The Reuters global sports blog
Andre Agassi’s decision to open his soul and tell the world he took drugs and then hoodwinked his governing body, the ATP, into believing his failed drugs test in 1997 was a mere mistake could not have come at a worse time for Australian and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
While Agassi has been condemned by players and pundits alike for tainting the image of his sport, tennis authorities have come under fire for not investigating the matter thoroughly and believing Agassi’s lies.
One of the accusations against the ATP was it brushed the whole episode under the carpet as it could not afford to ban one of its biggest draws on the men’s tour.
In light of the Agassi debacle 12 years ago, Williams knows she could be in for some stiff punishment from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) even though the cases are so different.
It has been a tale of two draws at the U.S. Open, with the men’s seeds advancing full steam ahead and the women’s field in disarray.
Eight of the top 16 women’s seeds have been given the boot at Flushing Meadows, while all 16 men have strolled forward — the first time men’s seeds have marched in lock step into the third round of a grand slam.
The final grand slam tournament of the year, which begins on Monday at Flushing Meadows, will welcome the world’s two highest ranked players in intimidating form.
The five-times Flushing Meadows champion, whose wife Mirka gave birth to twins Charlene Riva and Myla Rose last month, will be aiming to become the first parent to win a tennis major since 2003.
It’s beyond me how anyone can deride women’s tennis as being dull. The relentless changing of the guard at the top of the world rankings and the general air of a free-for-all that the grand slams are cited as weak points in the game, when the sheer unpredictability of women’s tennis (compared to the men’s game) is precisely the reason it should be celebrated.
What many of the critics are really bemoaning, I suspect, is that Maria Sharapova didn’t go on to become the women’s Roger Federer. And while you couldn’t help be enthralled by her Wimbledon match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina on Wednesday, the Russian’s nailbiting defeat beneath the sunshine on centre-court is only going to bring more tut-tuts about the state of the game.
Serena Williams just survived a real scare against China’s Li Na at the Sony Ericsson Open here at Key Biscayne, Miami. The world number one’s bid to reach her sixth title in this event hung in the balance during a second set tie-break after she had made a dreadful start losing the first set 6-4.
Serena won that tie break to two and then cruised through the third set for a hard-earned victory in intense Floridian heat but hers would not have been the first shock at this tournament.
Kim Clijsters’s return to the WTA Tour during the U.S. hardcourt season later this year will inject more excitement into the unpredictable world of women’s tennis.
Since the retirement of her Belgian compatriot Justine Henin last May, the world number one ranking has changed hands so many times that most fans must be thinking they are suffering from blurred vision.
Former world number one Kim Clijsters has said she will return to the WTA Tour.
The 25-year-old Belgian, who had retired from the sport two years ago because of injury, told a news conference in Bree she was coming back to tennis.
“I have asked for wildcards for Cincinnati, Toronto and U.S. Open, that’s all for the moment. I want to see if I can still do it,” she said.
The WTA tournament in Dubai has been a big talking point this week, after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the UAE and was forced to pull out (click here for Pritha Sarkar’s blog on the issue) and Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos has chosen a frame from the tournament as his picture of the day. Over to Greg:
I like this tennis picture taken by Jumana El Heloueh in Dubai for its shape and simplicity. It’s a nice action moment – albeit without the ball – shot from a high angle with a nice clean background and lots of space to one side.