SW19 2018  Day One

SW19 2018 Day One

Let’s just get this out of the way:  BRAZIL!

What a gorgeous summer day at Wimbledon!  Yes, it was a little “blustery” (to quote one British commentator), but better than chilly rain.

When Bethanie Matek-Sands asked Jason Goodall if he bought his lovely tie in the gift shop, Jason went all Elitist on Bethanie and replied that it was the 150th year anniversary of the All England Club tie, only given to members.  ‘Scuse the rest of us commoners, Jase. It’s a boring tie anyway.

I love Caroline Wozniacki’s dress.  

I love the Nike women’s dresses and skirts.

I love the way Victoria Azarenka has come back after giving birth to her baby boy Leo.  She looks super fit and is moving beautifully.  

I hate Johnny McEnroe’s shirt.  It looks like a pajama top.

Venus is looking a little thick around the middle.  And what’s up with her eyebrows? 

Pam Shriver:  “Venus, you got to the finals here last year.  What do you have to do to repeat that this year?”

Venus:  “Well, I have to get to the finals.”

No duh, Pam.

How many times do we, the mere spectators of a sport watch the professionals lose a heartbreaking match, and instantly relate?  It happens all the time, but I doubt there are a lot of us who can say we held 6 match points and still lost the match…..poor Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.  Watching her rack up one match point after the next at 5-4 in the third against Agnieszka Radwanska and then lose them all, had me thinking that she would in fact lose the next game in record time and then eventually the match.  And so it went down.  Credit to Radwanska, she fought off the young Romanian and held her composure.  Let’s not forget that she was once a Wimbledon finalist.  

“I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else,” the seven-time Wimbledon champion said. “Until I read that article I didn’t realize it was such a discrepancy with me as well as against the other players that they listed, at least the American players — both male and female.”  Serena Williams, Huffington Post (7/2/2018)

It seems that Serena is being tested at a a rate 5 times more than other players.  How come?  She’s never failed a test.  It makes you wonder.

Is Serena wearing compression tights as a result of her blood clot scares?  And is that why she wore a catsuit at the French?  

Katie Swan is a breath of fresh air from the ranks of English tennis players and she made her debut today. She is a tall, blonde, nineteen year old and she’s into the second round.  Well done Katie!

“With a world ranking of No.204, Katie Swan needed a wild card to get through the gates of the All England Club but once settled in, unpacked and established on Court 14, there was no stopping her. Certainly Irina-Camelia Begu, the vastly more experienced world No.36 from Romania, could not find a way to prevent her from getting to the next round.”  Wimbledon.com

Fourth seeded American Sloane Stephens fell to 55th ranked Donna Vekic, 6-1, 6-3.  It appears that it’s all or nothing with Sloane.

Donna’s boyfriend of three years, Stan Wawrinka pulled off an upset today as well, taking out 6th seed Grigor Dimitrov.  What did this tennis couple have for breakfast?

Katerina Siniakova is possibly a bigger crank than even Coco Vandeweghe.  She beat Coco today in three crabby sets.  Both players slumped around the court, staring menacingly at their boxes, yelling at their coaches, glaring at the umpires and in general, behaving like pills. In fairness to Coco, she did suffer an injury and was clearly favoring it all match.  I can’t help but think that if she managed to stay out there and play, she could have at least had a better attitude.   

How adorable is the Mercedes Benz commercial with the couple who adopts a dog from a  shelter and then drives the puppy home to this fabulous house  in the country?  The tag line is something like, “This summer, add a new member to your family, get a Mercedes.”  I love the fact that the commercial encourages shelter dog adoptions.  

I was able to catch a piece of the Roger Federer press conference when he talked about the RF logo that appears on his Nike clothing, or should I say “appeared.”  It seems that Fed and his corporations are just waiting for Nike to “do the right thing” and release the logo to his camp, so they can start using it for his new line Uniqlo.  Fed said, “After all, they are my initials….”  Make no mistake, both Roger Federer and Nike are corporations and it will be interesting to see where this goes.  

Yet another interesting question is , why did Federer leave Nike?  It can’t be for the money- a multi million dollar deal drawn out over 10 years, or can it be?  Fed strikes me as the kind of guy who would be loyal to his sponsors.  He’s still wearing Nike sneakers because his shoes are custom made.  Stay tuned….

Cheers!

 

Nadal the Neanderthal

Nadal the Neanderthal

In 1973 Billie Jean King threatened to boycott the US Open over equal pay. The USTA, in their infinite wisdom decided that it was a good idea to pay both men and women equally. Thirty four years later, Wimbledon followed suit. Yet, we still have men who believe that women should somehow make less. The arguments range from, women only play two out of three sets while men play three out of five, people turn out to watch the men play, the women’s game is less interesting and women get their periods. Screw that. It’s all a false narrative designed to hide the misogyny behind the remarks.

Listen to how fan favorite Raphael Nadal weighs in, “It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make,” according to a translation from Yahoo News. “Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”

How disappointing, that one of the game’s greats feels this way. Of course he’s entitled to his opinion, but that isn’t the point. It doesn’t take a high school debate team to pick his argument apart.

Both men and women are performing the same job. I’ve heard the argument that because men play three out of five sets they should get paid more and I couldn’t disagree more. If the argument is one of physical abilities, men are stronger and faster and have more stamina, therefore should get more money for playing longer, then let’s look at all the crap women have to endure physically before, during and after they play. I’d love to see Rafa play a three setter while going through wicked monthly cramps. If we’re talking physicality here, then the female should get paid more. But we’re not Neanderthals are we? So we say that to play the same game, get the same pay.

I loved Venus Williams’ response when asked about Rafa’s caveman response, “I don’t know anything about modeling, I guess that’s a metaphor that makes sense to him.” And hopefully no one else.

Venus has always taken up the fight for equal pay. She was instrumental in helping convince the last hold- out for equal pay, Wimbledon. Like Billie Jean King before her, she felt that if women are performing the same job, they should get the same pay.

I’d like to know how Nadal can be so sure that most of the fans who show up are there to watch the men? And why not take it a step further? Let’s see exactly how many fans go to see Rafa play. Note to Nadal: watching him play can sometimes be an exercise in patience and a lesson in psychology. His game can be boring and his OCD is enough to make me want to kick over his finely placed water bottles. So let’s dial back the rhetoric on enjoyable spectating. Following his logic, Nadal should only get a percentage based on how many fans are there for him. After his last comment, don’t count me as one of them. Fair is fair, Rafa.

American tennis player Nicole Gibs pointed out that there are plenty of male players who attract NO fans, yet make more than female players. There goes that argument.

Sadly, Nadal isn’t the only male player who feels this way:

“But Novak Djokovic, the world’s top men’s player, who won on the men’s finals this weekend (Indian Wells) , added more fuel to the fire, saying that men should “fight for more” money because their matches have more spectators that those played by women.” Indian Wells, 2016 (time.com)

“He also backtracked by, somewhat bizarrely, acknowledging that women who play the game face unique challenges in the form of “hormones and different stuff.”

Whoa there, Tiger Paws! Prize money is in the millions plus range and you want to fight for more? That’s absurd and an irrelevant argument. Again, who told Djokovic that people are there to watch the men? Does he take a random poll amongst his team every tournament? Is he reading fan mail emails? Did his mommy and daddy (always in attendance) tell him that? No one asked me because I sure as hell am not going to watch him.

You see, this is the nonsense that women have to deal with. What Cromagnon man thinks this, much less lends a voice to it? I’m not even going to quote Ray Moore’s unfortunate medieval comments because they were arguably worse. Haven’t we, as women, banged our heads against the glass ceiling more than enough times?

You’d be hard pressed to find evidence that backs up what Nadal and Djokovic are saying, a change in pay to women, ie: less, would effect the mens’ paychecks. Ironically, both men continue to believe it will. Why?

I have a theory. Despite appearing to be progressive men of this century, both Nadal and Djokovic are the Fred Flintstones of tennis. I’ll grant you that this isn’t a proven hypothesis, but it makes sense. Maybe Nadal has that Latino-Macho thing going for him, and Djokovic hasn’t gotten the memo about equal rights yet. Whatever the reason, it’s upsetting that this attitude is still prevalent.

I’m so looking forward to Wimbledon, where I’m trying to convince my friends on that side of the pond to mingle amongst the crowds and ask them what they think…..

Cheers!

 

Wimbledon 2017:  The Finals

Wimbledon 2017: The Finals

Garbine Muguruza is the first woman to beat both Williams sisters in Grand Slam finals.  She is now the 2017 Wimbledon champion.

Muguruza started the match wth a double fault, Venus Williams with an ace.  For those of us who read tea leaves and read too meaning into every day mundane stuff, I thought for sure that was a harbinger of things to come.  Wrong.  After surviving two set points at 4-5 down, Mugurza stormed back and won the next 9 games.  Was Venus out of steam?  Had the two weeks of endless play and the emotional roller coaster she had been on back at home finally caught up to her?  Probably.

Yes, it was hard to watch Venus go down faster than power windows, but aren’t we talking about a 37 year old?  I don’t care how incredibly fit you are.  I don’t care how good you once were, I don’t care how many titles you have and how many finals you’ve reached, anyone who is close to 40, who’s fighting Sjogren’s Syndrome and who’s giving away 14 years, is going to have a tough time. 6-0 in the second showed just how tough. Venus had a great run.  She can now go back home to a clean conscience and peace of mind.  Rock on, Venus.

Firstly, a little housekeeping.  The man’s name is Ra-FAH-el, not Ra-FEE-el (Patrick McEnroe).  You make enough money to hire a linguist.  Hire one.  And an English teacher.  We already know that you need a math teacher.

What bothered me in in the beginning of the finals was the commentators anointing Federer champion before a ball was struck,  Once again, I felt myself (almost) hoping that Marin Cilic would win, if nothing else to shut them all up.

Why oh why was Patrick McEnroe in the booth?  Where was Darren Cahill?  Cahill is a much better commentator.  His voice is evenly modulated, his comments make sense and are not geared for shock value.  He doesn’t need the circus act to garner our attention.  He actually has knowledge, as opposed to shtick.  You’ll never hear him yell, “The dropper!” Plus, he has an adorable accent.

 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a simple, white dress with a little black bow on the left shoulder, adorned with little flower appliqués on the skirt.  Gorgeous.

Stefan Edberg still looks as adorable as he did,  if not more so, than he did 20 years ago. What the hell was Mirka Federer wearing?  She sported a bad rip off of a Fontana bridal gown.  What’s up with all that lace?  Once again proving that money can’t buy you style, Mirka should hire her good friend Anna Winter as a fashion consultant.  Her kids, however are so beautiful.

What kind of an asshole says, “Well, that’s an odd way to get the crowd behind you?” One of the McEnroe yahoos said that after we watched Cilic emotionally collapse in his chair on a change over in the second set.  The man was sobbing and it was either John or Patrick that thought he was looking for a way to get the crowd’s sympathy?  The levels of stupidity know no bounds with those two.

Cilic looks like a bad guy from a James Patterson novel.

Cilic suffered an emotional break down, plain and simple.  While I don’t begrudge him his very public falling apart, I don’t EVER want to hear another guy say that women are too emotional and probably shouldn’t play at that level of competition, or worse, get paid the same amount as the men.  We just witnessed a man having a very human moment and he did it in the finals of the most prestigious tournament on the face of this planet and it was witnessed by millions.  Say what you want about the women, you’d be hard pressed to find a similar moment of equal gravity.  Humans are humans.  Emotions don’t discriminate when it comes to gender.

“The way he can handle his wrist.” – John McEnroe after a good sliced backhand by Roger.  Not sure what “handling your wrist” means.

Forget everything I said about age and giving away years.  How about old man Federer?  It’s been how many years and how many titles at Wimbledon?  This man seems ageless.  Maybe it’s his very clean and simple game, or maybe it’s his calm demeanor and sterling attitude that allows him to play seemingly flawless tennis.  Maybe he’s just super human.  or maybe, he’s just Roger Federer, perhaps the Greatest of All Time, if not one of the greatest.  Rock on, Roger.

So now what?  Well, we suffer the Wimbledon hang over and slog through the US hard court season, as we anxiously await the 4th and final slam, the US Open.  Thank you to everyone for commenting on my blogs, for sharing and for calling me out when needed…..you guys make it fun!

See yous all at Flushing!

xoxo

Wimbledon 2017: Women’s Semi-finals

Wimbledon 2017: Women’s Semi-finals

Tracy Austin, former world number one: “Muguruza was in the zone. That was one of the matches you train all your life for, and for it to happen in the semi-final of Wimbledon – she was in a dream. Rybarikova was just rushed the whole time. But complete focus and a great game plan from Muguruza.”

I’ll say she was in the zone.  It took Muguruza all of 64 minutes to put away the unseeded #87th ranked Magdalena Rybarikova.  Despite a heavily strapped thigh, Muguruza had no problem moving and moving her opponent all over the court.  For the second time in her career, Muguruza is through to the Wimbledon finals.  She’s going to be hard to beat.

What are you wearing, Chris McKendry?  She looks like a backyard patio canopy.  Is she sponsored by Sun Downers Awnings?

What are you wearing, Pam Shriver?  You look like you’re getting ready to Hang Ten, what with your rash guard top and pony tail.

MaryJo Fernandez….is there anything to say about your floral print granny dress from Belk?  Let me say this again, when women reach a certain age, we should no longer wear sleeveless tops.  Hint, hint.

“As Williams threaded a forehand pass to complete her 6-4, 6-2 victory, the clock read just 1hr 13min. Konta did not stay long on court, ignoring the protocol that prefers the two players to walk off together.”  Telegraph.

Ummm….what happened to that semi final?  For the first 4 games, it seemed that we were in for another nail biter, but alas, Venus erased two breakpoints and ran away with the match.  She’s going to be hard to beat.

So, who wins the finals?  You have to give the edge to Venus, a five time champion.  Garbine has been there once and lost.  If Venus is gassed for whatever reason, Garbine has a chance.

What will the men’s semi finals bring tomorrow?  I hope it will result in Yosemite Sam in the finals, facing Roger Federer.  How cool would it be to have two Americans in the finals? USA!

Cheers!

Wimbledon 2017: Men’s Quarterfinals

Wimbledon 2017: Men’s Quarterfinals

Every once in awhile, Brad Gilbert makes me laugh.  I love  his nickname for Sam Querrey, “Yosemite Sam.”  Hilarious.

Did anyone give Sam a chance against the defending champion, Andy Murray?  It was obvious from the very first set that Murray was hurt.  He gave a tremendous effort to take it to 5 sets, but had nothing left to give in the last set.  Credit to Sam, he played another match of his life and now finds himself into the semis at Wimbledon.  He’d never even played on Centre Court before today and had to visit it with his coach Craig Boynton just to get the feel of it.

Gilles Muller could not continue his incredible Cinderella run and lost Maron Cilic today.  No one in the booth gave him much of a chance.  “His legs are shot after his marathon match against Nadal.”  “He can’t possibly keep up this high level pf excellence.”  Blah, blah, blah.  I would have loved for him to beat Marion Cilic just to shut them up.

Have you ever listened to Milos Raonic?  He is thoughtful and mature.  Unfortunately he was unable to give Roger Federer a run for his money because Fed is that good.  He is playing in the zone and will be hard to beat.

Novak Djokovic.  I don’t know what to say about him.  He is quickly becoming, if not already is, an enigma.  How does one go from the pinnacle of the game, to struggling to get to the second week of Slams?  Rumors swirl around him that his personal life is a mess; his wife left him last year at Wimbledon after finding out that he cheated on her, yet she was court side at the US Open.  The commentators have alluded to it, but no one is saying anything.  It’s unusual that the analysts remain quite about any dirt they might have, so we are left to wonder what gives.

Unfortunately, Novak was unable to finish the match against Tomas Berdych.  After his right arm was worked on by the trainer, Novak retired down one set, down 2-0 in the second set.  The extent of the injury is unclear but the word on the street is that Novak was fatigued.  Oh.

I’ve never been a huge Djokovic fan.  While I don’t like or dislike him, he always struck me as not genuine.  I know it’s not fair and I can’t tell you why, he just seems staged.  I could be totally wrong and I hope I am.  Add Andre Agassi to the mix and I feel the level of disingenuousness rises to another level.  Despite all his many generous contributions to charities, I have always felt that Agassi too is a bit fake.  We have had front row seats watching all these tennis greats grow up, and that can’t be easy for them, but unlike Agassi and Djokovic, someone like Roger Federer didn’t really have missteps and speed bumps along the way.  What makes that difference?  Character?  Circumstances?  Good advice?  A great team surrounding you? Maybe some of you reading this feel the same way, or don’t.   I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Let’s discuss the Women’s Quarterfinals match form yesterday: Simona Halep (2) vs. Johanna Konta (6).  Konta beat Halep in a dramatic 3 set match, complete with two tiebreak sets.  For the first time since 1978 (Virginia Wade), there is a British female player into the semis at Wimbledon.  Virgina was sitting in attendance yesterday and wow, did she look great.

After losing the first set in a tie break, Konta came back to win the second set in yet another tie break.  Halep was serving at 5-4 in the TB and managed to let it get away from her.  The third set was pressure cooker tennis at its best.  There was only break of serve and it went to Konta.  I’ve read a few articles on the match this morning and it seems that journalists are hell bent on pointing out that Halep is a choker.  I’m not having any of that.  Choker?  I didn’t see any evidence of her gagging in any of those sets.  So what she was serving at 5-4, two points away from the match.  Since when, in women’s tennis anyway, is someone serving for the match a true indicator of a win?  It’s not- not even if you’re Serena Williams.  Oh and BTW, the same can be said for the men.  Someone once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”  I for one, didn’t hear any fat lady singing.  Give Simona a break.

Give Konta some credit.  For a girl who couldn’t get a grip on her anxiety, she had surely found a way to manage.  It’s been reported that she went to a sports psychiatrist.  Good for her.

It’s amazing that someone who lost in the second round of Wimbledon now took over the Number One ranking in women’s tennis.  Congratulations Carolina Pliskova.

What happened to Coco Wandeweghe?

How exciting is it that Venus Williams is into the semis?

See you at 7:00 am tomorrow morning!

Wimbledon 2017: Day 5

Wimbledon 2017: Day 5

“I able to find that place where I was free.  I let go of fear of failing.  I let go.” – Roger Federer talking about his win at the 2017 Australian Open

That sums it all up for me.  The age old question of, “How does a champion continue to win?” is nothing we can easily answer.  For every individual it’s different, but it’s truly amazing to listen to Federer talk about what makes him tick.  When he was down 3-1 in the 5th, he thought, “I only need five more games….”  That’s the difference in attitude, how a positive outlook can turn it all around.  There are so many reasons why we can look up to Fed, but it’s his demeanor and approach to the game, maybe life in general, that constantly leaves me in awe of him.  Roll on Roger!

Tom Rinaldi said that Roger is one of the most accessible superstars in the sport, maybe in sports.  Just add that to the list.

STOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!!  Chris McKendry, Chrissie Evert and John McEnroe were discussing the women’s field in tennis.  They pointed out that the Wimbledon draw seems to be wide open, with no clear favorite.  They talked about the Number One Ranking and that while  Angelique Kerber holds that position, she isn’t really that dominant.  Chris Evert then made the Statement of All Statements; Chris feels that when she and John played, they were hungrier and wanted to win more than today’s players.  Back then, Chrissie feels, there were definitive favorites and therefore clear-cut picks for winners. She feels that when they won a major, they “forgot about it and focused on winning the next one.”  Chrissie doesn’t feel that today’s players approach the game that way. How they hell do you make a statement like that?  How the hell does Chris Evert know whether or not some player today is not as hungry as she and John were?  How can she denigrate anyone playing the game today?  What makes her think that?  She offered no explanation.

I wonder if the so called experts that sit amongst the flower gardens and bask in the Wimbledon sun, swatting bumble bees know that the game has so dramatically changed.  Do they realize that perhaps the reason there are no clear-cut favorites today is simply because there is so much more depth in the game?  Take Serena Williams out of the equation and you have a field of players who, on any given day can beat anyone.  And forgive me for sounding a bit naive, but isn’t that what we’ve all been hoping for in the women’s field?  I guess the sheer arrogance of Evert’s statements struck me as well, arrogant.

While I admire anyone who speaks their mind, and sugar-coating is not in my repertoire, I feel that making a blanket statement such as Chris’ without any back-up, is unprofessional.

Shelby Rogers had Angelique Kerber on the ropes.  As do all champions, Kerber found a way to find a way to win.  I was so rooting for Shelby.  She is a sunny, affable chica and I thought for sure this was her time to win.

Next year I would like to go to Wimbledon and set up a kiosk outside the players’ locker room.  It’s my intention to sell Dimmers.  I think I’d make a killing.  Here’s my pitch, “Sun’s out; Nips in.”

Can you stop covering your mouth in shock?  I mean that just shows how tight you are.”  Pam Shriver.  I’m not sure who she was talking about, but really? Pam, you used to cry on the court and your mouth was always open.  Oh, and BTW, aren’t you commentators always exerting the players to “show more expression?”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands took to Face Book to update us on her knee.  She told us that she dislocated her patella.  No duh.  Anytime a patella appears somewhere around your upper thigh, you can bet it’s dislocated.  I like Bethanie, but do we really need to go on FB and cry and go on for 9 minutes?  You have an injury.  You’ll get surgery.  You’ll live to see another match.  Not to sound too insensitive, but that’s sports.

I’m not a fan of the Middle Sunday at Wimbledon.  I get that the grass needs to rest, but is one day really going to make a huge difference?  Play on, I hate missing a whole Sunday of tennis!

See you Monday morning!

Cheers!

Wimbledon 2017: Day Three

Wimbledon 2017: Day Three

Commentators walk a fine line between telling it like it is, and sugar coating a fact to protect a player.  I’ve said in the past that the Talking Heads of Tennis don’t always get that dynamic right.  Yesterday, I believe it was Jason Goodall that told us how doctors had to take fat from Madison Keys’ belly and inject it into her wrist.  Surely he could have put it another way. If he said that about me, I’d cry and get a tummy tuck.

Speaking of tennis commentators, I find myself holding back on my opinions because the last thing I want to be is the Joan Rivers of tennis bloggers, BUT yesterday Pam Shrivel (thanks Beth) repeatedly made fun of Camila Gorgi’s dad/coach.  Mr. Gorgi is without a doubt a controversial figure.  He and his daughter were being sued for allegedly refusing to honor their commitments to sponsors.  He is a strange looking man, and Pam referred to him several times as the guy with the “crazy grey hair.”  Really?  Yesterday Pam wore a dress that looked more like floral wallpaper found in a British tea room.  Furthermore, when Pam lets Make-up do her hair, she looks good.  She ought to let them do it every day.  Bring on the crazy grey hair, Mr. Gorgi.

Camila Gorgi beat Madison Keys yesterday.  Camila is the #57th ranked player the world, Keys was seeded 11th.  Camila is a tough player and she showed everyone why she got her ranking up as high as 30th.  She did, however, channel a little bit of George Hamilton, what with her orange tan.

Svetlana Kuznetsova is playing great tennis.  Many of you have noticed that her dress for Wimbledon is  a beautiful, flattery cut.  Dresses seem to be the fashion statement this year.

Mary Jo Fernandez rocked a blue, checkered shirt dress that tied up at the waist.  Very nice.  That was my Good Comment about her….here comes my Bad Comment.  When discussing Carolina Pliskova’s ace total for the year, she said that she’s leading the field BUT if Serena Williams was playing, she would be the leader.  That’s a safe bet, but since when is that a fact?  Can you really throw that out there and know for certain that Serena would be leader?  No, you can’t. Let’s not forget that all the Know It All Analysts were dead sure that Serena would beat Roberta Vinci at the US Open.  How’d that work out?

How cool is it that Pat Cash is coaching Coco Vandeweghe?

How strange is it to see Andre Agassi waddling around Novak Djokovic’s back court?

Brad Gilbert, “Don’t say you idolize a player, you’ll lose three and out.”

Aga Radwanska never gets a fair rap in my opinion.  Everyone is always ragging on how she doesn’t have a weapon, can’t hit the ball hard and is merely a retriever.  She played American Christina McHale today and won in three tough sets.  Christina had two match points against her, and yet, the tenacious Radwanska managed to squeak out a win.  I watched her hit the ball, and while, yes, I agree, it wasn’t struck with the same power and pace of say, a Madison Keys, her shots landed inches from the baseline. Maybe someone will point out that Radwanska, a consistent player in the top ten and a finalist at Wimbledon, is the player she is because she can hit a variety of shots and with tremendous depth.  It doesn’t always have to be about raw power.

Watching Bethany Mattek-Sands go down with a severe knee injury today during her second round match was absolutely gut wrenching.  Her cries for help pierced the normally quite grounds of SW 19 and made me wonder where the hell the paramedics and trainers were….en route apparently.  It’s not known what happened to Bethany, but one can surmise that her knee gave way and probably blew out.  I’ve had players go down on my court in pain and their screams were frightening.  I can only imagine what poor Bethany went through and will go through, but can we really blame the court conditions on this unfortunate accident?  No.  I don’t think we can.  Its a hazard of the trade and while sad, there is really no one to blame.  One can look for a scape goat, but I’d rather not.  It’s not as if she slipped on a banana peel, or someone negligently forgot to replace a divot.  Heal quickly Bethany, and know that all us both in an out of tennis are praying for you to be strong.

Bethany’s distraught doubles partner, Lucie Safarova was inconsolable court side and played a very flat following round.  I mean no disrespect to Alison Riske who beat her, but Lucie was not mentally there.

I look forward to an injury-free day tomorrow.

Cheers!

 

Wimbledon 2017: Day Two

Wimbledon 2017: Day Two

The Championships

Venus Williams was at 4-1 in the first set tie break when our very own Chrissie Evert announced that Venus was just a few points away from winning the match.  Enter Chris Fowler, who pointed out that she was close to winning the first set, not the match. Rather than agree and acknowledge that after years and years of spewing out tennis bon mots she made a mistake, she doubled down and tried to explain that IF Venus was able to win the first set, she would most likely win the match.  I rarely root against Venus, but I was at that point just to prove Stubborn Chris wrong.  Venus did win the set, after Mertens staged a comeback of sorts, and Venus did in fact go on to win the match.  Ugh, Chris.

You know why so many of us like John McEnroe?  For the same reasons we used to like Brad Gilbert.  As commentators, they were different.  They say and do things that are way outside the box.  But the problem with that is, they are then compelled to keep that act up and after a decade of the same old routine, it gets old.  Google the Mac commercial about Margaret Court’s disgusting remarks about lesbians in tennis.  While Mac’s shtick was funny, it was him being him, way over the top.  He called himself the “Self-Appointed” ambassador of the game.  ’m not offering a solution here, just making an observation.

Have you noticed all the defaults in the middle of matches?  Darren Cahill said that the ATP has offered to give a first round player their paycheck, or half of it, or some of it, if they feel they might not be able to play .  The ATP would then give the next person in line their spot, like a Lucky Loser from the qualifier.  That Lucky Loser gets the badge, the chance to play and to go on.

John McEnroe pointed out that because the game has become more physical, injuries are prevalent.  Even pitchers are on pitch counts.  Football and basketball have an off season.  Tennis is a year round sport and that can’t be good for developing and aging bodies.  Pam Shriver said that maybe the two out of three sets should be considered in the early rounds of the mens’ draws.  Her friend from California traveled all the way to England to watch a few sets from the Federer and Djokovic matches and felt it wasn’t fair that their opponents defaulted in the set set.  She feels that tennis needs to grow and perhaps change.  She is right. (I’m agreeing with a commentator…?)

I never thought I’d say this, but I agreed with Cliff Drysdale’s comment- this is live sports.  Injuries are a part of the game. Stuff happens.  You go to a game and hope that you get a Super Saturday type day and instead, both Djokovic’s and Federer’s opponents default in the second sets.  Sorry.  That’s life.

Patrick Mouratoglou pointed out that the players who are typically qualifiers and lucky losers need that money to pay their coaches and support team.  Furthermore, they need to put some money aside for retirement.  They play when they are less than healthy because they need to play.  The ATP needs to come up with a solution to this problem.  Put aside the fact that it is absolutely ridiculous that first round losers get $40,000.  Say that again, a FIRST ROUND LOSERS.  The ATP is trying to payroll too many players.  If you can’t make a living playing tennis, get another job.

Contrast Nick the Dick Kyrgios with Alex Zverev.  Both are up and coming players, but worlds apart in terms of temperament and maturity.  Johnny Mac predicts that within three years, Zverev will be Number One.  I predict that in three years, Nick will be sporting an orange jumpsuit.

John McEnroe rambled on and on about this being the 4th of July and how we broke away from England and how the tournament used to be a week earlier, so the finals were played on the 4th and didn’t all the Americans wish they were home for the 4th…..Chris Evert cut him off and asked, “Ok John, where are you going with this?”  He had no idea.  Sometimes, it’s better to say nothing than to just try and fill the empty spaces.

While the grass plays differently today than it did years ago, they are still grass courts and they still require a special skill set to become proficient.  Yes, the “grass court specialist” of times past are few and far between, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

How about the All England Club’s officials?  The men wear ties and the women have dresses and skirts.  How formal and civilized.  You don’t see that at the US Open.

Speaking of apparel, how about the all white rule at Wimbledon?  I grew up at a club that mandated the all white clothing rule.  It annoyed me and I longed to wear color.  I moved to Dallas and wore the craziest combinations and loved it.  Some of the skirts looked like Hermes scarves, colorful and loud.  Watching Wimbledon every July, I am struck by how simple, clean and chic the players are.   It screams civility and quiet.  Contrast that with the US Open in a few months, where Sampras once wore denim like shorts and Agassi looked like Charlie Brown in a striped brown shirt.

Did you know that 19 year old American Taylor Fritz is married with a 6 month old baby?  Fritz is a tall, handsome kid.  He’s cut form the same cloth as Cary Grant.  He reminds me of a character form the Great Gatsby.  I can’t imagine being married at 18 and a parent at 19.  Who does that anymore?

Nick Kyrgios isn’t the only Aussie making waves.  Listen to Brian Tomic’s post game interview.  Not even Darren Cahill, the definition of not taking a stand and being neutral said, “I cannot defend his actions nor his words in the press conference.”  That, more than anything, speaks volumes.  Brian lost in the first round and later said that he basically didn’t care.  He was unapologetic, flat, defiant and disrespectful to the game.

A big shout out goes to my intrepid field reporter Amy.  Her pictures are worthy of Tennis magazines and I look forward to every text from Centre Court.  xoxo

Cheers!

Wimbledon 2017: Day One

Wimbledon 2017: Day One

The Championships

Good morning!  Tennis aficionados all around the world are waking up today, turning to the Tennis Channel and eagerly soaking up Wimbledon.  It’s finally here!  We Americans anticipate the 4th of July along with coverage of the most dignified and classy tournament in the world.

Why do the networks insist on putting their commentators outside in a Coffee Klutch setting?  Their unattractive squints are annoying and I’m sure uncomfortable for them.  Plus, it’s hard to hide wrinkles in natural light.

Some stories that are making headlines are the return of Petra Kvitova.  Petra is the 2016 champion, but went through a horrific home invasion this past winter.  A man posing as a meter reader made it into  her house and began attacking her with a knife.  She fended him off with her left playing hand.  Her slashed up hand required many surgeries and I can only guess what her psyche went through.

Did you see the Duchess of Cambridge?  She is the official Royal of the tournament.  Yeah! She was wearing a black and white, fitted  polka dot dress, matched with a white satchel bag.  How adorable is she?  She embodies class, dignity and decency.  Watch how she speaks with the guards, on-lookers and tournament officials.  There is not an ounce of artifice in her glamorous self.

Speaking of fashion, I love to see what the clothing companies come up with for Wimbledon.  Let’s face it, how many ways can you design a different white outfit?

Victoria Azarenka is back after giving birth to a baby girl.  She plays Cece Bellis first round…..wait for it.  It could be an interesting match.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that Zika was that young, skinny upstart.

Nick Kyrgios is already pulling the shenanigans for which he is known.  He claimed that he is at 65%.  If that’s true Nick, shut your mouth and get the Hell off the court. It amazes me that he can’t take a page out of the Aussie of Old’s playbook and be a lot more mature.  Giant ugh.

We South Floridians found out about Venus Williams’ horrible car wreck last Thursday. The story goes that she was slowly rolling through an intersection when she was T-boned by a couple, who had the right of way.  The poor gentleman in the other car’s passenger seat passed away.  So now, you guessed it, the family is suing for wrongful death.  How do you pick yourself up and play while all this is going on?  As if Venus doesn’t have to overcome enough with her disease?  It should be interesting to see how she manages to just “be.” Prayers for all those involved.

Chris Evert thinks that one year Madison Keys will win Wimbledon, “one day.”  Based on what, Chris?  That predication probably won’t come true this year, as Madison has undergone several left wrist surgeries since the French Open. I should note here that I do like Madison’s understated Wimbledon outfit.  I could do without the big, white granny panties, but unlike the majority of today’s players, Madison’s dress actually covers her butt.

The Heineken Antonio Banderas commercial is still an all time classic.

Mary Jo Fernandez has already said her favorite word, “Belief” at least three times this morning.  I predict that we’ll hear it at least three times a day over the course of the tournament.

That’s it for now.  If you need me,  I’ll be glued to the TV all day.

Cheers!

 

Wimbledon 2016:  The Finals

Wimbledon 2016: The Finals

Wimbledon 2016: The Finals

Serena can now breath a little sigh of relief, having tied Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. I say a little sigh of relief because you know she doesn’t want to rest at a tie….is anyone betting against her at the US Open?

Serena played aggressive tennis from the start and didn’t look at all tentative. While Kerber didn’t play badly, she was no match for Serena’s power. Serena was determined to “not choke” again, and she now secures a spot that very few champions share, in the rarified air of multiple slam champions. More importantly, Patrick, Mary Jo, Chris and Pam can all gush over how great it is that we have an American champion at Wimbledon.

I for one am not going to miss the bad dresses, the goofy hats and unkept hair of some of the commentators. I will miss the Duchess of Cambridge. She is a class act all the way.

Did Ivan Lendl actually shed a tear in the Guest Box? He manages to sit through the tournament without showing any emotion whatsoever, yet I swear he cried a little when Andy won. The man is human after all.

How incredibly smart was it that Murray managed to convince Ivan to come back?

Too bad for Johnny Mac that his young charge wasn’t able to win his first Grand Slam title, but Milos Raonic is too talented to not win a Slam. He’s only 25 and will no doubt benefit from Mac’s coaching.

My favorite quote of the tournament once again comes out of the mouth of Patrick McEnroe. Milos served a bomb into Murray’s body, Murray somehow managed to lace a great return back and won the point. Patrick McEnroe says, “Well, next time he should do a “body serve/forehand. You definitely want to stay away from Murray’s backhand, but try to jam him.” As if a righty could direct a body serve to a righty’s forehand.

My second favorite quote, again, thanks P Mac, was uttered during Breakfast at Wimbledon. Patrick was Hell bent on schooling all of us mere mortals who’ve never had to nervously wait to enter Centre Court before a Wimbledon Final. So glad Patrick knows all about that.

As the pros gear up for the hard court season, it will be interesting to see who can maintain their levels, and who will emerge as contenders for the US Open. Can’t wait!

See you at Flushing in August!

Thanks for reading, commenting, agreeing and disagreeing. It’s been a blast!

Liz

Liz De Carvalho Stockton's photo.
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