Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WTA Year in Review



The time has come. (As always, thoughts and words brought to you free of charge.)

2011: The Art of the Deal

"I was really surprised about how she thinks about tennis, how clever she is. She told me her advantages, disadvantages, what she has to improve. Her brain is a big advantage for this game." - David Kotyza, coach of Petra Kvitova, on his reaction to the several pages of handwritten answers she'd supplied for a questionnaire he gave her when he began working with her almost three years ago





Our Beloved Backspin Academy

Before the start of the most recent Backspin Academy Student Council election campaign, no one knew what to expect. Many of our past Class Presidents were either absent from the field, or huge question marks when it came to their overall political viability. Oh, we knew that the lead in the "mythical" race (those flash polls we both love and abhor) would likely change hands multiple times over the course of things on the trail -- with several individuals experiencing their big moment on one of the many debate stages -- but we also knew that the electorate wouldn't REALLY be satisfied once the proverbial dust had settled and all the votes had been counted if at least one candidate hadn't managed to prove that she was indeed "worthy" of the honor, successfully battle-tested over the long, often up-and-down, journey that is the BSA race.

Not unexpectedly, the one fully-prepared and present "old hat" in our vast field of candidates shined the brightest in the early stages of Decision 2011. But, then, also not totally unexpected, her campaign hit the skids. Hard. The frontrunner first got tripped up on an international stage by a young upstart, then saw her run for office slowly die of a thousands cuts, some unintentional and unfortunate (though commonplace throughout her history), and one "deal breaker" the cause of some very bad decisions she made away from the usual fray. Though she never officially pulled out of the race, her high office possibilities were over before the race was even half complete.

Her absence helped clear the way to allow others to enjoy defining moments along the way, some a long time coming, and others hinting that certain experience-gathering candidates in the race might be soon ready to compete on a larger, grander scale down the road. In the middle of the political season, with the the polls in flux, we even saw the return of a former President who entered the race after a prolonged health-related absence from the scene. She put up a great fight, and more than once flashed her old winning brilliance while showing up all the other prospective vote getters with which she shared the stage. But she wasn't prepared to win the season-long race, and her brief cameo on the campaign trail ultimately served as a reminder of what it takes to be Backspin Class President... as well as that she'll likely be throwing her name into the ring for the 2012 race, and very well could strike some fear in the hearts of all.

But what about THIS year's Presidential winner? As is often the case in such a scramble, it was a survival of the fittest, enter-at-your-own-risk tussle where no one emerged unscathed. While one candidate found herself leading -- or nearly so -- in the polls throughout the campaign, it became apparent that she was something of a "placeholder." Though most everyone's well-liked "second choice," she seemed to lack the gravitas to win this particular race. Her support was soft and could be swayed by a flashier, more sturdy candidate. In the end, that candidate emerged. Actually, she'd been there all along.

Our would-be President was that upstart who'd rather forcefully knocked the early frontrunner from atop the polls with a primary election upset. A few months later, she won one of the big prizes along the campaign trail, too. Her emergence got everyone excited, for she looked like the type of Great Hope persona the voters have been wishing to be able to fawn over for years. But after her momentum slowed and she wasn't able to immediately follow up her victory with another, it looked as if her overall skills might not yet quite be honed enough to fully take advantage of her great political promise.

But she and her team worked out the kinks in her approach. Not all of them, of course. There was that one late-in-the-race faux pas on the Tokyo stage, after all. But from that moment on, she put her head down and destroyed the competition down the stretch and turned the campaign into a virtual one-woman show. On Election Day, she coasted into student office for the first time (and even carried a few of her friends with her on her coattails in the closing moments of the race), with several past BSA Presidents openly singing her praises.

Will her reign be a long, uninterrupted one? Maybe. But we should always be careful not to dub any candidate something of a Golden Child. Still, there is no mistaking that our current President at least RESEMBLES a leader who could be around for a while, and accomplish even grander things than she already has in the opening stages of her administration. Time, and her own historical aspirations, will tell.

But, as we know, EVERY year is an election year. By the end of the next campaign twelve months from now, everything might have been turned on its head all over again. After all, it's been known to happen.

=STUDENT COUNCIL=
CLASS PRESIDENT: Petra Kvitova

LADY PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF HISTORICAL OPINION (healthy and hearty, the pundits say that she shall return -- maybe as focused as ever... gulp): Serena Williams
VICE PRESIDENT: Li Na (but with the largest constituency imaginable)
CO-PRESIDENTS PRO TEMPORE: Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik
VALEDICTORIAN: Esther Vergeer (a straight-A+ student...yet again)

SALUTATORIAN: Kim Clijsters (although, for one week, she led everyone in Grade Point Average and was Student of the Month back in January)
CLASS TREASURER: Samantha Stosur ("money" on the biggest stage of all)
SCHOOL SPIRIT COORDINATOR: "Midge" (still aspiring to be "Barbie," though her packaging may preclude it)
=

STUDENT/FACULTY LIAISONS: Marion & Dr. Bartoli (taking turns giving "orders")
Personae Non Gratae AT BACKSPIN ACADEMY ( at least a certain Belarusian hopes so): the "fragile" Victoria Azarenka... if she REALLY wants to run for Class President in '12

"For me as a person, I'm not feeling different (than) before Wimbledon. But I know people recognize me, and everything around me is a little different... I don't like too much the attention, (but) it's important for the WTA, the tournament and for everybody." - Petra Kvitova




"Well, you just have to shut up and stop complaining because you have a pretty damn good life." - Victoria Azarenka, on the perspective-attaining advice she received from a talk with her grandmother when, frustrated, she'd briefly considered giving up her tennis career


Backspin Academy's humble and hardworking staff occasionally undergoes some upheavel, but the student body (which sometimes includes a few of our instructors, who pull double duty in order to show how much they care) is generally pleased with those entrusted with molding their impressionable minds like the blocks of clay that they are. Oh, sure, some say that a few members of our staff should allow their student assistants to work with another professor on occasion (Mr. P-Woz, are you blushing?), but others' "tough love" approach (at least according to a drama-loving student named JJ) is also an acquired taste that their charges only come to fully appreciate years down the the road. Oh, and sure, we did have that minor "incident" with a pair of students from China and Russia involving behind-the-scenes "class registration" changes for Professor Hogstedt's instructional class, but, in the end, the whole thing seemed to work out for everyone involved. And, also, when a down-on-her-luck student like Galina of Kazakhstan can manage to find the right instructor, as she did this year with Ms. Jidkova, unexpectedly optimistic things can -- and usually do -- happen.

On balance, we think the Academy's faculty and student body work together wonderfully.

Of course, at the close of many academic sessions, we're forced to bid adieu to some of our most beloved campus personalities. Amongst the heartfelt goodbye moments this year were send-offs for dear Ms. Schnyder, Bammer, Garbin, Ditty and Cohen Aloro, all of which announced their retirement from day-to-day Academy activies. Former co-Dean Stubbs also announced that she was stepping back from her duties, but we still seem to see her roaming the halls on a regular basis. Honestly, we don't think she'll ever REALLY go away... which is all right with us. We also were sad to hear of the moving on of our beloved Ms. Henin, a former Class President and something of a living legend at the Academy. It'd been rumored that she may one day be honored with a statue of her likeness positioned somewhere on the grounds... but she immediately shot down the idea, reminding everyone what a public relations disaster it'd been when her Belgian countrywoman had been the subject of a similar public "nuisance" a few years back. Needless to say, the idea was squashed on the spot. Although, we ARE all trying to put our heads together to figure out a way to fully express our gratitude for all Ms. Henin did for our fair institution of higher learning.

Meanwhile, Professor Date-Krumm continues to amaze us with her longevity and creative energy. Somehow, everyone figures that she'll outlast us all. Well, excluding dean emeritus Navratilova, that is.

"She played this cat-and-mouse game, and sometimes you just felt like the silly mouse." - Maria Sharapova, on Patty Schnyder


=FACULTY, STAFF, DEPARTMENT HEADS & APPOINTEES=
ACADEMY Co-DEANS (and part-time grad students): Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond (though Ms. Huber's desk is a tiny bit bigger)

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (still waiting for one particular student to show up for their meeting): Martina Navratilova
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (who found a loophole through which to return to campus): Damir Dokic
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (possibly on deck for a leadership role at the Academy's French sister school in '12): Amelie Mauresmo
THIRD-YEAR PROFESSOR WHO IS GETTING THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT BECAUSE HER FIRST TWO YEARS WERE SO GREAT: Mary Joe Fernandez
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Anna Kournikova (at least when "The Biggest Loser" cameras are on)

YEARBOOK EDITOR & (STILL) HEAD OF THE SUPER-SECRET WHITE MILE PROJECT: "Sneaky" Patty Schnyder (she'll have the additional free time... though, considering her track record, we won't be expecting her to turn in her work for the '12 yearbook until about 2017)
SCHOOL MEDICAL STAFF: Serena and Venus Williams' doctors
INTRODUCING...: Ximena Hermoso (the first individual from Mexico to grace our campus... welcome, Ximena)
ACADEMY HISTORIAN: Bud Collins (always and forever... and, thankfully, he's "officially" outlasted NBC)
(GARBLED) COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Serena Williams, head of NYC office
ON ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION FOR CONDUCT DETRIMENTAL TO THE ACADEMY: Robert Radwanska
SUBSTITUTE OF THE (first half of the) YEAR: Michael Mortensen
SUBSTITUTE (GERMAN) OF THE YEAR: Angelique "Big Apple" Kerber
SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY: Vera Zvonareva
SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL (non)DIPLOMACY: Kim Clijsters, ticking off the entire continent of Asia
SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: The ten students representing ten different nations who briefly occupied the Top 10 spots on the grade point average list back in February... the Academy was so proud
SCHOOL OF INTERPRETIVE DANCE: Andrea Petkovic (replacing the dance choreographers from Mrs. Clijsters' cousin's post-wedding bash), who also doubles as BSA's Director of Social Media

SCHOOL OF (yellow) JOURNALISM & CREATIVE STORYTELLING: Caroline Wozniacki
(Unconvincing) DEBATE TEAM LEADER: Stacey Allaster
POLITICAL SCIENCE THINK TANK LEADER: Anna "Right Cause" Chakvetadze
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & DESIGN: Venus Williams
BACK FROM MEDICAL LEAVE (and happy about it): Sabine Lisicki

ON MEDICAL LEAVE (and in our thoughts): Alisa Kleybanova

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway


*ACTING DEPARTMENT HEADS & SELECTED CLASS INSTRUCTORS*
UNORTHODOX RUSSIAN: Vitalia Diatchenko
CHINESE (SLAM) DEMOCRACY: Li Na

ITALIAN-101: Francesca Schiavone (highest-grading Italian)
ITALIAN-102: Flavia Pennetta (the first Italian doubles #1)
ITALIAN-103: Roberta Vinci
FRENCH-101: Marion Bartoli
SPEAKING SPANISH ABROAD: Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez (and on hard court)
SPEAKING SPANISH AT HOME: Anabel Medina-Garrigues (on the clay)
CONVERSATIONAL POLISH: Agnieszka Radwanska
INTRODUCTION TO MOROCCAN HISTORY: Nadia Lalami
TUNISIAN HISTORY-102: Ons Jabeur, picking up where Professor Sfar once left off
CZECH HISTORY REVISITED: Iveta Benesova, Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, Petra Kvitova, Kveta Peschke, & the Czech Fed Cup Team
SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY, A.C.: Chanelle Scheepers (After Coetzer)
HUNGARIAN ARCHEOLOGY: Greta Arn
MODERN ANCIENT JAPAN: Kimiko Date-Krumm
WRITING THE PERFECT LETTER...: Sabine Lisicki (...to the All-England Club)
CHARM SCHOOL DIRECTOR: Caroline Wozniacki (her original contract is set to expire soon, and will have to be renewed for her to continue with her duties... though she will continue to teach our most popular, but tiring course, "Introduction to Wozniology")


"You texted 'Is Kim pregnant? Because she looks grumpy and her boobs are bigger.'" - Kim Clijsters, in an on-court interview, quoting back to Todd Woodbridge his for-her-eyes-only text to Rennae Stubbs


Our students always tell us that they truly enjoy our award-winning lecture series. Here's a look at the preliminary upcoming schedule:

*GUEST LECTURERS*
"Dealing with Expectations That Scrape the Sky, Part 1": Petra Kvitova (with Part 2 coming in 2012, hopefully), with an introduction from Professor Djokovic

"Preventative Medicine, Smart Body Management & You": Victoria Azarenka Replacement Speaker: Sabine Lisicki (unless her body bites back)
"Taking One (or more) For the T-E-A-M (i.e. your loving wife)": Jiang Shan
"Better Late Than Never": Dominika Cibulkova
"If I Hopped a Place to California, What Am I Doing in New Mexico (or, "My Crazy Serbian Adventures in America")?": Bojana Jovanovski
"How to Win Matches and Alienate Umpires": Serena Williams (one night only!!)
"Convincing Yourself is the Hardest Part": Samantha Stosur
"How to Resurrect a Formerly Top-Ranked Career": Dinara Safina Replacement Speaker: Jelena Dokic (unless Damir forbids it?)
"How to Know When Enough is Enough": Dinara Safina (followed by the crowd-pleasing Q&A session: "Telling Your Brother to Shut His Trap... and how to settle other family disagreements without bloodshed")
"Finding a Better Way Once and For All": Agnieszka Radwanska (tentative '12 replacement: Jelena Dokic)
"How to Lose 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 Times in Life... but not 11": Nathalie Grandin
"Thinking People are Stupid Enough to Believe Anything You Say if You Say it Self-Importantly Enough... or not": Stacey Allaster

"Grunting is scientifically proven to add more power. Ask any female tennis player... and her husband." - "Dwight Schrute" on "The Office" (NBC)
"If you grunt loudly, your opponent can't hear how you hit the ball. I think there are some players who do it on purpose. They don't do it in practice and then they come into the match and grunt." - Caroline Wozniacki
"I kind of stay away from all that stuff. Especially topics like grunting which isn't really relevant to real tennis." - Venus Williams




"Only those who risk going too far find out how far they can go." - "alternate" Walter Bishop on "Fringe" (Fox)


Our student body is a talented crop, and always on the look-out for rewarding extracurricular activities to take up their valuable time.

=CLUB HEADS=
DRAMA CLUB: Francesca Schiavone (giving us the multiple encores we wanted)
ART CLUB: Vera Zvonareva (also pitches in as a nude figure model)

GLEE CLUB: Vania King (now enjoying her solos almost as much as the duets)
PSYCHOLOGY CLUB: Christina McHale (someday they'll give her an award for "Best Career Moves After Losing a 5-0 3rd Set Lead"... oh, wait, maybe we just did)
IMPROMPTU SPEECHMAKING CLUB: Li Na
SHAKESPEARE CLUB: Sabine Lisicki (no one plays out those "tragedy" scenes better... I mean, why use two feet when four additional ones -- or four wheels, for that matter -- will do?)

SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING SWEATPANTS CLUB: Erika & Yurika Sema
SUPERNATURAL STUDIES CLUB ("Deja Vu All Over Again"): Tsvetana Pironkova & Venus Williams


"When you know how good it feels to lift the big trophies -- the ones you really want in your career -- and when you know how good you can play, I always felt like I could be better. That's why I never had the interest in stopping. I always felt like I had a lot better things in me." - Maria Sharapova


=RUSSIAN CHESS CLUB=
CHAIRWOMAN: Maria Sharapova (though she sometimes misses when she tries to close out the meetings by slamming the gavel)
ASSISTANT TO THE CHAIRWOMAN: Vera Zvonareva
(Still) THE NEXT BIG THING?: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
STAR-CROSSED: Nadia Petrova (in NYC this time... so what else is new?) Oh, Nadia.
RESURRECTED FROM LENIN'S TOMB: Olga Puchkova
EMERGING FROM THE MIST (with a new name): Vesna Dolonts (nee Manasieva)
FULL OF (FUTURE) LIFE: Anastasia Myskina (pregnant with child #3 -- and maybe in the process of birthing the 2029 Russian Fed Cup or Hopman Cup team)
UTILITY PLAYER: Alla Kudryavtseva
READY TO FIGHT ANYONE AND EVERYONE NAMED MARAT: Dinara Safina
SECRET WEAPONS: Maria Kirilenko & Ekaterina Makarova
MISSED MOST/MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Elena Dementieva
BEST PARTNER: Elena Vesnina
BEST COACH: Alina Jidkova
JUNIOR VARSITY NextGEN HORDETTES OF THE FUTURE: Ksenia Pervak, Evgeniya Rodina, Daria Gavrilova,Yulia Putintseva, Irina Khromacheva, Victoria Kan, Yana Buchina, Daria Salnikova & Anastasia Pivovarova

"At the moment, I can't do anything tennis-wise." ... "I don't want to torture myself and my body anymore." - Dinara Safina, in May
"Hey everybody. I just want to inform you that I AM NOT retiring at this time. I will continue to use therapy to try to treat my back injury and hope to return to competition eventually." - Dinara Safina, in October




"In kindergarten, I sang "Peanut Butter Jelly" in a talent show and I was amazing." - Sloane Stephens


=JUNIOR/SENIOR PROM COMMITTEE & HONOREES=
PROM QUEEN & KING: "WozIlroy"

LADY-IN-WAITING: Victoria Azarenka
JUNIOR QUEENS: An-Sophie Mestach, Ons Jabeur, Ashleigh Barty & Grace Min
QUEEN'S COURT: Polona Hercog, Mathilde Johansson, Rebecca Marino, Ayumi Morita, Bojana Jovanovski, Arantxa Rus, Anastasija Sevastova & Heather Watson
JUNIOR QUEEN'S COURT: Eugenie Bouchard, Indy de Vroome, Caroline Garcia, Nicole Gibbs, Irina Khromacheva, Monica Puig & Zhang Saisai
PARTY-CRASHERS: The Bannerettes: Lauren Davis, Victoria Duval, Irina Falconi, Nicole Gibbs, Alexa Glatch, Krista Hardebeck, Madison Keys, Christina McHale, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens, Taylor Townsend & Coco Vandeweghe
DEBUTANTES: The Swarmettes: Irina-Camelia Begu, Alexandra Cadantu, Cristina Dinu, Diana Enache, Simona Halep & Monica Niculescu
BACK FOR MORE DANCES: Tamira Paszek & Magdalena Rybarikova
BEST DANCE PARTNER: Demi Schuurs
BEST TAG-TEAM DANCERS: Ashleigh Barty & Belinda Woolcock
COLLEGE DANCE-OFF WINNER: Jana Juricova (of California)
NEW COLLEGE DANCE CONTEST ENTRANTS: Beatrice Capra & Krista Hardebeck
SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE MARATHON WINNERS: Francesca Schiavone & Svetlana Kuznetsova
SUDDEN WALLFLOWER: Alexandra Dulgheru
SCHEDULED PROM ADVISOR: Nicole Vaidisova (in 2004, at 15, the youngest BSA dance contest winner in the last fourteen years), armed with her "If at First You Don't Succeed, Get Married" theory of life

"We work every day for these moments, and to live in the moment was the most important thing for me." - Francesca Schivone, after her historic 4:44 Australian Open match against Svetlana Kuznetsova




"I think we're seeing the new players taking charge. Most of all, they're playing to win. That's what I like to see: they're not scared out there. They're playing forceful tennis." - Martina Navratilova, when three twenty-one years olds reached the Wimbledon semifinals
"I think her potential is now!" - Amelie Mauresmo, on Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova
"I don't think this is the only time she'll win here. It's very exciting. A new star." - Navratilova, also on Kvitova


=CLASS FAVORITES=
MOST WELL-LIKED: Agnieszka Radwanska (by fans, according to a recent WTA fan poll)
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED (at some point on a final Saturday... maybe), age 21+: Victoria Azarenka
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, age 20-and-under: Caroline Garcia
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, under age 18: Madison Keys
POWER DUO-NO-MORE: Nuria Llagostera-Vives & Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez
MOST COOLED-OFF ITALIANS: The Italian Fed Cup team
PERSONALITY PLUS: Andrea Petkovic (as usual, former winner Miss Jankovic has demanded a hand count of the ballots... even though everyone has told her numerous times she didn't factor in the final tally this year)
MOST CHARMING SMILE/CELEBRATION: Sabine Lisicki
WILDEST VICTORY CELEBRATION: Irina Falconi
MOST ENDEARING HEARTS (post-earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima Daiichi Japan): Caroline Wozniacki & Victoria Azarenka
LEAST ENDEARING HEART (post-earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima Daiichi disaster Japan): Kim Clijsters
LEAST FAVORITE HURRICANE: Irene (category submitted by students Jelena J. and Elena V.)
BEST CONTINENT-HOPPER: Victoria Azarenka (from Miami to Marbella)
QUIETEST TOP 20 HONOR ROLL STUDENT: Peng Shuai
SEEMINGLY MOST UNDESERVING TOP 20 HONOR ROLL STUDENT: Svetlana Kuznetsova
QUIETEST SWEDISH ACHIEVERS: Sofia Arvidsson & Johanna Larsson (especially in Bastad)
FAVORITE DANCE LESSON PUPILS: Agnieszka Radwanska & Sorana Cirstea
FAVORITE TRAVEL PARTNER (for a longer period than originally expected): Sasha Vujacic
BEST MAKE.BELIEVE CHARACTER: Caroline's scratching kangaroo
WORST "MAKE.BELIEVE" CHARACTER: Caroline's "mystery coach," whether he, she or it is real, fictional, before-the-fact, after-the-fact, living and/or breathing, walking and/or talking, figment of an overactive imagination or the medicine that will eventually cure all the Dane's ills
MOST ADMIRED COMEBACKS: Melanie Oudin & Casey Dellacqua (anything but Mixed results)
QUIETEST (Kiwi) COMEBACK: Marina Erakovic
COMEBACK WE WANT MORE OF: Sania Mirza
LEAST UNEXPECTED COMEBACK: Serena Williams (which says more about what we at BSA think about her than any honor or award ever couldJ)

"It's just been a long, arduous road. To stand up, still, is pretty awesome." - Serena Williams


FASHION DO: Bethanie Mattek-Sands

FASHION DON'T: Bethanie Mattek-Sands

HOPING TO PROVE MARRIED LIFE CAN SPUR SUPERNOVIC TENNIS SUCCESS: Maria Sharapova
LATE BLOOMERS: Petra Cetkovska, Alberta Brianti, Lourdes Dominguez-Lino & Chanelle Scheepers
MAYBE NOT SO LOST A CAUSE, AFTER ALL: Ana Ivanovic (well, at least BaliAna)
(Still the) BEST (Future?) TOURNAMENT TIE-IN: "The Wozniacki Open" at Yale?
MOST LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Aravane Rezai
STRANGEST: The Hisense Arena "dead spot"
NEW/OLD KID: Greta Arn
MOST MISSED: La Petit Taureau 1.0

LEAST MISSED (in retrospect): La Petit Taureau 2.0 (let's just agree to forget that it ever happened)

MOST ANTICIPATED?: La Petit Taureau: Hall of Famer

"I spent the last days undergoing various medical tests and they have confirmed that my elbow has been damaged by my adventure in Australia. After my crash at Wimbledon in June, I knew it would be difficult to come back. But I had decided to keep playing and to give everything to overcome the injury. In these recent months I have rarely been spared from the pain, those last months were very hard. Time has passed, and the doubts have grown, and only return to the courts would give me answers. Not the answer I was hoping for... unfortunately. I suffered a lot the last week and every day gave me more and more pain, but I believed that my will would take the upper hand. Today, the examinations are clear and and the doctors say formally, my elbow is too fragile and hurt so that my passion and my profession at a high level cannot continue to exist." - Justine Henin, announcing her retirement on January 26




"I'm a diesel." - Andrea Petkovic


Not everything is subjective, though. G.P.A.'s and S.A.T. scores are important, too.

=HONOR SOCIETY ROLL CALL=
HARD COURT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Caroline Wozniacki
CLAY COURT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Li Na
GRASS COURT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Petra Kvitova
INDOOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Petra Kvitova
DOUBLES PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Liezel Huber
FED CUP PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Petra Kvitova
TEAM OF THE YEAR: Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik

"Maybe children, they saw the match, and they think that maybe one day they can do the same or even better." - Li Na, on the possible reaction to her Roland Garros championship back home in China




"I feel confident and I know I can win a slam." - Caroline Wozniacki, in March
"I know I'm a great player." - Caroline Wozniacki, in May
"I don't care what people think or say or do." - Caroline Wozniacki, in June


*ACADEMY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS FEATURE PRODUCTION*
...our plucky performers were always tirelessly working to entertain the student body and faculty throughout the calendar year, but only one production has managed to stick around on our stage for multiple seasons. But it must be noted that the attendence and interest in BSA's signature show has started to wane, if only a bit. A few tweaks (maybe at least one big musical number that covers the entire, grand stage?) are likely needed to keep it front and center on our calendar and avoid the "staleness" that usually goes with the territory when it comes to ongoing shows such as this one. Already a past student body President, our "Many Faces" Lead Actress still clings to lingering potential when it comes to even bigger things down the line, but some have said she's in something of a "rut." Still, we'll maintain our faith and keep the show in production over the course of the next year. Beyond that? Well, it'll have to be a wait-and-see sort of thing. All good things must one day come to an end, while some others much change in order to thrive. In other words, get your tickets now... just in case.

*"THE MANY FACES OF CAROLINE"*
[a long-running exhibition from Miss Wozniacki]
PART-TIME ONE-SHOED SOCCER TRICK SHOT ARTIST:

EARNING SOME MONEY, MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT FOR HERSELF:

YALE FOOTBALL MASCOT, SHOWING OFF NEW BOYFRIEND:

GOOD WILL AMBASSADOR:

"WOZNIACKI OPEN" CHAMPION:

LIVERPOOL JERSEY (STEVEN GERRARD) MODEL:

EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN:

BARBIE & MIDGE:

WORLD #1 AND STILL LOVING IT:

STILL NOT A GRAND SLAM CHAMP:




"You want the full fairy tale, but it didn't quite happen." - Samantha Stosur, in 2010, after losing in the Roland Garros final
"That's everything you would ever want to do in a moment like that. I couldn't have dreamed of playing a better match." - Samantha Stosur, in 2011, after winning in the U.S. Open final


*ATHLETICS*
...we love our sports at Backspin Academy, and some say we love our awards even more. So, here are a few of the highlights and lowlights from the past season of competition:

=BACKSPIN ALL-STAR TEAMS=
*ALL-BEAUTIFUL*
Good Petra, 21-0 indoors
=============================
Sabine Lisicki's thrill of victory
=============================
Jelena Dokic back in the winner's circle

=============================
Backspin's "Save the Dane" campaign
=============================
"Turn back the clock" singles titles by Nadia Petrova and Daniela Hantuchova
=============================
Lucie Hradecka's five straight doubles titles in Bad Gastein
=============================
"Pinky" Williams

=============================
Maria Sharapova's nine-season streak of winning at least one singles title
=============================
Agnieszka Radwanska and her racket handle

=============================
"Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani!"
=============================
Samantha Stosur joining the Williams Sisters as the only active players with singles, doubles and mixed doubles slam titles
=============================
NBC leaving Wimbledon behind
=============================
Kader Nouni's coolness

=============================
Alize Cornet's cell phone ringing during her match against Caroline Wozniacki
=============================
Sabine Lisicki's back-to-back-to-back-to-back monster serves from match point down against Li Na in the Wimbledon QF
=============================
Jarmila Gajdosova staying in Australia
=============================
Caroline Wozniacki visiting an ailing Serena Williams
=============================

"You never know how is it going in the head." - Petra Kvitova


*ALL-UGLY*
Bad Petra, "First Seed Out" at the U.S. Open
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Sabine Lisicki's agony of defeat
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Damir back in Jelena Dokic's "blind spot?"

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The necessity of Backspin's "Save the Dane" campaign
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Serena and Venus Williams both losing on Day 7 at Wimbledon
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Shahar Peer's "drive for the Top 10"
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Kim Clijsters' ailing shoulder, wrist, ankle, toe, stomach... and wedding dance footwork
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Anna Chakvetadze fainting

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Kim Clijsters appearing on Time magazine's "100 Most Influential" list for "juggling motherhood and a sports career" (make it juggling knives and dynamite, and then we might talk)
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Serena vs. Eva Azderaki... at least we THINK that's who it was (Serena has been no help when it's come to confirming this)
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Sam and Jarmila Groth in Brisbane
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Caroline Wozniacki actually playing Serena Williams
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"Are you the one who screwed me over the last time here? ...Do you have it out for me? ... If you see me walking down a hall, look away. ...You are totally out of control. ...You're a hater, and you're just unattractive inside. ...We are in America, last I checked. ...And I never complain." - some of Serena Williams' comments to chair umpire Eva Azderaki after being given a point penalty for shouting in celebration during a point




"That serve is so tortured-looked I'm surprised she hasn't cut off her ear." - Martina Navratilova, on Marion Bartoli's unorthodox opening service motion
"You want her to be a 'scorpion,' but maybe she's just a 'frog,'" - Martina Navratilova, lamenting on Caroline Wozniacki's lack of aggression


Ah, no one gets straight to the point better than Martina.


Whew! If you made it this far, congratulations. Hopefully, there was something here for everyone. If not, well, it wasn't for a lack of trying.

So, from Backspin HQ, located on the top floor of Henin Hall (she'll just have to get used to the honor), to be continued in 2012...

Res Ipsa Loquitur. All for now.

7 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

"Preventive Medicine..." is hilarious. Probably should cross out Lisicki's name, too :)

I'd like to add "Faculty Dunce" (I'm cleaning it up, believe me): Prof. Kotyza explained to the press that he was surprised by his student's cleverness and thoughtfulness because--she's female.

So does the class of 2011 have a song????

Tue Nov 22, 10:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Hmmm, yeah, we're hoping that Sabine is able to make it to the lecture hall next (not to mention THIS) December. Considering recent events, we have our lingering doubts. :(

Ah, Professor Kotyza. Like a favorite "sometimes wayward" uncle, we try to remember the good and de-emphasize what is less so. :)

You know, we never thought to poll the students on "Class Song" (note to staff for '12). Any suggestions, though it's too late for anything to be "official?"

Wed Nov 23, 01:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

I was hoping you'd come up with something! (The first one to come to my mind is Janis Joplin's "Move Over").

Wed Nov 23, 06:53:00 PM EST  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Fun to read Todd but have you seen Wozniacki dancing in Bratislava? Almost 1.000.000 have seen it on YouTube since Monday - that's funny.

Fri Nov 25, 01:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Sorry I didn't offer up something here sooner. (I had to get away from all the Wozniacki talk on the other post for a few days). :)

Anyway, taken from The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list:

1. "A Change is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke)
2. "London Calling" (The Clash)
3. "I'm a Believer" (The Monkees)
4. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (Bob Dylan)
5. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Duran Duran)
6. "Something to Talk About" (Bonnie Raitt)
7. "I Got a Woman" (Ray Charles)
8. "Glad All Over" (Dave Clark Five)

A certain Dane suggested these, but I told her that no one asked her (but that I'll keep them in mind for '12, if she holds up her end of the deal) :D --

"Respect" (Aretha Franklin)
"Time Is On My Side" (Rolling Stones)
"I'm a Believer" (The Monkees) - hmm, a repeat... interesting
"Give Peace a Chance" (John Lennon)

Sun Nov 27, 03:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jeppe said...

What about "Hang With Me" by Robyn. Not only is it a Euro Dance track, which I think is well in tune with the current class, but the chorus also contains this healthy advice to (over-)dedicated followers of the WTA:

"Just don't fall
Recklessly, headlessly in love with me
'Cause it's gonna be
All heart-break
Blissfully painful insanity.
If we agree
You can hang with me."

Cheers:) Looking forward to 2012.

Thu Dec 01, 09:55:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

Jeppe, that's a good one, too--should have had it for Elena :)

Thu Dec 01, 06:37:00 PM EST  

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