Came across a year end review done by Tennis-x for 2004. With everyone focused on the US Open I thought it might be fun to look back at what was going on in tennis three years ago. My opinion? The more things change the more things stay the same.
Kim Clijsters on skipping the Athens Olympics later this year: "Tennis does not feel like an Olympic sport. I don't think they get the publicity or the crowds they get at grand slams."...James Blake debuted his shaved head at the Hopman Cup, and will raffle of his shorn locks at the Australian Open, with the proceeds to benefit his friend's inner-city basketball team...Pat Rafter, playing doubles in Adelaide this week, reiterated that a singles comeback is not in the making...Marat Safin says his time off has done wonders for his attitude in 2004: "I decide to come in to play, to come back strong and prepare myself, and I really want to be the No. 1 in the world at the end of this year."...After getting pasted by Aussie teen wildcard Todd Reid at Adelaide, the injury-ridden Wayne Ferreira says he will retire this year after the US Open and once he has secured Stefan Edberg's record of 54 straight slams...After getting dumped by her race car boyfriend, Jelena Dokic has now reconciled with her nutty dad Damir, who told Australia's The Age that Jelena will not play any Aussie tournaments in January because of past experiences. "We still think the match to play against Lindsey Davenport (in the opening round of the 2001 Australian Open) was rigged," said Damir. On Jelena returning to the family fold: "She saw that she made a mistake and has come back to the family -- they were saying that she shouldn't be with her crazy father. Now see the results." Cuckoo!...Britain's Greg Rusedski has tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone from the 2003 ATP event in Indianapolis...Pat Rafter with the 411 on golf as a sport: "...that's not a sport, that's fun."...Pat Rafter on Roger Federer: "I think he's the greatest, most complete player I've ever seen. He's going to be awesome."...Serena Williams says she will skip the Aussie Open to let her knee heal more...Greg Rusedski's lawyer wants other players who have tested positive for nandrolone to come forward -- good luck, nice defense...Petr Korda says 'What comes around goes around' after Greg Rusedski was busted for doping. The Brit spoke out against Korda after the Czech was busted for doping in 1998: "I hated suggestions I was a cheat, although some players were very vocal about me," Korda told the BBC. "Greg Rusedski was one of those. I do not know exactly what he said but I am aware it was not particularly nice."...Amelie Mauresmo is not happy with the No. 3 special seeding granted to the No. 11-ranked Venus Williams at the Aussie Open: "I feel like I am being penalized because she was injured. It is a strange feeling and one I don't really understand but something I have to deal with. This is just the way it is. But I would like the WTA to show some consistency."...John McEnroe admitted he unwittingly took steroids for much his career. "For six years I was unaware I was being given a form of steroid of the legal kind they used to give horses until they decided it was too strong even for horses," McEnroe is quoted on Monday in The Daily Telegraph. So that explains the Ben Johnson lower body and Petr Korda upper body...Jennifer Capriati has officially pulled from the Aussie Open with a back injury...Andy Roddick says that since he was drug tested "17 or 18" times last year, he thinks the sport is clean. "If someone tests positive, it is announced to the public," Roddick said, apparently unaware of the "Mystery Six" that tested positive and the ATP failed to announce last year. "If there really were 47 positive drugs tests (ed. note: as Greg Rusedski claims), then a third of the tour would have been announced. I think those are just numbers." As Butt-head said to Beavis, "I Hate numbers." Beavis: "Yeah, there's like, too many of them and stuff."...After dealing with the break-up with her race car boyfriend and the stress involved in reuniting with her estranged wacko dad, Jelena Dokic says she will now miss her third consecutive Australian Open...John McEnroe has reportedly signed a deal with CNBC to host a primetime talk show, which will probably not be titled "The Chair."...Maria "Orgasmo Grunt" Sharapova is still growing, now over 6 feet tall: "Last year my legs grew so long, and it was tough on me," said Sharapova, whose parents are both under 6 feet, to USA Today. "Now my upper body is growing. Must be the carrot juice." Or the steroids they're feeding you...Sweden's Magnus Norman is to undergo further surgery on his hips and will be out of action for up to two months...2003 Australian Open runner-up Rainer Schuettler loses in the first round...Robby Ginepri is no longer dating actress Minnie Driver, and has a new Georgia girlfriend...Yevgeny Kafelnikov has not played an event in 2004, and Russian countryman Marat Safin says he is fat and happy being retired: "Guys, he quit. Finished. You will not see him anymore. He is 105 kilos now. It's a lot of kilos, huh?"...Pat Cash has riled Roger Federer, saying he is ill-prepared without a coach, and that his girlfriend/manager/former player Miroslav Vavrinec has too much influence on his career: "What Pat Cash really says, you know, I don't really care," Fed said...Instead of the super-juiced racquet technology causing more injuries, the WTA says it is the increased media coverage that makes it appear that everyone is injured -- nice spin...Brad Gilbert says world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne could not beat the No. 1,000-ranked male player on tour: "Justine Henin is a good little player, but she's about 5 foot 5 inches and about 125 pounds. She couldn't come close to beating one guy in the draw."...Will Mandy Moore post in Australia? Tennis-X says "No."...ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe says Andy Roddick will own "between six and 10" slams before his career is through...Marat Safin knocked Andy Roddick out of the No. 1 spot with a defeat at the Aussie Open...Aussie newspaper The Australian on the fleshy WTA Tour: "A women's double match (at the Australian Open) yesterday featured 18-year-old Myriam Casanova who appeared out of condition. The girl most likely of 2001, American Ashley Harkleroad, does not have the figure of an elite sportswoman, yet she can maintain a ranking of 46 in the world. It is not a good look for the sport."...Mark Philippoussis called Pat Cash on the phone and ripped him a new one after Cash's allegations that Flipper lost at the Aussie Open because he was "getting busy" with his new companion: "I've had a lot of...abuse hurled at me, rightly or wrongly. There have been arguments and fights...but I've never ever been abused and threatened like I was," Cash said on Channel 9. Asked if it would be safe for him to see the Scud, he said: "That, unfortunately, that I'm not sure." We could surely see him giving you a long-deserved ass-beating Cashy.
Justine Henin-Hardenne wins the Aussie Open final, with Belgian countrywoman Kim Clijsters throwing in a key double fault to give up the break at 3-4 in the third set...For the second straight slam, Justine Henin-Hardenne's name got butchered in the post-match ceremony. This time, the announcer pronounced her last name "Hard-deen." Not once, but twice. Nice, who is coordinating these slam trophy presentations?...Former No. 1 Marcelo Rios had back surgery and will begin training in a month, with the surgeon saying the operation was "totally successful."...Roger Federer pounded a weary Marat Safin for the Aussie Open men's title...After shooting off his mouth then getting the "I'm-going-to-beat-your-ass" phone call, tough-guy-turned-whuss Pat Cash says he is thinking about getting the police to issue a restraining order again Mark Phillipoussis...The World Anti-Doping Agency is poised to re-open cases against seven ATP players who last year tested positive to the steroid nandrolone, but were cleared by the ATP on a technicality...Marat Safin says no one will win all four majors in one year: "Tennis is too equal, and everybody can beat everybody. Maybe two a year but not all four of them. It takes a lot of energy. It's too difficult. Too many matches."...Amelie Mauresmo moved to a career-high No. 3 ranking after the Aussie Open according to the WTA, but don't tell that to CNN/SI's Jon Wertheim: "Poor Amelie Mauresmo, who was playing as well as anyone before her back injury. Her career is looking increasingly doomstruck." Injuries heal, take it easy...According to SI.com, "there was a manifesto circulating the Aussie Open locker room last week allegedly complaining about WTA staffing and the outsized influence of a certain management group on the women's game as well as a dearth of fall events for lower-ranked players."...Belarus D-Cup captain Sergei Teterin says his World Group rookie team will have some surprises for Russia this weekend: "The Russians are much more experienced, while we're appearing in the World Group for the first time, but we know Russian players abilities very well and we will be playing at home."...The defending champ Aussies are stunned by Sweden in the first round of the Davis Cup and sent out to World Group qualifying later in the year...Thomas Muster was named as Austria's new Davis Cup captain, replacing Guenter Bresnik, who stepped down after losing the World Group tie against the U.S...France Davis Cup captain Guy Forget went freaky after his win over Croatia, saying his job was in jeopardy and going off on the French Federation: "I felt under pressure...it's something I can't let go. If we had not won the tie, there would have been only one person responsible for it -- me. And this is despite the results I've had. I'm getting hopping mad. There is a campaign against me..."...Tommy Haas on playing this month for the first time since 2002: "This is a second career for me. I still believe I have a lot of tennis left in me."...China's capital Beijing has applied to hold the season-ending WTA Tour Championships AND the ATP Masters Cup together from 2005 to 2007, organizers said Tuesday, because they've got the cash...Kim Clijsters says she and Lleyton Hewitt have still not set a wedding date: "To fix a date is not easy with our tight schedules. And we must make up our minds on the place. We visited various locations in Belgium and Australia, but whether it's one or the other country, it will be a problem because our grandparents are old and cannot face a 24-hour journey. Because of all this, the wedding will probably not take place this year."...Serena joins Anna K. in this month's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, on stands now...Monica Seles, who has had her foot in a cast for two months and has another two months to go, took heart from Marat Safin's comeback at the Aussie Open: "The way he was able to play so many matches was amazing."...Andre Agassi uncharacteristically slammed the ATP Thursday for not addressing the question of what players can consume during matches in hot weather: "The ATP needs to do something. They've removed themselves from the problem and left the players alone. We've had to speak about the issue, most of the time uninformed. To leave it all on the players' shoulders, only drink water...that's not an answer. That's not leadership."...Paul Haarhuis, Andrea Gaudenzi and Renzo Furlan retired...Mardy Fish on beating Andre Agassi in their first meeting in the San Jose semis: "It's a huge win for me. It's probably one of the biggest I've had, if not the biggest."...Alex Corretja is on the anti-ATP warpath again, saying that most players support Greg Rusedski, and that if the Brit loses his court case, the Spaniard would participate in a boycott: "I'd sign a petition for him. This could happen to any player and I would like to have my fellow player doing that for me...This is tennis, everyone does what he wants, you have a lot of different interests and cultures working against each other."...Roger Federer wants a coach, but even though he has expressed an interest in Andre Agassi's coach Darren Cahill, he would not poach on another's coach: "It would be like approaching the girlfriend of another guy and asking her to go out with me...no, I wouldn't do that."...The Bryan brothers have reached five straight tournament finals: Tennis Masters Cup doubles, Adelaide, Sydney, Australian Open, and Memphis...The Belgian press is coming own hard on Kim Clijsters for bailing on last year's Fed Cup semifinal, and now bailing this year on representing Belgium at the Athens Olympics...Svetlana Kuznetsova's finalist effort at Dubai (l. to Henin-Hardenne) will put her into the Top 20 next week on the WTA Rankings for the first time.
TV commentator Martina Hingis on the Williams sisters: "People ask me about a comeback, but look at Venus. I don't want to end up like that even if I was healthy. The train is moving fast. Venus hasn't shown anything right now."...Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty won his tour-leading third title of the year Sunday indoors at Marseille...The ATP announced the formation of an ATP Task Force on Supplements to develop short- and long-term solutions designed to help players manage the risks associated with taking vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements...International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci "Itty" Bitti isn't hesitating to take credit for the ATP putting together a doping task force: "It's very positive that the players want to be educated. I was complaining to the ATP and WTA for some time that they weren't doing enough to inform the players."...14-year-old Czech Nicole Vaidisova debuted at No. 264 on the WTA Tour Rankings after winning the ITF/Columbus-USA event...How much cash are top seeds such as Roger Federer getting handed under the table in appearances fees this week in Dubai? Consider that when Tiger Woods tees off tomorrow in Dubai, he has already pocketed $6 million from the oil-rich organizers just to get on the plane. Just open the suitcase and tell them to fill it with oil money. And you wonder why George W. wants to march across the Middle East...Unseeded 18-year-old Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova handed world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne her first loss of the year at Doha...Take note Lleyton, 20-year-old fiance Kim Clijsters is rarin' to bust out some kids: "It's something that I really look forward to as well. I have a very young mom as well and I think that's something that I would like to be as well. I'm not going to say that I may quit completely. Who knows? I may try to come back. I don't know."...In Scottsdale, American Vince Spadea overcame a bout of choking and torment from an angry Nicolas Kiefer to win his career-first title 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3, ending an 11-year title drought in his third career final...Russia's Anastasia Myskina broke into the Top 5 on the WTA Rankings with her win at Doha, the first Russian to rank in the Top 5...Greg Rusedski was cleared of his doping charges levied by the ATP...The BBC hammering the ATP after their boy is found not guilty: "The 'not guilty' verdict on Greg Rusedski may have been great news for the player, but it has left men's tennis in crisis. The game's governing body, the Association of Tennis Professionals, faces its nightmare scenario: the world's top players keep testing positive for banned drugs, and it doesn't have the faintest idea why."...Defending champion Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from Indian Wells with a left wrist injury that occurred during her opening-match pounding of Germany's Angelika Roesch...Rainer Schuettler has lost in the opening round in five of the six events he has played in 2004. Houston, you no longer have a problem...A security guard who didn't recognize Roger Federer at Indian Wells denied him entrance to the players' locker room because he couldn't produce his credential following a practice session...22-year-old Serena Williams apparently has a new boyfriend in 33-year-old film director Brett Ratner...According to the latest Sports Business Journal, Serena Williams opted out of the WTA Qatar event with "illness," but then shot scenes for the television show "The Division" on Lifetime. "I was definitely ill," Williams said in a telephone press conference, perhaps doing another bit of acting? "I couldn't get out of bed. It was a nightmare."...The ever-lovable Jelena Dokic on the decline of the Williams sister's dominance: "Even Venus has been very beatable. That story is over."...Justine Henin-Hardenne says she is skipping Miami to prepare for the claycourt season and the Amelia Island (Florida) event...TV reports from Indian Wells have Andy Roddick and Mandy Moore breaking up, which seems to be a monthly "exclusive"...What's up with James Blake rocking the bald head with the white fuzzy headband? That look doesn't work in the NBA either, that's the won't-get-asked-for-anymore-modeling-spreads look...No. 1s Roger Federer and Justine Henin-Hardenne won at Indian Wells...World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Chairman (the unfortunately porn-star-like named) Dick Pound has suggested Greg Rusedski's drugs case should be reopened: "This is not a 12-year-old told to go to bed on time. This is a 30-year-old professional tennis player who is clearly aware of all these cases, yet persists with the behavior that led to the positive tests and then says 'Well, you didn't tell me.' It defies imagination."...Lindsay Davenport says that like Justine Henin-Hardenne, she has pulled from Miami, not one of her favorite stops: "I've gotten hurt there about six of the last nine years. I'm not fond of the conditions."...Andy Roddick says he nixed the reality show because it would be too intrusive, and refuses to talk about his reportedly on-the-rocks relationship with Mandy Moore...Serena Williams debuted her new look in an outfit designed in a collaboration with Nike in Miami: "I met with Nike and shared some of my ideas and they were able to design a beautiful custom dress that has a breathable silver corset and satin skirt and I love it...Its corset design makes me look very, very slim and trim in the waist."...Whatever Anna Kournikova is smoking, we want some of that: "My target is to be fully fit and then to start winning major matches again...If you saw me with my clothes off you'd see that my body is in great shape and ready to take on the world...I could snap my fingers and have any man I wanted but I have too much respect for myself for that...I was offered a part in a Bond film but had to turn it down because of my sporting commitments. I'd still love to be a Bond girl though. Perhaps that will come after my tennis...People can look then wonder about the taste and the sensuous delights of the dish, but when it comes down to it they simply can't afford such an expensive luxury." So take those clothes off, we'll be the judge. We'll give the Playboy spread about two years...Marat Safin railed at the ATP's non-ability to get tennis on TV in the U.S., and at the sport's sad state of popularity: "Nobody (in the U.S.) shows tennis, and if they show it, there are some matches that nobody cares about. So who is going to watch? People don't know who is who and they don't really care because it's not interesting."...Jennifer Capriati on her not-so-favorite places to play: "Even with Indian Wells, I have my issues with that place. I really do not want to play there, but I'm not going to say why." Small portions?...Taylor Dent on his split with coach Brad Stine: "I had one of the best times of my tennis career with Brad. It was nothing personal. Ask anyone that has worked with me. I'm willing to work as hard as necessary and do whatever it takes." Think again chunky-style.
Next week: April, May and June