When You’ve Been at Death's Door, There’s Nothing Scary About a Tennis Match

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YOU WANNA WIN? THEN SHOW US SOME SKIN: Of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue, which features nude photos of an array of athletes, including Serena Williams, The New York Times’ Stephanie Clifford said the publication “chose a tactic favored by the Lindsay Lohans of the world: flash a little skin.”

AN UNORTHODOX ‘TRAINING’ METHOD: In a Shanghai Masters promo stunt, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco exchanged groundies on one of Shanghai’s high-speed commuter trains, which reached speeds in excess of 265 mph.  Tsonga called the experience “crazy,” while Verdasco added, “For the first time in tennis, nobody won.”

SHE’S STILL THE ONE: Despite her much publicized on-court tirade at the U.S. Open, organizers of the WTA’s Sydney event will make Serena Williams the centerpiece of their ad campaign for the January tournament.  Question is: will she be allowed to play?

BECKER COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET: It has long been thought that Boris Becker‘s illicit 1999 encounter with model Angela Ermakova occurred in a broom closet at the London restaurant Nobu.  But the German told Britain’s ITV1 that this was not the case.  “I don’t know if a bathroom is a better place, but it actually happened on the stairs between the bathrooms, so there was no broom cupboard,” Becker confessed.  Glad we have that cleared up.

THE NUMBERS

7: Players who have retired from matches at the Shanghai Masters — Gael Monfils, Stanislaus Wawrinka, U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, Jose Acasuso and Mischa Zverev.

44: Minutes it took for top-seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to down Brit Katie O’Brien 6-0, 6-1 to reach the quarters of the Japan Open.

QUOTEBOOK

“Now we have possibly the changing of the guard. You have those top two who are now losing ground to the likes of Djokovic and Murray and Del Potro.” — Andre Agassi on the possibility that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will no longer rule the ATP roost

“When you have been at death’s door, then there is nothing scary about a tennis match.” – 23-year-old Scot Jamie Baker, who a year and a half ago nearly met his maker when he developed a rare blood disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura