Tennis: A busy off-season for most!

Tennis’ top names were in Soa Paolo, Brazil last week for an exhibition. Players included Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Victoria Azarenka, Tommy Haas, Maria Sharapova, Tommy Robredo, Caroline Wozniacki, Thomas Bellucci and the Bryan Brothers.

While there, Federer talked about his limited schedule for 2013 and how he hopes to play in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero: “I have to make sure that I take care of my schedule, of my body, of my mind…Hopefully, I can still stay on tour for many more years and hopefully play the Olympics here in three and a half years or so, so I have to look far ahead and not just the next six months.”

Roger won six titles in 2012, at one point regained the #1-ranking, then ended the season as #2 on tour: “I’m very happy that I’m still playing at a very high level. I had one of my best years on tour this year, and one of the most emotional ones, of course. Next year tournament victories will probably be more important than the rankings, that’s why I need to make sure I practice a lot next year…I’m not going to play 25 tournaments, but every tournament that I will be playing I’ll be emotionally attached to it because I either won there before or because I’ve been there many times or because I love the city or the country and the fans. Today I’ve reached a point in my life that I can pick and choose where I want to play and how much I want to play.”

Mardy Fish won’t play at this year’s Australian Open, still dealing with heart-problems that sidelined him last Spring. That said, he’s still training at the USTA West Coast Training Center in Carson, CA.

Rafael Nadal will play Abu Dahbi then Doha in three weeks. It’s anticipated that he’ll play the Australian Open, as well, but he’s downplaying expectations: “I don’t expect to go and win the Australian Open, you have to be realistic. I’m not worried about results in the first tournaments. I want to be 100 percent by Monte Carlo through Roland Garros.”

Bernard Tomic has had to absorb some serious criticism over the past several weeks, with negative comments coming from Patrick Rafter, Sam Stosur, Lleyton Hewitt – all regarding poor attitude and drama off the court. In fact, he wasn’t selected for the Australian Davis Cup Team’s first round tie in Taiwan come February, and his name wasn’t mentioned once during the annnual Newcombe Medal dinner on December 3rd. Tomic’s reaction? He wasn’t planning on playing Davis Cup anyway: “I’ve had a slippery slope the last year. It’s changing me and I’ll prove I’m going to be the best-ever player one day to play this game.”

The U.S. Fed Cup Team will play in Italy with their first round World Group Tie – Mary Joe Fernandez says Serena Williams has committed to play. Davis Cup’s first round tie will be in Jacksonville Super Bowl weekend, featuring the US vs. Brazil. Tickets are on sale now. Here’s the radio commercial I produced to promote the event:

Finally, the 70-year-old umpire who was arrested just prior to the 2012 US Open, charged with murdering her husband using a coffee cup…the case was dropped by the district attorney. Lois Goodman says she looks forward to getting back to work.