Tag Archives: Marin Cilic

The greatest of all time wins Wimbledon title No. 8. A Jewish kid in Pa. dedicates his bar mitzvah to Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Stewart’s not happy. And even Fox News is tired of being lied to

Between 2013-2016, you would hear the stories on TV, or read them in newspapers or on the web.

At first they were whispers, as there was still so much respect for the person they were talking about. But then they got louder, and louder, and louder.

What’s wrong with Roger Federer? Why isn’t he winning anymore? Is he too old? Maybe he should just … retire.

Yep, looks like all those experts were right. That four-year-gap between Grand Slam wins for Roger Federer was the end. Guy could barely play anymore, he should’ve just shuffled off to Switzerland’s version of Del Boca Vista, Phase 2 and called it a career.

Not quite. Roger Federer, the greatest athlete I’ve had the privilege of seeing in my 41 years of life, is writing a story in 2017 that’s never been seen before. He’s doing things no 35-almost-36 year old tennis player has ever done, hell, no professional athlete has done at this age and stage of his career.

Let me hit you with a few quick facts on this incredible champion’s run in 2017:

— He’s won 2 of the 3 Grand Slam events. He’s only played two of them.
— He just won Wimbledon for a record eighth time. And did it without dropping a set. That’s insane.
— He’s 25-0, that’s 25 wins and no losses, in the four biggest tournaments he’s played this year.
— He’s got an excellent chance to become No. 1 in the world again, at the end of this year.

It is all so miraculous to watch for those of us who are hard-core Federer fans like me. We saw the struggles of the last few years, the shocking losses to people like Tommy Robredo and Sergei Stakhovsky at majors, and winced. Nobody wanted to see Federer go out like this.

Then, he got hurt twice in 2016, and took the rest of the season off. Nobody, and I mean, nobody, not even Federer, thought he’d win two Slams this year, and play so flawlessly.

His movement, his serve, his backhand… all of it, back or even better than it was 10 years ago, when he dominated his sport like few others ever had. It’s incredible to see, and Sunday, when he beat a clearly-injured Marin Cilic in straight sets, you could tell how much Federer was enjoying this career renaissance.

Oh, I know, he didn’t have to beat Nadal, Murray or Djokovic to win this title, his 19th Slam overall. But that’s not his fault; two of them were injured and the other (Nadal, having a terrific year himself) lost an epic five-setter.

It’s truly a remarkable story, Federer doing this at his age, doing it so well.

And before I move on, a few words about Venus Williams. She’s 37, she’s overcome so many injuries and illness the past few years, and yet she’s still a Top 10 player. She made a fantastic run to the Wimbledon finals before falling short to Garbine Muguruza, but she’s an inspiration. Venus has always been a class act, and I hope she does get one more Slam title before she’s done.

Great Wimbledon. U.S. Open only seven weeks away!

**Next up, this made me laugh really hard. Seems there’s a 13-year-old in Media, Pa. named Will Rubin who is a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel and his late-night show. Such a huge fan that he invited Kimmel to come to his bar mitzvah. Understandably, Kimmel couldn’t attend, but he did send a video message along, and Will ended up having a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” theme at his celebration of becoming a man.

Well, a certain Jewish comedian named Jon Stewart wasn’t too pleased he was passed over;and he “stormed” Kimmel’s set last Thursday night to argue/appeal to the boy. “Will, wouldn’t you rather idolize a talk-show host who’s also circumcised?”

This is great.

**Finally today, my head hurts trying to keep up with all the lies coming out the White House these days. Honestly, it’s exhausting trying to keep track, between them lying about the Russia meetings, what’s in the health care bill (and as brilliant Tweeter John Fugelsang pointed out Sunday, after learning that there’ll be no health care vote this week “Mitch McConnell has to delay taking healthcare from American taxpayers until after John McCain has surgery, paid for by American taxpayers.”

It is now beyond clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fredo Trump (Don Jr.) and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner lied, repeatedly, about meeting with representative of the Russian government bent on helping Trump win. But still, 35 percent of Americans will support this President no matter what he does or says.

But every once in a while, some sunlight comes in, even to Fox News. Check out Chris Wallace and Shep Smith the other day, talking about this scandal and the incredible number of lies, lies, lies coming out of the White House.

“The deception is mind-boggling,” Smith says, and he’s right.

The NFL and Ray Rice: What a bunch of phonies and hypocrites. And a most unlikely U.S. Open men’s champion is crowned

I was nauseated by this Ray Rice situation Monday.
Not by the act itself, because we’ve all known for months that Ray Rice beat his fiance unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, and what a deplorable act that was.
And we’ve known for months that the NFL completely dropped the ball and insulted women everywhere by pathetically suspending Rice for only two games.

No, what made me want to toss my cookies was the shear phoniness and cowardice of the NFL, suddenly acting all tough on Ray Rice once TMZ leaked the video from inside the elevator, which showed Rice just unloading with a huge left fist right to the face of Janay Palmer, then showing no remorse or concern at all while dragging her out of the elevator.

“Oh my,” the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens basically said. “We knew Rice had hit her, and she was knocked unconscious, and we were fine with letting him get away with that except for a measly two-game suspension. But OOOO, when the whole world sees the video of the act, well then we are shocked, horrified and outraged! Get that man out of our league immediately!” (Tweet from the NYT’s Lynn Zinser about sums it up: “We were totally OK with Ray Rice clobbering his wife until you all watched it on video.”

Puh-lease. What a joke. You’re going to tell me the NFL didn’t see this video until Monday? This is a league that gives a shit about players’ sock heights, suddenly they didn’t investigate to see what was on the Rice tape? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

The phony outrage Monday, give me a break. How in the hell did Roger Goodell, and the Ravens, think Palmer had gotten knocked out in the first place? Suddenly Rice’s crime is worth throwing him out of the league for NOW, but not two months ago?

I swear, the NFL has become harder and harder to take. The hypocrisy is stunning. Keith Olbermann has the best take (above).

(For a nice NFL-related palatte-cleanser, check out this story of one team doing very, very good by a player.)

Cilic.USOPEN

**For so long, men’s tennis has been delightfully predictable. You knew at the end of the Grand Slam tournaments, either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would be holding the trophy and smiling broadly. (OK, Andy Murray snuck in there twice).
It was glorious, and the tennis was great, but it was pretty much guaranteed that one of them would win.
So I was totally flummoxed Monday night when I sat down to watch … Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open men’s final. And unfortunately, despite my expectations of a tight, exciting match, it was as one-sided as the women’s final was. Nishikori was clearly out of gas after a series of epic wins last week, and had no legs left for the final.
Marin Cilic, for two weeks, has been in that indescribable place athletes and sportswriters call “the zone.” Every serve was perfect, every backhand stung down the line, every volley perfectly placed. It was incredible to see a guy who’s always had so much talent finally harness it for two weeks, and reach the pinnacle of the sport.

He’s a great story, Cilic, as he missed the Open last year after being suspended for taking a “banned substance,” which in this case was a glucose tablet his Mom had given him (hey, our Mom gives us something, we take it, right? I actually believe Cilic wasn’t trying to cheat).

Will Cilic keep this up and become a force in the game? I doubt it. I think this was a magical run by him that won’t ever be repeated, and his ranking will linger between 10-20 for several more years.

But man, it sure was a magical run. Bravo to him on finishing off a truly stunning U.S. Open.
(And now I pause for sadness, realizing the next Slam isn’t until January in Australia.)

The Jets dominate and survive as the NFL returns! Ireland’s wacky “Armagaydon”. And Serena cruises to another U.S. Open title

chrisivory

Football’s back!
Yeah yeah, I know college football started last week, but to me, the first Sunday of the NFL season is the real start of football season.
I love the first Sunday. I love seeing way more people in the sports bar than normal, because everybody’s fired up about their team, they’ve missed the sport, and they’re convinced their favorite team is going to win (hey, everyone’s undefeated at this point!).
I love trying to re-teach my brain how to watch 5 games at once. I love tricking myself into thinking the Jets will be good this year. And I really love the drunk moron in the bar (there’s always one) taunting other fans because he’s drunk and thinks he’s being funny.

Ah, football, I’ve missed you so. Some quick-hit thoughts from a pretty compelling week 1.
— I start with the Jets, of course. That was the most dominating five-point win you’ll see, since my boys shot themselves in the foot so many times the game wasn’t the blowout it should’ve been. Geno Smith looked mostly good (that’s different from mostly dead, right Miracle Max?) except for two killer turnovers, the running game looked fantastic, and the defense was stellar (albeit against a terrible team).

Jets will get creamed at Lambeau next week, I’m sure, but this was an encouraging start.

— It’s always a wonderful day when the Jets win and the Patriots lose. Boy that improved Pats’ D didn’t look so improved on Sunday.
— I’ve never NOT been entertained in recent years by a Saints-Falcons game. They play shootouts every single time. Matty Ryan was sensational on Sunday.

— Ah, Tony Romo, so good to have you back. My great friend Tony put it best about gunslingin’ No. 8, who threw three picks Sunday: “Tony Romo: the man with a Brett Favre mentality without Brett Favre ability.”

— Um, RGIII? What the hell happened to you? Man did the Redskins look awful. Poor RGIII hasn’t been the same since injuring his knee in that playoff game two years ago; he may never be the same again. Mike Shanahan, the blood of his career is on your hands.

— I know they lost, but man, Andrew Luck is some kind of terrific quarterback. Indy fans are so spoiled, getting Peyton and then him back-to-back.

– Did you see the clip of the Steelers player karate-kicking the Browns punter in the face? I mean, come on, that’s awful!

**Next up today, I thought this was very clever. Marriage-equality proponents in Ireland made this ad leading up to a vote for same-sex marriage, about what would “happen” if it were legalized. How do you deal with the “Armagayddon?” Hide all the women and children!

serenajumping

**Finally today, Serena Williams won a third straight U.S. Open title Sunday, routing Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 6-3. I’ve said the following on here several times but it’s worth saying again: I strongly dislike Serena as an athlete, for her comportment and lack of decency on the court (not just for screaming at linespeople when she foot-faults), and her arrogance and condescension off the court.

But I also admire the hell out of her career, and marvel at how when she’s playing well, like she did the past two weeks, she’s the best player women’s tennis has seen.
I would love to see her in her prime, up against Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, because for the past decade, when Serena is at her best, she’s miles ahead of the rest. An incredible, one-of-a-kind athlete wbo simply cannot be matched.

As for the men’s final today, shoot, I have no freaking clue who’ll win. I’m still in shock that Djokovic and Federer were so easily dismissed in the semis on Saturday. Kei Nishikori is a rising star, and a Japanese player winning a Slam for the first time would be a great story. But Marin Cilic played out of his mind last week and on Saturday, he’s got a huge serve, and may just be unbeatable right now (I cannot believe I’m saying that about Marin Cilic.)

As disappointed as I am that my man Federer lost, I’m thrilled that men’s tennis has some new blood in a Slam final. I’ll say Nishikori wins in 4.