Dani Hantuchova used to be one of my fave tennis players. Her game is so smooth and effortless, save for her heavy feet. Plus, she's drop dead and has appeared in numerous fashion magazine spreads (I vaguely remember a GQ photoshoot.) Now, apparently, she's tired of the press and public focusing on the players' looks. Hmmm - seems hypocritical to me. Maybe she blames these things for her shocking weight loss a number of years back and, consequently, the hard nose dive of her career. In a recent interview with The Independent, she talks about the press' obsession with the players' looks, Kim Clijster's retirement, practicing with Marty Hingis using wooden rackets, and the match against her countrywoman - the lengendary Martina Navratilova.
On Kim Clijsters retirement:
"I feel we've grown up together, Kim and me," Hantuchova tells me, "so it's very, very strange. On the one side, I can totally understand where she's coming from. As a top tennis player you sometimes want nothing more than a normal life. On the other side, with the talent she has, she has done so many great things but could do much more."
On the press' focus on body image:
"I think," she says, "that there is way too much emphasis on the way we look in sport in general. With the guys nobody bothers, except to say that Ronaldo has got a little bit heavy or something. But with the women, there is too much. Everyone has a different shape. People should focus only on the game."
On playing Martina Hingis with wooden rackets:
"It is a feeling I only get with her, an unbelievable feeling. In Miami we practised with wooden rackets, because someone wanted us to try them, and the ball came off the racket so perfectly."
"That's why I was so pleased to see Martina coming back. Tennis is not all about power, it's also about rhythm, and she proves that more than anyone."
On playing legendary Martina Navratilova:
"I played a singles match against her in Eastbourne a couple of years ago, which I won, but I have never, ever been so nervous in my life. I normally don't really care who's on the other side of the court, but with her that was all I could think about."
On the rise of the Eastern European players:
"It's the mentality," she says. "We are prepared to work very hard to get there, no matter what it takes. We're not spoiled. In the West, it's sometimes hard to stay motivated if you are given everything when you are young."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
ESPN is running a sports fan-based contest finding the biggest sports star in the world. It's called Who's Now and it runs throughout July and will be featured daily on SportsCenter. See their description below:
Throughout July, "SportsCenter" will air "Who's Now," a daily series in which fans and ESPN.com users will help "SportsCenter" determine the ultimate sports star by considering both on-field success and off-field buzz. Based on fan nominations, ESPN Research will select the 32 finalists, who will then square off in a single-elimination bracket. Before then, however, we need to hear who you think should be in the bracket. Check out the Page 2 list and then discuss in the ESPN Conversation pages.
ESPN's initial, but unofficial, list includes 2 tennis stars in the Top 10: Roger Federer (#6) and Maria Shriekapova (#10).
For what Fed has done the last few years, I think #6 is too low - he's being robbed! Go to ESPN.com and make this travesty known!!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Cutie Andy Roddick made an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, a British late night talk show. He must be making the rounds since he's in Europe for a while.
It's good to see him look normal - jeans and t-shirt - although he could've dropped the baseball cap. But don't get me wrong, he looks great in his tennis gear, too. He definitely gets a vote from me for "best legs" in tennis for sure.
(Note: video is no longer available due to copyright issues - damm the law!)
- Guillermo Coria says a vitamins he took contained steroids, which caused his test to come up dirty.
- Shriekapova, Rafa, and Roddick all opened their grass campaigns with pretty comfortable wins.
- My Myskina will never be the same, pulling out of Wimbledon already!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It looked tough playing Nadal, he's pretty aggressive, and he's one of those guys who grew up using the big racquet. Together with the new strings, it adds up to a very heavy ball he hits. That puts a lot of pressure on you, especially on holding serve. So if you're not right on top of things, you can find yourself in a pretty big hole, pretty fast. And before you know it, you're pressing, and that's never a comfortable position. Nadal is going to win that tournament a few more times, for sure. I still think Roger can win there (Paris). The guy grew up playing on clay, so that's not an issue. Oddly enough, I used to think that the place where Roger might struggle some is at Wimbledon, because he was never really an aggressive, attacking player, even though he had all the tools.
- Pete Sampras on the challenges of playing Rafa (courtesy of Peter Bodo)
I agree. Rafa possesses a very different game, with awkward spins born from his awkward technique. So cut Fed some slack people!
Now can someone comment on why Rafa picks at his butt every service point? Someone get this kid the right size undies, puleez.
Maria Shriekapova, Sveta Kuznetsova, or Elena Dementieva would be nothing without the original Russian glamourpuss of tennis - Anna Kournikova. Granted she couldn't grab a singles title even if it were tossed at her, but she proved a woman could be athletic and beautiful. She's still making the rounds playing an exhibition event this summer during the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's stop in Toronto, and squashes rumors that she and her man-piece Enrique Iglesias are in splitsville.
Monday, June 11, 2007
- Serena 'Sister Sledge' Williams seems to have moved past her disappointment of losing to Justine Henin (and badly I might add) and had a little Miami Beach fun. Who needs a Grand Slam title anyway when you're packin' it like Serena?
- Apparently, being a retired tennis pro who has sex in broom closets matters NOT to Ralph Lauren. Word has it Boris Becker will be the clothing giant's ambassador at Wimbledon this year. So much for class on grass...
- Au revoir! to the French Open says Jon Wertheim.