It completely got by me that Iran sent a women's team to Perth for Fed Cup. This is the first time in 37 years that Iran has participated. The women lost badly in singles but made a respectable showing in doubles.
Madona Najarian of Iran
A lot of folks are upset that the women played in the heat of the Australian summer covered head to toe as seen in the picture of Ms Najarian. As a Westerner I go nuts when I see women covered head to toe as well but in this case I think we'd be missing the bigger point here by focusing on their dress.
Islamic women are being allowed to compete internationally again. This shows that when all else fails sports becomes the language of detente. I'm glad the Iranian women are there. They may not be ready to compete on the pro level yet but where were the Chinese ten years ago?
I'm sure the women fought long and hard to be allowed to make this trip. If you look closely the Nike swoosh is evident. Congratulations to the women on the team:
In other news...
The Australian Press is reporting that Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play Halle this spring.
Jelena Jankovic has been granted a Wild Card into the Paris Indoors next week. The tournament will feature three of the top five women: Number 1 Serena Williams and Number 4 Elena Dementieva will also play. Jelena is playing Fed Cup this weekend along with Ana Ivanovic.
Serbian Fed Cup Team Captain Dejan Vranes, Bojana Jovanovski, Ana Jovanovic, Jelena Jankovicand Ana Ivanovic.
China's Zheng Jie has withdrawn from Fed Cup play due to injury. Chinese captain Qi Zhang is without a replacement and will field a three woman team made up Yan Zi,, Zhang and Sun Tian Tian. They will face Team Russia - Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anna Chakvetadze and Alisa Kleybanova.
Australia's Jelena Dokic has been granted a qualifying wild card into Memphis.
There have been some fantastic pictures coming out of South Africa featuring players in their first ATP main tour tournament.
David Ferrer at a game preserve.
Marcos Baghdatis at The Apartheid Museum
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with South African children
Rafael Nadal and his entourage, his father, Sebastian, uncle Toni, fitness trainer Rafael Maymo, PR manager Benito Perez-Barbadillo, Jordi Robert from NIKE and manager Carlos Costa, made at least 10 visits in the fortnigh ate ten times at a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne including his last day there. The chefs were invited to sit in Rafael's box during his quarter final match. In case you want to know what a championship meal is here is what he ate: tooth fish, sushi, fried rice with seafood rice and noodles served with teriakyi sauce.
Hard on the heels of Kim Clijsters announcing that she will play an exho or two comes the news that Justine Henin will play the Belgian Tennis Trophy exhibition in Charleroi on 5-6 December, report Belgian press per Tennis.com
The same site reports that Betfair has released wagers on the first-round match between Croatian wildcard Antonio Veic and Guillermo Canas.