April 27, 2012

Quick Tennis Fix: Bring Your Own Snacks

I recently played a league match where the opposing team provided snacks that consisted of a variety of Easter candies and not much else. While I like a neon pink sugary Peep bunny just as much as the next person, this is not the kind of nutritious bite I need to keep me going during my tennis match.

To avoid this type of munchie disaster in the future, I've decided to start bringing my own snacks. And when I think about the beating I often put my tennis bag through, what I'll need is something that's not only healthy and tasty, but also portable and un-meltable.  Here are the snacks that I have in mind:
  • Bananas and Apples - the perfect fruits, no container necessary
  • Dried Fruit - higher in calories than whole fruit but easy to transport and very tasty
  • Granola or Cereal Bars - these need to be on the dry side, not the chocolate-y ones that might melt in the heat
  • Nuts or Trail Mix - delicious and nutritious
  • Crackers - I'm thinking individual bags of Goldfish or the like
The good thing about all of these snacks is that I can stick them in my bag the night before a match without worrying that they'll go bad.

Do you have a favorite snack you take along to matches? Let me know and I'll give it a try!

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

April 18, 2012

Olympic Tennis Fix: Our Defending Champs Are . . .

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are now just 100 days away (!) so here is Post No. 3 in the Tennis Fixation "Olympic Tennis Fix" series.

Who are the defending tennis champs from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics that we need to keep an eye out for? Well, I'll bet that some of these names will surprise you.

First off, in men's singles, Spain's Rafael Nadal took gold. Nadal was having an incredible year in 2008, winning both the French Open and Wimbledon. The silver medal went to Fernando Gonzalez of Chile and bronze went to Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

In women's singles, the gold medal winner was Russia's Elena Dementieva, now retired. Silver went to Russia's Dinara Safina, also retired. And bronze went to Vera Zvonareva of Russia, still around and still a strong player. Jeez - what were they putting in the water in Russia that year? And is it still available for women like me?

In men's doubles, how's this for a surprise? The gold medal was won by the Swiss team of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka! Silver went to Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson. And the bronze medal was won by the United States team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Just in case you think Roger wasn't excited about winning gold in doubles, check out this photo collage:

He certainly looks happy about it to me.

In women's doubles, the gold medal winners were the United States' Serena and Venus Williams - no surprise there in my opinion. Silver went to Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual. The bronze medal was won by China's Yan Zi and Zheng Jie.

There was no mixed doubles in 2008 (although there will be this year).

While I'm sure we'll see many of these players back for 2012, it will be interesting to see the new faces in the line-up. And I would love to see Djokovic, Nadal and Federer playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles! Which isn't too crazy of an idea since ATP points are awarded for Olympic victories.

If you missed out on the previous Olympic Tennis Fix posts, click on these links to catch-up:

Olympic Tennis Fix: Getting Ready For London
Olympic Tennis Fix: Who Gets To Play Olympic Tennis?

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

April 13, 2012

Keeping Up With The US Men's Clay Court

If, like me, you can't be there in person for the last few days of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, there are still lots of ways to follow the action.

1. You can watch it live on the Tennis Channel. Tonight, April 13, two quarterfinal matches will be televised starting at 6 p.m. (Central Time): John Isner vs. Ryan Sweeting (the 2011 Clay Court champ), followed by Spain's Feliciano Lopez vs. Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.  On Saturday, April 14, semifinal singles matches will be televised starting at 1 p.m. and the doubles final will be shown at 6 p.m. The singles final will air on Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m.

2. You can follow every point of every match by downloading the ATP/WTA Live Scores app to your iPhone or iPad (there is also an Android version but I haven't used that one). You can see a screen shot of this great app above and read about it in this post: Follow ALL The Action With The ATP/WTA Live App. This app is updating the scores in almost real time - there was maybe a 30 to 45 second delay I noticed the other day when watching a match and also following it with the app (I think this qualifies as tennis nerd-dom). And this is also the app that a lot of players use to follow the scores as I found out from Juan Monaco's hitting partner and a German doubles player.

3. You can keep up with winners, losers and check out a few photos by following the official Twitter account for this tournament - @mensclaycourt. While you won't get point by point tweets, you will get the overall big picture plus a fun look at what's happening on the River Oaks Country Club grounds.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

Clay Court Tourney Ends For Me And Mardy Fish

So yesterday was the last day at the 2012 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships for me and Mardy Fish. I can't be there any longer because I have to go out of town. Mardy won't be there because he was beaten by 136th ranked Michael Russell 6-3, 6-1. Russell is from Houston and, while the Clay Court crowd loves Mardy, they also love the hometown boy. Russell faces Ryan Harrison today.

I had to include the photo above because yesterday was one of the Fashion Show luncheon days held at this tournament. This is a photo of the ladies waiting in the valet line to get their cars after the luncheon was over. This photo really doesn't do a good job of showing you the reality of this event - LOTS of ladies in very fancy dresses, very big hats and very high heels who seem to have absolutely no interest in the tennis going on right next to their luncheon. It is a lot of fun to watch them but not much fun to try and drive through them during luncheon time. I had at least two players ask me why I wasn't at the luncheon. Maybe in Europe the tournament drivers dress a lot better (my uniform is one of the things that precludes me from going - baggy Fila shirt, khaki shorts and tennis shoes).

The best part of my last day? I got to drive Sam Querrey and he is definitely now one of my most-favorite players to follow. He was so sweet and laid back when I drove him so it just killed me to see him get beat in a tiebreaker with South Africa's Kevin Anderson. Here are my "action" photos of Querrey:

He is 6'6" and seems huge when he's sitting next to you in a car but then it turns out all of these guys are huge and Querrey is not the tallest by any means (Anderson is 6'8", Isner is 6'9" and Ivo Karlovic, who is still alive in doubles, is 6'10").

FYI - I am lately into using the Camera + app to take all my iPhone photos because I love the quirky little editing features - especially the Offset border I've been using for all my Clay Court photos. The photos aren't that great, but isn't the border cute?

Anyway, Querrey lost his singles match but went on to play doubles later with James Blake, beating the Number 1 seeded team of Alex Bogomolov, Jr. (Russia) and Scott Lipsky (U.S.). So Sam Querrey is still alive and plays today at 4:30 p.m.!

Other fun things - I drove some ATP scoring trainees to the tournament. I think that's what they were anyway. They had very thick French accents and when I asked them about some of the problems I had seen with one of the score boards, they told me, "Zat is not our fault! Zee net is not controlled by us! We are at zee mercy of zee net contractors!" or something like that. I have no idea what all of the jobs are that you can have with the ATP but that seems like a fun one.

I also got to drive a German doubles team to the mall. I'm not sure who they were and they may have already lost and just be hanging out. But they were very fun and had some great ideas about what is appropriate for college students to be drinking these days (sometimes you get to talk about things other than tennis when driving).

I am so sad that my time is up at the Clay Courts. I actually got a call last night asking me if I could drive some extra shifts (I guess I am a desirable driver. Or I am known as someone who will work for free.) but unfortunately I have to return to my normal non-ATP life. My final thought - good luck to Sam Querrey and James Blake in their doubles quest. That would be so incredible if they won!

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

April 10, 2012

I Love My Job! (US Men's Clay Court Update)

Well, I have been driving my Lexus off this week taking players back and forth for the ATP US Men's Clay Court tournament at River Oaks Country Club here in Houston, Texas. This is absolutely one of the most fun volunteer jobs you could ever hope for if you are a tennis fan. While I still have some driving left to do this week, here are a few highlights so far:

I got to see lots of Tommy Haas, both practicing and playing, before he withdrew during qualifying due to a right knee injury. Here's a photo of him during his qualifying match:

Here he is after the match, looking pretty fresh despite the fact that it was about 90 degrees outside and he had just played two not un-challenging sets:

He is incredibly good looking and these photos, taken by me with my iPhone because I'm too lazy to use a real camera, don't do him justice.

Other highlights - Ivo Karlovic is back! Yay!! And he is not a qualifier this year - he is the the 8th seed in the tournament and I think he is ranked something like No. 41 by the ATP right now. I watched him play doubles today, which he won, so I hope he will be around for awhile. Here he is serving in his doubles match, partnered up with Germany's Franky Moser:

For some reason, these photos don't look nearly as good as I think they do when I'm taking them.

Other fun things I've done - I got to drive Wayne Bryan around. He's the father of the Bryan Brothers and is here to kind of MC the center court matches. He is very nice and explained to me the Bryan Brothers clay court season schedule and why they couldn't make this tournament this year.

Also, I got to pick up Juan Monaco from the airport and drive him to the club - so cute! He is seeded No. 4 for this tournament and is ranked something like No. 12 so I'm sure I'll see more of him.

Finally, I almost got to drive Feliciano Lopez to Starbucks but I hesitated because I wasn't sure where the Starbucks was and some other driver jumped on the chance. A woman driver of course. Oh well.

I'll keep trying on the photos and see if I can get something really good. For a change.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved