VIDEO: Alizé Cornet Protests *Correct* Call in Eastbourne

Well-known for her flair for the dramatic arts, Alizé Cornet let two match points slip against Angelique Kerber in a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(3) third round defeat in Eastbourne on Wednesday.  Long before she even got to that point, however, this happened.

A Premier-level event, Eastbourne is one of the biggest tournaments on the WTA Tour to not have Hakweye in use. Understanding this, Cornet took it upon herself to bemoan every call that didn’t go her way for the duration of the match.

The scene: After letting two break points slip at 3-3 in the third set, Cornet yanked a forehand clearly wide early in the rally.

She didn’t think so.

Chair umpire Fiona Edwards of Great Britain grew more exasperated with Cornet as the lengthy exchange went on, finally washing her hands of it all by saying, “It was the correct call. What can I do?” It’s unclear if Edwards was actually addressing Cornet, or the bemused crowd.

You do you, Alizé.

Quick Quotes: Redfoo Getting More Attention from ESPN Than Some Athletes

If I could go back in a time machine to the 2012 US Open and tell the WTA that celebrating Redfoo’s birthday was a terrible idea, I’d do so in two seconds. Since he wasn’t forced upon us enough during the Australian Open fortnight, or even over the past six months, Charles Curtis of ESPN: The Magazine interviewed him upon his return from Melbourne. He talks about why he loves tennis, Azarenka…and other things.

On how he supports Azarenka:

When I root for stuff, I watch to see what she does and then I just do it louder…

It’s [also] knowing to stay out of the way. It’s just understanding when she’s focused and in her mode that she’s not going to be the same way. Once she puts her headphones on, you can forget it.

On where his passion for tennis came from:

My mother actually used to play. When she was pregnant with me, she was playing tennis. They make a joke — I don’t know if it’s true — her water broke on the tennis court…

When I was born, I lived with my dad for two years. I was always watching him on a tennis court as a kid, he was a fanatic. Boris Becker would come to the house and play chess. They’re still friends with Monica Seles…

On his and Azarenka’s….whatever they have:

Yeah, I think so [that they're dating]. It’s pretty out there. I hope so! We don’t talk about it that much, but if I saw her with another dude, I wouldn’t be happy about it. We just try to do our thing and have fun and laugh.

I don’t think I’m physically capable of making comments about him anymore, so I present you with this GIF of my emotions:

Consider this my white flag.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That – Karolinagate

Let me preface this by saying that, if you’re a tennis fan, you’re already aware of the fact that Caroline Wozniacki is painfully unfunny.

In response to being called boring by some members of the media at the 2011 Australian Open, Karolina attempted to turn the tables on them. She felt like they always asked her the same questions, so she gave them all the answers. All at once. That same year, at the same event, she spun a yarn that a scrape on her knee was the result of a fight with a kangaroo.

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That – Redfoo Returns!

Thought we were rid of the crotch-grabbing, animal-print wearing, afro-rocking, pseudo musician?

Nope.

Redfoo, one half (along with his nephew, SkyBlu) of the American electropop duo LMFAO, has made his glorious return to the WTA this week in Istanbul. Behold.

Redfoo has been a huge presence in women’s tennis since he was thrust upon us at the US Open. I don’t know how this circus began, to be frank. I mean, did Adam Levine not answer the pay phone? Did Taylor Swift say that she was never, ever getting with the WTA…like ever? I don’t get it. First, we had him lurking in off court features and videos. Next, he was tweeting players, in their boxes and has apparently become great friends with Victoria Azarenka. (The girl does like Nickelback after all, leave her be.)

But it didn’t stop there. We now have the Party Rock Open, an entire $50,000 ITF Pro Circuit event owned and organized by him. Sponsorship and promotion? Great. BUT COACHING? He has recently began coaching Japanese junior Ayaka Okuno, practicing several hours a day with her in Las Vegas. “I kind of use the Phil Jackson approach which I teach her some vague things – I teach her how to think for herself on the court,” he told the Associated Press. “She’s really good at self-analyzing.”

He’s also planning on launching his own line of tennis clothing and told Barbara Schett in an interview with Eurosport this week that he would like to play in some Futures events.

He’s everywhere.

I have mixed feeling on him. I mean, his ‘music,’ if we’re going to loosely use the term, is terrible. I feel like I need to shower after looking at his hair. (I mean, who *knows* where it’s been?) However, the guy seems to dig women’s tennis. He’s actually sort of knowledgeable about it, enjoys it and the tennis community has been begging for someone in the mainstream media to promote women’s tennis.

On September 21st, LMFAO released a statement announcing their hiatus, with Redfoo stating that his and his nephew’s careers are going in different directions. Is his direction WTA global brand ambassador? If the WTA wants to party rock and shuffle, I guess I can deal. At least he’s better than Donald Trump.

Guangzhou: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

People tend to bash the WTA post-US Open Asian swing as a breeding ground for tanking, vulturing and other such shenanigans. I am not one of those people.

The highlight of the Asian swing is the International level event in Guangzhou, taking place this week. They give their winner a hideous flower pot.

The tournament also has a history of quality officiating.

Nonetheless, I have found reason to validate Guangzhou’s existence as a WTA event. This reason is Google Translate.

The draw in 2011:

Anastasjia ‘Stuffed baby doll Steward’ Sevastova is my personal favorite.

In 2012, defending champion Chanelle ‘History of Paper/Skin’ Scheepers returns to Guangzhou, along with Petra ‘Seth high Fuka’ Cetkovska, Bojana ‘Jovan Nuosi Ji’ Jovanovski and Laura ‘Robben Sen’ Robson. (Maybe Wayne Rooney was onto something?)

Best event of the year.

He Said What? – Gilles Simon Speaks Out Against Equal Prize Money

The new ATP Player’s Council, voted on by ATP Tour players, was announced before Wimbledon got underway on Monday. Those elected will serve two-year terms, expiring in June 2014.

1-50 Singles: Kevin Anderson, Roger Federer, Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Simon

51-100 Singles: Robin Haase, Sergiy Stakhovsky

1-100 Doubles: Mahesh Bhupathi, Eric Butorac

At-Large: James Cerretani, Andre Sa

Alumni: Brian Gottfried

Coach: Claudio Pistolesi

Gilles Simon, currently ranked #13 in the world in singles, had this to say about his election in the same ATP release.

“I have been on the Tour for a long time, and have learned a lot about tournaments and players. I have some ideas to share with the other players, and feel it is important for us to work together and make good decisions. Tennis is at the top and we want to continue to improve.”

As a bighead figurehead in a governing body that is in no real position of power, Simon seems to feel that has given him carte blanche to say what he wants. Because god knows, his tennis doesn’t.

In a piece by Maimouna Barry translated from the French Huffington Post, Simon feels that “equal prize money has no place in tennis,” and “that we [the men] provide a more attractive spectacle.”

“We often speak of equality in wages. I think this is not something that works in sport…I think today men’s tennis is ahead of women’s tennis…[In a] Grand Slam, men spend twice as much time on the courts than women.”

Do I believe Simon has a right to express his opinion? Sure, he does. Do I believe he has the right to act high and mighty with demigod status purely because he is male? No. First of all, here’s my problem. The men play best of five sets a grand total of FOUR times each year, at the majors. The rest of the year, they slog it out in the same best of three set matches that the women do.

Secondly, the fact that Simon, of ALL the ATP players, is talking about tennis and aesthetics is laughable.

Exhibit A:

A 61-shot rally with no pace, no width of shot, no depth. Extremely high quality entertainment, that is.

Simon is not the first player to talk smack about the WTA, as Janko Tipsarevic has had that handled all by himself in recent years. Tipsarevic unleashed a diatribe at the WTA four years ago, stating:

“99% of male tennis players can’t stand women’s tennis. There’s no other sport with such a big disparity concerning level of play and the money women make. A friend of mine says that a woman who wins a Slam should only earn enough money to pay for her airplane ticket home. Who knows what else I would say if it wasn’t for Ana and Jelena whom I may consider friends. But of course, I appreciate the effort they’re putting into tennis, because I know they practise as hard as I do. [...] The way women think on court cannot be compared to men. Their only strategy is ‘hit the ball where your opponent isn’t.’ Nothing more! No ‘Put more spin on the ball, this is an important point, play to her backhand’. No way! [...] It’s that such kind of tennis works today. Look at the Williams sisters, Sharapova or Ivanovic who hits the ball like a truck on steroids. I get a bit critical when I see how much the women earn and how their opening rounds go. That’s what irritates me the most, I feel like going to WTA HQ and *something* all of them. Look at Federer who is so dominant, he has to work so hard to beat a Staracce or an Almagro, he may even lose a set and then look at Sharapova or Ivanovic who lose 3 games in the first 4 rounds. It makes me sick.” (h/t Throw Up the Deuce, translated from Serbian.)

Roger Federer defeated his first opponent at Wimbledon 61 61 61 and Andy Murray’s first round lasted 95 minutes; Vera Zvonareva’s opening match lasted 138 minutes over two days, and American Christina McHale defeated Great Britain’s Johanna Konta 10-8 in the third set. Clearly, Federer and Murray should be forced to take pay cuts for that lack of quality and competitiveness.

I firmly believe the ATP Player’s Council should be concerned with….the matters of ATP players. Is that so radical? Lower ranked players on the ATP can barely make a living, as we learned from (ex-ATP Council member) Sergiy Stakhovsky’s explosive interview earlier this year. In a year when we are celebrating 40 years of Title IX in the United States, it’s sad to see the amount of close-mindedness that still exists regarding female athletes by their male counterparts. The ATP is currently dominated by three men and clearly there’s some bitterness towards the inability to reach that pinnacle from some of the others.

He Said What? – Ivan Ljubicic Criticizes American Players for Clay Court Absence

Of all tennis players on the short list to cause controversy, Ivan Ljubicic would not be one to ping on the radar. Ljubicic, long respected by his peers, was an active member of the ATP Player’s Council beginning in 2002 who was elected Vice President from 2004-06 and President from 2006-08. In August 2008, he was elected as European player representative on ATP Board. Since retiring earlier this year however, Ljubicic has become a somewhat keyboard warrior. He has not hesitated to criticize the current goings on in professional tennis.

For example, he dislikes when players refer to tournaments as warm ups for Grand Slams.

He heavily criticized the ITF for the implementation of the new Fed and Davis Cup Olympic eligibility rules.

When he took to Twitter over the weekend to criticize the “absences” of top Americans from the clay court ATP Masters Series events in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome, Ljubicic got much more than he bargained for.

Mardy Fish, ranked #9 on the ATP, has been sidelined since Houston with an illness that forced him out of Davis Cup, Madrid and Rome. Andy Roddick has been nursing a recurring hamstring injury since the Australian Open and a hip injury since Miami.

Needless to say, Ljubicic touched a nerve. John Isner was first to come to the defense of his friend and countryman Fish.

Mardy Fish probably wishes he thought a little bit more before pressing that tweet button.

Although Fish deleted his Tweet immediately, we all know everything is forever immortalized on the Internet. Just ask Donald Young.

Andy Roddick finally weighed in on Sunday.

While American men have a history of underperforming and withdrawing from clay events in recent years, Ljubicic should have done his homework this time around. Roddick and Fish have been the only two notable American absentees, and John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young have all made the trip to compete on the European clay.

Late Sunday night, Ljubicic tried to rectify matters.

In an Olympic year, it’s understandable that players want to be healthy to peak at the right time to have success in the biggest events. While Roddick, Fish and James Blake have all had a history of lackluster and listless clay court performances over the years, 2012 proves to be a year when they actually can’t compete, rather than one when they just won’t.

He Said What? – Piotr Wozniacki Proclaims Caroline Is “Ready to Win Madrid”

Caroline Wozniacki has fallen from World No. 1 to World No. 6 in a span of three months. She has not reached a final in 2012. Heading into what is historically the weakest portion of her season, the Wozniacki camp would have a general reason to be concerned.

Or maybe not.

As reported by Søren Klæstrup at BT, Wozniacki’s father and coach, Piotr had this to say about his daughter’s 6-1, 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Angelique Kerber in the 2nd round of Stuttgart.

“It is a special base in Stuttgart, and it’s not something she is so accustomed to. The German girls have a big advantage at the very base, because they play Fed Cup and train on it. Therefore, they are favorites, when on the ground, for it is very, very difficult to play.” (Original in Danish)

Piotr’s logic might actually make sense if…nope. Maria Sharapova beat Victoria Azarenka in the Stuttgart final. Neither of them are German nor played in the Fed Cup tie between Germany and Australia the weekend before the tournament. Azarenka defeated two German players, Andrea Petkovic and Mona Barthel en route to the final. Semifinalists Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova and Polish and Czech respectively, and still performed well in the tournament.

Wozniacki lost in Stuttgart for one reason only. Kerber knew exactly how to play her; she played with consistent, controlled agression and sustained a level that Wozniacki is incapable of reaching. For the 67 weeks she was #1 in the world, Wozniacki prided herself on out-steadying her opponents – forcing them to hit one more ball, which they would miss without fail. Players have finally cracked the secret to playing Wozniacki, and now her self-confidence has taken a hit. Her opponents can expect more unforced errors off the Dane’s racket than they did before; her “air of invincibility” has evaporated. They don’t need to be perfect to win, they only need to be solid and take advantage of opportunities.

The two main warmup events in Madrid and Rome remain on the road to Roland Garros. Later in the piece, Piotr had this to say about his daughter’s upcoming participation in the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open.

“She is strong at the moment and if you ask me, so I think she wins the tournament,” said Wozniacki.

Wozniacki’s career record in Madrid is 8-3; however, in her past two trips there she has lost in the second round in 2010 (l. to A. Bondarenko) and in the third round last year (l. to Goerges).

As it has so often been the case with Wozniacki in the past, there is no consideration of the bigger picture. While Piotr says “their” main focus is the Grand Slams, the fact remains Wozniacki has not realistically challenged for a major title in over a year. One has to wonder what exactly he’s doing to fix it.

Oh, What’s Your Name Girl? My Name is Rebecca – Oh Wait, it’s Caroline

“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday! Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend! Partying, partying yeah! Partying, part-

Oh, it’s not Friday? ….It’s Tuesday. Will the real Rebecca Black please stand up?

Introducing “Oxygen” – the first recorded single by former WTA #1, and current world #6, Caroline Wozniacki. The heavily auto tuned single, recorded by Wozniacki for charity, was long speculated about but little information regarding it was released. Proceeds from the single will benefit Polish and Danish Paralympic teams.

The receipts are in, and the reviews are not kind. Translated from Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet:

“Wozniacki Single Gets Bageled” – Her (Wozniacki’s) debut single is a double fault…To no surprise, the song is neither avantgarde jazz nor death metal but rather dumb blonde pop. Completely hopeless and bereft of musicality…makes the star sound like Minnie Mouse after falling into a bucket of Bacardi Breezers.

In truth, the song isn’t THAT bad…except it is. It’s for a good cause, but let your ears be the judge. Wozniacki, ever the linguist, rivals the cereal-eating, hard partying tale of Ms. Black with poetic heartfelt lyrics including:

“You’re in the air so I can keep on breathing, breathingYou know exactly how to keep my world spinning, spinningWon’t let you go, boy don’t you know you are the air I breathe, the air I need.”

Rebecca Black, meet Caroline Wozniacki. You two might have more in common than you think. The video for the song is to be recorded in the upcoming weeks. For Wozniacki’s sake, let’s just hope she finds a car with enough seats.