Clay court season is nice. Clay court season with Dominic Thiem is better!
And it couldn’t come at a nicer time!
We are midway through the 2021 clay court season that travels like my passport’s fantasy European vacation. Spain, Italy, Monaco, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland…and leads up to the pièce de résistance in Paris, France…the French Open!
Dominic Thiem took a much needed wellness break during the first half of the season, but has returned in time for the Masters 1000 event in Madrid. Has he looked sharp as a tack, fresh as a daisy? Not quite. But he’s winning and that’s what counts. His biggest test so far came yesterday in the QF’s against John Isner, who is notorious for his booming first serves. He challenged Thiem for three sets, but Thiem eventually got the win.
He will play Alexander Zverev in the semis today. Zverev, in an inexplicable turn of events, beat Rafa Nadal in his QF match. And it only took his two sets to do it. I really couldn’t believe what my kitty eyes were seeing.
Let’s not forget that Rafa also lost to Andrey Rublev a few weeks ago in Monte Carlo, so maybe Rafa IS human! AND, Novak Djokovic was also taken out early in Monte Carlo by Dan Evans. I’ve said it before, so I don’t want to jinx anything, but…it there a bit of a breakdown in the Big Three? Time will tell.
In other Madrid news…one of my new faves, Casper Ruud, won his QF match and Italian cutie patooty, Mateo Barretini won his QF match, so those two will face each other in the semis. That will be a close match up, I think, but I am predicting Ruud will reign the winner.
So, settle in and enjoy the return on Dominic. Maybe this will be his year to hoist the La Coupe des Mousquetaires!
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night!
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast and he’s got to be fresh from the fight!
No, I’m not holding out for the kind of hero who plays chicken (Kevin Bacon) with trackers just to impress a girl (Lori Singer) in the 80’s classic, Footloose. Very reckless, Ren and Ariel!
I’m talking about young American, Sebastian Korda, making his first win against a top ten player, Diego Schwartzman tonight at the Miami Open. It was a claw-biting, three set match, and I wasn’t sure he was going to close out that third set. But, finally, he commanded his serve in that last game and closed it out at 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
To be purrfectly honest, the jury is still out on this 20 year old “next gen” player. He’s been very im-purr-essive this year, but to be the real deal, I am holding out to see him have a huge win… at a major… best of five… against a top five player. Do that, Sebi, and you will be the American hero we have been searching for all these years!
A few years ago, I wrote about who I thought would be the next big American rock star, Tommy Paul. I’m still a fan of Tommy’s and I will always tune in and cheer him on. But he didn’t rise to the top like I hoped he would. Tommy is ranked 52 at the moment. Meh!
I’m really hoping for someone who can knock the Big Three off their thrones. Yes, I know that’s a big ask, but a cat can dream, can’t he? It’ll happen one of these days.
So, I will keep my cat eyes on Sebi Korda and I’ll let you know if he’s gonna be sure, because it’s gotta be soon. And he’s gonna be larger than life!
In the meantime, enjoy this gem:
Is it just me or does Korda look like a young Kevin Bacon?
I hope you made a final visit to the Acapulco Lounge last night before the Love Boat left port because the Final between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alex Zverev was a real showdown!
When I first turned in, Tsitsipas was up 4-1 in the first set. I had secretly predicted that Zverev would not be strong enough (mentally) to take down Tsitsipas. I thought this match would be a quick one so, I closed me eyes for a brief cat nap and woke up to Zverev up 5-4! Meow! I was NOT expecting that. Shortly after, Zverev wrapped up the first set 6-4.
The second set was much tighter! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! It’s hard to watch these two, if I’m being purrfectly honest. Tsitsipas is a very arrogant player and Zverev looks lethargic between points. And to top it off…every time Zverev has to take a second serve, you never know what’s going to happen! A wicked dink into the net? Wildly wide? Just right? Who knows!
Well, Zverev pulled it off and won the second set in a tiebreak!
One of the main reason’s I love this tournament so much is the trophy!! They get a pear!! And a sombrero! I just absolutely love it!
This next week, they will travel to Miami, keeping with the beach tennis theme! Apparently Zverev is the one to beat, with the absence of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Thiem. I’ll still watch! Some of the best tennis happens without the Big Three.
It’s that time of year when we travel south to the sunny beaches of Acapulco! And if you’re like me, you are transported back to the Love Boat!
Didn’t they have an Acapulco Lounge on the Love Boat? If they didn’t, they should have! Get the writers on the phone for me!
And if they did, here are the headliners:
And the surprise guests: Lorenzo Musetti
And of course, there were a few opening acts from earlier this week: Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Francis Tiafoe, Fabio Fognini, Milos Raonic, and more!
It’s been a great, entertaining week for tennis in Acapulco and we have two matches left to determine who will play in the finals.
Tsitsipas vs. Musetti
Zverev vs. Koepfer
In a purrfect world, Tsitsipas and Zverev would win their matches and will face each other in the finals. A growing rivalry that I am looking forward to that don’t mention the “Big Three.” It is not a foregone conclusion because these other cats have been playing off the charts this week. We will all watch tonight to see how it turns out.
Meanwhile, you can also check out world class, best of the best doubles!! Herbert/Mahut vs. Granollers/Zeballos and Ram/Salisbury vs. Skupski/Skupski. You can’t get much better than this for beachside entertainment!
So grab yourself an umbrella drink and meet me on the Lido Deck!
Well, Federer’s return was a short one! Today, he faced Nikolos Basilashvili, and he just couldn’t make it happen.
Now here’s a mini-confession. Any time I get to see Basilashvili play, it’s always a special treat (not as special as the Greenies my mom just brought home) and I will most likely root for him. There is just something about his brooding eyes that I get lost in. Wouldn’t you agree?
Now, don’t be sad for Roger! It was great to see him back! And he felt good about his return. From ESPN.com:
“I would have loved to play tomorrow, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, I’m also happy to get a rest,” he said. “I’m happy how I played today. I’m happy how I did yesterday. I’m happy I am back on the Tour. I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me.”
I’m sure we will see him soon…maybe playing some clay court tournaments, getting ready for Roland Garros? Who knows?
Another player who was here yesterday and now he’s gone…Dominic Thiem! My hopes for him is that he didn’t peak at the US Open last year. I would be terribly disappoint. Please Domi, my tender kitty heart couldn’t take it.
I do want to give a quick meow-out to Taylor Fritz! He had a great match today against Denis Shapovalov. Go Taylor!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
So who are you, Adidas? In these weird pandemic times, I guess we are all just trying to figure things out!
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:
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
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!
I thought I would be OK. I really did. And I really am!
But when the tournament schedule was rearranged to make adjustments for the pandemic, I just didn’t realize how long I would have to wait for the Australian Open. I mean, yes, I can count…two weeks, four weeks, ten weeks, millennia!
And sure, they threw in the ATP Cup and a couple of WTA tournaments in for good measure, and that starts next week, so MEOW for that!
But there’s been some cat scratch fever around getting the players down under safely. Players being quarantined in hotel rooms with no practice time, players getting COVID (that’s no good and I wish everyone a healthy and speedy recovery). A lotta drama, if you ask me. And not the kind of drama I like!
Give me a “Wow Nike, I did NOT see that kit coming” or the anticipation of a young player making a big splash, like Sebastian Korda did a few weeks ago at Del Ray Beach. THIS is the drama I purr for!
It’s that time of year again…new year, new beginnings, new resolutions. I, for one, always make one solitary resolution each year – to watch as much tennis as I can!
Reader warning: this post will include some very UNPOPULAR opinions, so read with caution AND an open mind. This is only one feline’s opinion, so read with interest, but leave purrsonal feelings for any one player out of it.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, here we go!
Dominic Thiem – I resolve to win at least one major this season. If I had my preference, it would be the French Open. I know that Frazier has been predicting my success at Roland Garros for years now, so I resolve to make it so!
Stefanos Tsitsipas – I resolve to cut my hair! I know most of my fans have grown accustomed to my pirate-like locks, but hey, even Roger Federer eventually cut his hair and turned out to look quite handsome. I also resolve to stop being “Greek philosopher” on social media. I’m just a 20-something year old guy trying to make my way in the world. I don’t always have to be the Jack Handy of the ATP and have Deep Thoughts.
Adidas and Nike – We resolve to design tennis kits that are shocking, bold, innovative! We want to give viewers something to talk about.
Coco Gauff – I resolve to make it to at least a quarterfinal of a grand slam this year! Yes, yes…I know I am only 16 years old, but I have raw talent. Some would even call me a phenom. I recognize this is a lot of pressure, but at the very least…I will try my best!
Jen Brady – I resolve to build on the momentum of the last half of 2020 and make it to at least one grand slam final! I want to give Frazier and the rest of the tennis fans some American tennis to be proud of! I’m good. I’m really good, and I can’t wait for 2021 to improve on my successes!
Vika Azarenka – I resolve to win at least one grand slam this year, maybe the US Open! I know that, at 31 years old, time may not be on my side, but have you seen what Serena has been able to accomplish after 30? I got this!
Roger Federer – (OK furriends, here’s where it might get dicey…I warned you) – I resolve to retire. I am arguably the best male tennis player of all time. I have nothing more to prove. I am 39 years old. I missed most of 2020 due to surgeries on my right knee, not the pandemic. I have already withdrawn from this year’s Australian Open, but I will be focusing on Wimbledon and the Summer Olympics. I think it’s time to officially call it a day, and retire. Retire with dignity, like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi!
Serena Williams – (again, I warned you) – I resolve to retire. I am undoubtedly the best tennis player, male or female, of all time. I have nothing more to prove. I’ve beat all the records. I’m an icon! I have a beautiful family who loves and supports me. My life is full. I have it all, and then some!
All tennis players – we resolve to follow the rules! All of the rules. We are still lucky enough to play our sport globally, even during a worldwide pandemic. Tournament officials have certain health and safety protocols in place so that we can continue to travel, play and make our livings doing what we love. We must respect them and do as they say. They are working with experts on this, and hey, we are just tennis players, not scientists. We will trust they are working in our best interest because we are working in everyone’s self interest…including the fans who have patiently waited for the return of tennis!
OK feline friends, what do you think? Will any of these resolutions come to fruition? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
The tennis season opens this week with two tournaments for the men, the Delray Beach Open in Florida and the Antalya Open in Turkey, and one tournament for the women, the Abu Dhabi Open. The first grand slam, the Australian Open, which usually takes place toward the end of January, has been pushed back to February 8. They played a little shuffleboard with the tournament schedule this year, but that’s OK. It’s keep me on my paws and I will be sure to bring you all of the excitement of the 2021 tennis season.
In the famous words of the Little River Band…happy anniversary, baby!
That’s right, furriends! It’s my anniversary! Four years ago today, I opened my laptop and let me tiny little paws start typing, giving you my observations on my favorite sport, tennis!
Unlike the Little River Band song, I hope you have not found someone new. And, I hope that I would not have bought you a card, but was too afraid to send it, to tell you how I feel! I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you who read my blog, write comments, and hopefully for those kitty cats and furry friends who Don’t Know Much ( that’s another song) about tennis, I can give you some insights on the gave I love so much!
Here’s to another great year or writing and tennis! May we have many more to come!
As we settle in to this glorious time of year when the current tennis season is over and players are taking much needed vacays to beaches and mountains, and before the 2021 season begins, I’ve been passing my time by watching classic tennis matches on the Tennis Channel.
Much to my feline delight, I came across a real classic…Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert Lloyd in the 1982 Australian Open Finals. This was a golden era for me…really the first time that tennis stars like McEnroe and Connors took up residence in my tiny little kitty brain. And Martina and Chrissie shared the suite next door! American tennis was front and center of my cerebral cortex!
Oh, I digress! Back to 1982…
While some things stay the same, like Martina’s powerful one handed back hand and Chrissie’s one-two punch on the grass, I marveled at how many things have evolved.
For instance, grass! Back in 1982, the Australian Open was played on grass. These days, we are used to watching the Aussie Open in late January, in Melbourne Park, on the hard surface of Rod Laver Arena. This tournament was played on grass, in December (Australia’s summer) up until 1988, when they switched to hard courts.
Wooden rackets! Remember when wooden rackets were the weapon of choice? My first racket was a wooden racket, and man, that thing was cool! Chris Every Lloyd won this tournament smashing about the court with a wooden racket, while Martina was using some of the latest technology, a steel racket.
Believe it or not, there was a time when cigarette companies were major sponsors of tennis events! It seems almost absurd these days. But yes, just as I was watching Martina serve, my gazed focused on a sponsorship sign just behind her…Marlboro! I shook my tiny head to try and refocus, but yes, Marlboro was a major sponsor of the Australian Open in 1982! And if we go back in history just a smidge, you will remember when the Virginia Slim Circuit (of the Phillip Morris company) was formed in 1970, as a rebellion against what is now the USTA for not offering equal prize money for women players (Billie Jean King and the Original 9, anyone!). You’ve come a long way, baby!
And girls! I watched the trophy ceremony, and on more than one occasion the male announcer referred to both Martina and Chrissie as “girls”. They were 26 and 27 years old, respectfully, at the time! Could you imagine this type of rhetoric today? Women, players, athletes, competitors…just a few ways that would be more appropriate, to me.
It was a great cat walk strut down memory lane! Chris Evert (she dropped the “Lloyd” eventually) and Martina Navratilova! Great competitors, great champions, great ambassadors for the sport I love, tennis!
A purrfectly wonderful thing happened a few weeks ago, while I was watching and writing about the ATP year end finals, and it happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to acknowledge it. Now that it’s the holiday season and things have slowed down a bit…
I wrote my 200th blog post!
To some, it may not a huge deal, but for me, purrsonally, I am proud of myself. Yes, I have taken a few breaks here and there, but I’ve always come back. It’s fun for me, and I hope you get some enjoyment out of my tennis mewzings.
I appreciate your support and I hope you have enjoyed! And for those of you who don’t know much about tennis…I hope you learn a little bit about the game I love most!
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.
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.”
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!