The Top 5 happenings in pro tennis heading into the week of Nov. 5, 2007:
5. New mom Lindsay Davenport is still collecting titles
First she got pregnant. Then she said she “couldn’t see” herself playing pro tennis ever again. Then she had a baby boy. Then she started playing pro tennis. While she has only entered low-level tournaments (Bali, Beijing, Quebec City) since her return, the former No. 1 has collected two titles in three events, defeating a Top 5 player (Jelena Jankovic) and putting some bagel beat-downs on some of the tour rank-and-file players. Now the regular season is over — too bad there’s not a wildcard for former No. 1s at this week’s year-ending WTA Championships.
4. David Nalbandian wins the Masters Series-Paris on the heels of the Masters Series-Madrid title
The sometimes-fat, sometimes inspiration-challenged Argentine doesn’t reach a semi all year, then suddenly beats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same week — then twice in back-to-back Masters Series events. Too bad there’s not a wildcard for former Top 10 Wimbledon runner-ups who wait until the end of the season to get their head out of their butt. Was there ever a player who didn’t qualify for the Masters Cup who was more a favorite to win it?
3. Masters Cup flame-outs
French man-child Richard “Baby Fed” Gasquet qualifies for his first year-end championship, edging out a hard-charging Andy Murray. Disappointing were the Masters-run folds by Tommy Haas and James Blake, who failed to reach the quarters in his last three events, and whose confidence won’t be helped entering the Davis Cup final.
2. The WTA Tour Championships — will it make SportsCenter?
Could your average Jane Tennis Fan tell you where the year-ending WTA Tour Championships are being held? Or name half the field? Can you? Will it be showed in the U.S. on tape, as usual? Promoted correctly the year-end championships should be news, with Serena Williams trying to reverse a three-match losing streak against world No. 1 Justine Henin, who has won nine titles and is on a 20-match winning streak.
1. Is tennis is a bad-boy (and girl) sport again? Is bad PR better than no PR?
Martina Hingis testing positive for Coke. Nikolay Davydenko, already under investigation for involvement in potential match-fixing, getting fined repeatedly for apparently tanking (“not putting forth best effort”) in matches. The ATP Paris event kicking out spectators with laptops (that will fix this whole betting scandal!). British juniors suspended for posting party pics on the internet. Tennis coaches molesting kids left and right (what is going on in Britain?). Every other ATP player has a story about being approached with money to dump matches, this after the ATP initially said match-fixing was an invention of the media. Stay tuned to see who can implement proper fixes, and who denies problems and bans laptops.
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