ATP Final = Sad Cat Day

Well furriends, I cannot hide it…I am a sad cat. I wanted Dominic Thiem to win so bad today. But he didn’t. Daniil Medvedev was just better. Plain and simple.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Getty Images

Everyone purr-dicted Thiem to win this one. He had just won the US Open and he was a finalist last year. But that just goes to show how un-purr-dictable tennis can be.

Sure, the first set started out very routine, with Thiem winning it 6-4. Then Medvedev fought back in the second set and won the set tiebreak, 7-6. And, I don’t know, I could tell Dominic was totally over it. He didn’t have much fight left in him and Daniil finally won it all!

Since I had had my fill of Brett and Jim on the Tennis Channel, I thought “Frazier, get back to your old favorites on ESPN, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe. Let’s see what these fellas have to say.”

They are equally entertaining as their Tennis Channel cohorts, but in a completely different way. Brad is a bit Malibu and Patrick is old school New York. So here we go…

Dominic has a habit of blowing on his fingers, as if he had just touch a hot tamale, when he sets up to return a serve. Patrick McEnroe said that “blowing on his is his nervous tick…like Nadal picking at his shorts.” Thank you for that visual, Patrick.

After Daniil broke Dominic in the third set, Brad Gilbert said this would be a good time for his coach to start singing “Breakdown” by Tom Petty, or “break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”

Other zingers…

McEnroe of Medvedev…”waving that racquet like a magic wand.”

Gilbert of Thiem…”he’s running dry on [poker] chips.” Which, to be honest, was a very accurate metaphor of what was happening to poor Dominic.

Well, that’s wraps up the 2020 tennis season. Look for recaps, predictions and other nonsensical tennis news for the remainder of the year!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my ATP Finals observations!

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Semi-Finals Wrap Up

Yesterday, I spent an entire day at the O2 Arena in London and it was a-meowzing!

OK, maybe I wasn’t there in purrson, but can’t a kitty dream?

It was the semi-finals, with back to back, world class, best of the best, tennis determining who will be playing this year’s finals and I didn’t miss a minute of it!

The doubles matches did not disappoint! Koolhof/Mektic won quite handily against Granollers/Zeballos. Koolhof never cooled off, but instead brought the heat, taking them down in two sets. The afternoon match between Ram/Salisbury and Melzer/Roger-Vesellin was a different story. This match had everything, and went to a deciding 11-9 tiebreak to determine the winners, Melzer/Roger-Vesselin.

Then there were the singles! It was really just as one would hope…numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 competing to be the year-end best!

First up, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem.

If you don’t know Dominic Thiem’s name yet…(and if you follow my blog), then shame on you! Now is the time to get to know him. He’s played in three grand slam finals and won his first grand slam this year at the US Open. He was the runner up at this event last year and he is a real steam roller! He’s built like a brick, has the best one handed back hand on tour, and is relentless on court. He’s been a favorite of mine for year! Trust me. Get to know him!! You’ll like him.

 (Getty Images)
Image: Getty Images

Anyway, back to the match. It was really just one amazing point after another from both Djokovic and Thiem. So close, like every point was determining the other’s fate. It went to three sets, with Thiem winning 7-5, 6 (10)-7, 7-6 (5). It doesn’t get much closer than that! And to sweeten the win…that was Thiem’s 300th tour match win!

The evening match was a rematch from last year’s round robin between Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. I was there for that one. Daniil was up 5-1 in the third set, so I decided to cut out early, beat the crowd rush and enjoy a nice dinner. Boy did I make a mistake! Rafa rallied back and won that match, and I missed it…for what? Pasta and a glass of wine! Lesson learned, Frazier…it’s not over ’til it’s over!

Anyway, back to the match. Believe it or not, Nadal has never won the year end final. He’s qualified (by the end of the year, he’s been ranked within the top eight) 16 times and has played this tournament ten times. (The other six, he was out with injuries) So, Rafa was definitely hungry for a win. And I, myself, was wondering if Medvedev had it in him to beat Rafa. Well, all was answered soon enough. Rafa won the first set very quickly 6-3, so I thought this is going to be over in a flash. And then a remarkable thing happened…Medvedev just kept coming at him! He took the second set to a tiebreak and won 6-7(4). We’ve all seen Rafa resurrect from the ashes and come back for a victory before, but not this time. Matter of fact, his playbook was all wrong. It’s like he couldn’t figure out the magic formula to beat Medvedev, and Medvedev wins the third set, 6-3.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Getty Images

Jim Courier and Brett Haber were at it again, calling this match, and Jim was really on a roll with the metaphors and word play. The amount of food and 80’s references he made, well, he’s a man after my own heart!

Things Jim said:

Banana forehand: (referring, I “think” to Rafa’s overhead forehand)

Snicker’s: what Jim ate before the match

Rubik’s Cube: (Medvedev…the puzzle Rafa was trying to solve)

Nip/Tuck: how close the match was

Gumby: Daniil Medvedev

Slinky: Rafa Nadal

M&M’s: how Jim can’t just eat one, and then some fruit

Pringles (OK, maybe that was Brett)

He also said that Rafa had fallen too much in love with his slice today, which was totally not the right strategy against Daniil. Fair…and true!

So there you have it! Today’s doubles final will be Koolhof/Mektic vs. Melzer/Roger-Vesselin. I’m calling Koolhof/Mektic on this…winning at their debut ATP Finals would be sweet!

Today’s singles final will be Dominic Thiem vs. Daniil Medvedev. This could really be anyone’s game, but I’m calling Thiem as the victor! Thiem is red hot right now, but Medvedev will be flying high, full of confidence after his win against Nadal yesterday. I guess we will have to watch and see.

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How Underhanded Is The Underarm?

I was watching the round robin match between Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev yesterday, and Daniil played a “trick shot”, the underarm serve.

You know the underarm serve. Chances are, you have played an underarm serve at some point in your life. Instead of tossing the ball high and hitting it overhead on the way down, you toss the ball low and strike the ball underhanded, usually with a little spin (similar to simple volleyball serves you learned in junior high school).

What makes this a trick shot? Professional tennis players these days try with all their might to fire fast paced bullets across the net in hopes their opponent will not be able to return it. Cheap points…just ask John Isner. So when someone changes up the pace, it rattles their opponent, throws them off their game. A risky shot? Sure! Unorthodox? Maybe. Against the rules? Absolutely not!

So when Medvedev played the underarm serve against Zverev, Tennis Channel commentator, Brett Haber, posed the question to Tennis Hall of Famer, Jim Courier, “How do you feel about players using the underarm serve?”, Jim Courier was teed up and ready like,

Pin by robin on animals | Funny cat images, Funny cat videos, Funny cats

I love Jim Courier because he is always level headed and doesn’t take the bait when trying to get roped into this controversy, made famous most recently by tennis bad boy, Nick Kyrgios, against Rafa Nadal at last year’s Wimbledon.

Jim is a wise man. He knows his tennis. He calmly explained to Brett that the underarm serve is an excellent strategical tactic, especially when many players are playing far back, behind the baseline. They aren’t ready for a short serve that barely clears the net. It’s legal and it should be used more often.

And then Brett was like, “But what about the unwritten rules about the game?” Brett wanted something. More spark and fire out of this debate. And Jim was like,

There is no “unwritten” rule that you can’t play a shot that is purrfectly legal. Sounds like Brett’s been burned by this sneaky trick shot a time or two at his local club. Doesn’t matter Brett. It’s totally legit so get used to it. If players were smart, they would learn this and use it more often.

What do you think? Is the underarm serve a good strategy or a sneaky trick? Do you disapprove when players use it, or do you think it should be used more often?

ATP Finals Double Trouble Purr-eview

The ATP Finals kicked off in London this morning and there is more tennis to watch than just the singles. We have world class doubles teams to watch and here is my purr-eview.

Psst…come closer…mini-true cat confession…I don’t watch as much doubles as I would like, but I’m going to blame this on television coverage of doubles. They just don’t get equal air time. That’s why I love the ATP Finals. Equal play/air time for all!

Ram/Salisbury: American, Rajeev, and Englishman, Joe, are definitely favorites of mine. I like Rajeev because he is a respectable American I can get behind. And Joe seems like a real stand up gent.

Pavic/Soares: Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares. I mean, come on…with a name like Mate, you’re surely a super star in my book!

Krawietz/Mies: This German duo is a pair to reckon with! Kevin Krawietz (purrnouced “kravitz…like Lenny Kravitz) is super cute. And Andreas Mies helped out his community grocery store stock shelves when the pandemic stopped the world from spinning round.

Granollers/Zeballos: Marcel and his big, beautiful brown eyes! And Horacio with his boyish good looks. You can’t help but roar for this team. And hey, when both players have a double “L” in their last name, AND they are playing doubles! Recipe for double trouble!

Koolhof/Mektic: With a name like “Koolhof”, Wesley’s gotta be the Koolest Kat around, especially with that early 90’s pseudo-mullet! Let’s just say I just to know a fella back in the day with that same hair style! And Nikola’s not half bad, either.

Peers/Venus: John and Michael, respectively. I will not tell a lie…every now and then, if I’m not paying attention, I might meow “Oh, I didn’t know Venus (Williams) was playing doubles in this tournament.” I bet he gets that a lot.

Kubot/Melo: Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo could be one of my favorite doubles teams of all time! For one, Kubot is Polish and I have a soft spot for Poland. And two, how can you not like a name like Marcelo Melo? Sounds like a delicious soda pop!

Melzer/Roger-Vasselin: Truthfully, I don’t know much about Jurgen Melker and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but they look purrty fierce in their photo. I wouldn’t want to cross paths with these two alley cats!

It’s a real shame that all of my favorite teams are in the same group! I’m having a hard time deciding which pair I want to see in the final. So, I will just leave it with “good luck to everyone!” Have a grreat tournament, kitty cats!

All images came from nittoatpfinals.com.

ATP Finals – Frazier’s Fantasy World Purr-eview!

The stage has been set for the final men’s tournament of the year, the ATP Finals, November 15-22. Here is my purrsonal purr-eview of the players.

In honor of it’s 50th anniversary I present “Group Tokyo 1970″ and Group London 2020”.

GROUP TOKYO 1970

Novak Djokovic: Not my favorite player, to be honest. He’s had a few hiccups during the pandemic (hosted a super-spreader in Serbia, hit a line judge in the throat at the US Open, to name a few). But he’s chasing tennis history like I chase a mouse around the house, so he’s the real deal at this event.

Novak Djokovic keen for breakaway tennis union despite high-profile  resistance | Tennis News | Sky Sports
Image: skysport.com

Alexander Zverev: I’m not going to give much space to this guy. He is denying serious allegations of assault by an ex-girlfriend. I want to like this guy, but he’s making it real difficult. Right now, I’d rather hack up a thousand hair balls than see this guy win.

ATP Wimbledon Quarterly Betting Preview: Sascha Zverev Looks Vulnerable |  The Action Network
Image: The Action Network

Daniil Medvedev: I’m coming around to this cat. I know that’s a purrty controversial opinion, but I like his style and I think he’s trying to improve his image.

Daniil Medvedev Is the Next Great Tennis Villain - InsideHook
Image: Inside Hook

Diego Schwartzman: At 5’7″, he is an unlikely contender. But here he is and he’s had a stellar year! I’m happy for this Argentinian…now if we can only get him to stop with the “backwards hat” nonsense.

Diego Schwarzman: The biggest Mensch in tennis - The Jerusalem Post

GROUP LONDON 2020:

Rafael Nadal: ME? You want to play tennis with me, Rafa? OK, let me grab my racquet and I’ll be right over! That’s how I feel about my main cat, Rafa Nadal! Meow!

Spain tennis star Rafael Nadal
Image: NPR

Dominic Thiem: ME? You winking at me, Domi? Back at ya! And that’s how I feel about my other main cat, Dominic Theim.

Dominic Thiem continues French Open winning run | Tennis News | Sky Sports
Image: Sky Sport

Stefanos Tsitsipas: Reigning champ, this one. Bless his heart, this one! For the most part, this guy managed to stay out of trouble during the pandemic and focused on tennis. Now, if he would stop being a jerk to his dad (his coach), he’d be in good shape. Take my advise, Stefanos…let your dad be your dad and get yourself a different coach. How you behave with your dad (coach or not) is not a good look for you.

French Open: I Should Have Trusted My Instincts Earlier, Says Beaten Stefanos  Tsitsipas
Image: News18.com

Andrey Rublev: Let’s be honest, I’m just not a fan of his headband. There, I hissed it! Headband aside, he has had a remarkable year and I see great things in his future!

Nobody is going to punch you in the face” Andrey Rublev on boxing
Image: Tennishead

So, predictions…

There is a finalist from each group. In a Frazier’s Fantasy World, it would be Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem slugging it out next Sunday at the finals, with Thiem hoisting the winner’s trophy. Unfortunately, my Real World prediction is quite boring, and I’m afraid, might come true. I see Novak and Rafa playing in the finals with the win going to Novak. Cat Nap City! Wake me up when it’s over.