© Alexandra Willis


Oddballs and Oddities


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

Back in the desert
It seems that players, press and fans are as jubliant as ever to be back in the Indian Wells tennis garden this week, especially those players who love to have a kick around. There’s been evening football most nights this week, last night featuring Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the same team, Janko Tipsarevic in Barca kit, and a lot of slightly tubby members of players’ teams.

Guess which player attempted a bicycle kick?

Practical jokes
If ever there were a way to divebomb not one but two TV interviews, Caroline Wozniacki managed it during All Access Hour at Indian Wells on Wednesday, firstly trying and failing to explode a balloon behind Maria Sharapova, and secondly trying and succeeding in interrupting Agnieszka Radwanska midflight as well. All in good humour, of course. Even if Sharapova couldn’t for the life of her understand why anyone would want to interrupt her interview. Although, ever the pro, she picked up right where she left off.

What tennis players don’t know about each other…
At the same time, the tournament site put together one of the funniest montage clips we’ve seen for a little while, the characters of the top 8 blooming as they sat looking puzzled, stumped, and quizzical while being asked about their fellow players.

Key learnings. Maria doesn’t know much about anyone else. Azarenka and Kvitova are not close enough to be Facebook friends. Li Na is a legend. And Sam Stosur needs a new dog.

So… how many of the answers did you know?

No interrupting Azarenka
Meanwhile Victoria Azarenka, who confessed to having Nickelback as her favourite band, told the Indian Wells local rag, the Desert Sun, that she once got interrupted while doing karaoke, and, to put it mildly, was not amused.

“I know I’m not a good singer, but I want to hear me suck. I just want to enjoy the moment. She said, ‘I want to make you look better.’ I’m like, cut it out,” Azarenka said. Note well.

Party on
The Indian Wells player party is well known for being one of the best in the business, and it didn’t disappoint in 2012. To the theme of Hollywood: Bright lights, Big city, there was a lot of boogeying from Les Francais, Gael Monfils in particular, before all the players were driven home in classic old bangers.

Other takeaways: Monfils wore a beanie, Ross Hutchins wore a necklace, Kvitova wore Flashdance hair, the Bryan bros performed, and Li Na worked a corporate look.

Remember this name
Jessica Pegula. Not necessarily because she competed in her first main draw singles here in Indian Wells, but because her dad owns an NHL hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres. The omniscient Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times reckons he’s the richest parent in tennis, or at least on a par with papa Gulbis.

In case you missed it….
Rory McIlroy won a point against Maria Sharapova in the hugely successful exhibition at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Rapturous applause.

The ATP have been doing a lot of photo shoots here in Indian Wells this week, applying the baby oil to their leading lights, including Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Check out some of the videos.