This shot made by Pablo Carreño Busta (Spain, age 30) in his five-set match against Tallon Griekspoor (Netherlands, 25) at the Australian Open is perfectly legal but very rarely seen.
Busta won the match after 4 hrs 10 mins of play.
You are not allowed to touch the net, or to jump over the net to play a ball, to return a shot. You can run around the net post and play from there, provided your feet/ your racquet does not touch the inside of the opponent’s singles court.
It is OK to reach over the net to hit a shot, while not touching it, nor touching the inside of the opponent’s singles court lines.
All right. You-Know-Who (The No-Vax One) has departed from Melbourne, Australia (reportedly flying to Dubai, and presumably getting to his home in Monte Carlo, from there).
It is Monday morning, 72 °F (22 °C) and sunny in Melbourne, so hopefully the tennis tournament can bounce back from the ugly run-up to its start.
‘Lucky loser’* Salvatore Caruso (age 29, Italy) finds himself in the main draw now, in the spot that held the world number one’s name.
*He lost in the Australian Open qualifying tournament’s final round.
Looks like we will have to wait until Wednesday Australia time for the final word from Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, regarding the fate of No Vax Djokovic.
There are reports that his travel declaration form (travel before the trip to Melbourne) was filled out incorrectly. He had in fact, traveled to Yugoslavia and Spain, which was not noted in his declaration. Then there are Twitterati that got a hold of the (now publicly available) QR-code of his Dec. 16 Covid test, scanned it, and says the test result show as negative, not positive. If one can believe that.
From Yahoo Sports:
The Victoria state government allows medical exemptions for people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last six months. That’s why Djokovic received a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The event is hosted in Victoria, one of six states in the country.
Border authorities, however, did not accept Djokovic’s previous COVID-19 diagnosis as an acceptable reason for a medical exemption, leading to Djokovic being detained and his visa being canceled.
My opinion: Djokovic should just go home. Bye-bye.
Mon 1/10 (reported by @MetroSport on Twitter):
Judge Anthony Kelly declared that the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was ‘unreasonable’ on the grounds that he had not been given time to speak with his lawyers or representatives from Tennis Australia after being detained, and overturned the cancellation.
That means that the judge’s call hinged on a technicality, concerning the way in which the border force implemented the rules, rather than an outright declaration that Djokovic should have been completely free to enter the country all along.
Now the ball is in the court of Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who must decide whether to personally intervene and cancel Djokovic’s visa himself.
Fri 1/14: Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa was announced at 6 pm Melbourne time. Djokovic’s legal team is challenging the decision.
Sun 1/16: The Australian Federal Court upholds Hawke’s decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa. The court panel returned their unanimous decision just a day before the World No. 1 was set to play his first match of the Australian Open. Djokovic will now be deported and will not compete in the tournament.
Well, that was disappointing, and we will file this one in the ‘Too Bad’ folder.
It would have been great for the Seattle Kraken to win their first-ever game in their new home, but it was not to be. The home team was up 2-0, but in the end, succumbed to the Canucks with 2 goals to their 4.
The new home of the Seattle Kraken (ice hockey team) opened today, officially. There was a concert tonight: the first live performance of Coldplay’s brand-new album, Music Of The Spheres. This was the band’s first arena show in nearly five years.
The crews now have 12 hours to turn the arena into an ice hockey rink for the first home game of the Seattle Kraken (against the Vancouver Canucks).
Mike Rolovich and four of his assistants have been fired for failing to comply with Washington State’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate.
From the New York Times: Earlier in the day, a Superior Court judge rejected a request by hundreds of Washington State Patrol troopers, corrections officers, ferry workers and other public employees for a temporary injunction to block Inslee’s mandate, though the lawsuit they have filed can still go forward.
Rolovich, who was in the second year of a five-year, $15.6 million contract, had become the public face of the showdown with Inslee, who repeatedly said there would be no exceptions. Rolovich was counseled by June Jones, whom he played quarterback for and coached under at Hawaii, to get vaccinated. And Jack Thompson, a Washington State star quarterback from the late 1970s, had several heart-to-heart talks with him.
Rolovich’s resistance frustrated campus leaders, including President Kirk Schulz, who has strongly encouraged students to get vaccinated. Fans at the last two home games have been required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test in order to be admitted, a policy the school developed in conjunction with the University of Washington and the Seattle Seahawks.
Rolovich*: “I don’t think this is in my hands. I’ve been settled for a long time on it. I believe it’s going to work out the right way.”
Reporter: “Right way, as in staying the coach?”
Rolovich: “Correct. Or, if that’s not what (athletics director Pat Chun) wants, then, you know, then I guess I gotta move on. But I like being here, I like being the coach here, I love these kids, and I just got faith in it.”
*Nick Rolovich, head coach of the Washington State Cougars football team, and Washington State’s highest-paid employee at $3 million per year. The governor of Washington State earns a paltry $172,000 by comparison, per Ballotpedia.
The deadline is here: Washington State employees must be vaccinated come tomorrow, or get fired (or just risk getting fired? time will tell). The mandate includes employees at the Capitol in Olympia, firefighters, policemen, state troopers, and Washington State Cougars football team head coach Nick Rolovich.
Rolovich is reportedly seeking a religious exemption. If the school’s review panel — through its double-blind review procedure that is out of the hands of the athletics department — determines he does not have “sincerely held religious belief” preventing him from getting vaccinated, then he will be out of a job, and WSU will be off the hook for the remainder of his contract, says the CougCenter website.
The report also notes that even if his exemption is approved, the school must also determine if he can be accommodated. (He will have to do his job with social distancing, testing, and wearing a mask at all times, and so on). Given that the governor’s mandate is a public safety measure, it’s reasonable to infer that the safety of others — employees and the public at large, will factor into WSU’s thinking.
The kraken (/ˈkrɑːkən/)
1. a legendary sea monster of gigantic size and cephalopod-like appearance in Scandinavian folklore
2. Seattle’s new National Hockey League team, commencing its inaugural season in the league
For the first time in almost a century, Seattle has an ice hockey team again that competes for the Stanley Cup. (The Seattle Metropolitans beat the Montreal Canadiens in 1917 to become the first American team to capture the Stanley Cup. After the Metropolitans had disbanded in 1924, there were other teams, such as the Seattle Totems, that competed in the Pacific Coast Hockey League, but not in the National Hockey League).
So tonight, in a preseason game for the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season, the Seattle Kraken took on the Vancouver Canucks. More than 10,000 fans packed into the Spokane Arena, all the way across the state near its border with Idaho.
Forward Riley Sheahan (#15) scored the first-ever goal in Kraken history tonight.
The Kraken ended up winning 5-3.
Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap
– Rowdy Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, chanting during the Alcaraz-Tsitsipas tennis match at the US Open, Friday
World No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (23, Greece) was up against 18-year old sensation Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) and the spectators on Friday. (The crowd may have been a little tired of Tsitsipas’ lengthy bathroom breaks between sets. Andy Murray had said on Monday he had lost his respect for Tsitsipas because of it).
The epic match went 4 hrs 11 mins and the full five sets. I watched all of it.
Alcaraz was on fire during the first set. Alcarez 6-3.
He lost the second set. Tsitsipas 6-4.
Alcaraz then trailed 2-5 in the third set. Tsitsipas had 40-15, serving, and yet, Alcarez wrested it away from him, and the next two games. Level at 5-5. The set went to a tiebreaker, which Alcarez won. Alcarez 7-6 (7-2).
Alcarez must have been drained mentally at that point, because he lost the fourth set 0-6. Tsitsipas 6-0. Never mind.
The fifth set went to a tie-breaker again, which Alcarez took 7-5. Alcarez 7-6 (7-2).
Alcarez def. Tsitsipas 6-3 4-6 77-620-6 77-65
Update Tue Sept. 7: The young Alcaraz made it all the way to the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, he had to retire today against Felix Auger-Aliassime because of a leg muscle injury. Fourth Round: Alcaraz def. Peter Gojowczyk (32, Germany) 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0. Quarter-final: Felix Auger-Aliassime (21, Canada) def. Alcaraz 6-3 6-1 (retired).
*Match point means one of the two players needs ONE POINT to win the game, with that win the set, and with that, win the match. In this case, leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Alcaraz could lose the point, but would have another match point at 6-4. He could lose that point as well, and would have yet another match point at 6-5. (Let’s get mathematical. So up at 6-3 in the tiebreaker means you have triple match point. Up 6-2 would be quadruple match point for you. Up 6-1 would be quintuple match point, and just to complete the math, being up 6-0 would be sextuple match point.) [Video still from ESPN+ broadcast]
Well, that was that.
The Games held in a pandemic is now over. It was getting a little too much for me: the commercial-filled coverage from NBC with the taa-ta-ra-tataa music, and my Twitter feed filled up with stories and superlatives (best ever, most medals).
‘By withdrawing from two Olympic events, Biles joined a growing group of elite athletes who have rejected a long tradition of stoicism’.
– The New York Times @nytimes on Twitter
This afternoon, NBC showed the fateful vault jump of superstar* gymnast Simone Biles (24) again. She did not complete her somersaults and stumbled badly on the landing. This prompted her to withdraw from participating with her team, citing her mental well-being/ bad state of mind. She still watched and supported them. (Biles later explained that she experienced ‘the twisties’: a loss of one’s sense of space and orientation while in the air. It could make for a very bad landing and serious injuries).
I say: give her a break.
Kudos to her teammates that came close to claim the gold for Team USA, but had to settle for silver.
*Here’s reader Lecteur from France, commenting on the NYT article: ‘Obviously Americans have freedom of speech, but perhaps it would be salutary for them to recognize the harmfulness of excessive hype, including applying the Greatest of All Time label, to athletes still performing‘.
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.