Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Martina Hingis to return to professional tennis in doubles!

The Manchester Masters tournament will be a grass event and will take place during the first week of the Wimbledon Championships in June.

Anders Borg, tournament director said: "We're delighted to announce that there will be a new Manchester tennis tournament. It will be a legend's, round robin tournament and will signal the return of top-class international tennis to Manchester. The city has a pedigree for professional sport and we are proud to be bringing tennis back to another major UK city,"

Headline names confirmed for this year's Manchester Masters, include the former Wimbledon winners Martina Hingis and Richard Krajicek.

Hingis, who announced her retirement from the game in 2007, has sparked interest recently by declaring she is not ruling out a comeback to the professional doubles circuit.

During her successful career, Hingis spent a total of 209 weeks as World No. 1, winning five Grand Slam singles titles, including three Australian Opens, one Wimbledon, and one US Open.

She will play alongside another fellow champion, Richard Krajicek, who won the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1996, after spectacularly defeating Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Source: paversmith.co.uk

YAY! Best. news. ever.*does a happy dance*

Boy is Martina a busy bee. Glad to see she's got the tennis bug again, I wonder what made her change her mind about playing on the tour.

Yes it's not singles but it's the next best thing. When it comes to Martina I'll take whatever I can get (pathetic as that may seem *lol*).

Doubles are certainly less taxing on the body, who knows she may just add a few more trophies on to her already impressive collection.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Martina Hingis horse racing in France

Looks like despite a tennis-heavy summer Martina is also continuing the equestrian thing.

http://www.fnch.ch/

http://jumpazurcompetition.com/





Pictures courtesy of hingis.org

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kim Clijsters continues successful run in Miami


Kim Clijsters played as though she was double-parked and about to receive a traffic ticket as she reached the Sony Ericsson Open fourth round in double-quick time.

Belgium’s former world number one eased past 17th seed Shahar Peer in just 50 minutes, beating the Israeli 6-0 6-1.

The reigning US Open champion is in ominous form, having beaten Petra Kvitova 6-1 6-1 in the second round.

Source: tennis-in-depth.com

Looks like after the last few tournament losses Kim is finally having a good run. This kind of play is what won her the U.S. Open last year.

Could we be headed for another Belgian clash?. (Justine is in her half of the draw). Time to start salivating :D.


Happy Birthday Ms. Lawless


Happy Birthday Lucy (42 has never looked better!). Thanks for continuing to entertain and inspire us all. =).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

DWTS Season 10 premiere impressions

Yes, I'm a few days late I know.

Truth be told I wasn't too excited about this season when I saw the cast. But I decided to watch anyway (mostly for the banter between Tom Bergeron and the judges).

I honestly don't know whether I'll be watching it regularly at this point so enjoy these general impressions because they may be the only thing I write in regards to this season.

So here we go: season 10 came with many changes, fancy new title graphics, change of venue for post-dance interviews, and a new co-host. WTF?.

Inquiring minds wanna know whatever happened to Samantha. Anyone know?.

Instead we got one of (my fave) former contestants filling in Brooke Burke. And I admit for a first time she did a decent job.

Although the jury is still out on whether she's really cut out for the job (I would have to watch a few more times to make a final decision on that).

But on the the couples themselves.

Chad Ochocinco (yet another NFL guy) & Cheryl Burke

were the first to hit the dance floor with a very wooden looking Cha Cha Cha. With a little more practice he could have some potential but since this is week one anything could happen between now and the finale.

I'm starting to think Edyta really did put a "no football players" clause in her contract. Because if this was a few seasons back she'd be stuck with one for sure.

Something tells me Cheryl doesn't mind though, since I'm sure she's probably thinking the same thing I am anyone is an improvement over last season's Tom Delay ;D.

As for the scores since they don't really matter because elimination is not till next week I won't bother putting them up.

Mark Ballas & Shannen Doherty

were up next with a very stiff/mechanical looking Viennese Waltz. In all fairness it wasn't too bad, I actually expected her to do a lot worse. Again with more practice she might actually become a dancer.

I gotta say whoever made Shannen's dress deserves some mad props. She looked beautiful in it.

Erin Andrews (ESPN Sports broadcaster) & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

danced the Cha Cha. As soon as I saw the rehearsal footage and realized they were both major perfectionists.

Two things immediately came to mind it'll either be very effective or both will implode exiting stage left.

Rumor is though that the two are getting quite close on a personal level (according to t.v. entertainment news). Which again could backfire.

As for the dance itself Bruno thought it was very impressive for a debut I'm inclined to agree.

Jake (The Bachelor) Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower

were next with their Viennese Waltz set to Seals "Kiss From a Rose". Cliche much ABC?. We got it already he's from The Bachelor *rolls eyes*.

Can't recall much about his dancing which I guess speaks for itself *lol*.

Niecy Nash & Louis Van Amstel

danced a sassy Cha Cha though I honestly think these 2 will get through on entertainment value alone. The dancing wasn't half bad either.

Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya

went next with their Viennese Waltz given that he's an Olympic figure skater is there any surprise that he did well?.

Although I have to agree with the judges on working more on the connection between his partner and the audience (and not just ignore them as you would if you were skating).

Once he makes that adjustment though I'm sure he'll be headed right for the final. After all let's not forget how Kristi Yamaguchi slayed her competition.

Buzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa

danced the Cha Cha or a poor imitation of one anyway seriously with all due respect the guy has got to go. And with the lowest score of the night he probably will.

Derek Hough & Nicole (pussycat doll) Scherzinger


were next with the only pretty and proper looking Viennese Waltz.

Len thought it only looked that way on the surface but I must agree with Carrie Ann and Bruno I think she set the bar especially considering this is only the beginning.

And I can already tell these 2 will be a hoot with mad chemistry. Two great ingredients if you're trying to win over the public.

Aiden Turner (soap star) & Edyta Sliwinska

their Cha Cha failed to impress the judges who called it stiff Len was the least impressed with the overall routine.

I have to say I didn't really enjoy it either. Edyta's routines can be really hit or miss a lot of the time. If they get another shot I'm sure that's something she'll improve on.

I actually feel sorry for Edyta in 10 years she has never won the Mirror Ball trophy because she gets all these duds. She's professional dancer not a miracle worker. Take note ABC.

Kate Gosseling & Tony Dovoloni

before I say anything let me be upfront about something I DO NOT like this woman actually there isn't a word I could use that even comes close.

Like we really needed to see more of her on our t.v. screens.

In her opening piece she actually said she's a mom of 8 who just happens to be on t.v. uh huh and all that money had absolutely nothing to do with it right?. Yeah and I'm the queen of Egypt.

Bruno thought her Viennese Waltz or more precisly her technique was terrible. Yep, that's pretty much how I would describe it.

I fear that the sudden increase in viewership may have been due to her, but I'm still hoping her diva attitude bites her in the ass and gets her off my t.v. stat.

Pamela Anderson & (new hottie Australian Pro) Damian Whitewood

I actually enjoyed their Cha Cha and thought it was half decent for a first time anyway. The sexyness factor doesn't hurt either.

Though I admit I was distracted with wanting to run a comb through Pamela's hair *lol* (what happened to the hairstylists I wonder). Poor Pam looked like a total mess by the end of the routine.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

French Open ready for a makeover?


The 2010 French Open championship in tennis does not begin until the end of May, but it is already making headlines due to the French Tennis Federations’ insistence on making the tournament bigger and better, or moving on.

The goal of the Federation is to remain current with the other three Grand Slams in tennis, Wimbledon, the U.S Open and the Australian Open. Director of the federation Gilbert Ysern, stated that a possible venue or plan of action to relocate the event could be implemented if nothing changes.

Ysern eluded to the fact that as many as four new places were looked at, and case studies were conducted, with one venue being situated adjacent from the Versailles castle

Currently, the French Open is held at Roland Garros, and Ysern said that new facilities must be erected. It is estimated that a renovation would cost approximately $270 million. When compared to the $810 million is would cost to move the site and construct an entirely new facility, it is a viable option.

“We live in a very competitive environment. The three other Grand Slam tournaments improved a lot during the past 20 years and we are behind them,” Ysern remarked, “both in terms of the services we can offer to the players and regarding the stadium facilities.”

Ysern disclosed that there are two main problem areas with the current facility. First, the total space has become entirely too confined for the amount of spectators they receive. Second, players have mentioned a lack of space that is closed off from the public to allow them to prepare for the tournament.

“I spoke with Roger Federer last year in Monte Carlo and he had a long list of complaints,” Ysern stated. “And it was not just because he was still looking for his first win at the French at the time. He was particularly upset by the problems that can occur during the first week.”

Last year, an undertaking to build a new clay court and retractable roof fell through, which Ysern said were due to politics.

“There is no consensus over this project and we decided we won’t continue,” he said. “But if we stay here in Roland Garros, we will need a roof for the center court. We can build a new indoor court inside the stadium or add a roof to the center court.”

No decision is said to be made until February of 2011, and Ysern said there are still many issues to consider.

“Whatever the general assembly decides, it will be a historic decision,” Ysern stated. “There is no room for mistake because we can’t go backwards. After all, relocation could mean the best future for our tournament.”

Online Sportsbooks have yet to post odds for the French Open, but will likely favor top-ranked player Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as he makes his comeback from injury.

Source: sportsbookgurus.com

The article makes a good point about moving with the times who would have thought that stuffy traditional Wimbledon would beat the French Open in that regard?.

And yeah I gotta agree if the organizers want people (much less the players themselves) to be even remotely interested in The French Open (which to me is the most boring of the 4 Grand Slams).

It might also have something to do with the often mercilessly unpleasant French crowd.

Changes must indeed be made in the very near future. That retractable roof would be a good start, it's the only major tournament now without one.

In fact I would get on that one stat, you really don't want your marquee players baking on the clay, or having an unnecessary number of rain delays. These days even the most devoted fans will only put up with so much.

I also think they should invest in more space outside the stadium (and have big screens ala Australian Open/Wimbledon).

If you ask me the French Open needs a major overhaul therefore, it would be good if they built a new facility.

Something tells me however the French officials and organizers will opt for cheaper. Moving to a new venue.

Should be interesting to see if they succeed or fail.

I'm curious to see what everyone thinks of this idea, so I've started a new poll related to the topic.

Be sure to check it out;).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Martina Hingis to play Nottingham Masters event

Former Wimbledon champions Martina Hingis and Richard Krajicek will be the star attractions at this summer's Nottingham Masters tournament.

The event takes place at Nottingham Tennis Centre between 10 and 13 June.

Krajicek, winner of last year's men's title, won 20 career titles including the Wimbledon men's title in 1996.

Hingis became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam, winning the women's doubles title at Wimbledon at the age of 15 in 1995.

The Swiss originally retired from tennis in 2003 but launched a comeback before retiring for a second time in in 2008 after being found guilty of a doping offence in 2007.

Source: BBC Sport

Hmm... is it me, or is Martina playing an awful lot of tennis this summer?, (no that is not an insinuation of a possible comeback) just a simple observation.

I guess she has missed the sport (as much as all her fans have missed seeing her play).

Seems like she just can't wait to get back out there (and I couldn't be happier!).

I hope this means we'll see her in the stands at the major Grand Slams *fingers crossed*.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Memorable Martina Moment: Arthur Ashe Kids Day 2007

I actually posted some pics from this event in August of 2007 (boy, that seems like a life time ago doesn't it?).

Well, it turns out there's a video (gotta love the internets ;). The picture quality leaves something to be desired, but the audio is decent.



I love that Martina's competitive spirit remained through-out (asking what the score was) despite all of it being nothing but pure fun. *sigh* Great memories....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Strange sex laws

*LOL*

My friend Emily found this at the International Centre in Ontario, Canada (thanks for allowing me to share this Em ;).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Song of the Moment: Tracy Chapman-The Promise



This song is so relaxing, and it's perfect if you're in an introspective mood.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kim Clijsters Citizen Watch Ambassador

LYNDHURST, N.J., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizen Watch Company has signed Kim Clijsters, the reigning and two-time US Open tennis champion, as its newest Brand Ambassador for the Citizen Signature timepiece collection. Ms. Clijsters joins three-time Major champion golfer Padraig Harrington in becoming one of the strongest Brand Ambassador teams in the watch industry today.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100318/NY72180)

Ms. Clijsters, who had won the US Open Championship in 2005, returned as an unranked wildcard in 2009 following a 27-month absence after the birth of her daughter. She promptly won the 2009 US Open Championship, and in the process became the first unranked wildcard to win a Grand Slam event in over 30 years. She has also won the WTA World Championship, twice; has been Doubles champion both at Wimbledon and the French Open (2003); and is one of only five players to have held the #1 world ranking in Singles and Doubles, simultaneously.

"Kim Clijsters exists at the intersection of the Citizen Signature Collection timepieces and its advertising campaign. She possesses the unstoppable passion, precision and artistry associated with the Citizen Eco-Drive brand, and the credentials inherent in the concept 'The Making of a Legend'," states Laurence R. Grunstein, president of Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc.

Ms. Clijsters is equally pleased with the partnership. She adds, "I am very proud to be an Ambassador for the Citizen Watch Company. Citizen has had a long affiliation with tennis as the Official Timekeeper of the US Open, so a partnership with Citizen is a natural choice for me. Passion has always been a critical part of my tennis game, just like the passion that Citizen has put into The Signature Collection."

The Signature Collection was introduced by Citizen Eco-Drive in Basel, Switzerland in 2009, and has successfully continued to expand into leading independent, regional and national jewelry stores. This week at Baselworld, Citizen Signature will be unveiling a men's series with an exclusive new hand-assembled movement, as well as a new ladies' series featuring 65 hand-set diamonds. All Citizen Signature timepieces are designed with the environmentally-friendly Citizen Eco-Drive light-powered technology.

The Citizen Signature media campaign, "The Making of a Legend", will run throughout the United States, Canada, Caribbean, United Kingdom and Ireland. New creative breaks in the U.S. in July with print, in-store POP and outdoor advertising.

About Citizen Eco-Drive:

Citizen Eco-Drive proves that style and sustainability can co-exist with ecologically-friendly timepieces. Utilizing the power of light, Citizen Eco-Drive technology converts light into stored energy to power the watch for at least six months, even in the dark. Fueled by light, it never needs a battery.

Citizen holds the leading position in the mid-priced watch market in the United States and is available nationwide at fine jewelry and department stores. www.citizen-signature.com

Source: PRnewswire.com

Very cool. I think Martina Hingis used to advertise Omega watches.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sampras vs. Agassi when egos collide



Awkward.

Seriously I love ya Pete, but get a sense of humor!.

I honestly don't think Agassi was being that offensive (he wasn't even trying to be). He's the bigger man anyway because he has since then apologized.

"It was out of line. It was inappropriate. The night was on fire. We were all having fun. I was trying to be comedic. I only had a split second to make a decision. I went for it and it fell flat. I was trying to get past it, but Pete didn't really let me get past it. He didn't really roll with it. I've texted Pete to ask him if I can apologize in person.

"The joke fell flat and I'm sorry. My hope was that the night was still enjoyable. My whole book is about living and learning, and I guess you never stop."

Source


Let's hope Sampras follows suit. This whole thing certainly makes you appreciate the Federer/Nadal rivalry all the more doesn't it?.

No matter how badly one loses to the other they always treat one another with great respect (the '09 Australian Open being a perfect example).

And that was a championship! (this was just an exhibition event).

I guess sometimes age really is just a number, perhaps Sampras and Agassi should look to Federer/Nadal for some lesson's on class.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Martina Hingis to face Williams sisters & Clijsters in WTT this summer

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 11, 2010) - The 2010 World Team Tennis Pro League season will be highlighted by head-to-head matches between five former and current world No. 1 players -

Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport and current world No. 1 Serena Williams - during the 3-week season, which starts July 5. League officials released the 73-match season schedule for the 10 WTT franchises today.

Hingis, who plays for the New York Buzz, is scheduled to take on the Washington Kastles' Serena Williams and Venus Williams, and Clijsters, who is a member of the New York Sportimes. Venus Williams and the St. Louis Aces' Lindsay Davenport will face off in St. Louis.

Each of the 10 teams will play 14 matches - seven home, seven away. Eastern Conference teams are the 2009 WTT Champions Washington Kastles, Boston Lobsters, New York Buzz, New York Sportimes and Philadelphia Freedoms. Western Conference teams are Newport Beach Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, St. Louis Aces, Springfield Lasers and Kansas City Explorers. This summer marks the 35th season of the coed League which was co-founded in the 1970s by Billie Jean King.

The Marquee Player lineup for 2010 includes some of the biggest names in tennis, including Serena Williams (Washington Kastles), Venus Williams (Washington Kastles), Andy Roddick (Philadelphia Freedoms), Kim Clijsters (New York Sportimes), John McEnroe (New York Sportimes), Martina Hingis (New York Buzz), Lindsay Davenport (St. Louis Aces), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces), Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach Breakers) and James Blake (Boston Lobsters).

Hingis is returning to WTT action for the first time since 2006 and will face some of the WTA Tour's biggest current stars this July.

Hingis, who is playing the entire season for the Albany-based New York Buzz, will try to even her head-to-head record with Serena Williams during a special road match at the Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, N.Y., on July 9.

Hingis will play the remaining six home matches at the team's regular home venue, SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany (July 5, 6, 13, 14, 16, 20).

Hingis, a former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles, hits the road for seven matches including visits to Washington DC (July 7 vs. Venus Williams, July 12), Boston (July 11), Springfield (July 17), New York Sportimes (July 19 vs. Kim Clijsters), Philadelphia (July 21), and St. Louis (July 22).

Source: oursportscentral.com

Wow, talk about marquee matches!.

Kinda makes you wish Martina was back on the WTA tour circuit doesn't it?. Yes I will never let that go, what can I say. I'm hopeless *lol*.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kim Clijsters wins Laureus world comeback of the year

Image Source

Martina Hingis won the Laureus award for comeback of the year back in 2006 when she made her second comeback to the sport.

This year that honor belongs to Kim Clijsters (and deservedly so).

Congratulations!. I think I speak for every tennis fanatic when I say it's good to have you back Kim! =).

2010 Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award – Kim Clijsters

"2009 was a very emotional year for me. At the start I lost my father, and then winning the US Open was an unbelievable emotion. It was an experience I never thought would happen so quickly and so soon.

"It was an amazing two weeks. I'm really happy that I decided to come back to tennis, and that I have my family who like to travel and live this adventure with me. Now that Justine Henin and myself are back, I think I've started a trend with ex-tennis players making a return. I think it is only good for the sport."

Source: laureus.com

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Martina Hingis to play Bogota exhibition in August

Manuel Mateo, manager of Imlah of Colombia, told TIME that will be on August 5.

Sampras and Agassi will relive their battles of the nineties, when both were fighting for the world number one.

Hingis will face off against U.S. junior Ashley Harkleroad, although it is possible she might go up against the French former world number one Amelie Mauresmo.

The exhibition tour will also be held in Puerto Rico, Brazil (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile.

translated with Google

edited by me

Source: eltiempo.com

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kim Clijsters & Justine Henin having fun at Roland Garros

The things one can find on the Internet:



*LOL*

Here's a rough translation courtesy of tennisdelight.com

Translation: Justine enters, Hi then she throws the towel and says BYE Kim Enters, IS this yours and she throw the teddy bear.

Then the guys say “do you know how to recognize Belgian fans at Roland garros” his friend replied “no” then he said “they will buy a ticket to watch at center court but Justine is playing at lenglen”.

Then Justine enters ” do you know how to recognize french supporters at Roland Garros , they will buy ticket for the finals but no French player in the final, BYE

I would love to know what year this is from, if anyone knows please feel free to tell me in the comments.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Academy Awards impressions

Another year, another night of Oscar fever.

And unlike the past few years the show returned to it's rightful place in the month of March (seriously I can't be the only one who thought it was weird to have the Academy Awards in February).

It was a night full of surprises perhaps the biggest of which was the horrible comedy (sorry Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin) but I'm sure you figured out how badly you were bombing by the lack of laughs.

There has been plenty of hit and miss comedy at the Oscars over the years, but I think it's safe to say that this one takes the cake as the cream of the crap.

Seriously whoever wrote the material should either quit, or be fired. When I first heard about the 2 host idea I actually thought it would work, boy was I wrong!.

But I honestly think the material is really at fault. Needless to say I doubt the Oscars will be trying this idea again in the future.

In fact I hope they don't. Stick to what works and clearly individual hosts work best (or if you're going do a dual hosting gig get some better writers and comedians with better timing).

But enough of that, on to the show itself. I had a feeling this would be the year where The Academy overlooks the status quo and predictability of giving awards to the most buzzed about motion pictures.

Who am I kidding, I was hoping for it! *lol*. It was a total and complete surprise to actually have it come true.

My guess is that The Academy has acquired a lot of younger members in recent years thus this wonderfully refreshing result.

How great was it to finally have the first woman actually win the first film director award (to say it's about time would be an understatement!).

Perhaps it's a sign that the times really are changing in that regard (may there be many more to come!). James Cameron eat your heart out!.

Perhaps the biggest pleasant shocker of the night came when Sandra Bullock won the best actress award for "The Blind Side".

What a way to finally acknowledge not only Sandy's overall talent, but her dramatic skills as well. Seriously who else was expecting to hear Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren?.

Even Sandra herself couldn't believe it, in fact when the camera cut to her it took her a good minute to register that she had actually won.

I don't think she realized it until the person sitting next to her whispered it in her ear. Great moment.

Sandra Bullock dethroned the reigning queen (Meryl Streep) in the best dramatic actress category who would have thunk it!. Congrats Sandy!.

It was great seeing the animated feature Up garner so many awards as well (if you haven't seen it yet go out and rent it!).

It's a wonderfully poignant and heart-warming story.

Lovely tribute to Mr. John Hughes. I don't think there will ever be a director/writer who understood the mind of a teenager (and young people) as well as him.

I always get so sad when I watch the memoriam part of the Oscars it's such a bittersweet reminder of so much great talent lost way too soon.

The show once again run it's usual 3.30 hours, but did it feel longer to anyone else?.

Could have been due to the continued failed comedy bits throughout. About the only highlight out of the whole thing was Neil Patrick Harris's musical number.

Btw. what's with him being on everyone's list of emergency award show numbers lately? (I'm not complaining) just an observation.

Actually after watching the first 5 minutes of Steve and Alec I kept hoping Neil would come back and do the entire thing!.

Something to think about for next year Oscar organizers ;).

ETA: Major In Memoriam FAIL someone completely forgot Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Kim Clijsters on comebacks, Laureus and motherhood

In the week that Martina Navratilova recalled the “heroic performance” of Kim Clijsters in winning the U.S. Open last year, the charming Belgian made time for an altogether more low-key performance back in the United States.

She was runner up to Venus Williams in the Billie Jean King Cup exhibition tournament in New York this week. But Clijsters’ first return to competition since her untimely exit from the Australian Open just over a month back is not the performance in question.

Rather, it is the relaxed 45 or so minutes she spent chatting with a handful of journalists to mark her nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards: the sporting "Oscars."

Clijsters is one of six nominees in the Laureus World Comeback of the Year category. It’s her third nomination: in 2002 she made the “Breakthrough” shortlist; in 2006 it was the “World Sportswoman” category.

She hopes it’s third time lucky, but knows she is up against tough competition. Her favorite, should she not win herself, is Lance Armstrong. She pointed out that she grew up in cycling-addicted Belgium and is a huge admirer of the American Tour de France hero. Her husband, though, will be cheering on American football star Brett Favre—though presumably not in preference to his wife!

The story of Clijsters’ comeback is, of course, close to fairytale proportions. In 2007, she suddenly walked away, while world No. 4, from what was shaping up to be a highly successful season. A couple of months later she was married, and within a year she had a daughter.

Then, still only 26, she delighted a Wimbledon crowd by taking to the Centre Court opposite Steffi Graf to celebrate the completion of its new roof.

It was clear from her appearance and her game that she was in very fine fettle and, sure enough, she made her professional comeback a couple of months later on the hard courts of north America.

The rest, as they say, is history. She won the third tournament she played: the U.S. Open.

Clijsters is quick to describe this return as a second career rather than comeback, and to attribute her success to the different person she became during her break.

“I feel I am more mature. I’ve been able to sit back and think about things…and have a different perspective. I get disappointed when I lose, of course, but now I know there will be another day.”

How did she feel, then, to leave this year’s Australian Open in the way she did: with a disappointing 6-0, 6-1 loss to Nadia Petrova?

“It was very frustrating. I was in shock when I spoke to the press. But there are frustrating things about sport, and also very exciting things.”

She was determined not to leave Australia in a negative frame of mind. Instead, she and her family took time to enjoy being a tourist, before heading back to Belgium for fresh training.

And that illustrates the contrast between her first career with the second.

“Things are totally different now. Before, everything was phased around you. Now when I come home from practice, I have to make sure I’m home for lunch, pick up food from the supermarket, spend time with Jada.”

She has decided on a more streamlined tennis schedule commensurate with her full personal schedule.

“I used to play a lot of events and would get some injuries. Now I’ve cut back a bit, so that I can keep strong and healthy. I’ve been able to take time off since Australia so I can get physically strong, and I am more hungry when I do play. I can peak at the right moments.”

She’s grateful for the tools at her disposal, too. She may be new to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, but she’s using them to her advantage. “They help me stay in touch without losing too much time!”

Clijsters has always been an open and natural interviewee. She retains that disarming quality when asked about coping with motherhood.

“I need a couple more hours of rest than I used to. Going back to my daughter, you get a little more tired than when you just focus on tennis. Luckily, I’m not the type of person who needs six or seven hours a day to feel good on the court. I’m lucky that I can maintain my strength on around two hours of practice a day.”

She’s just as relaxed at the prospect of a replay of her Roland Garros rivalry with Justine Henin. The two Belgians have one of the closest rivalries of recent times: Clijsters is currently down 11 games to 12 in their head-to-heads.

At Roland Garros, they have met in two semifinals and one final and Henin, queen of the clay, won on the last two occasions. But Clijsters is up for a rematch.

“If Justine and I could play again in a final or semifinal, it would be great—but tough! And being close to Belgium makes it especially good for the fans.”

She is making a conscious effort to give herself time after Miami to prepare for the clay: “I want to have time to adjust to new surfaces and make sure my body doesn’t have to go through dramatic changes.”

She freely admits, though, that the hard courts are probably her favorite, and believes that her great record at, for example, the forthcoming Indian Wells helped make her comeback to the American hard courts last year such a success.

Indeed, she saw her triumph in the 2009 U.S. Open as a belated opportunity to defend her 2005 title. She had made the semifinals in all three of the other Slams in 2006, before being forced out of competition in the late summer with a wrist injury. She is clearly pleased to have put that one right.

Talk of her many successes in North America brought the diplomatic side of Clijsters to the fore as she touched on her eventful meetings with Serena Williams at Indian Wells in 2001 and at Flushing Meadows in 2009.

“People talk to me all the time about it. Three-quarters of the press conference [after the U.S. Open final] was about it. We’re way past that. Serena has apologised and to me there’s nothing more to say…Obviously I would like to play against the best players and it would be good to have Venus and Serena back in Indian Wells.”

As the conversation turned back to the Laureus Awards, Clijsters mused on why this international, multi-sports competition had seen so many tennis successes. Indeed, tennis has won more Laureus awards in the competition’s 11-year history than any other sport.

Tennis is open to a lot of ages and cultures...it is a sport that has big events throughout the year and all over the world. And the ITF does a good job in promoting it.”

She highlighted, too, that tennis is going through a golden period, with great rivalries and champions on both sides.

“Obviously you have the battles between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, and now Andy Murray. It makes for a lot of interesting matches. And on the women’s side, with me and Justine back, and Serena and Venus still playing strongly, it is appealing to a lot of fans.”

Does she think that anyone will win the tennis Grand Slam this year—or any time soon? She’s doubtful, though would never bet against Federer or Williams pulling it off. She feels it has now become harder to achieve because players are so specialised in particular types of game and on particular surfaces.

Clijsters and her fellow Laureus nominees have been selected by a panel of sports editors, writers, and broadcasters from over 120 countries. The Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 46 of the world’s greatest sportsmen and sportswomen, will now vote to select the winners.

Amongst them is Navratilova, clearly as big an admirer of Clijsters as are the media and the fans.

“Coming back to the circuit demands a lot of persistence already. To then win a Grand Slam pretty soon after that is a heroic performance. Kim definitely deserves this nomination.”

Clijsters will be preparing for her Indian Wells campaign when the Awards are announced at a gala ceremony in Abu Dhabi next week. She may not be there in person, but her achievements, and her reputation as one of the most likeable women in sport, go before her.

There’s little doubt she would be a very popular winner, whether it’s that Laureus award or her third Indian Wells title. Perhaps it will be both.

Source: bleacherreport.com

Friday, March 05, 2010

Martina Hingis engaged with new beau!


Photo by ZVG via Blick

Today we received word that former tennis queen Martina Hingis got herself engaged to Andreas Bieri, a lawyer from Zurich.

According to Swiss newspaper Blick.ch Hingis told the press Andreas proposed to her a day before Christmas and that she was over the moon with the proposal.

Hingis moved in with Andreas last summer in Hurden.

Hingis was the number of the WTA tour for 209 weeks in a row. Has won a record of 43 titles which includes five Grand Slam titles.

Hingis was forced to retire due to injury in 2002 and made a succesful comeback in 2006. Her succes didn’t last long as she was banned for two years after a doping test found traces of cocaine in her blood.

Nowadays Hingis models for Elite, a leading modeling agency who also have the likes of Gisele Bundchen under contract amongst other stars.

Hingis still has loyal support of her fans who are all in full support of her upcoming marriage.

Source: tennisgrandstand.com

I must say the news of the engagement does not come as a surprise many fans have suspected as much since last year (the diamond ring was a little hard to miss).

But I suppose it's nice to have an official confirmation.

Congratulations Martina and Andy! (and may I say a ginormous step up from Radek Stepanek).

All the best to them both =). I'm gonna make a bold prediction and say kids are next.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

'The Smurfs' movie coming to a theatre near you July 2011 (we hope)

Pierre Culliford, or Peyo as he became known, was the Belgian comics artist who created the race of little blue forest creatures known as les Schtroumpfs in the late 1950s. After blossoming into a ginormous comics and merchandising empire, the franchise made its stateside debut in the long-running 1981 Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series The Smurfs, which followed the adventures of a diverse village of creatures led by the bearded and wise Papa Smurf.

If, like me, you grew up on the episodic adventures of the irrepressible, possibly-Socialist Smurfs (sharing is caring!), then the integrity of your childhood Smurfy love is not to be messed with.

Enter Hollywood. Like many beloved properties of the '80s, The Smurfs went AWOL for most of the past few decades, but in recent years they enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to our collective cultural nostalgia (because, let's face it, we love the '80s).

In 2011, we'll see our little blue friends reborn on the big screen in a combination live-action/CGI adventure courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures... but based on the first teaser poster, the first image, the filmmakers involved, and other factors, how optimistic should we Smurf fans be?

The very idea of bringing the Smurfs back into contemporary pop culture should warm the hearts of fans; after all, positivity is what smurfiness is all about, isn't it? Besides, by the time we discovered the Smurfs cartoon in the '80s, previous generations had already fallen in love with the little blue people via comics, figurines, and music.

So in turn, 2011's Smurfs could be just another iteration ready to be loved by an entirely new audience, with fans of the '80s-era Smurfs passing the torch to the newbies as fans of the European comics did with us.

Of course, fans are understandably concerned with how much of the beloved franchise will be altered in the name of updating the Smurfs. Let's take a look at the first teaser poster, which was released by Sony back when they had a December 2010 release in mind. (The film was moved to summer 2011 -- not the best sign, but at least it wasn't moved to the dumping grounds of January.)

By the looks of it, Sony will retain the essential look and feel of the Smurfs we know and love. The little guy with the bewildered expression on the poster? Why, he looks a lot like a cross between the classic 2-D Smurf and a rounded, three-dimensional figurine! He wears the classic white hat and trousers with booties! He looks like a proper Smurf!

A more recent image, posted exclusively by UGO, gives us a better look at the new and improved Smurf (albeit in a strangely fuzzy spy-cam presentation). The facial features are a little more sophisticated, he looks more naturally three-dimensional, and his clothing features more realistic shadowing and creases.

Look to the eyes and you'll see -- gasp! -- actual irises. And eyelids! This is a vast improvement over even the teaser poster; get past the vaguely inappropriate feel of his shirtless little body, and you can see yourself having a very Smurfy time watching the Smurfs enter the 21st century.

Added bonus: The Smurfs movie will be written by veteran scripters David N. Weiss and J. David Stern, who teamed up to write the well-received Rugrats Movie, The Rugrats II, and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. They also penned Shrek 2 before going into live-action comedy with Are We There Yet? and Daddy Day Camp, so The Smurfs could be a welcome return to form. (Weiss also gets extra credit for writing the '80s animated classic All Dogs Go To Heaven.)

No matter how optimistic and smurfy you are, Hollywood's track record adapting '80s properties is less than solid. Ditto any family-friendly fare that has attempted to merge live-action filmmaking with CGI animation, a feat that seldom feels organic (i.e. Garfield). Can Raja Gosnell succeed where he's failed before -- especially considering that he was responsible for Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua -- and update The Smurfs without succumbing to clich├ęs, dumb jokes, cheap visual gags, and bad storytelling?

The chances seem slim given the Alvin & the Chipmunks factor. Like the Alvin reboot, The Smurfs seems likely to mine jokes from pop culture references and "hip" slang in an attempt to pacify adult viewers, a trend that started with the far superior Shrek, which managed to blend solid adult-oriented comedy with entertainment that appealed to kids. (Proof: The teaser poster tagline, "Say hello to my little friend."

Imagine what other groan-worthy bon mots await.) Alvin & the Chipmunks, however, took that idea and exhausted it, resulting in cringe-worthy, trying-too-hard jokes and references that were tiresome rather than fresh. Will our beloved peaceful and pastoral Smurfs be transformed into lingo-slinging, Top 40-singing pop culture regurgitators? Will they be fish-out-of-water Smurfs clashing with the trappings of our techno-gadget-obsessed modern world?

Rumors have pegged the Smurfs storyline to revolve around a human girl who befriends a Smurf and helps him return home, although no official synopsis has yet been released. Producer Jordan Kerner said (years ago, so take it with a grain of salt) that an intended three-movie trilogy would explore the origins of Gargamel, the evil wizard villain of Smurfs lore.

But let's think about this; naturally, a Smurfs movie would NEED to feature Gargamel, the best known Smurfs villain and the evil mastermind responsible for creating Smurfette, the first and only girl Smurf. (That's also a feminist firestorm waiting to happen.)

He'd have to be in the film that kick-starts the rebooted film franchise, right? But how do you play Gargamel in 2010? Do you update him to be some sort of modern-day, urban wizard who stumbles upon Smurfs in the real world? Or do you portray him faithfully as the bumbling, robe-wearing medieval schemer we all know and love? Either way, it'll be tricky; audiences are either too savvy for a tame Gargamel, or too devoutly fanatic to accept a slick, updated 21st-century Gargamel. (Further blasphemy: will Azrael be a CG-animated cat, or a photorealistic feline a la Beverly Hills Chihuahua?)

Source: seattlepi

Also rumor is that Neil Patrick Harris will be providing a voice for one of the characters as well, I wonder which one, any guesses?.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kim Clijsters Fox & Friends interview

Normally I would not post anything from Fox News but since Kim Clijsters so rarely does t.v. interviews outside the tennis media I thought I would share.

Kim Clijsters on 'Fox & Friends'


"Do you massage each other" *LOL* good one Kim!.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

'Dancing With the Stars' season 10 cast revealed

LOS ANGELES - A "Baywatch" babe, an astronaut and a gold medal figure skater are among those who will compete on the spring season of "Dancing With the Stars."

Host Tom Bergeron and former finalist Melissa Rycroft revealed the cast Monday. It includes Pamela Anderson, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and reality TV stars Kate Gosselin and Jake Pavelka.

Also competing for the mirrorball trophy will be: Olympic gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek, sportscaster Erin Andrews, singer Nicole Scherzinger, football star Chad Ochocinco and actors Shannen Doherty, Aiden Turner and Niecy Nash.

"It's definitely one of our strongest cast lineups ever," said executive producer Conrad Green. "Pound for pound, it should be really fascinating watching."

"Dancing With the Stars" returns on March 22.

Green said the recipe for a great cast is "part hope, part luck, part skill, part research." The show's staff has been courting many of the newly announced contestants for months, he said.

The new dancers will train for three weeks before making their primetime premiere.

Green said his staff is enforcing limits on training time to avoid the spate of injuries that plagued last year's cast and caused two stars to drop out before the competition began.

Source: Yahoo News

I really don't know what to say about this cast, it might just be the weirdest cast they've ever had.

The only person I would be even remotely interested in seeing dance is Shannen Doherty.

Also with another Olympic medalist in the mix, I think the rest of the competition is kind of pointless.

Every time they've had an Olympic athlete they've always won.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Memorable Martina Moment: '99 Du Maurier Open

This is my favourite Martina match from the tail-end of the 90's. It was Hingis's only win in Canada I believe, and she played superb.




The final speech still sticks in my mind as one of the funniest (unfortunately I don't have a clip it is part of my old vhs tape collection hopefully I'll be able to share it some time in the future).