Archive for the ‘retirement’ Category

drawsting-pants (not!) optional

October 31, 2011

It’s OK to dress up, GI. Which is more surprising: That Thomas Muster thought his return to pro tennis might be successful? Or that Goran Ivanisevic doesn’t own a pair of dress pants? Muster’s comeback, book ended by the ATP stop in his home country of Austria, finished a year after it started, the former world no. 1 going 2-24 in that span. But really, Goran! We neeeeeeed you to class it up next time. Like, if you’re invited to Kimiko Date-Krumm‘s going away party, how about not wearing tear-aways, OK? Deal.

(getty images photo)

tonic, clothing line by hingis, to launch next spring

June 30, 2011


Launching a line: Martina Hingis
is. The former world no. 1 said today that she hoped folks had heard about the line, which debuts in March of 2012. Above, the landing page for Tonic. Click the image or here to check it out. | TSF Vault: Martina Hingis

(Screen grab via Tonic)

stefan koubek retires

May 6, 2011

One less for Tattoo Watch to keep tabs on now that pseudo-tramp-stamped Austrian Stefan Koubek has announced his retirement.

The 34-year-old ATPer, ranked 261st, plans to finish his pro career off with an exhibition match on July 30. “I wanted to play Roland Garros and Wimbledon one more time but I won’t make it,” he told the press. “Once you’ve decided to quit, you lose your motivation.”

More: Here are pics we took of Koubek back in March. Yes, you saw that correctly: it’s a chinese character superimposed over a tribal pattern. He has his cake and eats it, too!

(photos by TSF)

short balls: good bye, counselor

February 23, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

Serena is outta the Nike exo, but staying on as a ref. Think Shino will be there to join her? (Reuters)

Forget becoming an esthetician, Serena Williams is taking on a new career as a lineswoman. The sidelined former no. 1 won’t be playing in a much-anticipated return at the Nike exhibition on March 8. Instead, she’ll be a referee. That’s tough luck for the 12,000 fans expecting to see the 13-time major champion’s form alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Citing the foot injury that’s been kept her out since after Wimbledon, Serena released the following statement: “I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play … as I had anticipated. I’m thrilled, however, to still be able to participate … in the exhibition as a referee during the mixed doubles.”

Is something sketchy going on here? Columnist Greg Crouch thinks so. Taking her place on court is Victoria Azarenka. With Masha and Vika both on court, make sure to bring the ear plugs, Eugene.

Pakistani dubs expert Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi is flashing his pearly whites (and wavy locks) in a recent ad with CloseUp toothpaste. Seriously, Rafa and Fernando, this dude is nipping at your modeling heels. He’s just going for a – er – cleaner approach.

He’s not just a hot head, he’s also an art aficionado. Getting a custom-made sculpture in the process, tennis legend and New York City art collector John McEnroe took to the streets of Delray Beach against Mats Wilander in a game of street tennis as part of the “On the Ave” exo. Although Mayor Woodie McDuffie served as the chair umpire, it didn’t make Johnny Mac bite his tongue or keep the snide remarks at bay. He called Mayor McDuffie’s math “fuzzy” on his way to winning the TB 13-11. “I was down 2-1, and now I’m up 3-1; I like that. Is that how they count in Florida?” McEnroe quipped.

After being honored with work from artists of the Milagro Youth Center, McEnroe said, “This is definitely unique. Anybody that knows about me knows that I’m a big fan of the arts. I’ve been a collector for 30 years since I first made money playing the sport I love… The greatest compliment I’ve received as a player was that I was an artist on the court.” But seriously, what is hanging over his headboard? Oh the things we wonder.

Caroline Wozniacki has reclaimed the world’s no. 1 ranking after winning in Dubai over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kim Clijsters nabbed the distinction from Caro for just one week ago. Kamakshi Tandon and Steve Stignor volleyed back and forth on their thoughts of the flip flop. Whether the system’s flawed or not, expect much more of the Caro-Kim ranking fight in the coming months, especially with Serena playing referee.

Splitsville: “Super Mario” Ancic has called it quits on his ten-year career due to a severe back injury. According to the 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist and former world no. 7, “It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make. I’m only 26 but my body said I would not be able to continue on a high level.” Although he’ll be missed on the tennis courts, expect him to put his energy into a different type of court. The University of Split law grad now plans on pursuing a career as a lawyer. So long, counselor. | TSF Vault: Mario Ancic

(serena and ancic photos by reuters)

she said, she said: justine & caro

February 14, 2011

TSF is happy to introduce “she said, she said” (or “he said, he said,” or “he said, she said,” or “she said, he said” … it all depends on the day!) a regular installment in which we’ll take two images (see below) that you wouldn’t find from the playing courts and match them up with a couple of juicy quotes. Enjoy! -NM

Today, rumors swirled around Justine Henin ending her career because of doping allegations. The now-retired former world no. 1 didn’t want anything to do with such reports. Above, at a press conference in Belgium.

“I regard ending my career more like a sentence that’s been handed down than a decision I’ve made,” said Henin, who retired for the second time because of elbow problems. “I’ve had to deal with a lot of injuries throughout my career but this time, at 29, I just can’t go on. You have to be reasonable about things. When I came back from Australia, I had consultations with three different doctors. The will is there, but physically I can’t do it. It got to the point that I needed 10 minutes in the morning just to get my elbow functional. The ligament wasn’t solid enough to handle the intensity of the game. For me, it’s like a sentence. Now I have to mourn the end of my career.”

Has anyone ever been happier not to be world no. 1? Certainly Caroline Wozniacki is relieved.

“At least I won’t get this question over and over again: ‘How does it feel to be number one without winning a grand slam?’,” the Dane told reporters on Monday at this week’s Dubai Tennis in which she is the top seed. “I don’t feel a difference (as number two). The sun is shining, I’m still playing the same way and I’m still here to compete in the tournament and try to win it. There’s absolutely no difference.”

“At the end of the year you always see who was the number one of the year, who played the best in the whole year. At the end of the year you want to make it to the year-end championships. That’s the goal.”

(photos via the ap)

howling good-bye (again)

January 27, 2011

Illustration by Troy Venechanos.

a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment

January 26, 2011

Benjamin Snyder contributes to Fortune.com and writes for his blog, TenaciouslyTennis.com. He serves as an editor for Goucher [Md.] College’s newspaper, The Quindecim, and plays for the college’s varsity tennis team. Benjamin swears that he is distantly related to WTA veteran Patty Schnyder. Today he pens a letter to Justine Henin. From the tennis establishment.

Dear Justine,
What happened? You’re retiring, again? After everything you’ve been through, you’re letting an elbow injury prevent you from playing for good? Fine. It’s not like any other big name players are sidelined right now. Oh, wait. Sorry, Serena and Venus….

But let’s get this straight: Kim wins the US Open as a mom, and you decide it’s time to hit the courts again. You seem jealous that she’s getting all the attention. You’ve never been best friends with Kim, especially with such an intense rivalry since childhood. Plus, there’s that time her father accused you of taking drugs in 2003. Things improved between you both, the Belgian Sisters were back, but Clijsters prevailed in the end.

It’s 2010. You play a tournament for the first time, losing to Kim. But it was the match of the year. You shock the world by clawing through to the Australian Open final. There, you face Serena, make it to the third set, and lose again. You take two titles during the year, lose to Kim some more, and hurt your elbow against her at Wimbledon. Ouch. But – fine – it makes sense that you lay low for the rest of the year.

In 2011, you’re not feeling 100 percent, but decide to play. Why? Apparently, winning again means more than anything. You tell the press that another major would be “a bigger achievement than what I did in the past.” | More from the TSF Vault: Justine Henin

Apparently, that’s not enough anymore. You tweak the elbow against Svetlana Kuznetsova in Melbourne and completely call it quits?

Happier (and healthier) times: Justine once held the tennis world in her hand. (Philippe Buisson)

That doesn’t sound like the Justine I know. The Justine who overcame so, so many challenges. A mother who died when you were young. A divorce. An estrangement from her family. Big babe tennis. Being vertically challenged. An obsession with pudding.

You say that you came back with “a lot of questions and a lot of doubts,” but you’re leaving us with even more by retiring so quickly. You’re in shock, according to your farewell letter – and we are, too. Remember the first time after getting owned by Dinara Safina as the world number one? These retirements come pretty quickly after losses. Don’t you want to take some time to think it through?

Well, I’m sure Kim will be fine that you’re taking the spotlight away from her again. It’s not like she’s about to win the Australian Open, or anything. Oh, and how about teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics? Good luck with keeping that friendship.

We’re left with another burning question before you tune us out: Who is going to make a comeback to inspire you to play again? Elena Dementieva? Not likely. Guess you better call Belgian Idol, they’ve got a microphone ready for you.

Sincerely,

The Tennis Establishment

(justine ao photo via getty images)

short balls: dent says farewell to tennis

November 9, 2010

Taylor-made: Taylor Dent announced his retirement from pro tennis this week, following a 12-year career that saw him reach as high as no. 21 in the world. Dent, now 29, won four career titles but saw his progress cut short due to a high volume of injuries. He returned to the tour over the last 18 months after being out for much of 2006 and 2007, amassing a 12-19 record in 2010 and a ranking of no. 85. We’ll miss ya, Mr. Serve-and-Volleyer. TSF Vault: The Dent Diaries.

The way of the ladies: Ana Ivanovic ended 2010 unlike any recent ending she’s had to a season, winning the title in Bali with three impressive victories and vaulting herself back into the top 20. Ivanovic won 13 of her final 15 matches of the year with her title in Linz. Ravi Ubha gave Ana the thumbs up to become a major Slam contender in 2011 or 2012, while giving the exact opposite forecast for countrywoman Jelena Jankovic (who finished 2010 6-11). Ubha had his crystal ball out for the WTA contingent on ESPN.com. The WSJ Weighs in: The Wall Street Journal had a piece last week on how – just how? – Caroline Wozniaki took the top spot in tennis.

A geographical version of ‘Whatever happened to…?’ Now that Dent and Elena Dementieva have said farewell (as has Martin Damm to coach Ryan Harrison), we got to thinking about some former (and current) pros and wanted to check in on see where folks have landed. Dustin Brown, our favorite wearer of the neon-color palette, is taking his allegiance to Germany from Jamaica. The top 100 player cited a lack of funding for the move. His mother is German. The Uberoi sisters, Shikha and Neha, both former top 200 doubles players, have made the return to the academic world and are at Princeton finishing their undergraduate degrees. Both sisters contribute on their dual web site, and recently Neha had an entry up on her own blog about an interview with Venus Williams in her journalism class, taught by the one-and-only L. Jon Wertheim. Picture this: Ana & Enrique taking it easy in Hawaii.
x
Before the jump: We wanted to wish the hard-working and always-on-top-of-a-story Aaress Lawless the best of luck as she departs from her operating gig at OnTheBaseline.com. OTB will be managed now by Justin Pohn, and will continue to be the source of all things women’s tennis.

short balls: elena waves good-bye

November 2, 2010

Elena Dementieva is waving good-bye to the WTA Tour after a dozen years on the tour, which saw her greatest moment in 2008, at the Beijing Olympics. But while Dementieva might be most well-known to tennis enthusiasts as the greatest chica never to nab a Slam, you can bet she will be a missed force on the tour. No one else played with such maturity and poise, and even the shaky serve was made up for by that blazing forehand. Can you remember an Elena diva moment? Neither can I. I got the chance to watch Elena in person this summer – and if you never had the chance to watch this girl up close, I’ll give you one descriptive word: athlete - and she was a joy to watch. The tennis may have been flawed at times, but the heart was always there. Can’t wait to see what comes next for the Muscovite. Survey study: Of the 158 folks that responded to our Sunday Survey, 38% said they thought Elena would announce she’s pregnant come Thanksgiving. OK, riiight.

Courier calls: A variety of responses sprung up from the naming of Jim Courier as the new US Davis Cup coach last week. Greg Garber was questioning the call already over at ESPN.com, while L. Jon Wertheim was giving the nod to the Courier appointment in his Monday post this week. Our call? Well, we’re not so sure it matters who captains. Wertheim pointed out that four Americans sit inside the top 22 (Roddick, Isner, Fish and Querrey), and while the time may have passed for Roddick and his Davis Cup days, the Bryan Brothers look committed. The bigger question is: what will the Isner, Fish and Querrey era bring? Those are the boys that seem invested as Courier takes the reigns.

Retirement footnotes: While Elena’s announcement shocked a few and left others unsurprised, Serena Tweeted and blogged her well wishes to Dementieva, who had a 5-7 record against ReRe. Of course, retirement of one WTA veteran meant that the media was curious about her counterparts, namely Kim Clijsters. And here’s a curious fact for you: Lindsay Davenport, who shaved off Elena in her first big-bang match in the 2000 US Open semis still is not listed as retired on the WTA web site. Comeback likely? You never know with the mom next door.

Back on the winning (and publicity) track: Winning his first match in five tries, Fernando Verdasco found his winning form (most recently displayed in heroics at this year’s USO) in Valencia Monday. The Slice had some good shots of Fernando charming the masses at a Calvin Klein event last week in Madrid (with his pants on), before heading east to Valencia. He also appeared on the Spanish cooking show, El Hormiguero. Jealous of that cooking-show host? Yes, so are we.

Frame this: Ipek Senoglu is probably the most famous tennis player you (and I) have never heard of. Senoglu is Turkish and reached a career-high ranking of no. 293 back in 2004. While her career has mostly run its course, Senoglu has been instrumental in building tennis’s popularity in Turkey, which will host the WTA’s year-end event in both 2011 and 2012 in Istanbul. Oh, and she’s a looker, that Ipek, too. Above: Ipek in what we think is the Turkish/ Eastern European version of Bazaar. Can anyone help us out on translating?

After the cut: a barely-clad retired pro male struts his stuff in undies and injures a production assistant in the process? Plus, your weekly dose of short(er) balls. (more…)

sunday survey: the dementieva decision

October 31, 2010

Elena Dementieva announced her retirement from tennis on Friday in Doha. You think she will…

(photo via reuters)

good bye, elena

October 29, 2010


Elena Dementieva retired from tennis on Friday in Doha. She won 16 career titles.

Dementieva at Wimbledon, 2007. For much of her career Dementieva’s service yips – double faults and powder puffs included – were criticized. She was part of the New York Times’ beautifully-shot “Power Game” feature during this year’s US Open. Grass mastery: Many called Elena’s semifinal loss at the 2009 Wimbledon one of the best matches of the decade.

Elena also played two doozies at the USO in 2004. In two bizarre back-to-back matches, she would beat Amelie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati 7-6 in the third set to reach her second Grand Slam final in three Slams.

A picture really is worth 1,00 words. Elena getting ready to battle the long-forgotten Anastasia Myskina in the ’04 French final.

A few more shots of Dementieva after the cut. (more…)

once you’re toast, you get toasted

February 11, 2010

Guga was awarded with the Cruz do Mérito Desportivo (Cross of Sporting Merit) yesterday in Brasilia. This is the the Brazil’s highest honor awarded to athletes.

And at this week’s Open GDF SUEZ tournament in Paris, the women celebrated the recent retirement of two-time Grand Slam champ Amelie Mauresmo, whose post-pro life will be devoted to everything (including running the NYC Marathon) — but coaching. Read an account of this tribute (including a video clip!) over at DtL.

(via WTB)

sunday survey: amelie’s farewell

December 7, 2009

Amelie Mauresmo announced last week that she’s calling it quits from the WTA Tour. What do you think of the announcement from the two-time slam winner?

(photo by flappingwings via flickr.)

golovin a goner?

November 12, 2009

golovin-08

TSF has learned that former French star and Lacoste-wearer Tatiana Golovin‘s career might be on the outs — for good. Golovin struggled with injury throughout her short career, but a bad back has seemingly put her on the sideline indefinitely. 

Two weeks ago she spoke with the French pub L’Equipe: “Learning my condition was a big shock, but now I know what I have and what I have, you can’t cure. Do I have any chance to play again? It’s not advised, but I’m still young. The pain may suddenly disappear.”

Her injury is spondylitis of the back,  a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones and the joints between the spine and the pelvis.

TSF spoke with an acquittance of Golovin’s coach, who said that she was practicing for a bit in the recent past, but still experiencing heavy pain in her back.

Golovin was ranked as high as number 12 in the world in 2008, but stopped playing in May of that year due to her injury. She owns two WTA Tour titles.

Another Frenchwoman, Alize Cornet, will carry on the Lacoste tradition.

(some golovin info via tennis-x; photo by passionleica via flickr)

au revoir, marat

November 11, 2009

Safin-Paris-Aurevoir

Marat Safin waved good bye to the world of tennis today at the Paris Masters Series, losing in a hard-fought battle to Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4 in the third. Will the King of Moods be back? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

(photo by Alison Haltenhof via flickr)

le sad: akiko morigami will retire this year

October 12, 2009

A TSF reader tipped us off about Akiko Morigami‘s retirement from professional tennis, announced yesterday. She is playing in the first round against Anastasia Rodionova at this week’s HP Japan Open in Osaka, her hometown (draw). This is her last WTA tournament and will play the All-Japan Tennis Tournament in November.

Above is a photo of Akiko practicing with HP Japan Open top seed Caro Wozniacki.

While Morigami might not have made any splashes with her game — she only one 1 title (Prague, 2007) — Morigami gets props for her awesome display of Fila Japan’s flirty and whimsical clothes.

We don’t expect her to pull a HingDavenKimHenin, so we’ll end it here: so long, Akiko!

(photo via the HP Japan Open website)

ask and you shall receive: marat safin

August 29, 2009

Mila: this isn’t a picture from Thursday’s practice, but still a recent one of Marat Safin. Here he’s talking to the press after a match at last month’s Los Angeles Tennis Open.

Marat’s swan song sees him without a coach after parting ways with Hernan Gumy (an unnecessary expense for this last year). He keeps to himself and doesn’t have many good friends on the tour. “Everybody walks with five or six people nowadays… [The game] is not as much fun. It’s too professional. Everyone’s hungry for money.”

After Marat serves his last fuzzy ball into the sunset — the final tournament on the schedule is Bercy — the Russian plans to take six months off. After that break, he doesn’t know what’s in store just yet. Safin will just be relieved to be free of competitive tennis: “no more match points, no more deuces, no more second serves.”

The final episode: At the 2009 U.S. Open, Marat opens with a match against Jurgen Melzer and will face either del Potro or Monaco in the second round. If he pulls that one out (not likely, le sigh), there’s a fourth-rounder against Gilles Simon and a quarterfinal against second seed Andy Murray.

(photo by TSF)

trophy watch: a proper send-off

June 1, 2009

French Open tourney organizers gave one of their own, Fabrice Santoro, a proper sendoff after his first-round loss in this year’s event to Christophe Rochus. Santoro, who was appearing in his record-tying 20th French Open, lost to the Belgian 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

“Twenty years. That counts for something in a lifetime,” Santoro said after receiving this cross section of Roland Garros’ clay courts, presented after the Federer/Haas fourth-round match. “It has been a long road, a fantastic career. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.” Gustavo Kuerten received a similar trophy last year.

Fabrice, known for playing two-handed groundstrokes off both wings and his crazy slices (enough to garner some attention at the 2007 U.S. Open), is playing 10 more events before hanging up his racquet.

At his presser, he left us another nugget about what’ll be different in his life next May: “So when you’ve played this tournament 20 years in a row, in May you start wearing your clay shoes, you start preparing to be able to play for three, four, five hours, even 6 hours 33 minutes for my longest match, so you feel next year in May I will no longer be a tennis player.”

(image via Getty Images)

in dubai, marat continues to sputter

February 24, 2009

Writing the epilogue: The unpredictable career of Marat Safin has reached some consistency now that he’s steered himself toward retirement sunset.

At this week’s Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships, the eighth seed — bumped up by the absence of the injured Federer (back), Nadal (knee), Davydenko (ankle), Verdasco(ankle), and Roddick (Dubai slapped him in the face).

Too bad he fell in three sets — 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 — to Richard Gasquet.

“I struggled in the beginning with the serve, especially, and returns from the baseline, but I started to get used to it and I started to get better and better,” Safin said. “But unfortunately, it’s a lack of confidence and I didn’t play for a long time after Australia. I played in Marseille, and it’s my second match.”

Meanwhile, after giving his neck a little breather, Marat’s back in business with his charms. Is that the imperial crown?!

Scoreline: Djokovic and Murray are doing just fine in Dubai. We’re expecting these top two seeds to face each other at Sunday’s final.

(photo via Getty Images)

A coelacanth swims back into the deep

May 15, 2008

Joshua Gibson praises the rare creature that is Justine Henin’s game.

To watch Justine Henin play tennis was to see something at once indestructible and fragile. She was a creature of another era, emerging from Belgium like a coelacanth from the deep. In a time when her contemporaries were increasingly tall, muscular and strong, Henin was only 5’6″; there didn’t seem to be a place for such a player eight years ago. (Speed and a beautiful backhand will only get you so far, even if that backhand is the most technically-perfect backhand in the sport, men’s included.) Henin should have been crushed, left to linger somewhere in the top 20. But she refused this offer. She wanted to be the best. And for much of the last five years she has been the best.

The numbers only begin to do her justice: (more…)


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