short balls: andre admits, mary acts and dinara ditches



mary-wears-pearls

Doha Dust: The biggest news out of Doha today was that Dinara Safina withdrew from the event with a back injury. She was tied 1-1 in the first set with Jelena Jankovic when she pulled out, and now she is in doubt for the Australian Open in January. Let the debate begin… who had the more devastating end to the year: Safina or Ana Ivanovic? Too close to call.

Doha Dust (pt 2): The (good) news out of Doha today was the the Williams sisters put on another masterful show, Serena beating Venus 7-6 in the third set in what was a tense, tight battle, that included a saved match point. That ups Serena to 2-0 in round robin play, while Venus falls to 0-2 (she lost in three to Elena on day one).

Andre’s Book Deal is Crackin’: There is plenty of buzz around the November 9th release of Andre Agassi’s autobiography, “Open: An Autobiography“. It was revealed yesterday that Agassi admits to using crystal meth in 1997 in the book, during the low point of his tennis career. It was also leaked today that the now-father talks of the abuse of his own dad. Gotta buy us a copy of that one, eh?

’10 Bucks: Things are looking good for the US Open come 2010. The year’s final Slam signed a partnership with the car company Mercedes-Benz to be the tournament’s presenting sponsor on the men’s side and the offish vehicle of the tourney. A lucrative deal like this one the Open struck with Mercedes is hard to come by these days, so a big thumbs up to the Flushing Meadows event and tennis in gengen. We’re so popular.

Mother Mary of the Silver Screen: The behind-the-camera maven was pleasantly hilarious in this mockumentary, which features comedian Paul Mecurio as a part of his web series for HBO Sports. “Our breasts would compromise our backswings.” Hil-ar, Mare. We loves it.

Good Angle: We also loved this writing, from TennisWeek.com this past week. Chris Oddo penned a lengthy piece on Juan Martin Del Potro being the tallest Grand Slam winner ever and how his rise to new heights might be a sign of bigger (and taller) things to come.

(screen grab via you tube.)

too soon?



maratsafin-thisisit

Is this really it? This fall the world will see the final performances of two very different showmen for two very different reasons. Because Halloween is a time to blur the line between good taste and bad and between reality and fiction, we bring you Marat Safin’s farewell tour. This Is It, folks. Whether we are talking about the King of Pop’s untimely demise or the end of Marat Safin’s supposedly unfilled career, we are all left with the same question: Too Soon?

(tsf illustration by troy venechanos)

in doha, serena has lipstick



serena-doha-lipstick

Don’t worry folks, Serena definitely bought a lipstick pack on the ground at Doha, you know she has to re-apply that stuff every few minutes! The world’s “second best player” fielded questions from the media prior to the tournament’s Tuesday start.

Check out the girls all glammed up here. UPDATE: Watch (awkward) video here.

sunday survey: your pick for doha



Another topsy, turvy WTA season has come to a close… well, almost. This coming week Doha will take place in all its glory, though it was recently voted by players as the 10th most important stop on the tour. Ouch. So much for that “5th Slam” status.

Last year’s finalist, the always-emotional Vera Zvonareva, was 9th in race points, and will miss an opportunity to play mind games with the high-ranking ladies of the tour the way she did a year ago (unless someone pulls out).

Speaking of possible puller-outers, Caroline Wozniacki will make her maiden appearance at the round-robin formatted stop, as will Victoria Azarenka. Dinara Safina arrives as the top points-winner, top seed and world number one, though it’s hard to imagine her confidence is bursting after the fall she’s had. Serena Williams is the number two seed, a position she usually thrives in.

So what do you think? Will Venus defend her crown? Can Serena end the year as number one in the world and win her first non-Slam tournament in 18 months? Will Caroline or Victoria surprise us all? Or do Jelena, Elena, Dinara or Sveta have what it takes to end their up-and-down seasons on a high note?

Leave your comment below and let us know just who you think will be the Doll of Doha.

Correction made 10/26.

tgif: doha already?! and two-faced funnies after the jump



Can you believe Doha starts next week?! We certainly can’t. The drama of the WTA has certainly followed the US Open; it seems this tour can’t live without it. Lasting just until the SECs are to begin, the drama lived on when another bizarre instance occurred in Luxembourg this week as Caroline Wozniacki pulled out of her first-round match leading 7-5, 5-0. Her reasoning? She was injured and wanted to let her opponent (hometown girl Anne Kremer) play in the next round, which Caro didn’t think she could do physically.

Good gesture, we say. Her reward? Accusations of throwing the match. Betfair politics. Tennis gambling. And an investigation, oh my! It also clunked her record to 3-4 since her inspiring run at Flushing Meadows. Ho hum.

Another US Open inspiree, Yanina Wickmayer, has had opposite fortunes since leaving NYC. She’s 6-1 on tour and is still in action in Luxembourg. A player to watch in 2010? We think so.

A writer we’re watching this week is Bobby Chintapalli, who penned the Doha preview for Peter Bodo’s TennisWorld. Not only did the BC come up with some solid and intriguing stats for the piece, we’re jealous of the made-up nickname used for the wave of Eastern European players of the WTA Tour: Mynameis Somethingpova.

Two snaps for Bobby, whose online writing profile says, “I love tennis. I love writing. I love cupcakes.” Well put BC, well put. Hungry now? Check out NYC’s “Best Cupcake” according to the Village Voice. 

And it wouldn’t be Friday without a little fun, this time in the form of a little Look-Alike action. Check the jump to see just who in tennis has a twin (or two) out there. [Read more...]