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Original Nine

Oddballs and Oddities


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

The O9
No, this is not referring to a sequel to the film K9, but rather the ‘Original 9’, the nine pioneering women who set up the Women’s Tennis Association in 1970. The nine, Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville Reid and Judy Dalton, pictured above, gathered at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, their first reunion since 1989, for the tournament’s 40thanniversary. They were also joined by Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Tracy Austin, Virginia Wade, John McEnroe, Aaron Krickstein and Rennae Stubbs.

Historic, to say the least.

Happy Easter…
It may have been business as usual for most tennis players as they took to Davis Cup duty or WTA duty, but some Belgian fans still found the time to recognise the Easter weekend. By throwing easter eggs onto the court. Bizarre.

The underwear craze
It is one of the most confounding questions in tennis: just why Rafael Nadal feels the need to remove his shorts from his posterior before every point. Suspicion? Habit? Bad fit? Well, the wedgie-picking, as some refer to it, as been immortalised in a new underwear advert from Bar Rafaeli. Good on her.

Watch out…
Anyone who has been gripped by the craze that is Caroline Wozniacki’s auto-tuned ‘Oxygen,’ her charity single, prepare yourselves. There’s going to be a video. She tweeted that she spent two days shooting it in Poland. That epicentre of music video production.

Check out Beyond the Baseline’s analysis of her lyrics…

Treading the boards
Speaking of productions, The Slice reports that Novak Djokovic has apparently accepted a role as one of Constantine’s generals in a new film about Constantine the Great. Maybe he’ll fling off his shirt again, like he does here.

Serena’s confession
We had a lot of fun examining Serena Williams’ twitter timeline when researching our top 10 last week. Serena took it a step further this week, using it as her confession booth.

“I can tell I am addicted to online shopping because I just ordered a tent and sleeping bags.”

The thought of Serena on a campsite is enough to keep me in laughter lines for years.

Slipping through the cracks…
The fact that the Romanian Davis Cup team boycotted their tie against the Netherlands this weekend. They were protesting against the dismissal of their captain Andrei Pavel.

Mobile moves
Maria Sharapova has hopped over from Sony Ericsson to a new three-year deal with Samsung. The Olympic sponsors are certainly flexing their endorsement muscles.

In and out
There’s been quite a lot of coaching chatter ruminating over the past week, majoring around three players. First, Jelena Jankovic has freely admitted that she desperately needs someone in her corner. Bernard Tomic, meanwhile, has defended his dad’s position as his coach, despite agreeing with the ITF policy not to have personal coaches present for Davis Cup ties. Agnieszka Radwanska, on the other hand, the second-best player on the WTA so far this year, has said that her father no longer coaching her has been one of the best decisions she has made. Everyone’s different.

Talk about intimidating…
Tennis Canada have produced some advert spots to promote their version of mini tennis, starring a speechless Milos Raonic. But the real star of the show is Raonic’s opponent, who has some chilling intimidation tactics. “I’m going to crush you like a grape.” Brilliant.

Celebrity spot
A Davis Cup tie in Prague is not necessarily where you’d expect to find many non tennis-playing famous faces, but that’s exactly where the actor Jamie Bell was spotted.

According to DavisCup.com, the Billy Elliott star is in the Czech capital filming a ‘snowpocalyptic thriller’, as per the publicity blurb, called Snow Piercer. It also stars Octavia Spener, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt.

Off-court visit
It’s not just male tennis players who like to mix with other sporting greats