French Open Fantasy League!

Fantasy tennis is back, baby! Get busy picking your teams. You have until Sunday–when the French Open begins–before you’re shut out of all the fun. I don’t want to hear any of your lame-o excuses this time around. Excuses such as:

“I wanted to enter, but I didn’t know where to go! Wah!”

Go to fanslam.us. Make an account, if you haven’t already.

“There were too many contests–I didn’t know which one to enter! Wah!”

We’re entering the two contests marked “Enter free” under the status column. There’s one for the men and one for the women.

“I didn’t understand the rules. Wah!”

It’s really not that hard.

  • You have a pot of money, called your salary cap. You get to buy eight players with that money. Higher ranked players cost more.
  • You don’t have to pick the champion to win. You win by accumulating the most points.
  • Points are awarded based on what percentage of match points a player won. So if Nadal beats Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 and you have Djokovic on your team roster, you’re not getting many points. But if Nadal beats him 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, you could get almost as many points with Djokovic on your roster as with Nadal. (And if you have both men on your roster, you get all 100 points no matter who wins.)
  • Once a player loses, he or she doesn’t accumulate any more points. (Duh.)

“I don’t follow tennis closely enough to know who all the players are. Wah wah wah!”

Who cares? It’s free. Pick random people, using up as much of your salary cap as you can. Weird things can happen. Just look at last year’s US Open finalists. Nobody could have predicted that.

I’ll be picking my teams under the name LittleYellow. Before the tournament begins, you have to let me know, via the comment section, the name you’re playing under to get a shot at winning the coveted can of Triniti tennis balls.

There will be only one winner for each contest. You’re competing against whoever enters this LYB subset of bettors. So if you end up with more points than I have but fewer than loyal LYB reader Martha, you lost and you get squat.

Good luck!!!

(No, I haven’t forgotten about the May challenge of ladder drills. I’m making it a June challenge. Maybe even late-June.)

Not So Happy Feet

May starts is less than two hours, so let me sneak in April’s blog post…

Thursday was my first spring league match, and I can tell you it felt nothing like spring. Such is New England weather, but I don’t think I’ve ever played in less hospitable conditions. The temperature was maybe 40 with a gusting wind. This is how one of my opponents dressed for our match:

Brrrrr…

The smarter members of the two teams deemed the conditions unplayable and rescheduled their matches. My foursome, on the other hand, decided to soldier through for reasons that seem patently unpersuasive to me in hindsight: The wind affects everyone equally. It might be tough to reschedule. Besides, we were already there.

We played one set. Let me share the two lessons I learned.

Lesson One: You have to keep your feet moving in the wind. I kept setting up for what looked to be a simple volley, only to hit it into the net. I realized, eventually, that there was so much wind drag on the ball that it wasn’t arriving at my racquet when I thought it would. I ended up making contact with the ball too far in front of my body. In the wind, you can never really be “set.” You always have to be making quick adjustments.

Lesson Two: You may need to make quick adjustments, but if you haven’t developed that level of agility, your feet will not cooperate. You can’t simply force your feet to move faster than they want to go. I learned this particular lesson when I rolled my ankle trying to make a last-minute adjustment to a wind-tossed ball.

Which just goes to show that when it comes to sports, a lesson learned by the brain isn’t worth half as much as a lesson learned by the body.

Thinking about footwork won’t do much for you if you haven’t put in the practice time. Which means drills.

Which means…a monthly challenge!

For the month of May, we’ll do a footwork challenge. By “we,” I mean “you.” With my recent Achilles tendinitis flare-up, footwork drills are probably a bad idea. So I’m recruiting volunteers to do the challenge for me and report back on their results. With any luck, we’ll end up with lots of crunchy data for tennis math. Maybe we’ll even get to play with some pie charts and graphs…

Tune in next week for all the details!

Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-dressed at the 2022 Australian Open

Even though I don’t have a job, I still love Fridays. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating at the sound of “TGIF.” And now look at me. All covered with slimy drool. Gross.

Let’s do a face-off. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-dressed at the 2022 Australian Open”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-dressed Woman, 2022 Australian Open

My apologies for being so late with the face-offs! I got so wrapped up in Rafa’s run to the title that I lost track of time. And then there was the week-long post-victory bacchanalia… 

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling it with this slam’s crop of clothing. It’s an odd tournament when I find better outfits among the men than the women. But enough about ho-hum habiliments. Let’s get on with the voting. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-dressed Woman, 2022 Australian Open”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Man at Australian Open (2022)

When the first Friday of a slam rolls around, I’m usually hard pressed to find three candidates for best-dressed man. Not this time, though. An hour ago, I had a list of NINE!

There can be only one explanation for this sudden glut of male fashionistas: Word is getting out on the tour about the Fashion Face-off! The men are finally upping their game, hoping to score a coveted nomination—or at least avoid the ignominy of a worst-dressed award two weeks from now. It’s the power of the press in action!

Either that or my standards are slipping. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Man at Australian Open (2022)”

Australian Open Fantasy Tennis

I woke up to the news that Novak Djokovic has been kicked out of Australia. I can’t pretend to be sad about that. Not only does it remove a major hurdle for Rafa to win his second Australian Open (although I still think that’s unlikely), but it clarifies the men’s draw for fantasy tennis!

Want to play? You have only a few more hours to pick your fantasy team, so put down your dust mop and get busy!

Go to FanSlam.us. After you log in, you’ll see a long list of contests, most of which are marked “private.” Scroll down past all that, and you’ll come to a second grid marked “Fanslam Calendar: Upcoming Tournaments.” The contests you want are the first two listed, marked “Enter Free.”

You can find the rules on the FanSlam site or in last year’s blog post, Fantasy Tennis Is Here.

In the past, I’ve tried to set up a contest within a contest, with limited (actually, zero) success. I’ll keep trying, though, because one of these days someone will surprise me. If you want to compete within the LittleYellowBall community, set up your fantasy team(s) on FanSlam. Then return here and post your team roster(s) in the comment section. (Yes, there is a comment section. Keep scrolling.)

It’s no use coming to me after the tournament ends, claiming you were player “FedererFan1” on FanSlam and, hey look at that, you just happened to finish in first place. If your picks aren’t posted on LittleYellowBall before the first serve is struck (tonight at 7, EST), you’re out of luck.

In the event of more than one person entering this contest with me (as if), the person with the best result wins. There will be only one winner for each draw.

Here are my picks for the men:

My picks for the men
  • Nadal
  • Auger-Aliassime
  • Bautista Agut
  • Taylor Fritz
  • Alcaraz Garcia
  • De Minaur
  • James Duckworth
  • Andy Murray (a bargain at $5,000!)

And for the women:

My picks for the women
  • Kontaveit
  • Badosa
  • Halep
  • Gauff
  • Anisimova
  • Cornet
  • Keys
  • Kvitova

Winner gets a can of tennis balls—which, of course, will be Triniti balls.

Have fun!!

My 2022 Resolutions AND a January Challenge

Happy 2022, everyone!

Have you made your resolutions for the new year yet? I have, and as usual, my list is too long. After all these years, it’s hard to believe I still have that much left to improve.

My resolutions always include something to do with writing, and this year is no different. Along with specific projects I’d like to finish, I aim to write a blog post a month. That’s a pretty low bar, especially with the Grand Slam fashion face-offs accounting for a full third of the total. Really, we’re looking at eight non-face-off posts a year. If I can’t manage that, I should just fold up shop.

Here, then, is post #1: My tennis resolution! (Yes, I’m satisfying my blog resolution by writing about my tennis resolution. And maybe my tennis resolution could be to improve my court fitness by losing weight. And I could lose the weight by cooking at home more, for which I could resolve to sign up for a Blue Apron membership, which I can do right now from my computer… There! Three resolutions knocked off in five minutes. I am killing it in 2022.)

Okay, here’s my real tennis resolution: Get closer to the net. Continue reading “My 2022 Resolutions AND a January Challenge”

Triniti: The Greener Tennis Ball

Is there anything better than opening a new can of tennis balls? There’s that gratifying pop as the seal breaks and the pressure is released. There’s that distinctive aroma, an intoxicating blend of new rubber and stale air. The balls roll out of the can and into your palm, and they’re bright and pristine and full of promise. Ahhhh. It’s going to be a good day.

Of course, there’s a dark side accompanying all this new-can fetishizing. Tennis has a pollution problem. I’m sure, like me, you toss your old cans into the recycling bin, but I’m also sure you’ve heard plastic recycling is mostly a sham. Less than ten percent of plastics actually get recycled, and tennis ball cans present an extra challenge because of the metal lip around the top.

We know why this matters. Overflowing landfills. Degraded oceans. Microplastics in our air, food, and water. I love a fresh can as much as the next person, but I don’t want to eat it. 

I won’t pretend I’m especially eco-minded. I don’t even compost, for cryin’ out loud. I mean, how hard is it to compost? But I’ve started looking for some easy changes I can make—the low-hanging fruit, so to speak. My latest is swapping out my Cerave gel facial cleanser for the bar-based one. Same product without the plastic. It’s pretty much a no-brainer.

Which brings us back to our dreaded tennis cans. 

Earlier this year, I tried out a new tennis ball, the Wilson Triniti. Since most tennis shopping is done online, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen these before. (Yes, they’re sold online, as well as in stores, but unless you know they exist, you wouldn’t be looking for them.) Continue reading “Triniti: The Greener Tennis Ball”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed at the 2021 U.S. Open

Late again. But to make it up to you, we have two polls!

A couple of people suggested Naomi Osaka for inclusion on this week’s worst-dressed list, and while I can’t disagree, I also can’t pile on the poor girl. She’s clearly having a rough time adjusting to the expectations that come with being a champion. My heart went out to her when she was crying in her interview after her third-round loss.

So to demonstrate our compassion, let’s pile on other people and see if we can make them cry instead.

Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed at the 2021 U.S. Open”

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