Kim Clijsters On the Mend – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Parting Ways – The Globe and Mail reported earlier this week that the doubles pairing of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic will be calling it a day on their partnership at the end of this year. Though Zimonjic initiated the change, Nestor admitted he had been contemplating of doing the same, so the two will be parting amicably. They’ve also lined up some stellar partners for 2011. Zimonjic will be playing with Llodra, the tricky Frenchman with a great set of hands who has also seen a rise in his singles play due to his prowess in the forecourt. Nestor will be joining forces with “The Beast,” Max Mirnyi, who with his height and big frame always poses a challenging proposition. Both new duos should shake up the doubles arena next season.

On the Mend – It’s music to the ears of all WTA officials and the Doha tournament director. Kim Clijsters posted on her Twitter account that she is no longer feeling pain in her foot, though there is still a small cut. This is of course no guarantee that the Belgian will be competing in the season-ending championships, but her encouraging news that she might be able to make the final event of the year is welcome news indeed. With nearly half of the WTA’s top 20 players either officially out or assumed out for the remainder of the year, the WTA is in desperate need of another top star to find a way to cross the finish line. And with the field becoming more and more diluted with each passing week, if Clijsters is able to compete in the final event of the year, it could be easy pickings, providing her a strong platform from which to spring into next year.

Fitness Race – Much like last year, Andy Roddick finds himself in a race against the clock to try and finish the year on a high instead of on the sidelines. Having straineed his groin last week in Japan, the American tried to give it a go in Shanghai, only to aggravate the injury further. His retirement from injury all happened a year to the day that Roddick suffered a season-ending injury at the same tournament in 2009. Things look more optimistic for Roddick this time around, however, who feels he has a decent chance of competing in Basel and perhaps still earning a spot in the elite ATP World Tour Championships. Those pulling for American tennis success will particularly be hoping for a speedy recovery, as Roddick needs the points to attempt to finish in the top 10 for the ninth consecutive year (he currently stands at 11).

Bigger than Sport – Their partnership has been well-documented, and it is continuing to pay dividends. The Indian-Pakistani partnership of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi won the Peace and Sport Image of the Year Award in one of the feel-good stories of the week. Their courage and willingness to set aside their differences is admirable, and it is great to see it transcending the sport. Hopefully their actions, and the actions of other players, (such as Serb Novak Djokovic and Croat Ivan Ljubicic exchanging shirts at the end of a match) will teach others to put aside their prejudices.

Dropping like Flies – One of the biggest stories of the week has been the number of top WTA players who have already called it a season in order to prep for 2011. Granted, some have been freak injuries, but it has to leave some scratching their heads. After working out a “roadmap” to shorten the season, it seems the number of dropouts is an even bigger problem than in years past. No doubt the shortened season is a much-needed improvement, but the number of injuries and early exits would seem to also suggest that it’s time to start taking a look at what other factors are contributing to the WTA woes. Advancements in equipment and the predominant style of play, this “big babe tennis” as Mary Carillo has dubbed it, may be more of a culprit than some realize, and the situation needs to be rectified. After all, the WTA Championships should be won by the best of the best, not simply the last woman left standing.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day: Maria Sharapova at Nike’s Prime Knockout Tennis Event

And yes it’s literally is sunshine on a cloudy day today as it has been pouring rain for the past three days where I live. While the firemen drain the water from the streets, and I barely can get out of the house,  it seemed like a good time to scour the net looking for new photos.

The US Open starts this coming Monday but by the looks of the PR  and media hype it seems like the tournament is in full gear already.  One of the PR and media hypes is the Nike Prime Knockout Tennis Event.

Maria Sharapova attended along with John McEnroe, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka. While an injured Serena Williams stood by on the sidelines cheering on her colleagues.

I have included extra bonus photos of Anna Kournikova doing a press conference in Bogota. Y’know, just to cheer me up for that bad weather outside.

Enjoy the US Open the coming weeks, I know I will!

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By Luís Santos

Wimbledon 2010 will mark the first time since the Australian Open’s 1999th edition that Elena won’t be taking part of the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. It puts an end to an impressive streak of 46 consecutive main draw appearances, the longest among active players.

Despite struggling with this injury since the second round of Roland Garros she still managed to reach the semifinals, giving Francesca Schiavone a tight first set before finally being forced to retire. Owing to that, her grass season was cut short and eventually her SW19 ticket.

Elena was a semifinalist last year, her best performance at The Championships where she lost 8-6 to Serena Williams. Here’s hoping she comes back strong for the hardcourt season and peaks in time for the US Open where she has little to defend from last year.

Get well soon Elena!