Category Archives: Sports

My First Time Fed Cup Experience Czech Republic vs USA

Over the years I’ve attended plenty of professional tennis tournaments and they all have been equally tremendous fun. However, fed cup was something that seemed extra special and entertaining to me and as soon I knew USA was hosting my favorite team of all time, a team that represents the beautiful country of Czech Republic, I knew I had to make it happen. I first prayed it would be in a location that was accessible to me. Lo and behold, they put it in Florida. Not just a random city in Florida… Tampa, an area that I was very familiar with over my lifetime. This was my chance to see some of my favorite players play in a setting unlike any other.

There was only one obstacle I thought that could stop me from going and that’s the one that I ended up having to face. I enjoy watching all of the Czech players play I always have; but of course I’m going to have a few that stand out above the rest that I really wanted to see play. Everyone knows Petra is the one that I love most aka the love of my life. We knew before any of this was possible that she couldn’t play until the final at best if they ended up making it there. So she was out. There were still the other three big players that had a chance to play and it seemed at least one of Bara Strycova, Lucie Safarova, and Karolina Pliskova would play to give their team a chance to make another final. I was admittedly gutted when they all passed on the decision to play. I obviously realized going all the way to Florida from Europe just for the weekend was never going to be easy for them and the decision was understandable. I just needed a bit of time to let it sink in.

I immediately gave no thought (which was dumb) and said it’s not worth it without of them playing. That thought disintegrated from my mind only about an hour later. The Czechs RARELY come to the United States let alone a city I can actually go to. They have only come twice in the last 27 years. 27!! The last time was 2003 and the time before was 1990. So I did not want to take any chances and miss it because who knows how long it’ll be before they’ll be back. I mean yes it could happen sooner next time but I’m not about to wait and find out. Plus by the time they do come back, I still assume the quickest time possible is 4-5 years and my faves could all be retired by then and then maybe I don’t want to go. OK I REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY! ME GOING NOW IN THAT SAME SITUATION IS NO DIFFERENT THAN IN 5 YEARS BUT STILL… 4-5 IS STILL BEST CASE! I’m not sure I still want to go when I’m like 40. Anyways so here I am!!

Ok that was my background on my decision to go to this tie. Now the real experience of everything about attending it. The hotel I stayed at it was extremely close to the resort (5 mins drive) that was amazing. Now where they played is an actual resort where people stay and you could see all of the different amenities they had there like nice rooms, a big pool, tennis courts, golf course, etc. it was quite beautiful. The resort only knew they were going to be hosting fed cup for about a month a half ahead of time. So they had to plop a stadium down onto the resort somewhere in that amount of time which they did and it holds about 3,000 people so it’s nice all things considering. If you were curious about how the parking was sorted out, I’ll tell you. It wasn’t that bad actually. With it being a resort, it just felt like being inside a little neighborhood so it was like one big circle. There were different lots around the resort and none of them were that far from each other. You could even walk to them from the stadium if you really wanted but shuttles would come and go from the lots and that was that. Once you got to the stadium, the actual grounds around it were extremely limited. There were basically little plaza square areas around each stadium exit with about 2-3 food/drink stands and that was about it. But you could go way back to the resort where there was much more room (like by the huge pool) if you wanted; there wasn’t an issue with leaving the grounds area and not being able to come back. Because of that, it was never as crowded as you’d expect in those little squares which I liked.

The stadium looked great as far as I could tell and I feel like any seat you had would’ve been terrific. It’s obviously not a gigantic stadium like other events I’ve attended so it makes even the highest seats pleasant for viewing. I sat in one of the corners of the stadium which I love and the action was great. The atmosphere was how you would expect, heavy USA cheering but a few sections scattered about with Czech fans and the biggest group was behind the Czech bench which is usually how it is for visiting teams. The most notable thing about the atmosphere was the noise. I knew it was coming but still, I could clearly tell the crowd around me at least was not ready for the heavy blasting of vuvuzelas, trumpets, and whatever else they had after every point. Especially the Czechs behind the bench. They let them roar after every point they won. I enjoyed it personally but it’s not a typical tennis thing so it had to throw off the crowd a bit. At least until they got used to it. If they ever did.

I’m not gonna talk too much about the matches because you all saw them or at least know what happened. I’ll just say live tennis is as good as it gets no matter who is playing. I didn’t know what I’d get from this tie but it was as intense as I ever hoped. I was also rooting for it to go to a deciding doubles rubber to see what that would be like and it did which was fantastic. Maky showed brilliant strength and mental toughness on the last day with the Czechs down 1-2 to force that decider and as a Czech fan that was the coolest part of the weekend to see someone like her succeed against the tough crowd when it mattered most. That was the match I enjoyed most.

I’m someone who enjoys going against the majority crowd and getting to show my Czech pride was so invigorating. I was fistpumping, pojding, and sitting next to a great group of fans who appreciated how good the Czech girls played despite rooting for USA unsurprisingly. My favorite part of it all was the constant crowd chant battles of U-S-A! U-S-A! Vs ČES-KO! ČES-KO! This is what it’s all about. The players were heavily into it and the crowd never let up either. Regardless of the result, I’ll never forget this weekend and will hold my head high of the girls’ effort. They did their country proud. Good luck to USA in the final as well!

Thanks for reading!

Jake

 

2017 Season Preview/Predictions of Simo Halep. Is a Grand Slam Title Finally in the Cards?

Welcome back fellow Halepenos and HalepBand!! It is that time again as we are ready to kick off another year of supporting our champion. Last year Simo started very slow with a first round exit in the first slam in the year down under. She came into it with an illness which ended up becoming a more serious issue than initially expected and she even announced that she would have nasal surgery to fix it which would’ve sidelined her for at least a month including fed cup. Here’s where I jump in to say THANK GOD SHE POSTPONED IT WE GOT THE GREATEST KVITALEP MATCH OF ALL TIME BECAUSE OF THAT!! Ok. Moving on. Simo went on to win three titles in 2016: Madrid, (her first one in 14 months) Bucharest for the second time in her career (the first one she ever won multiple times) and another huge win in Montreal over Madison Keys the week before the Olympics which she didn’t participate in. She kind of struggled towards the end of the year but one of her highlights even in defeat was a very hard-fought battle against Serena in Flushing Meadows at the US Open which she lost in three sets. Including one of the most clutch sets you’ll see in a long time where she faced 12 break points in the second set and saved every single one to win it.

So…. What does 2017 have in store for us? She will begin her journey in Shenzhen again; an event which she won back in 2015. Barring health issues, as I believe every year, the highlight of this year will be seeing her stand in front of a massive crowd kissing her first career grand slam trophy. Doubters and haters will say she will never be able to do it because of weak mental strength, power, etc. but they have never stopped us before in believing it will happen. Simo has to trust herself most importantly, live in the moment and play without fear because that’s the only thing holding her back as of now since we know her fighting spirit and talent has never been in question.He can’t help her on court during them but believe in Darren to show her the way to this majestic trophy! He’s a wizard don’t ever doubt that! This partnership has many great things left to accomplish in her career. I think Simo can win at least five titles this year (my bias could even do more if I wanted! But five sounded nice to start with) And I’m gonna predict them (despite not knowing draws which of course would help) and the results at every slam for starters here:

Australian Open: QF- This one is hard to predict for a lot more reasons than usual mainly because it’s so early in the year and it can be hard to get fully zoned into grand slam mode immediately starting 2017, you don’t know who is hot and who is cold yet, and the extreme heat is always random and that can get concerning on certain days. I mean I know she can go further but she has never reached a SF here and so I’m hesitant to think she will all of a sudden, but she has the talent to even win this so I’m trying to be cautious but at the same time optimistic! Based on plenty of experience… it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than expect a title and get let down again.

Roland Garros– Winner! A boring and obvious pick for many as the one she will win first but hey, this is her favorite event to play so why shouldn’t it be here? And she has shown amazing success here before and on clay in general. I still am very bitter about how it ended last year as the conditions were extremely horrid and they made her play through them and it cost her a loss. It’s not like she played great but come on she should’ve never been out there. That could’ve easily been her first slam too who knows. Ok that’s enough of Jake’s rant session that’s a topic you don’t want to push me on! So throw away the loss to Lucic Baroni in 2015 and her resume here doesn’t look too shabby.

Wimbledon: QF- This would be the same result as last year and I feel the same way about this one as AO because I know she can have success here and the 2014 SF shows that, but grass has never been her best surface and I feel she will need some draw luck to go deep. If she didn’t have to play Angie last year I think she could’ve had a shot at the title again so while this wouldn’t be an amazing run, I am still optimistic that she can go even deeper here! She has to believe I keep saying that’s always the key!

US Open- Final. I don’t know if she can win but I can easily see her making her first USO final this year because she has played some fantastic tennis in New York and nearly made it in 2015 before falling very flat in the SF vs Pennetta. If she gets there, it’s not like I’m automatically predicting a loss I am just saying I think she’s gonna get there and the rest will play out itself. I mean it could be against Serena for all we know and that’s big trouble (not that it’s totally impossible to beat her 😉 If she already has one this year coming into this one, the thought of her playing for her second one in the same year gives me so many feels don’t touch me right now I’m getting emotional.

The main thing I’m praying for this grand slam season are that there are no extremely early round flops to break our hearts. (Ok YES ANY GRAND SLAM LOSS WILL BREAK OUR HEARTS BUT YOU GET ME) Because this has happened at least once in each of the past couple of years and we know it’s very difficult to deal with! It crushes me seeing all of her fans sad after losses like those because it’s so unexpected and it’s just like a huge bomb out of nowhere dropping down on her fanbase. If she is gonna lose at a slam I prefer it to be later because at least she gave herself a much better chance to lift the trophy.

Also another prediction that is probably worth mentioning is her ranking status this year. She is currently #4 in the world and you have to think if she can maintain that consistency and stay in the top 5 the whole year that would be another great year for her. Of course her reaching #1 in the world is another huge achievement that we would all love to see her get to at some point, but it certainly won’t be easy. However, it’s obviously not impossible and there will be some nice chances early for her to get at least to #3 by the end of the Australian Open and if she wins it, could leapfrog all the way to #2 if I’m not mistaken. Bottom line, my prediction is that she will end at #3. I think staying in the top 5 is still my main wish but I’m not ruling her out to get higher and higher if she believes in herself and takes her chances.

Last but not least, my four other trophy predictions include Shenzhen again, Miami, Cincy and Singapore. Why not try for some more new trophies for her trophy case! Feel free to make your predictions on her titles, her grand slam results and anything else you want! Regardless of how her year plays out I can’t wait to support Simo with all of you for another year. Win or lose we always have her beautiful smile, her positivity, her cuteness, her kindness, her hard work ethic, and too many more amazing qualities to count. That counts for more than any tennis result could. I wish you all a healthy and Happy New Year and let’s make 2017 the best one yet! Hai Super Simo!!

Hope you enjoyed reading!

Jake

The Story of My Unforgettable Barbora Strycova Experience

I want to share a story that most of you know some parts by now, but I never got a chance to explain it more in detail from my heart on how cool and memorable it was. (And it wasn’t just one day) I didn’t think at the end of my trip i’d be writing a story on a player not named Petra or Simo but here we are and it’s fully deserved. Now, she isn’t my favorite player of course but it may seem like it with the way I think I’m gonna end up fanboying. She certainly did leap way closer to the top after this though. Let me just start by saying if you didn’t already know how special of a human being Barbora Strycova is, this story will prove it to you. I can’t help but describe how awesome she made me feel. That was the most important reason for this is she made me feel like more than just an average tennis fan, but someone who is appreciated at least a little more than usual and made me feel better about myself than any other tennis player has done before. It’s kind of hard to explain the feeling but hopefully this story does it better.

It all started during her first practice of the week which was in the early evening as the sun was beginning to set. I didn’t even know if she’d be out there because this was the day she was flying from Rio to Cincy. She was originally on the practice schedule for 330 and 6 pm but the first one got removed which was expected. The second one was still there though but then a huge downpour of rain came late in the afternoon and halted play for awhile and that can always mess up practice schedules. So I still didn’t know if she’d be there at around 6. I knew she was on the grounds, as she came through the gates just a little bit before then but it doesn’t guarantee the time of practice or anything. Aaaaanyway turns out she came out at her scheduled court 13 at around 6 like scheduled. The only problem was the courts were still soaked from the recent downpour. This was one of the funnier moments of the week as Bara was out there starting to dry the courts with her coach, but she only lasted about 5 minutes and then she was like peace out and left the courts for like 20 minutes while her coach kept drying. She came back to get her headphones it looked like and then left again. She does what she wants and no one tells her otherwise. Finally after her court was dry she was back out there and started to hit. Now, you might be reading this thinking how does this part of the story have any relevance to the later events? You have a right to think this but read the rest and find out!

As I do for a lot of players, I took a bunch of pictures of her hitting and such on both the camera and phone. There was one in particular on my phone that I loved and it’s this one here. She was hitting one of her shots and the sun shined in a perfect position and I just thought it was perfect. This picture was how you say ‘sent in’ to a brilliant Bara fan account on IG @strycovaswarm. Who I give a huge shoutout and thanks to for using it (You know who you are!) because it’s the main reason all of this started because that’s how she saw my picture (follow it, it’s all about Bara as you would expect and there’s no hiding how much she loves it too) to use for the beginning of her journey in Cincy. I will get back to the continuation of this part of the story soon, and there is still so much to say too.

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I ended up getting a selfie and an autograph after this practice and it was the first time we came face to face and there was no surprise how nice Bara was at our first meeting. There weren’t many other people waiting for her but I heard one fan kind of softly say as we watched her take pictures with a couple other fans “you don’t see many players giving that kind of a smile every single time” Yup. Just look at all of her selfies. They’re all amazing in every way.

The next day for the first time ever I went to watch her play a singles match live (I saw a couple of her doubles matches in Miami with Makarova earlier in the year and they were pretty good) and it was against Genie Bouchard on grandstand which is a nice court to start on. Although all the courts are great to get a really close look at the players except stadium. The worst part about this match was the rain was a huge factor once again. There was a delay for a bit before it started, and then they played awhile where Bara was doing very well taking a set and pulling away in the second. Then there was another huge delay just before the match seemed it was going to end because Bara was up 4-0 in the second. So by the time they came back on court it was past 9 pm and they originally arrived on court at around 330. So Bara was able to complete the bagel at around 930, so six hours between the start and end to this match it was crazy! I ended up sitting in the pouring rain again to save my good spot up front even though I probably would have gotten it back anyway lol. It was all good and then after she won I got another selfie and this is where the first interesting thing of my experiences happened… There weren’t that many people again waiting for her to sign or take pictures because not many reappeared after the lengthy rain delay. I asked her for the selfie and when she saw me at first she said “oh hey” like she already remembered me from that brief encounter the night before at her practice. Hmm. The selfie was pretty much identical to the first which I had no doubts it would be but it was fun.

The next day she won another match against Sam Stosur this time and it was even a better court to be on than grandstand, court 7. It was small but if you got a seat you were guaranteed to be nice and close it’s awesome. However, I’m gonna skip to the next day and continue my story from earlier about the picture I took at the first practice.  This day in a surprising development, Bara and Simo were scheduled to practice together in the morning before their matches. So of course I knew I’d be there. Ok, before I talk about the practice you need the background of what happened even before I arrived to the grounds that day. I woke up and found out that Bara first liked the post on the fan account where my photo was used without her even being tagged in it. (Again, this is a regular thing she’s too good) Then she took the photo and posted it on her own IG account and that was only the third time a player has used one of my photos for social media. Andreea and Simo were the others.  Anyway that would’ve been enough for me as I was pretty excited about it, but turns out that was only the beginning…

I got to their practice court early (court 16) and waited and once the time came Bara was the first to arrive. There were very few people there again, at least until Simo showed up after. But the brief time before that when it was just Bara it was empty. I was just sitting on the bleachers and there’s a walkway in front of the bleachers where the players go through to enter the court; she came through and looked my way and said “Hi! You made a really nice picture yesterday!” I mean… how do you respond to that when it comes out of nowhere? I could barely say thank you because of how speechless I was. My heart was racing and so many questions ran through my head. How did she know it was me that took it? I mean I was tagged on the fan account picture, did she go onto my profile to see? She had to of. That’s the only way she could’ve put it together so quickly. Then Simo came through and it gave me no time to recover from what just happened. However she only hit for 15 minutes and then bailed out. As did the rest of the crowd. Like literally every single other person but me was there for solely Simo. So it was just Bara again for a little while longer. Then after she was done she came through one more time and I was like, a selfie won’t do me any good here I have to get a nice regular picture. I can’t lie, I was so tempted to ask her more about how she knew about me, and the fan account and everything, but I don’t want to be someone who takes up too much of her time, I mean she’s got a match to play soon. Knowing Bara she probably wouldn’t have minded since no one else was there, but I’m not the bravest person sorry! Another quick funny thing, I wanted her coach to take the picture but he was walking away. So Bara points to a little girl closer to us who couldn’t have been much older than 3-4 and says “oh she can take it” In my head I’m like no let’s not try that lol. The coach ended up turning around and he took it. Of course the picture did not disappoint either like the person I was standing next to.

Later in the day, she ended up losing her singles match to Kerber in straight sets but she played as well as she could have. Angie was just on a mission for that number one spot she was chasing. I made an IG post about my experience with her earlier in the day and she liked the photo. The last thing I want to talk about from this story is the last practice I got to see her during the week. It was a nice practice. I was on the other side of where she sat, behind a short fence on court 13, the same one where her very first practice was. As she was walking off she looked over and waved at me. I swear I’m not making these things up. I don’t blame you if you think this but it all happened! That’s why I’m writing this because I have never experienced anything like it. I have no reason to ever doubt this woman.

And to cap it all off, she won the doubles title in Cincy with her brand new partner Sania Mirza. I saw a few matches and this team is great. They passed every challenge with flying colors, especially in the final coming back from 1-5 down in the first set to win it 7-5. It was such an incredible week! Now, if you ever wonder why I’m a fan of Bara and why she is in my bio, you can read this. It’s not just this experience either; I have a list saved on why she is cemented into my bio forever.

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Thanks to all who read this and I hope you enjoyed it! Have a nice day.

Five Reasons Why Simo Will and Won’t Win Roland Garros

Since I made one for Petra of course I had to do one for Super Simo! There are always plenty of questions for her entering every slam it seems like and each one the anticipation grows and grows of when that elusive first slam title will come. The following points will show why she will finally get that first slam here in beautiful Paris, and why she will have to wait another month to try again.

Five Reasons Why Simo Will Win Roland Garros

  1. She is as confident as she has been in a long time

This year has been a rocky one with not many positives and nearly was cut short after an announced surgery that ended up never happening. We often have to question her confidence and yes a lot of it is bad luck with injuries, but there have been losses this year that are hard to explain. However, she is fresh off of her biggest win of the season and the past 14 months with her title in Madrid that seemingly came out of nowhere. (Or it was a long time coming if you’re like us and know how hard she constantly works) It came at the perfect time as Simo has to feel like her game is right where it needs to be and she can fully believe that she can lift this trophy. Everything came together and she proved that the good times were far from over. Any title is special but when she got one this big and right before a slam, her confidence will never get higher. Forget about the early loss in Rome right after that. It’s very hard to get focused that quickly and switch court speeds like that. I would not put any stock on that result. As long as she didn’t get injured it’s fine. That should not change her belief.

  1. She finally seems to be getting toward 100% health wise

Before Madrid started this was a major concern as we saw because she got absolutely crushed by Laura Siegemund in Stuttgart and her injury from Fed Cup the previous weekend was a big factor. She couldn’t do anything she wanted to do and was very limited in her shots and movement. I still think it was an event she should not have entered as she said her ankle was still very painful after the weekend and basically tried to run on adrenaline alone. That wasn’t going to cut it and it showed. In Madrid she basically made all of our worries disappear as there were no signs of trouble with it during her title run. Even in Rome it didn’t seem to be that bad, it was just a tough recovery match right after a long week in Madrid. Me personally I don’t have concerns about it unless she says something bad about it. Simo moved beautifully all week in Madrid and if she is 100% percent healthy or close to it unlike in Melbourne this year during the first slam… then watch out she can win it all; especially because of how often injuries have held her back in the past and what kind of player she is when fully healthy.

  1. She is a very good clay court player

There is no doubt about it she has the game on this surface to win it. There are so many ways that clay suites her game. She slides so well and it enhances her world class defending skills to a point where it can drive her opponents crazy. The SF and Finals matches in Madrid proved every bit of that. She will never be able to outhit the big power guns but what she can do is make them earn every point they play and players like them are more vulnerable to breaking down because of that. Simo likes the long points and if she can make them work harder than they have to she will have them right where she wants them. It’s not like she has no power at all either; she is very capable of turning her brilliant defense into offense quickly and that will be a crucial step to win this title.

  1. The WTA has not been in a consistent state this year

This was a positive reason in my Petra article and I believe it can easily be used again because of how important it is. You never know what you’re going to get at a WTA event this year because of all of the inconsistent players and this is something Simo can take advantage of. I mean she kind of did it in Madrid because she was the only seeded player in the QFs. It doesn’t matter how she did it though because she hasn’t taken advantage that often in the previous 14 months without a title. This draw is also capable of breaking down and if Simo has a favorable enough draw we could see her playing opponents that are very manageable which would mean a deeper result and perhaps her being fresher for the really tough opponents down the road. That being said, the slam draws haven’t mattered to her much the past year or so as she’s lost to players like Zhang, Cepelova, Lucic Baroni, etc. She can’t take advantage of draws without beating those kind of players.

  1. Her only grand slam final was at this very event

Yes it’s time to bring back one of the best Simo moments of all time when she made a memorable run to the 2014 Roland Garros final and nearly captured her first grand slam title against Maria Sharapova. That is a match if you have to watch one Simo match that she didn’t win, that’s the one. It demonstrates all of the reasons Simo has a great chance to win this slam every year and why many people think her first one will be here. Everyone already knows she can challenge any player on the tour but this just showed that in the biggest moments she is ready to fight her hardest until the very end. The strengths that I described about Simo on clay earlier were in full force against Maria who is one of the toughest competitors of the game during this era. She did everything but win the match and I fully believe that when she has the chance, she will show her best again and this time it will be good enough to win.

Five Reasons Why Simo Won’t Win Roland Garros

  1. She puts too much pressure on herself by saying there is no pressure

Every slam it seems we hear the same thing from her ‘I have no expectations, I’m just going to play my game and see what happens’ Well I know she means well but it’s like she is trying so hard to avoid pressure to make it seem like she doesn’t have to worry about it, and next thing you know she is out. You can’t say things that are unrealistic and I know some will say this is a good frame of mind but to me it makes it seem she is making it harder on herself by avoiding any pressure talks. I’m not saying she should just admit the pressure is on and she’s nervous, but in reality it will always be there and she has to deal with it. If she plays it too safe again she won’t last long.

  1. Grand Slams have ended in horrific fashion for her many times recently

Recent history shows that this is the main concern for why Simo will not win Roland Garros this year although it’s my second reason. When Simo loses at a slam, she doesn’t just lose, she collapses in a terrifying way. There is no warning of when it is coming, it just happens and we have to sit there stunned and depressed. This isn’t a reason that can be explained other than she just faces the wrong opponents at the wrong time. Think of her slam losses since 2014 Wimbledon. Lucic Baroni badly twice, basically giving up against Makarova in 2015 AO, no answer for Cepelova in the first round of 2015 Wimbledon, and then again a complete no show in USO SF against Flavia Pennetta after one of her greatest matches in her career against Vika. And of course we can’t forget this year’s first round defeat in Melbourne where Zhang blew her off the court. That leads to my next point. There isn’t a legit loss for Simo at a slam since that RG final I just discussed. It happens way too often for a player of her stature and don’t think it can’t happen again.

  1. She can get blown off the court when you least expect it

Like I said before and it’s something that is widely known so you don’t need me to tell you, Simo is not the most powerful player so she is vulnerable to this against the big hitters. She has run into opponents like Lucic Baroni and Zhang who had their way with her in every possible way imagined and there is nothing Simo can do. She just sits back and takes the abuse and in the blink of an eye it’s over. It’s almost like early on she knows she is getting painfully outhit and just goes through the motions the rest of the way until the bleeding is over. This is something that fans can realize early on too that she is in big trouble when her opponents are on fire and painting lines where even her strong defending can’t save her. When players take away her defending ability and being able to turn that into offense, it hurts her chances much more. I am afraid of this reason happening the most because there isn’t a worse feeling than watching her being helpless out there.

  1. Injuries that linger turn into painful consequences

Simo can tell us all she wants that she is feeling great and all of that fine and dandy stuff. However, it always seems her injuries never really go away and get worse and worse during a specific match during a slam or any event for that matter and all of a sudden it is affecting every part of her game and that’s how losses can happen. I’m not saying she is losing at slams because of her injuries, but she has a very fragile body and this is a reason you cannot avoid because we have seen it too many times before. She needs to be able to win matches as quickly as possible early on so she doesn’t put so much wear and tear on her ankle/foot which is usually the main part of her body that has trouble holding up. Clay especially more than any surface in my opinion is where you need healthy feet because of how much running and sliding needs to be done. Plus when movement and defense are her biggest strengths on this surface, it’s not something that would be good at all if that is taken away. I can tell you this much, if she has any troubles with it during this event, you can forget about her winning. Although playing every other day is a plus.

  1. Her mind and emotions are as fragile as her body

This does tie into the other points a bit but still there is more to be said. I feel the emotions part especially is noteworthy because Simo is extremely hard on herself and a perfectionist. This leads to her emotions getting the best of her because she loses control when it isn’t necessary. We saw a great example of this in Madrid when she faced Irina Begu and let a simple tactic or what she thought was bad when Begu was getting coaching during the match play. Those are things she has to put away and not worry about. In slams there are gonna be a lot of tense moments and she has to focus on herself and nothing else. Yes she can’t change the fact that she will get angry on bad shots and want to win every point badly and throw her racquet, etc. She can change when she does it and how often because the less upset she gets, the more energy she saves during the match. Every ounce of energy will be needed for her because of her style. If she doesn’t have enough, of course she won’t win it.

I hope you liked this article and again thank you for reading! You can give more reasons if you please and feel free to agree or disagree with these reasons! Let’s hope for a huge run here once again!

Hai Simo!!

 

Five Reasons Why Petra Will and Won’t Win Roland Garros

Just under one week from today another grand slam is upon us and the excitement is in the air. But her fans want to know how will Petra do? Does she have a legit threat to win this title or is there something blocking her path that is too much to overcome? I felt like writing this article because I wanted to offer my thoughts on how she can lift this trophy, but also how she will come up short. Nobody knows how she’ll do of course and I know the draw isn’t out yet but this way I can give realistic thoughts early on both sides so nobody is too hopeful or pessimistic. I’m trying to balance my usual optimism with some harsh truths and trying to balance it for #TeamPetra too! Feel free to counter your thoughts as this is an interesting topic to discuss!

Five Reasons Why Kvitty Will Win in Paris

  1. The uncanny ability to blow anyone off the court on any given day/week(s).

As a Petra fan this is the reason you have faith in her to win anywhere anytime even when her form isn’t the greatest at the moment. Sure, she can be wild but also very deadly and we never know when Petra could get hot and start destroying all of her competition. It could be coming soon and if she’s on, it won’t matter who she is playing because she’ll run right through them. Although Madrid is a different court speed, when she won that title last year that’s the potential you are looking at in any event. I don’t care what surface it’s on or what form she’s in, I would take Petra over a lot of other players to have the best chance to get hot and dominate anyone. Not many have the potential to do it like she does. We’ve seen it before and it’s truly mesmerizing to watch.

  1. She is due for a big event

We all know Petra is the type of player who will flop randomly to people she shouldn’t, but then out of nowhere wins a huge title because she’s just that good. It’s no secret that this year has been nothing short of disastrous, but you have to feel that Petra is getting closer and closer to that big surprise that she is known to deliver. Last year the season was going kind of similar to this until she stormed through Madrid and won her second title there while beating in Serena in the process. That was on clay too of course and basically out of nowhere so you never know. Even when Petra’s form isn’t the greatest this is still something that we can pretty much bank on getting at least a few big surprises. This could be it. If you’re doubting it, just think of the titles Petra has won where you doubted her coming in. The only problem with this reason is if we think she is due it’s kind of like expecting something big. I don’t mean it that way; just that we haven’t gotten to a final yet. It has to happen eventually.

  1. Nobody is giving her a chance to win it= no pressure

I don’t care what people say, this one is totally true and if you’re expecting her to win it judging on her year so far then I don’t know what to tell you. She is seeded 11th here for Christ sake. I don’t remember the last time she didn’t have a top 10 seed for a slam so that should tell you everything you need to know. This is good for Petra. Not necessarily draw wise but pressure wise. Hopefully this will relax her a bit knowing that she won’t get as many of these type of questions during the week for a change. Of course she’ll still get it more than most just because of her recognition but it won’t be as much as the past I can tell you that. Even if she does, it’s only because reporters won’t have better questions to ask. She won’t have to feel like she is supposed to lead the pack and can focus on her own game and let everyone else take the heat. Maybe it’ll lead to her swooping in for the win.

  1. The current WTA around her isn’t in a consistent state at the moment.

This one doesn’t have to do with her really but it gives her a better chance than most years because of how unreliable any of the top players have been this year for the most part. It’s not like Petra has been anything close to consistent either this year yet but I’m just saying the draw has bigger potential to crumble and if Kvitty finds a way to stay consistent, she could take advantage and go deep here. I’m also not saying that draws matter for her much but it still wouldn’t hurt if she didn’t have to play anyone that has caused her trouble like Aga, Angie, CSN, Simo, etc.

  1. She has made a deep run here before.

Take this one with a grain of salt because it was way back in 2012 when she made the SFs and since then she hasn’t reached the QFs. Still, it’s not like she hasn’t proved herself here before and at this slam especially it’s nice to have any kind of successful experience. I wouldn’t put your hope on this reason being the one to have faith in her chances, I’m just pointing it out because she can get there.

Five Reasons why Kvitty won’t win in Paris

  1. Her current form is not near a grand slam title level.

Petra has had a rough year we can’t avoid it. It all started with an early loss in the first slam of the year in Australia and kept going downhill from there. The only real positives to this year so far have been her QF run in Indian Wells and SF in Stuttgart. There have been hints of greatness during this clay season, notably Stuttgart but Madrid left us back to where we started with more questions after that seemed to be her best chance to succeed on clay again.  The best we can do is hope but like I said you can’t expect it. There are higher odds she won’t win than will and until she proves us her level is back near the top, she’s not quite ready to take the big leap towards this title.

  1. She has injury concerns.

Coming into Madrid she had to deal with an abdominal injury and she said she couldn’t practice until Saturday before the tournament started. So the third round exit doesn’t look as bad but it still makes you wonder… after an early loss in Rome, how is it going to hold up in Paris? The best news out of that loss was it gives her more time to heal it however bad it is which nobody really knows but her and her team. I’m thinking it has been getting better over the past week and will keep improving this week. We won’t know anything about it unless it pops up during a match which I hope we won’t have to worry about. Severity doesn’t usually matter because if it’s there in any form, it could limit her enough to cause her trouble at any time. That’s a good enough reason to lose a match and this is the one way I don’t want to see her go out.

  1. Recent appearances here have not been good.

Her good run was in the positives section but there have been more bad runs than good ones so that’s why it has to be addressed again. The last three years after that SF have been full of disappointments and it makes you scratch your head sometimes because we know she isn’t a terrible clay court player. Her game is suited for all surfaces. I give her credit in 2014 for an incredible fight against Kuznetsova in a tough loss in which she probably would’ve beat many others. However 2013 was very ugly and 2015 was ok but she had to work much harder than necessary to get where she ended up. And she basically was nowhere to be found after the first set in her loss to Timea Bacsinszky last year. You can’t know what to expect but based on the last few years, that alone is a concern to happen again.

  1. She is just as much as of threat to lose very early as to win it all.

This goes along perfectly with the first reason in the last section. She can blow anyone away, but could just as easily put in a miserable performance against even the lowest opponents to send her home packing way earlier than expected. A good example in Paris would be her loss to Jamie Hampton in 2013 where she was the clear favorite, but got destroyed after losing a tight first set. She isn’t supposed to bend over to a player like that but it happened. Nobody knows when it’s coming but at the same time nobody is surprised when it happens either. So you can decide what you think we are going to get this year. It’s going to be one or the other, nothing in between most likely. Prepare yourself.

  1. Last event before grass, how much motivation?

Before you question this one, deep down you’ll know the reasoning is pretty accurate. I am not saying at all that Petra won’t be motivated to win this title. I mean if she’s not then what is she doing there? I mean it’s a grand slam she’ll be focused. I am just saying we all know how much she loves the grass and does anything she can to compliment it and show her excitement for Wimbledon. Who could blame her with her amazing success there? That being said, I don’t think this will be the end of the world for her no matter what round she loses in. I think her biggest slams of the year honestly are in Melbourne and Wimbledon. The other two she goes to play and hopes for the best and that can be a good and bad thing. This reason just happens to be a bad one. As fans, this is a small positive to if she loses here, that grass is next and greatness has a much better chance to appear.

Thanks for reading and look out for the Simo version of this article tomorrow! I’m open to discussion about your own reasons for either side if you have them!

Pojd Kvitty!

Reliving a Trip of a Lifetime; Attending the 2016 Miami Open

Hello everyone! Last year I had the opportunity to experience the Miami Open in Key Biscayne for the first time in my life for five days. What an experience it was. It made me realize I had to come back again ASAP and this year I did something I couldn’t have imagined would happen so soon but I made it work: attending this great event for nearly the whole two weeks. 12 days to be exact; including my first ever final on the WTA side. It was absolutely incredible. The best part was Petra was here this time after sadly skipping it last year due to fatigue and needing a mental break from tennis. No event is the same without her. That was the only negative of last year but all was well this time! I will try to recap all of my greatest moments here, any fun stories while on the trip, what it was like to be here for an amazing 12 days, and anything else I can think of! Hope you enjoy reading!

First a quick background for you, I stayed about an hour and 15 minutes from the park and with the traffic it added up to about 1.5 hours every day there and back. Compared to Cincy where the drive is only about 20 minutes for me every day. I don’t know how many of you do something like this when you are attending live events but it’s not something I see people do often. I told some fans here about this and they were stunned I would do that. Some people within a half hour of Miami even wouldn’t dare to tackle that traffic everyday like that it’s so rough. The traffic in Miami is one of the worst in the country and that was easily the toughest part of every day. I’m a good driver though no worries. Doesn’t mean that everyone else there is though 😉

Not much changed from last year regarding the scenery, player access, practice schedule chaos and such and most of that is never a bad thing. As always, coming in my mind was set on getting to see as much of my favorites up close as possible and I think I accomplished that mission in a huge way. I saw at least one of them every single day except the first day and the last so it definitely made the trip that much more enjoyable. One of the funniest things about coming every day was some of the staff members especially the parking and ticket people started to recognize me pretty easily. Like every day I came through it was “back again?” Or “Welcome back nice to see you again!” I brought the same stuff every day a little green bag and a camera so it wasn’t the hardest to spot me out I guess.

One of my favorite parts of last year was media day and how close I got to be to Simo as she did various interviews; most of which were funny and interesting so plenty of smiles were involved. This year was no different. This is a very rare time at an event where you get to be up close to players where they aren’t so serious practicing or playing a match and just relaxing and talking and having a good time. It’s quite exciting to watch and just in case you didn’t know, Kvitty and Simo are every bit as relaxed, beautiful and smiley as they seem on TV 🙂

Two moments stood out on this day that were pretty hard to describe how amazing they were but I’ll try. First, right before media day started at about 11 I was walking around looking at the practice courts for my faves because that’s what I always do during a lot of my time. Like last year, the practice schedule was nowhere to be found anywhere so you basically had to walk around to every court every hour to have a chance to find someone you wanted to see practicing. There’s two sections of practice courts, one near the entrance and one way across towards the back of the park so they were far apart. It just created much more work for people to walk all of that way back and forth. That’s the one huge flaw this event has but to give them credit, it was only for the first 4 days or so. Then they had the schedule viewable to the public.

Anyway, the first story. Like I said I was walking around the practice courts and all of a sudden I hear Simo’s grunt and I’m like really… Looking at the time it was just about 11 so I figured I missed all of it. I literally stopped in my tracks and ran over there and sure enough, just as I got there they were walking off. So I found an open spot by the gate where they come out and since there weren’t too many fans around, I got a selfie. That’s never happened and I never expected to get a selfie from a fave after missing their whole practice but that’s how it went and I’m not complaining. (Well I would’ve liked to see some of the practice at least) Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good as they say.

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During media day another moment I’ve dreamed about for the longest time happened for a brief moment.  Kvitty was the first to do her interviews and I was watching her do them and it was of course mesmerizing to watch, and I quick turn around a little to the right of me and pretty much right next to me Simo is standing there! No warning! Kvitalep were so close to each other and I was right in the middle of it bye. She went upstairs shortly after but I have to say that alone was worth the trip. I was screaming inside and not breathing I’m not kidding. You just have to know me and something like that does not come around often if ever. Even if it was for a second.

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I also watched Petra practice that day which was great as always. The stunning part was that she practiced with Genie that day and she’s probably at the bottom of the list of people you’d expect Petra to practice with but it happened. It was just a bit awkward I have to say… Not very long after that I saw fed practice on stadium court and what a delight that was. It was funny because Lucie was on before him and at the end of her practice while she was still hitting, fed came on and the crowd roared and she was laughing because it just happened suddenly. They passed each other later and there may have been some other words exchanged who knows. As for Roger’s practice, it was great to see him back in action after a couple months missed due to a knee injury sustained after the Australian Open. This practice was the highlight of my experience with him here because I didn’t get to see much else of him sadly the rest of the event after he pulled out of his first match with a stomach virus. He was crisp, moving great and happy, he put on a nice show for the fans.

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I had many selfies during this event and the perfect day regarding selfies came on the third day when I got selfies with Kvitty, Simo, and Lucie. All came out pretty good I have to say. Kvitty and Lucie practiced together that day and I was a bit surprised I could get pics with both considering it doesn’t always work that way if they come out at the same time. I also told Petra about me being in the fan book she got for her birthday and she smiled and said it was very nice. We knew that but I doubt she expected someone in it to say something to her about it so soon after she read it. I was just glad to put a smile on her face because she put so many on mine 🙂

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The next day was the first match day for Kvitty and Simo but I think those will all be separate articles like I’ve been doing since those are a whole different story. But it’s always an amazing experience seeing those two play live, it is such a joy. Win or lose it’s a dream come true.

The best day of the whole tournament I have to say was the exact day I could’ve hoped it would be; my birthday. I was hoping before it started that Kvitty and/or Simo could’ve played on it but neither did which was fine since it probably was better they didn’t considering what happened. The beginning of the day was a bit strange because I thought Petra’s practice was at 11 so I started to go over to her court at about 10:45 but checked the practice schedule again just to make sure. In yet another misunderstanding it was actually from 10-1130 so it wasn’t the end of the world since I could see the second half of it still, but I was just a bit annoyed that I missed some of it again.

Anyway, I watched her practice and it was easily the best one I saw of the week as she was laughing constantly with her relaxed and goofy team. When it’s not a match day you can expect a little more of this and it didn’t disappoint. My favorite part was when they threw around a nerf football and Petra threw it over the fence and they lost it. Boy that got some great laughs 🙂 Most of you know what happened after but I can’t ever say it enough how happy and amazed I was during it all. I came into the day hoping I could get a birthday wish from her and I told her it was my birthday and she did indeed wish me a happy birthday and then I had a picture of her and she was very nice to write happy birthday on that I was just speechless pretty much. After she signed it I was too out of it and in awe to get a selfie but that didn’t matter. I tried to take a video of her doing something else after it was over and if you ever see it, you can tell how much I’m shaking because I still couldn’t believe what happened.

I could’ve tried to tweet her for a birthday wish and probably wouldn’t have got it, and even if I did it wouldn’t have been anything close to as special as one in person. Like I said I will never be grateful enough I had the opportunity to do this; the fact I could even see her hitting and smiling right in front of me on my birthday was such a great gift already. She is such a wonderful human being as I already knew to take the time to do those things for me, to make a dream come true. It’s so normal for her to be nice but we appreciate it so much for every little thing she does because she never has to be perfect for everybody, it’s just in her nature.  I can look at this photo forever and remember exactly what happened and remember it actually did happen, it wasn’t a dream. My year had been made thanks to her and usually she makes it anyway. I want to praise her much more but can’t because it would take way too long 🙂

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Simo practiced later in the day and I tried the exact same thing but there were much more people so I didn’t say it because it wouldn’t feel like the right moment. I got the picture I wanted most signed though by her and that was her gift to me 🙂 I received two perfect birthday presents.

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Last but not least about this day, I want to say thank you again to every single person who wished me a happy birthday it means a lot. I am lucky to be a part of such great fandoms and not just for Kvitty and Simo but everyone else on tennis twitter that I’ve gotten to know. You make it all more exciting for me and I’m thankful there are people who are so kind enough to say nice things to me and I always want to do the same for you when I get the chance. Much love to all of you 🙂

It was kind of a surreal feeling once we got to the second week because pretty much every event is only a week long besides slams and these in March. Plus, the longest I ever stayed at a tournament was five days so when I woke up on the second Monday it was quite a feeling to have another week of tennis left. Not all of my faves were still there but more tennis is never a bad thing. I have to say it was a bit tougher walking around the grounds once Petra was no longer there but I knew this wasn’t her best event and she might not be there long. The week I had with her was everything I could ever wanted.

The hardest day of the week for me besides my last day of the trip was the day after Simo lost and I had no more faves left. In fairness, I was happy with nine days with them and I can’t say I totally expected that many so I was satisfied. However, it stung walking around the grounds without any of them to look forward to. They make every event even better and it was just kind of an empty feeling. Also by this point all of the practice courts were pretty much empty most of the day and that was depressing too. When you know the end is near… but at least there was still great tennis to be played for those that were left!

The last part I want to share with you is my last day which was the day of the women’s final. I had never been to a final before so I thought it would be cool to try it once even probably knowing that neither of my faves were going to be in it. I’m an optimistic person yes but with their form not quite where it needs to be yet, it was hard to expect it. I didn’t care because I knew it’d be fun either way. The only weird thing was there was a possibility that my drive there could be longer than the actual final and I think the final was only a few minutes longer. Knowing who was in it and how the two players were playing, the result never surprised me as Vika was on a mission and wasn’t going to let Sveta get another upset. It was clear from the beginning she would win in straights as most could expect. She gave a nice speech after she won and I congratulate her for a spectacular month of March. Her matches against Garbine and Angie were the best ones I saw here so I’m glad she was able to play well throughout this event.

Then, the saddest part of the whole trip was leaving Crandon Park for the last time and knowing I wouldn’t be back for a whole year and that’s a maybe. Still, the memories that were created for me during these two weeks were unforgettable. I had a brilliant run here and I knew it would end eventually no matter I didn’t want it to. I lived the dream. That’s as best as I can say. I saw the top players in the world play and my favorite people right in front of my eyes as I dream every day. I only hope other fans can experience something like this because you all deserve it. I thank all of my friends on twitter who experienced this ride through me and all of my favorites who gave me things so hard to imagine. It wasn’t all about the results, you just have to hope for the best in that regard. Seeing their personalities up close and their friendliness is what mattered most. I got it all.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed and hope you all get to experience your favorites in the near future and enjoy them like I did!

Let The Hype Begin!! Every Single Thing I Want You to Know About Kvitalep Part III

Czech Republic vs Romania. We had the dream come true. But then we received a massive scare when Simo decided to skip it for surgery. That’s when I figured we would never get this matchup again because if we couldn’t get it in something this perfectly aligned… when could we??  A few days later however, in a pleasantly shocking decision she decided to postpone that surgery to play in this fed cup tie. So now we can confirm it. Finally. This is an article I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time. If you know me you would know by now that my life in the tennis fandom world revolves around Kvitty and Simo. That’s what I call them just about all of the time you know so I’m sticking with it here. Ever since mid-2014 when I became a full time #HalepBand member I’ve wished to see these two play each other at every tournament to witness as much cuteness and beautiful tennis on court at one time. Of course, that’s not possible every week but I never thought it would take nearly two years for them to meet again after their last meeting which was in May 2014 in the Madrid Semifinals. More about that a bit later.

Anyway, this article is intended to be about their relationship, their previous matches against each other, missed chances of more matches, a preview of this upcoming match, what I hope to see, who I intend to cheer for and how I will do it, and anything else I can think of. We have a whole week to hype this up! Let’s have some fun!!

Relationship

It all started at the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore where they both qualified, including Simo for the first time in her career. This is the top players’ best chance to hang out with each other every year and apparently these two hit it off. In the following year, the first event of the year in Shenzhen they were the only two top 10 players that played and were heavily featured together in the off court activities. Oh the fun I had during that week. You had to figure it blossomed even more during that time together and the season had just begun. In Melbourne a few weeks after this I remember Simo was asked the question about friends on the tour and Kvitty was the first name she mentioned as a new friend. That’s the first time I heard her say that. (Search Simona Halep Fan Chat AO 2015 to find it) You can see her answer one of my questions too! Simo is continuously asked this question and pretty much always gives the same answer. Also Petra was asked this question too before Shenzhen even started and responded with a quality answer as well. 

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There have been other gatherings at player parties where they are spotted next to each other and it always leads me to believe they very much enjoy each other’s company. The last thing I have to say about this that I don’t know if everybody knew but in an exclusive Romanian interview with Simo recently, Simo mentioned in Singapore this past year that she told Kvitty that she looked ‘sexy’ in a dress she was wearing. Kvitty responded with “I know, I’m going out to the club later” They laughed a lot about this and this an example of the part of the friendship that I think happens behind the scenes that we’ll never know about it (besides this) but it’s a strong bond I can tell. The good times together will be back again this week stay tuned!

Previous Meetings

Not a ton to look back on sadly but the two we got were very interesting. The first one came back in 2013 in the New Haven Final. It brings up one of my weirdest and funny memories that I have to share again for those who might not have known.

At this point in time I had been a hardcore Kvitty fan and this was the first time I kid you not that I had heard of the girl now known to me as Super Simo. I knew she was on a hot streak winning lots of events and then beat Wozniacki to make the final here. I still figured how much harm could she possibly inflict on the great queen Petra? This was Petra’s home and a place where she didn’t lose, so I could expect a win against this unknown girl right? Wrong. Very very wrong. Kvitty had her chances early to break and take a lead but didn’t and from there the wheels fell off. It’s like she put all of her energy into breaking that game and when couldn’t, she kind of shut it down after realizing how well Simo could fight off her power. I’m not gonna go into heavy details for either match but watch the highlights if you can for this one and the one point I want to point out is the second break point for Kvitty at 2-1 30-40. A fab point that ends with a passing winner from Simo. A perfect example of the kind of points these two play.

It ended with a routine 6-2 6-2 win for Simo and it lead to the beginning of my extreme hatred of Simo. Seeing the only person I adored as much as Kvitty get blasted this easily in a final was tough for me to take and I didn’t handle it well. I wanted nothing to do with Simo and it was a phase I heavily regret these days. At least I got over it very well as you can see! At least we have this glorious pic that I wish I could have cherished more back in the day!

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Their next matchup in Madrid was much better than the first one as it went the distance and they both brought the goods. I had a much different perspective watching this one as well compared to the first because at this point Simo had really grown on me and jumped into second in line behind Petra as players I really supported. I wasn’t as hardcore with her yet as I am now but it was still hard to root against her. It was the only match Simo ever won as a fan where I was disappointed. Weird feeling. Petra really should’ve won this match up a set and a break but she let Simo hang around and Simo used that fuel to steal the 2nd set and cruise through the third. Still, it’s a match I love watching and more of what I hope to see in this upcoming match.

Missed Chances

Last year there were a lot of times where I thought a certain event they had a great chance of meeting but never did. Three tournaments though we were one win away from it happening and of course each time it failed. You can also count the 2014 and 2015 WTA Finals as missed chances for a guaranteed match.

The first one came in Shenzhen the very first event of the year where they were the one and two seeds and really no other competition it seemed to meet in the final. However, after Simo made the final in the first SF, Kvitty would crumble in the second SF against Timea Bacsinszky to crush the dream. The second came in Rome where they were lined up to meet up in the SFs and Simo made it there and all Kvitty had to do was beat CSN and couldn’t of course because that’s one of her toughest opponents to beat these days. Finally, at the US Open they both made the QFs and I guess technically we weren’t a match away exactly since Petra lost first, but Simo did win next and we would’ve had it had Petra beat Pennetta. The day they meet that late in a slam is the day I lose my mind. Not sure I’ll want it as bad as I do now if it happens.

PREVIEW OF PART III

Now that all of the background is out of the way I can finally move forward and discuss the current match coming up this weekend. It’s very hard to know what kind of match we’ll get considering both are not at 100% form yet it would seem and neither has started their year well at all. This a very intriguing matchup with both players having two very contrasting styles and it makes for fun tennis in my opinion. Kvitty likes to crush the ball and go for lines and not as much defending. She can also have a very strong net game when she feels like coming in. Simo will make players extend points which makes it harder for power players to make fewer errors, and she does that by defending very well with her fantastic speed. It’ll be crucial for Kvitty to be accurate and end the points early otherwise Simo can force her to make more errors in longer rallies. I think Petra should try more dropshots and make Simo come to the net which is easily the weakest part of her game. Also big returns will be necessary to attack a serve that is weaker than her own. This will be a tremendous setting in Romania where the crowd will be fully behind Simo and it doesn’t mean Kvitty will be holding anything back. You can bet this will be a big match in deciding the tie and perhaps won’t go until Sunday. All I’m saying is get your popcorn ready for some fireworks.

I’m asked every so often who do I cheer for in a situation like this and I really like that question because it shows it’s hard to tell who I am more lenient towards because I love them both almost equally the same. I pride myself in that because I put in the effort, I give it my all to make sure I never miss either of them play a match, and I try to make it seem like I would never let them down as a fan. These two make it easy to love them and it’s extremely hard to pick against either. For some people with multiple faves it may be easier to tell who they are more devoted to and that’s fine, everyone has their own feelings and I love that. I just want to make it clear that this isn’t as easy for me as you might think. All of that being said, it always has been and always will be my first love Petra who I support in a time like this. I have never seen myself rooting against her no matter what. I made that promise since day one. Petra molded me into the tennis fan I am today. The first girl to play tennis I ever saw that was so kind and genuine and pure off court and such a talented player on court. Even in the worst of times I could see her best; she made me keep believing over and over again that when things don’t go right, brighter days are always ahead. She helped me find wonderful people all over the world that I didn’t know existed with the same passion for her that I have. I couldn’t thank her enough for what she’s helped me with since I became her fan and she’ll never know it but that’s ok. Everyone usually knows who their top favorite is through thick and thin and I don’t like to choose on the spot but if I have to like now I will. When I am watching a fave I’m not a person who can just say I’m rooting only for a good match. There has to be a purpose and that is to see them win.

However, that doesn’t take anything at all away from Simo. It will be so tough for me to not get the same happy feeling I get after each point, game, and set she wins. I like to think of this matchup as not rooting against Simo, but rooting for Petra. That’s basically how I think during every match with my faves. I don’t root against, I root for. I may not want Simo to beat Kvitty but it doesn’t mean I’ll like her any less if she does. Just don’t expect me to be as fired up how I usually am after a win. It’s another match and I’ll clap her good shots, smile at her cuteness, and appreciate the fact she’ll give it her all for her country. I’ll do the same for Kvitty besides the fact I hope she is the one on top at the end. I am also mainly rooting for a good handshake at the end and I can believe we’ll get our best one of the three meetings this time because of how close they’ve gotten. It’ll be tough to see one lose but in a time like this of course it has to happen.

I hope #HalepBand doesn’t take anything the wrong way when I cheer for Kvitty in this match. I am almost certain they won’t but I’ve never seen this match as a true member of #HalepBand so I still wonder. You guys know it’s just for a match and seeing her play tennis is enough for me to be happy win or lose. Plus it’s just a first round fed cup tie. There will be much harder matches to stress over than this one in the future. I’m gonna try to make it as fun as possible during the match and I look forward to both fanbases tweeting at the same time! Something I really am curious about and excited to see how it will turn out. I’m sure I can expect a great day due to both fanbases being amazing.

Thanks for reading if you did the whole thing. It’s been nearly two years and believe me it has felt much longer than that. Since we have a week to enjoy the buildup, I thought it was fitting to write this and pour out my feelings for these two and hopefully answer any questions about it you may have had. Good luck to both and may the best girl win!

If you want, you can share your prediction of who you think will win in the comments section below or reply on twitter. I am interested to know what your thoughts are!