20 December 2015

2015 Tweets and GIFs of the year

Twitter is a true gift, and thanks to amazing GIF-makers like WTA Reactions following tennis has never been such fun.

Here are some of the tennis tweets and GIFs that made me laugh, month by month, and others that made me proud. There just might be a few recurring themes....but what a fun year it was!


January 2015:







February 2015:



March 2015:










April 2015:



May 2015:



June 2015: 



July 2015:




August 2015:


September 2015:




October 2015:

November 2015:



December 2015: 



13 December 2015

Celebrating my 25th year as a tennis fan

1990 was the year I fell in love with professional tennis. I've written about my first tennis faves Monica Seles and Andre Agassi often enough and I still thank them (and Jennifer Capriati) for getting me into this game. The first slam I ever watched was the 1990 French Open...my how time flies.

The year, I revisited chunks of the past 25 years of tennis fandom by going through old news clippings, tennis tourney programs and memorabilia. Because I didn't live in the US for ages, I really hadn't gone through all my tennis stuff, well, ever. I had no idea how much I'd accumulated.

A year ago, I converted all my VHS tapes of tennis matches and interviews and have shared many matches and tidbits on my Youtube channel. I've continued to try and upload some items I didn't already see on Youtube, such as Andre Agassi's last match at Wimbledon vs Rafael Nadal from 2006, or the the full, uninterrupted 1998 French Open semifinal win by Monica Seles over Martina Hingis.


This year, I continued to organize the many, many tennis items I've accumulated through the last 25 years.  I've pared down a bit, donated some items to fellow tennis fans and now have a full on tennis wall and tennis bookshelf housing all my tennis books, magazines and tennis tournament programs. I have had such fun going through them all and have tweeted so many classic magazine covers, photos, etc. And I uncovered the two tennis scrapbooks I used to keep in the early 90s. What a blast!

One item I found this year that was incredible was a newsletter published by Venus and Serena back in 1999. My discovery led my friend Ben Rothenberg to write an article on it for Slate.

So 2015 was a great year for this tennis nerd. I attended two new tournaments, started doing a live tennis radio show and in all spent 27 days watching live matches in Indian Wells, Madrid and Cincinnati. This in addition to my continued tennis memorabilia organization project and I think I celebrated my 25th year as a tennis nerd/addict pretty well!

Here's my breakdown of what my 2015 entailed:

Completing 32 live radio shows on the Pro Tenn Radio Network - we were all-WTA which was great and so much fun but I had no idea how much work would go into 1-2 hours of a live tennis show. It's a challenge to think on your feet in terms of stats, results, rankings and more so each show took a lot of pre-planning looking up all sorts of facts and figures. But it was really great to be able to talk tennis, especially women's tennis, so in-depth.

Thanks to my co-host Pete for a fun year and thanks to everyone who listened, called in and engaged with us on Twitter!

Watching Serena make her Indian Wells comeback - it took me awhile to try and put into words how amazing it all was. I tried here. Being there that first night was so emotional and nerve wracking.

How nervous would Serena be? How supportive would the crowd be? Because I wasn't exactly sitting court side, other than being well aware at how much cheering there was, I couldn't see the emotion on Serena's face when she came on court. But being part of the crowd that night, and hearing the support throughout is by far one of my best tennis memories, ever. The standing ovation was everything.





Making my debut at Indian Wells - the morning I woke up to the news that Serena was returning to IW was the day I booked my flight there and overall it was wonderful. Here are my tips for attending. I'm sure I'll be back. I had a glorious 9 days onsite and although the heat was rough all in all I can see why players and fans love the BNP Paribas Open.

First visit to the Madrid Open - Madrid itself is so, so amazing (see my travel blog here) and overall I enjoyed the tournament. I was onsite for the entire tournament and it was memorable in so many ways. Some thoughts here.

Return to Cincinnati - As much as I love attending slams, I felt so satisfied with my time in Cincy that I didn't bother with the US Open this year. Cincy is one of the best combined events, in fact I rate it higher than both IW and Miami for overall fan experience. My thoughts here.

Meeting up with many old and new tennis fans I've met through Twitter. I usually attend tournaments alone and that's just fine because I can do what I like. But at every tournament I went to this year, I was able to meet up with so many friends I've met through Tennis Twitter. You're all fab.

And here are some of my favorite matches I saw live this year:

Yulia Putintseva vs Anastasia Rodionova, Indian Wells. This qualifying match embodied SO much of what I love about the WTA. There was so much drama, a small but very captive audience and many WTA/ATP chair umpires around watching the drama unfold. My friends over at The Tennis Island nicely documented the match and I'm so happy our Twitter coverage of this non-streamed qualifying match is preserved for all time. A MUST read.

  

Serena vs Vika, Madrid - I hadn't seen these two play live since the 2013 US Open final. And this was the first match with Sascha Bajin attending a Serena match in another player box (sniff). So much intrigue and this match was full of drama, especially Vika being up triple match point and Serena winning 7-6 in the third for her 26th straight win.






Chan Sisters vs Flavia Pennetta and Sara Errani, Cincinnati. This was one of the craziest doubles matches I've ever seen live. In the end, the Chan sisters won 6-7 (4) 7-6 (1), 19-17. The Italians had five match points in the supertiebreak. It lasted two hours and 18 minutes. I got in right before the first set tiebreaker and saw the match from there, and oh my goodness it was crazy. I was courtside in the media seats so I got to see all the player expressions and it was the best. The atmosphere was incredible. Such fun!




Vika vs Maria, Indian Wells - even though this match was a bit of a fizzer,  I still loved seeing these two amazing players face off for the first time live. I hope they play more often in 2016. And that we get a more improved Vika in 2016....






Indian Wells 2015 3rd round Highlights Maria... by cruxsquall

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Lucie Safarova, Madrid - this was one of those crazy tennis matches that had so many twists and turns. Sveta served for the first set at 5-4 and then lost three straight games to loser the set. Lucie led 5-2 in the second set TB, and Sveta somehow won the set. Then Lucie was up 5-3 in the second set, had a few match points but in the end Sveta won 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).  The crowd improved in size as the contest progressed and I loved it all! I would have never picked Sveta to go all the way to the final after she got through this one, and who would have expected Lucie to make the French Open final mere weeks later? 


 




As always, thanks to everyone for reading this blog, for following and chatting with me on Twitter and in general just being part of this incredible sport! Here's hoping for another incredible year in 2016.

12 December 2015

UPDATE: Ranking Serena's 21 slam-winning dresses

After Serena won the 2014 US Open, I ranked her 18 slam winning outfits. A year later, she's up to #21 which means that post was woefully out of date. 

I LOVED Serena's bright pink and yellow at this year's Australian Open so that got high marks from me, the peach at the French Open was okay but I really did not like the Wimbledon kit at all. In general, Serena straps have to improve next year, and no more cheetah prints! You hear me Nike?

I still miss Serena in Puma. I think Nike has let her down in recent years and I hope they do better in 2016 as she attempts to tie (and pass!) Steffi Graf.

So here's my update at ranking all of Serena's slam winning outfits. Do you agree? Add in your comments below!


#21 - 2005 Australian Open (Slam #7)



  

I do like Serena in yellow, but this Nike kit was weird and I did not love Serena's reddish hair. What was that neck adornment meant to be? It looks like a jockstrap. And is that an apron in the front? What in the world Nike.


#20 - 2009 Wimbledon (Slam #11)






This was just a boring dress. And the big blazer she wore over it did nothing for her. Dislike.


#19: 2015 Wimbledon (Slam #21)



The straps are killing me softly. The sheer piece at Serena's waist wasn't that flattering at times and no to the cheetah in white. No more.

#18 - 2002 Wimbledon (Slam #3)




Puma merely changed Serena's black French Open dress to white and I liked it less in white. Also think her roots were a bit overdue so a headband of some kind might have made the outfit less drab.


#17 - 2007 Australian Open (Slam #8)




I know this is one of Serena's best slams but I always hated the lime dress and those huge earrings. The lines on the dress were unnecessary to me.


#16 - 2013 US Open (Slam #17)




Serena's hair and makeup were top-notch at the 2013 US Open, and I love the shade of pink for the top half of Serena's dress but this awful skirt was just...awful. It was so short and flimsy so in the windy Ashe Stadium we saw more of her grey shorts than we did the skirt.


#15 - 2009 Australian Open (Slam #10)




The blue really popped and I liked the yellow accents. I like Serena so much better with longer hair so looking at this look overall I can't really get into the shorter curls, but loved the heart necklace.


#14 - 2010 Australian Open (Slam #12)




It's funny to look back to this pic, which is less than 5 years ago, and notice that Serena is so much fitter than she was before her health scares. I liked the gold color of this dress tho and thought it simple but nice. It helps that she wore this dress while ending the comeback hopes of Henin. Good times.


#13 - French Open 2003 (Slam #2)



    

We just don't see Serena in black enough but I always loved this black and gold Puma dress. Still didn't care for her hair but this dress was fantastic.

#12 - French Open 2015 (Slam #20)



Loved the colors, but that cheetah pattern has got to go. I really like the brightness tho and thought it looked great against the orange clay.


#11 - 2003 Wimbledon (Slam #6)



Puma didn't mix things up much for Serena for Wimbledon, as this outfit wasn't far off from her 2003 Australian Open attire. But that color combo still worked great and I loved the belt. The hoop earrings were big but complemented the outfit well.



#10 - 2014 US Open (Slam #18)





This leopard print dress grew on me, but definitely liked it better in the white she won her 18th slam in. The pink accessories were perfect (need to find me some of those wristbands). I'd be happy if she changed her hair as the frizzy blonde is the only thing I didn't like about her most recent slam look.


#9 - 2008 US Open (Slam #9)





Serena in red. This shade of red just popped and just seeing it reminds me of the sheer joy when Serena beat Jankovic to win this title. I wish the headband wasn't quite so thick but otherwise this was a winner.


#8 - 1999 US Open (Slam #1)




The only Serena slam with beads. I loved this Puma dress - the light yellow, the length of the dress was gre
at. I thought the big gold necklace was a bit much but overall this was a great look for the 17-year old.


#7 - Australian Open 2015 (Slam #19)



The colors here are amazing. Love the brightness and her hair looked fantastic. The straps were still a bit of an issue, but overall this was a win.


#6 - Wimbledon 2012 (Slam #14)






I loved the purple accessories and thought this was her second-best Wimbledon look. The v-neck cut was cute and again just loved the 2012 summer hair Serena was rocking.

#5 - 2013 US Open (Slam #15)




This was great dress, and she wore a pink version for the day matches but I liked this better. The dark blue and yellow went great together and I loved the big hair she was rocking in 2012.


#4- 2002 US Open (Slam #4)




The Catsuit. Puma you are so missed. This was actually my first live Serena - and wow.  What can you say about this outfit? It was AMAZING. Loved the light link headband which is in this pic is hiding Serena's long blonde locks.


#3 - 2003 Australian Open (Slam #5)




I loved the bright orange and white Puma had for Serena in Melbourne when she achieved the Serena Slam. Her jewelry was simple and I thought her hair with the white headband kept the whole look very clean. The glittery strap was a great touch and loved the orange belt.


#2 - 2013 French Open (Slam #16)




Who would have thought navy blue and a tangerine orange would look so good? This was such a great "Sweet 16" dress for Serena. And the hair was rocking!


#1 - 2010 Wimbledon (Slam #13)



  

My top dress is Serena's best Wimbledon look ever for me, and she coined this outfit "strawberries and cream." I loved the cute ruffles around the skirt and her hair looked great with the tiny headband keeping her naturally darker hair in place. Just loved this and even didn't hate the little warm-up jacket she wore over it. She even rocked red shorts under the dress. Perfection.


So what's your vote? What is Serena's best and worst Grand Slam winning outfits?