Not that I blame her. Those macarons are crack.
Oh god. There are tears in my eyes. It is immensely quotable.
"Personally I have larger wrists, for whatever reason."
"Comfortability." And I love that Venus called in. They're actually really cute. Love Venus doing her supportive big sister thing and trying to embarrass her on "national" TV.
The 2009 Laureus Nominations were announced and Rafa, Venus, Ana, and Nole are all up for one. Rafa is up for Sportsman of the Year, Venus is up for Sportswoman of the Year, and Ana and Nole are both nominated for World Breakthrough of the Year.
But more importantly, I want to party with the Laureus World Sports Academy. Check out the 46 members:
Any list that has Cathy Freeman is a list I want to be on. Can you imagine how awesome a kegger in the Swiss Alps would be with this crew? Keg stands with Tomba? Fuck yeah.
UPDATED: To include Rafa. Duh.
Congrats to Sabine for her straight set win over Venus. I really didn't think she would be able to hold her nerve in the tiebreak but she served for the match at 6-5 and converted. Good for the her.
Play continues in Charleston with Nads up a set on Czink and Vezzie in a fight with Kutuzova on serve in the first. Here are the the scores so far from Charleston:
(1/WC) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 61 61
(16) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. (2) Venus Williams (USA) 64 76(5)
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (10) Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 64
(6) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (Q) Melanie Oudin (USA) 64 61
(7) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Anastasia Rodionova (RUS) 67(6) 62 63
Baby Sister evened up her H2H with Big Sis (10-10) winning 64 36 63, securing her #1 spot at least for another two weeks until Charleston. Meanwhile, a huge sigh of relief was heard coming from a small apartment in Monte Carlo.
Afterwards, now that Serena's secured #1 for a little longer, she revised and edited her response to a certain question. Not surprisingly, it was way classier:
Jesus. Was that so hard?
So Serena will get a chance to defend her title against Viko, who benefited from a playing a player who choked worse than she did, beating Kuz 63 26 75. Kuz totally had this match and Viko started choking once she had match points. Dammit Kuzzie!
So I'm still "rooting" for Serena in the final. Lord help us if Viko wins a fucking Premier Mandatory tournament and beating Serena on the way. I hope someone has passed on all the articles where the journos say that Vika wold have beaten Serena in AO had she not gotten WOOOOOOOOZY. That's some good bulletin board material.
Well Viko had her "take notice of me yeah I'm for real" run last week. Could this be Woz's breakthrough run? Seems to be a similar storyline. Both beat top 5 players who, let's face it, aren't at their best right now. But both also were a few games away from beating Serena earlier this year, too. Huge difference? Caro's not a raging bitch. So there's that.
Really happy for Boots, who bested Lena in straight sets. I felt really bad for the kid when she played so well against Lena in Luxembourg and still lost in three tight sets. But I love her attitude and her game has a lot of upside. She's not even close to tapping all her potential. Also, thanks for making me not lose all faith in the Adidas Player Development Program, Boots.
Muzz and Venus are also through, though Venus was tested by a resilient and crafty Agi. It took her three sets, but she got it done with, what else, an ace. As for Muzz, he fell behind 0-3 in the first, but again, there was never a doubt that he'd figure out Massu's game and get his back on track. He took it in straights.
But now that I've seen top professional tennis players volleying on top of luxury cars in the middle of a Miami street, I feel the irresistible desire to immediately buy courtside tickets for the week and a half tourney.
BTW -- I do love me some Venus with short hair. She just looks so hip and classy.
Do the kids say hip? Is that still a word?
So yeah, I went to the BJK Exo in NYC. I've been looking forward to this thing since it was announced back in November. Excited about the Serbs of course, but of all the top ladies I had never seen the Williamses play live. So I bought my tix, booked my flight, spent the weekend grubbing (seriously, shout outs to Momofuko Ssam, Momofuko Noodle Bar, and muthafuckin' CRAFT), and rolled into the BJK exo on Monday night.
Of course New York, a city that I've had a love/hate relationship with, wouldn't make it easy for me. Snow? It was cute when I was drunk after dinner at Craft (dudes, they heat your jackets before they give them to you after dinner), but by Monday night I was pretty much over it. The snow and cold clearly affected my judgment that night because I stupidly decided to walk to Madison Square Garden from 30 Rock (about 20 blocks or so?) and by the time I got to the arena my face was frozen and I was mildly cranky. But it was nothing that a couple of Sam Adams couldn't fix.
So, first match. There were some crazy rallies but all in all it was pretty listless. The crowd wasn't particularly into it and it didn't seem tight. No deuce points, both women held fairly easily, and it probably would have gone to a tiebreak (which would have been interesting) had JJ not completely had a brain fart in that 9th game.
But Venus was Venus, swaggering around the court, and JJ was JJ, looking at herself on the big screen and fiddling with her shoes. One thing I'll say about seeing Venus live, her game is a hell of a lot more pretty to watch live than on TV. Her forehand, when it's clicking, is really mechanically pretty.
Next up, Serena and Ana. Such a contrast to the first match, insofar as there was some HITTING. The crowd was oohing and ahhhing quite a bit for both ladies as Ana's forehand was cracking and Serena was just pounding the ball off both sides. Serena settled down after the first few games and was just serving BOMBS and hitting solid. Very contained tennis.
As for Ana, the toss is still wonky, but she was actually pretty solid off both sides. I have to say that her backhand in particular was solid. I'm used to seeing her dump 50% of her backhands into the net. But she's getting a bit more drive on it and hitting with margin. So good on her. I don't know, after her showing against Serena a couple of weeks ago and now this, I'm encouraged.
Next came an onslaught of weird sports celebrities. Oh, Nancy Kerrigan. Did you really wear a black dress with sequins on it? You can take the girl out of figure skating, but you can't take the figure skating out of the girl. And of course we had Billy C., who I gotta say, has aged well. He's such a rock star, it's hilarious. And the man knows how to give a speech. There were a few stumbling notes (I'm pretty sure there are other women who have done more to empower women and educate men) but it was a nice speech that didn't seem too over the top or out of left field. All in all, it was a nice little ceremony.
And then of course we had the final. Serena was just nails. An unquestionable #1. Not much to really say about that.
So here's my beef. The whole night just felt a little hollow because it seemed like Ana and JJ were just fed to the wolves. And I don't mean that they had to play the Williamses and lose or whatever. But either this thing is an exhibition to celebrate these four women or it's a tribute and celebration of BJK. If it's the former then it was a complete miss because the Serbs were barely there. They didn't show any videos about them, spotlight, educate the crowd about them, nothing. For all anyone in the crowd knew, these were just a couple of scrubs. Obviously I'm biased, but I thought that was a missed opportunity.
Now, if it wasn't supposed to be a celebration of the players and more a celebration of BJK, I would have liked to have seen them give the Serbs an opportunity to do that. I was hoping that the two would be invited back out onto the court during the trophy ceremony, to at least be there and be a part of the tribute. But as it was they came, they picked up their check, and they left. Disappointing.
As for the HBO broadcast, thank goodness I was watching it live and not on TV. I rewatched it tonight and good Lord I have no idea how any of you put up with that crap. John McEnroe can suck my left nut. And if you thought I was annoyed with how the Serbs were treated at the event, imagine my rage when having to watch the Williams lovefest on TV. Yes, they're amazing. And yes, they deserve all the accolades that come their way. But dude, there IS another girl on the court. And occasionally she DOES do something that's worth mentioning. So maybe instead of completely denigrating them you can shut the fuck up and celebrate the players and bring more people into women's tennis. You want to know why tennis in America fails whenever the Williamses aren't involved? Because you, the commentators, give zero respect to any other player and you don't give people a reason to watch. Why would I want to watch a weaponless diva who may or may not be slower this year than last year? And why would I want to watch a "perfectly nice girl" who doesn't believe she can win when steps on the court? Yes, I, C Note, know their flaws and whatnot, but regular people don't. Don't give them a reason to write them off just because their last name isn't Williams.
All in all, it was a really fun event, and I finally got to see the Williams live. That said, it was a missed opportunity on many different levels.
According to Rich over at Down The Line, the BJK Ladies were invited to the Donna Karan flagship store after the Sony Luncheon for some shopping.
Please oh please, God, (1) let them all be shopping there simultaneously and (2) let there be a photographer there.
Too many awesome storylines are running through my head right now. Most of them involve JJ tricking Baby E into buying something hideous and she'll wear it to the Indian Wells player party where she'll run into Fer for the first time since Australia.
To add to the sheer ridiculousness of it all, Prezzie Clinton is going to be there. So yeah, have fun watching the cute girl you want to bang who, incidentally, survived the NATO bombing that took place during your administration. Do you think they're going to show that piece on empty swimming pool at the arena?
If anything interesting happens I'll send through on my Twitter feed.
Can anyone stop the freight train that is Venus right now? She's won back to back tournaments now on two completely different surfaces and has won 19 of her last 20 matches. Not even Serena seems to be able to stop her.
She thoroughly dominated Flavs in the Acapulco final, winning 1 and 2. No time to celebrate though. She's gotta hop a plane to NYC and be ready to play on Monday night.
So it looks like the tennis gods are smiling down on us and granting us the Venus vs. Flavia final on clay. Should be a fun one seeing as how the last time they met Flavs bounced the big Vee in the shadows of the Paris night.
PS -- the Asian dude inexlicably sitting next to me (seriously, there are 20 other open seats in the terminal) smells like chocolate. And not in a good way. Knowing my luck he'll sit next to me on the plane. Boo face.
Another BJK Cup video with all four girls. Love the fact that they have Serena commenting on JJ's game. She sounds so...reluctant.
Not really, but it's close and I always say that when I see Greta Arn's name. Imagine my shock when I saw that she pushed Venus to three pretty tough sets in Acapulco. Of course, no result with Venus would really be shocking here. She's in great form but this is clay.
Speaking of shocking results on clay, CSN got bounced as did Gisela. But we're still on track for Venus/Flavs final. Keep it together girls and give the people what they want!
Oh, and Agnes has now won TWO STRAIGHT main draw matches. Her reward? Venus.
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 63 67(3) 64
(2) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 61 63
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. (3) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 64 75
(4) Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 46 64 76(3)
Maret Ani (EST) d. (5) Gisela Dulko (ARG) 76(6) 63
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (8) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 36 64 61
(LL) Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 76(1) 64
Men's and Women's OOP:
Center Court (from 13.00hrs)
1. ATP: Koellerer vs. Vassallo Arguello
2. ATP: Almagro vs. Gimeno-Traver
3. ATP: Acasuso vs. Robredo
4. V.Williams vs. Szavay
5. ATP: Mayer vs. Monfils (NB 21.00hrs)
Cancha 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Johansson vs. Benesova
2. Cetkovska vs. Parmentier
Cancha 3 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Zahlavova Strycova vs. Ani
Q] D Koellerer (AUT) d  D Nalbandian (ARG) 16 63 64
 G Monfils (FRA) d [Q] O Patience (FRA) 76(4) 64
 T Robredo (ESP) d [Q] R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) 64 36 63
 N Almagro (ESP) d [WC] S Gonzalez (MEX) 64 62
 J Acasuso (ARG) d B Dabul (ARG) 63 75
 M Granollers (ESP) d F Fognini (ITA) 76(3) 75
 C Moya (ESP) d P Andujar (ESP) 64 67(2) 62
A Martin (ESP) d M Daniel (BRA) 64 75
K Kim (USA) d J Monaco (ARG) 16 30 ret. (left leg)
Venus and Flavs won. But the big news?
Lucky Loser Agnes Won A Match!!! Down is up, right is left. This is her first win of the year.
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) 64 46 62
(2) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) 63 61
(3) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (Q) Viktoriya Kutuzova (UKR) 75 63
(5) Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. (Q) Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) 63 62
(8) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d. (Q) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 63
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. Andreja Klepac (SLO) 26 61 64
Mathilde Johansson (FRA) d. Rossana de los Ríos (PAR) 64 61
Maret Ani (EST) d. Patricia Mayr (AUT) 46 76(1) 64
(Q) Greta Arn (HUN) d. Edina Gallovits (ROU) 62 63
(LL) Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. (WC) Anna Orlik (BLR) 75 75
And then there's Venus, who totally writes stream of conscious style. And it rules:
Reason #2344953 not to have a tournament in Dubai: No syrup.
Also? Unless you're Paula Radcliffe or Kenyan...WHO TAKES THINGS ONE MILE AT A TIME???
Venus, that's who.
"I felt like I had to talk about her. I thought it was brave of her to come here and try and play despite knowing that it is not going to be easy for her. My dad grew up in an area where if you spoke too much, it was your life. So I felt I had a small opportunity to say something where everyone will listen. I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right, and I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year. Obviously, Andy Ram got his visa, so I'll be happy to come and defend next year. If everyone is not given the equal opportunity to play, I'd rethink but I love this tournament. They really care about the players."
-- Venus, on why she mentioned Shahar in her victory speech. I think it's great she did that but can the players please stop talking about how great a tournament this is? It really annoys me.
She beat Razzano in the Dubai final today, 64 62. Congrats to Razzano on a pretty solid run to the finals here. Sure she benefited from the draw opening up, but she did her part, taking out Dinara and Bepa both in straight sets.
It looks like 2009 so far has been the year of market corrections. The absolute insanity of 2008 is arguably being righted. Can you believe this is the first time Venus has been back to the top 5 since 2002??? Finally I think the top 5 represent the current cream of the crop in women's tennis (not rankings wise, just that they're the Top 5 players). Come on, Ana and Maria, get back up there.
Don't you hate it when work interferes with non-work? I didn't get a chance to write up the Venus/Serena match and I haven't read everyone's comments, but boy, doesn't it seem like this rivalry has turned from "awkward" to "icey"? As they've gotten older and the stakes have gotten higher (i.e., time is running out) it seems to me that they, and in particular Venus, really really want to beat each other.
Venus now holds the edge on their head to head meetings (10-9). But that's not phasing baby sister, who always cracks me up with her baby sisterness:
To be honest, this match was everything I was hoping for. Sure, it would have been nice for Baby E to get the win. But what I wanted was for both players to bring their A game and duke it out with some quality tennis. I also wanted Ana to stand toe to toe with Serena and gain her respect and the respect of tennis fans everywhere. Well I'm not sure if she succeeded in the latter, but I have a feeling Serena's going to tip her cap to Ana the next time they see each other in the Forty Deuce High halls.
Despite the shakey start, Ana regroup and played well. She came back from an early break to even things up in the first before eventually losing 64. She was attacking and defending really well and showed a lot of headiness in choosing when to come in to the net. After lost the first set I was really worried she'd go away. But hey, this is Ana we're talking about. She's a fighter. She continued her solid play, breaking early and holding a 4-1 lead. But then Serena went into overdrive and upped her game and her serving, reeling off five straight games for a 64 64 win. All in all, a fantastic performance by both women. Ajde!
Serena's win sets up the Final...I mean "semifinal" matchup with big sister, who dusted Lena off the court, 63 63. Poor Lena. She plays so well and then just crashes into the brick wall that arethe Sisters Williams.
Can we take some time and give some props to Coach Craig? Maybe he did something, maybe he didn't. But his presence sure is helping, no? Ana's playing with more purpose ("On my mark, unleash hell"), confidence, and calm. That last one is REALLY weirding me out. Here's what Ana said before the match:
“We have only been working together for a few weeks but I’m already really seeing the benefit. My confidence was not too good for a while but we’ve worked hard at getting that back and Craig has also made me realise just where to put tennis in my life.
“It’s a little strange to say because tennis is everything to me but it completely took over all my thoughts. When I was practicing I put everything into it and when I wasn’t I was thinking about what I should do in the next practice session. Then when I actually got out on court to play a match I was thinking about too many things.
“Craig has told me just to play my natural game which was to attack and not to get too confused with other aspects. It appears to be working so far but it’s going to be a long term thing.”
Squee!!! So happy.
Oh yeah. The other semi of this Premier tournament is Kaia Kanepi vs. Virginie Razzano.
The fuck? What the hell, Bepa? Feh!
The Sisters Williams keep right on rolling trough Dubai with easy straight set wins over quality opponents today. Too bad I've learned my lesson and never put money on Venus anymore. She'll looked to be the cleaner and stronger of the two so far, but we all know how that went in Melbourne. Venus will face her first tough matchup with Lena D tomorrow.
Serena will face a newly confident and aggressive (but not so confident and aggressive that she's out of the woods yet) Baby E, who continued her uber-aggressive play today to beat Pin 62 76(5). Once again the kid's cyborgian shoulder reeled off 7 aces on her way to the win. Good girl. Now we finally get the matchup that has eluded us for two and half years. Here's hoping E doesn't get completely embarassed. Still though, nice performances from Baby E this week. Lots to build on going in to the North American swing.
Then there's the Tier III, "Huh? Why did I buy these tickets" side of the draw. Kaia Kanepi will face Elena Vesnina in one quarterfinal and Bepa will face Razzano in the other. Eh?
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (13) Zheng Jie (CHN) 64 62
(16) Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 62 75
(4) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (14) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 61 63
(5) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 52 ret. (foot pain)
(6) Venus Williams (USA) d. (10) Alizé Cornet (FRA) 63 62
(8) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (LL) Camille Pin (FRA) 62 76(5)
(Q) Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (12) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 46 61 40 ret. (heat illness)
Virginie Razzano (FRA) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 62 16 62
Matt Cronin, our man on the ground in Australia, weighs in on Venus' chances on hardcourts:
Suarez has to be credited for her extraordinary play as unquestionably, she contested the match of her life. She was literally leaping at the ball, smoking crosscourt backhands a la Justine Henin, smacking high-hopping forehands (dare we say) like Rafael Nadal, jamming Venus with intense body serves.
But where was the Venus who won the WTA Championships with a suffocating net attack and deep, meaningful groundstrokes? Where was the Venus who once trusted that she could deliver a roundhouse return of serve at crunch time, or lace a running backhand down the line when off the court? Where was the Venus who was many analysts' favorite to win the Australian Open title that had eluded her? Nowhere to the found. The 2009 Venus Williams was huffing and puffing, confused and bewildered.
Venus did not appear depressed after the loss, or particularly shocked. And why should she be? Look at how many different players had their way with her on hard courts in 2008, both young and old — Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Petra Kvitova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Na Li, Jelena Jankovic and Flavia Pennetta.
The part that shocked me was that list of players she's lost to on hard courts in 2008. I kinda wished I had seen that before I picked her to win the Open.
WTF happened? I wake up this morning to this awful news? After dominating the first set 62, she went on complete walkabout and eventually lost the third set to Carla Suarez Navarro, 75. Lena D now becomes the favorite to get out of this group. A slim favorite.
Boy, yellow is clearly the color of the season. Venus looked fantastic in her yellow Eleven frock. And she played well, too, beating Kerber, 3 and 3. A small hiccup here and there with a loss of concentration, but the woman served well and got to the net. If she keeps that up, there's no reason to think she doesn't take this. I thought she looked better than Serena.
Both fashion wise and game wise. Someone alert the Go Fug Yourself girls because this is a hot tranny mess. The sillouette is fine but the weird pattern? I seriously had no words to describe what exactly I was seeing. It looks like a horrible 80's reject. Luckily it didn't effect ReRe's play, as she won in straight sets at 3 and 2.
Q. Federer came in the other day and he said he didn't think you should be favorite for the tournament because you hadn't previously won a Grand Slam event.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
Q. What's your reaction to that?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I don't have a problem whether I'm a favorite or not. You know, I guess Roger would prefer to be favorite himself. That's absolutely fine.
"Everybody can think what they want to think. Everybody has the right to think and believe that they are the best in the world. We are professional athletes."
-- Jelena Jankovic
"You're only as good as your last Grand Slam win."
-- Venus Williams
"Well, she's Serena Williams, so just that name means a lot. Hopefully if I'm on the other side of the net from her, hopefully my name will mean a little something, too."
-- Venus Williams, on the prospects of playing Serena in the semis
"Well, like I said, there is lots of girls playing very well at the moment. It's the first Grand Slam of the year so everyone is kind of trying to get their form and to feel good about their game. The Williams sisters, Jelena, Dinara, Dementieva, they're all playing well at the moment. It's going to be a very, very tough Grand Slam. I think it's what makes it interesting for us, as the players, also for spectators. They really can't pick a sure winner."
-- Ana Ivanovic, not surprisingly playing Switzerland in all this.
Venus, JJ, and AI are all in Melbourne, taking the courts at Melbourne Park to practice. And it sounds like JJ is still kinda sick, and still being JJ:
MARIA Sharapova has already announced that she won't be seen, Venus Williams doesn't want to be seen, and Jelena Jankovic sees the world as her stage. Ana Ivanovic, meanwhile, remains the contender everyone wants to see.
So was the scene at Melbourne Park yesterday, where three leading hopes for the Australian Open women's crown got their eyes in ahead of next Monday's start to the first grand slam of the year.
With Sharapova unable to shake a shoulder injury in time to defend her title, organisers praying for a withdrawal-scare-free week would have blanched at the news that world No. 1 Jankovic had shortened last week's Hong Kong hit-out citing a virus. Her presence on court two yesterday morning, sweating and scowling her way through a vigorous workout, was welcomed. A teensy hint of melodrama tends to follow Jankovic, the self-styled Serbian princess who rose to the top ranking by year's end despite not winning a major and reaching only one slam final, at the US Open. There were heavy sighs aplenty in yesterday's session, often directed at her Spanish coach, Ricardo Sanchez.
"Move, move," Sanchez implored his charge. There were hints that her health might not be as rude as she would like, with Jankovic panting heavily and sinking hands to knees several times during her 15-minute window in front of the cameras. A distressed Jankovic is hardly a novel sight; her last Melbourne outing, a semi-final loss to Sharapova last January, included a medical break and a bizarre post-match rant about the painkillers she was popping and how she didn't want to end up like Heath Ledger.
Yesterday's unease may have simply been down to working hard while throwing off an annoying bug, and Sanchez seemed unconcerned about anything beyond the fitness of her backhand and forehand.
"This important — many ball, many ball," he told an onlooker, before turning on Jankovic again and providing a theatrical demonstration of how she should be hitting through the ball, not up and over it. If Jankovic was taking notice, she hid it well.
Perhaps she was miffed at not getting first run on the main stage, where compatriot Ivanovic slugged it out alongside her Australian trainer Scott Byrnes.
The 2008 runner-up was all smiles, perhaps still thinking about the teenage ball boy who proposed to her in Queensland recently, although more likely happy to be back in a city she loves and over the dizziness and lethargy that forced her withdrawal from the Brisbane International.
Last season was a breakthrough for Ivanovic, who rose to No. 1 in the world after winning the French Open, but then had a spate of injuries that limited her preparation for the last two majors of the year and kept her out of the Beijing Olympics.
She is fit now and she appeared to relish hitting a ball over a net, over and over.
It's easy to smile when your life as a tennis pro is only five years old. Add another decade on the merry-go-round, and you might be moved to break off from your warm-up, call your nearest lackey, and order the removal of those pesky cameras that have come to watch you hit a ball.
When you've been playing as long as Venus Williams, it must be hard to see tennis as a game.
UPDATED: More practice pics:
Watch out, folks. Venus for AO 09? I'm kinda starting to think it's going to happen.
JJ, Serena, Venus, and Masha are confirmed for the Bank of the West Classic held at Stanford University from July 27 to August 2nd.
Wait. A cat fight in my own backyard? I'm so there.
For anyone else in the Yay Area planning to go, they're offering special holiday pricing on early round tickets.
Matt Cronin previews 2009 for the ladies:
Here are the details for the JB Group Classic, which is set to take place in Hong Kong on January 7-10:
(Hong Kong, November 27th, 2008) Organisers announced today a star-studded line up to take part in the J B • GROUP Classic 2009, a World Team Challenge.
The Hong Kong Tennis Patrons’ Association (HKTPA) recently created a new concept for their January Event. The J B • GROUP Classic will feature teams from four regions of the globe, Team Europe, Team Russia, Team Americas and Team Asia Pacific. There are 3 players to each team and full details of each team and the format were announced today.
Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) – World No. 1
Agnes Szavay (Hungary) – China Open Champion 2007
Michelle Larcher De Brito (Portugal) – Portuguese No. 1
Maria Sharapova (Russia) – Australian Open Champion 2008
Vera Zvonareva (Russia) – World No. 7
Alexandra Panova (Russia) – Star of the Future
Venus Williams (USA) – Wimbledon Champion 2008
Gisela Dulko (Argentina) – South American No. 1
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) – US Open Junior Champion 2008
Team Asia Pacific
Zheng Jie (China) – Wimbledon Semi finalist 2008
Sania Mirza (India) –Indian No. 1
Zhang Ling (Hong Kong) – Hong Kong No. 1
That's a damn strong Russian team. They should steamroll Asia into the final.
The most intriguing match-up? Venus/Coco vs. JJ/Burrito. That should be a fun one to watch if only for JJ's reaction upon hearing Burrito's epic squeal/grunt/scream. I can hear her in my head saying "Oh my God. You gotta be kidding me. What the hell is that?"
From the WTA Site:
The award honors the player who has demonstrated the most intuition throughout the year. Venus joins illustrious past 6TH SENSE winners that include fellow former No.1s Justine Henin (2005, 2007) and Maria Sharapova (2006).
Williams was one of 10 players short-listed for the award via an online competition organized by Whirlpool, Premier Sponsor of the Tour. Fans from across Europe were invited to view the 10 nominees online and vote for who they felt demonstrated best the 6TH SENSE attributes - intuition, intelligence, precision. There was a new format this year, seeing two pools being introduced, with Williams winning the first pool and Ana Ivanovic the second.
From the two finalists, Williams was chosen as the 6TH SENSE Player of the Year by an expert panel that consisted of former great Conchita Martínez; Eurosport's chief commentator, Sam Smith; and leading tennis correspondent and member of the International Tennis Writers Association, Barry Wood.
So this isn't a WTA award, right? And why is it only voted on by European fans? That seems weird. All that being said, I can't think of anyone else that deserves it as much as she does.
So much for "player exhaustion". From AI's site:
Serbs and Sisters in the Big Apple? Brilliant.
Seriously. I think I'm coming to New York for this.
Boyfriend Jon picks Venus as his POY.
I don't like people throwing in the Olympic gold as part of the argument. THAT WAS DOUBLES. It's not like JJ got props last year for winning the Wimbly mixed doubles competition.