© Ella Ling

Venus Williams - Miami 2012

Oddballs and Oddities


A smattering of some of the weird and wonderful things that have happened in the tennis strata this week…

Welcome back
The tour said hello again to quite a few faces in Miami this week. Alisa Kleybanova, Kim Clijsters, Venus and Serena Williams. It’s exceptionally good to have them back.

And farewell…
To Fernando Gonzalez. Nicolas Mahut must have thought himself the unluckiest man alive when he drew the retiring Chilean in the first round in Miami, and for a while, it looked like the original fearhand might extend his stay at the tournament for one more match. But Mahut hung tough, and Gonzalez departed.

When 24 straight wins is not enough…
You go find yourself a new challenge. If you’re Victoria Azarenka, that is. The world No.1 set herself a new sport to master when she went to meet Ultimate Fighting champ Suga Rashad Evans. Have a look at how she got on.

P.S. Nice wheels Vika.

The Tennis Space’s photo editor, Ella Ling, has had her zoom lens working overtime on Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy, reunited in Miami this week ahead of the Masters in Augusta, which kicks off next week. The duo have been spotted cramming racket bags and golf club’s into the front boot of Rory’s Ferrari. That’s how some couples do it.

When the TV doesn’t…
…tennis fans get stuck. As there was last week, there is no TV coverage from the early rounds of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, leaving tennis fans beagle-eyed on live scores instead. For such high profile tournaments, both of which continually vye to be known as the ‘fifth Grand Slam’ this just seems, and is, extremely odd.

No Olympics for SA
In an interesting decision, both Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers have ducked out of playing either Davis or Fed Cup for their country, meaning that South Africa will have no players at the London 2012 Olympics. Strange?

Controversial threads
Adidas revealed their swag for their Olympic athletes this week, including what Andy Murray will be wearing for the Olympic tennis event at Wimbledon in August. Quite why Stella McCartney’s Union Jack seems to have nothing to do with the real thing remains to be seen.

If you need cheering up,  we suggest spending a bit of time listening to tennis fans at tournaments. They draw some interesting conclusions, as this blogger discovered. (Thanks to Beyond the Baseline for the link).

Always worth checking…
The twitterverse has been abuzz with the quality of reporting, or not, from ESPNw, the American broadcaster’s female only offering. They seem to not know how to check facts. Like rankings. Take note.

Barnet brainer
Heavens be praised. Aleksandr Dolgopolov has finally gotten rid of his ponytail and Spanish footballer-style hairband. Unfortunately, he’s swopped that barnet for corn rows. And he’s not David Beckham.

Keep dancing
Martina Navratilova donned her dancing shoes to much expectation as she made her Dancing with the Stars debut, and, thankfully, her Foxtrot was passable. Watch and judge for yourself.

Marat Safin is not getting married
For the record. The Russian said it’s just not for him. But he did talk at length about his new role in the Russian parliament.

And finally…
We always knew Goran Ivanisevic was nice rather than nasty at heart. And no more so than when he obliged comedian Miranda Hart with a full on lipsmacker in aid of Sport Relief. All for a good cause.