Sunday, October 19, 2008

BACKSPIN SPECIAL: The Best of Jankovic (2008)

What a rollercoaster ride it's been. A season that began with Jelena Jankovic dramatically declaring she was "risking her career" to play for Serbia in an EXHIBITION looks like it will end with Queen Chaos as the #1-ranked player in the world.

Go figure.

With the 2008 season nearly complete, I thought it'd be fitting to honor the "most entertaining" player on tour with a Special Edition of Backspin that highlights all the wildly divergent opinions, eye-rolling moments and, of course, nicknames that she's inspired over the past year. After Justine Henin retired in the spring, for a few moments I wondered whether there would ever be another out there who could replace her as the lead actress/player/character on which Backspin's ongoing tennis play could pivot, for both good and bad.

Enter La Petit Taureau's seemingly star-crossed understudy.

Queen Chaos. The Divine Miss J. The Jankobot-5200. With her on the scene, there's always SOMETHING to talk about... and who loves the thrill of the spotlight more than her? In retrospect, Jankovic was the natural court jesteress/star-in-waiting of the production.

So, here she is, in a flurry of links. The walking, talking Serbian question mark/exclamation point/asterisk/medical oddity/smiley face who also doubles as a valuable asset to the WTA tour, no matter how many people prefer to ignore that fact rather than focus on the entertainment value of a professional sport where the most fascinating, theatrical, exasperating irritating, humorous, infuriating, wonderful, horrible and fun player ALSO manages to sit atop its hierarchical pyramid... even if she isn't yet surrounded by any of the same silver-plated prizes that a few of her fellow competitors possess (something of which she's constantly reminded).

So, ride the rollercoaster once again... before it threatens to fly off the tracks in the coming weeks, months and seasons.

=J.J., version 1.0=
Intriguing Outlook: The Rest of Europe
Week 1: Act 1, Scene 1 (2008)
Australian Open, Day 1: Jelena Does a 360 Spin

=The post-Henin Era: Chapter 1=
Week 20: Non Sequitur Jubilee
Roland Garros Preview: LPT+1 = OMFG... JJ?
Roland Garros, Day 8: The Styles Make the Serbs
Roland Garros, Day 12: AnaIvo By a Nose
Wimbledon, Day 6: Here We Go Again?
Week30: Somewhat Broken, Occasionally Bowed and still not #1
Week 32: Citius, Altius, Jankovicius

=New York Jelena=
U.S. Open, Day 1: Waiting for Godot... err, I mean Jelena
U.S. Open, Day 1.5: Raw Drama
U.S. Open, Day 3: Jankovician to the Core
U.S. Open, Day 5: Serving it Out?
U.S. Open, Day 7: J.J. or A.I.?
U.S. Open, Day 9: Horseshoes, Hand Grenades and Jelena
U.S. Open, Day 12: Calm in the Face of Chaos
U.S. Open Final: Destiny's Child

=The Professional=
Week 38: The Beat Goes on... and Jelena is still #2
Week 39: Snezana's Daughter Can Get There From Here
Week 40: A New Calm Amid the Chaos
Week 41: The Jelena Zone

And, techically, her season's not offically over yet. Look out Doha, she might have one more trippy story left to spin.

All for now.


Blogger leia said...

I so appreciate this "look back" on JJ's 08 since I'm a recent tennis and JJ fan - got hooked since Roland Garros this year.

To Doha and forward!

Sun Oct 19, 11:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

2009 will have much to live up to. Sequels are difficult to pull off, you know. :)

But, then again, the "original" WAS slightly incomplete.

Mon Oct 20, 09:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I do think there will be a Doha chapter. I don't even try to predict her anymore; I just sit back and wait for whatever it is to happen.

Thanks for the look back!

Fri Oct 31, 10:52:00 PM EDT  
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