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.
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).
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.
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.
Oh man! What an unfortunate ending unfolded at the 2018 US Open Women’s Final today. Down by one set, in the second set, Serena’s coach gestured to her to ‘move up’ (not allowed). Chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Serena a warning, which she took very badly – as an insult, and ‘unfair’ – saying that in men’s tennis they get away with coaching all the time, and much more. (She’s right about that, but this was not the time,nor the place, to argue that). She would not stop berating the chair umpire, and at the next change of sides, called him a thief, and demanded an apology. Then she also broke a racquet on the court. When she again launched into a tirade, it was the third violation, and she was given a penalty of a whole game.
As ESPN notes, at least everyone can agree that the winner, Naomi Osaka (20) from Japan, was cheated out of an uncontroversial win.
South African sports legend John van Reenen (71) passed away on Tuesday at his home in Calitzdorp, South Africa. (He suffered from diabetes). He studied art right here in Seattle at the University of Washington until 1971, and was a world-class discus thrower at the time. He wanted to attend the 1972 Olympic Games, but was barred as a South African citizen. South Africans were barred by the IOC from the Games from 1964 to 1992, due to the South African government’s apartheid policies.
At an event in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 1975, Van Reenen set a world record with a throw of 68.48 m. Discus throwers studied and imitated his technique, known for a long time as ‘the South African drill’. Perfecting a good technique is notoriously difficult – which may be why the world record of German Jürgen Schult of 74.08 m, set in 1986, still stands today. It is the oldest record in all of men’s track and field.
Wow! Kevin Anderson is the first South African in almost 100 years to make it to the Wimbledon Men’s Final (Brian Norton made it in 1921).
The match ran for 6 hrs and 36 minutes, Anderson finally prevailing over American John Isner, with a monster score of 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 and 26-24. There is no ‘tiebreaker’ (played at 6-6) in the final set. To win, a player have to lead by two games (called an advantage set).
So far, the US Open is the only major tournament that dictates that a tiebreaker be played even in the final set .. but I bet other tournament committees are now going to look into doing it as well. Long matches such as these wreak havoc on the tournament schedule, and on the eventual winner’s ability to be ready for the next match. The other semi-final between Djokovic and Nadal had to be suspended, and will only be completed on Saturday.
The Wimbledon Men’s Final and the World Cup Final are both set for Sunday. (England plays Croatia on Wednesday for a place in the World Cup Final against France). So far, Wimbledon’s management has refused to budge, and will not reschedule the traditional 2 pm (1300GMT) start time. The World Cup does start two hours later, at 4 pm (1500GMT), but there is no way the tennis final will have been completed by that time.
I guess I will have to toggle back and forth – but if Roger Federer plays on Sunday, I will have to miss some of the soccer.
It might be the last Wimbledon hurrah for Federer, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He turns 37 in August. Are there any praises still left to sing? asks tennis.com.
Update Wed 7/11: South Africa’s Kevin Anderson beat Federer today in a tough 5-set match (13-11 in the final set). Yay! for Kevin. Aww .. Roger is out after all. And England fell to Croatia, 1-2. So it’s Croatia and France on Sunday.
England went through to the final eight in the World Cup, but they made their fans bite their nails through a penalty shoot-out against Columbia.
One has to feel sorry for the team that loses in a penalty shoot-out. It’s like the tie-breaker in tennis. A stray shot, a lucky break, a bare miss, makes the world of difference between winning and losing.
I try to watch as many World Cup matches as I can, and I just love the bit of pomp and ceremony at the start. The players come out onto the field with the kids, the giant flags are unfurled on the field, the national anthems play, and the game starts.