Venus, Serena Dropped the Ball with Shahar Pe’er in Dubai

Earlier this week the Barclays Dubai WTA tournament didn’t let Israeli player Shahar Pe’er play in the tournament. Specifically the United Arab Emirates did not allow her a visa into the country citing security issues because she’s Jewish. The WTA considered canceling the tournament but determined it wouldn’t be fair to all the other players who had already arrived in Dubai and were prepared to play. They also threatened not to return to Dubai next year. Since then, the UAE has said they will grant a visa to Andy Ram, an Israeli male, so he can participate in the men’s tournament next week. I’m particularly perturbed that more tennis players didn’t stand up for Pe’er and threaten to boycott the tournament for their blatantly discriminatory practice. I’m also upset with Venus Williams and Serena Williams for not stepping up when the opportunity presented itself. Here was Venus’ reasoning:

“I have to look at the bigger picture. The big picture is that Shahar Peer didn’t get a chance to play, but making an immediate decision we also have to look at sponsors, fans and everyone who has invested a lot in the tournament.

There are so many other people involved. Sponsors are important to us,” Williams said. “We wouldn’t be here without sponsors and we can’t let them down. Whatever we do, we need to do as a team – players, sponsors, tour and whoever – and not all break off in one direction. We are team players.”

What disappoints me is that in a time when Venus had a chance to step up and make a statement against what she knows is wrong, she decided to recite the company line and cite economical reasons. The reason I single out the Williams sisters is because they are two of the biggest names on the tour and because they have experienced racial discrimination in their lives. If anyone would know how badly Pe’er feels and how important it is to speak up at a time like this, I would think it would be them. Moreover, from what I could tell, they were the only American women (and certainly by far the most prominent if there were others) in the tournament, representing a country that stands for equal rights and democracy. If ever there was a time to take a stand, this was it. It’s a shame that they and the other women didn’t speak up.

Video: Roger Federer Cries Following Loss to Rafael Nadal at Australian Open

Man, I wish Australia wasn’t on such a different time schedule from us because they really screwed up my sleeping routine as I had to stay up late watching this epic battle. The awesomeness of the competition between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the finals of their five set match in Melbourne is indescribable. Both players raised the game of tennis to new levels. It wasn’t about choking or collapsing, nor was it about unforced errors or double faults. It was about who could top who with the better shot. These two shot-makers were on top of their game. They hustled to every ball, produced winner after winner, truly showing that they were the top two players in the world, and two of the best ever. Balls you never thought a player could get to, they retrieved. Shots you never thought they could make, they pounded. Just when you thought Roger could get a break, Rafa blasted one up the line. Just when you thought Rafa would get a break, Roger responded with an ace. In the end, Nadal appeared to be the fresher body as he rose up to a new height and dominated Fed in the final set. Though he was unfairly playing on less rest, Nadal was in excellent condition and persevered.

While the play of the match was astounding, one of the lasting impressions I’ll have was Roger Federer’s post-match acceptance of the runner up’s trophy (video below).

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Tennis Sure Is an Exciting Sport

Baseball may have caused Stephen King to start reading during a game, but at least it didn’t put him to sleep. That’s more than I can say for this Spaniard who was so bored he passed out during the Stanislas Wawrinka/Feliciano Lopez 3rd round match of the Madrid Masters. Check out this particularly enthusiastic fan:

When they flipped to him a second time in the match, he was asleep again! Makes you wonder what the guy was even doing at the match if he had no interest or couldn’t stay awake. Homeboy even had the headnod going he was so passed out!

Serena Williams Still Bitter Over Treatment from U.S. Open Umpires

Serena Williams has won two U.S. Open titles in her career, as well as six other majors. She’s a dominant force in the sport, and seems to play well on hard courts like those in Melbourne and New York. And according to Serena, she probably could have won more at Flushing:

“One year I really ran into a lot of bad luck where I got the worst calls possible. Honestly, I couldn’t even hit a shot because I was so nervous they would call every ball out. That really wasn’t my fault. I probably would have won that year, and I was gonna win that year. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

Man, do you hear Raiders still bitching about the tuck rule loss to the Pats, or Miami players about losing to Ohio State? I really haven’t too much. Perhaps just another example of Serena being a poor sport. Or maybe the reporter was just being vindictive towards Serena. Did her comments necessitate the headline it generated? Maybe not — but it certainly is the one that piques the most interest.

Time for Novak Djokovic’s Hilarious Impressions to Rock NYC Again

I’ve been a fan of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic for the past few years. I really admired his strong all-around game, but then he started to score bonus points with his hilarious impressions and rumored fling with Maria Sharapova. While I’d be all over (literally) fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic if I were Djokovic, Jimmy Traina at SI points out that he’s doing just fine, as he’s rumored to be dating Olympian hottie Leryn Franco. Not bad. Jimmy also posted another great video of Djokovic’s excellent impressions of fellow tennis players. If we’re lucky enough, he might put those impressions on display this week at the U.S. Open. Check it:

I’m not sure who the first person was, but I think it was Lleyton Hewitt. After that, the Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, and Roger Federer. This guy’s hilarious. If he were American, I think he’d be good enough to renew interest in the sport in the U.S. — he’s that colorful.

Girl Ejected from Tennis Match; Dad Was Coaching Through Earpiece

Honestly people, do we really have to stoop this low? What’s worse, the fact that 8-year-old Anastasiya Korzh was kicked out of a tennis tournament for being hooked up to an earpiece while playing so her father could talk to her, or the fact that the dad tried to cover the whole thing up? Ready for a wild one? Here goes nothing:

Players in the under-10 grade are supposed to keep their own score and referee their own games but [the father] said he turned to technology on the third day of the tournament after noticing a number of suspicious calls and realising his daughter was having trouble keeping score.

“It was obvious girls were taking advantage of Ana because she was playing for the first time,” he said.

It was discovered the girl had a receiver similar to a rugby referee’s earpiece with a box at the base of the back and a cord under the shirt up to the earpiece and headband.

What are we, training her for a James Bond movie? Who the eff resorts to earpieces to communicate? This is worse than Sharapova and her dad. Like the tournament organizers said — if you can’t keep score, you shouldn’t be playing. Simple as that. And just how was that little squirt able to run around with a box attached to her head? Look how small she is — the device probably weighed more than she does.

Did Anna Kournikova Get a Boob Job?

Last I wrote about Anna K. here at LBS, it was to pass along sad rumors that the hot lady was getting engaged. Now that was a sore subject for me, so it’s about time we moved onto something that can bring a smile to all of our faces — Anna’s breasts. Sports by Brooks shares some recent photos of Ms. Kournikova suggesting she might have had her chest surgically enhanced. Check it out:

Now if you ask me, there’s no question about it — she got some work done. But at the same fashion show where that picture was taken, there was also another one that would corroborate Anna’s claims she’s never had any work done. Judge for yourself

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