TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
TIGER = WONDERFUL SAYS FED – While many of his other celebrity friends have had trouble reaching him in hiding, Tiger Woods’ buddy Roger Federer says he has spoken to the skank-chasing golfer who is reportedly trying to salvage his marriage after a number of alleged infidelities. Federer says he’s spoken to Woods by phone and says Woods will be back soon “as the wonderful golfer we know.” And the wonderful human being we never knew?
DAVIS CUP TO BE DROPPED? – The ATP Player Council is debating a “World Cup-style” 10-day event every two years to replace the Davis Cup? Bud Collins must have just dropped a brick in his shorts? Dwight Davis must have just turned over in his grave. And tennis federations around the world are now contemplating massive losses of funding from hosting Davis Cup ties. Of course the players want to kill it, that means less travel and playing time for them. Will it be so easy to drop the 110-year-old institution? It will be ITF federations vs. players, let’s put on the gloves. “The players are the ones who are making the show and their opinions have to be greatly considered,” Djokovic says. If you think the ITF is going to roll over, it reminds people it has a five-year calendar contract with the ATP, and says, “While Davis Cup has evolved and modernized over the years, it has not lost its intrinsic values based around the home-and-away format that attracts great support from fans, sponsors, television and the players themselves who enjoy playing in front of their home country fans.”
“DR. A” STILL AT IT – From tennis writer Charlie Bricker on Alexandra “Dr. A” Stevenson: “It’s with a certain amount of sadness that I report that Alexandra Stevenson, who had more than 15 minutes of fame at the 1999 Wimbledon, has retired from a match with injury for the 41st time in her heavily mismanaged career…Stevenson is 29 years old now and who knows why she keeps hanging on. My guess is it’s her mother, Samantha Stevenson, who has been living vicariously through her daughter since she gave the kid her first tennis lesson at age 4 and then declared she’d be there when Alex won Wimbledon. [She] could have developed her game had her coaches not been constantly alienated by her mother’s dominance…Why she continues to play is a mystery.”
TAKE OUT THE TRASH – From Reuters on Jelena Dokic’s flight problems: “Police have spoken to the coach and boyfriend of Australia’s Jelena Dokic after the pair were involved in an altercation with a passenger and cabin staff on a domestic flight, her agents said on Thursday. Dokic’s coach Borna Bikic and his brother Tin, who is the world number 58′s long-term boyfriend, initially argued with a female passenger who had complained Tin Bikic kept knocking her seat on a Hobart to Melbourne flight on Thursday. The argument escalated to include one of the cabin crew and the pair were met by police when the flight arrived in Melbourne, Dokic’s agents IMG said in a statement. “They were spoken to about their behavior and no further action will be taken,” the statement said.
INJURIES – Argentine David Nalbandian has pulled from the Aussie Open citing an ab injury…Frenchman Gilles Simon pulled with a knee injury.
GLOBAL BRAND DATING – According to USA Today, Maria Sharapova, following her breakup with Charlie Ebersol, the son of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol, is now dating Sasha Vujacic of Slovenia, who plays guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. They started dating when she returned from Tokyo in the fall. “We rarely talk about sports, but it’s just an understanding of what we do,” Sharapova says. “We never have to talk about it. We just know. It’s there. It makes it easier and nicer.”
GET IN THE KITCHEN AND MAKE ME SOME CHICKEN POT PIE – According to India’s News on the Air, Sania Mirza, who became engaged last July, says she will quit pro tennis once she gets married.
MISC – Two weeks of a packed tennis schedule before the Australian Open and the Tennis Channel has only shown one live event, the Hopman Cup exhibition? Did we miss something? Find some more money TC and buy some broadcast rights, find someone that can make that happen…Andy Roddick is in favor of the ITF reversing the cramping rule, refusing to name names of opponents who have abused it (*cough* *novakdjokovic* *cough*) — “If someone is getting treated for cramps for 12 minutes and then you have to come out and serve, you’re the one who’s getting cold,” Roddick said. “I just felt like it lent itself to gamesmanship sometimes. It’s something we could probably do without.”… Jetstar airlines reportedly almost terminated its $1 million, three-year contract with Jelena Dokic after the Aussie player, her boyfriend and coach had a well-publicized fight with a fellow passenger and crew on a Melbourne-bound flight. And the dad wasn’t even there. Way to carry on the family heritage…Looks like both John Isner and Mardy Fish are in go-mode now that there are two U.S. Davis Cup singles spots up for grabs (note: P-Mac, if you use Fish in the future, PLEASE don’t play him on clay)…Pete Sampras says he wants to sit down “man-to-man” and talk to Andre Agassi about the “shots” he took at him in his book? Even though he said he hasn’t read the book, and doesn’t plan to? Nice statement Pete, right out of the Republican playbook: ‘Yes that book, which I haven’t read but have been told is bad, should be banned from all schools!’…Will Juan Martin del Potro be ready in Melbourne after pulling out of the Kooyong exo with a bad wrist?…Tennis Australia doesn’t need to defend their Betfair sponsorship. “We certainly believe that responsible gambling is part of Australian culture,” said Tennis Australia’s Steve Ayles. “We can also ensure that money goes back into developing the sport.” If only the U.S. were so open-minded and could go about it so intelligently instead of U.S. citizens having to use off-shore accounts (not that we do)…Fernando Verdasco beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the Kooyong exhibition…After winning the Auckland title, John Isner donated $5,000 to the Red Cross for Haiti relief: “It was something I felt I could easily do and I plan on doing it in Australia as well. It makes you realize how lucky you are.”
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Maria Sharapova Doesn’t Deny She’s Dating Grigor Dimitrov [Video]