Category Archives: WTA Off court
So today Justine conducted a lengthy Belgian television interview. They apparently spoke about everything, and of course “everything” includes all those gamesmanship accusations that have popped up at the most important moments in her career. Like, you know, “the hand”, or “the call”, or “the retirement”.
I’m sure there are many gems to come out of this interview, but the best one?
“Perhaps I should have said that I raised my hand even though in honesty I still think that this didn’t change the course of the match because if I thought she was really perturbed by that, I think I would have reacted. Now, there’s a lot of tension, we act according to our instincts, so it’s true that this is not the best memory.. but in the same time, what happened beneath was magical. So there, I don’t know if this turned around the match. I hope I’m not in bad intentions when I say this.
It was perhaps a way to respect me, because it should be known that the Williams sisters have attitudes that are sometimes difficult… They have played enormously on intimidation. It should be known that when we play a Williams, and we walk on court, towards the entrance of the court, there was always the second besides. Because they show themselves that they are two together. One already makes a big impression, and it’s two.”
So basically she decided to use gamesmanship/cheat (whatever you want to call it) because Venus and Serena are bullies, and she wanted to get them back and force them to “respect” her? That is just too good.
Back when it happened, my immediate thought was that she just wanted to win at any costs. She has never had the outside interests of the Williams Sisters, Kim or the rest. And of course when she tried to, Pierre-Yves Hardenne happened. So, yeah, clearly tennis was only actual thing going on for her.
But this? This just blows any other possible conspiracy theory out of the water, and yet it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. What a way to justify cheating! It says a lot about her as a person, really. That she can see two women, two minority women, not afraid to stand up tall with confidence and strength, and that’s a problem? From where I’m standing, it only shows that she herself lacks/lacked confidence and she also lacks any strength of her own.
But most importantly, it’s just goddamn hilarious.
To add to it. She also admitted seeing the ball as ‘in’ against Clijsters, yet she still protested and eventually convinced the umpire to overrule on the most important point in the match. And in addition to that, as shown in the picture, they played back the “hand” incident to her and she just sat there laughing. Man, that woman is classy.
Before I arrived, I told you all I just wanted to sit around the courts and watch a load of tennis. Well, so far that hasn’t really happened. As soon as I got here, I was practically dragged, kicking and screaming, into the press room for the WTA-Oriflame press conference.
As you all know, at the WTA Championships last year, Stacey Allaster took centre stage to announce 3247438934 new sponsorship opportunities of the WTA, ushering in a new WTA Era. One such partnership, of course, was the Swedish makeup company Oriflame. This week in Paris marks the beginning of their partnership, and so they sat down to announce it to the world, accompanied by Nadia Petrova and Andrea Petkovic.
The first part (the presser) was actually pretty uneventful. I came in prepared to record everything, but apart from a couple of typically funny lines from Andrea Petkovic, and then a few iffy lines from the Oriflame rep, it was pretty dull. They just introduced the partnership, showed a couple of videos which suspiciously lacked the champions (Venus, Serena and Kim), in favour of the “pretty” girls, and then took some questions. The best part? I got big goodie bag of Oriflame makeup products. I’m pretty sure it must cost around £250 at the very least. That’s my mum’s birthday present sorted for another year.
After a brief interlude, a round-table session began with Stacey Allaster and Michael Cervell, the Oriflame rep. Surrounding Allaster was a load of cosmetic journalists who clearly knew nothing about tennis (one of the questions I heard from afar was “what year did the tour begin?” I wouldn’t be surprised if they also, at some point, asked her to explain the rules of tennis to them.), and so I snuck into the centre seat for a rare opportunity to speak the CEO of the WTA tour.
Obviously I didn’t come prepared but it was all pretty interesting. We spoke about the WTA’s aims outside of corporate success, and she was quick to point towards Asia and establishing the WTA as the ATP’s equal partner as the main pillars for the future.
The WTA’s love of Asia has always been interesting because, from a lot of people’s point of view, it has been at the expense of popularity in Europe and particularly America. However, she was quick to refute that, stating that of the USA’s traditional sports, tennis is the only sport currently growing in the states, with more people playing it etc. And she believes that the current tour, with the events pretty balanced between the USA, Europe and Asia, is the right course of action.
We also touched on ‘the MSG Question’. As I asked, she smiled, saying that it was the one question asked wherever she went. I guess that’s a testament to the popularity of the event. She said that, while the business fit is not right, returning the Championships to Madison Square Garden is a no-go. But if there does come a point when it all adds up, then MSG will definitely be a possibility.
Finally, we chatted about the actual players, and their role on the tour. She was adamant that their views are most important, and that the WTA is a “joint partnership” between the players and tour. She accredited a lot of the positive changes of recent times to both Venus and Serena, and painted Wozniacki as someone who may follow in their footsteps in time, with La Borz enthusiastically attending her first meeting with a list of around ten things she wanted changed.
All in all, it was a pretty good experience. On the corporate side, the WTA seems to be thriving in a climate when other sports, both male and female, are moving backwards. Let’s hope the actual tennis can follow suit accordingly.
For the second year running, Jelena Jankovic was awarded for her faboulousness with an Oscar for most popular/best female athlete in Serbia. Jelena was, of course, unable to accept as she is currently finishing her pre-season training in Arizona, but Sneki stepped in to save the day. Novak Djokovic also won the award for male athlete, and the Davis Cup team won the ‘Team’ award. Ajde tennis.
However, over in Munich, a German sperm bank organization ran an advertising campaign with Jelena making an ugly face on a postcard. Check the full story over at women’s tennis blog. I’m sure you’re wondering what JJ’s face has to do with a sperm bank advert. The caption? “Even women try to donate semen sometimes.”
I just can’t.
It was such a shame (though not completely surprising) to hear that David Nalbandian was completely spent after his 4+ hour brilliant first round defeat of Lleyton Hewitt. Less than two days after the marathon, he was back on court and this time only able to muster up one game against young talent Ricardas Berankis (yeah, I refuse to call him “Richard”) before retiring in the third set.
The good news? This tiny boy from the minute country of Lithuania is through to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his caeer. His first name may change as much as he changes his clothes, but he has been steadily rising up for around a year now and is slowly gaining momentum, and with it hype. And he deserves it.
Also, gotta love his little Lithuanian supporters. Everywhere he goes, there seems to be a different group of around 5 or 6 Lithuanians who paint their faces in the colous of their flag and go around screaming “Lietuva” at the top of their lungs. Won’t ever forget last year’s Wimbledon qualies when I sat down with them, and we were cheering so loud for him in his match against Dan Evans that it ended up with Evans coach coming over to sit down close by and Evans walking towards us after every change of ends, and the two groups swearing at and trash-talking each other for the whole match. Classic.
Yesterday, Victoria Azarenka was snapped meeting Australian Pop icon Dannii Minogue. Minogue then styled Victoria is a number of dresses from her own line. Check out more pictures below the cut.
Vera Zvonareva, Jelena Jankovic, Flavia Pennetta and Victoria Azarenka all got glammed up for a photoshoot at the Sydney player party yesterday. Check out the other pictures underneath.
The married couple had heated exchanges on the two occasions when Sam came on court to offer ‘Jarka’ coaching advice, filling in for absent coach Gavin Hopper.
“Don’t talk to me like a fucking tourist,” responded Jarmila, told that the conditions were heavier than expected.
“Are you watching this?” said Sam, trying to encourage his Slovak-turned-Australian wife to use the home crowd support. “Everyone here wants you to win. Stop fucking hitting the ball right to her.
“Give her something different to hit, give her a different ball to hit. Come on, Jarks.”
And afterwards: ”I guess you have to get angry at someone and I couldn’t break any racquets because I just got them,”
”He always knows I didn’t mean it. As frustrated as I was to try and figure out what I needed to do different and how to change I technically couldn’t.”
I bow down to you, you crazy Groths. The funny thing is that they chose to focus on these couple of quotes (most articles have even ignored Sam’s comment) even though the whole exchange was ripe with swearing and expletives on practically every other word. I have always been against on-court coaching, but even I have to admit that it’s worthwhile if only for the backchat, tantrums and tirades the players always launch at their coaches. Great stuff.
Recently came across this interesting and telling stat, showing the lowest-rated Women’s Grand Slam Final In History.
Check out the answer below…
Check out these sketches from the Danish TV station TV2 on their Queen, Caroline Wozniacki. You just knew this was going to happen sooner or later, and even without being able to understand a word of it (well, apart from “NUMBER ONE!”), they still (particularly the first one) manage to be completely hilarious.