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Category Archives: Only god is the jurge(((

Yannick Noah Accuses ALL Spanish Tennis Players and Sportsmen of Doping

Yannick Noah today launched an astonishing attack on Spanish tennis and sport in general, accusing the leading Spanish sportsmen and teams of taking “the magic potion”. The former French Open champion wrote on his column in Le Monde, eventually suggesting that doping should simply be accepted and all players free to do it.

Take a look at what he had to say under the cut.

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BREAKING: Karolina Wozniacka to open a clothing store in Istanbul

Okay, not really. But I’m here covering the WTA YEC in Istanbul and out of the blue I just thought, ‘remember that blog thing that I used to… blog things on?’ So yeah, to all the 2 people who still read this blog, I’m back. Kinda.

Don’t expect to find anything of substance here though. I’ll be writing all the serious stuff at On The Baseline this week and Tennis Panorama in Valencia and Paris.

Victoria Azarenka is one of the top 15 sexy and most successful women on the planet. Apparently.

Esquire magazine recently released their list for the sexiest big achieving women alive, and bizzarely our very own Victoria Azarenka somehow made the cut.

Don’t get me wrong; I like Vika and so I’mma let Esquire finish, but could this be any more random? Azarenka has had a great year and easily her best so far, but Vika over Martha, Karolina and even Petra these days? Clearly the author just closed their eyes and picked a female blonde tennis player at random. But hey, good on her.

Speaking of the Belarusian, The Tennis Channel just recently aired a ‘tennisography’ on her which looks at her upbringing and rise to the top of tennis. Very interesting stuff.

Quotable Quotes: Damir Dokic Speaks.

Last week we learnt of the nuclear bombshell that Jelena Dokic has reconciled with her father Damir Dokic. This week? The man himself has finally spoken.

“Two days ago I made 20 000 liters of rakija ( Rakija is a Serbian national drink, similar to Vodka ) and I was dead tired, I went to my sofa, almost fell asleep while watching TV when all of a sudden someone knocked on my door. I opened and saw Jelena, Savo and Tin standing there. I was shocked, couldn’t believe it, I dreamt of our meeting for years and it happened now, all in one minute. I started crying and hugging Jelena, she started crying as well. She told me she missed me much throughout these years and how she wants me to coach her again on her way back on the top.”

Sounds like something straight out of a disney movie, with volins no doubt playing in the background as Damir opened the door in slow motion to reveal his long-lost daughter.

Damir also spoke candidly about Jelena’s tennis and the state of the WTA in 2011;

“Womens tennis is now much weaker than 10 years ago and that is Jelena’s chance (to rise to top again)”

He’s certainly not wrong. Dokic rose to the top 5 in easily one of the toughest and deepest eras of all time. But although her body is fresh with her playing minimal tennis over the last 6/7 years, the fact remains that Dokic is 28 years-old now and the idea of her rising back to the top 10 at this very moment is delusional, even for Damir Dokic. Let’s just hope the this new arrangement doesn’t all end in tears. Again.

So, Tomas Berdych has a new woman…

We all heard a couple of months ago that Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova - tennis’ inseparable and undisputed prom king and queen - did the unthinkable and broke up. We mourned then, and to this very day we are still mourning. However, it appears that Tomas Berdych has already moved on from his 9-year relationship and has been linked with former tennis player turned student and model, Esther Sátorová.

When asked about Sátorová, Tomas playfully replied;

“I see you have good information, so I will not deny. But the more you want to say. It’s my private affair.”

So, basically yes then, Tomas?

Call me immature, but I now can’t help but half-hope that Lucie channels JoJo and gives Tomas’ answerphone a little bit of a bashing. Now that would be fun.

Jelena and Damir Dokic Reconcile In Serbia

Five years after she finally mustered up the courage to split from her infamous and notorious father, Serbian media is now reporting that Jelena Dokic has travelled back to Serbia to reconcile with the man who spent most of her life emotionally, and allegedly physically, abusing her. and Pravda;

(Dokic) arrived on Wednesday in Vrdnik along with her ​​boyfriend Tin Bikic, at the farm where her father lives. In Serbia she will try to heal the (shoulder) injury and take off excess pounds, to be in good shape at her awaited return to the field. According to some sources it is today in Vrdnik ran eight miles, in order to lose weight.

Confirmation also comes in the form of Dusan Grujic of tennis club Partizan.

Recently I spoke with Damir Dokic and he told me. Jelena arrived in the family home in Vrdnik with her boyfriend Tin Bikic, who is a good guy. Good thing that Damir accepted (them). After all that had survived the last few years for them the best we have come together as a family.

Oh loorrrrrrd (™Jelena Jankovic). We all saw and heard all Jelena’s various ‘tell-all’ interviews when she first came back into the public eye in 2009. She spoke emotionally about her father’s abuse and how she was free of him and would never return, and yet here she is back in Serbia with the monster.

The scariest thing is that the bans that Damir incurred back in the day were all short-term, and so should this whole reconciliation thing goes well, he could well attend some of Jelena’s future events. I guess we just have to hope that in the years of estrangement from his daughter, Damir has gained a bit of perspective and sanity.

And if not and Dokic Sr. does try any of his funny business, that Tin will step in and lay a smackdown on the 53 year-old’s ass. I don’t advocate violence, but he deserves it.

Quotable Quotes: Is Rafael Nadal right to criticize ITF and ATP scheduling?

Rafael Nadal’s outspoken criticism of the ITF and ATP continued this week as Rafa and Spain dusted off France 4-1 to reach the Davis Cup final. This time also specifically criticizing the scheduling of Davis Cup events immediately after slams:

“It is unacceptable that two big events like a Grand Slam and a Davis Cup semi-final are so close. An evolution in the calendar must be made or we might get to a place where we might not want to be. Evolution, revolution, same thing. They don’t want to change anything. You can’t always just think about the personal benefit. It seems as if those in charge aren’t aware. Chances of strike? We don’t want to get there. We want to play. But if it’s a fight about something that we think is fair, something would have to happen. Sometimes the only way to make things happen is to choose strong action.”

On one hand, it’s hard to disagree with him. That season is far too long is a fact. That it’s unbelievable that the top players have to play 6/7 best of 5 singles matches one week and then immediately travel to another country, possibly change surface and and then face the possibility of playing 3 more 5 setters is also a fact. And so Rafa finally standing up and taking control off-court as he does on the court is completely the right thing to do.

But another fact is that two years ago, the top twenty players - Rafa and Roger among many other notables - voted on whether the Davis Cup ties should be moved to the week after slams. The vast majority voted for it. As far as I know, they weren’t forced to sign at gunpoint, and so when Rafa is chucking blame at every professional tennis governing body and his dog for ‘thinking about the personal benefit’ ahead of the players’ welfare, it makes it hard to really take him seriously. They were given every opportunity to say ‘no’ and look to find a different solution, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.

Another thing Rafa has spoken about is the scheduling system and the amount of mandatory events each player is required to play every year. But once again, even with all the restrictions and requirements, the top players can still play a perfectly balanced schedule. Just look at Novak’s schedule pre-Davis Cup. It’s just that Rafa doesn’t choose to. For example if the schedule so demanding and draining, why did he play this year in the only non-mandatory masters event, Monté Carlo, which also happens to be played at the very beginning of the busiest and most grueling stretch of the season? There’s also the case of him (and Novak) flying down to Colombia right after their Indian Wells final to participate in a lucrative exhibition. Again, it’s hard to really take his pleas and criticism serious when he really doesn’t practice what he preaches.

But even so, let’s hope that this really is the beginning of change on both the ATP and hopefully the WTA too. What I really want to see changed is the transition from clay to grass, as it’s truly the most abysmal part of the calendar. Every year fans and journalists discuss the possibility of lengthening the grass season to give players more rest time between the two slams and the chance to spend longer on the least physically damaging surface there is, and every year absolutely nothing happens. There’s also the huge issue of surface homogenisation, and if I see one more traditionally fast hard court this year playing like there’s a thick layer of imaginary quick sand on it, I will break down.

Rafa is clearly standing up, sounding the klaxons and rallying the troops. We’ll soon see whether these are just empty words or if Rafa and the rest of the gang have the conviction to follow through and help usher in lasting constructive changes to professional tennis.

Serena Williams’ US Open outbursts: An uncharacteristic ticking timebomb?

Yesterday, history repeated itself as yet another one of Serena Williams’ US Open outings ended in outburst and shame. This year’s events certainly weren’t anywhere close to what unfolded two summers ago, and rather than being threatening, she turned into a hysterical half-crying half-ranting mess. But it was still bad, and naturally the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative.

What surprised me most wasn’t the actual outburst, but the fact that she really appeared to believe that Eva Asderaki - one of the best umpires in the game - was part of some conspiracy deliberately out to get her and “screw her over”, as she so eloquently put it. It was just insane paranoia.

But then again, if you really think about what has gone on in her career, can she really be blamed for thinking that the whole tennis world is conspiring against her?

Throughout the years of her career we have seen Serena the victim of an unprecedented amount of incidents and drama. We all know the story of the Williams sisters and how they rose to the top of the game their own way; defying the traditional country club barriers of race, social class and the traditional process that most go through to get to the top. For that reason, from the age of 10/11/12 people have been rooting against her, hoping that she would fail and the hype surrounding her would be nothing but hype.

And that was before she even made it onto the main tour. Since she has established herself as one of the best and greatest players ever, incidents involving her as the victim have come thick and fast. In 2001, Venus withdrew from their Indian Wells semifinal match long before their match. However, the WTA decided to wait until only minutes before they were due to go on-court before announcing it. The crowd then booed (which may or may not have been racially motivated) a 19 year-old Serena in the final. Though she admitted in her autobiography that as a teenager, having to stand there and watch as 16,000 of her own people booed her for doing absolutely nothing wrong was one of the most painful moments of her life, she stayed classy.

In 2003, we watched as Serena’s bitter rival Justine Henin resorted to dirty gamesmanship and cheating in order to triumph over Serena at the French Open. Henin’s coach Carlos Rodriguez later claimed that she would have owned up to any player but Serena. The same match also saw her left to effectively left call her own lines and continually stop points as the linespeople made abysmal call after abysmal call against her. Williams was then booed off Philippe Chatrier in tears, bursting into fresh tears in the press conference. Even so, she complimented Henin’s play through the tears; she stayed classy.

A year later came yet another controversial incident in the quarterfinals of the US Open against Jennifer Capriati, which has become infamous for being the match that ushered in the era of electronic line-calling. It was a farce and a joke, with bad calls coming in all sets with completely different linespeople. She could have easily lost her mind - and it was so bad that no one would have really blamed her for doing so - but to her credit she once again didn’t put a single foot out of line. In parts of the match she looked completely exhasperated and other parts she looked ready to cry, but she always stayed classy.

These are only a few of the countless incidents involving Serena over the years, and it’s why I can’t help but think that - without condoning her awful behaviour towards Shino Tsurubuchi in 2009 and Eva Asderaki this year - Williams seems to have just reached her breaking point. She was never angry and it was so rare to see her even politely complain, let alone insult an umpire. But after 13 years of inexplicably hostile crowds, racist hecklers, lying and cheating opponents and so on, she has finally broken, and all that anger suppressed and pushed deep down in these incidents throughout the years is rearing its ugly head all at once.

One incident that really re-affirmed this to me was when Serena played Jelena Jankovic in Rome last year. In the tiebreak, Serena was leading 5-2 when she was distracted and put her hand up to ask for more time. Jankovic only saw the hand after she served and immediately launched into a tradmark moan and groan towards the umpire as only she can. Meanwhile, you could see Serena standing there watching the exchange, squinting while looking nervous and rattled. She then lost a shaky 5 points in a row to lose the match and instead of showing her frustration at losing such a tight match and big lead, the very first thing she did was make a bee-line for Jankovic in order to make sure Jankovic knew she wasn’t trying to cheat, infamously telling her ‘I would never cheat you like that; I’m not Justine’. Many criticized her words and for not having gotten over the 7 year-old incident, but I was more touched. Even seven years down the line, the wounds of that event were still raw and painful; and rather than breaking her racket at losing a big lead and tight match, she wanted to first make sure that Jankovic knew she wasn’t trying to make her feel that way too.

So often we look at Serena with her bulging muscles and brash American swagger and just assume that she brushes off those incidents without a care in the world, but without sounding all sentemental and cliché, underneath the muscles and confidence is a normal person inside. Her recent behaviour has been ugly, unpleasant and horrible, but really, was this all a matter of when rather than if?

Let’s just hope that with time, she can let this anger and paranoia go and revert back to the sporting and non-complaining Serena Williams that, though rarely spoken about, has defined the vast majority of her illustrious career.

Blundering USTA strike again at the US Open.

Yesterday, after the numerous complaints and threats from the top ATP players, the USTA finally decided to listen to them. They decided to reschedule the final two days of the event, with the two semifinals on Saturday and the women and men finishing on Sunday and Monday respectively. Sounds good, right?


The problem is that to cater for the men’s demands, the women have been shunted aside instead. Now with the new order of play, the female players be forced to play their semifinals in the evening, the winners completing all their press obligations that come with reaching a slam final before a quick turnaround the very next day to play the final. And in addition, it means that only one semifinal will even appear on Arthur Ashe, with Stosur once again dumped onto grandstand.

Naturally, there has been outrage from around the tennisphere. Judging by the hilarious use of her CAPS LOCK, Sam Stosur certainly wasn’t pleased with the decision.

And neither was WTA CEO Stacey Allaster;

“We believe that both women’s semifinal matches merited being scheduled on Arthur Ashe stadium at times that would allow our athletes to be best prepared for a great women’s final on Sunday.”

The USTA recognized the criticism they were recieving and interestingly chose to respong with an official statement. A tidbit being;

“Though not ideal, by beginning the Kerber-Stosur match at 6 p.m., we can provide an opportunity for some of our fans to watch that match.”

The keyword being “some”. Just as I said after Stosur and Kirilenko were moved, it shouldn’t just be “some”. It should be all fans who are given the opportunity to watch these great athletes in the semi-final of one of the greatest events in tennis - both those who bought tickets to Women’s semifinal day expecting to see two matches, and those watching on their TV sets at home.

Moreover, as Allaster pointed out, it’s not just about the fans. It’s also about the two athletes who are US Open semifinalists and deserve to be treated with the respect that has been given to the other six. This latest move from the US Open is nothing but disrespectful.

Last year, Feliciano Lopez famously branded this event the ‘US shit Open’, and after the last two weeks which have seen embarrassment after embarrassment for both the organisers and event in general, it’s hard not to agree with him.

Marin Cilic embarrasses two young prodigies at the US Open

A couple of years ago, many people had Marin Cilic down as the next big young player. Most likely not quite a slam winner, they said, but top ten? Sure. Top five? Probably. But since the Grand Slam semis and quarters, it’s been nothing but disappointment after disappointment for Cilic fans. This week, seeded a lowly 27th, he was put into a section with new youngsters Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison. It’s telling that he has fallen so far that he was completely ignored, with most licking their lips at the possible second round between the two young prodigies Tomic and Harrison.

So what did he do? He simply embarrassed, shamed and sent both packing in the most humiliating fashion.

His first round match saw him come up against America’s next big hope, Ryan Harrison. The match was a tight three setter with Harrison creating countless chances for himself, but every time Harrison had a chance to make a proper match of it, Cilic simply chuckled, smashed down a couple of forehand and backhand winners and pegged the American back. Lather, rinse repeat. Harrison has become known as - to put it lightly - one of the most volatile personalities and with every fightback from Cilic, the ticking timebomb that is his personality ticked closer and closer to explosion.

And explode, it did. He kicked and hit balls out of the stadium, cursed down every crowd member and their dog, swore loudly, threw his racket like a twelve year old, and so on. It was horrible, ugly and by the end of the match the crowd, his American home crowd, were booing him and booing him off the court.

Afterwards, the American analysts weighed in on it, with Mary Carillo branding him, in typical Carillo fashion, ‘Mr Crankypants’ as Tracy Austin chuckled along and nodded approvingly. Meanwhile Justin Gimelstop, Harrison’s mentor, shifted edgily in his seat attempting to pass Harrison’s antics off as him having ‘competitive fire’. And really, it’s no wonder that he’s 19 and still acting like he belongs in the Under 10s if that’s the crap that people close to him are feeding him.

Next came Bernard Tomic. And though he didn’t personally embarrass himself, it was Cilic who did it all for him; demolishing the Australian 6-1 6-0 6-2. Afterwards, Tomic attempted to explain the loss by saying he had a virus; something I for one don’t buy. The loss was met with complete disbelief and shock, but the fact remains that outside of his great slam runs in Melbourne and Wimbledon, Tomic is an abysmal 2-8 in Tour matches this year - most of which coming through the countless wildcards given to him by Tournament Directors in the hope that he’ll catch alight and bring publicity to their. He hasn’t.

What he has done is the epitome of abusing the wildcard system. He has been handed wildcards into almost every single event he has participated in this year. And bar two inspired events where he has exhibited his potential, he has lost soundly in all and his ranking has flown up as a result, bypassing all the character building aspects of tennis. It doesn’t exactly inspire hard work and a fighter’s mentality when everything has been handed to him on a platter, and it could have more serious implications later in his career.

And so the moral of the story? Don’t mess with Marin Cilic; he will embarrass you, he will expose you and he will end you. Watch out, Roger.


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