Thursday, March 31, 2011

Roger Federer double the pleasure double the fun

What the twins look like now (so freakin' cute!)
Can you see the resemblance?.  Yep right down to the mannerisms! :D.
For comparison's sake Roger as a young boy :).  Spitting image I tell ya!.

pictures via menstennisforums

All the pics were taken during Roger's doubles match in Indian Wells last week.  

Seriously, those girls are getting more adorable by the minute! :).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kim Clijsters out of Miami

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Victoria Azarenka has advanced to her first semifinal this year by beating two-time champion Kim Clijsters 6-3, 6-3 at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Clijsters, who has been nursing a right shoulder injury since she won the Australian Open in January, had eight double-faults Wednesday night and held only three times in nine service games.

Azarenka, seeded eighth, earned the biggest victory of her career when she won Key Biscayne in 2009. Her opponent Thursday will be No. 3-seeded Vera Zvonareva, who beat No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-3.

yahoo sports

Oops looks like I spoke too soon.

Perhaps that shoulder is an issue after all.  Well that and the marathon match she played on Tuesday.  Oh well, great effort nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Lucy L.!

A very Happy Birthday to Ms. Lucy Lawless.  Who turns 43 today.  All the best :).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kim Clijsters battles past Anna Ivanovic to reach the quarters in Miami

The weather was humid and dreary at the Sony Ericsson Open on Tuesday, but the tennis was scintillating.

Fans who waited out the rain delays and didn’t mind damp seats were treated to a thrilling comeback by two-time champion Kim Clijsters, another victory dance by charismatic newcomer Andrea Petkovic after a seven-deuce final game, a milestone victory by the lone remaining American Mardy Fish and easy victories by No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic.

Clijsters trailed 5-1 in the third set to former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, but the Belgian remained calm, swept the next five games, survived five match points and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory in a match postponed from Monday because of rain. Ivanovic squandered four match points at 5-1, and another at 5-3. Her racket paid the price.

“I think because I have been on the tour for many years, you realize you have to keep trying until the last point is played,” said Clijsters, the No. 2 seed. “In tennis, even if it’s 5-1, you start the next game and it’s 0-0. She has to win four points. She got a little tentative at the end.”

Asked how hard it was to accept the loss, Ivanovic smiled and said: “You should see my racket. I kind of broke my racket and then cried a little bit, and then I was okay.”

*sigh* Why is it that I always miss all the good ones darn it!.  Hoping to see it at some point tomorrow. 

Good to see Clijsters shoulder isn't much of an issue.  And way to make a comeback!.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kim Clijsters & co. raise funds for Japan relief in Miami

Kim Clijsters and her fellow tennis stars collected donations for victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan as part of the Tennis Family Relief For Japan fundraiser at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Fla. on Friday while wearing a custom designed, commemorative Fila shirt. 

Proceeds from the shirt's sale as well as auctioned-off, signed memorablia from the players will also be donated to Japan relief funds.

"Last night the tennisworld came together to raise money for Japan! It was emotional but we were all honored to help out in any way," Clijsters tweeted this morning.

The fundraising efforts resulted in $300,000 given to the Red Cross and other organization thanks to contributions from fans, the WTA, ATP World Tour, the Grand Slams, Sony Ericsson, ITF, IMG, SAP, Itaú, FILA, adidas, Lagardère.

“Tennis is a global sport and when a tragedy strikes, the entire tennis community comes together and responds,” said Adam Barrett, Sony Ericsson Open Tournament Director.

Prior to the event, it took #2-ranked Clijsters less than an hour to defeat qualifying Anastasiya Yakimova in two short sets of 6-1, 6-1 during the opening round of the tournament while #3-ranked Vera Zvonareva had a little more trouble to get past former #1-ranked Dinara Safina.
"We compete against each other but when such a disaster happens in the world, we have to become a tennis family and show people we're thinking of them," said Zvonovera in a post-match interview with WTA staff.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Song of the Moment: Brandi Carlile-The Story

I fell in love with this artist after first hearing one of  her songs on Grey's Anatomy years ago ( I think the song was called "What Can I Say").

Somehow I completely missed this one and only heard it last week when one of the stars of Grey's Sara Ramirez sang it live at the Grove in preparation for next week's musical episode of the show.

I must say I'm really looking forward to hearing Sara's studio version of the song. 

Not to mention the whole musical itself.  Thursday can't get here fast enough!. :D

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kim Clijsters won't be going to Asia

World number two Kim Clijsters will not play at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September due to the nuclear emergency in Japan.

Clisters, the US Open and Australian Open singles champion, told Belgian media on Tuesday of her decision.

The Belgian player also said that she would withdraw from the China Open in October.

She has extended messages of support to the Japanese people through Twitter since disaster struck the country. 

Clijsters also released a statement through the Women's Tennis Association [WTA], which said: "Most importantly, my thoughts and sympathies are with the people in Japan. It's heart wrenching to see what they are going through right now."

The statement continues: "Of course the health and safety of anyone travelling to an impacted area [from radiation] is my top priority, as well as the WTA's. I'm sure the WTA will continue to monitor the situation." 

Kimiko Date-Krumm, a former doubles partner of Clijsters, understands why the four-time grand slam winner would be reluctant to compete in Tokyo, but hopes such fears can be allayed. 

The Japanese player said: "We still have time, so hopefully we can fix everything and everyone can come to Japan. If it's 100% safe I hope everybody will come and help Japan." 

Other top players have decided to reserve judgement on whether to play in Japan, preferring to wait and see how the country recovers from the devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

World number three Roger Federer said: "It hasn't even crossed my mind [whether to play in Japan] yet. We'll get the green light from someone else. You always have to take your own decision, but I don't think it will be a problem by then to be honest."

Andy Roddick, the world number eight, said: "I would say it's a long way away for me. Obviously if it's deemed safe I will go." 

BBC Sports

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kim Clijsters will play on in Key Biscayne

— Kim Clijsters' right shoulder is acting up. Her wrist is a pain, too. 

But don't expect her to assign a traditional label, such as tendinitis, to her condition.

"Almost 30 years old," was her official self-diagnosis.

Some players reach this stage and are thirtysomethings. Others are something when they're 30.

Clijsters, for the record, is a mere 27 and won't hit 30 until June 2013, but even that is relative, since she took time off from the tour to give birth to daughter Jada in February 2008 before coming back stronger than ever.

She enters the Sony Ericsson Open as the defending champion and the second-ranked player in the world, bum shoulder or not. 

Yes, she had to pull out of last week's event in Indian Wells, Calif., but she and her doctor are confident the problem can be controlled.

"I wouldn't risk it if I knew I had a serious injury," she said Tuesday.

Clijsters never was one to make an important move without reflection. The Fed Cup, French Open and Wimbledon are on the immediate horizon, she said.

Beyond that, the London 2012 Olympics.

"That will probably be the last big event that I will be a part of," she said.

Don't put it past her to drop the curtain on a career at its apex. Tennis is a big part of her life, but not the only part. 

She grew up in Belgium with 14 cousins on one side of the family. Both she and her husband want to "keep that tradition going" with a big family of their own, which would count a lot more than her four Grand Slam titles, including this year's Australian Open.

"I think the perspective is something that I've always had," she said. "It's probably more even now, but growing up, there's things that happen in life that make you realize, 'OK, tennis: It's a sport and it's something that to me started as a hobby and a lot of times still is.' So I think it would be a little bit embarrassing in a way to compare a loss to it being the end of the world. I think with everything that's going on now in the East, in Japan, it would be crazy to compare sports to that level."

More to life than just sports _ it's a philosophy she'll instill in Jada, just as it was instilled in her by her late father, Leo, who was Belgium's soccer player of the year in 1988. Young Kim knew what was coming the moment she returned from tournaments.

"OK, put your rackets in the garage," she said, repeating Dad's instructions. "Don't touch them for a week. Go have fun."

Her message for tennis parents living vicariously: "A lot of parents look at their child as a business. And I think that's the wrong thing."

Time off the court never did seem to set Kim back. In March 2007, she put having a child first and left the tour. Three tournaments into her comeback, she was hoisting the trophy at the 2009 U.S. Open. She became the first mother to be ranked No. 1.

Today, she's one of the veterans. The view around her is an odd one, lacking peers from her generation such as Justine Henin, who recently retired, and Venus and Serena Williams, who will miss the Sony because of health problems. It was only a year ago that Clijsters was defeating Venus for the championship on Key Biscayne.

Venus has an abdominal injury. Serena needed emergency treatment for blood clots, which shook the locker room.

"Players get injured and you don't see them for a couple of months and you think, 'OK, I'll see them again,'" Clijsters said. "Then something like that is life-threatening and something that again puts everything in perspective. I do think, especially here _ everywhere _ every tournament is just a bigger tournament when they're a part of it.

"When I think back on my career, playing Serena and Venus in some of the biggest matches I have played have been the most fun matches. I've lost some but I've also won a couple and I think for the amount of time that I'm still playing, I hope that I get a few more of those."


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Martina vs Martina in Liverpool exhibition this summer

THE Liverpool International Tennis tournament is serving up a double Martina for sports fans this summer.

Superstars Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis will be the headline ‘legends’ at the June 16-20 event in Calderstones Park, alongside former Men’s Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek and former World number four Greg Rusedski.

The legendary ladies will clash in an all Czech showdown during the hugely popular event.

Hingis famously came out of retirement in 2008 to play Liverpool and enjoyed the experience so much she came back last year to use the event as a warm up before her competitive seniors return at Wimbledon.

The Liverpool International tournament began in 2002 and has since become the catalyst for four further events that now take place each summer in Manchester, Nottingham, Oslo and Marbella.

Event organiser Anders Borg said: “We’ve expanded from humble beginnings in Liverpool into quickly becoming a pan-European wide event that is already a highlight in each city’s corporate calendar. We are proud of now being branded the biggest tennis exhibition in Europe.

“This has been largely been due to the success of the Liverpool tournament because others have looked on enviously at what the city has created and wanted their own.”

He added: “Liverpool City Council over the years has also given us tremendous support enabling the tournament here to reach out to more than 60,000 children since we began. Without them, we would never have been able to expand and achieve the profile we now enjoy.”

The Liverpool event over the years has attracted such stars as John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, current world number two Novak Djokovic and ladies world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What are the WTA players listening to?

Varied tastes.  And when it comes to artist names I'm basically just as bad, so I can't fault any of them for not remembering.  Black Eyed Peas and somebody indeed :D.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roger Federer falls to Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells

There is no stopping Novak Djokovic. The 23-year-old Serb maintained his remarkable unbeaten start to the year last night when he beat Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the Masters Series tournament at Indian Wells in California.

Twenty-four hours after knocking out Roger Federer, a result that ensured he would overtake the Swiss to become No 2 in the world, Djokovic won his 20th match in succession to claim his third title of the year following triumphs in Melbourne and Dubai. He has not been beaten since losing to Federer in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London last November.

Djokovic, who won the Indian Wells title three years ago, lost the first set against Nadal but recovered to win a high-quality contest after two hours and 25 minutes, breaking the world No 1 twice in the final set.

His 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Federer in Saturday's semi-finals had been his third successive triumph this year against the former world No 1. He had previously beaten him in the Australian Open semi-finals and in the final in Dubai. Federer, who has spent all but 11 weeks ranked at No 1 or No 2 in the world since November 2003, falls to No 3 in today's updated ranking list.

The 29-year-old Swiss, who later partnered his fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the doubles final only to be beaten by Alexandr Dolgopolov and Xavier Malisse, said after losing to Djokovic: "I wasn't far away at all today, because I really had him going, but I guess he escaped. Confidence is a big thing for him at the moment." 

Parts of the Federer match were inspiring and parts were just frustratingly sad.  And although Djokovic seems to be on fire right now, I believe it will extinguish soon enough. 

As Federer himself states he's riding a big wave of confidence at the moment once that wave passes Federer will continue to extend his head to head and grand slam records.  

As important as this event was ranking wise there are still 3 more grand slams left in the year which will no doubt allow Roger to take the #2 spot back (and eventually the #1).  It's just a matter of time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kim Clijsters retires from Indian Wells due to shoulder injury

Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open with a nagging shoulder injury as she retired during her match with France's Marion Bartoli.

After winning the opening set of the fourth-round match, Clijsters called for her trainer at 1-2 before conceding with the score at 3-6 3-1.

Clijsters' exit at Indian Wells ended any hopes the Belgian had of regaining the world number one ranking.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki defeated Alisa Kleybanova 2-6 6-3 6-1.

Clijsters had to finish higher than the Dane to climb to the top of the rankings.
The Belgian has been taking the painkiller Advil to cope with the injury since before she won her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

"With those higher shots against the opponent today, I just feel it pinching a little bit more when I have to do that kick serve and when I have to reach that right arm up higher with the forehand," said two-time Indian Wells winner Clijsters.

"It's not that I'm really, really worried about it but it is something that I have to pay attention to and that I don't want to risk." 

BBC News

Well this was bound to happen, too bad given the fact she plans to retire next year for good.  This was probably her last shot at trying to grab this title again.

But on the other hand I'm glad she's taking care of her shoulder, hopefully it's not too serious and won't interfere with the clay court season (like her last injury did preventing her from participating at last year's French Open).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kim Clijsters struggles through to the quarters at Indian Wells


INDIAN WELLS — Two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Kim Clijsters has reached the final of her past five consecutive events, but the No. 2 player in the world looked a bit wobbly in her third-round match against Italy's Sara Errani on Sunday.

Clijsters overcame a tricky Errani for a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 triumph and tweeted after her match that she “didn't play good” and happy she won.

“Not at all pleased, but I won,” said Clijsters, who will next face Marion Bartoli of France. “That is probably the positive thing I'm getting out of it. I was able to win without being close to coming to my best level.”

Clijsters overcame erratic serving in the first two sets, but was able to break Errani twice in the third.
Clijsters said she felt a little slower on her feet and began to worry about the little details.

“Those are enough to get your focus away,'' she said. “That's trying to play aggressive and try to not let her rip those forehands. I just kind of lost focus a little bit. I let her play her game and play the game that she likes to play too much.”

Clijsters added that she has been bothered by a sore shoulder and also was feeling as if her feet were “heavy.” She was taking Advil-type medication for her shoulder at the Australian Open, but battled through. She said it's just a pinching feeling when she had to reach up for Errani's higher shots and feels it a bit more when she faces a player who uses a lot of topspin. She plans to receive additional treatment in Miami to help prepare for the clay-court season.

“Just when I'm not training it fells fine,” she said. “As I got into hitting a little bit more when I do that kick serve and when I have to reach that right arm up higher with the forehand.

Errani equaled her best performance at Indian Wells. She also made it to the third round last year, eventually losing to the eventual champ Jelena Jankovic in three sets.

I've been out of the loop thus far and haven't been following Indian Wells at all. 

Good to see Kim made it through although with some struggle (hope the shoulder holds up). Hope Roger continues on the same path as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

'The Smurfs' finally hit the big screen in August

Well, I was right this is just like Alvin and the Chipmunks which means I'm no longer interested. 

It's really too bad.  *sigh* Why couldn't they have just made the whole thing CGI.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kim Clijsters plans to adopt

Kim Clijsters, the queen of normal, was brightening the interview room Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.

She enters and the lights turn up, even if the switch had been flicked hours ago.

There are tennis players who live in the vacuum that the pro tour provides, almost demands. And there are tennis players who walk right through the restrictive walls of celebrity, smell the flowers on the outside and still find a way to succeed. Clijsters is the latter.

She is within a couple of well-hit backhands of being No. 1 in the world, again, for a fourth time. That could happen here at Indian Wells, where she has won twice and where current No. 1,
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, is also competing in this prestigious two-week event.

Clijsters won the tour's first Grand Slam of the year, the
Australian Open; helped her country win a Fed Cup match against the United States; lost in the final of a tournament in Paris, and then went home to tend to the important stuff.

"I had three weeks, and it was great," she says. "There was the cooking, taking her [daughter Jada] to school and just being home."

Home is Belgium, with occasional stops in New Jersey, where her husband is from.

But Clijsters has become an adopted child of the sports world. Win or lose, whether the tournament is being played at the North Pole or North Texas, she is "Our Kim." She has endeared herself to sports fans all over the world because she hasn't tried to.

Clijsters is who she is. With her, appearances are never deceiving. Celebrity runs on results and personality. Clijsters is one and has both.

The Australian title was her fourth major. She won her second
U.S. Open title in 2009, after a nearly two-year sabbatical, during which she got married and had Jada. Then she returned to New York last year and won again.

She will be 28 in June. She has been doing this a long time. Her first Indian Wells appearance was in 2000, the first year of the new stadium. Last year, she returned for the first time since 2005 and now is back with the same smile on her face.

Is she happy that her forehand is grooving, or her serve popping? It's much simpler than that.

"There is a pool and slide at the hotel," she says, "and there's the zoo and the Living Desert we can take her [Jada] to. There's plenty to do. We tennis players are pretty lucky. We pretty much follow the sun."

That's especially nice when you have a 3-year-old.

Marriage, a child and normal maturity have helped Clijsters become grounded, even while living in a public life that, literally and figuratively, makes one fly around a lot. But she had her feet planted firmly before all that too.

A British journalist recalls the days when Clijsters, a teenager, was dating men's star
Lleyton Hewitt. The WTA, often excelling as control freaks, made the topic of Hewitt off-limits to journalists. In the midst of this, she sat down for an interview with Alix Ramsay of the London Times.

"Before I knew it, she was talking about Lleyton," Ramsay says, "about how she learned this from him and how she and Lleyton talked about this and that."

Clijsters wasn't defying tour orders. She merely saw no need for them. Hewitt was part of her life then and somebody was interested enough to ask about it.

Then, there was the night in August 2006, when Clijsters met a woman named Jacque Morgan at a charity fund-raising dinner during the San Diego tour stop. They chatted about
dogs. Clijsters loves dogs, Morgan's had just died.

That night, they held an auction, on court, run by former tennis star Pam Shriver. The item was a black Lab puppy, and Shriver somehow got the bidding to $11,000. The mystery winner turned out to be Clijsters, who came on court, claimed her prize, asked for a stunned Morgan to come out of the crowd, and gave the puppy to her.

"We still send notes to each other," Clijsters says. "I'm going to play in San Diego this year, so I'll get to see them."

Then there was the moment Wednesday during a TV interview. The WTA had their star players scattered about on a deck of the stadium, with the perfect visual — a background view of mountains and swaying trees in bright, sunny skies. The typists and scribblers had finished and now the people with microphones and cameras took over.

Clijsters, herded from one group to another, smiled and treated each interviewer, whether it they worked for
ESPN or 10-watt K-NOISE in Blythe, as if he or she were Walter Cronkite. Then, camera rolling, microphone on, one of those out-of-nowhere questions was asked that either rings the bell or falls flat.

"What is your biggest goal in life?"

Clijsters didn't pause, didn't blink.

"My goal in life is to adopt a child," she said, clearly meaning she wanted to add to whatever family she produced herself by giving a home and a better life to a child that needed one. "We're going to start working on that."

Now there's an answer you won't hear a lot on the WTA Tour.

But then, there is only one Clijsters, who is the sunshine in every tennis cloudy day.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Wimbledon championships going 3-D

WIMBLEDON, England (AP)—Wimbledon is going 3-D.

The men’s semifinals and men’s and women’s finals at this summer’s tournament will be shown live by 3-D-capable movie theaters around the world. 

Wimbledon becomes the latest major sporting event to be available in 3-D.

The deal was announced Monday as part of the Wimbledon’s multiyear partnership with Sony.

All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie says “Wimbledon is renowned for its heritage and sense of tradition. 

At the same time we are always looking for ways to improve the presentation of the championships by successfully blending that tradition with innovation.”

I find it funny that it took them forever to get a retractable roof yet, they jump on this right away.  I guess times do change.  I still hate the whole idea.

Yahoo Sports

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sony buys Hawk-eye system

LONDON (AP)—Electronics giant Sony has completed the purchase of Hawk-Eye, the British-based company that provides ball-tracking technology in tennis and cricket.

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

Hawk-Eye is also used in snooker, while soccer world governing body FIFA could utilize the tracking system as it looks to introduce technology to rule on goal-line decisions.

Paul Hawkins, inventor of Hawk-Eye, said Monday the takeover by Sony would create “immense opportunities for the sports industry.”

Hmm, I wonder if they'll eventually make this 3-D too.

Yahoo Sports

Friday, March 04, 2011

Zac Hanson introduces his new daughter Junia Rosa Ruth

 Jeremy Charles  

The 11-week-old daughter of Zac Hanson and his wife Kate arrived just before Christmas, and her proud parents say it’s been a smooth, happy ride ever since.

“Junia is such a sweet gift,” says the Hanson drummer, 25, who also has a son Shepherd, who turns 3 in May. “It has been so much fun to get to know her and to watch her along with her big brother grow and change so quickly.”

These days, Zac is likely tops on his 5½-year-old niece Penelope‘s list — until now, Taylor Hanson‘s daughter, been holding her own as the lone lady among six little boys in the family (her three brothers and as many boy cousins).

“We are looking forward to bringing Junia along on all of our adventures,” adds the proud papa, “and showing her the world.”

Not to mention the family business. Junia’s brother and her six cousins (Taylor has four kids; Isaac Hanson has two) have gone on tour with their dads’ band, and there are opportunities for music video cameos, too.

Following Ezra, 8, (Taylor’s oldest son) and Penelope’s appearance in the band’s hit video for “Thinkin’ Bout Something“, a trio of other little Hansons pop up in their new one.

Just past the three-minute mark and elsewhere in the video for the band’s new single, “Give a Little,” fans can spot Isaac’s sons Everett, who turns 4 in April, and Monroe, 2½, in addition to Taylor’s son River, 4½. 

(His youngest son, Viggo, 2, sat this one out.)

Time to get a pair of dancin’ shoes, Junia!

Awww, look at Shepherd hard to believe he's almost 3 already!.

They really do grow up fast.  Looks like he's certainly inherited his dad's hair and eyes :).

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Song of the Moment: Sarah Mclachlan-Bring on the Wonder

Such a beautiful cover (no one does covers better then Sarah).  You can find it on Sarah's latest album "Laws of Illusion".

Here's the Susan Enan orignal which I love equally.

I first heard it on Bones and just fell in love with it.  It's so hauntingly beautiful.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Martina Hingis talks tennis and horse riding

  Finding Martina Hingis in the Floodgate estate these days is not a surprise. The former tennis player who dominated the world rankings between 1997 and 2001, accompanied her husband, Thibault Hutin, involved in 4 Atlantic edition of the Tour. 

But the presence of former world number one has stolen the spotlight with some of the world's best riders. Nothing that Hingis is not accustomed to. 

Away from the courts, the 30 year old Swiss continues to smile ready and available to chat, sign autographs or interviews like this one that she gave the audience during the third visit to Portugal.

How do you feel in your new life away from the rider and courts?

I always liked to compete with my horses and that's how I met my husband. Sometimes it's good to do anything without pressure. It's something completely different than tennis, though sometimes frustrating, because I was number one for four years in a row (in tennis) and I don't have the same level in equestrianism or any ambitions. 

It is a very different sport then tennis, we have to concentrate for a minute, but when wrong it is done, over. In tennis, we have more time, we could lose a set, wake up and win. It is also an expensive sport and you don't earn the same amount of money. When I earned a check for 1500 euros, it seemed to me to be missing a zero [laughs]. But thanks to tennis, I have money for this sport. I have two horses in competition here with me and have another for playback. 

I remember you had a fall from a horse five weeks before the first final of Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam that you had never won ...

I was 17, but did other sports like horse riding, skiing ... I've always liked variety in my life. If I only played tennis it just wasn't me. I like to move, the speed, but do not go to the limits. I always had that lifestyle and physical fitness I was always outdoors. 

I like to be flexible so as to be equally flexible on the court and have different game strategies. This fall may not have helped me at Roland Garros, but maybe it helped me win Wimbledon, a few weeks later.

And the other end, in 1999 [lost to Steffi Graf, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2] you received a point penalty for having moved to the front of the court to check an opponent mark (when winning by 6 - 4, 2-0) and eventually turned the public against you?

This I also would have liked to have won. I regret this more. I was winning 6-4, 5-4, 30-30, two points from victory, but my serve was not working. People are always reminding me of that, especially journalists [laughs], the rest do not usually think about it. In fact, recently I was reviewing the video with my husband and I was surprised at the level of play, and with the high-quality of tennis. I lost in the end, but it was a great game tennis quality, good points, long exchanges of the ball, very tactical ... I am also proud to have made history, because it was a meeting which was voted by fans as the best ever [vote online at the official site of the WTA Tour].

You finished in tears at the end and did not want to return to court for the trophy ceremony. What do you remember of that time?

Yes, of course it was an end with much emotion, because I wanted to win. But there were always stories about me. I've always been very emotional, always smiling when I was winning, when I was losing I was angry. At that time there were players with very different personalities, there were the Williams sisters, Capriati, Seles, Kournikova, different guys with different styles ...  it was a good time for tennis. Today, all players have the same style, one-dimensional.

This lack of variety of styles was one of the reasons you returned in late 2005?

I felt I still had a chance and it was always best to do it at 25 years than at 30. I was proud to have reached No. 6 in the world again. Today it's amazing what happened to Kim [Clijsters], reaching number one.  

I don't know if it is harder to reach the top, but tennis is more physical, there are more players with a high level, like Jankovic and Wozniacki, and veterans are still in the circuit like the Williams sisters (when they play well), also Li Na at 28 to reach the final of the Australian Open ... Even Serena, when she is physically well, is amazing. The older generation of players can play tennis better, more technical, because they have a better education/experience. The newer ones play more standard tennis, when things are going well,  they have no plan B.

The return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters did not motivate you for a second comeback? Wouldn't you have like to have left the circuit another way than the accusation of cocaine use that precipitated your final withdrawal in 2007?

That's already history, but of course it is not the way I wanted to leave a mode where I was on top for so many years. It's one thing I can not change. I made a return that was successful and ready.

Your current connection to tennis comes down to commentating for television and radio?

It's more to follow some young players at the Academy that my mother has in Zurich - we have the best under-14 European, Belinda Becici  you will hear about her!.  I play two to three times a week with friends, do some exhibitions.  

I'll play the Legends tournament [proof of veterans] at Roland Garros, and perhaps at Wimbledon, and then the Team Tennis [team competition very popular in America, which joins current and former champions] - always liked the team spirit!.  I don't need any special preparation because I'm always doing different sports.

Current players you would like to see more?

The new, the one that is on top Caroline Wozniacki. I think she is very effective, makes the most of her abilities. But only when she wins a Grand Slam will she have the recognition from the world of tennis. I played with her about three times when she was 20 or 30 in the world and she has improved considerably. Her serve, is very consistent and, of course, dispute many tournaments. What she lacks is a major, because that is where you have to beat the best when they are at their maximum.

Know some Portuguese players?

I know Michelle Brito, hit balls with her a couple times, three years ago in an exhibition in Liverpool and again in the U.S.. When I was young, I had potential, but today it takes more. Physically being small is such a deficit, so she has to work harder in other areas. Like me: who was not very tall or strong, all the rest had to be very good, almost perfect.

translated by Google edited for grammar by me (it's a bit rough sorry don't know Portuguese)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Dancing with the Stars season 12 cast and pairings revealed

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff

Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya

WWE star Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke

E! boobmonger Kendra Wilkinson and Louis van Amstel

Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani

Rapper Lil Romeo and Chelsie Hightower

Disney actress Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas

Footballer Hines Ward and Kym Johnson

“Psycho” Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer

Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin


Interesting choices, too bad Jamie Lee Curtis didn't work out that would have been really fun.  

Other then Ralph Macchio and Kirstie Alley I really don't know anybody else, but as popwatch points out it might be interesting learning more about them.  

Also Kirstie with Maksim I can see her having a lot of fun with him! (plenty of frustration as well I'm sure).  But it could work well.  

And the Karate Kid (nice!), if they manage to stick around they just might be reason enough to watch.  

The new season starts Monday March 21st.