VIDEO: Chair Umpire *ALLEGEDLY* Warns Donald Young for Saying, ‘Son of a Biscuit’

Earlier today, Donald Young defeated Alexander Zverev in the first round of the Sarasota Challenger. While leading 6-4, 2-1*, 15-30, Young netted a routine stretch backhand into the net. Being American, and limited in his choice of profanities, Young chose this.

“Come on Keith, don’t give me crap for that…I said ‘son of a biscuit,’ that’s a problem?”

Related: I wonder if Keith Crossland is a fan of Butters Scotch.

(Thanks to my buddy @NNemeroff on Twitter for the tip.)

ALLEZing: Alizé Cornet, Caroline Garcia Win Things

Wherever Alizé Cornet goes, drama is sure to follow. After a storied junior career, she burst onto the WTA Tour as a teenager in 2008. She arrived with a bang both with her racket, qualifying and making the finals of the Tier I event in Rome, and in the press room. In a “Getting to Know You” interview at Roland Garros shortly after, Cornet provided this gem. 

Least favourite opponent?

Anna Chakvetadze, without a doubt. She put me down before our semi-final in Rome. She said that I was a good junior even though I was No. 30 in the world at the time. I was furious. And she doesn’t even say hello. She’s not a nice person.

(The interview has since been taken down. The world weeps.)

A year later, Cornet was one match, or more accurately, one point, from the top-10. Leading 5-2 in the final set against eventual finalist Dinara Safina at the Australian Open, the Frenchwoman failed to convert on two match points, including one on which her shot landed just centimeters wide of the sideline. 

From there, Cornet faded…and faded quickly. She ended 2009 ranked No. 50 in the world, slipped to No. 78 at the end of 2010, and ended 2011 at the wrong end of the top 100 at No. 89. She returned to the winner’s circle in Bad Gastein in 2012, in addition to finishing runner-up in Strasbourg. She took Victoria Azarenka to three sets twice at Grand Slams, and she finished the year at her highest ranking since 2008.

To start 2014, Cornet has been winning. A lot. She reached the semifinals at the Paris Indoors, stunned Serena Williams en route to a runner-up finish in Dubai and reached the second week at Indian Wells.

TL;DR: We’ve been getting plenty of reactions like this.

Last week in Katowice, Cornet’s flair for the dramatics appeared once again. After easing past Vesna Dolonc in the opening round, Cornet recorded three-set wins against Kristina Kucova, Klara Koukalova and Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the final. Undeterred by dropping a bagel set to both Koukalova and Radwanska, Cornet faced off against first-time WTA finalist Camila Giorgi in the last round. Giorgi, to her credit, had been making waves of her own on the other side of the draw.

Cornet led 5-3 in the second set before dropping four straight games as the oft-erratic Giorgi found her mark. Cornet bounced back by taking a 3-0 lead in the decider but then had another mini-slump as Giorgi won five of the next six games to take a 5-4 lead. Giorgi had a match point in the next game, but missed a backhand return long and Cornet held for 5-5. She would win the next two games to take the title, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5, in three hours and 11 minutes.

#aliz3 improved her record in three set matches to 11-2 on the year.

While her countrywoman thrives on the dramatics, Caroline Garcia is just the opposite. Despite possessing a big serve and potent groundstrokes, Garcia is decidedly “un-French” when it comes to expressiveness, histrionics or flashiness. What has plagued the younger Frenchwoman, like so many of her countrymen before her, has been mental fragility.

Up until now, Garcia’s one notable result to date came in the form of a match she lost.

You all know the story. A 17-year-old Garcia had Maria Sharapova on the ropes in the second round of Roland Garros in 2011, building a 6-3, 4-1 lead versus the eventual semifinalist.

Andy Murray sent the tweet heard ’round the world…

https://twitter.com/andy_murray/status/73775485980651521

….and Garcia lost 11 straight games to lose the match.

Garcia stagnated in the three years since, proving yet again that tennis is more mental than physical. She languished around the lower end of the top 100, lost countless matches from winning positions, most notably failing to convert on match points in two matches against Jelena Jankovic in Kuala Lumpur (6-7(6), 6-4, 6-7(2)) in 2012 and in Charleston (7-5, 6-7(10), 3-6) in 2013. In Acapulco earlier this season, she won back-to-back main draw matches at a WTA event for the first time in her career en route to a semifinal showing. She reached the third round in Miami and gave a struggling Serena Williams all she could handle before again coming up just short, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6.

While Cornet was putting on a show in Katowice, Garcia quietly took advantage of a wide-open draw in Bogota that was made easier when Sloane Stephens lost in the opening road to hometown favorite Mariana Duque-Marino. Nothing is straight-forward with Garcia, but her big serve and groundstrokes were nearly untouchable for the week in Bogota’s high altitude. She dropped just one set en route to her first WTA final to Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, before getting a shot at defending champion Jankovic in the final. Garcia exercised her personal demons against the Serb, calmly serving out the match and the title, 6-3, 6-4.

Cornet and Garcia will lead France’s Fed Cup team against a Williams-less United States on the road this weekend. Contrast, man. Contrast.

Things That Happened Since Vera Zvonareva Last Played a Singles Match

Zvonareva Vera3

Courtesy of a singles main draw  wildcard, and a wide-open doubles field, Vera Zvonareva has returned to us this week in Shenzhen. The former World No. 2 hadn’t played a competitive tennis match since a 61 60 loss to Serena Williams in the third round of the London Olympic Games on August 1, 2012.

Her true return to competition came on Sunday, as she and Olga Govortsova lost in the first round in the doubles event to Johanna Konta and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 61 26 10-8.

Her last singles match, however, was exactly 518 days ago.

Here is an [abridged] list of things that have happened since Vera Zvonareva last played a singles match.

  • Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States (Nov. 6, 2012)
  • The third official NHL lockout started (Sept. 15, 2012) and ended. (Jan. 6, 2013)
  • Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in the history of forever to resign (announced: Feb. 11, 2013 & took effect: Feb. 28, 2013) and Pope Francis was elected. (March 13, 2013)
  • THE CRONUT WAS INVENTED. Chef Dominique Ansel for Dominique Ansel Bakery copyrighted the name in May 2013.
  • St. James’ Palace announced that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant (Dec. 3, 2012), mass world hysteria ensued, and Prince George of Cambridge was born. (July 22, 2013)
  • 30 Rock ended after seven seasons (January 31, 2013), COPS got cancelled by Fox after 25 years but moved to cable (May 2013), and people freaked out when Dexter (Sept. 22, 2013) and Breaking Bad (Sept. 29, 2013) ended simultaneously.
  • Andy Murray won Wimbledon, becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. In case you forgot. (July 7, 2013)
  • “What Does the Fox Say?” was uploaded to YouTube (Sept. 3, 2013) and went viral.
  • The U.S. government entered the third longest shutdown in its history after Congress failed to agree on legislation for the fiscal year 2014, (Oct. 1st-16th, 2013)
  • Family Guy killed off family pet and beloved character Brian Griffin (Nov. 24, 2013)….and brought him back two episodes later. (Dec. 15, 2013)

Zvonareva used a protected ranking to enter the event, and will also be using her SR for the Australian Open. A favorite target of the tennis gods, the unranked Russian might’ve expected some compassion from her overlords after an injury-riddled 18 months.

Instead, she got this.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 10.12.33 PM

No word on how Zvonareva reacted to her draw, but sources say it was something like this.

VeraZvonarevaTowel_2111722i

Zvonareva and Li will take the court in Shenzhen later today not before 1 p.m. local time.

Photos: AP

The Merits of “Home” Wild Cards

Olivia+Rogowska+2013+Australian+Open+Day+4+T7LefZ5hTbtl

Photo Credit: Zimbio & Graham Denholm/Getty Images AsiaPac

The tennis world was first introduced to Olivia Rogowska when she pushed then-World No. 1 Dinara Safina to the limit in the first round at the 2009 US Open. An 18-year old, Rogowska played with the reckless abandon one would expect from a teenager in her first professional season. Safina recovered from an 0-3, 15-40 deficit in the third set and escaped with a 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 win.

At the 2009 US Open, Rogowska was a wild card – a position she has since become quite familiar with in her five professional seasons. However, with a career-high ranking of No. 111, current ranking of No. 172 and career earnings of just $486,920, she’s received little career benefit from those handouts. With a 6-3, 7-5 loss to Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round of the Brisbane International this afternoon, Rogowska’s WTA record as a wild card in Australia falls to 1-12.

Brisbane

2014: R1 – l. to Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 7-5

2013: R1 – l. to (Q) Monica Puig 6-2, 6-3

2012: R1 – l. to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4

Hobart

2011: R1 – l. to (Q) Tamira Paszek 6-1, 6-3

2010: R1 – l. to (2) Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-2

2009: R1 – l. to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-1

Sydney

2013: R1 – l to Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 6-2

Australian Open

2013: R1 – l. to (Q) Vesna Dolonc 5-7, 7-5, 8-6

2012: R1 – d. Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-1 | R2 – l. to (5) Li Na 6-2, 6-2

2011: R1 – l. to Evgeniya Rodina 6-3, 6-1

2010: R1 – l. to Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 2-6, 6-2

2009: R1 –  l. to (31) Alona Bondarenko 5-7, 6-3, 6-2

In addition, Rogowska has received the reciprocal Australian wild card at the other three slams three times. As a wild card at Roland Garros and the US Open, she has recorded an overall record of 1-3.

While this is not necessarily an indictment on Rogowska herself, her situation represents one that has become all too common. Players from the four Grand Slam nations have long been the beneficiary of nearly-unlimited wild cards when the opportunity arises, regardless of deciding factors including age, ability level and recent results.  Rogowska played out of her skin for a set and a half against a crumbling Safina nearly five years ago, and has ridden that result (of a match she lost) even since. Often, she’s continually placed in draws where she’s out of her depth and has failed more often than she has succeeded. As a result, she’s achieved little momentum in her professional career.

One Australian player who didn’t receive a main draw wild card into the Brisbane International is Ashleigh Barty. She received a wild card to the qualifying draw instead. Barty, the 17-year old wunderkind who reached three Grand Slam doubles finals last year with Casey Dellacqua, has struggled to make inroads in singles on the women’s tour. After battling past Cagla Buyukakcay 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-3 in the opening round, she defeated sixth-seeded Julia Glushko 6-3, 6-2 to move into the final round of qualifying. In the final round, Barty saved five match points in defeating Kiki Bertens, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Two fairly young players (Barty, 17 & Rogowska, 22), two different situations. Even if Barty also loses her first match in the main draw, she would leave Brisbane with a lot more confidence and momentum than Rogowska.

With this not a unique situation, it becomes a question of whether or not the wild card system itself is flawed. Does a concept meant to give players an opportunity that they might not get otherwise end up doing more harm than good?

Twitter Reacts to the Return of the Tennis: A Poem

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the ‘net,

tennis fans ’round the world were getting their alarms set.

They had been told what was coming their way,

and all they had to do was wait for the 26th day.

With 2013 all but behind them,

they looked forward to 2014 with great anticipation.

No prediction too wild and no dream too small,

they had awaited this day eagerly, all through the fall.

It first began with the #men in Abu Dhabi,

and some tried to make an exho matter because of Andy Murray.

With the Scotsman still in one piece,

their excitement for the new season wasn’t looking like it would cease.

The tennis that counted began under the Australian sun,

and although they could see none of it, that didn’t stop their fun.

Dushevina won the first game, Begu served the first ace, and forehands and backhands (presumably) flew all over the place.

Crouched over their laptops and glued to their phones,

tennis fans got back on their horses from the comfort of their homes.

While few may understand why they do what they do,

they do it all together, with me and you and you!

Happy 2014 to tennis fans far and wide,

I’m glad we’re all together for yet another crazy ride.

Breaking Down the Changes to the WTA Rankings

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 6.50.44 PM

With the start of the 2014 tennis season just FIVE DAYS AWAY (help!), the WTA rankings will look a little bit different in 120 hours. Earlier this year, the WTA Board of Directors voted to implement changes to the ranking system. The new ranking points will be introduced over a 12-month period from the start of the 2014 season.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, the WTA website posted this press release to summarize the changes last week.

The calendar isn’t the only WTA fixture being renovated for 2014, as there will be some ranking point amendments for the new season.

Among the changes confirmed by the WTA are first round points at Premier Mandatory tournaments being doubled (from five to 10), qualifying points at International tournaments being increased and Grand Slam qualifying points being adjusted to lessen the difference between WTA Premier event qualifying points.

New points will be added only as 2013 results drop off, so the changes will be gradual.

The WTA’s intent with the changes is for a more uniform awarding of points from round to round and between tournament levels, while also striking an appropriate balance between WTA and ITF levels.

But what does that even mean?

Let’s take a look at the changes side by side.

Grand Slams

Old System | W: 2000, F: 1400, SF: 900, QF: 500, R16: 280, R32: 160, R64: 100, R128: 5, Qualifier: 60, Q3: 50, Q2: 40, Q1: 2

New System | W: 2000, F: 1300, SF: 780, QF: 430, R16: 240, R32: 130, R64: 70, R128: 10, Qualifier: 40, Q3: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Premier Mandatory - Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing

Old System (96 Draw Singles) |  W: 1000, F: 700, SF: 450, QF: 250, R16: 140, R32: 80, R64: 50, R128: 5, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 1

New System (96 Draw Singles, 48Q) |  W: 1000, F: 650, SF: 390, QF: 215, R16: 120, R32: 65, R16: 35, R128: 10, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Old System (64 Draw  Singles) | W: 1000, F: 700, SF: 450, QF: 250, R16: 140, R32: 80, R64: 5, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 1

New System (64/60 Draw Singles, 32Q) | W: 1000, F: 650, SF: 390, QF: 215, R16: 120, R32: 65, R64: 10, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Premier 5 - Doha, Rome, Montréal, Cincinnati, Tokyo

Old System (56 Singles, 64 Q) | W: 900, F: 620, SF: 395, QF: 225, R16: 125, R32: 70, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q2: 12, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles, 64 Q) | W: 900, F: 585, SF: 350, QF: 190, R16: 105, R32: 60, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 22, Q2: 15, Q1: 1

Old System (56 Singles, 48/32 Q) | W: 900, F: 620, SF: 395, QF: 225, R16: 125, R32: 70, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles, 48/32 Q) | W: 900, F: 585, SF: 350, QF: 190, R16: 105, R32: 60, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q1: 1

Premier 700 – Brisbane, Carlsbad, Charleston, Dubai, Paris [Indoors], Stanford, Stuttgart & Premier 600 – Brussels, Eastbourne, Moscow, New Haven, Sydney

Old System (56 Singles) | W: 470, F: 320, SF: 200, QF: 120, R16: 60, R32: 40, R64: 1 Qualifier: 12, Q2: 8, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles) | W: 470, F: 305, SF: 185, QF: 100, R16: 55, R32: 30, R64: 1, Qualifier: 25, Q2: 13, Q1: 1

Old System (32 Singles) | W: 470, F: 320, SF: 200, QF: 120, R16: 60, R32: 1, Qualifier: 20, Q3: 12, Q2: 8, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles) | W: 470, F: 305, SF: 185, QF: 100, R16: 55, R32: 1, Qualifier: 25, Q3: 18, Q2: 13, Q1: 1

International - Acapulco, Auckland, Bad Gastein, Baku, Bastad, Bogotá, Brussels, Budapest, Florianopolis, Guangzhou, Hobart, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Katowice, Kuala Lumpur, Linz, Luxembourg, Marrakech, Monterrey, Nürnberg, Oeiras, Osaka, Pattaya City, Québec City, Rio de Janeiro, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Seoul, Shenzhen, Strasbourg, Tashkent, Tianjin, Washington DC

Old System (32 Singles, 32Q) | W: 280, F: 200, SF: 130, QF: 70, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 16, Q3: 10, Q2: 6, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles, 32Q) | W: 280, F: 180, SF: 110, QF: 60, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 18, Q3: 14, Q2: 10, Q1: 1

Old System (32 Singles, 16Q) | W: 280, F: 200, SF: 130, QF: 70, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 10, Q2: 6, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles, 16Q) | W: 280, F: 180, SF: 110, QF: 60, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 18, Q2: 12, Q1: 1

At first glance, the new ranking system still rewards players for winning tournaments (duh) and doesn’t really look all that different. However, players are playing for less points, as all totals except the champion’s have been decreased. The point inflation in the first week of slams has also been addressed nicely.

The WTA asserts that the changes will be implemented gradually, but there is no doubt that this new ranking system shortchanges players who have a lot of points to defend early in the season. Players with lots of points at the end of this season will keep the previous values on their ranking for a longer period of time.

One of the biggest improvements I can see is the (slight) increase in points for qualifying at International tournaments. Perhaps now, draws like this will be a funny memory.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.11.01 PM

It’s a start.