brad pitt

Spotlight: Flavia Pennetta on her 2009 U.S. Open Run, Monica Seles and Angelina Jolie

Flavia Pennetta has been a force on the WTA Tour for over ten years, but she only broke through the top echelons of women’s tennis back in 2009 when she became Italy’s first top 10 singles player in history. I had a chance to chat with the bubbly, pleasant, and smiling Flavia during the Sony Ericsson Open as she shared insights about her unforgettable 2009 U.S. Open match against Vera Zvonareva, dancing, beach volleyball, Monica Seles and Angelina Jolie.

What is your most memorable moment on court?

U.S. Open against Vera Zvonareva in 2009. Was a really nice match. I won 6-0 in the third set with 7, or 6, match points.

Is that the one in which Vera was ripping the tape off her knees?

Yes.

How was that experience in the moment?

It was intense. It was good for me because I won, but not for her. (Laughs)

What is the best part of being a tennis player?

To have the chance to travel and see different places and meet different people, so that when you stop playing, you have friends everywhere. (Laughs)

If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you be?

I always like different sports. Maybe I would play volleyball or horse (be an equestrian).

Do you like to cross-train with volleyball?

I love to play beach volleyball when I’m at the beach. (Laughs)

If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?

(Long pause) Maybe … I never played against Monica Seles. I met her because I was at the tour during the last two years she was playing. She was my idol when I was young, and I never played against her, so maybe against her.

She did that show, like “Dancing with the Stars.”

I didn’t see her! But they told me she was really good.

Would you ever want to do that?

Ooof! (Laughs) Maybe one single time, I can do that. But if it’s every Saturday like it is in Italy, would be tough. But one time? Would be fun.

If you are hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?

My friends. Gisela [Dulko] for sure! (Thinking) Gisela … Gisela …….. Gisela! Doubles partners are the best. Of course, Francesca. I like to spend time with different people, but most of the time I like to be with my friends because it would be the most beautiful party.

Do you have any superstitions on court?

No. Well, on court? (Pause) No. I’m not …. No. (Laughs)

If you could have dinner with any three people, who would it be and why?

Brad Pitt. And also Angelina [Jolie]. She’s nice, really nice. I like her a lot.

Did you meet her ever?

No, but I have one friend who is a friend of Angelina’s and she told me Angelina is a really nice person. I really like her when I watch her on TV because I think she is a really good actress, but I’ve never met her. So maybe when you meet someone … they maybe will disappoint. Most of the time it’s like this, because when you feel so much respect for someone, you just think ‘They are going to be perfect’ and then when you meet them, it’s not like this. So you get disappointed.

I think I would also like to eat with Valentino Rossi because he is one of my best friends. So, I love to spend with him. And another one? Wait, I said three.

Well, and my mom. (Laughs)

Sabine Lisicki on Brad Pitt, Roger Federer and her Wimbledon Semifinals Run

After a resurgent 2011, German beauty Sabine Lisicki is sitting pretty in the WTA Tour rankings at a career-high number 13. I had the opportunity to sit down with Sabine at the Sony Ericsson Open and chat about her most memorable moments on court, Roger Federer, legends she has hit with, and the three famous people she would most want to have dinner with.

During the course of the interview, Lisicki could not have been more gracious and involved in the questions, laughing and/or giggling a total of eleven times. I would bet that her and Ana Ivanovic could compete in a “giggle-off” and see who the nicest WTA player is – it would be a tough call! But alas, I digress. On to the questions and get ready for some laughs!

What is your most memorable moment on court?

There are several. Obviously, my first grand slam in Australia [in 2008]. But from last year, a very emotional moment was winning the title in Birmingham and beating Na Li at Wimbledon, on center court, with a full house. That meant a lot to me, especially after coming back from an injury.

If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you be?

(Laughs) I hate that question! (Laughs) I honestly don’t know, because tennis was always what I loved and what I always wanted to do and I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to do what I love.

Do you have any hobbies on the side that you enjoy?

There are things that I might do after tennis, because I’m interested in design/fashion, but also in the human body, so some medicine-type of thing, because we go through so many health issues and we learn a lot about our body and I’m just curious to learn more, so I’ll see which direction I’ll go. The human body is veryinteresting, so you can always discover more.

If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?

(Long pause) The ones I would love to play against, I’ve practiced with them already! (Laughs)

Is this like Steffi Graf?

Steffi and Andre, I’ve played with both and I’ve practiced with Mary Pierce and Martina Hingis, so all the idols. I would love to hit with Roger [Federer] one day.

What are two things that you couldn’t live without?

Friends and family.

If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be and why?

Living or dead? (Laughs) Ok, a fun one, Brad Pitt. (Laughs) An interesting one would be the pilot who landed the plane on the Hudson River. I would love to hear from him what he thought in those moments, because he was so under pressure having so many passengers and landing the plane. And the third one, Drew Brees (NFL Quarterback).

Tsonga unleashes inner diva, Vika Victorious, Serena Williams joins X-men and Andrea Petkovic plays soccer

Caroline Wozniacki makes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga unleash is inner diva

I was browsing Twitter last night and I found a very funny photo that was posted by Caroline Wozniacki on Twitter.  She wrote “Guess who?”  I actually stared at the photo for five minutes trying to figure out who it was. Ofcourse I kept getting distracted by the better half of the photo. (Yes, I swear!!) But after five minutes I figured out that it had to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga unleashing his inner diva.

 

In more Caroline Wozniacki news , she was recently quizzed by the WTA tour about the Wozzy hype currently going on on the internet. It makes for a cute video. And no there is no point arguing us fans Caro! We know more about you than you do and if we say Brad Pitt is your favorite actor then you can’t change it to Johnny Depp. And no you don’t like chicken but steaks!  Just watch the video and you will see what I mean.

The stats and facts about world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki keep changing as she keeps notching up the victories (she won the Family Circle Cup in Charleston at the weekend, her third title of the year). We caught up with the Dane to find out how aware she is of all that’s written about her on the internet!

Vika Victorious

The recent form of Victoria Azarenka hasn’t gone unnoticed. The beautiful Belrussian won the Sony Ericsson Open 2011 and also took home the crown at the Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella. The WTA Tour put her in the spotlight with a video on their YouTube Channel. Vika is currently training for the Fed Cup and they will take on Estonia.

Maria Sharapova needs to fix that serve

There has been a lot of news about Maria Sharapova lately. She is back in form but face it guys: As long as she doesn’t fix her serve she is not going anywhere fast. Her faulty serve may win her matches in the early rounds but the more she progresses in a tournament, the harder it becomes for her to win. But I have a theory: She fixes her serve and she is back in the top five of the WTA tour. Perhaps even on top, though with an on form Clijsters, a roaring Wozniacki and a possibly soon returning Serena Williams, it may prove to be tough for her to take back that number one spot. In the meantime find some photos of Maria Sharapova at the Sony Ericsson Open throughout the years at the bottom of this article. Photocredit © Chris Rogers and his Miami Tennis Photos.

Serena Williams is the Pink Panther

So guess who just got back on the practice courts. Yes, I couldn’t believe it myself either and to be frank looking at that photo, it kind of hurt my eyes. And when my eyes were adjusted I started to wonder if she was auditioning to become one of the X-men with ball bashing as a mutant power. But it really is Serena Williams back on the courts practicing after the blood cloth removal and foot injury that has kept her sidelined for a year. With her back on the training courts it won’t be long ’til we see her back in tournaments and I’ll say this: The battle for that top spot on the WTA Tour just got a lot more interesting!

Andrea Petkovic plays football

And she really did. She is currently the best German player on the WTA Tour and the Germans, and many others, believe her to be the new Steffi Graf. I would say: Wait a while and we will see an Andrea Petkovic. Who needs comparisons when you can already predict that the person is going to be great on her own and she definitely needs not to stand in Steffi Graf’s shadow.  Anyway, this is Andrea Petkovic playing football at a German TV station called ZDF.

The new TennisGrandstand design

So after weeks of contemplation and slavedriving pale white nerds in dark lofts to get this design up and running, I am glad to announce that we have a new design and that we are looking forward to your feedback. You can now sign in using your Facebook account by pressing the “Connect with Facebook” on the right hand sidebar. You can also click like if you like an article on the site and we are adding Twitter to that in the near future.  We tried to make the site look more current with the latest news on top.  While we add more functionality and interaction to the site, please join our Facebook page that you can find at “TennisGrandstand – Unique Tennis Perspectives” and interact with TennisGrandstand fans ,receive posting updates and more.

While we are at it , please join our Twitter feed. Why? Because all the cool kids are doing it and there is no reason why you shouldn’t.

Weekly links continued…

My chief editor Manfred Wenas used to do a column called “Weekly Links” and I thought it would be interesting to integrate that into my blog posts and what I will try to do is link to interesting tennis posts that caught my eye earlier this week.

A passionate write up by Craig Hickman who popped his Sony Ericsson Open cherry by attending as an official member of the press (Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog)

Followed by another very good article about the addition of bloggers to the media rooms these days. (Forty Deuce)

With an even funnier part II (Forty Deuce part deux)

For you German speakers, here is an interview of Andrea Petkovic for the Fed Cup. Basically she sums up the past couple of months , how she dreams of achieving the number one position on the WTA Tour but that in itself is not a goal, just a dream. What she expects in the coming months and that she thinks that social media is the coolest thing ever. (Spobox TV)

You got anything interesting to share then please let us know by leaving a comment or emailing us at weenhaas@gmail.com. Just copy paste it into your email program, I don’t want to hyperlink my email address to prevent SPAM.

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