© Ella Ling

Serena Williams

Oddballs and Oddities


A smattering of the strange and unusual from the tennis world this week

Social butterflies
Serena, taking a break from doing press events at tournaments rather than playing in them, and Venus have added another celebrity friend to their list… Victoria Beckham.

Barnet blunder
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s done something strange to his hair, it seems.

Is there a new fastest serve?
The fastest serve on record, according to the ITF, was the 156mph clocked up by Ivo Karlovic on Davis Cup duty. But there is a new pretender to the throne, Frenchman Albano Olivetti, who not only dumped Mardy Fish out of Marseille, but also claimed to clunk his serve at 254kmh, or 158mph.

Tipsy goes all philanthropical
In his debut column for the Tennis Space, Janko Tipsarevic revealed that he and his sponsor Tecnifibre are going to be mentoring juniors during the season, so that the volatile Serb can help the game’s future stars avoid making some of the mistakes he has made.

Farewell to Ian Ritchie
Today was Ian Ritchie’s last day as Chief Executive of the All England Club, the patch of Wimbledon green which hosts The Championships every year. Ritchie was given a cheery sending off, a fittingly rich chocolate cake produced in his honour.

Moves like Jagger
Sort of. Alexandra Dulgheru has revealed herself as the next contender for Step Up 5, possibly, with her rendition of Billie Jean at the Monterrey Open player party.

Robin Hood played tennis?
Lovely find (as per usual) from Beyond the Baseline, which reveals that Errol Flynn, also known as Robin Hood, very nearly competed in the US Open men’s doubles alongside Sidney Wood. Who knew.

Our thoughts are with
Robin Soderling, who is trying to content himself with reading, puzzles and quality girlfriend time while still struggling with glandular fever.

“I try not to worry because it does not make things better, maybe it makes things worse,” Soderling told Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet. “But I realize that anything can happen.”

Another Olympic announcement
Petra Kvitova is planning to play the mixed doubles at the Olympics, not with victorious Hopman Cup partner Tomas Berdych, but with the wily Radek Stepanek instead. How does he do it?

Speaking of the Olympics, the ruminations around rankings and who is going to get in have started. Keep your calculators handy.

Back on speaking terms
They weren’t talking for a while, but that hasn’t prevented Andre Agassi and his former trainer Gil Reyes launching a series of workout machines, named BILT. It’s not short for some sort of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich, I don’t think.

A special moment
Whitney Houston singing One Moment in Time at the 1997 US Open and the WTA paying tribute to the legend.