Category Archives: Sports

One Day I Will Process What Happened. Today is Not That Day….

Sitting through the Roland Garros trophy ceremony in 2014, thinking “Simo put up an unbelievable fight, her time will come, it’s fine.” Sitting through the 2017 Roland Garros Ceremony thinking “I really wonder what it’s like to lift one of these slam trophies, the pain is very real this time. I feel it. A huge punch to the gut. I really thought it was her time, at her favorite grand slam. ” Sitting through the 2018 Australian Open ceremony thinking “Did it really happen again? What did she do to deserve this fate for a third time? Do the gods want her to have a slam?” June 9th, 2018. The 2018 Roland Garros ceremony. “She did it. We did it. So this is what it feels like. Bliss. Pure bliss.”

The point to the intro is, you will feel many things in times of hardship. But how do you get through them? Realize what the greater goal is after defeat. You feel heartbreak for the first time. You move on, it happens. You feel heartbreak for the second time. You move on, it happens. It really hurts, but it happens. You feel heartbreak for the third time. You don’t want to move on. You start to question everything. But you have to move on. You have to. You wait. Just wait. Sure enough, like the old cliché saying goes… good things come to those who wait. The longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you finally get it. We’ve all felt what that winning a title feeling is like, but never in a slam. We wondered: what can that possibly feel like? You see her serve, you see Sloane Stephens hit a forehand return into the net, you see arms in the air, hands on her face, and you realize… it’s real. How real is it? That’s the feeling I wanted to talk about in this article. Not about the match overall, but the feeling of seeing an idol to so many all over the world win something that she’s never been able to grasp in her lifetime.

I think every Simo fan will tell you after this victory that there are no words to describe this feeling. But I love words. They give us the ability to express ourselves in vivid detail, they give us the ability to let loose, get over our worries, conquer our fears, immerse ourselfs in joyfulness, and paint a picture that is different from every other person in the world. Our words are our own. We may all be celebrating and talking about the same title, but each and every one of us is uniquely describing what it feels like that will be more different from the next person. That’s what makes this so special.

Personally, from the very beginning I had no idea how I would react if this ended in our favor. I still had no idea at 5-1 40-30. When it happens though, it just hits you. Boy oh boy did it ever hit me hard and I know I’m speaking for everyone here. There was no punch to the gut, no tearing up because you had to watch Simo in pain, and no more enduring more agonizing months of waiting. I was standing on championship point, the ball hit the net and I was suddenly on the floor, hands in face? I think that’s how it went. I don’t remember. It happened so fast I just knew I was on the floor. Also the fact that there were definitely plenty of tears streaming down too. I saw Simo also having her hands in her face and I could not believe what was happening. I saw elation on my TL, pure elation. I wept some more for you guys. My happiness was fun, Simo’s happiness was fun, but seeing everyone else explode was better than I ever imagined. I never ever in my lifetime read through so much happiness from her fellow players, neutral fans, and above all… my dear Simo fans. You guys were there being positive when she was going through her worst moments. You made me smile when I didn’t think I could. You guys never gave up. I love you all and you deserve this so much. Like I said, we are all celebrating her greatness at the same time, but each of us felt something different. Whether watching at home, at a party, at a bar, at a family/friend gathering, or with thousands of other fans… we watched it. We really did watch it.


You realize in that moment that it’s real, that the suffering is over, and that we were about to lose our minds in the best of ways. You see her climb the wall and hug her team and her family. You remember what it was like to watch many tennis players do that after winning a grand slam. You say to yourself “I want to see that from MY favorite player.” Well guys, we did. Simo hugged her proud coach Darren tight; the embrace we’ve seen before but you knew this one meant the most. She hugged Mama and Papa Halep, her proud parents. This was likely happening at the same time we were hugging the people we watched the match with. I don’t think there was ever more love at that moment than any other time in our lives as a tennis fan.

She walked up to the podium, waved to the crowd. She spoke. We listened. I feel like I drowned out the noise of every sound in the world to hear her in this moment, a moment where she tried to address so many inspired people all over the world that always wondered what this moment would be like, and realized how hard she worked and believed to get to this very stage. This was not a speech of disappointment, or a speech congratulating the winner, this was Simo on the podium, ON TOP! She had a smile that didn’t say ‘I’m holding back something I don’t want you to see’ but rather, ‘I’m smiling because I did it. This is my time and I’m going to make sure you know how much this means to me’ Last but not least… lifting the trophy. The final stage of this unbelievable day when she showed the world how high she could lift it, how high her spirit was, how bright her smile was, and that nobody was snatching this trophy away from her. We never again have to ask the question of “what would a grand slam trophy look like in Simo’s arms?” It is in her arms. Eyes closed she hugged it like it was her long-lost family member that she never knew how much she loved until it was in her grasp. Hold it tight dear Simo, and don’t worry…. it’s never leaving you anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my description of this moment. I really needed to let it out in the best way I could. June 9th, 2018. Simo’s day. Our day.

One day I will process what happened… but today is not that day.


Everything You Need to Know About The Volvo Car Open in Charleston

Hello all! I’m here to write about a little bit of my journey at the 2018 Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina and why it was one of my greatest experiences ever, and why it should be on your list of tournaments to attend one day! I am going to write this article which won’t be insanely long, less detailed, but more of a pros and cons type article about this tournament. Then I will also write an article that is much more detailed and thus longer, about my day by day experience of the nine day trip just in case you wanted to know more about how my daily routines worked, and how I managed to enjoy my time on site so much every day. There will very likely be some things that are pretty similar between the two articles but I hope not too much so it’s a good variety. So buckle up and I hope you enjoy what you see if you do happen to read!!

First of all, one of the things I always wonder about is the parking situation for every event I attend. It’s already a mini disappointment if you’re paying a lot to park because it obviously adds up if you go every day like I did. Good news! Free parking the whole tournament! So half of the four tournaments now I’ve attended were like this with Cincy being the other. The parking isn’t exactly on site; you just take a five minute school bus ride to the front gate and it’s great. It’s actually a very smooth system. Even at its most crowded times you are not waiting for an extremely long time which is a plus too.

So that’s one pro right off the bat and now let’s move on to another one. The overall grounds and how they are to navigate, crowd space, etc. The grounds are a perfect size I’d say; you walk in and immediately are walking upon the steps to the entrance to the Volvo Car Stadium so the stadium is impossible to miss no matter how hard you try. Plus, it’s a small enough stadium (but plenty big and beautiful too) to not get lost on where to enter or find your seat, etc. I’ll get more into that later. Next to the stadium is the tennis channel studio as well which is also impossible to miss. You are forced to see it when you walk in and it’s set up perfectly. Usually when I walked in there it was live too so you could immediately get behind the camera if you wanted and take a peek at the hosts and their preview of the upcoming day. It’s also the spot the players go to immediately after winning their matches (the ones on stadium and this starts towards the middle of the week) so you can camp out there and get a great spot while watching them do their interview and then sign and take pictures as well. Many pros about this part of the grounds and we’re just getting started!

Overall, this is not a huge site and that’s not a bad thing. I would actually say it’s a big positive but everybody has their own thoughts whoever has attended before. It’s really hard to get lost once you familiarize yourself a bit with it. I mean, it’s common knowledge to just walk around and explore it yourself before doing anything else so you can start to remember where certain hot spots are and that’s what I did. So when you walk in and get past the tennis channel studio and the main little plaza by the stadium, there are two ways you can go: straight, or left. Well, you could go right too but that would be into the stadium. Anyway, if you go straight you will run into a couple of great food trucks right away. There are a lot of tents and stands but I didn’t pay attention to most because I just like to see where the food is and where the courts are. So there won’t be much detail on the other stands. I will also go into the food a bit later too. If you’re still reading that is.

Once you get past the food trucks, you take a left and you get your first glimpse of some of the courts. There are a few practice courts you’ll see along this path and also a couple match courts. The biggest court on this path is court 3 and it’s got a set of small bleachers on the opposite side of the chair, and on the side of the chair there are tons of bleacher seats. It goes many rows high; it’s a bit of a weird court setup because it’s not like any of the other courts. The other ones are either big or small, and this one is sort of in between but also a nice court for fans because you can fit a lot in there so some great players got to play on this court and it was fun. Next to it was court 4 which was smaller as it only had one side fans could sit on and it was behind the chairs. Also the bleachers only went about three rows up so it was a very small court, and the smallest match court they have. Still, you were plenty close enough to enjoy the match no matter where you were sitting. I can’t even say this court is a con even if I do say it was my least favorite court.

Past these two match courts there were a couple of practice courts but these were rarely, if ever used by the top players. At least I never saw any big names on them, there were plenty of other better practice courts that they went on. So, you could basically skip those practice courts, keep going straight and eventually you’d run into the next biggest court after stadium which is Althea Gibson Club Court. I’ve heard great things about this court and boy it did not disappoint. Right before you walked into this court (which was a couple of steps up) there was your first glimpse of a map of the site so you knew where the hell you were going if you entered for the first time. This is how I started to get an idea of where I was and it looks a little confusing at first but quickly it turns very smooth to navigate. So anyway you walk into this court and there isn’t a bad seat in it. If you enter straight ahead you are sitting behind the chairs and the bleachers go way up as you would expect, but there are two front rows of chairs to sit in if you get there early enough so that’s nice too.

If you take a left when you enter the court, there are bleacher seats on the baseline which I always love because you can see the whole court straight ahead, well anyone who has attended know how baseline seats are. Right behind the baseline seats is the player clubhouse which is pretty cool too. Next to the clubhouse there are a bunch of tables and chairs for fans to sit in as well. These seats aren’t part of the actual court (meaning you can sit and go as you please no matter what the score is in the match) and still get a great view of the match. Plus, there is a railing you can lean on which also isn’t part of the court so it’s perfect if you want to get a close up view but leave whenever you want and not wait for changeovers. The last set of seats on this court are across from the chair and you can get to them by going past the baseline seats to the other side, and also a neat feature is this is also where a bunch of great practice courts are which I will transition into soon. So yeah, this court also is overlooked by a highway going over Wando river, it’s nice; definitely worth the hype and you’ll surely enjoy relaxing watching tennis on this court.

So as I was saying, if you go through this court (and not around. You’ll read about the difference soon) you will see about 5 or 6 practice courts next to each other and these are definitely ones that the big guns use frequently. These courts are on a downhill slope so you are basically on top of a mini hill overlooking all of these practice courts which is pretty cool if you don’t have a particular player interest and just want to sit down and see them all hit. But, if you want to see anyone up close, it is easy to move around and stand right up along the fence and get a clear view on any of these sets of courts. This is a HUGE positive to all of the practice courts is that every single one is easily accessible and no problem getting up close or worrying about players missing you when they come out. If you want a picture or autograph, you will get it. If the player wants to of course.

Let’s keep the tour going! So if you go left of these practice courts, there is a fence you can stand upon and past the fence is where all of the players go to relax whether it be in the dining area, the gym, or just the lawn, you will see lots of players here constantly so it’s a terrific spot to hang out if you just want to see players relaxing and calm and doing regular things. Right next to this is the entrance to the clubhouse where all of the players enter and you can stand right up close to the entrance which is cool. They may not be always willing to sign or take pictures when they enter but you can try if you want. I usually don’t because I know there will be better chances because the accessibility is so amazing as I said before. I just enjoy seeing them all come through. A great time to stand by the entrance is in the morning when they are all entering to start their day on the grounds. Transportation cars are always arriving with players in them and it’s nice to see them start their day going through the entrance up close. One little note about this: early in the week you can go across freely from one side to the other through the entrance to get to the other side but as the week goes on you can’t do that. You have to have credentials get through. It’s no big deal really as you just go around Althea Gibson Club Court instead to get to the other side, this was just a little shortcut if you will.

So, let’s assume it’s early in the week and you can freely cut across. Choosing this path takes you to some more practice courts. Now, like I mentioned before if you choose to go around AGCC instead of through it, you can see these practice courts right away. So whichever decision you make you will run into practice courts either way. There’s two main practice courts on this side, side by side and only one set of bleachers. But the one without them you can still stand right on the fence and be very close to them so it’s not a huge deal, either one is great. If you go even past those two courts and straight ahead a bit further, there is a path to a couple of more practice courts and these are the last of them on site. So once you hit the furthest ones, I’ve told you about all of the practice courts. And that’s basically everything regarding the grounds. It’s not big at all like I said but it easily still has everything you could want.

Two more things I want to talk about. The Ace Lounge, and Volvo Car Stadium. First, the Ace Lounge is a “VIP” tent offered to all people who were there for the whole week. So, me being a part of this group, I can tell you a little bit about it and if it’s anything worth having. It’s located right next to the stadium and also right when you walk in. So you see the tennis channel studio like I said earlier, and to the right of that is the ace lounge. There is also another entrance that connects from inside the stadium which is kind of cool. Now granted, I only went in once and that was the eighth day of the event on SF Saturday when it rained the entire day and no tennis took place. So I strolled in there and it’s nice I will admit that. There are couches in there, drinks, big screen TVs, live music. Just being able to sit on a couch and relax instead of stand around all crowded around people in a stadium was nice. I think it’s worth it to an extent, if you use it as something like I did when there isn’t much tennis going on it’s great. But otherwise I probably wouldn’t have spent too much time in it. I knew coming in that I likely wouldn’t do much with it, but I’m very glad I tried it at least and it’s a nice little extra perk to have if you’re there for the whole week.

Last but not least… the stadium and all of the views involved in it. It’s a very nice size and you can easily see the beauty of it right when you walk into it especially from the box seats which as I will explain, I was lucky to watch some matches from there. My first look into it was for a Petra practice and it was so quiet and calm in there and I loved every second of it. My first time in there was my favorite time because I was watching Petra in the front row of a stadium, can’t beat that. The tickets I had for the stadium were in the second level but in row A so it was as good of a seat as possible for that level. Then there are the 300 level seats which are general admission so there are no assigned seats, it’s just all bleachers. I sat there for a match too so I sat in all three sections for a match and I can confirm there is no bad seat in the house.

I mostly just wanted to talk about my courtside experience because it was a pleasant and bonnus experience I got to try for the first time. Normally, I didn’t ever expect to be able to watch any matches from there, or any stadium I went to, but I cheated the system if you will and it worked to perfection. I never tried this at any other stadiums I went to so I’m not sure if it can work elsewhere too but either way it was funny. There were always players practicing in the morning on stadium like an hour before the first match and you could sit anywhere you wanted for those practices so I sat as close as possible. During the matches you had to have a special pass to sit there. So I just stayed in the seats after the practice was over until the first match started and if nobody came to sit in your seats you could enjoy the view as long as possible without anyone questioning it. I took advantage of that and watched a couple of matches courtside and it was beautiful. Maybe to others it doesn’t seem as interesting but to me it was so surreal and cool to be able to do that because i never expected it.

I didn’t know exactly where to slide this bit of info in but one really nice feature was inside the stadium there was a stand where you could buy a big souvenir cup for $30. Once you had it, you got unlimited refills from a drink machine with soda and water all week long. I’m just saying this so if you ever come across this and get asked about buying this cup… BUY IT YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!! BEST PURCHASE YOU CAN MAKE ALL WEEK!! IT LOOKS REALLY COOL TOO!!

Overall, i would give this tournament a huge thumbs up and a 100% recommendation. It’s peaceful, not too crowded, beautiful, accessible, fan friendly, and everything else you can think of. I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy this place for nine days and hopefully it won’t be the last time either! Anyone who read this whole thing I hope it was valuable, enjoyable, and informative to read! Any other questions don’t hesitate to ask!!!

Thank you so much and enjoy your day!!

Jake 🙂



Why it’s not Crazy to Think that Petra Kvitova can get her Winning Streak to at Least 20 in a Row

I know what you may be thinking when opening this… are we really talking about the possibility of 20, (yes 20!) wins in a row from one of the most well-known up and down players in the WTA in a long time? The answer is quite simply…. yes. Yes indeed we are. This is because Petra Kvitova has not only come back from her attack playing amazing tennis, but perhaps currently playing at her best level in her career.

Now I know what your next question/comeback to that last sentence will be. “Are you sure that this isn’t one of her famous hot streaks and she’ll come back to the inevitable reality that is her inconsistency? What about her grand slam title runs? Better than those?” Answers: No, i’m not 100% sure that this isn’t another random hot streak and reality could hit her soon because this is Petra Kvitova after all. One minute she can destroy a top player, the next minute she can crumble against someone out of the top 100. It’s the rollercoaster of being on #TeamPetra that we all know and love. However, I am starting to get heavily convinced that we’ve never seen a level better than this one right now from her and it’s one that nobody but herself can stop, hence why i’m making this article.

Petra as we all know is currently riding an unbelievable 13 match winning streak; one win shy of tying her career long streak of 14 set back in 2011-2012 in the best season of her career and where at the tail end of that streak she was inches away from the #1 ranking. During this streak she has won a couple of fed cup matches, and two titles in St Petersburg and Doha respectively which included all different kinds of matches. She has obliterated some opponents, she has gone AWOL for multiple sets, and she has fought back from behind to win in some incredible ways. The most impressive part of this streak is highlighted from the last part of that previous sentence. In St Petersburg you could easily see what we’ve always known from her: she can turn on a switch and go all GOATra on the field and snatch a trophy like that. Besides one bad set against Irina Begu, she either destroyed the field or was outclassed for a little bit (the match against Julia Georges was one i didn’t think would be easy at all and it wasn’t) It also felt like the score of the championship match against Kiki Mladenovic was one everyone could see coming from a mile away. My point to all of this is that St Petersburg was in a way predictable after a couple of matches. It was no secret indoortra was going to be a huge favorite to win the tournament. Doha however, is where I started to believe something different is happening right now.

It all started with an unthinkable set from her to start the tournament against Cagla Buyukakcay. 18 minutes, 6-0 and only four points lost. Four. Still can’t get over it but it happened. There never was another set anywhere close to that easy but maybe it was a sign. In her next match against Aga Radwanska she lost a grueling 67 minute first set in a tiebreaker, and then went down an early break. Having played her 4th match in five days, really starting to feel the tired legs, and going against an opponent known for breaking down her competitors, nobody would have been surprised if the end struck Petra. Quite a common theme throughout this tournament and yet here we are! But it wasn’t. She won in three. I think this is where her whole attitude and belief changed. She could battle until to the bitter end of a tough match despite being very fatigued.

She kept winning. And winning. Roared through world #4 Elina Svitolina in straight sets; another fierce competitor despite having a great H2H against her it wasn’t supposed to be that easy. It almost seemed the more tired physically she was supposed to be, the stronger mentally she got. After beating Julia Georges against after she retired midway through the match, suddenly she was in the SFs of this big tournament. We still haven’t even gotten to her most impressive feats of this streak!

Her next two matches against at the time world #1 Caroline Wozniacki, and #3 Garbine Muguruza to win Doha are why I think she can beat anybody right now. Down 3-6 1-3 to the former, and she came alive. That’s right… instead of crumble away and let the fatigue finish her off, she ROARED back to not only win the second set, but continue to put every ounce of pressure possible on Wozniacki. I’ll never forget that second set tiebreak. Down 1-3, and winner. Next point: winner. Next point: winner. Suddenly it’s 4-3. Showing no fear and painting lines as it was nothing. The Petra way or no other way! We all know the style of game Wozniacki plays; it’s not suited for Petra well especially this year where she has improved immensely to regain the number one ranking for a bit and win her first ever grand slam. However, Petra’s defense in this match was beyond impressive considering how hard she had already worked this week and it gave her a much better chance to succeed.


Petra won that match and you all know the story against Muguruza. She started extremely sluggish and nearly got bageled in the first before winning three straight games to regroup going into the second. Then fought like nobody knew possible and won that match too in three sets. Someone still needs to tell me where she got all of that energy and stamina from?!?!? My favorite parts about this streak are that Petra was down and out multiple times, and each time she found another gear mentally and physically and came back to win. Also the fact that she is not only coming back from these deficits, but she is doing it against a huge chunk of the top 10!!! She is literally taking the hardest road possible to keep this streak alive by beating the best of the best. During this streak, she is not only oblierating winners as usual, she is defending, staying in rallies, absorbing pace, and using all sorts of variety. I mean, what else do you want from her?? Let’s also not forget the fact that not only did her strong fitness level pay off in a big way, but her mentality has improved beautifully as well. Two aspects of her game that past history has shown is a big weakness for her. She always had the talent and power to blow any opponent off of the court, but if she adds in this kind of fitness, mental strength, and defensive mind… she will be unstoppable.

My bottom line to all of this is that I don’t care (Repeat: I. Do. Not. Care.) what her draw at Indian Wells might hold right now… (she beat almost the whole top 10 already so her opponents shouldn’t scare you too much) it will always be a winnable tournament if her belief and fearlessness are there, and she doesn’t beat herself. (I was going to add and she doesn’t get too tired but that aspect might not have any effect right now as was just proven!) An Indian Wells title would give her 19 wins in a row, and grab a win at Miami to make it 20. I’m not saying she is a lock to win IW of course, but her chances are better than they ever have been before. Of course she’s still Petra and she is human so it could randomly end abruptly, but I feel so confident right now and I hope you all are too.

What do you all think? How long do you think this streak will go on? It’s ok if you disagree with me on any of these things in the article, we’re just having fun here! I know it will be easier to guess when you see the IW draw but still it’s worth a shot to try now. I’m saying 17 at this moment but i’m also saying as the article is titled… don’t be surprised if she gets to 20. Let your Kvitty imagination run wild and pojd forever!!!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!!






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!



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!


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.


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.


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!!