Novak Djokovic’ secret diet and Serena Williams’ new career as a rapper – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

“Tip of the Iceberg”

That was the phrase that Patrick McEnroe used when he reacted to the expletive-laden rant that Donald Young posted on Twitter earlier this week as Young attacked the USTA after not receiving their wildcard into the French Open. Going into the USTA’s wildcard playoff (which he tried to avoid in the first place as his team appealed for a wildcard outright), Young was coming off a win in Tallahassee that saw his ranking fall within the Top 100, and earlier in the season had what may go down as the biggest win in his career with a victory over Andy Murray. Perhaps his emotions were running high after losing in the final of the wildcard playoff, but no matter how you slice it, Young was 100% in the wrong on this one. Had his ranking been in the Top 100 a week earlier, he would have automatically made the main draw, but he’s not the first player to just miss direct entry or even a seed at a big event. And as for the victory over Andy Murray, pretty much all are in agreement that while Young certainly could have used such a victory as a springboard to find further positives and motivation for his own career, it was still more about Murray being in a funk than Young doing anything spectacular. Taking all of this into consideration, McEnroe and the rest of his USTA team are saints for giving Young yet another chance after the apology he issued later in the week. The USTA has already given him numerous handouts in coaching, housing, and funding and owes him nothing further. And even if Young really is sorry for his rant, given his history with the USTA, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be further bumps in the road. Both parties might be well-served if the USTA pulled its support from Young for a probationary period. Let Young learn to do it all on his own. He might actually find more motivation this way.

Serena Williams


You are What You Eat

Or in the case of Novak Djokovic, you’re only as goo d as what you eat. The hottest player of 2011 revealed earlier this week the “secret” of his success, and he credits much of it to changes in his diet. He revealed that he brought nutritionist Igor Cetojevic onto his team, and it was he who discovered Djokovic’s allergies to certain food ingredients, such as gluten. While the discovery means new limits to his diet and a loss of weight, Djokovic is all too happy to make the changes. He credits the weight loss for making his movement sharper (not that it was anything to sneeze at in the past), and it has meant an overall improvement to his fitness and ability to stay in matches. It’s nice to see all of the pieces falling into place for the young Serb and contribute to what should hopefully be an interesting clay court season.

One Last Go

It’s been fourteen months, but German/American Tommy Haas has made his much anticipated return to tennis, competing in the doubles competition of Munich by partnering close friend Radek Stepanek. Results-wise, it wasn’t a triumphant return, as the pair fell just shy of defeating the experienced doubles pairing of Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley 10-8 in a tiebreak, but after sitting on the sidelines for over a year, just to be back out on the court is a victory in and of itself. A talented player whose entire career has been plagued by injuries, it would be nice to see Haas have one last good run before he hangs it up permanently.

Two for Two

No surprise last weekend as Rafael Nadal resumed where he left off in 2009, collecting his sixth Barcelona crown for his second consecutive clay court tournament victory in the lead up to Roland Garros. Once again, he defeated David Ferrer in the final, and he was even more ruthless than he’d been against his compatriot when he defeated him in Monte Carlo. Nadal definitely had the look of a player who owns the turf, and it should be interesting to see what happens when he faces the heaviest hitters, especially should he ever meet up with Djokovic in one of the most anticipated potential matchups of the season.

That’s a Rap

Earlier this week, TMZ announced that Serena Williams was possibly looking into a new career as a rapper. She’s working with DJ Clue, who reported that Serena Williams had skill with the microphone. This news come just a week after Serena was spotted frolicking on the beach (in an appallingly inappropriate bikini), so this must mean that she is no longer so far down in the doldrums as she reported a month or so ago. Hopefully her recovery is going well, and perhaps the next time we see her name in the news, it will actually be for something tennis-related (and a tournament pull-out doesn’t count either!).