Liverpool Hope University International Tennis Tournament

This tournament has been going a long time now and it magically got better since I started getting free tickets as it moved to the club I play tennis for, Liverpool Cricket Club. It has been very on and off over the years, the weather often contributing to its downfall more than the quality of tennis. Its first year at the Cricket Club hailed success but from what I saw it was a complete flop. This year I was only able to attend the Thursday which was disappointing as I would have liked to see Mansour Bahrami again because he does always entertain the crowd and it’s fun to watch. However the grass looked in much better condition this year and the line judges and ball boys looked much better trained and got very little wrong.

There was a very good mixture of professional talent, legends for entertainment, and local up and coming talent. Aljaž Bedene vs. Damir Džumhur was the main match for me as someone who wanted to enjoy the highest quality of tennis possible. Bedene is the new British number 2, is still very young, and has a ton of potential but also proved to be quite charismatic in this affair, as did Džumhur, the two of them putting on match of high professional standard but also with a bit of flair, entertaining the relatively small crowd. The tennis was of the highest standard I have seen for a few years with Andrey Rublev returning again to join the two professionals previously mentioned as well as the late entrant Pablo Andújar who I unfortunately didn’t get to see. The quality however made the turn-out of the crowd quite disappointing. I understand that the majority of people are in work on a Thursday afternoon and the tickets aren’t the cheapest but none of the stands were close to being full. More credit to all the professionals playing to make it as entertaining as it was because they couldn’t have been blamed for being annoyed with the turnout.

I hope Saturday wasn’t ruined too much by the rain and the turnout was a bit better for the three days that I didn’t attend but I thoroughly enjoyed my day and hopefully it will remain in Liverpool and at the Cricket Club for next year because I would definitely go again.

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Orange Is The New Black – Season 3

For the most part I really enjoy this program and along with Daredevil it makes me want to watch a lot more of Netflix’s original programs. I don’t watch a great deal of Drama programs so it makes a nice change from my usual viewing. The only problem I have with it, along with everything else of Netflix, is that it’s not a weekly episodic program, they bring out all the episodes in one day. Now I don’t mind not having to wait a week for the next episode I could easily just wait it out and watch them like I do everything else if I wanted to; but by doing that one risks the chance of spoilers, and there are people who like this program enough to watch all 13 episodes in 2 or 3 days and post everything that happens on Facebook. I wish people like that didn’t exist but unfortunately they’re unavoidable sometimes.

The program itself has been fantastic. I still think the second season was slightly better because at times this season there has been a little too much going on for me but the acting and the script is brilliant. I’m not a fan of flashbacks but it does do a lot of character building and creates a much more cohesive group of characters. I feel like it did end a bit prematurely and nothing really got resolved but it has made me excited for the next season already. The one negative thing from a personal perspective is that I don’t really like any of the characters. They are all funny at times but nobody really stands out. It could be because something in the back of my head is telling me they’re all criminals and I shouldn’t like them but generally I have very little care for morality so I doubt it’s that. There’s just nobody that particularly stands out except Piper’s brother and he’s barely in it. The first two seasons focused mainly on Piper and she was very likeable for a long period of time but in this season I’ve really gone off her. It has branched out and focused on a different character in every episode but I just don’t like any of them. It’s not a problem of the program because I see a lot of people liking a lot of different characters, it’s just me annoying myself by being too picky.

It’s an excellent show though and I am always recommending it to people I know. I find a lot of male’s are a bit sceptical because on the surface it is a drama program about women in prison, it doesn’t sound exciting and has a female dominated cast which sadly puts some men off. I try to explain as best I can that there’s much more to it than that but some people will just never buy it. In their defence I probably would never have started watching it if my girlfriend at the time hadn’t wanted somebody to watch it with, but I’m glad I have continued to do so.

Wimbledon Predictions

With Wimbledon right around the corner I thought I better weigh in on who I want to win and who I think will actually win. Firstly I would like to see Lleyton Hewitt win at least one match. He has been going forever and is an absolute legend. It’s always good to see Hewitt and the Australian fans turn up at Wimbledon but it’s also good to see the new, young Australian talent they can support when Hewitt retires. Secondly I want anybody but Andy Murray to win, I do have specifics but as long as Murray doesn’t win I’ll be pretty satisfied.

Federer is always my pick to want to win for any tournament and this is no different. In the last few years this has ended mostly in disappointment but I have never-ending faith in Roger Federer that he can win another grand slam. As much as Wawrinka did the unthinkable at Roland Garros and beat an almost invincible Djokovic I don’t think he will be able to replicate that. Then again I didn’t think he was particularly great on clay before this year so maybe his grass game has improved enough. I do think Djokovic and Murray are the two favourites going in to Wimbledon this year are purely on the head to heads between the two Djokovic has got to be considered the favourite.

What could throw a spanner in the works of both of them is the success that tall people have had in the warm up grass tournaments. People like Anderson, Karlovic, Isner, and Cilic are all very much capable of upsetting the big names in the early rounds of Wimbledon. The one who looked most promising before his capitulation against Simon at Queen’s was Raonic, arguably the most complete and athletic tall man on the tour and for me the dark horse of the competition. You can also never count out people like Nadal, Berdych, Niskikori, and Tsonga on grass, and Seppi and Simon both had excellent tournaments in the last week so they could both do well but again I only really see one winner and that’s Djokovic, but I thought that at the French Open and that didn’t happen so you never know.

Game of Thrones Season 5

At the end of the last season of The Walking Dead I said that it was exceeding my expectations and it was the best show on tv and that I would have to wait for Game of Thrones to see what that brings to the table and like season 4 I feel like this season was a real disappointment. I won’t ever stop watching it but there isn’t that level of excitement every week that I have for The Walking Dead. I look forward to it being on but no more than I do my weekly comedy programs or things like Arrow and The Flash.

For the first 7 episodes of the series absolutely nothing happened. I wouldn’t have minded if it was building up any sort of good storyline but it wasn’t, it was just the same thing every episode. Episodes 8 and 9 were fantastic, good action and good acting but like last series, the final episode was so anti-climactic. As someone who hasn’t read any of the books and avoids spoilers like the plague I have loved the surprising deaths that have occurred in every season so far but this time it was so predictable. I’m not being bitter about who they killed either because as much as I liked Stannis Baratheon as a character he has always been a villain and was always going to die eventually and I haven’t liked Jon Snow or any storyline involving The Wall since the program started. At least the way they killed off Jon Snow was good, Stannis’ death was pathetic. It built up from the previous episode like a huge battle was about to happen and nothing did. The worst thing was that it almost did, and then there was what felt like a massive scene completely cut to the last 60 seconds of his life.

There isn’t much else to say about it really. I always feel a bit harsh being negative about a tv series that is based on a book because it might just be the book that’s incredibly boring. The Walking Dead is based on a comic book though and that’s still the best show on tv and I will definitely be looking forward to season 6 of that more than Game of Thrones. Something I do find about both endings of these programs is that I don’t know where a lot of the sub-plots are going. The difference being it annoys me in this more than The Walking Dead because I have absolutely no confidence that it’s going to be good anymore.

WWE – April, May, and some of June.

I thought about writing about every episode of RAW and Smackdown and NXT but I realised there’s so little happening that I could barely even scrape a post about a PPV. I will still try when I finish work at the end of next week but I haven’t really got time. I can’t actually think of everything that has happened since Wrestlemania but it’s not much. The only two people that are keeping it worth watching at the moment are Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose.

Owens is working damn hard to impress and it is paying off big with the fans. He has been cutting promos on RAW with Cena that are reminiscent of CM Punk and his in ring ability is phenomenal. He has probably got the most varied and impressive move-set I have seen in a long long time and his debut match against Cena really was something special. Have to give kudos to Cena as well which is something I don’t do very often. It’s not that Owens needs help to get over or help to show off how good he is in the ring but Cena is the perfect opponent for him to start off his career to show the faith that WWE have in him. A definite future World Champion. In NXT he is also continuing to impress against some of the best wrestlers in the world. I feel like it is only a matter of time before he drops the title to Balor or Samoa Joe so he can make the switch on to the main roster permanently. I feel a bit sorry for Samoa Joe as well because his debut has gone a bit under the radar with Owens being so impressive. Everyone is glad he’s here but at the same time Owens is the main attraction at the moment by a long way and everyone seems to be in his shadow.

One person that definitely isn’t in his shadow though is Dean Ambrose. A lot of people are describing him as a new Stone Cold Steve Austin type of character and he probably is the closest to that type of character we will ever get in the PG Era but it is still too early to tell at the moment this is only his first few months in the main event spotlight but he has looked so impressive. His promos are impeccable but it’s his energy and his attitude that make him so good to watch. He isn’t the most technically brilliant wrestler in the world but he’s old school and it’s just entertainment at its best.

Other things of note are the frequency of the PPV’s since Wrestlemania has finished. I’m not sure if it’s in my head or not but it seems like they’re pretty much every other week and no better than every episode of RAW. Elimination Chamber should have been good but the chamber matches themselves were just completely forgotten about because of the Owens/Cena match and now MITB is only next Sunday. Hopefully that will be quite good, despite Roman Reigns being the probable winner. I am looking forward to seeing Neville in that match, it should really be the type of match he makes a name for himself, I’m just praying for no botches. Finally the Divas division has completely slumped again. Paige is getting repetitive and I don’t know if the Bella’s are supposed to be heels or faces or what’s going on. Basically the NXT women’s division has been a lot better than the main roster’s Diva’s division and they just need to start promoting people like Charlotte and Sasha and Becky Lynch ASAP.

Late French Open Results

Although I was completely wrong with all of my predictions I loved how unpredictable the French Open was this year and this is just a short little post to express how happy I am that Stan Wawrinka took the title. He was so impressive throughout the tournament and his physical and mental power and focus in that final was phenomenal to watch. I do still think that Djokovic will win a French Open title at some point but this year just wasn’t his time. Looking forward to the grass season now (although it has already started how late I’m posting this).

Blended – 2014

“After a bad blind date, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship.”

Another Adam Sandler film that sounds stupid and is stupid, but you know what it was actually really quite amusing. I don’t know if it’s spending too much time with kids working in a school or just the type of mood I happened to be in at the time of watching but I found it hilarious. As with all Adam Sandler films it had its fair share of cheesy and cringe-worthy jokes but overall it was a good feel-good film.

Adam Sandler was his usual self but more his usual self from the late 90’s and early 2000’s when people didn’t hate him so much. Drew Barrymore is still hot and still a pretty good actress. She makes a good on screen Milf I think that’s the best way to describe her now. All the kids were hilarious and the cameo’s from numerous comic actors were all timed perfectly and all of it together just made a good, funny, feel-good family film.

There was nothing especially funny about it and nothing particularly special about it but it made me laugh more than it made me cringe and want to put a different film on so I’d say that was a success for a rom-com in the last several years. It’s 6.5 rating on IMDb is actually pretty good as well because comedy films don’t often do well on there never mind Adam Sandler films so clearly a few people enjoyed it as I did. Although it was a PG-13/12A rating it would still be funny to older teenagers and people like me in their 20’s who try their best to feel like they’re in their late teens. So apologies to all Adam Sandler haters (people who think they’re professional film critics because they hate Adam Sandler and have sat through all of Pulp Fiction) but this was a funny film and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh or needs cheering up.