Tennis Stalkerage: Eyes. They are everywhere.
OH-MAH-GAH! Can you hear it? The rustling of feet around the world. Tennis players are resurfacing from their winter hibernation and making me very excited from a Southerly direction.
Funnily enough, South is the direction most players are headed right now. The little isle(s) of New Zealand welcomed the giant siren known as Maria Sharapova today, as Sharpie arrived to a large media contingent at Auckland airport.
Sharapova is due to play the ASB Classic in Auckland, starting 3/01/2011. She has also requested a wild card to Sydney, making this the biggest build up to the Australian Open for a player who normally doesn’t play any warm up tournaments before the big O.
I think it’s safe to say that she doesn’t want a repeat of last year’s Australian Open first round travesty.
Over in neighbouring Astray-lia, other players are arriving to partay down-under. Roddick wasted no time getting back on the practice courts in Brisbane, while Ana Ivanovic wasted no time getting back into a photo shoot in Perth.
Geez Louise. Who barfed tinsel all over this?
“So we started the workout and he was doing really well, and I was actually going to cut him short because if he’s not finishing the workout healthy then it doesn’t really matter.
“Andy looked at me and said, ‘You don’t win the %#@!!% Australian Open by cutting short your workouts’.” – Lance Hooten, physical trainer of Woddick.
Justine Henin, who, like Ivanovic, is also due in Perth for the Hopmans Cup, has chosen a rather peculiar place to train during her off-season: Sanya, on the tropical island of Hainan off the Southern coast of China, where the climate is said to be rather “Australian”. While in China, Henin took some time to visit her Chinese 6th Sense Academy and do some press.
“I had a pretty good start [to 2010], which I hadn’t managed to achieve before. But after playing tennis for 14 years it was physically very hard for me to come back. I am just slowly coming back to the top.”
“I was never 100 percent fit this year. I wasn’t yet ready to play at that level. And with the elbow injury I got at Wimbledon, it became even more difficult.
It was a difficult summer. I injured my elbow, demaged my ligament and I thought maybe it was over for me.
“Now the ligament is getting better but I have to do a lot of work on my elbow and my muscles. I have to trust my elbow again. It’s been through a lot and it has to be strong. It will take several months to be 100 percent.”
Some rather gloomy quotes aside, Henin remains hopeful.
“Step by step I am heading in the right direction now but only winning matches can give me that confidence. I’ve been working very hard. If my elbow continues to improve in the next few weeks or months, I think I have good prospects for the future.”
On the current field:
Henin said the quality of play on the tour had not changed much during her retirement. That actually allowed her to find her feet in a short time. She rose up the ranks to world No 12 in six months and boasted a remarkable 32-8 win-loss record this season …
“I don’t think a lot of things have changed,” she said. “No one is really dominating the tour. It feels similar to how it was.”
Still, Henin acknowledged the power of the new generation, singling out new world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark.
“She is very talented. She troubles a lot of players. I am sure new players will emerge in the next few years.”
“I’m not a machine. I could not last five years,” she said.
“I am near the end of my career. To have fun – that’s the most important thing in remaining competitive at this level.”
“My goal is to play in London,” she said. “Winning the gold in Athens was one of the best moments of my career.
“It’s special playing in the Olympics. You are playing for your nation and you don’t feel alone on court.”
Source: China Daily
Quotes that make you go: oh dear.
Coming off a serious injury, straight into a slam with Hopman Cup as preparation and a tonne of points to defend for the first half of 2011? In short, Justine Henin is going to lose the bulk of whatever 6 months worths of points she currently holds.
But then she’s going to fight up that rankings ladder like the tenacious ladder-climbing bitch she is. This is how it goes. And this time, she’ll enjoy the whole process, baggage free.
Justine 2.0. Didn’t cha know?
As for Wogie McSquigie, after training with Jarko Nieminen earlier in the offseason, Feduhruh is currently hitting up a hot hot sandstorm in Dubai with 26 year old, World No 86 Michal Przysiężny.
According to the Polish press, Whathisface arrived in Dubai on 25 December, and spent the first two days training exclusively with Wogie, before being joined by the Cone.
Then from Monday (27/12) to Thursday, Annacone will coach the pair for around 3.5-4 hours a day. In addition to training on court, they will also be doing some general physical training. Wogie McSquigie will be covering all costs associated of the stay with whatever he keeps under his mattress.
Evidently, the collaboration was set up by Marco Chiudi, who Przysiężny had trained with in Germany.
Here’s a video from those with prying eyes. Merci beaucoup!
Some people count down to the New Year. I count down to tennis. Not too far away now. STAY STRONG MY FELLOW ADDICTS. STAY STRONG!