More from Tennis-X Review of the Year 2004
A fragile Jennifer Capriati snapped at the media following her loss to Serena Williams at Wimbledon, hearing the word "rivalry" one too many times: "Maybe if you (journalists) wouldn't talk about it so much, it would have been a better match," a perturbed Capriati said. "From the first press conference, it's like, you know, already talking about the quarterfinal match. It's like, you know, you shouldn't. Each match at a time." Like, sorry, sorry you're such a head case...Venus and Serena Williams will now skip representing the U.S. in Fed Cup play next month against Austria, no reason given...NBC analyst Tracy Austin says Jennifer Capriati was too fat to beat Serena on grass: "In order to win, Jennifer would have needed to serve huge and play inside the baseline to try to jump on Serena's big kick second serves. Instead, she was gasping all match. Jennifer admitted after the match that's she not in top shape. That's a big part of her problem."...Here's the contradictory Serena on if she would change anything in her tennis career: "Yeah, there's some days I actually sit down, I think to myself, 'Wow, if I could do it all over again, I would just -- I'd stay on the court a little longer when I was younger and work a little harder.' Not that I didn't work hard. I don't know if I could have worked any harder, but I would have tried. So I wouldn't change anything."...Maria "Grunt-o-meter" Sharapova is the first Russian to ever win Wimbledon, and the second straight Russian Slam winner after Anastasia Myskina at the French Open...Serena had won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon, and now with elder sister Venus, has no Slam titles in last 12 months...Maria Sharapova is also the lowest seed (No. 13) to win Wimbledon...Serena earned just five games in the final, that's the fewest she has ever won in a Slam loss...Andy Roddick on what he needs to beat Roger Federer: "He's more flash, feel, artistry. The one advantage I have over him is just hitting the crap out of the ball. I mean, that's pretty much what I'm going to have to do. I'm going to have to try to play to my strengths." In other words, I'm going to Babolat him...Part of Lindsay Davenport's decision to retire is the new generation turn-over: "I look around a locker room with 20 or so people, and maybe 10 of them are Russian. It's not that it's better or worse, only different. I don't have many people I can talk to."...Pam Shriver writing for the ESPN website: "There's a brand-new superstar in women's tennis. Maria Sharapova has the game, the presence and the look. What a final!" Our middle school journalism teacher told us to save the exclamation points for passing notes during class. And what is that sexist "and the look" comment? When Anastasia Myskina won the French we didn't read any "Myskina has the game, the presence and...fix that ugly-ass overbite!"...Here's NBC's Tracy Austin blowing her own horn: "I won't say I told you so, but I really did believe that Maria Sharapova was going to beat Serena Williams in the Wimbledon ladies' singles final to win her first Grand Slam title. I wrote in my preview of the match that the 17-year-old Russian is so mentally tough and she's not awed by anyone."...From The Telegraph: "During Lleyton Hewitt's matches, why had his fiancee, Kim Clijsters, not sat in the players' box with the rest of his entourage, including his mother, Cherilyn? She was also seen, on the afternoon of one of his matches, eating at a separate table in the players' restaurant. This has confused, as the Belgian has always been joined at the white-tracksuited hip of the Hewitts."...Todd Woodbridge earned a record ninth Wimbledon men's doubles title Sunday, toppling English brothers Hugh and Reggie Doherty who won eight titles between 1897 and 1905...Sweden's Stefan Edberg, Germany's Steffi Graf and American Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney will be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame on Sunday at Newport...Maria "Grunt-o-meter" Sharapova rose to a career-high No. 8 after her Wimbledon win, while both Serena and Venus are out of the Top 10...Mats Wilander on Serena: "She's not real any more. She doesn't really like tennis. You can tell. She's not playing from the heart. It's all contrived. She just wants to look good."...Is it just our imagination, or is Fed Cup not too high on the priority list of the top players? Exhibit A: Spain losing to a Henin-Hardenne/Clijsters-less Belgium team -- in Spain...Roger Federer wins Gstaad on clay, his third successive tournament title after winning on grass at Halle and Wimbledon...Andre Agassi had lost his last four matches prior to winning last night in Los Angeles. Agassi joins Jimmy Connors (1,222), Ivan Lendl (1,070), Guillermo Vilas (920), John McEnroe (867) and Stefan Edberg (806) in the 800-win club...Taylor Dent and his Cousin Misty May will both be at the Olympics next month. May and her partner Kerri Walsh are the No. 1 ranked beach volley team in the world...Pam Shriver and husband George Lazenby, age 63, announced the birth of their son, George Samuel Lazenby. The baby was born at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, and weighed in at eight pounds, two ounces, or about the same as the complete James Bond DVD Collection. Congrats to the parents...Marcelo Rios announced on Friday that due to a bad back he is retiring from the game. Rios was a former No. 1, won 18 titles and arguably was one of the most gifted players the game has seen...Serena on watching tape of her Wimbledon final loss to Sharapova: "I think with that one, in particular, I thought to myself, 'What was I thinking out there?' It's kind of funny, because I realized I didn't do anything that I planned on doing, you know, or that I had done maybe in a few other matches before. It was really actually positive, because, I thought, 'Wow, I was playing at five percent.'"...Jelena Dokic on wacky dad Damir: "I don't know what his aim is -- if he's trying to screw me up, I think that's pretty sad. In an ideal world, everybody would like to have a family that's all together, but I think this is asking for too much in my situation. I don't talk to him and I have nothing to do with him anymore."...SI.com's Jon Wertheim: "Speaking of tennis, you haven't experienced pain until you've watched an episode of John McEnroe's show on CNBC. Magic Johnson looks like (NPR's) Terry Gross by comparison."...Venus Williams, who along with sister Serena attended the "Catwoman" movie premier: "Halle (Berry) epitomizes what it means to be Catwoman: strong, sexy and smart," said Venus, wearing canary-yellow Dior. She also epitomizes stars choosing bad roles...WNBA star Diana Taurasi was a bit on edge with agreeing that Serena Williams would dress her for the ESPYs: "You get nervous real quick. You see what she wears and she's, uh, out there."...Daniela "The Former Walking Stick" Hantuchova has put on 11 pounds of muscle since hiring professional hockey fitness trainer Marian Gejdos from her homeland in December...Don't see any US Open Series logo on the front of the ATP website, nor on the WTA website (not even under the partners logo section, ouch)...Serena on getting a souvenir bobblehead doll created in her likeness: "It's amazing. But I guess that happens when you become overly famous. Every week now, I get more famous."...In addition to going for the gold on court in Athens, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer will apparently be encouraged to put in an Olympic performance in the bedroom with their girlfriends. Roddick, Federer, and the rest of the athletes at this year's Olympics will be given approximately 130,000 free condoms (not each). "The condoms will come in an individual pack, with an instruction leaflet in various languages," said a spokeswoman for Durex Greece...The ATP announced that Diego Hipperdinger, the world No. 491-ranked player, received a two-year suspension after he tested positive for cocaine and metabolites. Hipperdinger's test occurred on February 9, 2004 after a qualifying match at the ATP tournament in Vina del Mar, Chile. Doesn't the ATP pamphlet warn against mixing the Coke and Gatorade?...Andre Agassi dropped out of the Top 10 to No. 11 in this week's ATP Rankings...Russian Elena Dementieva said that Maria Sharapova is "not really Russian" while Anastasia Myskina suggesting the Wimbledon winner's mentality was American. "We've had totally different ways of growing up and developing our careers," Sharapova said. "Even though I train in America, I'm still Russian. That's where I come from. No one is going to tell me where I'm from because I know where I'm from."...Serena Williams: "I'm playing to around 30% of my potential -- you'd be shocked at what I could do."
Anastasia Myskina said she would apologize to Maria Sharapova after critical comments attributed to her in a Russian publication: "I really respect Maria. It said I didn't respect her as a tennis player. I think she's a great person."...Roger Federer is the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1979 to win consecutive titles on three different surfaces after beating Andy Roddick in the MS-Canada final...Former Mark Philippoussis/Monica Seles coach Gavin Hopper faces jail after he was found guilty of child sex charges. A court jury found Hopper guilty of nine counts stemming from a sexual relationship with a teenage girl in the mid-1980s...The ATP announced Tuesday that Roger Federer has clinched a spot for the year-end Masters Cup, marking the earliest announced qualification since the inception of the ATP in 1990. "I'm very happy to qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup for the third time in succession," Federer said. "I always play well at the Tennis Masters Cup and last year's title was one of the best tournament wins of my career."...Justine Henin-Hardenne has recovered enough from a viral infection to play in the Athens Olympics: "Justine made good progress," her website announced Tuesday. "The last few days she has been able to work out as before the virus hit her."...The German Olympic Committee has decided to exclude the country's top two female tennis players from the upcoming Athens Olympics, prompting talk of an Olympic tennis boycott. Anca Barna and Marlene Weingartner met the qualifying criteria set forth by the International Tennis Federation, but the duo failed to qualify under the German committee's standards which included a semifinal berth in a Grand Slam event or reaching the finals of a Tier I event. ATP player Florian Mayer did not meet the German criteria as well, but he was granted an exception...Andy Roddick meanwhile says he would be no part of supporting the women or other men players with a boycott: "If people want to boycott, that's fine with me. I'm closer to the gold. My issue isn't with someone else's federation. That seems like it has nothing to do with me. It's not my federation. That's not really my issue. That sounds like someone's personal battle." Way to support the team Andy...Andre Agassi on his hip problem: "It's a slightly torn laborum over the course of years. It wasn't sort of one move that tore it, it was just the wear and tear every year. So the area is susceptible to getting inflamed and creating a pretty biting pain for me."...An arrest warrant was issued for Roscoe Tanner on Monday, according to ESPN. Tanner failed to appear for sentencing on Monday, and faces a maximum sentence of 18 months, less time already served of approximately five months for failure to pay child support...Dutchman Martin "Berzerk" Verkerk has pulled from the Athens Olympics with a chest muscle injury...Guillermo "El Fragile" Coria has undergone surgery on his right shoulder and will be out 3-4 months...Serena Williams has pulled from the Athens Olympics today due to her ongoing knee problem: "She was ready to fly to Athens, but stopped to see surgeon David Altcheck before heading to the airport," said U.S. Olympic team spokesman Randy "Sky" Walker. "He said she would risk injury by competing and advised her to withdraw."...Jennifer Capriati was also forced to withdraw yesterday from the U.S. Olympic team with a hamstring injury...In a letter sent to International Tennis Federation chief (ITF) Francesco Ricci Bitti and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge on Wednesday, ATP chief Mark Miles explained why they would be backing down and awarding points for the 2004 Olympics, even though they had stipulations were countries not to elect players who qualify under the ATP Rankings, as in the case of "Everybody Loves" Raemon Sluiter of The Netherlands who will miss the Olympics even though his ranking qualifies...When it was announced that Maria Sharapova was to compete in the China Open this September, according to a newspaper in China, tournament officials proudly announced her arrival by hanging up a poster of Anna Kournikova by mistake (yeah, the ATP is sending the Masters Cup there)...The WTA website announced that Anastasia Myskina pulled from the Sopot event Friday with a rib sprain (even though she hurriedly hopped on a plane to compete at the Athens Olympics), while the Sopot website said she pulled with a shoulder sprain. You guys need to calibrate your fake stories...Favorite turn-around of the month: Marat Safin saying chasing points and trying to qualify for the year-end Masters Cup is "bull****," then the next week in Sopot (where he accepted a hefty appearance fee) saying he was there to collect ranking points in an effort to qualify for the Masters Cup...France's Marion "The Former Rolly Poly" Bartoli dropped 35 pounds in 2-1/2 months earlier this year: "Before, I would play the first set at a high level and lose easily in the second or third set. Now, I feel like I can play three hours and still be fresh. Now, everybody's asking me, 'Marion, how did you do it?'" Liposuction? Stomach stapling? Fruit juice diet? Atkins? The All-Bread Diet? We give up...Lindsay Davenport is on a 14-match winning streak, including titles at Stanford, Los Angeles and San Diego...The WTA Tour put out a somewhat-embarrassing media release Tuesday, announcing they had finally made head-to-heads and player activity histories available on their website. Someone remind us, what era is this? Has anyone invented the computer yet? The inter-what?...The U.S. women will not be on the medal stand in tennis for the first time since the sport was reintroduced at the Olympics in 1988...Justine Henin-Hardenne beats chokers Anastasia Myskina and Amelie Mauresmo for Olympic gold, while Nicolas Massu beat the plan-less Mardy Fish...Todd Martin was given the mic after announcing his retirement, but the mic wasn't working at first; fitting that TM retired in front of about 200 day session hold-overs, while Andre Agassi was playing in front of an announced 23,019 -- always in his fellow American's shadows, even in retirement...What was more annoying on USA Network's Monday night coverage: commentator Tracy Austin's incessant bragging about picking Maria Sharapova over Serena in the Wimbledon final, or Serena's look-at-me-I-need-attention Nike "boots" stunt? The taped "tribute" to the ever-annoying Michael Barkan, or Serena's dominatrix outfit with the micro-mini denim skirt?
Wayne Ferreira has retired, saying the US Open was his last tour event but he will play a final Davis Cup match...World No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne on Serena's dominatrix outfits: "That's my last problem right now."...Jennifer Capriati hit it on the head after her win Friday, saying today's women's game is all bam-bam and no finesse or variety: "It's pretty one-dimensional now. Everyone's pretty much solid off the ground, so much power off the ground. Maybe you had more different styles of play (in the past)...It makes it harder for you to come to the net and kind of mix it up because, you know, you can't get to the net as much, you'll be passed more easily, things like that."...Nicolas "The Golden Child" Massu was justifiably pissed off after he showed up for the US Open opening night for the tribute to the Olympic medal winners, but was then rewarded with an early start to his singles match the next morning. The USTA's response was 'Oops, we didn't think about that.'...ATP CEO Mark Miles convened a small roundtable of friends and journalists Friday night to officially announce his retirement from the ATP upon the end of his term in 2005...Maria "Shriek-o-licious" Sharapova on whether she'll ever develop a slice or approach shot to compliment her one-gear baseline-bashing: "Yeah, but that's not going to happen overnight. It's a long-time process, and that's one of the things I have to work on. I wouldn't say I'm going to all of a sudden become a chip-and-slice person."...For American junior "The" Donald Young it was "You're fired!" Sunday when the 15-year-old lost in the first round of the US Open juniors to No. 7 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine. That kid needs more time in the oven...Venus Williams had a book signing of her children's tome "How to Play Tennis," co-authored with sister Serena, Sunday at the US Open bookstore. Chapter 1: Just hit every ball with topspin as hard as you can. Chapter 2: The End...Amelie Mauresmo can still become No. 1 for the first time during the US Open, overtaking Justine Henin-Hardenne, but the WTA Rankings system is so convoluted that the WTA still have yet to produce an official announcement, and are waiting until the latter rounds until things become clearer. Not a great look...Kim Clijsters is still set to return to play later this month at a lesser Tour event in Belgium: "I'll only return when I am fully fit. At first I was disappointed not to play (the US Open). Afterward it turned out to be the best decision."...Could there be more bad line calls at the Open? How about Serena getting screwed on that baseline call with Jennifer Capriati serving for the match Tuesday night? Or the second serve being out? Four bad calls in all in one game, that will be the match that brings the Hawkeye to the chair umpire's stand -- even if the technology is not 100 percent, isn't it better that the linespeople who seem to miss a handful of important calls per match?...Richard Williams responding to USA Network commentator Tracy Austin, who said the Williams sisters need to hire a real coach to fix such things as technical problems with their groundstrokes: "I couldn't care what Tracy or anyone says. When Venus and Serena were winning, there was something wrong. When they're losing, there's something wrong. Very honestly, it's a disgrace. I think it's a disgrace at how the system is against those two black girls. If they win, everything is wrong; if they lose, it's get rid of the parents." Someone says fix a forehand and you pull out the race card and the break-up-the-family card? Easy Richard...Poor Jenny Capriati, could anyone in women's tennis benefit more from a Life Coach? Someone who could constantly be at her side and whisper things in her ear like "Don't say you deserved the bad calls against Serena, in front of these 50,000 fans live on TV," or "Don't request they play the profane rap song 'Bombs Over Baghdad' for your intro music at a tournament while the U.S. is invading Iraq," or "Take that out of your pocket and pay for that," little things like that...Amelie Mauresmo says reaching only one slam final with her high-powered game is not a choke: "It's just the game. You ask all the players. We all had, at some points, matches we should have won and we didn't, and that's the game. That's just the way sport is."...The WTA announced their "Roadmap 2010" plan yesterday, a long-range structure designed to "significantly increase the global popularity of women's tennis through the development of a tennis season that is packaged in a way that is more appealing to fans, players, tournaments, sponsors and the media, and that will better highlight the game's most engaging rivalries." Key elements include an off-season extended from 5 to 7 weeks, more easily identified top events (does that mean not running crap events the same week as Tier I's?), a "mandatory" tournament commitment from players (as opposed to the "rest and recovery" pull card players currently use?), an easier-to-understand ranking system (about time), a tighter TV package, coordinating with other tennis bodies, an "enhanced WTA Tour Championships" (could it currently be more un-enhanced?), and getting rid of the horrendous Tier V events...After Andy Roddick's loss at the US Open, coach Brad Gilbert hung his head, and super-agent Ken Myerson began stomping his feet in some crazy display of rage, nice show of support. Roddick left the court so upset that he proceeded to run laps inside the stadium hallways trying to burn the bad energy off...The last time the US Open men's and women's finals were played without an American-born player was 1988, when Steffi Graf faced Gabriela Sabatini and Mats Wilander faced Ivan Lendl. For the first time in the Open Era (since 1968), none of the four top women's seeds reached the semis at the US Open...CBS Sports commentator John McEnroe on one of Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson's forehands: "No one's every hit a bigger forehand in the history of the men's game, trust me."...That double fault while serving at 6-5 in the third set against Elena Dementieva, how does that stack up for Jennifer Capriati against last year's semifinal choke against a cramping, exhausted Justine Henin-Hardenne?...The last time three women from one country won three slams was 1979 when Americans Barbara Jordan (Australian Open), Chris Evert (French Open) and Tracy Austin (US Open) completed the triumvirate...Roger Federer imposed his considerable will on former champ and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the US Open final, destroying the Aussie 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-0 for an astounding ninth title of 2004. The numbers put up by the Swiss are mind-boggling: first No. 1 seed since Pete Sampras in 1996 to win the US Open; has already clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking with three months yet to play; first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 to win three of the four slams in one calendar year; 24 of 25 sets won in slam final-four matches; first player to win his first four slam finals; 17 wins in a row over Top 10 players; first US Open champ to win two 6-0 sets in the final; first man to win Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back since Sampras in 1995; first man to win consecutive slam titles since Andre Agassi won the 1999 US Open and 2000 Australian Open; and winning in his last 11 tournament finals...Lleyton Hewitt was the first man to reach the US Open without dropping a set in almost 15 years, since Jim Courier in 1991...Three US Open "gold badge" chair umpires were dismissed early from the tournament because of their involvement in a credential-forging scheme at the Athens Olympics...Extra funk to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez, who have won three US Opens in a row, and 10 of the last 11 slam finals...After Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open title, and after doing her media, she hit the practice court: "After the match, you have to clean up your game. It doesn't matter if you win the title."...Kim Clijsters says on her website that she and Lleyton Hewitt will marry in February, rock up Lleyton...With all the success of the Russian women in 2004, Marat Safin says don't look for the same on the men's side: "There is no one coming through. There is not one person we can say is the potential for the future. The girls and much better than the guys. I am really happy for the girls."...Svetlana Kuznetsova says keeping her word to play the Bali tournament (unlike countrywoman Elena Dementieva) was important: "I know I need a break but if I give my word I have to do it, no matter what. I know everyone would understand if I didn't come but it's important that I keep my word and I want people to respect me."...This is the first week that two Russians (Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva) have ever ranked in the Top 5 on the WTA Tour Rankings. Serena Williams is back in the Top 10 at No. 10...The South Australian Supreme Court has given Lleyton Hewitt the OK to proceed with his multi-million dollar anti-defamation and breach of contract suit against the ATP regarding the media incident at the 2002 Masters Series-Cincinnati, can't shake off the bulldog...From Kim Clijsters' website: "In December 2003 Kim and Lleyton Hewitt got engaged. A year later the beautiful love story will have its logical extension with a marriage in February in Australia."...Kim Clijsters writing on her website on returning to play next week: "Good news from the doctors. The wrist should now be completely recovered. When I am practicing with more intensity, I still feel some pain, but that is quite normal..."...Word is that Martin "Berzerk" Verkerk will undergo shoulder surgery...Alexandra "Dr. A" Stevenson had surgery Tuesday on her right shoulder. "Hopefully she'll be back on the court in six to eight months," Stevenson's mother, Samantha, told the AP. "She'll definitely miss the clay season and probably the grass season and maybe come back for the summer." Stevenson is the child of former basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving...Marat Safin at one point got a little tearful after winning the title at Beijing, his first in two years: "I know that it doesn't help me at all to get crazy with myself on the court. In the past sometimes I did that, threw my racket or whatever. It's no good."...Gustavo Kuerten won't play again until at least January or February of 2004 after successfully undergoing hip surgery in Pittsburgh...Lleyton Hewitt won his first Davis Cup match over Morocco, beating hapless Moroccan substitute Medhi Tahiri, in the process becoming the winningest player in Australian Davis Cup history with 25 singles wins, surpassing Adrian Quist who played between between 1933-39 and 1946-48...Germany, Britain lose in the Davis Cup Qualifying round, relegated to zonal play for 2005...Steffi Graf confirmed that husband Andre Agassi will play for another full year on the ATP tour...Spain is in its third Davis Cup final in the past five years...U.S. Davis cup coach Patrick McEnroe says Andre Agassi remains in the back of his mind for the Davis Cup final on red clay in December versus the high-powered Spaniards: "There's a lot of options. I'm never going to say never about anything."...Mardy "Silver" Fish doesn't seem to get the criticism from Patrick McEnroe and Cliff Drysdale that he is not in peak shape: "That's unfair," he told Florida's Tennis Life magazine. "I haven't done anything differently than I've done in the past."