CooCoo for Coco

CoCo Vanderweghe-20
Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

When I was a kid growing up in Colorado, Denver was home to one of the greatest scoring tandems in NBA history. Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe lit up the scoreboard every game, and if I remember correctly they even finished the season ranked #1 and #2 in scoring one year.

Good times, that until recently were long forgotten.

But a couple of years ago a really young American girl had her U.S. Open match featured on TV and her name had a very familiar ring to it. Coco Vandeweghe.

Sure enough, her uncle turned out to be Kiki and I instantly became a fan. Now, about two years later, she’s being touted by some as one of the top two up-and-coming American women.

McHale and Vandeweghe, numbers 1 and 2 – or vice versa. Former Nuggets fan or not, if you’re an American that has a nice ring to it.

Reflecting Your Love of the Game

tennis_031510I love antique stores. Yes, even though I’m a dude.

One of the things I love looking for in all the booths are old tennis racquets. They aren’t difficult to find either. Depending on the size of the store I’ll find anywhere from three to 20 racquets on any given trip.

Even though I really like the look of old wooden racquets and they are often very reasonably priced I never purchase them. Why? Because I wouldn’t know what to do with them.

Until now.

This DIY home decorating article offers a great idea on how to use wooden racquets as home decor items.

How about you. Do you decorate your home with tennis flair? If so, what projects do you recommend?

Borrowing Money to Play on the Tour

outside sf tennis club
rcarver / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I wrote awhile back about a tennis pro who shed light on the financial difficulties players who aren’t ranked in the top 100 face.

Now here’s another story that reinforces the argument and even casts the problem in a harsher light.

Even saving money for a rainy day or for when serious injury strikes can be tough.

“In order to put money on the side, you have to be in the top 50, stay there for a while and pay attention to your finances,” said former professional player Arnaud Di Pasquale.

But some tournament officials insist that the top players do not help their fellow players with sky-rocketing demands for appearance money.

“They take at least 40% of the prize money and appearance money and when I say 40% I am being kind,” one tournament director told AFP.

The story goes on to reveal that at least one female player ranked in the 130s had to take loans last year to continue financing her expenses. And that the ATP now allows the top players to charge appearance fees, which presumably reduce the tournaments’ ability to increase pay for all competitors.

I suppose the moral of the story is: tennis is a great sport to get your kid into if you want them to have fun, and it might one day lead to a college scholarship – but as far as lifetime earnings go you’re better off teaching your child to purchase lotto tickets than how to hit a kick serve.


Tired of Mac’s Schtick

Primer plano
photoAtlas / Foter / CC BY-NC

I’ve been a little under the weather this holiday season and as a result have become more intimate with the television – along with the toilet.

The other day I happened to catch the end of the Powershares event in NYC. After watching Rafter dispatch of Sampras, I then watched the entire Rafter/McEnroe match. A few takeaways:

  • Rafter has the exact right attitude for these events. After defeating McEnroe he was asked by the far-too-serious announcer if this second Powershares tournament victory in a row gave him confidence that his game was coming along. Rafter’s reply was something like, ‘I don’t really care how my game is coming along, we’re all old and this is just for fun.’
  • Though I agree with Rafter’s attitude, I don’t really care to watch these events myself and would certainly never pay to attend one. Frankly, I’d rather watch a 3.5 match where both players really care about winning than pay a couple of old pros to humor me for a couple of hours. It does make me wonder though, could a Senior’s tour work in tennis? I’m talking about a truly competitive tour, possibly played right alongside the regular tour – but with fewer events. If you could get some of the big name players to play I’d watch it.
  • I loved McEnroe as a kid. Loved his competitive spirit, loved his attitude, and just loved the way he played. Today I really like McEnroe as an announcer. What I don’t like though is his schtick on the court in these senior events. We all know he’s just putting on “The McEnroe” show for the crowd – no one can get that angry about an out call in a senior event – and the bit has definitely reached the point of saturation. C’mon Mac, lighten up and have some fun on the court. No one will be disappointed that they didn’t see a classic Mac meltdown and in fact, those of us still watching you play will like you the more for it.

Building the Tennis Club of the Future

When politicians talked about rebuilding American infrastructure I didn’t know they were talking about tennis.

While two or three or even 10 data points does not a trend make, I’ve noticed an increasing number of stories of new tennis facilities – either already built or in the works – in the news lately. The most recent being this modern new facility in Oregon.

It would seem that many tennis facilities that are still in use today we’re built during the great American tennis boom in the late 70’s and early 80’s. But after 30-40 years of use, these facilities are showing their age and new facilities are popping up to attract (steal) some of their members who might like a fresher atmosphere.

I’ve witnessed this first hand, as my club was recently purchased by a corporation, which summarily sold the older facility in favor of a brand new, more modern abode.

There can be good and bad to this, of course, In my case, while the modern facility is much nicer in many ways, it would be fair to say that many of the members feel we lost a little bit of the familial feel of the older place. Still, progress should not be stopped, and newer and nicer facilities are bound to attract much needed new blood to the sport.

Are You Ready For Some Tennis?

Sarah Palin Visit 8
Are You Ready For Some Tennis?pennstatelive / Foter / CC BY-NC

For each of the past five years, rain delays have caused the men’s final at the US Open to be played on Monday instead of the regularly scheduled Sunday. In 2013, the men’s final will once again be played on Monday – but this time it won’t be because of rain delays.

The USTA recently announced the one-year-trial schedule change, and everyone seems to have an opinion about it.

Without knowing everything that goes into scheduling a major tournament, I’d side with those who think that rather than move the men’s final to Monday the USTA should instead push the tournament start day ahead one day. Having said that, I’m willing to give USTA execs the benefit of the doubt and I imagine there are several good reasons why that might not be feasible.

Either way, DVR is everyone’s friend these days and in the U.S. at least it’s unlikely us tennis fans will have to worry about a co-worker giving away any results before we leave for the day. I for one plan to record it and enjoy the ability to fast forward through the commercial breaks.

And who knows, the final might catch the attention of some football fans who are flipping through the channels looking for MNF pre-game shows. Whereas the match formerly competed with the afternoon NFL game on Sundays, it might now serve as a lead-in into the big Monday night game. And sports fans being sports fans, if the final is exciting this move might actually draw more to the sport.

We can always hope 🙂

Who is Di Wu?

Who is Di Wu? And why should you care that he’s playing in the 2013 Australian Open?

Wu is the 183rd ranked tennis player in the world, and he’s the first Chinese male to play in the main draw in Australia’s Grand Slam event. Unless you have one of those satellite services that lets you see every match you might not even have an opportunity to watch him play, and even if you do it might be a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ – but his involvement alone is a huge step toward the wearing of pants by men in the Chinese tennis family (you probably need to read this older post to understand what I’m talking about there).