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Category Archives: WTA off-court

Quotable Quotes: Venus Opens Up About Her Illness

Four months after dramatically pulling out of the US Open due to Sjogren’s syndrome, Venus Williams has finally spoken candidly about her battle with Sjrojens Syndrome. Conversing with People magazine, the seven-time Slam champion discussed her reaction and recovery after being dealt such a dramatic mental and pysical blow.

“I couldn’t raise my arm over my head, the racket felt like concrete. I had no feelings in my hands,” she told People. “They were swollen and itchy. I realised (her match against Lisicki) would be a miserable show. [...] I would go to the doctor and start crying. I couldn’t help it. I just want a chance to play on the same field as other people, I want to feel normal, but as frightening as the diagnosis was, it was also a relief. I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t lazy; I thought, ‘is this a mental problem? Maybe I need to work harder.’”

After reading about Venus’ experience, it’s not hard to see why her comeback has and will continue to demand such a titanic effort on her part.

Even taking the whole tennis match aspect of being a professional tennis player out of the equation, this profession demands more of it’s athletes than practically any other sport; from grueling gym, fitness and on-court training reigimes, to the constant traveling and the rapid changes in climate and conditions. The idea of managing these normal requirements of a professional tennis player while keeping her illness in check seems like nothing but an unrealistic dream.

And yet, if there is anyone with the discipline, class and sheer determination to stay on top of this illness and close out the rest of her career in style, it’s ‘The Fucking Venus Williams’. There’s hope for the legend yet.

The Horrific Chakvetadze Burglary; Finally Revealed

It has been almost four years since Anna Chakvetadze and her family were burgled and robbed at knifepoint in her own home on new years eve. In the years that have followed, the Russian’s once glittering career has fallen into the gutter, with the oft-discussed loss of the form that took her to number four in the rankings swiftly followed by the double hammer-blow of Chakvetadze encountering serious health problems. And while it appears melodramatic to suggest that the one remote incident on the eve of 2008 played a role in all of Chakvetadze’s woes that have followed, it’s tough to overstate just how pivotal the gruesome burglary and subsequent events have been for Chakvetadze in the four years that have followed.

Most have heard about the incident that took place; about the six masked men who gained entry by knocking the houemaid out cold and gaining entry through her quarters. After battering the 24 year-old’s father, Djamal, with a pistol and putting a knife to her mother’s throat, the thieves made away with over $250k dollars and many more valuables. The attack left Djamal Chakvetadze in need of surgery on both his shoulder and hand, while Anna was left with an injured wrist.

Sadly, this hardly signaled the end of the ordeal. Afterwards, Shamil Tarpishchev used his political influence to reach out to regional governors in order to find the thiefs and put them to justice. But all that has followed is a trail of corruption, with the police bribed into picking up six innocent men off the streets and torturing them in custody until they confessed to crimes they never committed. Djamal was eventually tipped off to the fact that the men indicted for the burlary were innocent, but even with the names of the guilty and DNA evidence of the intruders, the police continue to refuse to pay him any attention.

Thus, in addition to her tennis falling apart after the incident and her health following suit throughout this year, Chakvetadze continues to live in fear with her attackers still roaming the streets without fear of rebuttal for their crimes. Her father revealed that she still struggles to sleep and regularly wakes up in shock at 3am each time - the very time the burglars stormed their property. And considering the criminals pledged to return again to the Chakvetadze household as they made their escape, it’s hard to believe that those nightmares will be stopping anytime soon.

(via Novaya Gazeta)

Quotable Quotes: Jelena Jankovic Gets A Bit Serious

There may have been many laughs had at the expense of Jelena Jankovic this year, but behind all the usual diva showings, the abysmal losses and the complete lack of any effort at points in this season, it seems like the diva is finally growing up. And a couple of days she sat down with to get a bit deep and meaningful for a change.

Jelena on her relationship with water polo player Milan Janovic
“Honesty and respect are the basis of our relationship, and that we understand each other. We know what obstacles we pass in our professions and mutual support is important to us. For three years we have enjoyed in our relationship, and during the Olympic Games in London will mark four years of dating. We’re still the same, but we are open to one another. Personally, it took a little longer until I started to openly express my emotions.”

On the possibility of marriage and children
“I still play a professional sport and if I remain healthy it will play for several more years. There are many things that I want to achieve, but I think players’ careers are short and I have to take their chance. If I work another job, It would not be a problem to get married and have children. My life requires frequent travel, and possibly marriage would have served no purpose because of the many commitments we lived together.”

On her retirement rumours this year.
“It is normal in whatever you do, at some point to reach (breaking point). Not even then did I really consider retirement, but sometimes I need to rest and analyze some of their decisions, find motivation and inspiration in something so I continued on. It is not easy to travel every week and live a fast pace as it is mine. I was separated from my family, boyfriend and friends and sometimes I want to come to his house, lying in your bed and eat local food, not to spend my life with a schedule in hand.”

On whether she still argues with her mother.
“Every five minutes, and usually when it comes to makeup and clothes. (Laughter) It is normal that there are conflicts, it would be interesting if we are constantly disagreed. Diversity is beautiful, and we always find the perfect mediun.”

On her mother’s most memorable advice.
“My daughter, beware of urchins.”(Laughter)

As entertaining as is the melodramatic, ‘im better than you, and I know it’ diva Jankovic - who spends most of her interviews and press conferences moaning, challenging reporters and rambling on for years about absolutely nothing in particular - it’s also refreshing to see a more honest and open side to the Serb in this interview.

Regardless of how catastrophic 2011 has been for her, she seems to be in a much better place off-court than almost ever before. There have been countless moments (you know, like, you know, when she, you know, managed to, you know, participate in only one match in the ten weeks between Roland Garros and Toronto.) and quotes from the former world number one that suggested a loooming retirement, but evidently she now seems ready to work hard. We’ll see what 2012 brings for her.

Caroline Wozniacki Does Her ‘Thing’ In Bratislava, Rest Of World Sighs [Photos]

If you thought the off-season would give us a short break from our omnipresent world number one, you were sadly mistaken. During her exhibiton match today in Bratislava against Dominika Cibukova, the Dane had a few more stunts up her Stella McCartney-designed sleeves.

Check out darling Caroline doing what she does best at the jump.

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Caroline Wozniacki and Turkish Airlines Plan Their Next Attack [Video]

After attacking our eyes and ears for most of 2011 with their infamous advertising campaign, Caroline Wozniacki and Turkish Airlines are already planning their next offensive on our sanity as our #1 returned to Istanbul to shoot some brand new promotional pictures.

She also appears to be wearing next year’s adidas dress which I’m happy to report is free of all ruffles. Good news as any.

(Photo via Turkishny)

Rapper Drake Professes His Undying Love For Serena Williams

This summer, Serena Williams and Canadian rapper Drake made headlines as the rapper attended various Williams matches during her title run in Toronto, loudly cheering her on from her box. And this week, the Canadian finally sat down to address their relationship with Complex Magazine.

“I really, really love and care for Serena Williams. She’s incredible. That’s someone I’m proud to say I know. She’s definitely in my life and I’m in her life. It’s great to watch her play tennis. Very impressive.”

Whether intentionally or not (after all, he does have an album to sell) - following his stints with Nicki Minaj and Rihanna - the emotional Rapper has now used the ‘l’ word to describe his relationship with three major female celebrities. However, I think Serena can be content in the knowledge that only a fool would attempt to prise a man away from the arms of Serena Williams.

Players Clash With The USTA; What To Take From It.

After Tuesday’s Day and Night sessions were completely washed out, today brought similar woes as rain threatened to completely throw off the US Open’s schedule and only around 10-12 minutes of play was managed before the players were carted off-court and play was eventually suspended. In a desperate attempt to get players on-court and the fourth round finished, officials decided to put the players on-court during a brief window where the heavy rain became the lightest drizzle. Needless to say, the players were unhappy.

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Caroline Wozniacki Finds Heaven In New Haven

She may still play the same ol’ unattractive, unimpressive and, well, un-winning tennis that she has been widely criticized for in recent times, but Caroline Wozniacki still has a lot to smile about right now.

After her 7-6(2) 6-4 semifinal victory over Francesca Schiavone, the Yale football team, her formal flames, came storming on for a photo op and undoubtedly some cheeky out-of-shot groping. Not bad. Her boyfriend, that golfer dude, clearly saw red and quickly joined them on court for what is undoubtedly PR gold for the New Haven Open and all involved.

Karolina’ll play Petra Cetkovska, who scraped past Li in one of the most ridiculous televised matches of the year, for her fourth New Haven title in a row.

Donkey Kong Ain’t Got Nothing on These Two

A week ago Novak Djokovic willingly put his life in grave danger by imitating Maria Sharapova. Luckily for him, Maria saw the light side of it and in the week that has passed, the pair have been shooting back badly tagged banter on facebook, while simultaneously trash talking each other in the press - Maria, when asked, dorkily proclaiming ‘it’s on like donkey kong.’ She meant it, and in the build events to the US Open, the pair met for in front of reporters for a final showdown to premiere their newest video.

I love these two together. They just have so much chemistry, and clearly considering they have known each other for so long, they’re completely comfortable around each other. Novak is forever flattering her both through imitation and more obvious means, while Maria continues to rebuff and sarcastically berate him at every given opportunity. It’s a comedic match made in heaven.

Needless to say, Head’s promotion and viral videos involving these two has been a massive success. I’m now just waiting for the time when Head go full-out and orchestrate a ‘hit-n-giggle’ exhibition between the two superstars. I know I wouldn’t dare to miss it.

How Did Rafa Do On Letterman?

Yesterday, Rafael Nadal was on the US talk show Letterman ahead of the US Open. I can’t even deny that I was pretty nervous for him - these days his English is fine when talking about tennis, but as soon as the subject veers away from tennis it quickly becomes awkward silence after awkward silence with Rafa struggling (and usually failing) to find the right word to express himself.

Thankfully, it all turned out fine. Letterman stuck mostly to tennis questions and he even set Rafa up with a chance make a funny(!!!), with Rafa joking “sometimes it’s better if he’s not here” when asked about Federer.

I also love that the main point of the interview was to promote his book, and yet they spent more time shamelessly promoting Rafa’s Babolat racket than actually talking about the book itself.

So a good interview and nice effort from Rafa. But as a rule, I think he should leave all the talk shows to the likes of Maria, Serena, Andy, and of course the great Marat Safin:


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