It’s a Wrap – Wimbledon Recap

It’s a wrap on the most well known fortnight of the year – Wimbledon. Two weeks of highs and lows from the best in the world of tennis.

There was so much action the last couple of days, I tried to keep up with all the stories. But here are the absolute facts you need to know:

The women’s final was between Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams. Yes, Serena is back and in top form. Unfortunately, she peaked in her semifinal match and didn’t have any fuel left for her final. And unfortunately for Serena, but fortunately for the rest of the women’s tennis, Angelique Kerber is back! After a stellar 2016 where she won both the Australian Open and the US Open, she fell into a slump of bad tennis. But here she is, playing and winning the Wimbledon final! Concatulations to both Mrs. Williams and Ms. Kerber.

Angelique-Kerber-FTR-GettyImage: Sporting News

The men’s final saw two unlikely, but both deserving finalists, Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic. The road was long for both of these two players, but Kevin drew the short straw here. Because of the rule that you have to win by two in the fifth set, Kevin was stuck playing to 13-11 in the fifth set against Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, and unprecedented 26-24 in the fifth set against John Isner in the 6+ hour semifinal match. He was depleted by the final on Sunday. I’m not taking away how pawesome Novak played, but I think it would have been a different result had Kevin didn’t have to play two marathons back to back. Novak eventually came out on top this Wimbledon Sunday!

Image: The Denver Post

On Wimbledon Eve, I made a few predictions. Let’s see how I did.

  • A David Beckham sighting! He loves Wimbledon.
    • I didn’t spy with my little eye any David Beckham. And that’s a real shame, because it’s always a good day when there is a David Beckham sighting.
  • A Royal sighting. Maybe a Harry/Meghan combo?
    • Never saw Harry, but his new wife was there with her sister in law. You know, they were just two ladies spotted out on the town supporting another Royal…Serena at the final. Oh and hey….there’s Billie Jean King! Hi there!

The Duchess of Sussex was supporting Serena Williams at WimbledonImage: Press Association

  • A bizarre injury. Not that I want this to happen, but playing tennis on an organic surface like grass, anything could happen.
    • Luckily, I don’t remember hearing of any off injuries…thank goodness!
  • A unforeseen victory, likely in the women’s draw.
    • All of the top women were out by the end of week one, so seeing Angelique in the final was quite unforeseen.
  • An upset! My prediction is it will be Federer in the quarterfinals.
    • I am not wrong. I predicted Federer was going out in the quarters and by-golly, I was right! Way to go, Kevin Anderson.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa loses a point to Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, Pool)Image: Yahoo Sports

After all the tennis, I am exhausted. I’m going to go take a quick cat nap so I can get back to it real soon. Hope your Wimbledon was an enjoyable as mine.

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Wimbledon Eve 2018

It’s that time of the year where all eyes descend on the most hallowed of all tennis grounds…The All England Lawn Tennis Club! Wimbledon!

It’s like Christmas Eve when you can’t sleep because you’re waiting for Santa to drop the presents off under the tree. Did I get a new racquet? A tennis bracelet? Or maybe a tennis ball filled with catnip? But hey, who are we kidding? I’m a cat…I can sleep anywhere, any time!

That’s right, my furry furriends! For the next fortnight, that’s two weeks in layman’s terms, I will be blogging about all things Wimbledon. The matches, the celebrity sightings, the outfits, and anything else that pops up.

A few predictions:

  • A David Beckham sighting! He loves Wimbledon.
  • A Royal sighting. Maybe a Harry/Meghan combo?
  • A bizarre injury. Not that I want this to happen, but playing tennis on an organic surface like grass, anything could happen.
  • A unforeseen victory, likely in the women’s draw.
  • An upset! My prediction is it will be Federer in the quarterfinals.

We won’t know until it starts tomorrow, but don’t worry, cool cats. I’ll keep you all in the Wimbledon know. One thing I know fur sure, it’ll be action packed tennis from sun up until sun down.

Stay tuned, furriends.

 

The Tide Has Shifted

Did you feel that this morning? Maybe a tiny disturbance while you were pouring your breakfast cereal. Or an a small inexplicable light flicker? What was that? A little shift in the tides, purrhaps? Well furry furriends, you were not imagining these things. We had a great tennis match and the tennis tides are shifting!

If you recall, last week I noted that Roger Federer, the King of Grass, did not look as commanding coming into Wimbledon as Rafa Nadal did on clay this year. I didn’t think his winning streak would last. His power, dominance and presence would be tested and today, 21 year old Croatian, Borna Coric was on the opposite side of the net ready to take him to task!

Coriccropped

So what if Borna’s big round eyes looked like they just woke up, he was ready to play! Coric was solid as a rock, strong as steel, smooth and steady throughout the whole match. And I think most importantly, he was not intimidated by his opponent. A lot of players let the fact that they are playing the best male player to ever play the game get into their heads. Well, guess what…what goes up, must come down eventually. You can’t be at the top forever. Today, Coric was better.

The match went to three sets. The first set was a tiebreak going to Coric (I even high-fived my human when Borna won that first set). The Roger looked across the net angrily, as to say “Don’t you know who I am,” and he wins the second set 6-2. But Coric didn’t flinched. He basically answered Roger with a win in the third set, as to say “Yes, I do. And now you know me!”

We have one week until Wimbledon and I think this win will not only give Borna Coric some confidence going in, but other players, as well. They see that Roger is not unbreakable. I’m still sticking with my prediction that is will not be Roger lifting the Wimbledon trophy at the end. Stay tuned and we will see together.

 

 

 

Mercedes Cup – Welcome Back Milos!

As purred yesterday, the grass court season has begun. And of course with that, is a resurgence of Fed Express Mania. So, it’s no big surprise that Roger Federer won the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany this morning. What IS surprising, though, is who his opponent was…Milos Raonic!

Germany_Tennis_57983.jpg                        Image: Associated Press

If you are new to tennis, you may not know who Milos is because he spent a huge chunk of last year out with injuries. But before that, he was ranked as high as #3 in the ATP rankings in 2016, reaching the Wimbledon finals that year. He is the most successful Canadian tennis player in history, so he’s practically my neighbor.

OK, so he didn’t win the Mercedes Cup today, but I am glad to see him back in good form. His serves were on point and he movement looked good! Here’s hoping for a great, injury-free, grass court season for Milos! Welcome back!

Side note: I don’t think it’s necessary to actually drive the winning Mercedes on to the court during the trophy ceremony. That was just silly.

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Does Vulnerability Have a Place In Tennis?

 

Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change…a solid quote from one of my favorite self-help gurus, Brene Brown. What does this have to do with tennis, you may ask. I think we can draw some parallels of vulnerability between today’s Rome Masters Final between Rafa Nadal and Sascha Zverev and the results of the match.

If you’ve been following my blog or tennis at all, you know that Rafa Nadal is dominant on the clay courts. Last year, he blew through the clay court season like the Tasmanian Devil of the Red Dirt! But this year has been subtly different. If you’re not paying close attention, you would never notice. But…last week, he lost in the quarterfinals in Madrid against Dominic Thiem and today, I saw a slight chink in this armor against Sascha Zverev.

The first set was decidedly all Rafa in a quick set winning 6-1, leaving Sascha and his game vulnerable to errors. This vulnerability lit a fire under Sascha and he changed his game, was creative and powerful with his shots and won the second set 6-1, his first set on clay that he’s ever won against Rafa. It is rare to see Rafa’s vulnerability on the tennis court, especially on a service that he practically owns. Luckily for Rafa, there was a rain delay in the third set with Zverev up 3-1 giving Nadal a chance to regroup and reset, and he took the final set 6-3.

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Italy's Fabio Fognini during Rome's ATP Tennis Open tournament at the Foro Italico, on May 18, 2018 in Rome. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)Image: Getty Images

Is this the type of vulnerability Brene Brown was talking about when she wrote her best selling books on vulnerability or her TED Talk on the Power of Vulnerability? Probably not. But I challenge you to think about this for a little while. When a player is down, losing, get out played on the court, showing their most vulnerable selves, how do they harness their feelings and their energy? Champions use this to kick things into the next level, find a new gear, raise their efforts, be more creative with their shots (because, obviously what they are currently doing is not working), change things up during practice, do whatever it takes to win.

The French Open starts next week and I don’t think Rafa Nadal is a foregone conclusion here to win. He has shown vulnerability this season on the red clay and I sense his time is marked. I also think some of the new guys have used their creativity, innovation and change and could go all the way in Paris. I’m going to keep an eye on Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev this year, and I think we’ll have a new winner! Bold prediction, I know. Of course, I’ll keep you in the loop and let you know how it all goes down in Paris! Stay tuned….

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Monte Carlo Masters – Welcome Back Kei!

Today was the Monte Carlo Masters and guess who won? Rafa Nadal! I’m not surprised, are you? Of course not. But what IS surprising is who is opponent was. Kei Nishikori! Who, you may purr! Kei Nichikori, that’s who!

Kei Nishikori came from a set down to beat Zverev and reach his fourth Masters final

You haven’t heard me meow much about Kei Nishikori because he has been out with injuries lately. Let me catch you up! He’s a Japanese player who has reached as high as #4 in the ATP rankings. He’s been a US Open finalist in 2014, a US Open semifinalist in 2016 and an Olympic Bronze medalist. He’s no schmuck! But most recently, he’s spent about five months out with a wrist injury. To have him back on tour in top shape is a big win for him and a HUGE win for tennis!

You may be asking yourself, what record has Rafa broke now? Good question. If you recall last year he was making the rounds winning the Decima (10). Yep, last year he won his 10th title at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and French Open. There is only one way to go…11. That’s right, he’s won his 11th title, breaking his own record of the most titles at a single event.

Next week is Barcelona. Wanna bet he’s taking his 11th title there? We’ll have to watch and see.

And again…welcome back, Kei!!

 

Clay Court Season Is Here! Plus…Bonus Poetry!

Spring has sprung and clay court season has arrived! Thank cat-ness for that!

If you are not familiar with watching tennis being played on a clay court, you are in for a real cat treat! There is a certain finesse and athleticism to playing on clay that makes it so fun to watch. Because the players are essentially playing on dirt, there is an unpredictability of the bounce of the ball, the variation of the speed, and if you’ve ever watched a baseball player slide into home plate…well, picture Rafa Nadal sliding across a court to hit a winner!

No doubt the best court player of all time, Rafa Nadal is back! He is the Clay Court King and he is ready to take over his tennis kingdom! That is, if he remains healthy (paws crossed).

In honor of the Master of Mud, I composed a limerick!

There was a kid named Rafa

Who liked to slice and drop a

Short shot at the net!

Did he win the set?

Slip, slide, the clay, the drama!

I am on a poetry roll, so I also wrote a haiku for the occasion:

Deep red is the clay.

The court made of crimson dirt

Sliding, stretching. Win!

Here’s a purrty cool compilation Roland Garros put together of what it is like to slide on clay.

So, let’s leave the sliding to the players while we sit back and watch our 2018 clay court season!

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Happy Easter from Frazier’s Racket

Happy Easter from my human and me! Whatever you decide to do on this lovely Sunday morning, whether it’s attend a church service, visit with family and friends or just hang out around your house, I hope it is relaxing and enjoying!

Image: drodd.com (no bunnies or kitties were hurt in the making of this gif…promise!)

The eyes of the tennis world have been focused on Miami these past two weeks (which, if you ask me, looks like an awesome place to spend a holiday weekend), and that tournament is coming to a close. Yesterday we saw Sloane Stephens, winner of last year’s US Open, take down Jelena Ostapenko, winner of last year’s French Open. I am eagerly waiting the men’s final between US player John Isner and NextGen phenom Sascha Zverev. I’m sure this match will be filled with giant serves, massive forehands and a lot of attitude! Just between you and me, I am going against my native American Isner and cheering for Zverev. (Bad Kitty!) At least it’s not Independence Day!!

Next week starts clay court season, and you know what that means! Possible poems, top ten lists, and a whole lotta Rafa!! All very good things!

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Bienvenidos a Miami

Well furry friends, we went from the deserts of California to the Sunshine State, Florida this week. Tennis is in full forehand swing in Miami on the Barney-esque purple courts at the Miami Open.

Image result for miami open 2018

Let’s re-cat what has happened so far:

Last week, we saw two of the big names OUT in the early rounds.

  • Serena Williams is trying to make a comeback after being on maternity leave, but unfortunately for her, she draw Naomi Osaka, winner in the Indian Wells desert last week, for her first match. Serena…OUT.
  • After losing the final in the desert last week, Roger Federer, lost in his first match to qualifier, Thanasi Kokkinakis, in a claw biting three set match under the Miami sun. Roger…OUT.

This week is definitely the business end of this tournament and yesterday saw so many three set close matches between “veterans” and this “next gen” of tennis stars. And not all of this was nice and pretty. Matter of fact, the handshakes at the net were more ice cold than beach warm. Here is how it all shook down:

  • Sascha Zverev defeats David Ferrer 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
  • Denis Shapovalov defeats Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
  • Borna Coric defeats Jack Sock 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.
  • Pablo Carreno Busta defeats Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-3

Here’s a fun video showing just how Denis Shapovalov took down the veteran, Sam Querrey.

 

And then there was the Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Fernando Verdasco match that went down in flames! Oh boys, can’t you just play nice? The answer is NO. In a bizarre exchange of accusations, curse words and arguing with each other on the change overs, Verdasco was the one who kept his cool and finally won that final set. It is unfortunate that Kokkinakis couldn’t hold it together because he has a nice game. I meow, he beat Roger last week, for goodness sake! But at 21 years old, he still has some learning about controlling one’s emotions.

The rest of this tournament should be a good one. I, for one, am excited to finally spy some young talent showing up to play! Stay tuned, furriends, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

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The Real Loser at Indian Wells

Today was the finals at the most prestigious Masters 1000 events of the tennis season, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. And don’t the title of this blog fool you…we had big winners today! Naomi Osaka won her first ever title in the women’s final against Daria Kasatkina, and I predict she will continue to be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the year. And, Juan Martin Del Potro won his first Masters 1000 title today in an epic three set match against Roger Federer. Concatulations to Juan Martin!

Naomi Osaka wins her first title at Indian Wells! Image: New York Times

Del Potro saves match points to stun Federer for Indian Wells titleJuan Martin Del Potro wins his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. Image: Yahoo Sports

But let’s meow about losing for a minute. Everyone talks about what a great champion Roger Federer is, however no one is talking about what a horrible loser he is. The pouting and the talking back to the chair umpire is NOT a good look on you, Roger. You really do look like a spoiled child being told to put his video game away and go to bed. And this look only gets exacerbated when the crowd is clearly in your favor!

The crowd! What a catty bunch! The were terrible today. Classless and rude..not what is typical of the so called “tennis savvy” fans of Indian Wells. Cheering after Juan Martin’s errors, applauding in between first and second serves, getting up before a game or set was over. All of these are big no-no’s of tennis etiquette. But when your beloved Roger is not winning, you lose your minds and your manners. Shame on you Indian Wells!

OK, I will leap off my soapbox for now and go celebrate two winners today, Naomi Osaka and Juan Martin Del Potro!! Congrats you crazy cats!

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2nd Annual Trophy Extravaganza!

Fellow kitties and furry friends, we had two exciting tournaments to watch this week, one in Acapulco and one is Dubai. And what do I love even more than the tennis itself? The trophies, of course!

Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Lucas Pouille in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships yesterday. This win not only gave him his first ATP 500 tournament win, it also gave him this pawesome trophy!

This trophy stands at about 2 feet tall! It is a ginormous metal ship, complete with Titanic-like guardrails in the front and a free swinging silver anchor hanging from the back! And a flag waiving in the air, for good measure! Maybe this ship is more worthy of Jack Sparrow, arrrgh, rather than Jack and Rose? What do you think?

Either way, congrats to Roberto for winning his first 500 level tournament!

Everybody with me now…I’m the King of the World!!

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Federer – Back on Top!

Roger Federer and I have something in common! We both like being #1!

Image: Forbes

I like to be #1 cool cat at my house and Roger like to be #1 in tennis. My feat is not nearly as impressive as Roger’s, especially since I am the only cat at my house. Roger, at the age of 36 years old and counting, has regained the #1 ranking on the ATP tour, becoming the oldest world number one. He did that this week by winning his quarterfinal match against Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open. Did he stop there? Of course not! He went on to beat Grigor Dimitrov in the final, in quick 54 minute match. It was a “don’t blink or you will miss it” type match. It’s almost as if Dimitrov didn’t even have time to tie his shoes before Federer was walking up to the net to shake his hand.

I can hear you now asking “Frazier, when are you going to stop writing about the dominance of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal?” Well, as much as we have all been waiting for the next group of guys to emerge to the top, they all have a LONG way to go. Roger and Rafa are not giving up #1 and #2 for a good long while, I might as well go into hibernation. The point difference between #2 and #3 is 4645 (#2 has 9650 and #3 has 4960), and it is going to take something serious to shake up the tennis world before that next cluster of players to narrow that gap. Like Paul Annacone said while calling the match for the Tennis Channel, this is the difference between very good players and great players.

So for now, I will meow…Congratulations Roger on regaining the world #1 ranking and congratulations on winning another singles title!

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The Most Super of Bowls This Sunday

Well my furry furriends, it’s the day that all sports fans wait for all year long! The day where I take a slight tennis hiatus and watch Super Bowl Sunday! And when I meow “Super” and “Bowl”, I could only mean two things…the Kitten Bowl and the Puppy Bowl!

Kitten Bowl V! Yes, it’s the 5th year for the Kitten Bowl, featuring cute, cuddly cat-thletes from shelters and rehab centers playing a furrocious game of kitten football and learning of the players courageous stories. Every kitty gets adopted and therefore, every kitty is a winner.

Puppy Bowl XIV! This year, it’s the Pup-triots vs. B-eagles! My human has heard that the Pup-triots are “America’s Team,” and to this, we can collectively give a “shake my head.” Obviously, the B-eagles are the underdogs in this match up, but maybe they have a barking chance. Either way, we know it will be worthwhile to watch! We are woofing for all of our cute doggy furriends to win and get adopted.

If you have never tuned in for either of these games, I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Every one of these sweet little animals will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. The Kitten Bowl is on the Hallmark Channel and the Puppy Bowl is on Animal Planet! Tune in and let me know what you think!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone!

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The Roof is on Fire. Federer Clinches #20!

It was a familiar scene today at the men’s Australian Open final. A rematch of the 2017 Wimbledon final, Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic. And guess what…Roger wins his 20th Grand Slam final!

Roger Federer will defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne - AP

I was hoping for a close upset, with Cilic for the win. I am not anti-Fed, I just think it’s a lot more interesting to root for the undercat. Nobody can deny that whomever stands on the other side of the net from Roger is indeed the undercat. Today, that happened to be Marin Cilic. To his credit, Cilic gave Federer a good fight and took this final to five sets.

Cilic was impressive in taking the game to five sets (Getty)

However, everything was in Roger’s favor today, including playing under a closed roof, even though the weather conditions did not meet the tournament’s Extreme Heat Policy, which measures both temperature and humidity. A closed roof favor’s Roger’s style of game more than Cilic’s. Was it hot? Yes…98 degrees. In addition, before the match, Roger got to practice indoors, where as Cilic had to practice outdoors.

Let me remind you, just yesterday, the women played their final with the roof open because the conditions did not meet the Extreme Heat Policy. Consequently, the runner up, Simona Halep, was hospitalized for four hours suffering from dehydration following her match. Favoritism, perhaps? You decide. I think the tournament directors have some explaining to do.

Is Roger the greatest male player to ever play tennis? Yes, of course. He has proven this time and time again. He is in the position to manage his schedule to maximize his potential of winning slams and not have to grind year-round playing tons of tournaments to earn ranking points. But consider this…does his “fairytale” continue because of his talent or would his longevity be what it is if he wasn’t afforded certain preferential treatment?

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The Battle of Might

Furriends, it has been another sleepless night for me here in the States. If only the Australian Open could schedule their matches around my delicate sleeping routine! Don’t they know a kitty like me needs my beauty rest?

Even though I was up all night to witness this Battle of Might down under, it was totally worth it! Who’s going to rise to the top? Arguably, two of my favorite players, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov, met in the fourth round for this epic, instant classic. Both players having something to prove…Grigor, after his surprising win at the ATP finals last year and finishing the year ranked #3 in the world, trying to build on that success and show he can battle with the top players. And Nick, after a lukewarm last year and a refocused purpose, trying to show his Aussie home crowd that his talent is well worth their patience and loyalty.

They couldn’t have more contrasting styles. Grigor – the strong, silent type, with his player’s box occupied by one singular soul…his coach, Dani Vallverdu. Nick on the other hand is the extroverted showman. He wears his heart, emotion and his game on his compression sleeve. He’s got a player’s box full of family and friends, with whom he is in constant contact during his matches. If they strung his racquets with the wrong tension, he will let them know. If they are not standing up and supporting him, he will absolutely unload on them, yelling from the court for them to stand up and cheer. Watching his dad is purrhaps the most stressful of all. Before each serve, he closes his eyes, take a slow deep breath in and slowly opens them while exhaling. How did Nick do? Did he serve an ace? Usually the answer is YES! Nick served a whopping 36 aces during this battle.

It was a fast-paced, tense, entertaining match that included three very close tiebreaks. But in the end, it was Grigor Dimitrov that was the eventual victor! Final score: 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. I’m tired, so I’m going to find my favorite spot on the couch, curl up and enjoy a nice Sunday afternoon cat nap. Night, night.