Thanks Nike!

Thanks Nike! Finally, after almost a year, Nike got it right! Yes, if you recall earlier this year, Nike was out to get me with their zebra print shorts and ill-colored outfits. Nike Is Out to Get Me But now as we are closing out the 2017 tennis season, look at this!

This is Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Porto sporting their Nike gear during the finals of the Swiss Indoors Basel Open yesterday. Sensible black shorts with a clean looking sports shirt with black trim and logo. Juan Martin in a soft baby blue, and Roger in a soft pink.

The blue and pink shirts are reminiscent of a gender reveal party, don’t you think? A what, you meow! You don’t know what a gender reveal party is? It’s a shindig that expecting couples throw for family and friends that “reveals” the sex of the baby, blue for boy and pink for girl! There are many ways to “reveal” this news. The color of a cake, balloons, onesies, gifts, etc.

For this elaborate “reveal” party, I was thinking the couple would just tell their friends and family to watch the Basel Open finals and the player who wins will reveal whether they are having a boy or a girl. A gamble? Sure. But Federer has been red hot this year (Or should I say PINK hot!) and this is his hometown tournament, so the likelihood he was going to win was high! Apparently, it’s a girl!

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Drama Free Tennis

Sometimes all a kitty needs on a quiet Sunday morning is some drama free tennis. The type of tennis where I can just curl up in my favorite spot on the sofa, sit there and just watch good, quality tennis. I know what you’re meowing, “Frazier, if there is no drama in a tennis match, then where is the fun in that?” Every now and again, a feline should be able to enjoy his favorite sport without lunging to the edge of his seat, or covering his eyes and sometimes ears, or hissing obscenities at the television. Of course, I would never do that! You know, enjoy a “gentleman’s match.”

Well furriends, that is exactly what I got, drama free tennis! Two of my favorite gentlemen, Juan Martin Del Porto, who was defending his title, against Grigor Dimitrov in the finals of the Stockholm Open. And although there was no clear favorite today, Del Potro was just a fur ball better than Dimitrov. Grigor’s slice backhand failed him way too many times during the match and Juan Martin edged him out in two sets 6-4, 6-2.

OK, maybe there is a little bit of drama with the size of this trophy!! Woozah!

It’s amazing the amount of drama that could happen during a match:

  • Tantrums and smashing racquets
  • Arguing with the chair umpire
  • Unruly fans in the stands
  • Time violations
  • Code violations
  • Players talking smack to their opponent
  • Clear crowd favorites
  • Retirements for no apparent reason

It’s like Mary J. Blige says…let’s celebrate no more drama in our lives! Or at least on the tennis court!

We can save the drama for the year end ATP finals! Just a couple of weeks away. Who will make the cut to compete and who will be #1?

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Simona Halep – The New World #1

Back in August, I wrote a post about one of my favorite players, Simona Halep titled Always a Bridesmaid when she played in the Western and Southern Open and lost in the final. Despite a fervent work ethic and new coach, she has struggled to find her groove, her mojo, her sweet spot. But this week, no more.

At the China Open this week, Simona became world #1! A huge congratulations goes out to Simona, her coach Darren Cahill and her entire team (because we all know it takes a village). Now, instead of being the bridesmaid, Simona gets center court with this lovely bouquet! I hope you and #1 remain together a very long time.

Image: indiatoday.intoday.in

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Battle of the Sexes

True cat confession: I love Billie Jean King and all she is. A real bad ass! Always have, every since I was a young kitten.

True cat confession: I don’t go to the movies often. I just think there are better ways to spend my time than two + hours sitting in a movie theater.

True cat confession: Traditionally, tennis movies are terrible! As much as I love the game, movie makers have yet to come up with a formula that translates the magic and drama of tennis into a compelling full length movie.

image: wallpapershome.com

So, when Battle of the Sexes came out, I was conflicted. I love Billie Jean, her story, her tennis, but are the movie makers going to ruin it for me? Luckily, the Battle of the Sexes got it right!

The movie’s premise highlight’s Billie Jean King’s fight for equal prize money for men and women in tennis, the birth of the Women’s Tennis Association, and the much publicized “Battle of the Sexes” match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.

What set this movie apart from other tennis movies is it really didn’t focus on tennis. Yes, tennis was the avenue for which all of the key elements were centralized, but it struck the right note when developing the characters behind the headlines. Bobby Riggs and his strained relationship with his wife and family, the dynamics between Jack Kramer and Billie Jean, Billie Jean’s relationship with her husband and her struggle with her own sexuality at a time when coming out could have been detrimental to her career. It told the story of women’s rights for equal pay (which is still an issue in the US with women making $0.77 for every $1.00 a man makes, according to a 2014 study posted on now.org), it had believable acting and was not just another novelty tennis flick.

Billie Jean King was a trailblazer for gender equality and equal prize money in tennis and other social justice causes. She is one of my favorite human’s in all the world! My hero! If you have a couple of hours to spare, you should definitely add this to your movie viewing list.

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2017 Laver Cup Success

Now that the excitement and buzz of the inaugural Laver Cup is in the books, we have ourselves the winners, Team Europe. Next year, this will be played in Chicago. I thought it was really fun to watch, so I hope the momentum of this event stays high and it becomes “a thing”. Time will tell.

Here are some of my observations of the three day event:

Team Europe = classy, handsome tennis players

Team World = fun loving, let it all hang out bros

Funnest match to watch – Dominic Thiem vs John Isner

Best doubles pairing – Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios

Coolest tennis moment – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal playing doubles together

Weirdest tennis moment – Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine, doing the coin toss for the Federer/Nadal vs Sock/Querrey match

Greatest pleasant surprise – Thomas Enqvist as vice-captain!

Did you catch any of it this weekend? What did you think? Am I missing any key moments? Let me know! Have a great week everykitty!

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The Davis Cup Mysteries

Now that the 2017 grand slam season is over, I want to focus my attention on the Davis Cup. Unfortunately, when I think of the Davis Cup, a huge cloud rolls in overhead and I am left in the dark. For as long as I have followed tennis and heard commentators talk about the Davis Cup, it is still an illusive mystery to me. You too? Here, let me break it down for you…

Things I (think I) know about the Davis Cup:

  1. It is a year long men’s tennis tournament.
  2. It is played with teams which pits country against country (ex: Belgium vs. Australia).
  3. Each team has a team captain. Sometimes this team captain is a formal pro player of the previous generation (Jim Courier is (was?) USA’s team captain, Leyton Hewitt is team captain for Australia).
  4. It is played in different countries on different surfaces (grass, clay, hard court).
  5. The atmosphere is much like a soccer game where the spectators wear face paint, costumes and show spirit for their respective country.

Things that are a mystery to me:

  1. The bracket! I do not understand who plays who and when, who makes the bracket. Apparently, we are in the semifinals right now? France vs. Serbia and Australia vs. Belgium…maybe?
  2. Who decides which surface you play on? Does there have to be an equal amount of play on each surface throughout the year?
  3. The scoring. I know that there are some singles matches and some doubles matches, but I don’t know the ratio or even how many matches are played.
  4. How often are Davis Cup matches throughout the year?
  5. When are the finals?
  6. What do you get if you win?
  7. Why is Australia’s uniforms always yellow and green, but their flag is red, white and blue?

There are some players who really thrive within this team setting, like two of my favorites, Juan Martin Del Potro and Nick Kyrgios. I’ve been a good feline Sherlock Holmes and tried to find some clarity on the Davis Cup website because I want to follow and get excited about this. But alas, I am still in the dark.

If you have any clues that could solve the Davis Cup Mysteries, please share. I would love to know. And maybe some of the readers here will learn a little something too!

Thanks!

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There Is No “I” In Team

But there is an I in Tennis! Of course, that means absolutely nothing except that it is a fact. There is also a T, and E, a couple of N’s and an S!

Oh cat, I got off track there for a minute. Too much cat nip! But not that far. I was thinking about the Women’s Final that took place yesterday, and there was an interesting dynamic that happened on the court. The two finalists, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, are both American’s, . Both players were out earlier in the year, skipping the Australian Open in January, with injuries which required surgeries. We all know that you don’t recover, rehab, and compete at the level of a grand slam final without a team behind you. Coaches, trainers, nutritionists, parents, friends…that’s your team!

To add an extra layer of complexity to this grand slam final, both players are also teammates and good friends. They play on the American Fed Cup team together, they competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics together, they themselves are teammates. So, imagine for a minute that you were playing for the biggest title of your career against a teammate and good friend. This was the scene for yesterday’s final.

But with all competition, there is a winner and there is a loser. And yesterday, the momentum swung in the direction of Sloane Stephens. Sloane Stephens was on point from the get go and Madison Keys struggled to find her game. The final score was a convincing 6-3, 6-0.

Photo by:  (USTA/Darren Carroll)
For me, the highlights came after the match! After the win, both players met at the net like players do. But instead of the cold handshake, chair umpire handshake, then march back to your chair, Sloane and Madison hugged at the net and one friend consoled the other while she cried on the winner’s shoulder. Then instead of going to their own respective seats, the winner sits next to her friend and laughs and cuts up until the trophy ceremony. Furriends, if you don’t follow tennis, let me tell you, I have been watching tennis a long time and this NEVER happens.
Then, during the trophy ceremony, both players had beautiful, gracious things to say about the other player. I cried through the whole thing! (No one is surprised by this, I’m sure). Wonderful display of sportsmanship, friendship and class at a time when our world needs a little bit of it!
So even though there is no I in Team, there is a team within tennis. And the American women’s teamwork was on full display yesterday! Congratulations to Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.