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WHAT DYLAN, JAGGER, AND LENNON HAVE IN COMMON: Seventy-year old Richard Williams’ wife, Lakeisha, 33, who is a year older than Venus, gave birth to a son, Dylan Starr. The baby has the same middle name as Venus and is hardly the first tennis kid to be named, for an iconic rocker. Lindsay Davenport has a son named Jagger, and Robert Seguso and Carling Bassett’s daughter is named Lennon Shy.
BOB, MIKE, AND THE HEROISM OF HAVING SOMEONE’S BACK: Fresh off their Olympic gold medal and Toronto crown, Mike and Bob Bryan overcame early round scares and won the U.S. Open to set an Open Era record with 12 Slam titles (surpassing Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge). Andrew Lawrence noted that the duo is “the last of a dying breed. They fight together, they win together and they make it all seem enchanting. They make you long for the days when there was no higher form of heroism then having someone’s back.”
AN “APATHETIC” COMMENTARY: After a dismal offering from Novak Djokovic, commentator Jim Courier said, “That first serve was apathetic.”
THE ESSENCE OF ANDY: Once when Andy Roddick toughed out a win in Miami, Mary Carillo said, “He had to grub it out, do that whole alpha-dog thing, do some barking and growling. You want to see a little foam at the mouth.”
TRAPPED IN PONYTAIL HELL?: Confused by all the bright young players on the WTA tour, fan Jim Campbell told the New York Times, “I’m having a hard time. There are a lot of ponytails.”
GRUNTING AND GRUNTOLOGISTS: The Daily News divided grunting into five precise, highly scientific categories: Low Rumble (Francesca Schiavone), Pummeling Growl (Serena Williams), High-Pitched Squeal (Michelle Larch De Brito), Ear-Splitting Screech (Victoria Azarenka), and Scream Queen (Maria Sharapova). In response to all the noise, Mary Carillo noted that the WTA “consulted gruntists and gruntologists.”
PAST LIVES AND THE END OF THE WORLD: After Sloane Stephens said she thought she knew her friend Serena Williams in a past life, she was asked whether Serena’s serve was just as good back then in a past life as it is now.
l After losing to Sloane Stephens, Francesca Schiavone referred to the long ago Mayan prediction that the world would end, saying “This is the year of the … end of the world.” A reporter then asked, “But if the world doesn’t end, will you still be back at the U.S. Open next year?”
AGE-OLD HEADLINE: Kimiko Out of Date
MOST USELESS PLANETARY INFO OF YEAR: If Venus Williams married New Zealand’s top player, Michael Venus, she could be called Venus Venus
CURIOUS QUESTIONS: Roger Federer was asked, “Last fall the term “one percenter” became part of the American lexicon with the Occupy Wall Street movement … It seems like in your business, one percent of the ATP Tour wins 99 percent of the tournaments. Is it good for the tennis industry?” (Federer said it was fine.)
- John Isner was asked, “Of all the rackets that you have tried, which types have you really disliked?”
- A reporter asked American Jack Sock, “Does anybody ask you about having a sock endorsement?”
- Serena was asked at the U.S. Open if she had noticed that “for once, nothing weird or distracting has happened here?”
- Chris Evert asked Sam Stosur, “Does winning the first 19 points clarify it that you got off to a great start?”
- After stunning crowd favorite Kim Clijsters, Laura Robson was asked, “Do you feel like the girl that shot Bambi?”
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE: In 1990, after accepting $26,240 from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco for winning the Salem Hong Kong Open, Pat Cash said, “I would like to thank the sponsors, even though I think it’s a disgrace to smoke cigarettes.” This year, after winning in Tokyo, Ken Nishikori got a year’s supply Corona Extra. But Nishikori said, “I haven’t really developed a taste for it.”
GO FIGURE: Serena said she was, “just an average individual,” but Sara Eranni said Williams was good enough to play on the men’s circuit … Both Andy Roddick (when he served for the last time in his career) and President Obama (when he gave his last campaign speech) teared up just a bit … When Fred Perry, the last Brit to win a Slam, returned to his homeland, he was shunned because he had decided to turn pro. When Murray went back to Britain this year, he was given a hero’s welcome.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND: At the beginning of the season, Serena said she didn’t love tennis or practicing. More recently, though, she gushed, “I love it so much. It’s like … a drug … I can’t live without it.”
BUT WHAT ABOUT GRAF AND NAVRATILOVA?: John McEnroe has long said that Serena is the best player of all time. Mary Carillo contends that, “when Serena is fit, when she’s committed, when she wants something, nothing and nobody can stop her.” Kim Clijsters added that, “Serena is the best ever just because physically she just stands out … What we have seen over the last few months … is the best player ever.”
DO TENNIS STATS LIE?: The Wall Street Journal claimed that, “Tennis is the last great refuge of incomplete, inaccurate, indifferent stat-keeping in the sports world.”
THE COFFEE MUG MURDER?: Lois Goldman, a 70-year-old lineswoman from California, was arrested in New York in her Ralph Lauren uniform just prior to the U.S. Open on suspicion of beating her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug. At first authorities believed Goodman’s explanation that when she got home to the couple’s Woodland Hills home, she found a blood-covered coffee mug and her husband lying in bed not breathing after probably falling down the stairs. But cuts were found around the man’s head and there were bits of the cup in those cuts. Later, blood was found throughout their home and there were indications that Ms. Goodman had an internet relationship with another man.