Wickmayer waaaaaah?!: One of the best finishes of the year went to Yanina Wickmayer, the US Open semifinalist who closed her season 23-6, including eight victories over Top 50 players. But news popped out last week that Wickmayer – along with fellow Belgian Xavier Malisse – were banned by the ITF for one year for failing to report their whereabouts to anti-doping officials this season. Both players are appealing the ban, but the news comes at an awfully awful time for Wickmayer, who had been ranked as low as number 79 this year and finished the season at 16th in the world.
KDK’s Comeback: Wickmayer beat comeback queen Kimiko Date Krumm last week in Bali in round robin play before pulling out of the tourney. But the big story of the week was Date Krumm herself, who qualified for the semifinals. Date Krumm, who made a comeback after 12 years away from the tour, finished the year at number 82 in the world and is the subject of a fascinating feature by Kamakshi Tandon.
Agassi Exhaustion: Andre Agassi is making the media rounds this week to promote his new book “Open”, though such promotion seems far from necessary. This morning he appeared on the Today Show, and will be interviewed by New York Times columnist George Vecsey. If you missed his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday you can find the full episode here. And if you watched the interview but thought it was ridiculous you might enjoy this. Golly gee, all this Andre talk is making us tired – just like Andre!!
New Haven News: One of TSF’s favorite tour stops, the Pilot Pen, will be in search of a new sponsor following the 2010 event. Pilot Pen is pulling the sponsorship, which had lasted 15 years (a long-ass time, in tennis speak), from the New Haven event. This news comes after Mercedes Benz threw its weight behind the US Open instead of the ATP. Steve Tignor weighs in on what that might mean for the tours.
Recruit me, Coach!: If you’ve ever wondered what a recruitment video looks like, here’s your peek. Will Drougas, a 16-year-old high school player from Salem, Virginia, demonstrates his groundstrokes, volleys and serves for the tape in hopes of landing a college scholarship. This is a basic video, capturing Drougas’s skill and – most prominently – heavy forehand. The next Andy Roddick? Probably not. But the kid can play. We’ll keep an eye on him.
Recruit me, too!: The Arizona Republic has a fun column today chronicling the recruitment process of high school tennis star Kelsey Lawson. She’s due to sign a letter of intent to play at DePaul next season.
No Double Takes: One thing we’ll also be keeping an eye out for is a Maria Sharapova look alike somewhere in this world. She (or he… ?) certainly wasn’t found this past week at a competition to find “Maria’s Look Alike” at a T-Mobile Halloween event. Really, these gals “look like” Maria?! It sort of looks like the PR people just nabbed some shoppers from the mall for a quick photo op. If anything, this fella is sporting some Maria sunglasses on top his head.
Serena Snub: Liza Horan of TennisWire.org reported this week that Serena Williams “wrote a screenplay about Althea Gibson‘s life. Directors are said to have turned down the opportunity to produce it on the basis that Williams insists on playing the role of Gibson.” Wait. We’re confused. They turned it down BECAUSE Serena wants to PLAY THE ROLE of Gibson? Who else are they going to pick?! What other black actress (yes, we just called Serena an “actress”) can play tennis, look good on the big screen, act and has a well-developed knowledge of Gibson and her historic achievements?! We’re not residents of Camp Serena, but we’ll back her on this one…
Gal Study: If you want a quick study of American females ranked outside the Top 100 (read: not Venus, Serena or Melanie) then take a look at the draw for the USTA pro circuit tourney happening this week in Phoenix. Alexandra Stevenson won her first match, and a host of other players (Brengle, Perry, Granville, Haynes) are trying to join the big leagues of the WTA Tour.