Monday, September 30, 2013

Martina Hingis' (yet another) new beau?

Hingis is now reported to be in a relationship with David Tosas Ros, a Spanish sports management executive. The pair were spotted sitting together at Roland Garros.

Well I'll say this the attractiveness factor has certainly gone up another few notches (but then I think anyone would after Radek Stepanek) sorry Martina!.

You can check out a picture slideshow of some of the other guys Martina has dated in her now illustrious past:

In other related news HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the 'Swiss Miss' she turns 33 today :).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Martina Hingis' husband claims he was physically attacked by Martina and her mom

Now that she is done with tennis, perhaps Martina Hingis could try boxing or mixed martial arts.
Not content with seemingly cheating on him twice, the former women's tennis world number one has apparently beat up her estranged husband with the help of her mum, according to several Swiss newspapers.
French showjumper Thibault Hutin claimed in July that he had walked in on Hingis to find her with another man after one year of marriage. He took her back only to discover her cheating again.
In a bizarre twist, Hutin - who is waiting to divorce the Grand Slam champion - claims he was sitting at home minding his own business when Hingis, her mother and her mother's boyfriend combined to launch an attack on him.
“On Monday evening, I was in our shared apartment when the doorbell rang. In the course of a dispute, Martina and her mother Melanie Molitor pounced on me - beating and scratching me. My upbringing forbids me to beat women," he told Blick.
"I resisted every effort but Mario Widmer, the partner of Melanie, struck me in the head with a DVD player. ”
Hutin says he had to call police to recover his credit card and passport from the trio. A police report apparently suggests it was a "violent incident" with Hutin claiming he had received threatening text messages.
He has since moved into a hotel with plans to return to Paris.
“The policemen went back to the apartment with me and forced the three to surrender my valuables," Hutin is quoted as saying.
“They wanted to kill me. I’m shocked! I never thought it would go so far."

Ok, I am sorry but I had to laugh a little at this.  Just not something you read every day (unless it's the tabloids or Jerry Springer). It's turning into a regular soap opera!.

Sounds like a made up story of a scorned husband to me (and a little juvenile at that). 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WTA boss calls Andy Murray's bluff says women will play 5 sets if asked

WTA boss Stacey Allaster has called the bluff of those agitating for more equality between the tennis sexes, saying in Singapore that women would be happy to play best-of-five-sets at grand slams. 
The Canadian, visiting the venue for the year-end championships from 2014, appeared to be returning fire at the suggestion from Wimbledon winner Andy Murray that women should play the same long matches as men to earn their equal prize payout.

“We are ready, willing and able to play five-set matches in the major tournaments. All the others have to do is ask us” said Allaster.

What she failed to mention was the elephant in the room – the complex scheduling of the majors, which would surely descend into even more chaos were women’s matches to stretch out to multiple hours as many men’s contests already do.

“To make the schedule will be challenging. It’s already hard for organizers to deal with five-set matches only for men,” she said. “We think that three-set matches are very much enjoyed by our fans. To have both women and men playing in long matches could cause major delays on the tournaments’ schedules.”

After laying down her brazen dare to the tennis establishment – which she must surely believe will never be taken up – the executive added: “We prefer three-set matches, but if the grand slam tournaments require us to play as long as the men, we want to say that we are ready to do that.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

No more tennis in 2013 for Martina Hingis?

Tennis - According to writer Matt Cronin, former world no. 1 Martina Hingis will not play again on tour this year.

Hingis had already pulled out of the WTA Tokyo doubles event next week where she was supposed to partner Daniela Hantcuhova, due to personal reasons. And sources in her camp say now that she will not play again this season. 

There was no word if this is the end of HIngis' latest comeback.

Hingis returned to the tour after Wimbledon, partnering Hantuchova in five events but managed a modest 3-5 record including a first round loss at the US Open.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Marin Cilic suspended for doping

LONDON -- Former top-10 player Marin Cilic has been suspended nine months for a doping violation.
The ban was back-dated to May 1, so Cilic can return to competition Jan. 31, the International Tennis Federation said Monday.
Cilic tested positive for nikethamide, a stimulant, at a tournament in Munich last spring. The ITF said it accepted the player's contention that he ingested the substance inadvertently in glucose tablets and was not trying to cheat.
As a result, the ITF gave him a reduced penalty rather than a ban of up to two years.
Cilic plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He said in a statement that he purchased the tablets at a pharmacy in France.
"I wish to emphasize that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substances in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport," Cilic said.
The 24-year-old from Croatia has not played since withdrawing from his second-round match at Wimbledon in June, citing a knee injury. Cilic will be ineligible for the Australian Open in January.
He has been ranked as high as No. 9 in the world in early 2010 after reaching the semifinals at that year's Australian Open. Cilic is currently 24th.
Cilic will lose all his results, ranking points and prize money since the Munich tournament. His best result in that span was a runner-up finish at the Queen's Club grass-court tournament, where he lost to Andy Murray.

First Richard Gasquet & now Marin Cilic.

It's amazing how they both received reduced sentences and Martina Hingis got the full 2 year suspension.

Either she had a really crappy lawyer, or someone really wanted her out of the competition I'm still sticking with the latter.  Seems to me like discrimination and sexism at it's best.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kim Clijsters & husband Brian Lynch welcome son Jack Leon

It’s love all around for Kim Clijsters!
The former tennis champion and her husband Brian Lynch welcomed their second child — a boy! — on Wednesday, Sept. 18, Clijsters announced on Twitter.
Jack Leon Lynch is born! Born at 7:06 p.m. tonight and we are both doing well,” the new mom, who gave birth in Belgium, writes. “His big sister, mama and daddy are very proud and happy!”
Baby boy joins the couple’s daughter Jada Ellie, 5½.
Clijsters, who retired from the sport after competing in the 2012 U.S. Openannounced her pregnancy in February.
“We are of course delighted,” she wrote on her website. “I’m doing fine, even though I tire more easily right now.”
Congrats to the proud parents. I love the name Jack and Jada kind of has a ring to it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More scoop on Hanson's MmmHop brew

You'd be forgiven for thinking the words "Hanson beer" sound a little hokey together. After all, when those words initially started rolling out in the press almost two years ago, back before the band of brothers had formulated much of a plan or even landed on the style they'd ultimately brew, it seemed more like an offhanded interview comment (or an upcoming marketing gimmick) than an actual business plan. It would be another year and a half before the beer, an American Pale Ale called Mmmhops, would make its debut at The Hangover Part III's Los Angeles premiere party this past May. (The song from which the beer takes its name, Hanson's 1997 pop smash, "MMMBop," was featured on the soundtrack, and the makers of the song posed for photos with stars from the movie on the beer's Twitter account. Yes, the beer has a Twitter account.) Not much has happened since.
I decided to investigate. I sent a few emails, then made a few phone calls, then, two Sundays ago, braved an intimidating "Red Rover" situation with a long and winding line of Hansonites that stretched from the front door of Variety Playhouse, all the way back down the alley between the venue and El Myr, snaking around the outskirts of the parking lot, then halfway back up to Euclid Ave. I was on a mission. I was going to drink Mmmhops with Hanson.
"This is an endeavor on its own. It's not a promotional thing," drummer Zac, 27, says as we crack open a few bottles backstage. "We're not, like, making some up, having it on tour, then next year you won't see it. It's about taking the right steps, not moving too fast."
The Hansons are a friendly bunch without coming off as too polished or cheesy. They act like goobers in a way that three still-relatively-young brothers who hang out every day might act like goobers. They have plenty of handlers, but none flutter around while we drink beer and chat.
Mmmhops pours a light amber color with medium head. It's neither particularly fragrant or bitter, though there's some bready sweetness on the nose. Tastewise, it's a very balanced pale ale, much heavier on the malts than its name implies. (Play-on phrases aside, they probably should've bestowed the "Mmmhops" moniker on something a little more "mmmhoppier," as it were.) The Hansons have talked it up as a "craft beer gateway drug," which is a pretty fair assessment of this 7.5 percent ABV brew.
Like many bands, Hanson got a taste for craft beer on the road. Coming of age in a distinctly different environment than most American beer drinkers, the trio were less inclined to sneak booze and behave badly. They could have easily had a beer at a festival or show if they really wanted one. As a result, they started trying regional craft varieties in different towns, finding a taste for Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, Three Floyds, and New Belgium along the way.
"You're touring around the country, and you come into a city, and people go, 'Have you tried our beer?'" Zac says. "Especially in the size of venues we're usually playing - places like 1,200-2,500 seats. You're not playing the big Clear Channel arena, the hockey place. People who live in that community, places like this, Little Five Points, they love their local beer."
While they've never homebrewed themselves, under the influence of "a very good friend and longtime tech," they became interested in the science, reading up as they tried new IPAs and stouts. The band's done limited runs of chocolates and coffee in the past for super fans, but something about beer felt egalitarian enough that they should make it in a bigger way.
"The idea of doing a beer is like the great connector," singer Taylor, 30, says. "It's the equalizer. Our parents' church friends and our hip-hop remixer friends are all like, 'I'll drink your beer.' It bridges all people. What's cool about it is that it allows us to say something about ourselves without saying it."
"Perez Hilton and Jay Leno are both drinking our beer," guitarist, Isaac, 32, adds.
Enamored with their home state of Oklahoma's Mustang Brewing Company, the Hansons met with Mustang brewer Gary Shellman and started experimenting with recipes. They loved the first batch, but made it hoppier on a subsequent try, experimented with different types of barleys, tried dry hopping at one point, messed with the formula a bit longer, then decided they'd nailed it on the first try. Since Mustang isn't far from their native Tulsa, they even helped out on brew days, carrying sacks of grain and getting their hands dirty.
"When we first started [thinking about beer], we were like, should we just find a great company, license it, and hand it off?" Zac says. "But we realized that's not where we wanted to be. It's just way too much fun and too important for us. We wanted to find a partner close to home, and just like when you go to San Diego, you go to Stone. You get that trek to the place where it's from. It's from your backyard. If you're in downtown Tulsa, bartenders and bar owners know us by first name. Our beer is going to be in those bars."
Fittingly, the band turns 21 this year. Asked if timing the beer's release to the band's legal drinking age was a purposeful move, there's a brotherly quibble.
"It was by chance," Zac says.
"I wouldn't say it was completely by chance," Taylor counters.
"What I mean is," Zac says, "we started talking about the beer for the first time two years ago, but - "
" - I will say this," Taylor interrupts. "We really wanted it to come out this year - "
" - because of that," Isaac finishes the sentence.
"That's one more reason," Taylor says. "'Come on. We're 21. If it's gonna happen, let's get it done this year. We're never going to be 21 again. Let's make it happen.' We've been making stupid jokes about it ever since."
The brothers are striving to have the beer in 10 states this year, and are optimistically hoping to even have it available at some some shows later in their current tour. (Various state laws and permits have gotten in the way so far.) Every bottle will have a QR code on its neck that links the drinker to a downloadable song, and a portion of every beer sold will contribute to clean water wells in Africa. They're calling Mmmhops the flagship of what could become an ongoing project with subsequent beers, assuming their fans are as into it as much as the Hansons think they'll be.
"You kinda get addicted to the idea of creation, of ownership," Zac says. "My flavor, my take on the world. I think the beer, in so many ways, is an extension of that. Beer and music, obviously, go really well together. It's a great companion for what we already do and love. It's a new creative outlet, a new business to tackle and be challenged by. It's exciting. If you're a craft brewery in America, you're a little guy, you're busting your butt. We've run our label for the last 10 years. It's the same thing. You're not getting rich tomorrow. You're up against that guy who has a million more dollars to spend than you do, and you've got to find a way to break through the clutter."
I blogged about this earlier this year, thought this article provides a bit more info on the beer itself.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Roger Federer to play doubles in Shanghai next month

Roger Federer will double up in Shanghai next month. The world No. 6 plans to play doubles with Zhang Ze, China's top-ranked men's player, at the Shanghai Masters, which begins on October 6.
World No. 180 Zhang, who grew up looking up to Federer, received a wild card into the tournament.
"I was surprised when first told about it," Zhang told Shanghai Daily. "But I'm looking forward to it and will try to learn something from the matches."
Federer's last ATP doubles match came when he partnered longtime friend Tommy Haas in Halle last June. They lost to Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner, 7-6, 6-4. Federer hasn't played doubles in a Masters 1000 tournament since he partnered compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the 2011 Indian Wells final, where they fell to Xavier Malisse and Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6-4, 6-7, 10-7.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Owner of famous tennis court in Scotland prefers Federer over Murray

IT IS Scotland’s remotest tennis court, carved out of the Hebridean landscape with a beautiful setting and views out over the ­Atlantic Ocean.
Andy Murray’s mother, Judy, was so impressed by a ­photo of Bunabhainneadar tennis court on the Isle of Harris said she would love to play there.
Now, Murraymania has reached even this furthest flung corner of Scotland with the isolated court seeing a boom in the number of people wanting to play there since the Scot’s Wimbledon victory on Sunday.
But the man who runs the club yesterday said he would rather have a visit from Roger Federer and his mother than from “Team Murray”.
Mike Briggs, 58, who runs the court, said it was benefiting from the Scot’s win.
“You expect courts in England to be busy after Wimbledon, but it even reaches out here in the middle of nowhere.
“I have had a lot of people phoning following Murray’s win, and a bunch of kids wanting to be Andy Murray have been asking to book the court.”
When she was sent a picture of the remote court last October, Judy Murray tweeted: “It’s stunning. I want to go there. And have a rally with a sheep.”
Mr Briggs, 58, who moved to Harris from Berkshire with his wife 21 years ago, said: “If Andy and Judy Murray want to come and play here they are most welcome – but they will have to pay the £14 like anybody else.
“I am more a Federer fan. If Federer said that he wanted to play here, I would welcome him – and his mother – with open arms. I would even play him, and give him a couple of games while he is distracted by the eagles and sheep.”
Mr Briggs also admitted he did not watch Murray’s victory against Novak Djokovic on Sunday. “I didn’t watch it as we don’t have a TV here,” he said. “I didn’t listen to it, ­either. I might get around to it some time.”
Mr Briggs, a qualified Lawn Tennis Association coach, added: “It can be windy and there are midges in August. But we get a couple of hundred people play each year.
“In the 15 years I have coached since the court opened, I think I have had two boys and a girl who could have been as good as Andy Murray if they had put their mind to it. They were extraordinarily good, but they chose other sports.”
Mr Briggs was instrumental in getting the court built 15 years ago. The facility is owned by the charity Buna Ltd, which was set up to provide recreational facilities for the people of Harris.
The £62,000 project was funded by the Scottish Sports Council Lottery Sports Fund, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, charitable funds and ­private ­donors.
IT IS “Flushing Moorlands” rather than Flushing Meadows, but there cannot be many more stunning locations for a tennis court than Bunabhainneadar.
Past the old whaling station, before you reach the eagle observatory, sits a miracle of civil engineering. Improbably cut into the rocky landscape, the court offers dramatic and glorious views that are guaranteed to make even the best player take one eye off the ball.
The surface is perfect, in contrast to the tarmac courts of my youth in municipal Fife, still not resurfaced in the last 30 years.
But when the wind blows, the elements on Harris present a formidable challenge. It’s like skiing in Scotland – if you learn to play tennis in Harris, no other conditions will ever daunt you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Martina Hingis withdraws from Tokyo doubles tournament

Former world number one Martina Hingis has withdrawn her wild-card doubles entry in the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo this month, organizers said Monday.
"She will be absent from this tournament due to personal reasons," the Pan Pacific Open office said in a press release.
The 32-year-old Swiss came back from six years of retirement in July to play doubles. The winner of five Grand Slam singles titles lost in the doubles and mixed doubles first rounds last month at the US Open.
The $2.4 million Pan Pacific Open from September 22-28 will feature such stars as Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova in the singles.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Andy Murray thinks women should play best of 5 sets for equal pay

While speaking to the New York Times, Andy Murray said that having equal pay for both men and women should only happen if women start playing best of five set matches or men play best of three set matches. “It isn’t about it being inferior. As I see them, they’re two different sports,” Murray said.
“It’s just because we play five sets. I’m not saying the men work harder than the women, but if you have to train to play five sets, it’s a longer distance. It’s like someone training to be a 400-meter runner and someone training to be a 600-meter runner. I think the women should play best-of-five sets.
“Maybe it doesn’t have to be from the first rounds,” added this year’s Wimbledon Champion. “I think either the men go three sets or the women go five sets. I think that’s more what the guys tend to complain about, rather than the equal prize money itself.”
Murray also added that the he would prefer to see the best of five set format intact instead of shortening the match to best of three sets.  “I’ve always played five sets at the Slams. It’s what makes them different,” he said. “I would rather want the five-set rule for the men and the women. They did it before. They used to do it in finals, and stuff, I think in the tour finals, and some of the big finals on the WTA Tour. So it’s not like women cannot play five sets. Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova and those players were unbelievable over five sets, and in great shape.”
Murray also said that his mother’s association with coaching for some a long time and the recent rise of Brit female players like Heather Watson and Laura Robson has helped him gain interest in the Women’s game. “I like watching the big matches when the top players play against each other. I like watching the British girls play, when I can,” said Murray.
He also added that his favorite player to watch on the Women’s Tour was Agnieszka Radwanska. “I don’t watch it as much men’s tennis, because when I’m watching it, I’m kind of watching it just to enjoy it, whereas with men’s tennis I sometimes watch to enjoy, but a lot of times I’m either scouting guys or watching my opponent.”

I've always wondered why don't they make it the same for the WTA?.  Does it have anything to do with stamina and fitness?.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

Give Roger Federer a break says Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer’s Fourth Round Loss at the hands of Tommy Robredo in straight sets triggered a buss amongst the critics and the media that the Swiss Maesto is nearing his end. 
2013 marked the first time since more than a decade (2002) since Federer did not make a Major Final, losing here after a shocking Second Round Exit at Wimbledon. 
But World No.1 Novak Djokovic jumped to Federer’s defense, stating that everyone should let Federer be alone and should not spark rumors about his retirement.
“Roger did not play close to his maximum level, so it's always a question of why is he not playing well. People need to give him a break a little bit, because I think it's normal to expect that he's not moving as well as he did when he was No. 1 and he was so dominant,” the Serb commented.
“For me, he's still playing really well and definitely deserves to be one of the top-five players in the world, no question about it.”
Djokovic also added that he does not have any advice for the Swiss Maestro on his plans for the future despite Federer dropping outside the Top-5 (World No.7) which happens to be his lowest in a decade. “How long he's going to play? That's a question for him. But he's what, 31, 32 years old?”
He further added, “Tommy Haas is 35 and close to the top-10. So I think people are seeing Roger always being a top-three, top-two guy and competing for Grand Slam titles. That's not happening, and all of a sudden it's a huge surprise.”

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Roger Federer will be back

The popular tennis story, now several years running, is to look for record-setting 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer to slip up and write about how this now signals the end of his magnificent career.
Right now there is more on-court evidence than ever that the 32-year-old will never be the same, never regain his No. 1 ranking, or win another major.
Monday night’s fourth-round straight sets loss to 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo in the U.S. Open sped up his exit from the top of the tennis world in the eyes of, well nearly everyone. Remember this is from a guy who made the quarterfinals of a grand slam a record 36 straight times—a streak that was finally snapped earlier this year at Wimbledon.
And when you combine Monday’s loss with the aforementioned second-round exit from the All-England Club earlier this summer and the fact that he didn’t reach a major final this year for the first time since 2002, there seems little chance he’ll ever be the same.
This just in though: Federer is not done. He probably won’t regain the No. 1 ranking as there are too many great players squeezed into this one era, but he will win another major.
Now, that may seem like a silly claim but there are some important things to consider.
First, Federer has had to deal with a back injury.
He eluded to this and the effect it had on his game in mid-August at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati according to, “I was playing hurt as well, which was not very smart at times. I got used to doing the wrong things because I’m protecting myself. Then when you’re fine again you’re still playing like you’re protecting something but actually you don’t have to anymore. So it’s difficult sometimes to let go.”
Now granted, Rafael Nadal missed a big part of last year and into this year with a torn patella tendon and he has come back with a vengeance—save for his first round loss at Wimbledon.
The difference is that Nadal took time off while Federer has attempted to play through his pain. Of course, you can’t play through a torn patella tendon, but having to adjust the way you play, due to injury, is certainly going to have a negative effect on your performance.
Secondly, though Federer wasn’t himself Monday, it didn’t look like it was simple old-age related problems, if you can detect such a thing. Federer didn’t look like he had lost a step, his serve didn’t look any slower, but he missed so many normally makeable shots in so many critical situations (2 for 16 in break opportunities) that it looked like he had fallen behind in his practice.
Think of Michael Jordan in 1995 after he made his comeback, but wasn’t quite the same down the stretch for Chicago in the playoffs and needed a summer to refine his touch, before winning three more titles.
Jordan, by the way, was the same age (32) as Federer is now when he came back. Incidentally, it is also the same age at which Andre Agassi won his final major, the French Open.
Lastly, Federer’s biggest strength wasn’t his 32-year-old frame.
His serve has never been as strong as Pete Sampras’s, his forehand never compared with Nadal’s, and his return of serve was never as great as Agassi’s. His biggest asset was something that doesn’t age: mental toughness. Federer never beat himself, which would explain his record for most consecutive quarterfinal (36,) semifinal (23,) and finals (10,) appearances in Grand Slam history.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Q & A with Martina Hingis at U.S. Open

Q.  How have you enjoyed your comeback so far?
MARTINA HINGIS:  Yes, great.  I wish I was winning.  Maybe that would help. 

Q.  Pretty close, though. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Yeah.  Well, we've been close pretty much every match, except the last one, like in the last tournament.  The other three we were always playing well.  Sometimes it would help to win one of those. 

Q.  What has been the difference? 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Maybe hard court is not the easiest one to come back to as well, playing eight weeks in a row.  I haven't stopped since Wimbledon and playing TeamTennis, playing the tournaments.  I enjoy it.  I feel like I'm playing well.  My body is screaming, What are you doing to me? 

Q.  What was your body telling you when you double faulted those two times?
MARTINA HINGIS:  My calf was killing me.  I couldn't get up on my serve anymore.  No, definitely the nerves, not playing at a Grand Slam for six, years doesn't really, you know, help either. 

Q.  Do you think when you do have pain it's more because you haven't played or residual from your whole career?
MARTINA HINGIS:  I think it's because I just played a lot and my body's not used to it.  Especially hard courts.  I didn't really have this type of problem on clay when I was playing more.  It's also different playing matches than playing like practice and practice sets and all of that.  Coaching, it's like still the player has to play the matches, not me. 

Q.  Robert Lindstedt said you control the spin on serve returns better than any woman he had ever seen. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Thank you.  I like the compliment.  I still didn't like his kick serve up there.  Felt like I need a ladder to get up there. 

Q.  He said it was phenomenal.  He said he expects you to do very well, be top 10 in doubles.  What do you think?
MARTINA HINGIS:  It would help to win some matches for confidence, I guess, especially those big points.  If you win matches, yeah, then that helps, to win the big points.  Especially when we play doubles with Daniela, we've been 75%, 80%.  We win those no ad points.  That's the difference from when I played.  It was already much better today, like the regular counting.  Definitely we had our chances, but maybe we have to take them, too. 

Q.  What will you have to achieve in order to keep going? 
MARTINA HINGIS:  I mean, I always play tennis to win matches and to win tournaments, so... 

Q.  Is your next tournament Tokyo?
MARTINA HINGIS:  Yeah, Tokyo.  Take it one at a time right now.  I'll be happy not having to play some tennis for the next few days. 

Q.  Are you playing with Daniela at the next tournament?
MARTINA HINGIS:  Yeah, I think we just pretty much set up like the whole season and see how it goes.  At this point, yes. 

Q.  When you feel anger, do you feel that's been positive for you during your career?
MARTINA HINGIS:  I wasn't angry.  When was I angry? 

Q.  You've never gotten angry and expressed it on the court? 
MARTINA HINGIS:  You mean in today's matches?  In the past? 

Q.  In your career. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Why?  What?  What is the question? 

Q.  I'm doing an article on anger and whether the players think it helps them on the court or hurts them. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Depends on the player, the person. 

Q.  I'm asking you. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Me?  I needed to, yeah, a little bit, whether it was a scream or I don't know, whatever it was at that point, yeah, to get it out.  I mean, I could keep it for two or three points, but not the whole time.  I needed to get it out. 

Q.  You said obviously winning big points is a big deal.  From being out there two matches today, did you get the feel[ing] you could go out there, be competitive, and eventually those things will come around?
MARTINA HINGIS:  Eventually, I guess.  I mean, I don't know.  At this point, I don't know.  I guess it's like being away for six years doesn't help.  To the speed, I didn't have any problem with the speed of the game or anything.  Errani is No. 5 in the world, and I was like still rallying with her and at the net I think I'm pretty good.  The only thing that hurt me in the past was the serve.  Today it's even more a key factor, especially in doubles.  Those three no ad points, if you have a good serve, that helps.

Q.  You were talking about the difference between practice and matches.  Is there a difference between matches in a regular tournament and matches at the US Open as far as the pressure?
MARTINA HINGIS:  Of course.  But I always enjoyed the big stage.  Even today.  You see the people that came.  They enjoyed it.  They really cheered us on.  So, I mean, I couldn't ask for more.  I think to play in a stadium like this, it's really helpful.  They really wanted us to do well and even win the set and see a third set.  I think it was a real enjoyable match to watch.  You don't see such a crowd in women's doubles normally.  All the places they've been to so far that we've been to play doubles, it's been always positive for the tournament. 

Q.  I think in World TeamTennis your results in singles were as good, if not better, than your doubles.  Have you given any more thought to that?
MARTINA HINGIS:  God, give me a break.  No, I haven't given any more thought to it.  I have a hard time covering half the court and trying to be there.  Full court is completely different ballgame. 

Q.  Have you made any plans for the rest of the season? 
MARTINA HINGIS:  I said, like, one at a time.  Play the Asia tournaments, Tokyo and Beijing. 

Q.  After that? 
MARTINA HINGIS:  I don't know. 

Q.  I saw you hit a lot of really good shots today. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  Thank you.  I wish I hit even more good shots to win the match. 

Q.  The play was quite a high level. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  You expected me to be a lot worse?  Thanks, I have a big fan here in this room.  You cheer me up.  Keep going. 

Q.  I'm interested whether you feel the same way. 
MARTINA HINGIS:  I do.  Even in the mixed was even better.  Some of the shots I feel like, you know, I haven't been away, but there's some things really the game has improved.  Not patterns, but it's faster.  I didn't feel that was my problem.  It's just like very fast going.  I think the draw didn't help to play the past champions or the No. 1 seeds.  I think I see a lot of other teams out there that we would have had a better chance.  Also having played them two weeks ago, we had nothing to lose, and still they took us very seriously and played well.  They had to play well against us.  Definitely not an easy draw to play the first Grand Slam back in it.

Found this a bit late.  Some of the questions repeat, from previous articles but still an interesting read.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Song of the Moment: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- Same Love

I hate rap and hip/hop in general. 

But this song has become an exception. An actual positive message of awareness.  Bravo.  Right on.  

The combination of the piano and female vocalist works so well. Beautiful.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

4 Reasons to be glad Martina Hingis is back

So Chucky is back. Martina Hingis, now 32 and more than five years into her second retirement, is returning to WTA action. She restarted her top-level tennis career last night with a doubles match at the Southern California Open, partnering with Slovak Daniela Hantuchova. She and Hantuchova plan to play together at the U.S. Open, and rumors are flying that the Swiss soon will be playing singles, too, despite what she has to say on the matter.

The tennis community generally appears to view the return of the former World No. 1 as a good thing. But not everyone is jumping on Martina's bandwagon. The Tennis Space recently asked: "Should she really be welcomed back so warmly and unreservedly?"

It's a reasonable question. Hingis, after all, has never been particularly popular. And she did test positive for cocaine back in 2007. She denies ever using the drug, but she's returning to play without having to face more testing.

Still, The Spin of the Ball is hanging with the crowd on this one: we welcome her back. Here are four reasons we all should be glad Hingis is on the tour again:

4. She's fun to watch. Let's face it, women's tennis gets rather monotonous. With rare exception, it's all bashing all the time. But Hingis won't give us more of the same. Did you see her dismantle the more powerful Alisa Kleybanova in the World Team Tennis Finals last month? The younger Russian tried to muscle Hingis off the baseline, but the Swiss stood her ground, dancing out of the way of the ball and scooping shots off her toes. In one typical point, she hit a deep, looping shot to the ad corner to force Kleybanova into an uncomfortable stroke; then she hit a short, sharply angled forehand cross-court that made her opponent sprint forward and wide into the tramlines; and finally, the Swiss ended the point with a forehand slap shot down the line that Klebanova couldn't catch up to. Intelligent, pretty tennis, with nary a grunt issued or needed. She may insist she's not going to play singles on the tour, but we can still dream. A Wimbledon final next year between Hingis and Aggie Radwanska? Heaven.

3. Hingis is concentrating on doubles, and not because she doesn't think she can hang with the young 'uns on her own anymore. Hingis enjoys dubs -- and she's one of the discipline's all-time greats, winning the Grand Slam (with two partners) in 1998. Steve Tignor over at argued this week that "doubles is still valid as a spectator sport; it just needs to be showcased differently." Hingis, with her flair and variety and smarts, can show tournament-goers everything they're missing by ignoring the team play on the outside courts.

2. Her personal life is dramatic, ranging from a freak horse-riding accident to that positive test for blow. The latest? Her estranged husband Thibault Hutin claims she's a relentless bed-hopper. "Martina has a very personal conception of morality," he told a Swiss magazine last month. "She has always been like that. I think she has always been unfaithful to her boyfriends."

This personal stuff is all white noise to you, the tennis purist. We understand. But think about the bigger picture. Women's tennis is suffering. There are no meaningful rivalries and very little buzz these days. The WTA could use some reality-TV drama, at least until it gets its mojo back -- that is, until Sloane Stephens, Laura Robson, Eugenie Bouchard and the rest of the next generation hit the big time.

1. Everybody loves a good redemption story. The cocky, tactless Hingis often has been tough to root for. (When asked in 1999 why she stopped playing doubles with veteran Jana Novotna, she said: "She's old and slow.") But her friend Lindsay Davenport said the Swiss' two-year drug ban "definitely scarred her emotionally. That was not easy for her." And now Hingis' marriage has blown apart. So she is feeling more human, more like a normal person, than ever before. And she finally appears to want to be liked. "Thank you, tennis," she said in a moving speech at her Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month. "You gave me the world." Now maybe it will give her some love.

-- Douglas Perry

Thank you, #2 points out exactly what I have been saying the past several years now (and will continue to do so until it actually changes).

Because we're not there yet (sorry Serena but your dominance is not enough for me to truly enjoy the WTA).

In fact I'm so hoping Li Na or Azaranka win the U.S. Open this year.  Just to make it more interesting.

There's only so much ball bashing this tennis fan can handle.  Let's make women's tennis smart, and pretty again (so I can enjoy it as much as the men's).