Soooo I was going to lead with the Oz Open story and the seemingly increasing possibility of more "Grand Slams" and turn this into a "Heard Around" post but for total shock value you can't top this.
Manatee County Florida Clerk of the Circuit Court
Court House Information Processing System
Case Number 41 2007 ML 001967
Case Type Marriage License File Date 12/10/2007
Case Action Code MARRIAGE LICENSE WITHOUT COURSE Case Status Open
Rcd Party Type Name D.O.B. Gender Race
1 Groom STEPANEK , RADEK 1978 CAUC
2 Bride VAIDISOVA , NICOLE 1989 CAUC
Words fail me. Well no they don't. It's not about Radek being hotness challenged either. What would a twenty nine year old man want with an eighteen year old girl? Oh I know but as my mother used to always say you've got to get out of the bed sometime. I used to dismiss it as one of her many quirky statements during my teen aged years (and yes the wheel had been invented back then) but now I understand what she meant.
Her parents and the tennis establishments in both Czechoslovakia and the United States invested a lot of time and money in Nicole's tennis career. For her to now decide her be all and end all is Radek must be throwing them for a loop. My other question is why the rush? I don't know how long they've been seeing each other - a tab in Czechoslovakia reported they were a couple but it was a tab so no one took it seriously I suppose.
At twenty nine Radek's career is on the down side. Maybe he'll become his wife's coach a la Rainer Hoffman. At least Radek does know something about playing tennis which is more than can be said for Rainer but I digress. Let's hope an angry father holding a double barreled shot gun (I guess today it would be a Glock semi automatic) isn't part of the wedding party and that Nicole will continue her tennis career sans wailing babe.
Oh, and Nicole, here's a word to add to your vocabulary - "PRENUP!"
In other couples news Chris Evert and Greg Norman confirmed their engagement. No date has been set for the nuptials. Chris also announced she's building a tennis facility in South Africa.
Evert Norman Engagement
Grand Slam Tennis Update
This paragraph appears in an online article by Leo Schlink on the state of the Australian Open. "Bimes" is Christian Bimes head of the French Tennis Federation.
"Roland Garros will not lose its grand slam status, but I'm convinced that if we don't make progress, there will one day be a fifth grand slam event in Asia and possibly a sixth in Europe," Bimes said.
"The losers would be the French Open and Wimbledon. We want to avoid that at any cost."
Well here's a thought. How about rescheduling the French Open and Wimbledon so that their positioning makes sense? Ion Tiriac is putting his money where his mouth is and lobbying big time for Madrid to be upgraded. I doubt the Chinese built their wonderful facitility just for the Olympics. And Middle Eastern money is already a major influence in tennis. Moving Wimbledon and creating a "Road to Wimbledon" or whatever would satisfy those who love grass court tennis by creating an actual grass court season. The clay court season, already established, could remain as it is. Just my very humble opinion.
The article is focused on the Australian Open and Tennis Australia's fears regarding it's status. Interesting read for tennisheads.
Serena YEC Madrid 2007
BJK Opens Up
Tennis legend Billie Jean King sat down for an interview with the Sunday Times of London. David Walsh's article reviews Ms King's professional and personal life and includes information about the how and why of her coming out.
Ms King also took time to talk about today's WTA and makes the following statement:
We now have the best players we’ve ever had,” says King. “I don’t know why we’re not talking about Justine Henin all the time because, for her size, she’s the greatest athlete we’ve ever seen. I don’t know why she’s not more appreciated – she’s not blonde, she’s not cutesie-wootsie but the way she has evolved as a tennis player is unbelievable. She’s improved so much at the net, she’s much stronger off her forehand, she has turned a terrible serve into something better than adequate and she’s learnt to recover during a match. People need to understand what they are seeing here.
For the full article please read BJK Interview
Wimbledon July 3 2007
Venus Williams Graduates
Since it's well known that most American tennis players don't even have high school diplomas it's nice to see that Venus stuck to it and graduated from fashion school this week. Big ups to Ms Williams.
Venus December 2007 Miami
Miscellaneous Tennis News
From the exhibition season:
Dudi Sela of Israel beat Marat Safin in straight sets at Sankt Polten The match lasted 56 minutes.
The semi's in Argentina look like this:
Nalbandian vs Chela
Monaco vs Moya
More from the shallow end of the pool...
Andy Roddick photographed in the Union Square area of NYC with his girl friend Brooklyn Decker who is still a teenager. Guess his hipster girlfriend didn't tell him that those jeans went out a couple of years ago...
Serena's "A-Ha" Moment
This is a regular feature in "Oprah" magazine.
And then, like proof of being an adult, my first electric bill arrived—$1,500! I couldn't believe it. Suddenly I understood why Daddy was always telling me to turn out the lights. Another time I came home from a tournament and—click! No lights. Our power had been turned off because I hadn't paid the bill on time. There I was, the 1999 U.S. Open champ, sitting alone in my big house in the dark. I was constantly running out of groceries, toiletries, and little things I needed. That's when you realize what it means to be an adult: when you're on your own and you run out of toilet paper.
It took about a year, but eventually my new house started to feel like home. Venus and I did all the decorating, and seven years later, I still love the choices we made, like our window treatments and my classic bedroom furniture. We may have been giddy kids, but it turns out we didn't do anything too crazy. The first night I spent there by myself I was miserable—nothing in the house really seemed like it was mine. Now I don't relax until I put my key in the lock, swing open the front door, and my dogs rush to greet me.
Serena in Moscow 2007
Marat in Moscow 2007
David Nalbandian and the Ladies Paris Bercy 2007
What to say about Sania Mirza? This young woman, already under the religious microscope was involved in filming an ad, in a mosque in Hyderabad India. It's reported that some of the film crew, ignoring Muslim sensibilities, entered the building wearing shoes. On top of that no filming, especially of a commercial, was to take place inside the house of worship. Sania, sweetie, is ya stoopid? An apology was hastily released but the damage was done. It was pointed out that her closest advisors are Hindu but she was born and raised a Muslim and should have made sure everything was properly arranged. Sania, handle your business.
Sania Sparks Relgious Row
There's a thread on TAT where tennisheads discussed the top five WTA tennis stories of 2007. Ask two tennisheads opinions on things tennis and you'll get three different points of view.
The original list, posted by Peter Bodo in his blog looked like this:
1. Serena Williams' first quarter.
2. Justine Henin's final three quarters.
3. The Serbian Vitches
4. Williams sisters tag-team move.
5. Introducing Marion Bartoli.
My immediate reaction was "huh?" I thought about if for a while and then came up with my own list.
1. Serena's first quarter
2. Henin's three quarters
3. Sharapova's winning one event in 2007
4. Hingis retirement
5. What Lindsay's triumphant return shows about the (lack of) depth of women's tennis.
Special Mention: Venus Wimbledon win
I don't see how the Maria Sharapova story and the events surrounding Hingis retirement could not make a top five list of stories for the WTA. I know people think I hate Sharapova but I don't really. I don't know her. But I do know what is done for her by the tennis establishment - say what you will but that 2007 US Open draw has to go down in infamy - and that is what I don't like. People are quick to point out that she played the YEC very well but again she had the softer of the draws. I don't think Justine Henin has had as soft draw all year by the way but again I digress. At the end of the year she won exactly one event during the US Open series against a tired opponent. And if Venus hadn't fallen on her sword and bowed out of the YEC Sharapova wouldn't have been there at all.
As for Martina Hingis retiring again under circumstances that make it impossible for the truth to ever come out just imagine if Venus Williams or Serena Williams had tested postitive for cocaine. It would be the top story of the year not only in tennis but in sports. Marion Jones fall would have nothing on a Venus/Serena drug story. And that is why it's a big deal. It seems everyone, the WTA and Ms Hingis, got what they wanted from how things worked out. Martina's fans will be able to say it was never proved and hope to see her make the Hall of Fame. The ITF and the WTA will also be able to say they enforced their rules and got a druggie out of the game. And whether you like her or not Martina was the last of the pre Big Babe tennis players and deserved the induction ceremony that was in her future.
Some now want to add the Nicole Vaidisova situation to the top WTA stories of 2007. It deserves mention only because she was set to be a golden girl. I respect Nicole a lot, especially after she lost to Serena in Melbourne at the beginning of the year and refused to get caught up in a media created frenzy about lights shining in her eyes. She also has game. We have a lot of stories of teen tennis players cracking under the pressure to do well and I wonder if this is her way of dealing with it? Bernard Tomic, all of fifteen, is being hyped by Tennis Australia as the next big thing on the ATP circuit. His father/coach is already comparing him to Roger Federer in precociousness and making his training regime sound like Rafa's. The kid has been quoted as saying he doesn't mind not having a life he loves tennis so much. I know some think tennis players reading is an oxymoron but young Tomic's camp should read that New York Times piece on Donald Young from this past summer and look at Bjorn Borg's life long and hard. You have to be a kid sometime. It's better to do it while age wise you're still a kid and not wait until your late twenties to get angry about not having had a life and proceed to have one.
As for Lindsay's triumphant return to the tour I'm sure the WTA just wishes she would go away. She's playing more in 2008. Let's see how she does before hauling her up on a pedestal folks. She's already caused Jelena Jankovic to have a meltdown so 2008 should be fun.
I've put more best of 2007 pics in this post. I'll end with a fave of those who are into tennis slash from Wimbledon 2007.