April 17th, 2014
Friday Tennis Blog: The Two Faces of Serena; More
World No. 1 Serena Williams admittedly has a split personality. “I think of myself as two different people,” she tells Fitness magazine in their upcoming issue. “There’s the Serena Williams that everyone knows: She’s crazy. She can’t make a mistake. And she’s angry and just not nice, to be honest. I’m only that person for three hours a day, when I’m on the court. The rest of the time I’m just Serena. I’m the class clown.” The on-court Serena? She scares the off-court Serena. “…She’s nuts,” says Serena about Serena. “That really upsets me. It’s not the real me…But in another way, it’s kind of cool to know that I have everything together on the court, because I don’t really have my life together personally.” What has come together in 2014 for the Palm Beach Gardens resident is a stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking, and appearing in the best physical shape in years, partly due to a raw natural-food diet. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her cheat days. “I love Southern food,” she says. “I don’t try to eat healthy when I’m in South Carolina for the Family Circle Cup tournament. I eat shrimp and grits with butter on top, fried chicken, and, oh, do I eat the fried hush puppies! And the banana pudding — mmm, mmm, mmm! I let myself go that whole week and then another week after that.” Look for the cover story in the next issue of Fitness magazine.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine this month points out that the college tennis ranks are experiencing one of their all-time highs in international and black players in NCAA tennis, accompanied by USTA Florida-aided diversity camps for kids in and outside of the Sunshine State. “To help boost the interest of youngsters,” the article reads, “colleges and campus tennis clubs are working with the USTA, focusing on grassroots training and development of young talent with emphasis on quality of training over quantity.” These include colleges working with the USTA to hold Campus Kids Days, Campus Showdowns and hosting Tennis on Campus teams. USTA Florida organizes an annual diversity tennis camp at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach, and the article points out, “In cooperation with the USTA, FAMU holds a diversity camp each year to mentor students age 10 to 17. Additionally, coaches are hoping that the rebuilding of the American Tennis Association (ATA), the group organized in the days of racial segregation to attract Blacks to the sport, will help spur interest in tennis among more Black Americans. The ATA…is regrouping and hopes to mark its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the revival of its Hall of Fame [with USTA assistance], opening in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a tennis facility and stadium.”
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki took a break from the WTA grind to dye her hair pink and caddy for fiance Rory McIlroy at The Masters pre-event Par 3 hit and giggle. The Dane is no stranger to hair pranks, once posting a pic of herself in a black wig and asking fans what they though of her new ‘do. By the final round of The Masters the Woz showed up with her normal blonde hair, but it was apparently not that smooth a transition back to blonde. She posted to social media, “Does anyone know if Semi permanent hair dye from the brand Manic Panic washes off completely after a little while? #randomquestion #iknow.” The stunt did not escape the staid Masters’ old guard, with crusty Golf Digest writer Dan Jenkins pitching in on social media, “High-level talk on Augusta National veranda: ‘Exactly what color is Caroline Wozniacki’s hair?’ I’m going with a blend of violet and stupid.” Golf writer Kyle Porter postulated, “…I don’t know what to do with her hair. I don’t know if she thinks pink goes good with a green jacket or if she was trying to match those shoes of hers or what is going on but it is not good.” The old rank must have been beside themselves when they saw champion Bubba Watson’s post-tourney celebration.
Big Fed Cup Weekend Begins Saturday
No Americans competed at either ATP or WTA events this week at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo, or the BMW Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. While the American men rest, the women are ready to defend their home turf this weekend when the U.S. Fed Cup team hosts France in playoff round competition in St. Louis.
It is a huge weekend for the U.S., who with a win will be able to compete for the Fed Cup in 2015, but with a loss will drop out of the World Group, with no chance to compete at the highest level of the event until 2016.
“We have been really fortunate in this country because we’ve always had top players,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, who will be without the Williams sisters, but has the services of rising stars Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. “When I started [captaining] Fed Cup six years ago we only had three players in the Top 100 from the United States and now we’re up to about 11. And probably more coming soon.”
France will counter in singles with Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia, both of who won WTA titles last week.
Their top two are coming off big wins last week, one in Poland and win in Colombia,” Fernandez said. “Cornet, the top player, is a great competitor and runs a lot of balls down; great backhand. Garcia is very aggressive. I think she’s 20 right now…They have a great captain in [Amelie] Mauresmo who knows a lot
about the game. It’s going to be a tough weekend, but I’m looking forward to it.”’
Other playoffs-round ties will be Argentina at Russia, Slovak Republic at Canada, and Poland at Spain, with the winners remaining in the World Group for 2015.
The main attraction over the weekend will be the Fed Cup World Group semifinals, with the Czech Republic (Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova) hosting Italy (Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci, Camila Giorgi), and Australia (Sam Stosur, Casey Dellacqua) hosting Germany (Angie Kerber, Andrea Petkovic).
They Said It
“I said biscuit! Come on. Don’t give me crap for that, man…I said ‘son of a biscuit’…is that a problem now?”
— American player Donald Young after receiving a warning from the chair umpire for yelling “Son of a biscuit!” after losing a point during a match at the Sarasota Challenger this week
“I’d like to see the younger American players hungrier. I think it has to be treated like a profession. Everybody else goes to work from 9 to 5, puts in long hours. I don’t think that should be any different for a tennis player. I’m going to be interested to see how they progress from where they’re at right now.”
— Andy Roddick
“What they said. Hard work, dedication. That’s all.”
— Sloane Stephens drawing laughs from the media at a Fed Cup press conference, following her teammates talking about “fulfilling the promise of the next generation”
Tennis on TV This Weekend
12:30-4:30pm — ATP Monte Carlo semifinal #1 (delay), Tennis Channel
4:30-8:30pm — Fed Cup: USA v France (live), Tennis Channel
8:30-11pm — ATP Monte Carlo semifinal #2 (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm-5am — Fed Cup: Australia v Germany (live), Tennis Channel
2-8pm — Fed Cup: USA v France (live), Tennis Channel
8-10:30pm — ATP Monte Carlo final (delay), Tennis Channel