There were lots of sports on TV today, but I stuck it out for the 4 hours of the 2020 US Open Men’s Final. Dominic Thiem (27, Austria) prevailed over Alexander Zverev (23, Germany) in a thrilling match: 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
It was Thiem’s first win in a Grand Slam tournament final.
Frances Tiafoe (22, coached by South African-born Wayne Ferreira) was last man standing of the American men, in the 2020 US Open tennis tournament. He lost against Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets today.
Tiafoe won the prestigious 2013 Orange Bowl at 15 years old, making him the youngest boys’ singles champion in the history of the tournament.
Serena Williams won in three sets over Maria Sakkari though, who had just beaten her two weeks ago in an earlier tournament.
From the US Open website: In tennis, there are two ways to be defaulted from a match: through an accumulation of code violations or by a singularly egregious act. In Novak Djokovic’s case from the US Open on Sunday, the incident was firmly the latter. After losing his service game to trail 6-5 in the opening set of his Round 4 match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic struck a line umpire with a ball hit in anger, and was ultimately defaulted from the tournament by US Open Referee Soeren Friemel.
Not only is the overwhelming favorite to have won, out of the tournament— he also forfeited his 2020 US Open prize money for reaching the 4th round (a whopping $250,000) and the ATP ranking points he would have gotten.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
– Arthur Ashe, American tennis player (b. 1943- d. 1993)
The US Open tennis tournament starts in Queens, New York City today.
There will be no crowds at the courts, nor in Arthur Ashe stadium —the largest tennis stadium in the world (capacity 23,771).
It was 50 years ago, in Jan. 1970, when the South African apartheid government took an outrageous stand: it refused Ashe a visa to play in the South African Open tennis tournament. The fallout and damage to South African sport were extensive. It solidified South Africa’s pariah status in the sports world. The country had already been banned from the Olympics in 1964 & 1968. It would be until 1992 before South African athletes could again compete in the Games.
Our social tennis club’s management splurged on expensive tennis balls for us for tonight. The can features Roger Federer’s ‘game face’ and signature, and there is a note inside that says he worked with Wilson to design a premium tennis ball. (For a premium price, of course: a good 20% more for a case of these).
It’s offical: the name for Seattle’s National Hockey League team is The Kraken (rumors had been swirling for months). The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster of gigantic proportions in Scandinavian folklore (per Wikipedia).
Fans will have to wait until next year’s NHL season to cheer for the team in the remade Key Arena, which will be called the Climate Pledge Arena (the world’s first certified net-zero carbon arena).
‘Een in die was, een aan die bas, en een in die kas!’
– Afrikaans for ‘One to wash, one to wear, and one to spare!’
I picked up my new tennis racquet from the tennis shop today. My social club has started playing super-safe and social-distanced tennis*, and I needed one more, as a spare.
*We play on outside courts only. Each player has his/ her own set of numbered tennis balls (to handle, and to serve with). Other players pick up & pass the server’s balls to him/ her with the racquet only, so without touching them.
Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.
– Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios on Twitter, commenting on footage of Djokovic and others partying shirtless, maskless and distance-less in a nightclub in Belgrade
The Adria Tour debacle is an exhibition tennis tournament series that kicked off in Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Only: they did everything wrong, and the whole tour has now been canceled.
From the New York Times: Social distancing was not enforced in the stands during the series, and face masks were a rare sight. Players mingled freely, exchanging hugs and handshakes, playing pickup soccer and basketball, and even dancing the limbo one night in Belgrade, Serbia. At the tournament, players posed for photographs with workers, tournament officials and spectators. No systematic coronavirus testing was required of the participants before the event began, according to the organizers. Some Croatian tennis officials are calling for the resignation of Nikolina Babic, president of the Croatian Tennis Federation.
The result: Novak Djokovic (world’s No 1 player), his wife, two coaches and at least three prominent players tested positive for the virus: Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, a Serb whose wife, Aleksandra, also tested positive. Officials in Zadar were left to scramble to try to trace and test people that had contact with those that had tested positive. There had been no confirmed infections in Zadar before the tennis.
More cancellations today: the entire NBA season cancelled — and the NCAA’s March Madness games, as well (Madness? No, necessary).
Trump’s muddled speech about banning travel from Europe to ‘stop the spread of the coronavirus’ landed with a thud in the financial markets, as did the Federal Reserve’s announcement today, that they will intervene in the markets and pump in more than $1.5 trillion (yes, trillion with a T).
The United States is having a crisis of confidence in the President, and the White House, during this nationwide public health emergency.
The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers by 31-20 today, to win Super Bowl No 54.
Trump promptly tweeted out congratulations to ‘the Great State of Kansas’.
Some 11 mins later, he deleted the tweet and sent out a corrected one that congratulated the state of Missouri.
Wow, just wow. What an ending that was — to the third-round match in the Australian Open, with Roger Federer (38) playing Australian John Millman (30).
They had played ferociously for 4 hours, and the match was now in its death throes: the fifth and final set’s super tiebreaker. (First to 10, lead by two).
Soon Federer found himself down 4-8, two points away from defeat. Right then, he must have thought ‘Never say die’. He shut out Millman from winning even one, of one-two-three-four-five-SIX points in a row, going to 10-8 for the win.
Final score: Federer beat Millman 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 [10-8]. Go Federer!
The 2020 ATP Cup is a new annual 24-country tennis team competition, hosted by Tennis Australia in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. So we jumped at it when we got complimentary tickets to watch some of the action here in Perth.
I stopped at an ‘Australia Post’ post office today.
I had the poor clerk behind the counter flip through the big album, full of sheets of stamps, so that I could pick out colorful and interesting stamps to buy. She was very patient with me!
My Wilson tennis racquets are more than 10 years old, so I am getting new ones.
I tested out a few ‘demo’ racquets that I had loaned from the pro shop at the Sand Point Tennis Center. The Wilson Clash 98* felt really nice and I am going to buy one. (They all have dramatic names. There is also the Wilson Burn, Envy and Blade).
The Wilsons still have graphite in, a long-standing material used in frames. There is a new Head racquet called the Head Graphene. Graphene is an allotrope of carbon: a sheet of a single layer of atoms in a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice. It is impossibly light and incredibly strong .. but it’s not cheap, and just much of this stuff had made it into the Head racquet frame, and how much is just marketing hype, is hard to say.
*Graphite frame that is heavier than most, but the balance is head light; 16 mains and 19 cross strings allow for more spin, but not quite as much control.
It’s winter (well, almost) – so the days are short and cold, and it rains a lot. Luckily for me, the Amy Yee Tennis Center has opened its doors after it had been closed for 6 months.
The courts themselves have not changed much, but insulation was added into the roof and walls. (It used to feel like playing inside a giant refrigerator in winter time). A new fire alarm system was installed, and the locker rooms were improved as well.
Here’s the tunnel across from the No 10 bus stop at the Washington State Convention Center, where I waited for the bus today. Maybe it is bathed in green, in a nod to the green team color of the Seattle Sounders team (see Sunday).
The Seattle Sounders beat out Toronto today, for the 2019 Major League Soccer Cup in front of their home crowd, 3-1. CenturyLink Field Stadium was packed with more than 69,000 spectators, the most ever for any event there.
Here is how the goals came about, as the game unfolded:
57′ Kelvin Leerdam (SEA)
76′ Víctor Rodríguez (SEA)
90′ Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA)
93′ Jozy Altidore (TOR)
Final Score: SEA 3- TOR 1