Hot news: Serena gets record $82,500 fine, but no suspension

Source: AP via Yahoo! Sports

Serena Williams was fined a record $82,500 for her U.S. Open tirade and could be suspended from that tournament if she has another “major offense” at any Grand Slam in the next two years.

Williams lashed out at a lineswoman after a foot-fault call at the end of her semifinal loss to eventual champion Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open in September. If she has another “major offense” at a Grand Slam tournament in that time, the fine would increase to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open.

Read the whole article here


WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Player of the year: Serena Williams

There has been a big controversy this season concerning the rankings system as Dinara Safina was No.1 without having won any Grand Slam title, whereas Serena Williams, who was considered by almost everyone the best player, laid at No.2. But at the end of the season Williams has finally achieved both things, the No.1 in the rankings and being considered the best player of the year. Not only her titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Tour Championships, but her leadership, competitivity and her ability to play her best tennis in the big tournaments and decissive rounds, are her merits for this award.

WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Doubles team of the year: Serena Williams/Venus Williams

Williams sisters are not the highest ranked team as they hardly play doubles apart from Grand Slams. But when they do, they are almost unbeateable. This season they have played 6 tournaments and their figures say it all: 4 titles, 24 victories and only 2 defeats. With 3 Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open), team of the year award is well-deserved.

WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Most inspiring performance: ex aequo Jelena Dokic & Kim Clijsters

For this award, voters have been divided between the amazing run of Jelena Dokic in the Australian Open and Kim Clijsters' comeback and US Open title. I think both performances were really inspiring and deserved to win, so I decided to have this Award ex aequo

After 3 consecutive Top-20 finishes in 2001, 2002 and 2003, the career of Jelena Dokic became a series of misfortunes, including nationality changes, arguements with her controversial father, coach changes, injuries and failed combeack attempts. No one really expected a lot from her when she got a wild-card to play in the Australian Open. Despite not winning a Grand Slam match since 2003, with the crowd support and huge attention from the media, Dokic got emotive 3-set victories over Paszek, Chakvetadze, Wozniacki and Kleybanova to reach the quarter-finals. There her fairytale story came to an end, although she put a good fight on 4th seed Dinara Safina.

After two years out of the Tour for creating a family and becoming a mother, Kim Clijsters decided to comeback to the Tour this summer. In a time when most of the top players were not playing at their best, these were really great news. Early she showed that she had trained hard and she was ready to compete at the highest level. And in the US Open, as most of the top players were suffering early defeats, Clijsters, enjoying her matches and playing with no pressure, progressed to the final and captured a 2nd Grand Slam title that she really deserved. The image of a joyful Clijsters celebrating the title with her daughter Jada will be one of the happiest memories of 2009 for tennis fans.


WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Breakthrough player of the year: Sabine Lisicki

20 year old German Sabine Lisicki has broken this season into the Top-25 players in the world. And she has done it not in minor events, but with an schedule almost completely focused on the big tournaments. Highlights of her season were her title in $1M Premier event in Charleston and her quarter-finalist place in Wimbledon, with impressive victories over WTA #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova, WTA #4 Caroline Wozniacki (twice) and WTA #6 Venus Williams. She has shown that on a good day she can be a threat for any player, and if she improves her consistency and regularity, she can reach much higher.


WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Most improved player: Caroline Wozniacki

If 2008 was the year of Caroline Wozniacki's breakthrough, in 2009 not only she has confirmed the expectatives, but she has kept her progression and has done the most difficult step, the one between good players and top players. Starting the year ranked #12, Wozniacki has finished at #4 with the highest number of matches won (67). She got 3 titles and reached the final in 8 tournaments, the most important one in the US Open.

WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Match of the year: Serena Williams vs Elena Dementieva (Wimbledon SF)

In the last few years we haven't had the chance of enjoying very tight Grand Slam finals or epic matches between the top players. This year wasn't an exception, but at Wimbledon we were able to witness a magnificent battle between two of the best players, American Serena Williams and Russian Elena Dementieva. The match was decided in a thrilling third set with both players fighthing desperately to stay in the match and showing the best of their repertoire. Finally Williams took the set by 8/6 after surviving a match point for Dementieva.


WTAhotties Awards 2009 - Special Achievement Award: Kimiko Date-Krumm

When former WTA #4 Kimiko Date-Krumm announced that she was coming back to the Tour in 2008 at the age of 37 and after being retired for 12 years, nobody really expected too much as tennis has become a lot more physical and powerful in the last few years.
But Date has shown that a woman in her late 30s is still able to compete at a professional level, and that experience, mentality, technique and intelligence can compensate the physical handicap. On September 27, one day before her 39th birthday, Kimiko Date-Krumm made history as she captured the title in Seoul and became the second oldest woman to win a WTA title, just after Billie Jean King. And in November she made it to the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions.
For showing that age is no obstacle for keeping physical fitness, for her healthy and sporty lifestyle and for her possitive and fighting spirit, Kimiko Date-Krumm is a great ambassador of tennis and sport and truly deserves our Special Achievement Award.


Hot shot: Kim Clijsters and daughter Jada on You magazine

On November 22, US Open champion Kim Clijsters was on cover of most important British women's magazine You, which is delivered every Sunday with Mail on Sunday. The magazine also featured a extensive article and family pictures of Clijsters with husband Brian Lynch and daughter Jada.

(photo linked from MailOnline, read the whole article here)


WTA hotties Awards 2009 nominations!!

From November 29th we will be hosting the WTA hotties Awards 2009 (our first awards ever!). Here are the nominees for the different categories.

Player of the year
* Serena Williams
* Dinara Safina
* Svetlana Kuznetsova

Doubles team of the year
* Cara Black & Liezel Huber
* Serena Williams & Venus Williams
* Maria Jose Martinez & Nuria Llagostera

Most improved player
* Caroline Wozniacki
* Victoria Azarenka
* Samantha Stosur

Breakthrough player of the year
* Yanina Wickmayer
* Sabine Lisicki
* Melanie Oudin

Match of the year
* Jelena Dokic def Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 5-7 8-6 (Australian Open R16)
* Svetlana Kuznetsova def Serena Williams 7-6(3) 5-7 7-5 (Roland Garros QF)
* Serena Williams def Elena Dementieva 6-7(4) 7-5 8-6 (Wimbledon SF)

Most inspiring performance
* Jelena Dokic's run at Australian Open
* Melanie Oudin's run at US Open
* Kim Clijsters' comeback and US Open title

There will also be a Special Award, but I'm keeping this as a secret.

Tell us what your choices would be.


WTA hotties joins Facebook and Twitter

Hey! We just opened WTA hotties pages on Facebook and Twitter. This way it will be easier for you to keep up to date with all the news, as every post on WTA hotties will appear also on our Facebook and Twitter pages, which will also feature aditional comments or short pieces of news. Furthermore, there you may be able to get in touch with other WTA fans.

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Photo galleries updated

WTA season is over, but WTA hotties doesn't take a break and we have plans to make the off-season less boring, including holding 1st WTA Hotties Awards, collecting 1st WTA hotties Hot 100 list and opening facebook and twitter profiles.

First step has been an extensive update of our photo gallery, with more than 600 new photos of 2009 season and new galleries for Kim Clijsters, Samantha Stosur, Yanina Wickmayer, Sabine Lisicki, Jie Zheng, Sorana Cirstea and Jelena Dokic.

Check WTA hotties photo gallery here


Hot topic: Is it Wickmayer's ban fair?

U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer was suspended last week for one year by a Belgian anti-doping tribunal, accused of failing to report her whereabouts to drug-testing officials three times. Wickmayer's suspension came as a surprise, because a prosecutor recommended she receive only a warning for missing three tests over 18 months. (read the article on Yahoo! Sports)

At a tearful news conference last Thursday, Wickmayer said she was never properly informed of the online reporting requirements for drug-testing that led to her one-year ban from the sport. The 20 years-old Belgian plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.(read the transcript on HCFoo's Tennis Blog)

In my opinion, Wickmayer's ban is far too extreme, given that she didn't fail or miss any dopping test (she just failed reporting her whereabouts), it is proven that the online report system didn't work properly and the players didn't receive information nor education on the system and procedures. A warning would have been more appropiate as the prosecutor recommended. This way they may ruin the career of a young player who probably is not into doping and has received a harder punishment than other players who were tested positive (i.e. Richard Gasquet only was 2 months away from Tour after being tested positive for cocaine).

Appart form unfairness of this ban to Wickmayer, whom we support from this blog, this bring two important problems of anti-doping laws:

- Why the rules, system and tribunal are not the same for players all around the world? Instead, they must stick to their countries authorities. If Wickmayer was not Belgian, she probably wouldn't have been banned. Belgian authorities have already been proved too be excessively strict concerning anti-doping rules, as in 2004 when they wrongly acussed Svetlana Kuznetsova of doping (read it on CNN.com)

- Is it fair that players have to communicate where they are at any time and be available for testing 365 days a year? Many players, as ATP No.2 Rafael Nadal, have already complained about this. This is really problematic for tennis players, as they spend 10 months out of home and their plans are always changing depending on if they are accepted into a tournament, in which round they lose, if they are healthy or must withdraw from a tournament... I think for tennis players it would be easier to test in tournaments, and only test out-of-competition in the off-season or when a player takes a 3-4 week break from tournaments.

So, what's your oppinion on this hot topic?


Hot gossip: L.A. Lakers' Sasha Vujacic, new boyfriend for Maria Sharapova

According to latest rumours, Maria Sharapova's new boyfriend is Slovenian basketball player and NBA champion with L.A. Lakers Sasha Vujacic.
Read it on Women's Tennis Blog

Player of the week: Aravane Rezai

Despite being one of the latest players to qualify, 22 years old French player Aravane Rezai surprised everyone as she became the first champion of the new WTA Tournament of Champions that was held in Bali last week.

Rezai started the tournament losing the first set to 4th seed and WTA #25 Sabine Lisicki by 6/1, but she came back to win the match. And in fact this was the only set she lost throughout the week. She secured her place in the semifinals defeating WTA #38 Melinda Czink in straight sets. In the semifinals she overcame doubles Championship winner and WTA #30 Maria Jose Martinez. But the final was going to be a much tougher test, as she was facing 1st seed and WTA #12 Marion Bartoli. Rezai won the 1st set by 7/5 and benefited of Bartoli's retirement due to quadriceps strain.

This is biggest career title for Rezai, who this week reaches her career best ranking at #26.


WTA ranking as of 9-Nov-2009

No changes on WTA Top 10 this last week of the season as top players' season already ended last week with the Sony Ericsson Championships. Runner-up in the Tournament of Champions, Marion Bartoli climbs to #11 just 35 points away from Top-10, whereas champion Aravane Rezai moves from #44 to a career-high ranking at #26. Also career-high rankings for 1-year suspended Yanina Wickmayer, who gains 2 places up to #16 and Maria Jose Martinez, who moves from #30 to #27 to finish as Belgian and Spanish No.1 respectively. Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm gains 19 places up to #82, although greatest gainer in Top-100 is Yung-Jan Chan, who climbs 21 places up to #94 after her title in ITF $100,000+H in Taipei.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA907518
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS780019
3(3)Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS614119
4(4)Caroline WozniackiDEN587527
5(5)Elena DementievaRUS558520
6(6)Venus WilliamsUSA512617
7(7)Victoria AzarenkaBLR482017
8(8)Jelena JankovicSRB396520
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS356021
10(10)Agnieszka RadwanskaPOL345024


Week #44: Italy wins Fed Cup title, Rezai gets 1st Tournament of Champions

As it was expected, Italy found little opposition in the American team burdened by the abscence of the Williams sisters, and captured 2009 Fed Cup title by 4-0 for joy of their home crowd. The tie was almost decided after the first day with the straight-set victories of Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone over Alexa Glatch and Melanie Oudin respectively. Italian No.1 Flavia Pennetta secured the title on the second day overcoming USA No.1 Melanie Oudin. This is the 2nd Fed Cup title for Italy (first was on 2006) and their third final appearance in the last four years.

In Bali, Aravane Rezai benefited of Marion Bartoli's retirement to win an all-French final and become the first winner of WTA Tournament of Champions. In the semis Rezai got rid of Spanish Maria Jose Martinez, while Bartoli defeated Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm. Nevertheless, the most important news were outside the court as Belgian Yanina Wickmayer withdrew after being suspended for 1 year by the Flemish Doping Tribunal for failing to inform about her whereabouts for three times.

Fed Cup Final, Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Italy def. USA 4-0
Flavia Pennetta def Alexa Glatch 6/3 6/1
Francesca Schiavone def Melanie Oudin 7/6 6/2
Flavia Pennetta def Melanie Oudin 7/5 6/2
S.Errani/R.Vinci def L.Huber/V.King 4/6 6/3 11/9

Tournament of Champions, Bali (INA), $600,000
Final: Aravane Rezai (FRA) def Marion Bartoli (FRA) 7/5 ret.


Hot stuff: Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka making fun of themselves

In this video published on Sony Ericsson WTA website you can see another side of the players as they enjoy Players Party at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. And it is especially enjoyable to find out the good sense of humor of young players Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka, who make fun of themshelves. Azarenka calls Wozniacki "a pusher" while Wozniacki calls Azarenka "a brainless ballbasher". By chance, these are the nicknames that their critics in the biggest online fan base (tennisforum.com) give them. Is it a coincidence? Anyway it is nice to see that these young girls take rivalry and critics in such a good way.

Check the video in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour website


Player of the week: Serena Williams

There has been some controversy this year about Dinara Safina being WTA No.1 without having won any Grand Slam title and Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams being No.2. But in the Sony Ericsson Championships Serena Williams has removed any doubt about who's the WTA leader, as not only she has win the title but regained the No.1 in the ranking.

In the Championships, Serena showed that she is on a higher level than the rest of the players. She started the tournament with a tight win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, just before facing a duel against her sister Venus that Serena won in the third set tiebreak after saving a match point. Following matches were easier for Williams, as she easily overcame Elena Dementieva in straight sets and in the semifinals a physically burdened Caroline Wozniacki retired after losing the first set. The final featured another Williams sisters clash, but this time it was easier for Serena, that took the match and the title by 6/2 7/6.


WTA ranking as of 2-Nov-2009

Sony Ericsson Championships winner Serena Williams recovers WTA #1 spot from Dinara Safina, whereas runner-up Venus Williams climbs one place up to #6. Winner of the ITF $100,000+H in Ortisei (Italy), Jelena Dokic gains 7 places up to #57, although this week greatest gainers in Top-100 are Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova and Klara Zakopalova, winner and runner-up of the ITF $100,000 in Poitiers (France) respectively, who climb 13 spots to rank at #72 and #94.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(2)Serena WilliamsUSA907518
2(1)Dinara SafinaRUS780019
3(3)Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS614119
4(4)Caroline WozniackiDEN587527
5(5)Elena DementievaRUS558520
6(7)Venus WilliamsUSA512617
7(6)Victoria AzarenkaBLR482017
8(8)Jelena JankovicSRB396520
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS356021
10(10)Agnieszka RadwanskaPOL345024

Week #44 preview: Tournament of Champions (Bali), Fed Cup final

Tournament of Champions, Bali (INA), $600,000
A novelty of this season, the Tournament of Champions held in Bali will feature the 10 best ranked winners of International events plus 2 wildcards awarded to breakthrough youngster Sabine Lisicki (winner of a Premier event in Charleston) and veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm (winner at Seoul). The twelve players are grouped into 4 round-robin groups of 3 players, with the best player of each group progressing to the semifinals. Marion Bartoli, Samantha Stosur, Yanina Wickmayer and Sabine Lisicki are the top seeds and main favorites for the title.

A group: Marion Bartoli, Shahar Peer, Magdalena Rybarikova
B group: Yanina Wickmayer, Anabel Medina, Kimiko Date-Krumm
C group: Samantha Stosur, Maria Jose Martinez, Agnes Szavay
D group: Sabine Lisicki, Melinda Czink, Aravane Rezai

Fed Cup Final, Reggio Calabria (Italy)
The season ends also with the national teams competition (Fed Cup) final between Italy and USA. The Italian team is the favorite due to the good moment of their leaders Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone and the absences of the best american players, Serena and Venus Williams. Furthermore, they will count on the support of their home crowd and they are much better suited to clay surface than Americans. Nevertheless, the young American team led by Melanie Oudin and Alexa Glatch already upsetted Czech Republic on the semifinal and they have no pressure and nothing to lose.

Italy: Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone, Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci
USA: Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch, Vania King, Liezel Huber

Week #43: Serena Williams is 2009 WTA Champion

Serena Williams confirmed in the Sony Ericsson WTA Championships that she is the No.1 player this 2009 season. Serena won all her five matches and only had real trouble in her round-robin match against sister Venus, when she had to overcome a match point. In the final, Serena faced again her sister Venus, who progressed to the final despite losing her first two matches as she tied with Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova with one victory each, but showed that she must be always taken into account even when she's not at her best. The other round-robin group was burdened by injuries. WTA #1 Dinara Safina retired in her opening match against Jankovic after playing just two games. She was replaced by Vera Zvonareva, who also retired after a Marathon match against Caroline Wozniacki, who suffered severe cramps and wasn't able to compete at her best again even though she progressed to the semis, where she retired after losing the first set to Serena Williams. Finally Victoria Azarenka, who also had a three-hour battle with Wozniacki, retired on the third set of her match against Agnieszka Radwasnka, who had replaced Zvonareva.

In the doubles, Spanish Nuria Llagostera and Maria Jose Martinez surprised everyone and upsetted 2nd seeds Serena and Venus Williams in the semifinals and 1st seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final to get the Sony Ericsson Championship doubles title in their first appearance, despite beinfg the lowest ranked pair.All the semifinals and the final were really tight and were decided in the third set super tie-break

Sony Ericsson Championships, Doha (QAT), $4,500,000

Singles final: Serena Williams (USA) def Venus Williams (USA) 6/2 7/6
Doubles final: N.Llagostera/M.J.Martinez (ESP) def C.Black/L.Huber (ZIM/USA) 7/6 5/7 10/7