Battle of the Beards…Who Wore It Best?

As I catch up on today’s tennis matches, I notice one thing….beards! Beards everywhere! It seems like every male tennis player is sporting some type of facial hair, and let’s face it, beards are totally trending right now. I may not be a huge fan of the bewhiskered myself, but that doesn’t mean we can’t highlight the best!  Let’s take a look at “who wore it best.”

Disclaimer: I am no beard aficionado and these opinions are my own. I have researched beard “Types” (Google search), but I may call a certain type of beard the wrong name. I’m doing my best here, furriends…I’m a cat, knowledgeable in cat whiskers only.

Beard (short): Felciano Lopez vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

  Feliciano Lopez

         Juan Martin Del Potro

Winner: Lopez wore it best. It’s fuller, cleaner and it brings out his dreamy blue eyes. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Chin Strap: Jack Sock vs. Nick Kyrgios

            Jack Sock

          Nick Kyrgios

Winner: Nick Kyrgios. I am not a huge fan of the chin strap, to be honest. Nick has more of a goatie included in his look, but I did find one website that still categorized his look as a chin strap. Sorry Jack….

 

Beard (Full): Benoit Paire vs. Steve Johnson

        Benoit Paire

           Steve Johnson

Winner: This one is a tough one, don’t you think? I mean, I’m really not a fan on the full beard, but Paire’s eyes are very dreamy. But Steve Johnson is super nice. Sooo…if I am judging on beard alone, I will have to go with Steve Johnson.

 

Beard (Blonde): David Goffin vs. Tomas Berdych

             David Goffin

              Tomas Berdych

Winner: Blonde beards are tricky because they never really look full. But we have some brave souls who still try, like these two. Completely for the effort involved, this battle goes to David Goffin.

 

Balbo: Fabio Fognini vs. Novak Djokovic  (See, I did research! I didn’t know there was such a thing and now I do)

 

                                         Fabio Fognini

                           Novak Djokovic

Winner: Fabio Fognini is the clear winner! Easily. Paws down! Don’t you think?

 

Adolescent Stubble: Sascha Zverev vs. Karen Khachakov

                  Sascha Zverev

                 Karen Khachanov

Winner: I know, I know. “Adolescent Stubble” is not a thing. But you can’t deny that when you hear “Adolescent Stubble”, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Am I right? I digress, the winner in the “Adolescent Stubble” category is….Karen Khachanov! By one stubble-speckled chin!

 

Classic Rivalry: Roger Federer vs. Rafa Nadal

           Roger Federer

          Rafa Nadal

Winner: It’s a tie, of course! I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite between these two!

Well did I get it right? Is there anyone I missed? I mean, let’s facial hair it, it’s hard to find a male tennis player these days who is not sporting some sort of beard. I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine it gets hot and itchy under there. But again, I’m just a cat, knowledgeable in cat whiskers only!

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Another Future Star!

You may have noticed these past couple of weeks I have highlighted some bright stars in the future of men’s tennis. Well, this week in Montreal at the Rogers Cup, another star emerged! 18 year old Canadian, Denis Shapovalov.

Image: http://www.thestar.com

He had an incredible week at his home country’s Masters level tournament. He entered as a wildcard, but that didn’t stop him from making a splash. In his second round match, he beat Juan Martin del Potro (former US Open champ), and then in a shocking 3rd round match, he beat Rafa Nadal in three sets. A third set tiebreak sealed the deal for this guy.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “What’s so special about this guy, Frazier?” For me, it’s the way he engages with the crowd and uses them to his advantage. If the spectators are on your side, you have everything. And, he didn’t let the pressure of the big moments get to him. And his slice backhand ain’t bad either! He was really able to rise to the occasion and play great tennis this week.

Of course, only time will tell if this new crop of players will become the new McEnroe/Borg, Sampras/Agassi, Federer/Nadal, or Murray/Djokovic. But the timing is right. We had an unprecedented start of the 2017 tennis season with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal dominating not only the grand slams, but all the tournaments in between. They’ve both been shaky since Wimbledon. Let’s see if this new crop of guys can rewrite the ending of the 2017 season. Time will tell.

The Future’s So Bright

I gotta wear shades. That’s right y’all, go grab my Ray Ban’s for me, will ya, because I am blinded by the light! I’m revved up like a deuce…Bruce Springsteen wrote that song, BTW (you’re welcome! 😉 ). Good thing I don’t have to wear my sunglasses at night! Hold up…too many 80’s one-hit-wonder references? Too much for a Sunday? Can I really ever have too many references to 80’s music? No, I don’t think so (LL Cool J, Going Back to Cali).

I digress…have I even started? I guess I’m just excited for the future of men’s tennis, as it was on full display this week! As we countdown to the US Open, we found ourselves in Washington DC at the Citi Open. Two worthy opponents met each other for the final: Kevin Anderson and Sascha Zverev. Kevin Anderson is a bit of a veteran, but has been out due to injury. Sascha Zverev is part of this “Next Generation” of players the ATP is trying to promote. He just turned 20 in April, and he has been making quite a name for himself this year. He beat Anderson like it was no big deal, 6-4, 6-4, winning his fourth title this year.

Image:yahoo.sports.com

I want to dislike Sascha Zverev so bad. I do, I really do. Much like I wanted to hate Roger Federer when he beat Pete Sampras in the 4th round at Wimbledon in 2001. He was only 19 years old at the time and Pete Sampras had won Wimbledon seven previous years (and Pete is my all-time favorite player). I knew at that moment, big changes were coming in men’s tennis.

Am I comparing Sascha to Roger? Not necessarily. It’s a little premature for that. I mean, this tournament is not a grand slam. It’s not even a Masters 1000 level tournament. But, in a couple of weeks, he will be on the world’s biggest tennis stage and we will all see if he’s got the goods. If he plays anything like he did today…clean, powerful, strategic shots, with loads of confidence…I think we have a future grand slam winner on our hands!

This coming week, we head north of the border to our friendly neighbor, Montreal Canada. This is a Masters 1000 tournament and Rafa and Roger got the top seeds. This will be a good test to see if I will need my Ray Bans or if I can leave them in the car while I’m revving up my deuce coupe!

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America’s Next Tennis Rock Star

We all just want to be big Rock Stars! Or at least that’s what Nickelback sings about, right? Well, I think US Tennis might have just found it’s next big Rock Star! Tommy Paul!

Rock Star, you meow? Of course! He’s got the purrfect name for it! Tommy Paul! He’s a hybrid between Tommy Lee (the hot drummer from Motley Crue…hi Tommy, call me 😉 ) and Paul Stanley (the guitarist from the rock legend band, KISS. He’s the one with the big star on his eye).

http://www.tennis-prose.com

I haven’t talked much about Tommy Paul because I am barely catching wind of this kid. I say kid…he just turned 20 years old in May. And there is good reason for that. I saw him play last night in only his 12th tour level match against Kei Nishikori (seeded #2 at this tournament and ranked 9th in the world). So, Tommy Paul is green…very green. But he gave Nishikori a run for his money! Paul won the first set 6-3 and took it to a close tie break in the second set. But his lack of experience got in his way and Nishikori won the second set tie break. Then is was all Nishikori to the very end. Nishikori wins the match 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Tommy Paul did not win his quarterfinal match last night, but on Monday, he will have moved up in the rankings from his current ranking of #225 to #170! Not bad for having played only 12 matches as a professional!

I’m no tennis coach, but if I had a couple of minutes with Tommy Paul, I would recommend the following:

  1. Take time between serves. You were playing way too fast, leading to too many errors. You’ve got to mentally re-set or your going to double fault.
  2. Control your movement. You’re a bit of an uncontrolled tornado on the court. Make more strategic motions and you’ll conserve energy (to make it through three long sets). I love your two handed backhand, by the way.
  3. Develop short term memory. You had a long rally and still lost the point? You double faulted? You’re opponent just served three aces in a row? No big deal…lose that from your memory and focus on the next point on your racquet.

Furriends, keep that name in your head because I do not think this is the last we will hear from Tommy Paul.

And, you’re welcome for that Nickelback ear worm! Happy Caturday, everybody!

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Happy Anniversary

Today is a very special day. It is my 9th anniversary!

Nine years ago on this day, my human and her best friend decided she needed a cat. So, they drove out to the animal shelter to see if there were any furry friends that would make a nice companion for her. Little did we all know, the animal shelter did not open on that Saturday. There were people in the parking lot waiting for it to open…like the sweet old farmer lady who brought me with six of my brothers and sisters because she couldn’t possible care for all of us (she already had four cats at her farm). And people like my human, who were looking to adopt a fluffy and furry companion (like me).

frazier                   This is me the first night at my new home! Thanks MOM!

I was in a crate in the back of a pickup with my brothers and sisters when my human walked up to the truck. I would like to say it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t really. I was shy so hung out in the back while my siblings tried to get her attention. But she is a bit shy too and saw me hiding in the back. We both knew right then and there we were a match. It could have been my beautiful black spots, or it could have been my green and blue eyes, but she picked me out of all the others! It was a good day and I feel like the  luckiest cat around.

play Here I am stretching out like I own the place! (maybe I do!)

You may be surprised to find out that tennis was not my first love! Meow! It was Olympic gymnastics. I remember sitting with my human on the couch and looking at the TV seeing these amazing beings fly through the air doing flips and turns and tumbles! I’ve never seen anything like that out at the farm I was raised for my first four months. Gymnastics quickly turned into tennis when i realized the Olympics happen only once every four years.

What about you? Are celebrating an anniversary with your human soon? How did you meet? Was it destiny? I love a good love story.

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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