Archive for October, 2008


Justin Gimelstob tennis’s ‘Sexist Pig’.

After a series of radio interviews, where Gimelstob berated Women’s tennis, Women tennis players, and Anna Kournikova in particular, the dust has settled. Unfortunately little or nothing was done to punish the loud-mouthed Gimelstob, and few of tennis’s authoritative organizations took any action at all. The USTA did withdraw any of their ads which featured Gimelstob citing his disrespectful and demeaning remarks regarding Women’s tennis as unprofessional. The ATP, the Association of Tennis Professional, of which he is a board member, merely accepted his apology without so much as a slap on the wrist. A spokesperson for the ATP stated, “Justin has done the right thing in taking full responsibility for his comments by apologizing publicly to Anna for what he described as his disparaging and disrespectful comments.” What a bunch of wimps!
In any other sport sexist remarks would have been cause for the banishment of the speaker, either for life or for a minimum of a year, his participation in public events would have been suspended, and his professional standing revoked. None of these things were done to Gimelstob. He is still playing for World Team Tennis, still on tour, and still reporting for the Tennis Channel. His doubles partner on the Washington Kastles Team is Serena Williams, who did not defend him but did not refuse to partner him either. She was quoted as saying, “I think his comments aren’t necessary, we’ve come farther than to be referred to as a b—h.” Serena doesn’t use bad language. “Anna is a great girl, what he said was uncalled for an unprofessional.” She should have ousted him from the team, and stood up for her fellow women player!
Gimelstob has always been a kind of loose cannon, a big male jock who has been on the periphery of the men’s tour. He’s the kind of moron who says such things as, “I’ll never mature until I’m at least eighty.” or “Women tennis players have no social skills, they never went to high school and they never went to parties.” His verbal attack against Anna Kournikova, who he claims he has not attraction to, came when he responded to a question about her early retirement from the game. He said she was a fake and a bitch, and even referred to her as ‘a douche’. He didn’t stop there but suggested that he get his stud-like 27 year old brother to ‘nail’ her just for the fun of it. He also threatened to hit her with a 128 mph service which he said he would aim directly at her bare midriff the next time she faced him in mixed doubles.
Anna acted with praiseworthy class by refusing to retaliate, she said, “I will take the high road in this matter.” Gimelstob had a few words for both Nicole Vaidisova, who he called, ‘a well-developed young lady’, and Alize Cornet, calling them both a pair of sexpots!
You have my permission to boo him if he shows up at the 2009 Australian Open, the game does not need ass—-s like Justin Gimelstob!

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The Truth about Martina Hingis.

You gotta love Marina Hingis. She’s cute, controversial, outrageous, sarcastic, misunderstood and one of the greatest Tennis players of her time. On November 1st. 2007 at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland she announced her official retirement from professional tennis. A sad day for tennis fans around the world.
Martina was tested positive for cocaine derivatives in her urine after undergoing tests during the Wimbledon tournament. She maintains her innocence saying, “I have tested positive but I have never taken drugs. I am 100% innocent and would be terrified to take drugs. When I was informed about the test I was shocked and appalled. Contesting the findings could take years, and with my age and my health problems, I have decided to retire.” The test results were released to her at Wimbledon with both the A and B urine samples failing the test. Martina later underwent a series of private drug test on her hair and other fluids which came back negative, and in her opinion is evidence that she has never taken cocaine. As an outcome of the positive test she has been banned from tennis for a period of two years.
At the sweet age of sixteen she became the youngest top ranked player ever, she also became the youngest winner of a Grand Slam event and the youngest winner of Wimbledon. She won the Australian Singles title 3 times in 1997,’98, and ’99, she won both Wimbledon and the US Open in 1997. In doubles she won the Grand Slam in 1998, on a run that included 4 titles in Australia, 2 at Wimbledon and one each in New York and Paris. She held the rank of Number 1 player for 209 weeks!
At the age of just 22 she retired to have surgery performed on her right ankle. She attempted a comeback in 2005, and worked her way back up to number 7 in 2006. She played her last game in 2007 at the China Open.
Never a popular player with her competitors, Martina’s off beat sense of sarcastic humour was often misunderstood and reported out of context by the press. She was accused of making racist remarks about the Williams Sisters, derogatory remarks about her former doubles partner Novotna, and off colour statements about the English press. She caused a buzz wherever she went both on and off the court, and when she teamed up with Anna Kournikova in doubles, the press had a field day. For Anna it was her opportunity to finally win a tournament. She’s been stalked by some crazy guy, she’s dated golfer Sergio Garcia, but she will always be remembered as one of the smartest young women to play the game of tennis. She is sorely missed.

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Maria’s getting ready to be #1 again.

We will never know what Maria thinks about the other women on tour. What she thinks her chances are of returning to competition against them, and beating them to regain her position as the number 1 female player in the world. A title she held for 17 weeks prior to her shoulder injury. But she must feel pretty secure about her game, her toughness, her confidence and her incredible court coverage ability as it compares to the other players who are all competing at the top of the rankings. Serena is injured again, Jelena still hasn’t shown that she can win a major event, Ana is trying to find a Plan B because Plan A is not working, and the rest are doing well only because Maria and the Williams sisters are not competing.
She is returning to competition in Hong Kong in January where she will be part of the three lady Russian team participating in the World Team Challenge. Other teams will be representing, Europe, The Americas and Asia/Pacific. Jankovic is signed up to pay for the European team, Venus has committed to play and so has Sania Mirza. The format of the tournament will be comprised of both singles and doubles matches, so if Serena is healthy and decides to join her sister they will be the favourites to win. The rest of the field of players has yet to be announced. From Hong Kong the players will move on to Melbourne for the 2009 Australian Open. All eyes will be on the defending champion for two reasons. First she is easy on the eyes, and secondly every tennis fan wants to see if she can recapture her magic on court, and be a serious contender for the top spot.
Maria has had a frustrating year, but has managed to retain a top 10 ranking even without stepping on court for 5 months. She piled up so many points early in 2008, and no other player has been dominant, that she only slipped down a few notches. She won her third Grand Slam event by winning the 2008 Australian Open, she won in Doha, and as she points out she won her first clay court title at Amelia Island.
She is recuperating in Temple Arizona under the watchful eye of physio trainer Brett Fischer. She has become an Arizona tourist who enjoys biking and exploring the sandstone mountains and rock formations. She spends endless hours on the phone talking to her Mum in Russia, and has admitted that she would like to have a boyfriend and to fall in love. Before submitting your resume for the position just remember she is 6’2” without heels, and she sleeps with a little dog!
Maria does an enormous amount of charity work, she is the spokesperson for several charities in addition to operating her own Foundation. Just this past week one of her used tennis shoes, a Nike ZoomAir autographed by Maria was auctioned off to raise money for her Foundation. I will admit that I’m in love with her, but I wouldn’t want hers or anyone else’s stinky tennis shoe anywhere near me. No thanks Maria!

Something’s Wrong with Rafa.

Before the Madrid Masters Tournament began, Rafa was quoted as saying that he wanted to win this one for his loyal Spanish fans. On paper had an easy draw through to the final, no top 10 players to meet on the way. It should have been a piece of cake for him, but he lost in the semi final to French, up and coming star, Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-5, 6-7. Since he won in Toronto on August 17th. in a one-sided final against Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2, and clinched the title of the Number 1 player in the world, his performance has been far from what is expected from the best player. He won a Gold medal in Beijing where the only top 10 player he beat was Djokovic in the semi final. Other than that victory he has been in a slump. Or is he just not a hard court player yet? Or is he hurt? Or both? I think it’s a combination of several factors, that have caught up to him. His record on hard courts in 2008 falls far short of the performance of the ‘best’ player. He reached 3 finals and won only one of them, losing to Youzhny in Chennai 0-6, 1-6, and Davydenko at the Sony Ericsson 4-6, 2-6. He made it to 5 semi finals and just one quarter final, losing to such players as, Tsonga, Seppi, Roddick, Djokovic(2), Murray and now Simon. Not a stellar performance by this Spanish Super Star!
There is no doubt that he is the best clay court player to ever play the game, his record is proof of his domination on this surface. Through shear determination he managed to win Wimbledon on the grass against Federer in one of the most memorable tennis matches ever seen. Playing on grass is very different from playing on clay, its faster and the bounce is unpredictable, but like clay, grass is easy on the body, particularly the feet and legs. Playing on hard courts is painful. The pounding the feet are subjected to in a 5 set, three hour match can cause serious permanent injury. Gentle sliding on clay, or the nimble foot work required on grass, are replaced by quick stopping and starting with no let up on hard courts. The toes are forever being crunched into the forward section of the shoes, the ankles are twisted and contorted into shapes they were not designed to undergo, and the lower back is strained, and can be sore to touch after just one long match. If you add all these factors to Rafa’s unorthodox style that puts so much strain onto his body even on clay, it becomes clear to me at least that his young and athletic body is suffering. He repeatedly hits the ball off his ‘wrong’ foot, he strikes the ball with so much muscle power with his wrists and arms, and he chases and slides with his legs extended to a point beyond their normal capability, that its just a matter of time before he breaks apart. It may work on clay, but it will not work for very long on the hard surface.

Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

The futuristic Qi Zhong stadium in Shanghai will once again be the venue for the 2008 season ending Tennis Masters Cup. This event wraps up the season for the men players in a 2 group round robin format to determine the winner, and in some ranking systems determines who is Number 1. Eight men will compete in singles, and 4 pairs will compete in doubles. Accumulated points throughout the season are the determining factor for qualification, these points are awarded for the four Grand Slam events and 9 other ATP tournaments plus points for certain International tournaments. Four singles competitors have qualified to date and the race is on to see who will fill the other 4 places.
Rafael Nadal…..1265 points.
Roger Federer….921
Novak Djokovic 899
Andy Murray 520
Nicolay Davydenko 417
Andy Roddick 354
David Ferrer 337
James Blake 309
Del Potro is just 2 points behind Blake for the 8th. Position, and could displace him with a win in Tokyo or Madrid in October.
Federer is the defending champion, he has won 4 times in the past 5 years, only losing to David Nalbandian in 2005. This year is expected to be a different story. Rafa is now Number 1, and has shown that he can play on hard courts almost as well as he plays on clay. Both Djokovic and Murray have lots to prove, and either one could ‘get hot’ and win the $1.2 million prize. The Tennis Masters Cup concludes the official 2008 season, and sets the stage for the first Grand Slam event of 2009. The players have a well deserved rest and start preparing for the 2009 Australian Open in January.
Tickets for the Shanghai Cup are expensive. A series ticket for a good court side seat will cost $4800, a ticket for the series located in the bleachers costs $2200, but everyone is assured of witnessing the 8 best players in the world and every match will be as good as any tour final. For the players it is a gruelling tournament, the winner will play 5 matches in 7 days, and unlike regular events or even Grand Slam events where the top seeded players often have relatively easy matches in the first rounds, here every match is tough. For the first time in 5 years there is no odds on choice to win. Rafa is the Number 1 player, Federer is the defending champion, and Djokovic and Murray have shown that they can both beat the top two players. Last year’s runner up was David Ferrer, don’t count him out, and if Del Potro makes it to this select group, he could win it all. Maybe Roddick will finally get his act together and make history, and now that Davydenko has been exonerated for betting he might be ready to concentrate on tennis again.
It is shaping up to be the greatest finale ever. Let’s see, tickets, hotel, air fare, food, a little entertainment and a couple of souvenirs, I think $20,000 should cover it!

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