Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Srebotnik withdraws from ASB Classic

Katarina Srebotnik, who won the ASB Classic in 2005, has withdrawn from the 2009 event in Auckland because of an Achilles injury. Srebotnik was seeded fourth in the tournament, and was scheduled to play doubles with Nadia Petrova, who has also withdrawn because of viral meningitis.

When Srebotnik won in 2005, rainy weather forced her to play the semifinals and final--as well as the doubles final--on the same day. She beat Shinobu Asagoe in the final, then they won the doubles title together.

Sharapova withdraws from Hong Kong exhibition

Maria Sharapova, stating that she is not ready to play competitive tennis following a long shoulder injury rehab, has withdrawn from the January 7 exhibition tournament in Hong Kong. The replacement player will be Anna Chakvetadze, and there is also talk that Martina Hingis may play doubles at the event.

Jankovic is Serbia's "Person of the Year"

The results of a Gallup Poll in Serbia conclude that Jelena Jankovic is that country's Person of the Year, followed very closely by fellow tennis star Novac Djokovic.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wild card for Dellacqua

Casey Dellacqua has been given a wild card into the main draw of the Medibank International tournament in Sydney.

Dellacqua says that she, like so many other players, has changed her service motion in order to avoid shoulder injury.

Players to Watch: Nadia Petrova

I am pleased to refer you to On the Baseline, which is featuring my thoughts on Petrova in the "Players to Watch" series.

Update on Auckland wild cards

In addition to those already mentioned, Mirjana Lucic has received a wild card for the main draw of the ASB Classic.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A look back at JJ's outfits

Women's Tennis Blog, in its continuing retrospective of 2008 tennis outfits, is now featuring the tennis clothes of world number 1, Jelena Jankovic.

Daniilidou gets Auckland wild card

Eleni Daniilidou has been awarded a main draw wild card into the ASB Classic. Meanwhile, Kimiko Date-Krumm has also been awarded a main draw wild card, while Michaella Krajicek has been given a wild card for qualifying.

Paszek parts with Passos again

Somehow, in the end-of-season frenzy, I missed this story: Tamira Paszek has once again parted ways with coach Larri Passos. You'll recall that Paszek did some serious work with Passos for a couple of years, and then ended their relationship when her father became insistent that she do so. She then returned to Passos (one presumes she either stood up to her father or her father backed down) for six months, but recently ended the relationship again.

Paszek is now being coached by Angel Gimenez, who was one of Daniela Hantuchova's more recent coaches.

"...I'm sure I'll look at this as a blessing in disguise"

Matt Cronin writes about Australian Open defending champion Maria Sharapova.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Update on Mary Pierce

Mary Pierce's medical tests indicate that she has had a recovery of her left knee, in which she ruptured a ligament in 2006. The leg remains weak however, though Pierce says she is not ready to retire.

Krajicek and Lisicki at the Bollettieri Academy

Peter Bodo has been watching them. From his description, Krajicek may have gotten taller and put on some weight.

Friday cat blogging--Christmas edition

Roxie checks for catnip in Tarzan's gift bag

Tarzan carries off his new octopus

Ziggy enjoys his Hugga-Wugga (he went to sleep holding it)

Velma goes after a new wand

Tarzan was somehow able to extract himself from this gift bag

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dokic gets wild card for Brisbane

Jelena Dokic, who just won the Australian Open wild card playoff, has been awarded a wild card for the Brisbane International tournament.

Dokic is currently ranked number 178 in the world.

Monday, December 22, 2008

This and that...

The Tennis Live Radio community has announced its 2008 awards:
Player of the Year: Venus Williams
Coach of the Year: Zeljko Krajan
Breakthrough Player of the Year: Dinara Safina
Disappointment of the Year: Justine Henin's retirement
Match of the Year: Wimbledon final
Fork of the Year: Lindsay Davenport
Upset of the Year: Julie Coin def. Ana Ivanovic, U.S. Open

Agnieszka Radwanska does the 360 interview.

JJ talks about her number 1 status.

Dolce talks about what it's like to make commercials.

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site has an interview with Tammy Tanasugarn, and one with Nathalie Dechy.

McHale wins wild card to Australian Open

Christina McHale of New Jersey has won the Australian Open wild card playoffs in the U.S. (the U.S. has a reciprocal agreement with Australia concerning wild cards). McHale defeated Gail Brodsky, 6-1, 6-0 in the final. 16-year-old McHale was 4-0 in the round-robin tournament.

Quote of the day

"Everybody can be number 1."
Agnieszka Radwanska

2008 was a bit strange, I know, but, really, Aga...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Robson may not compete in Australian Open

2008 Wimbledon junior champion Laura Robson has torn a stomach muscle and may not be able to play in the junior division of the Australian Open.

Dokic wins wildcard playoffs

Former world number 4 Jelena Dokic has won the Australian Open wildcard playoffs. Dokic defeated Monika Wejnert, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, to win the event. She will now enter the main draw of the Australian Open, where she belongs.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dokic goes to the final

Jelena Dokic won her semifinal against Emelyn Starr, 6-1, 6-1, today, and now goes to the final of the Australian Open wildcard playoffs. Her opponent will be a player who has already defeated her in round robin play--Monika Wejnert. Weinert defeated Isabella Holland, 6-3, 6-4.

Friday cat blogging--friendship edition

Velma and Tarzan enjoy a cozy nap together

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stosur and Peschke swap doubles partners

Sam Stosur will be playing doubles with Rennae Stubbs in the Australian tournaments, but may not play doubles much after January. In the meantime, Stosur's former partner, Lisa Raymond, has decided to team with Kveta Peschke, who has been playing with Stubbs.

Dokic wins her quarterfinal in Australia

Jelena Dokic defeated Brittany Sheed today, 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the semifinals of the Australian Open wildcard playoffs.

Dokic, who is once again representing Australia, may also play on the Australian Fed Cup team next year.

Stosur given Sydney wildcard

Samantha Stosur has been granted a wildcard into the Medibank International tournament in Sydney next month.

Stosur's fortune's have not been good for the past couple of years. She was out for a very long time with Lyme Disease and viral meningitis, and when she returned to the tour, she injured her shoulder. She has spent so little time on court in the last two years that the former doubles world number 1 says she will focus on singles competition in 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Davenport's tennis future changes again

Lindsay Davenport, who retired without an official retirement announcement, then came back and had problems with injuries, recently announced she would compete in the Australian Open. Today, she announced that she is pregnant again, so her tennis career is again "on hold" (her words).

ITF names Jankovic 2008 World Champion

The International Tennis Federation has given its 2008 World Champion designation to world number 1 Jelena Jankovic.

Dokic turns the tables

In the third day of round robin play in the Australian Open wildcard playoffs, Jelena Dokic defeated Marija Mirkovic in straight sets (6-4, 6-2) to keep her wildcard hopes alive.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dokic loses in 2nd round of wildcard playoff

Monica Wejnert of Queensland defeated Jelena Dokic today in the second round of the Australian Open wildcard playoffs. Wejnert won the match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Dokic's next opponent in the round robin playoff will be Marina Mirkovic, who has already lost two of her matches--one to Wejnert, and the other to Sophie Letcher, Dokic's opponent in her first round match.

Tour site honors Schnyder

In honor of Patty Schnyder's 30th birthday, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has published a tribute to her, and a gallery of Patty's photos.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Petrova to miss ASB Classic

The start of Nadia Petrova's 2009 season has been postponed. She has contracted viral meningitis and is in the hospital. She may even miss the Australian Open, though--with sufficient rest--she could still make an appearance in Melbourne.

Dokic wins her first wildcard playoff round

Former world number 4 Jelena Dokic won her first round today in Australian Open wildcard playoff competition. Dokic defeated Sophie Letcher 6-3, 6-0.

Number 1 seed Jessica Moore lost her first round to Brittany Sheed, 6-2, 6-3.

I am an opponent of the wildcard playoffs. To me, they defeat the entire meaning of granting a wildcard.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another great childhood photo

Fans often post or link to photos of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players when they were children. I really like this one of Marta Domachowska.

I am waiting to see how Domachowska does in 2009. She is my runner-up for biggest under-achiever on the tour (sadly, Patty Schnyder is my title-holder).

Happy birthday, Patty!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Best matches of 2008

Am I the only one who thinks this list is a bit lame?

Friday cat blogging--snow day edition

It snowed for several hours yesterday, transforming our yard and garden into quite a beautiful shining white sight. Velma, Ziggy Stardust and Tarzan huddled on blankets and slept the day away, but Roxie couldn't contain her excitement. She trotted around the house, looking out one window, then the other, and stretching on her hinds to get a better look. This went on for hours. Here, she is on the bottom shelf of the cat tree, enjoying the snowy view through the bay window.

Tarzan, in the meantime, decided that two blankets and a muffler would be just about right for a snowy day. He looks as though he is waiting for one of us to bring him some hot cocoa.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My picks for the year

While I was commenting on Jon Wertheim's picks for the year, I realized I had not yet posted my own, so here they are:

Player of the Year: Serena Williams (runner-up: Venus Williams)

Newcomer of the Year: Caroline Wozniacki (runners-up: Dominika Cibulkova/Alize Cornet)

Comeback Player of the Year: Flavia Pennetta (runner-up: Zheng Jie)

Most Improved Player: Dinara Safina (runner-up: Jelena Jankovic)

Most Exciting Player: Dinara Safina (runner-up: Jelena Jankovic)

This and that...

Lindsay Davenport has entered the 2009 Australian Open.

On the Baseline's "Players to Watch" series begins with Todd Spiker's comments on Jelena Jankovic. I'm certainly one of the fans who hopes JJ has the best year ever.

And speaking of Queen Chaos, as Todd likes to call her, she will lead team Europe in the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong next month.

Sania Mirza, who always seems to be in some kind of trouble in her home country, is finally getting a little respect there. Mirza has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Dr. M.G.R. University in Chennai.

Jon Wertheim picks Venus Williams as Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player of the pear. His newcomer of the year is Caroline Wozniacki, a player to whom I don't think he paid much attention until recently. His comeback player is Anna-Lena Greoenfeld. Credit to Groenefeld, but my personal choice for that honor is Flavia Pennetta.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jankovic training in Mexico with German Silva

Pat Etcheberry, whose current charge is world number 1 Jelena Jankovic, recently invited marathon runner German Silva to run with Jankovic in Mexico. Silva won the New York Marathon twice.

Jankovic has been training in San Luis in order to increase her strength, stamina and speed.

Quote of the day

"I think if she will do everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years, she will be No. 1 in the world for a long time. That's as simple as it is."
Marat Safin, speaking of his sister

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mauresmo and her new team preparing for 2009

Photo courtesy of After Atalanta

Former world number 1 and Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo is now three weeks into training with her new coach, Hugo Lecoq, and her new trainer, Xavier Moreau. Mauresmo, who has had a terrible time of it for about a year and a half, parted with longtime coach (and friend) Loic Courteau so that she could have a fresh start and put her game back together.

In the spring, the Frenchwoman attended the opening of a facility in L'Isle-Adam (about twenty minutes outside of Paris) that has been named for her. Le Centre Sportif Amélie Mauresmo is comprised of three gyms, can hold 500 spectators, and includes a variety of sports and exercise activities.

Mauresmo will compete in the new Brisbane International tournament in early January.

Perry Rogers files suit against Graf

Perry Rogers, Steffi Graf's manager since 2002, filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging that Graf has breached her contract with him by not paying him their agreed upon percentage of their business ventures. Rogers maintains that payments stopped coming from Graf after Rogers' professional relationship ended with Graf's husband, Andre Agassi. Agassi, who has been friends with Perry since childhood, severed their professional relationship last month.

Rogers is seeking $50,000, plus interest and legal fees.

Shaughnessy to replace Williams on Hopman Cup team

Meghann Shaughnessy, out for almost the entire 2008 season with a knee injury, has been named to replace Serena Williams in Hopman Cup competition. Williams withdrew because of a hamstring injury. Shaughnessy, playing for the United States, will be paired with James Blake.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chakvetadze prepares for 2009

Via Women's Tennis Blog, I found this piece of candid writing from Anna Chakvetadze (did anyone have a worse season?) that she is sharing with her fans. She has a whole new look thanks to a new hairstyle, and sounds as though she feels more positive.

Best wishes to the talented Anna for a much better 2009.

Dokic has to jump through hoops

Before she can play with racquets and nets.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Li to defend her title--sort of--in Brisbane

The 2008 season began with a bang when Li Na, just back after a six-month injury layoff (which followed another very long injury layoff) won the tour's first event of the season, in Gold Coast. The Gold Coast tournament is no more, however. It has been incorporated into the new Brisbane International tournament, which will also incorporate the men's tournament in Adelaide. Brisbane will commence on January 4.

Entering the new tournament are Victoria Azarenka (last year's Gold Coast finalist), Ana Ivanovic, Amelie Mauresmo, Daniela Hantuchova, Marion Bartoli, Maria Kirilenko, and Australian favorite Samantha Stosur.

Competition is also heavy the same week in New Zealand, as top player compete in the ASB Classic in Auckland. Entrants include Nadia Petrova, Elena Dementieva, Katarina Srebotnik, Caroline Wozniacki, and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Friday cat blogging--sunshine edition

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Serena Wore

Women's Tennis Blog features a nice retrospective of the outfits Serena Williams wore in 2008.

Williams will be wearing pink for the Australian Open.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cornet aims for the top 10

Alize Cornet says she is focusing on building endurance and muscle, and is also doing cardiac training. Her next step is to improve her serve and her return, and she hopes to work her way into the top 10.

Cornet, whose best surface is clay, also needs to work on her hard court game. She is a fine athlete, and she brings a combination of high spirits and hotheadedness to the court that is exciting for fans. When she played in Charleston this year, we could barely take our eyes off of her, she played with such physical intensity.

Robson out in 2nd round of Eddie Herr

Junior Wimbledon winner Laura Robson was defeated today in the second round of the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in Bradenton, Florida. Number 1 seed Robson was taken out by American Nicole Bartnik, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

U.S.-Argentina Fed Cup quarterfinal to be held in Surprise

The Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona will be the scene of the February Fed Cup quarterfinal between the U.S. and Argentina. The two countries have not played each other since 1993.

Rinaldi hired by USTA

Kathy Rinaldi, a former top 10 player in both singles and doubles, has been hired by the USTA as a Player Development National Coach. Rinaldi won her first major singles title by defeating Steffi Graf in the final. She was a U.S. Fed Cup team coach in 2006 and 2008.