And here comes Team USA!
NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony here in the US, had a heck of a recorded introduction of the team, by actor and tough guy Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He said that they are truly ‘the best of us‘. Johnson also remarked: ‘Kindness matters. Always.‘
Hey, Team South Africa! I see you.
Love the vellies*.
*Velskoene (“FEL-skoona”) or colloquially vellies (“FELL-ys”), are Southern African walking shoes, made from vegetable-tanned leather or soft rawhide uppers attached to a leather footbed and rubber sole, without tacks or nails (from Wikipedia).
The first week of action is over at the world’s oldest, and arguably the most famous, tennis tournament: Wimbledon in London, England.
It’s hard to believe that I had taken this picture 40 years ago, on Thursday, July 2, 1981. Bjorn Borg (25 at the time, Sweden) was playing Jimmy Conners (28, USA) in the semi-final.
Regrettably, we had to leave early. We had dinner reservations, with a business associate of my dad’s. After dinner, we did not want to wait for the newspaper in the morning, and inquired from the hotel’s doorman if he knew who had won the match. He did.
There was spectacular French Open men’s tennis on TV today.
The youngsters Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece, 22 yrs old) and Alexander Zverev (Germany, 24) went first, with Tsitsipas overcoming a mid-match slump to win 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Then the legendary King of Clay, Rafael Nadal (Spain, 35 yrs old, won 13 French Opens* in 16 years) took on the world’s No 1 Novak Djokovic (Serbia, 34). Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2.
Officials decided to suspend the controversial Covid-19 curfew in Paris, that had them empty out the stands at 9 pm on Monday & Tuesday night, and at 11 pm later this week. The Nadal-Djokovic match was still going at 11 pm. There would have been a French Revolution II in the Philippe Chatrier tennis stadium, had anyone attempted to chase the rabid tennis fans out.
*The French Open is a Grand Slam tournament, with 128 players in the main draw. (Regular tournaments have 32). For 4 of the 128 spots in the main draw, there was a qualifying tournament. To win, you have to win seven matches in a row, all guaranteed to be against a fierce competitor in the game of tennis.
I made my way to Amy Yee tennis center again tonight by bus.
It was 5.10 pm and the No 8 bus is notorious for being late, or ‘full’ (half-full, actually: half the seats are still blocked out, in order to create social distance between the passengers).
Plan B was to call for an UberX (cost: $20, quite a bit more than it used to be) if the bus (fare: $2.75) had not worked out.
The bus showed up in good time, though, and had a few open seats left.
Tennis legend Roger Federer (39) is into the 4th round of the 2021 French Open, winning a grinding 3 ½-hour match that ended after midnight:
77-65 63-77 77-64 7-5, over German Dominik Koepfer (27).
Sunday 6/6: Oh no .. bad news, this morning. Federer is pulling out of the tournament. There were hints at Federer’s Saturday night post-match press conference, though.
UCLA had come too far, defied too many odds in surviving March to reach April, to give in now, no matter the probabilities or the season-long perfection of its nemesis.
– Ben Bolch writing in the Los Angeles Times
Tonight, Gonzaga* played UCLA** in the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basket Ball tournament (known as ‘March Madness’).
Gonzaga had everything to lose, as it is aiming to become the first undefeated national champion in men’s basketball since Indiana in 1976.
UCLA went toe-to-toe with them, all through the game tonight, and was only a point behind at halftime, 44 to 45.
At the end of regular time, it was 81 to 81.
So now came overtime. As the clock wound down, the plays were down to the wire. With less than a minute left, Andrew Nembhard scored a 3-pointer, putting Gonzaga up 90-85. At 48 secs left, Jaime Jaquez Jr. knocked in a 3-pointer from the wing for UCLA. Gonzaga 90-88. At 3.3 secs left, the Bruins (UCLA) had gotten the ball back, and Johnny Juzang followed his miss with a putback jumper. Tied 90-90. At 0.8 secs left, Jalen Suggs stopped from 30-some feet away, took aim and shot at the hoop on the far side. As the buzzer sounded, flashing **0:00**, the ball dropped through the net, for the win.
Gonzaga 93-90. Mayhem.
(Gonzaga to play Baylor for the NCAA title on Monday night).
*The Gonzaga Bulldogs are an intercollegiate men’s basketball program representing Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA). The school competes in the West Coast Conference in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
**The UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program represents the University of California, Los Angeles in the sport of men’s basketball as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Established in 1919, the program has won a record 11 NCAA titles.
There are three Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournaments on the calendar this week: in Marseille, France, in Doha, Qatar and in Santiago, Chile.
Roger Federer, he of 20 Grand Slam titles fame, is making his long-awaited comeback in Doha, at the age of 39½. He last played on the tour 14 months ago (in the 2020 Australian Open), and had two knee operations after that. He said today that he is now free of pain and injury — and has no plans to retire (!).
Update Wed 3/11: Federer ousted Dan Evans (30, Great Britain) in his first match, but then stumbled and lost against Nikoloz Basilashvili (29, Georgia) in the quarter-final.
ok I’ll give, who is Tom Brady
– Igor Bobic @igorbobic on Twitter, politics reporter at HuffPost, pretending not to know.
Gazelle Bundesliga’s husband
– Casey S.@nobody_news on Twitter, mangling her name. It’s supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
It was Super Bowl Sunday.
Congrats to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their veteran, ex-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (43), with their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. One does not have to be a football expert to know that this is not the score of an exciting match-up.
The Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes (25), played with an injured toe, and his team just never got their offensive game going.
I did not need new tennis shoes right now, but I bought two more pairs from my local tennis store, nonetheless (Avanti Sports on NE 45th St).
I really don’t want them to go bust, because they string my tennis racquets. Besides, these Adidas shoes are shockingly hard to find anywhere online. They are regularly sold out at the Adidas store itself, as well.
I’m doing better, playing tennis with my mask on. I bring 4 or 5 masks — they get sweaty— and I have learned not to feel like suffocating if I start to take big breaths.
The four of us try to play three doubles sets, which is a challenge in the limited 75-minute time slot we have indoors. We usually end up playing almost non-stop: no side changes, with only one or two quick breaks to get a sip of water.
If four players play the three possible match-ups of doubles, there are only two general outcomes possible. One of the 4 players won in all three match-ups.
He/ she has 3 wins, and everyone else only 1. He/ she is the champ.
Or .. One of the 4 players lost in all three match-ups.
He/ she has 0 wins, and everyone else has 2 wins.
It’s social tennis; it’s just for fun, but even so: no one wants to be the evening’s loser.
Well, I played tennis last night with my mask on, as mandated by the Amy Yee Tennis Center. My mask had three layers of cotton fabric. It got a little ugly at times.
As you huff & puff after a long rally — through the mask — your panicked brain roars ‘MORE OX-Y-GEN..NOW!MORE OX-Y-GEN..NOW! .. and it makes you want to yank the suffocating $@#! thing right off your face.
So! I’m definitely going to have to try a few more different masks.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) grants emergency use authorization for the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The pandemic is far from over (more than 3,000 deaths just on Thursday).
Texas attorney general’s ‘lawsuit’ (stunt), to try to overturn the certified election results (certifying Trump is a LOSER) in four battleground states, is smacked down 9-0 by the US Supreme Court. The AGs of seventeen red states, and 2/3 of House Republicans had joined the lawsuit. (Hey Republicans, newsflash for you: the United States is still a democracy. Your attempt at a coup is now dead.)
The Space Needle is lit up in green, in support of the Seattle Sounders, that will take on Columbus Crew in the 2020 Major League Soccer Cup Final on Saturday.
Update Sat 12/13: Sounders lost 0-3 to Columbus. Congrats to Columbus.
Here’s how my Sunday afternoon went. 1.30 pm Are you free for tennis? texted Harris. Yes, sure, I said. It was a sunny day (but not warm! 49 °F /9.5 °C), and now we had three; still needed a fourth.
Ardee was at Costco. Jesse was a no, as was Chuck. Jackson might be available .. checking. No, his girlfriend says no, he texted. What?! How dare she? was our reaction :-). 2.00 pm Still no luck finding someone. Alright. Let me go and scout out the courts, I offered. We were not even sure if the courts were, in fact, dry. 2.15 pm I arrive at Amy Yee Tennis Center. (Inside is closed, of course). The six outside courts are dry, kind of (big damp spots) – but already filled with players. We had no reservation. The courts can be reserved the day before with non-refundable deposits, but nobody really does that this time of year. The weather is too unpredictable. 2.30 pm Just come on out to the courts, I texted Harris & Cam: Worst case, the three of us can hit a few balls on a semi-dry court. 3.00 pm I’m still camping out by Court 5 & 6, waiting for one to open up. Alan from my social tennis club happens to play on 5. Maybe he will stay on and play with us, I thought. 3.05 pm Harris & Cam arrives. 3.10 pm Court 5 opens up. Yay! We can go on, and Alan agrees to be our fourth. 3.40 pm The thin sunlight disappears for good, behind swirling low-land fog that’s rolling in. We keep on playing. 4.20 pm Yikes. It’s becoming difficult to see the ball in the twilight and fog! Almost done, though. It’s 6-6 in the second set and we’re into a 7-point tiebreaker. Alan and I lose it 5-7.
No matter, it was just great to be able to play!
I lost what little tennis the ESPN channel offered on TV when I cancelled my cable TV subscription. So with the year-end Nitto ATP* Finals looming (it starts in London on Sunday), I had to make a plan.
I subscribed to ATP Tennis TV – very reasonable at $8 a month for streaming of year-round tournaments with no commercials. Looks like it excludes coverage of the four Grand Slam tournaments, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
*Association of Tennis Professionals. (Nitto is the main sponsor, manufacturer of high-quality car & truck tires).
My Samsung TV was 10 years old, and at long last it was time to upgrade to a smart 4K* TV. I picked a Samsung again, and was planning to replace my 55″ screen with a similar size .. and then at the last minute in the store, opted for one with a 65″ screen.
I paid $1,899 in 2010 dollars for the old TV (that’s $2,264 in 2020 dollars). The new one was all of $529, practically given away for free. (Alright, so not completely free).
*Smart= the TV can connect to the internet and offer all kinds of online content from providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and others.
4K= the screen resolution is 3840 x 2160; a fourfold increase over Full HD (1920×1080 pixels).