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
The South African rugby team made it #3 today with their upset win in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final against England. They won in 1995 against New Zealand, and in 2007 against England.
There were two beautiful Springbok tries in the second half, one by left wing Makazole Mapimpi, and one by quicksilver right wing Cheslin Kolbe. The final score was 32-12.
The South African Springboks are through to the World Rugby Cup semi-final. They beat Japan’s Brave Blossoms 26-3.
Next up: Wales, on Sun Oct. 27 in Yokohama. The other semi-final is between England and New Zealand on Sat. Oct 26.
There Rugby World Cup 2019 starts in a week on Fri Sept. 20 in Japan. It starts out with four pools (A B C and D) with five teams in each. The top two teams in each will go through to the final rounds.
Ireland is at the top of the world rankings, South Africa is #4, and the United States (yes, there is a team, actually), is a definite underdog at #13. South Africa will play New Zealand in its first match; the USA will play England.
Mike Bryan (41) of the famous men’s tennis doubles duo ‘the Bryan brothers’, was fined $10,000 for a playful gesture on the tennis court at the US Open on Sunday.
He challenged a line call – no problem with that – but as they waited for the replay, he flipped his racquet around and pointed it rifle-style at the line judge.
Code violation, said the umpire, and after the match the U.S. Tennis Association handed down the $10,000 fine. (Bryan apologized in a statement. “I apologize for any offense I may have caused. We won the point and the gesture was meant to be playful. But given the recent news and political climate I understand how my gesture could be viewed as insensitive. I promise that I will never do anything like this again.”)
I watched the final of the Cincinnati Masters tennis tournament on TV today.
Daniil Medvedev* (Russia) beat David Goffin (Belgium) 7-6, 6-4 in the final. He went all-out for his serve in the final game, serving three aces.
In the post-match meeting with the press, Medvedev said he was starting to get cramps, and ‘as we say in Russia, Кто не рискует, тот не пьёт шампанского/ the one who does not risk, does not drink champagne’.
*On the way to the final, Medvedev also beat world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
I have run out to the tennis at Seattle Tennis Club every day this week to watch the tennis there.
It’s a great way to enjoy the sunny weather.
The Washington State Open tennis tournament started at the Seattle Tennis Club today— for the week, and I went out today to go and take a look. The facility is not even 2 miles from my house, but I have never been there. All other times of the year it is members only and very exclusive.
It was $30,000 to join the Club in 2015 (a figure almost certainly higher by now), plus annual dues. The wait list time is said to be 8 years or so. Rumor has it that Bill Gates wanted to become a member, but now has to wait his turn, as well.
The Federer-Nadal semi-final at Wimbledon produced an incredible display of tennis — nevermind that the protagonists were 33 and 37 (almost 38) years old.
They have played each other some 40 times, but last met at Wimbledon in 2008 – so this match was in the making for 11 years. In all this time, they both only got sharper, fitter and even better than they already had been at their game, so long ago.
I watched a little Wimbledon tennis every day this week.
New kid on the block, 15-year old American Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff, continues to make waves. Today, she clawed her way back to a 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Slovenian ‘veteran’ Polona Hercog (28), in the third round.
To the disappointment of many (and mine), 16-year old Leo Borg, son of Bjorn Borg, lost at his first bid to make it into the Wimbledon Junior tournament main draw. ‘I was very happy to play, and I am very thankful to play here, but today was not my day’, he said afterwards.
I helped out as a volunteer at the Seattle Classic tennis tournament today.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Gay & Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA). The GLTA is an international body that oversees an impressive worldwide circuit of tennis tournaments (check out the table below).
The tournaments do not have prize money to speak of, but it is a great way of encouraging the LGBT community to participate in the wonderful sport of tennis (of which I am a lifelong fan).
|June||Alegria Open||Rotterdam, Netherlands||Clay|
|June||Seattle Classic||Seattle, WA-USA||Indoor and Outdoor Hard|
|July||Prague Friendly Tennis Open||Prague, Czech Republic||Red Clay|
|July||San Diego Open||San Diego, CA-USA||Hard|
|July||Liberty Open||New York, NY-USA||Outdoor Hard|
|July||Hanse Cup Hamburg||Hamburg, Germany||Clay|
|July||The Philadelphia Open||Philadelphia, PA-USA||Hard court|
|July||Madrid Tennis Open (Masters)||Madrid, Spain||Green set (outdoor) and clay (covered)|
|Aug||Chillli Tennis Open (Masters)||Katowice, Poland||Clay|
|Aug||VIP (Vancouver International Pride)||Vancouver, BC, Canada||Hard Court|
|Aug||Second City Tennis Classic||Chicago, IL-USA||Indoor Hard|
|Aug||Ad-OUT Cologne||Cologne, Germany||Clay|
|Aug||Paris Summer Cup||Paris, France||Clay|
|Aug||Zurich Rainbow Open||Zurich, Switzerland||Red Clay|
|Aug||Barcelona Open (Masters)||Barcelona, Spain||Clay|
|Aug||New Hope Open||New Hope, PA-USA||Hard Court/Clay|
|Aug||Tallinn Colour Games||Tallinn, Estonia||Hard Court/Carpet|
|Aug||Montréal Coupe de la Reine||Montréal, Québec, Canada||Indoor Hard|
|Aug||The Peach International||Atlanta, GA-USA||Hard|
|Aug||Rose City Open||Beaverton, OR-USA||Hard|
|Sept||IGO-Italian Gay Open||Milan, Italy||Clay|
|Sept||Kiss My Ace-Manchester GLTA||Manchester, England||Grass|
|Sept||IndyTennis Classic||Indianapolis, IN-USA||Hard Court|
|Sept||Bali G-Slam||Bali, Indonesia||Hard Court|
|Sept||The Capital Classic||Washington, DC, DC-USA||Hard and Clay|
|Sept||WrocLove Cup||Wroclaw, Poland||Hard Court|
|Sept||Queen City Open||Cincinnati, OH-USA||Hard|
|Sept||VicTennis Hard Court Championships||Melbourne, Australia||Hard|
|Sept||Texas Open (Masters)||Dallas, TX-USA||Hard|
|Oct||Gran Canaria Open||Maspalomas, Gran Canaria||Clay|
|Oct||Out in Hong Kong Open||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||Artificial Grass|
|Oct||Peter Deacon Tournament||Sydney (Concord), NSW, Australia||Synthetic Grass|
|Oct||San Diego Doubles||San Diego, CA-USA||Hard Court|
|Oct||Tennis London International||London, England||Indoor Hard|
|Oct||Brilliant Games (Masters)||Antwerp, Belgium||Hard|
|Nov||HOUTEX||Houston, TX-USA||Hard Court|
|Nov||Sunshine Doubles Gran Canaria||Maspalomas, Gran Canaria||Clay|
|Nov||Segundo Abierto del Orgullo Argentino LGBT||Buenos Aires, Argentina||Clay/Hard Courts|
|Nov||Palm Springs Open||Rancho Mirage, CA-USA||Hard Court|
|Nov||Citrus Classic (Masters)||Tampa, FL-USA||Har-Tru Clay|
|Dec||Frankfurt Open||Maintal, Germany||Carpet|
|Dec||10th Bangkok Pride Tournament (Masters)||Bangkok, Thailand||Hard Court|
My new Adidas tennis shoes landed on the porch on Friday, shipped all the way from Sharonville, Ohio. (I’m going to play a little social tennis this summer). Sporting goods stores seem to carry very few tennis shoes nowadays. Running shoes and basketball shoes take up all the shelf space, instead.
I guess one can play some tennis in a pinch with any athletic shoe, but proper tennis shoes have a sturdy base, and support for the player’s forefoot and toes that get dragged across the tennis court.
Well, the Superbowl was a bust.
The one and only touchdown of the game finally came in the 4th quarter.
The New England Patriots won over the Los Angeles Rams, as expected – congrats to them.
We did get a little snow on the ground here in Seattle, with more expected overnight. I was adventurous in the kitchen and tried my hand at a red lentil soup. It turned out really nice.
It is almost a done deal, that Seattle will be granted a franchise for a team to join the National Hockey League (NHL). The team actually playing is still two years away. The Key Arena stadium still has to be upgraded, and a team put together – and all that goes with it.
In the meantime, the Seattle Times is running an informal survey of its readers to determine a name and a moniker for the team. It’s now down to the final two: the Totems, or the Sockeyes – after eliminating names such as Seattle Freeze, Seattle Sasquatches and Seattle Emeralds.
The Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (33) set a new world record in the Berlin marathon on Sunday. Roger Robinson writes in Runner’s World that he is now, without question, the greatest marathoner of all time. He won every one of the last nine marathons that he had competed in.