Tag Archives: French Open

As we prepare to move out of NYC, some things I definitely won’t miss. The Parkland kids with a beautiful, touching performance at the Tonys. And Rafa Nadal dominates and a cute kid steals the show at the French Open

So this is a pretty big week for the Lewis family, and for my wife in particular: We are leaving the noisy and crowded confines of Manhattan for the hopefully quieter but equally great suburbs, moving to our new house this Friday on Long Island.

For my beloved wife, this transition is going to be most jarring, as she’s lived in the city for 20 years and suddenly has to leave her beloved borough. For me, New York City has been my home for longer than anywhere else as an adult; my nomadic, journalist life has seen me move many times, so living in Manhattan the past six years has truly felt like home.

There have been many wonderful things about living in the crowdest, most alive city in America, and I’ll get to some of those in my next post, on Wednesday.

But since I’m a firm believer, much like Don Corleone in “The Godfather” of hearing bad news first before good news (my reasoning is I like to end on a happy note rather than a sad one), I want to write today about all the things I won’t miss about living in NYC. Don’t worry, my fellow New Yorkers reading this will nod along knowingly, while those of you who don’t live here will say “See? This is why I could never live there.”

— The honking. The goddamn, loud, incessant, annoying honking from car horns on the streets of Manhattan is the single biggest thing I hate about living in the world’s greatest city. It is around you always, and everywhere. It happens when you’re walking and suddenly someone decides the traffic up ahead is all the fault of this idiot in front of them, and leans on the horn for 10-15 seconds.

It happens when people are mad, or frustrated, or just impatient (I swear I was once honked while driving and the light hadn’t even finished switching from red to green yet).

I just cannot stand how frequent and loud the car horn honking is. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

— My biggest fear of Manhattan may surprise you: But next to every restaurant or bar is a hole/opening for a ladder or steps that go down to the basement of the place, where deliveries of beer or food or whatever goes. Walking past that steep downward hole I’m always terrified I’m going to fall down the opening and kill myself. And once our son could walk it scared me even more. Won’t miss those.

— Subway delays, which are inevitable, but the ones that happen while you’re waiting and waiting for a train and you feel it’ll never, ever, ever come.

— The pomposity and arrogance of so many young people who work in finance. You hear them in restaurants or on the street, talking so smugly like they own the world and they’re barely 25. Just once I’d like to smack one of them and tell them “Shut up, you can’t even legally rent a car yet, you don’t know anything!”

— The lack of available tennis courts. OK this one is only relevant to some of my fellow New Yorkers, but I’ve never lived anywhere where it was so hard to find a place to play. Such little land for courts, and court fees are enormous, and you’ve often got to make reservations and you only can wear certain kinds of shoes… and it’s just such a hassle. Thrilled to be moving back to normalcy, where you can just walk out onto a neighborhood court and play any time you want.

–And lastly, I won’t miss the exorbitant costs of living here. You live in Manhattan long enough, paying $18 for a burger, or $13.50 for a turkey sandwich, almost seems normal.

Because that’s what everyone is charging. It’s horrendous how so many businesses and apartment-dwellers have been driven out of the city by the high price of living here. Slowly NYC is losing its soul because it’s losing people who aren’t in the 1 percent.

But also because there has to be a point, somewhere, where people say “Enough! I will not pay $5.50 for that tiny bottle of water!”

**Next up, sometimes goosebump and tear-inducing video clips need no introduction, or explanation. So allow me to present, from Sunday night’s Tony Awards, the drama club from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., singing the iconic song from “Rent,” “Seasons of Love.”

**Finally today, a few words about the just-concluded French Open, the second tennis Grand Slam of the year and an event once again dominated on the men’s side by an unknown guy from Spain named Rafael Nadal.

  1. The guy won his 11th French Open title Sunday (cue William Miller in “Almost Famous” shouting “ELEVEN!” from the backseat), and as usual there was very little drama in victory. Nadal is the best player on any one surface, maybe that ever lived, and it’s incredible the way he and Roger Federer continue to dominate men’s tennis.

Think about this: Nadal and Federer, between them, have won the last SIX major titles. They last did that in 2006. It’s now 2018! That’s insane. Nadal looks healthy and primed for a great run at Wimbledon, where he could meet the rested and healthy Roger Federer, of course.

Wimbledon starts in three weeks. I. Can’t. Wait.

— Big props to Simona Halep, the women’s champion and world No.1, who finally won her first major. Good for her. And also big ups to 14-year-old American Coco Gauff, who won the French Open juniors title. I can’t remember if I wrote about her last year after seeing her at the U.S. Open juniors and reach the finals, but this kid is absolutely the future of women’s tennis. Already 5-9, powerful and able to move gracefully, she’s got all the tools to be a champion. Trust me, remember her name.

— Finally, this is about the most adorable thing ever: French player Nicolas Mahut won the men’s doubles title Sunday, and after the match his son Nathaniel ran on court to celebrate and dance with him. How cute is this?

Rafael Nadal, King of Clay and pretty much unbeatable. Jonah Hill with a legit celebrity apology. And the Rangers, down but (maybe) not out

Nadal.FrenchOpen

One of the reasons I love sports so much is that it gives you a front-row seat to greatness on a regular basis.

LeBron James, Sunday night for the Miami Heat, was incredible. But he was only the second-most dominant athlete performing Sunday, because as has become as reliable as death, taxes and the GOP Republicans in Congress trying to repeal Obamacare, Rafael Nadal won the French Open, fairly easily.

This is the ninth French Open win for Nadal. Let me say that again: He was won NINE titles at Roland Garros, an absurd number for a guy still in his prime.
He’s as unbeatable on that court as any athete in an individual sport has ever been. Did Nicklaus or Tiger ever win nine Masters tournaments? No. Did Michael Phelps win nine 100-meter Olympic butterflys? Nope. You could throw any boxer, track sprinter or anyone else you want at me, and they won’t measure up to Nadal on Court Phillipe Chartrier in Paris in June.

What’s a little scary for the rest of the tennis world is that Nadal didn’t even play all that well for a while against Novak Djokovic Sunday. Djokovic took the first set and was right there at 5-all in the second, before Rafa turned it up a notch, and didn’t look back.

I was fooled once again, as I have many times before, in thinking this would be the year the Djoker finally toppled Nadal at the French. But nope, he couldn’t get it done, partly due to feeling ill during the match (and hey, NBC, did we really need the super-slo-mo look of Djokovic vomiting on the court? I know I didn’t).

Nadal is an incredible specimen, a marvelous sportsman, and a guy who is creeping up ever-so-closer to catching Roger Federer for G.O.A.T. and in Grand Slam titles won (it’s now 17-14 Roger).

It’s a privilege to watch him work.

**I’ve heard thousands of celebrity “apologies” in my lifetime, and 99 percent of them come off as incredibly fake and insincere. Most of them are written for the celeb in trouble by an agent or P.R. person, and rarely do the words “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault” get uttered by the famous person.

Which is why this apology, by Jonah Hill on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, was so refreshing. You can tell in his face how upset he is at what he did; I’m not a huge fan of his movies in general, but I’m a big fan of his character as a person now.

Good job.

**So, the Rangers did everything they could Saturday night to give me both a heart attack and send me jumping through the roof with joy, and then after nearly five periods of incredibly intense hockey, they made me collapse on the couch, mad, tired and wondering why the L.A. Kings needed the referees’ help.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: The Rangers did plenty to dig themselves the 0-2 hole they’re in right now in the Stanley Cup Final. They turned the puck over way too much Saturday, they failed to take advantage of several fantastic opportunities to win in OT (Chris Kreider, you gotta bury that breakaway!), and look, the Kings are really, really good and punished the Rangers’ defensemen much of the night.

But come on… that third goal by the Kings was such utter and complete B.S., it was clearly goalie interference, 100 times out of 100 they’ve called that this year in the NHL. I mean, look at this replay of the goal, starting at the :38 mark:

When I tell you that SO much less contact than that has been called interference all season in the NHL, and for that not to be called, a game-turning, and maybe Stanley Cup-final turning, goal, was absolutely bogus.

And listen, I never complain about officiating, in any sport. All calls eventually even out, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve come away from a game bitching about the zebras. But that was an awful non-call.

Anyway, it’s done, Rangers are down 2-0, and must, must, must win tonight. For inspiration, I will watch the as always superb CBC Stanley Cup montages, like the one above. Nobody does these videos better than them… Let’s Go Rangers!

Israel angers me again: Oy vey. A rant at ESPN. And a good Woody Allen movie (it’s been awhile)

Israel. Oh, Israel. You make it so hard sometimes for American Jews like myself  to defend you.

Like on Monday. Right when Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu was about to have a meeting with President Obama, an Israeli navy commando raided an aid flotilla and killed nine people.

Israel says it acted in self-defense. The rest of the world seems to disagree. It looks very bad, especially when you learn that the flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of aid.

I’m sick of what certainly appear to be pro-active acts of violence by Israel. I know there are many Jews in America who will defend Israel no matter what. I’m not one of them.

I hope the investigation of this attack shows that the Israelis acted in self-defense. I really hope I’m wrong. Because this sure as hell won’t help any peace process that might ever occur in the Middle East.

**ESPN does a lot of things right, and it does a lot of things wrong. Monday it totally angered me because it refused to show live tennis from the French Open; instead, it showed taped matches that had been over for hours.

If you are interested in me ranting about this (and you know you are), click here for my blog on the French Open Monday, and scroll toward the bottom.

**”Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is one of those movies I’d been meaning to see for a while, but never got around to it. Finally saw that it was on one of the 47 Showtime channels we get (seriously, it’s ridiculous how many different Showtimes and HBOs there are), and taped it, and watched it Sunday night.

Pretty good, as I’d heard. I’d watch Scarlett Johannson read a phone book, so beautiful is she, but she actually acted quite well in this. Javier Bardem was his usual awesome self, and Penelope Cruz was terrific, too. Not sure she was worthy of that Oscar she got; I mean, she was only in a few scenes. But she was really good.

It was a well-paced, well-written film, even it if wasn’t all that funny. And it made me wonder: Hey Woody Allen, where the hell’s all this good stuff been? Woody’s made some dreadful movies in the last 10 years, and I’ve watched most of ’em (that one with Helen Hunt? And the “Scoop” movie with Scarlett? Just atrocious piffle.)

Glad to see Woody can still make a good movie, that’s all.

A “what’s more offensive” question for my readers. And the French Open kicks off

So I’m in the greeting card section of Target on Saturday, looking for a birthday card for a friend, and I see, lined up three in a row, a trio of obnoxious, stupid, sexist cards designed for men.

You know the type: Big-breasted woman, maybe blonde, leaning over looking all come-hither. The words on the front are some sexual entendre, and then you open the card and the rest of the joke is inside. It’s rarely funny, and often stupid.

And while I was pondering that, I got to thinking about how lately beer commercials have really been pissing me off. They are getting stupider and stupider, especially the Coors Light and Miller Lite ones: (the two most moronic have to be the one where the guy can’t say “I love you” to his girlfriend, and the one (above) where the girl asks him what he’d save if they were falling off a cliff, her or his Miller Lite).

It offends me that this is how greeting card companies and beer marketers see men: That we’re all these drooling, idiotic, mono-syllabic morons. Are there no men out there who like greeting cards or beer? We’re all just so stupid we’d pick a case of cheap beer over our hot girlfriend?

It’s pathetic that in 2010 they think that all men are alike, and we’re this dumb. As an intelligent male, I would love to know what guy is watching those commercials and saying “Yeah, that’s me. I should drink that beer and be like that guy.”

OK, end of rant. I’m just sayin’ aren’t there any creative minds left in advertising for these companies?

Which do you think are more offensive, the greeting cards, or the beer commercials?

**The French Open tennis tournament starts today, and I am very happy.

I think it’s weird how in the last couple of years a few of the Grand Slams have decided to start on a Sunday, to stretch the tournament out through three weekends and make some more money off fans by having one extra day of play. But whatever.

This should be a fascinating two weeks for tennis nuts like myself. You have to figure Rafael Nadal, all healthy and fired up (though still not back in the clam-digger shorts, which I think he ought to be wearing), will regain his crown as men’s champ. Can my man Roger Federer find a way to beat Rafa on clay, in a Grand Slam, which he’s never done? I’m as big a Fed fan as there is, but I’m not sure he can do it this year.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams has hardly played since winning the Australian Open in January. And she never plays well at Roland Garros. So of course she’ll probably win the tournament. Justine Henin, who I met once and was very nice, is back from retirement and could also win. Really, it’s pretty wide open on the women’s side.

By the way, that picture above is me standing on the actual center court at the French Open, Court Phillippe Chartrier. I’ll tell the story of my criminal mischief in sneaking into the stadium sometime later this week; let’s just say security there wasn’t exactly like it is at Leavenworth.