The Buzz: Masha's Musings, Destiny's Darlings, Venus' Glow – and Mumbling Lord Murray

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2016 Australian Open - Previews : News Photo

MASHA’S MUSINGS: Sharapova told the Tennis Channel that she’s a “stubborn piece” and very much feels Russian inside. When asked about her love life, she quipped, “Healthy, constructive relations…I’ve never heard of that, does that exist?” Her advice to possible boyfriends was, “If you want to make it work [despite my crazy schedule], be my guest.”

DESTINY’S DARLINGS: Serena confided, “I saw a picture [of when] I was in a stroller on the court. My destiny was to play tennis.” Djokovic observed, “Nobody had ever touched a racket in my family, so it was a sign of destiny. God and life have arranged things for me to play.”

ANGLO-AMERICAN SCOREBOARD: In 232 years, the US has won two wars against Great Britain (the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.) We’ve won three wars allied with Britain (World War I, World War II and the Cold War) and failed with Britain to prevail in three – Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. But in both 2014 and 2015, the US Davis Cup team lost to Britain.

THANK YOU, TENNIS GODS: Belgium reached the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1911, but skeptics noted that when they faced Switzerland, there was no Federer or Wawrinka. They played a Canadian team without Milos Raonic or Vasek Pospisil, and an Argentina without Juan Martin del Potro and Juan Monaco.

VENUS GLOWS: Serena wasn’t the only Williams story last year. As Venus reached the Aussie Open quarters, she told us, “This old cat has a few tricks left in the bag.” The 35-year old, who is the most ancient player in the Top 100, surged in the fall, winning her two biggest titles in five years at Wuhan and Zhuhai. She broke into the top 10 for the first time since 2011. Now many wonder if, after her 15-year absence, she will at last return to Indian Wells.

THE BLIND BEAN COUNTER: Venus said she “almost went blind” while working to get her accounting degree at Indiana University.

FOOD AND DRINK:

• After winning Wimbledon, Djokovic munched on some grass and informed us, “I was assured that it’s gluten-free – it’s not processed – completely organic and natural.”

• After Serena’s US Open loss, Billie Jean King said, “If I were Serena…before I got to the locker room…I would say, ‘Next year I’m going to win all four [slams], non-negotiable…I’d get so cheesed. I’d be so, just like, ‘Gimme the ball. Let’s go, I’m ready.'”

• In Australia, a jet-lagged Serena asked for a mid-match coffee. At the Wuhan Open, Roberta Vinci thought Venus was stalling. She chirped “What the f—?” and asked Venus whether she wanted some tea or coffee. Stan Wawrinka was served coffee and fruit at the ATP Championships.

• Mary Rhodes said Djokovic’s tense coach Boris Becker “looked like he was sucking a whole bunch of lemons.”

* After Pierre-Hugues Herbert’s marathon 6-4, 3-6, 27-25 French Open loss, RolandGarros.com wrote, “There’s getting eliminated quickly between the aperitif and the main course, then there’s getting eliminated the way Pierre-Hugues Herbert did on Thursday.”

LORD MURRAY? Will Andy Murray some day be knighted and become Sir Andy?

BEST NEW PHRASE: The mumble tank (Brett Haber’s reference to the self-loathing Andy Murray’s snarky mutterings).

ROBIN AND THAT MAN: Twelve men have walked on the moon. Only two men have walked over Rafa Nadal on the clay at Roland Garros – Robin Soderling and Djokovic. Soderling, who twice reached the French final, who was ranked No. 4 and was said to be the next Bjorn Borg, has suffered from a glandular disease since 2011. His retirement suggests questions. Was his 2009 French Open quarterfinal win over Rafa the most stunning shock upset in history? And has there been a player with so much talent and such modest achievements since Marcelo Rios?

IMMIGRANTS: Many passionately state that the US should limit immigration. But American tennis has greatly benefited from immigrants like Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl, and the children of immigrants, like Sampras, Agassi, Seles, Sharapova and Chang.

GENDER GAP: Kevin Anderson was the only guy to make his debut in the top 10. Six women – Garbiñe Muguruza, Ekaterina Makarova,Carla Suárez Navarro, Lucie Safarova, Karolina Pliskova and Timea Bacsinszky – made it into the WTA top 10 for the first time.

BIG TENNIS, BIG APPLE: Pete Sampras and Roger Federer helped inaugurate the annual BNP Paribas Showdown. This year Serena returns to the annual Big Apple tennis celebration, which regularly draws political figures like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and other glitterati. Set for March 8 at Madison Square Garden, the Showdown includes Williams vs. Caroline Wozniacki and Stan Wawrinka vs. Gael Monfils. For info go to bnpparibasshowdown.vividseats.com.