short balls: elena waves good-bye



Elena Dementieva is waving good-bye to the WTA Tour after a dozen years on the tour, which saw her greatest moment in 2008, at the Beijing Olympics. But while Dementieva might be most well-known to tennis enthusiasts as the greatest chica never to nab a Slam, you can bet she will be a missed force on the tour. No one else played with such maturity and poise, and even the shaky serve was made up for by that blazing forehand. Can you remember an Elena diva moment? Neither can I. I got the chance to watch Elena in person this summer – and if you never had the chance to watch this girl up close, I’ll give you one descriptive word: athlete - and she was a joy to watch. The tennis may have been flawed at times, but the heart was always there. Can’t wait to see what comes next for the Muscovite. Survey study: Of the 158 folks that responded to our Sunday Survey, 38% said they thought Elena would announce she’s pregnant come Thanksgiving. OK, riiight.

Courier calls: A variety of responses sprung up from the naming of Jim Courier as the new US Davis Cup coach last week. Greg Garber was questioning the call already over at ESPN.com, while L. Jon Wertheim was giving the nod to the Courier appointment in his Monday post this week. Our call? Well, we’re not so sure it matters who captains. Wertheim pointed out that four Americans sit inside the top 22 (Roddick, Isner, Fish and Querrey), and while the time may have passed for Roddick and his Davis Cup days, the Bryan Brothers look committed. The bigger question is: what will the Isner, Fish and Querrey era bring? Those are the boys that seem invested as Courier takes the reigns.

Retirement footnotes: While Elena’s announcement shocked a few and left others unsurprised, Serena Tweeted and blogged her well wishes to Dementieva, who had a 5-7 record against ReRe. Of course, retirement of one WTA veteran meant that the media was curious about her counterparts, namely Kim Clijsters. And here’s a curious fact for you: Lindsay Davenport, who shaved off Elena in her first big-bang match in the 2000 US Open semis still is not listed as retired on the WTA web site. Comeback likely? You never know with the mom next door.

Back on the winning (and publicity) track: Winning his first match in five tries, Fernando Verdasco found his winning form (most recently displayed in heroics at this year’s USO) in Valencia Monday. The Slice had some good shots of Fernando charming the masses at a Calvin Klein event last week in Madrid (with his pants on), before heading east to Valencia. He also appeared on the Spanish cooking show, El Hormiguero. Jealous of that cooking-show host? Yes, so are we.

Frame this: Ipek Senoglu is probably the most famous tennis player you (and I) have never heard of. Senoglu is Turkish and reached a career-high ranking of no. 293 back in 2004. While her career has mostly run its course, Senoglu has been instrumental in building tennis’s popularity in Turkey, which will host the WTA’s year-end event in both 2011 and 2012 in Istanbul. Oh, and she’s a looker, that Ipek, too. Above: Ipek in what we think is the Turkish/ Eastern European version of Bazaar. Can anyone help us out on translating?

After the cut: a barely-clad retired pro male struts his stuff in undies and injures a production assistant in the process? Plus, your weekly dose of short(er) balls.
Imitation special: Pat Rafter was trying to do his best Roger Federer impression recently at a photo shoot. Rafter, clad only in undies for the shoot, tagged an assistant with a ball when he tried to re-make Federer’s famous commercial. You can be sure that Pat’s (who is the new Australia Davis Cup coach) footage is authentic, while the Fed reel remains in question. More skivvies: Passport Magazine has the best underwear designers you’ve never heard of, and shots of their creations, as well.Short(er) balls: The Indian government is honoring the Indo-Pak express, better known as Indian Rohan Bopanna and Pakistani Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, for their “Stop War, Start Tennis” campaign that promotes peace between the double team’s home countries. | Who needs Bali for love stories and happily-ever-after, Elizabeth Gilbert? Not Ana Ivanovic and Andrea Petkovic. They have each other. | Just signed on for a 10-year newspaper subscription? Sounds as though you should ask for 3 year’s worth of your money back… | Michael Chang and Amber Liu, two former American tennis players who married in 2008, are expecting a baby this week. The arrival of the new babe forced Chang to withdraw from a Champions Series event in Grand Cayman. (via @TennisPublisher) | The St. Giles New York Hotel is hosting a post-marathon party for Justin Gimelstob and Andy Roddick (should he lose early in Basel) after this Sunday’s New York City marathon. Roddick has bet Gimelstob that Justin can’t complete the marathon in under 4 hours, 45 minutes. | Looks like team Lacoste is looking for interns in NYC for this coming winter/ spring. | Last week, former pro Cliff Richey detailed his fight with depression at the Montana State Conference on Mental Illness.

(dementieva picture via getty images; senoglu picture via facebook screen grab)

Comments

  1. I am going to miss Elena tremendously. I have been a fan of hers since the start of her career. I am surprised she chose to retire because I think she most definitely could have won another Grand Slam. Also, I’m surprised if she would even think she think she cannot compete with the other top players. She can…so maybe there is a bun in the oven?

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