The Gold Chain Epidemic

Cats, dogs, furry friends, and their humans…we are in a state of emergency. A tennis accessory emergency, that is! It’s the Gold Chain Epidemic and it has to be stopped!

What is it with these tennis players’ compulsion to stepping on the tennis court looking like Mr. T?

Image: gotceleb.com

Yes, I’m looking at you, Nick Kyrgios!

        Image: espn.go.com

In all fairness, I reached out to Nick through Twitter when he was hosting a #AskKygs last week to get down to the bottom of this. I want to see if there was any significance to his chains, but I didn’t get an answer. Currently, he wears three: a cross, a tennis racquet and a military dog tag. He didn’t answer, so until I hear from Nick himself, he’s the #1 gold chain offender.

Next up, Jack Sock.

I have been lamenting about Jack Sock’s chin strap beard for so long, it’s not surprising I have overlooked his chain gang! More subtle than Nick’s but no less unnecessary. Side note: Did you know there is a Chain Gang Jewelry page on Pintrest with close to 2,000 followers? I didn’t until I started doing my “research”.

And finally, Sascha Zverev.

Yep, I know he’s the next generation’s hope to make a move towards the top the rankings, but seriously. Look at all of those chains around his neck! If he’s not carefully, he could choke himself.

On a positive fashion spin, we can all thank our lucky stars that Dominic Thiem outgrew this particular phase, which included a terrible haircut with an equally offensive die job and these beachy beads.

What do you think? Do the chains bother you? Is there someone I left off the list? Am I being too harsh to these tennis stars? I would love to know!

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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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Tale of Two Dancers

Once upon a time there lived two young men who loved to dance. Dancing was in their blood, what they were born to do. They were considered the best male dancers this world has ever seen, each with their own unique style. Roger was elegant, graceful and executed fine finesse with each movement, and was the best danceur in all the land. That is French for a male ballet dancer…ballerino in Italian, if you will. Rafael on the other hand was strong, powerful, dominant on the dance floor…the best Flamenco bailaor in all of Spain. And yes, that is the correct term for the male dancer in Flamenco, which originated in Spain.

As time passed, the two dancers traveled the world over, swinging head to head, stepping toe to toe, at every competition under the sun for the illustrious title GOAT (greatest of all time). Time ticked on year after year, and each dancer became more dominant in their craft. But as one gets older, movement slows, injury creeps in, younger dancers are joining the party, and just when you think these two fine dancers are ready to exit the ballroom, there is a renaissance! An explosion of talent, will and hunger that both dancers possess, simultaneously saying “The lights aren’t out! The party is not over. This is not my final dance.”

A rebirth of their talents is exactly what happened to Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal this year. At the conclusion of last year, the tennis world was embracing Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. Roger and Rafa were in the conversation, but simply as sentimental favorites. They already made their mark and were in the process of making graceful exits. But in January, the Australian Open proved to tell a different story. The finalists were Roger and Rafa, with Roger winning. The French Open was Rafa’s red clay playground, where Wimbledon was Roger’s grass park. Then of course to bring a lovely balance between this dance, Rafa wins the US Open.

This past weekend, Roger played a flawless game against Rafa to win the Shanghai Masters title and to be the Rolex King. However, Rafa is still ranked #1 with Roger trailing him by around 2000 points. Will Roger be able to catch him before the ATP finals this November? I don’t know. But I do know it has been a fun and interesting year for tennis watching these two reclaim their dominance on the tennis dance floor.

Image: shanghairolexmasters.com

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It’s Good To Be King

With the Shanghai Masters being sponsored by Rolex, that lends itself to a fun debate.

Who shall be KING?

Is it Rafa Nadal, currently world’s #1?

Image from twitter@gasparlanca

Or is it Roger Federer, possibly the greatest player of all time?

                                      Image from twitter@rogergenio

It’s not quite Juan Martin Del Potro (my sentimental favorite)…

Image from shanghairolexmasters.com

And it’s certainly not this guy…

Image: shanghairolexmasters.com

…Nick Kyrgios, who walked off court after the first set who just wasn’t feeling it today. SMH

So tell me, who do you think is king?

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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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The Laver Cup Effect

Two weeks ago, the world was introduced to the Laver Cup, a new, glamorous tennis competition that was Roger Federer’s brainchild. “Europe against the World”…which still makes me laugh! (Advantage World, Advantage Europe) It was a great weekend with all the top players battling each other in singles and doubles in a spirited, fierce clash of tennis titans. I was on a tennis high for days afterward, just reliving the great matches. (There is nothing more dangerous than a tennis cat on a tennis high! ) And the Tennis Channel gave us every opportunity to relive them because  played them on repeat for what seemed like an eternity. Thank goodness cats have nine lives!

The problem now is the top younger players who participated in the Laver Cup are bombing at the tournaments following that weekend. Namely, Sascha Zverev and Dominic Thiem, ranked #4 and #7 in the world, respectively.

Image: http://www.tennisidentity.com

Sascha Zverev is being labeled a “Next Generation” player, but let’s be honest, there is nothing “Next Gen” about him. He is the 20 year old German who is red hot right now. Last week, Sascha Zverev was the top seed at the Shenzhen Open and lost in the quarterfinals to Damir Dzumhur. This week, he is scheduled for the China Open and squeaked by a first round win against Kyle Edmund. We will see how far he gets into this tournament.

Image: @DominicThiemFans (twitter)

Dominic Thiem is the 24 year old Austrian, who has had an unbelievable clay court season this year and a decent run at the US Open, just played in the Japan Open this week and lost in the first round to Stevie Johnson. Yes, the match went to three sets, but Dominic was off. He was not himself. The week prior, he played the Chengdu Open and lost in the second round.

Much has been written about the long tennis season and the packed schedule to gain ranking points. But at what cost? Injury? Fatigue? Burn out? Did playing in the Laver Cup add unnecessary fatigue to these young players? As fun and prestigious as the Laver Cup was and may become, I wonder if any of this will factor in to who decides to play in the upcoming years. Will the player’s entourage decide it’s not worth it if it will be detrimental to their overall ranking and results? Or maybe they will be more strategic when putting their schedules together. Either way, fans want a competitive Laver Cup, but we also want good results on the tour. Can we have both?

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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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