WIMBLEDON, England -- We've had an early casualty on Centre Court this year, a longtime fixture put to pasture on the grass. The seeds have survived -- some more easily than others. But you'll note that as players walk onto the court, they no longer bow and curtsy before the Royal Box. This tradition has been dying slowly over the past few years. It's now officially dead. The Duke of Kent, patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, requested an end to the practice, claiming it no longer fits in with the modern game. (This comes months after Buckingham Palace explicitly asserted that those meeting royalty should only bow or curtsey if they want to.) The Club relented. Bowing before Royalty is now voluntary.
The week after Wimbledon, Stacey Allaster was officially named the new CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Since then, a former No. 1 player returned and won the U.S. Open. The Tour's most marketable star blew a gasket in the U.S. Open semifinals, a meltdown that became an international cause célèbre. One Belgian was suspended for an anti-violating simply because she failed to keeps administrator advised of her whereabouts. Another Belgian, a seven-time Grand Slam champ, is returning. And the WTA's title sponsor is, by most accounts, a longshot to renew. Otherwise, it's been an uneventful 150 days.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the popularity of the WTA Tour rivaled its men's counterpart, when stars like the then-up-and-coming Williams sisters held court with Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Mary Pierce and, yes, Anna Kournikova.
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The Australian summer has come to an end and the next stop for the women on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour early into 2008 is Federation Cup. Immediately, we're forced to shift gears from our individual mind set to the team concept.
Walk into any mall in America right now and you're bombarded with the holiday spirit. But the most recognizable sign of all is, of course, Santa Claus and the children who each year come and sit on his lap, reeling off what they want from St. Nick. Will it be the newest American Girl doll? Maybe the latest Nintendo Wii game?
MOSCOW -- Maria Sharapova suffered another tough defeat on Wednesday at the hands of one of the WTA Tour's crop of future stars, Victoria Azarenka, in her opening match here at the Kremlin Open. It was the two-time Slam champion's first match since her disappointing third-round loss at the U.S. Open.
The Australian tennis pro (part of the world's No.2-ranked doubles team and a former No. 1 doubles player) has won 19 career doubles title on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. She is currently ranked No. 36 in the world in singles. 1. Forget to Breathe, Renee Cassar
ROME -- When most people hear the phrase "criminal background check," they immediately envision a scene from Law & Order, or perhaps a front-page story in the New York Post. Their last thought would be anything having to do with tennis.
Before we get started, a huge congratulations to my Florida Gators for winning their second straight NCAA men's basketball title. Luckily for me, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's clay-court season kicked off this week down the road from my alma mater in Amelia Island, Fla.
Over a 13-year pro career, Lisa Raymond has won 62 doubles titles, including a career Grand Slam. She and her current partner, Australian Samantha Stosur, are currently ranked No. 1 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Lisa writes for SI.com on alternate weeks about her career, life on the tour and other tennis news and notes.
Make way for a woman's touch! Lisa Raymond is one of the most successful doubles players in the world. Over a 13-year pro career, the Philadelphia-area native has won 61 doubles titles, including a career Grand Slam. She and her current partner, Australian Samantha Stosur, are currently ranked No. 1 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Lisa will check in from time to time with SI.com to rap about her career, life on the tour and other tennis news and notes.
I'm going to take some heat for saying this, but I can't be sensitive and ignore the truth: Women's tennis is in a very weak and desperate state.
SI.com: Quiz timeupdated: Fri Jan 05 2007 14:56:00
Along with postal service, driving traffic, and jumbo shrimp, we add tennis offseason to the list of our favorite oxymorons. So, here it is the first week of January -- barely six weeks after the Masters Cup final -- and tennis is back in the agate type. Herewith, a quiz of divinations for the new season. And if you miss a few, no worries. It's round robin, so you can re-enter the draw!