© Ella Ling

Serena Williams

Oddballs and Oddities


A smattering of the weird and wonderful things in tennis this week

The spotlight has been firmly on the tennis world this past week as we’ve all charged headlong into the Australian Open, meaning a lot of the stranger happenings have already popped up on these pages. But here are a few oddities that you might have missed.

Serena’s hot property
Serena Williams is quite used to being the talk of the town, whether it’s her wins, losses, injuries, hatred of bugs…you name it. But did you know that she’s the subject of a rappers’ feud? The former world number one is apparently being fought over by hip hop sensations Common and Drake.

Common apparently started the beef, huffing at Drake in his song ‘Sweet,’ before Drake retaliated in ‘Stay Schemin.’ Common then recorded his own version of the same track, which sent the music universe into a back-chat tirade, mainly on twitter, of course.

Quite what Serena thinks of it, who knows.

Not adding up
So, Marcos Baghdatis, the ‘Racketator’, as one Australian paper put it, was fined $1,250 for his systematic obliteration of four rackets, one after the other. David Nalbandian was fined $8,000 for three instances of racket abuse. Can you work out that maths problem? Because I can’t.

Update: The ever-knowing Caroline Cheese of the Associated Press has done a bit of digging, and informed me that in fact Nalbandian was fined for throwing water over a staff member, not trashing his rackets. Which makes a lot more sense. And is quite funny.

Speaking of figures…at the time of writing, Roger Federer had just completed his 998th tennis match. His 999th will be his 31st consecutive grand slam fourth round. He’s only human, remember. Not.

Stick to watching, not coaching
Tennis fans can come out with all sorts of silly statements (C’mon Tim, for one. It’s not funny), but there is one habit that particularly gets Li Na’s goat. Her Chinese fans, bless them, have a habit of giving her coaching advice, all very well-meaning, but presumably intensely annoying. “Maybe they think I’m stupid so they coach me,” Li said, blunt as ever. “But I would like to say I’m not stupid. I can play very good tennis. I think if they come to see more tennis they will know not to shout. It is something I couldn’t change. I don’t have to listen to what they say. I have to focus on my tennis.”

Memory jolt
So engrossed in 2012 that you’ve forgotten what happened in 2011? Check out this entertaining reel, recommended to us by Scotland’s finest Stu Fraser. The clip at 10 mins 30 seconds is particularly neat.

Quote of the week
Tomas Berdych is a mild-mannered chap, by all accounts. But he showed us what he’s really made of, calling Bethanie Mattek-Sands’s dress sense “a fashion disaster.” Ouch.

Weirdest on-court interview?
Vania King’s acapella. I’m not sure who was more shocked, Pam Shriver or the crowd. Or Vania.

On-court accessories
Victoria Azarenka rocked a pair of questionable specs after her second-round win after a twitter joke with Judy Murray. Very Woody Allen.

Tipsy time
We’ve already plugged the Janko Tipsarevic video diaries, but just for good measure, here’s another plug. The man is unfathomably funny.

In search of a new doubles partner?
Then why not try speed-dating? That’s what Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi is up to…Good luck to him.

And finally…
Biggest take-away from the press room this week…that Serena hates bugs, Ana Ivanovic hates snakes and sharks, Rafa hates dogs, and Sharapova hates spiders. So, note to tournament organisers: don’t arrange any zoo visits.