The Last Word – Dec. 8, 2013

Del Potro’s racquet experimentations

The off-season is time to try out new things.

And with Juan Martin del Potro reportedly down to his last couple of Hyper Prostaff 6.1 95s (don’t let the K Six-One paint job fool you), he was trying out several sticks in practice last week in Argentina (including, it appears, his trusty Prostaff).

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A few years ago, he did switch to the BLX Pro Tour, but after he returned from the wrist injury that cost him nearly an entire season he went back to the tried and true.

His lucrative endorsement deal with Wilson had reportedly expired by the time this year’s U.S. Open rolled around. So he seems free to choose what works for him (and leave it to his agent to crunch some numbers with the lucky winner).

(Photos courtesy of Argentine journalist Andy Eidmann)

First retirement, then marriage…

Congratulations to freshly retired British player Elena Baltacha, who married her coach Nino Severino Sunday. Ceremony attended by, among others, fellow new retiree Anne Keothavong, British Fed Cup coach Judy Murray and British men’s doubles coach (and Quebecer) Louis Cayer.

The happy couple undoubtedly looked a whole lot happier than this today.

The happy couple undoubtedly looked a whole lot happier than this today.

Yes, another coach-player marriage. But If she’s retired, that would make him her former coach, right?

Even lovelier? She didn’t spray all the details out on Twitter as the big day was approaching.

Murray posted a photo of the lovely bride on Twitter, reporting that Keothavong caught the bouquet.


First the Fed, then #askGenie

Canadian Genie Bouchard, asked on Twitter by the Genie B fan account to do a Q&A, figured there was no better time than the present.

Here are the results of that effort.

She gave it a solid 40 minutes. Much of the usual, including some hopefuls who were unsuccessful during #askRF Saturday. Fans wanted to know if she practiced with Milos Raonic or Vasek Pospisil because, well, they’re Canadian too.




(The Federer reference didn’t work for this guy, but it was successful or a fan called Kishore Sharma).


What did we find out?

Her go-to karaoke song is Céline Dion’s I Drove All Night (Quebecers represent)

Her favorite “Roger Federer selfie” is … all of them!

In other Bouchard news, cute story here at my alma mater about a local artist who has painted Bouchard. The work is hanging at Galerie 1476 all next week.

The couple that shoes together …

We’ve surely not seen the last of Twitter pics and Tweets and the like about this burgeoning romance between Czechs Petra Kvitova and Radek Stepanek (the man is even on Twitter now, which has potential).

But the first commercial “couples move” is out – and the pair will have copacetic shows for the Hopman Cup, which starts in three weeks in Perth, Australia.

Here they are (I swear, if Stepanek’s on-court fashion sense rubs off on his GF … ).


Just a question, though: this is a nation vs. nation competition, under the ITF umbrella, wouldn’t you think the shoes should have some Czech flavour to them – i.e., some red, some blue, some white?

The ITF actually has rules about this kind of stuff – even for us “veterans“. Looks like their option is to either wear the country’s colours, or wear “substantially the same colours” when they play dubs, but with their country’s name on their back. Gotta think it’s unlikely the coosome twosome will get fined for non-compliance, though.

(Pic from Radek Stepanek’s Twitter feed)

When you retire – the parties get better

Only occasionally will the ATP Tour players let loose during a player party. After all, they’ve got a job to do.

But with the Statoil Masters going on at the Royal Albert Hall this week – featuring some fairly animated characters the likes of Cash, McEnroe, Ivanisevic et al – there was a pretty good chance they might let loose a bit.

A lot of wannabe rock stars in that group. Here’s their “rendition” of a Rolling Stones classic.

McEnroe won it for the third year in a row, defeating Mats Wilander 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

But beyond his predictable on-court outbursts, McEnroe won’t escape London unscathed after ripping the modern doubles game.

While some of his points were well taken (seriously, if you’ve ever seen Fernando Verdasco brick volley after volley in practice, and then you see him win the World Tour Finals doubles crown, you do shake your head a bit), it probably wasn’t necessary.

But if it leads him to put his money where his mouth is and go out and play a few tour events in 2014, it might have been worth it.

Così si pensa di poter ballare?

This is from last week, but still worth a second look.

Italian tennis stars Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta tripped the light fantastic.

Pennetta was representin’ with the tennis tan. They looked amazing. Takes guts.

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