juan Carlos (yeah, the King of Spain came to watch Garbine play!), four time Grand Slam winner, Arahtxa Sanchez Vicario, who is almost unrecognizable with her blonde hair, but OK. And yes, I had to google her to make sure I spelled her name right. And of course, Conchita Martinez, former Wimbledon champ who is currently supporting Garbine in a coaching role.

Next grand slam is the US Open, and if there ever was a place Venus is more well-loved, it is the hallowed grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center!

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Yosemite Sam Does It Again

Today’s Wimbledon consisted of the men’s quarterfinals, and we had some purrfect match-ups.

Marin Cilic vs Gilles Muller

Andy Murray vs Sam Querrey

Roger Federer vs Milos Roanic

Novak Djokovic vs Thomas Berdych

Notice that this is three out of the “big four.” Who’s missing? Rafa Nadal. 😦 He was knocked out yesterday in a five set battle against Gilles Muller. HUGE upset yesterday.

But there’s good news, folks! Lone American, Sam Querrey, Yosemite Sam, play-it-again Sam, played it again! Last year, he knocked out, then #1, Novak Djokovic, in the third round. This year, he put the hurt on Andy Murray, current #1, to win this quarterfinal match! Something about Centre Court brings out his best tennis. This will be Sam’s first Wimbledon semifinal match on Friday. Good job Sam!

You can see more of Sam in a previous post of mine, Trophy Extravaganza.

Today also included a personal upset for me. Novak Djokovic retired after losing the first set to Thomas Berdych. You may recall the big hub bub earlier in the tournament about players retiring in the first round just to collect a paycheck. I feel like he pulled a fast one on us, and if I was Andre Agassi (yes, Agassi agreed to coach this guy), I would cut my losses and bid Novak farewell.

Tomorrow we have the women’s semifinals.

Garbine Mugaruza vs Magdelena Rybarikova

Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams

Obviously more attention will be placed on the Konta/Williams match. Konta is the hometown favorite, but Venus is the all-time favorite. Expect the crowd to be confused as to who to cheer for. Those matches are always interesting to watch. I will be meowing for Venus Williams, but you can pick your favorites and I won’t judge. (OK, I might judge a little). But in the end, at least enjoy!