Happy Valentine’s Day from Frazier’s Racket

Happy Valentine’s Day! Can you feel the love tonight?
I certainly didn’t last night! Valentine’s Day Eve was nothing but disappointment after disappointment! Some victories, but also some real shockers!

Image: Frazier’s Racket

We had many of my favorites playing in the fourth round last night, and it was one surprise after another.

Let’s start with the good news. Serena, Simona and Naomi made it through their matches…shocked that all had to fight it out in a third set, but they got it done. And then let’s not forget the 35 year old, Su-Wei Hsieh. She’s playing her best tennis and finished her match in short order, 6-2, 6-2. Pawtastic job, women!

And then we have the men! I’m not sure what was going on. Dominic Thiem lost his match to Grigor Dimitrov in three quick sets. I’m happy for Dimitrov, but man, Thiem looked pawful! And then we have Felix Auger-Aliassime. Bless his little Valentine’s heart! The kid can’t catch a break. He was up two sets against gualifier, Aslan Karatsev, and couldn’t close it out. Dude, get it together!

On the more predictable side of things, Zverev cruised through his match in three sets against Dusan Lajovic. And then we have Novak Djokovic against Milos Raonic. I was hoping against all hope that Milos would find a way to win this. But alas, it was Novak with the win.

Tonight, I am going to channel all of my best paws-itive love for the players. We’ve got some good ones to snuggle up with…Jen Brady/Donna Vekic (go Jen), Ash Barty/Shelby Rogers (go Ash), Mackie MacDonald/Medvedev (I’m roaring for the undercat, MacDonald, but we’ll see what happens), Fognini/Nadal (should be a good fierce one, but Nadal will take the win), Tsitsipas/Berrettini (my heart’s on Berrittini, but my money is on the Greek), Rublev/Ruud (this will be Rublev’s but I can hope for an upset?). And many more matches, but these are the ones I’ll have my cat eyes on!

Whatever happens, it is always Love, Love on Valentine’s Day!

The Adidas Identity Crisis

Adidas is having an identity crisis! It doesn’t know who it wants to be.

I’ve already declared that this year, I am going to be nice. That’s who I’m going to be! No crisis here.

With that being meowed, let’s get started.

Are you an outdoorsy hotdog? This mustard and brown combo? Great for a hike, maybe? Separately, I think the two colors would work, but together on court….hmmm!

Image: yahoo!sports

And then you’ve got the white tank on Zverev. You know there is a slang term for a men’s sleeveless white tank top and I just don’t think that’s the best thing for him to be wearing at the moment. But that’s a choice.

Image: yahoo!sports

And then you switch gears and totally knock it out of the part with Dominic Thiem’s shirt! I love this so much! The print is a map graphic of the Great Barrier Reef! One of the best I’ve seen in a while!

Image: Ausopen.com

So who are you, Adidas? In these weird pandemic times, I guess we are all just trying to figure things out!

Burning the Midnight Oil, But Worth It!

Did you know that the average cat sleeps 16 hours a day? Well this old cat didn’t get a wink of sleep at all last night during the five-set thriller between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aussie’s own, Thanasi Kokkinakis!

After being out with injuries and illnesses for several years, Kokkinakis entered the grand slam in true rock star fashion, beckoning back to one of my favorites, Billy Idol. Who’s Your Idol?

Kokkinakis made a successful return to the #AusOpen
Image: @TKokkinakis

Sure, on paper, Thanasi Kokkinakis was the underdog, wild card going in. Tsitsipas, ranked #6 in the world, should have had this match wrapped up in a bow in short order. But this is Australia, and this is one of their own! And this is grand slam tennis in front of real live crowds…something we haven’t seen (or heard) since last year, and Thanasi had other plans!

Thanasi clinched the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6. Tsitsipas took the next two sets easily, 6-4, 6-1, and I thought for sure this is lights out for Kokkinakis (and for me…night, night). But no! Kokkinakis found a place deep inside this heart, and legs, and lungs, and managed to come back in the fourth set and win it in a tiebreak, 7-6.

Now we are down to the final set. Do I make a pot of coffee or just watch the drama play out? I went to the kitchen, opened the coffee can and took a deep breath! That was a enough for me…I thought, if Thanasi can fight through this, so can I! Of course, he downed a vile of pickle juice to keep his spirits up. To that, I say “no thanks.”

Thanasi fought hard, but Tsitsipas fought just a bit harder. In the end, Tsitsipas wins the fifth set 6-4. I was crushed. Thanasi was crushed. The crowd was crushed. But there is nothing one can do in a moment like this…except appreciate what you just witnessed! It’s moments like this that give me all the feels. Amazing tennis played with heart and soul.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got to get my beauty rest.

ZZZZ…..

Fashion Fun on Day One

Remember when you were little and you would plan out your “first day of school” outfit? Well, apparently, this first grand slam of 2021 is no different! The players had fun with their fashionista choices and I was living for all of it!

Serena’s nod to Flo-Jo!

Serena Williams in action in the first-round of the Australian Open - Getty Images
Image: yahoo!sports

I, fur one, was totally loving this look. This is an outfit fit for a strong woman on a mission, and she ain’t skeerd of you! Yes, two paws up for this!

Fritz’s frosted tips!

Image: @taylorfritz

I’m a fan of Taylor Fritz! He’s the only American men that I follow right now. I’m not sure what made him frost his hair…in my cat dream, he is sitting in the salon with his mom while she is getting her hair dyed. The colorist says “Hey Taylor, I have some extra dye. You want to frost your tips?” And like a good son, he says, “I would love to.” I’m purrty sure that’s NOT how it happened, but a kitty can dream! You do you, Taylor! As long as you’re playing solid tennis!

Sleeveless Sascha?

Image: yahoo!sports

Let’s face it…Sascha is no Rafa! But here is my armchair therapist analysis of this tank…He has gone through some personal stuff this past year (that I am not condoning, just simply pointing out), and I think he is like “new year, new look”. I just wish it was a different color. The white is just too white and washes him out. Again…Alex, you do you, man! Paws up!

So, what do you think? Did I miss anyone? How did you feel about Naomi Osaka’s kit?

This year, I am going to embrace everyone’s fashion choices, no matter what! I think it’s great that these players are feeling their inner divas and expressing themselves to their fullest! After being cooped up last year, I say let’s have a little fun with fashion! Embrace our funky side and show the world tennis players can let loose!

Australian Open is Here!

It’s here, furriends! Finally! The first grand slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open!

Tennis has been feast or famine during this pandemic…months of no tennis at all, and then you turn the calendar page to February 2021 and it wakes you up like a big Fancy Feast!

Tennis Australia gave us plenty of warm up events this past week to get the players ready and to give us fans something to purr about! The ATP Cup and several warm up tournaments…I could barely keep track.

But today, the big wait is over! First round coverage starts tonight and I am ready. While the rest of the US will have their sights on Tampa and Super Bowl Sunday, I will be tuned in down under! There are some excellent first round matches to keep you entertained! Here are my top first round picks:

Men:

Dimitrov vs. Cilic

Nishikori vs. Carreno Busta

Shapovalov vs. Sinner

Ruud vs. Thompson

Basilashvili vs. Paul

Pospisil vs. Medvedev

Anderson vs. Barretini

Sandgren vs. De Minaur

Women:

Pliskova vs. Watson

Sakkari vs. Mladenovic

Gauff vs. Teichmann

Bouzkova vs. Svitolina

Flipkens vs. V. Williams

Siegemund vs. S. Williams

So grab your snacks, cuddle up on your favorite tennis watching chair, and let the games begin!

I’ll keep you updated on the latest happenings from down under!

Alex Got His License

Alex De Minaur is Australia’s newest, brightest star! Just last week, the 19 year old won his first ATP title in Sydney, Australia.

Image result for alex de minaur

This week, in his on court interview after his first round match win at the Australian Open, he said that getting his driver’s license a few months ago was his greatest accomplishment of the year!

Getting your driver’s license > winning an ATP title!

Ah, to be a teenager!

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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?