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News and notes from the U.S. Open

Archive for July, 2007

Venus plays, King on lockers and Lindsay

July
18

When Venus Williams played in Mamaroneck last night, she seemed really happy to be there. Not the, smile-cuz-I-gotta nice, but she chatted with fans as if she was genuinely enjoying it.

I’ve seen her play a lot, starting from when she was just a teen in beads, and she really just exuded a charm and confidence that I haven’t seen outside the moments immediately after a big win.

World Team Tennis cofounder Billie Jean King was there, and I asked her what she thought of the USTA’s new closed locker room policy. She looked up and said, “You’re in the trenches so I want to know what you think.”

King really gets that the media needs to get access to players in order for them to get the spotlight. Yesterday, Venus’ appearance was the centerpiece of the sports front page, and tennis players of her caliber are some of the only professional athletes who get that play.

Ultimately she said, players need to get in the media room right after a match so everyone can make deadline, and players should give 1-on-1s after that. The fact that King let me spend halftime with her talking about this issue is proof that she practices that kind of accessibility herself.

Lastly, former WTA player Lindsay Davenport had a little boy on June 10, and she will be playing a WTT match. For those keeping score at home, she’s back to competitive tennis about six weeks after a C-Section.

“I looked at it really as kind of a fun challenge,” Davenport said, “to see, you know, if I could come back so quickly and kind of get me a little kick in the pants to get back being active, you know, being healthy and all of that stuff.”

She is nursing Jagger, and he will be traveling with her for the July 21 match in Sacramento. Davenport said that the process has made her aware of the inherent tension between work and motherhood.

“I totally understand now the working mom’s guilt,” Davenport said. “If I go out and practice, I feel bad about leaving him. If I’m home trying to do stuff, I feel bad cleaning up the house or whatever.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 1:04 pm |
| | Comments Off on Venus plays, King on lockers and Lindsay

Has Philippoussis jumped the shark?

July
17

At least Australian tennis player Mark Philippousis didn’t dream up the Kittens vs. Cougars concept for his new reality series “Age of Love.” Or that’s what I’m assuming given the look on his face when he realized his dating pool was limited (at first) to women 39+.

But I am afraid that by starring in this show, Philippousis has buried his tennis career along with his dignity. There was the moment he fervently concentrated on avoiding looking at one contestant’s cleavage and later admitted he was focusing harder on that than when he played certain matches.

Yikes. I think that’s the kind of revelation that’s better suited to the senior tour, Mark.

He is only 31, but his ranking on the ATP Tour has dropped to No. 317.

It defies credulity that a man who has dated women like Anna Kournikova and reportedly Shannon Elizabeth, Paris Hilton and Tara Reid needs help getting a date. When Maxim’s Hot 100 is the pool you’re swimming in, who needs the suits at NBC to pick out cute unknowns?

So he must be doing this for some other reason. I can only speculate it has to do with prepping for life after tennis, getting his name in front of the American people throught the medium they best understand; reality television.

Which makes me wonder how likely it is we’ll see him compete with regularity on the ATP Tour. At his advanced age, at least for tennis, he might be able to relate to the older women he’s dating. He too is looking at his viability fade, wondering what might be next for him as younger men capture titles and win Davis Cup.

Of course, I’m only watching in the interest of science. Aside from the sterotypes about older women (desperate crones) and younger women (clueless and emotional), the show is standard “Bachelor” fare. But if it doesn’t work out, he can alway check in with Scott Baio on getting a season of “Mark Philippoussis is 45 and single.”

But will anyone be watching by then?

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 1:32 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

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About this blog
This is the time of year the tennis world descends upon New York. Jane McManus, Harold Gutmann and Josh Thomson will be sending dispatches from the courts and corridors of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Come back for advice on tickets, parking and whether to go for the hot dog or the lobster roll.
About the authors
Harold GutmannHarold Gutmann Harold Gutmann joined The Journal News in 2002 after graduating from Duke University. He currently focuses on high school sports — he has covered state championship games in 10 different sports. READ MORE
Jane McManusJane McManus Jane McManus has covered sports at The Journal News for eight years, writing about everything from the Final Four and the U.S. Open to rock climbing. READ MORE
Josh ThomsonJosh Thomson Josh, who is 26 and a native of Carmel, graduated from Boston University in 2002 and began working for The Journal News the following March. READ MORE
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