Author Archive

The Gospel of Billie Jean

  Inspiration, leadership, and tennis as an art form and vehicle for change   By Bill Simons   You’re a firemen’s daughter. At the Open, we saw Vicky Duval, who emerged out of Haiti. And there’s Novak Djokovic, who is from a Serbian mountain village. Talk about tennis as a vehicle of change. We are […]

Tennis War Stories: Part I

From Oaths of the French Revolution to the Spies of World War II “We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top … In our youth our hearts were touched by fire.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes By Bill Simons As this year’s US Open […]


By Bill Simons Whether you call it the flavor of the week or the theme du jour. the collective wisdom was clear: The tide in our game was, at long last, turning. The times, they were a changin’. The vice grip of the Big Four—Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray—was now loosening. It was the dawning […]

Forza Flavia: Fiery But Purposeful Pennetta Wins Big at Indian Wells

By John Huston A few days ago, it looked like Flavia Pennetta was out of the BNP Paribas Open. Down 0-3 and a break point in the final set against SoCal favorite Sloane Stephens, Pennetta was in free fall, having flopped a chance to serve out the match in the second set. But the winds […]

Maybe the Moon and Other Findings From the BNP Paribas Open

Photo by Brent Bishop. By Bill Simons CHEZ PANISSE, CHEZ LARRY’S: Yes, that was USTA Player Development Chief Pat McEnroe, Jose Higueras, and UC Berkeley coach Peter Wright at Berkeley’s cutting-edge Chez Panisse restaurant the other night. Wright and many other collegians later dined with Oracle founder and tennis benefactor Larry Ellison. ISNER VS. DJOKOVIC […]

Is the BNP Paribas Open the Fifth Major?

Photo by Brent Bishop Over the years, the BNP Paribas Open has become a top draw for the world’s best players, and there are voices that say that say that it should be The Fifth Major. Long-time West coast tennis teaching pro and author Marcus Paul Cootsona weighs in here with his opinion. By Marcus […]

Witty Na and Breezy Sloane on a Very Windy Day at Indian Wells

LI NA—THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: After again beating Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, this time to reach the semis at Indian Wells, Li Na was asked on court how her long-suffering husband “Dennis” helped her out from the friends box during her quarterfinal, Her answer: “He did nothing.” Later, in her press conference, Li again […]

Big Four No More? Reflections on a Potential Changing of the Guard

BIG FOUR NO MORE? Some say a sea change is beginning to occur in men’s tennis. After years of dominance, do the big four—Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray—no longer have a stranglehold on the game? Is a younger generation finally arriving? The murmurs began to pick up volume at the Australian Open, where 22-year-old Grigor […]

Simple, Straightforward, and Temperamental—The World According to Na

By Bill Simons LI NA—NO NEED TO HATE MYSELF: The WTA has shared some compelling quotes from Li Na‘s autobiography, Playing Myself, which is now being published in English under the title My Life. On winning her first Slam, the 2011 French Open, Na writes, “The greatest gift that victory brought was peace of mind […]

Giorgi Girl—and the Paper Chase—On a Day of Big Upsets at Indian Wells

By Bill Simons GIORGI GIRL WINS ON COURT, REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OFF THE COURT: Camila Giorgi scored a stunning win over Maria Sharapova. Her 6-3, 4-6. 7-5 victory was marked by powerful hitting and flashes of inspired tennis. Less inspiring is her and her father Sergio’s supposed treatment of a string of backers and […]