TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Dinara Safina has pulled from the WTA Brisbane event in January citing a back injury.
THE CURSE OF GILLETTE — Razor-maker Gillette’s three spokesman have struggled as of late — Tiger Woods, revealed as a “playa” having cheated on his wife with allegedly multiple mistresses; world No. 1 Roger Federer who was unceremoniously outed before the final at the ATP year-end championship; and footballer Thierry Henry, who has come under fire for cheating in France’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
RAFA’S CALENDAR ANSWER — Rafael Nadal on how to fix the men’s tennis calendar: “Maybe you could have nine months where it is obligatory to play and three months where you are free not to,” he told The Guardian. “In those three months there could be tournaments — but not decisive tournaments which affect your ranking. But we have the sponsors to consider. The ATP wants to do it but I think it’s going be better for the next generation than us.”
EMOTIONAL HENIN — According to The Independent, Justine Henin’s return is an emotional one, even before it begins: “There are never any half-measures with the seven-times Grand Slam champion. Last weekend Henin made her first public appearance on a court since May 2008 at an exhibition tournament in Charleroi. For three nights in a row she was so overcome by emotion that she cried herself to sleep. There were more tears after she beat Kirsten Flipkens — she went on to beat the world No 12 Flavia Pennetta — but, typically, they were not shed in public. “I was on my own,” Henin said. “I like to keep my feelings to myself. It was emotional to feel this again because it’s all so precious to me. Tennis is part of myself and my life. I have no regrets about the fact that I’ve been away for a long time because last year I was exhausted — mentally, physically and emotionally. I really thought I was existing only because of tennis. I had to put the game away to learn more things about myself…”When I saw Roger winning [Federer, completing all four Slams at the French] I could see all the hard work that he had put in — and all the doubts that he had had to overcome — and it was an important moment in my reflections,” she said. “The thought of trying to win Wimbledon was certainly a big part early on when I was questioning what I wanted to do.”
THE FLIPPER COMEBACK — Aussie Mark Philippoussis, who said he would attempt a comeback on the ATP tour in 2010, did not participate in the Australian Open wildcard tournament and has yet to ask for an Australian Open wildcard. “I feel as though I have unfinished business. I would like to go out from this sport on my terms,” Philippoussis said. “Playing tennis is my job, and I basically haven’t had a job for over three years, so it’s not surprising that I’ve had problems. With the bad economy, life has been tough for a lot of people over the last year, but that’s what I’ve had for the last three years.” — Maybe time for another “reality” TV show?
THE SLOGANS — Most appropriate slogans from Tiger Woods’ sponsors? Gillette — “The best a man can get.”; Gatorade — “Is it in you?” No comment. If it is in you, according to the tabloids, you’re a skank. Nike is so far sticking by Tiger, even though other sponsors keep dropping him as the weeks progress. “Just do it,” indeed. We’re waiting for Roger Federer’s first press conference of 2010 and his comments on his “good friend” Tiger.
BELGIAN BAN CIRCUS — A Belgian court has now suspended the one-year doping suspensions given to Belgian players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse for breaking World Anti-Doping Agency rules by failing to report their whereabouts for drug testing three times. Wickmayer and Malisse were initially suspended by a Belgian court on Nov. 5 and the International Tennis Federation imposed the bans worldwide.
THAT’S JUST MY SPANISH VACATION HOUSE…– The Spanish Supreme Court has ordered former No. 1 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario to pay approximately $5.1 million in back taxes after the court rejected Sanchez-Vicario’s assertion that she was a resident of Andorra rather than Spain. Doh. That’s like Greg Rusedski claiming he’s really British. Wait, never mind, that really happened.
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