Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 WTA Yearbook


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

2013: (Anti-)Gravity: Serena the Great and Powerful

"I think sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you." - Serena Williams




Our Beloved Backspin Academy

Usually, we truly do not know what to expect before the start of a Backspin Academy Student Council election campaign. A year ago, the BSA "Electoral College" gave us our first-ever Belarusian President, and we loved her to death and thought she more than deserved the honor of sitting in the big chair. But, even then, we knew there was likely an even "more deserving" Potential President waiting in the wings of the Rectangular Office in Henin Hall. Thus, there was the development of an "unofficial" power-sharing concept in our student government during the last term.

This term, though, everyone decided to go back to a more traditional governing model.

Thus, the student election campaign was a fairly cut and dry contest. The presumed favorite to be elected in January moved her things into the seat of power in February, even after our reigning -- though embattled -- President had actually grabbed an early lead in the race with a primary campaign win in Australia and then defeated her "on points" in a Middle East debate. No one argued that it was the right thing to do, though, and the Once-and-Current President DID eventually have a sweeping (though not an historically landslide) victory over the course of the long 2013 campaign. It's something which is no easy feat, either, as it's a trail littered with injury, fatigue and, sometimes, lingering cases of ennui that make long-term governance by a sole individual a rarely-seen phenomenon.

Our Lady President, a veteran of such a landscape, was sometimes no different from her "even more mortal" competitors. She is not perfect. Doha and Cincinnati proved it, as did her failure to emerge victorious in two of the campaign's four biggest debates of the season. But her missteps served as simply a few spare beads strewn across the playing field, as used to often happen in her younger days in the arena. In a way, our President's lack of infallibility, in London, allowed one campaign war horse, often best known for her eccentricities, to leave the scene on a very high note (even if some are skeptical that we've really seen the last of her). And for that were joyous.

Along the way, the Student Council race included another of our periodic governmental shutdowns (this one Entity-related), charges of unfair campaign tactics against our reigning President while she visited Down Under, as well as a rumors of potential election fraud involving a particularly clever Polish entrant when she swept a series of fan-based elections around this time last year. The controversy and craziness passed, while the Election Commission was simply too afraid to investigate the Pole.

For those of us in the know, we felt it was the correct decision.

But with all that behind us, it is now time to govern. And our new President is in no way a neophyte on the scene. She is a long-time familiar face on campus, though one whose lack of a full-time presence and commitment has often precluded her from being the student government's "official" leader over the years. No one has been more excellent over the past decade, but this is just the third time she's found herself sitting behind the desk in the Rectangular Office since the Academy was established in 2001, and it's her first time in power since 2008. All in all, though, we're happy with her longevity. If she'd been more active in her younger years, she likely wouldn't be around for us to enjoy now. It's a trade off, in retrospect, that we'd make 99 times out of 100 if given the opportunity to choose.

We all still hope with all our heart for an historical and long reign from our former-but-new leader. And it does seem like great things are possible. But we've never had a President win back-to-back elections at the Academy.

So maybe history will have the final say.

=STUDENT COUNCIL=
CLASS PRESIDENT: Serena Williams

LADY PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF HISTORICAL OPINION (Because, to put in bluntly, no one touches her governing expertise. No one. Ever.): Esther Vergeer

VICE PRESIDENT: Victoria Azarenka (taking a step back, but still the Yearbook staff's favorite face)
CO-PRESIDENTS PRO TEMPORE: Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai

DISPUTED CO-PRESIDENTS PRO TEMPORE: Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci (still occupying the offices)
VALEDICTORIAN: Simona Halep (aced ALL her finals)
Co-SALUTATORIANS: Team Italia

CLASS TREASURER: Marion Bartoli (cashing in, becoming a Lordess of London)

FUTURE CLASS TREASURER: "Future Sloane" Stephens (or so say our marketing people)
SCHOOL SPIRIT COORDINATOR (NHL fiance): Alex Ovechkin

SCHOOL SPIRIT COORDINATOR (funky Vika BF, Berry Gordy's son... and hardly shy at all): Redfoo

STUDENT/ALTER EGO LIAISONS: Ula & Aga (once a Radwanska, always a Radwanska)


BELATEDLY WELCOMED TO CAMPUS (as a spot FINALLY opened up!): Aniek Van Koot

Personae Non Gratae AT STUDENT COUNTIL MEETINGS (until she finishes at least one final): "Current Sloane" Stephens

"I might have to get a photo of myself for my wall." - Sloane Stephens



"To be honest, I don't really know or remember what it feels like to lose in singles. I know what it's like to lose a Monopoly game and I don't like that.." - Esther Vergeer

Backspin Academy's humble and hardworking staff occasionally undergoes some upheaval, 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 have said for a few terms now that at least one member of our staff should allow his pupil/daughter/student assistant to work with another professor without him personally lingering in the background, but we're happy to report that the "offending" Mr. P-Woz has seen fit to respond to such changes -- though, naturally, he insists the comments of others had nothing to do with it -- by allowing young Caro to attempt to spread her wings. Sure, there were some false starts, as Professors Johnansson and Sanchez were left by the side of the road somewhere outside Odense during a "field trip," but he, she and all of us are hoping that Professor Hogstedt, who has such a sterling reputation, will prove to be a good fit for the still-searching-for-her-grand-dream Dane.

Of course, one change often begats another, and the case holds true here, as well. Professor Hogstedt was free because he was -- (cough, cough) -- "relieved of his duties" by one of the Academy's more successful Russian prodigies. The blonde in question seemed to have an itchy trigger finger this past term, parting with not one, but two professors (one after just a single work study trip!), and picking up a "significant other" in the form of a male student often whispered about by Freshman females when they first see him strolling across campus each Autumn. Needless to say, their relationship had the entire campus talking!

Other lessons we learned this term included the notion that a former Wimbledon champion who endured more than one disappointment before finding success is not a good mix with a would-be Wimbledon champion/Mademoiselle. As it turned out, the senior-level student in question only needed to live life more for herself to get what she wanted... and we were happy she could finally celebrate her long-sought success with her Dr. Father. Also, whether it was contrary to belief or not, we saw that successful long-term Aussie student/professor relationships grow stale over time, and Brits who carry rackets in their bags can be quite a fickle lot.

We still fancy 'em, though!

On balance, we think the Academy's faculty and student body blend together wonderfully... and we're all still holding out hope in our hearts for grand success for our favorite senior-level Chinese student and Professor Rodriguez, if for nothing else because it will allow us all to bask in the memory of his past work with La Petit Taureau, the Academy's most Grand alumna of all.

Of course, at the close of many academic sessions, we're forced to bid adieu to some of our longstanding campus personalities. Amongst the heartfelt goodbye moments this year were send-offs for the aforementioned La Trufflette Bartoli and "Russian Doll" Chakvetadze, as well as long-time students named Baltacha, Keothavong, Craybas, Beltrame and Sevastova, who all left on their own terms. As always, we are so proud. Unfortunately, Miss Szavay announced to a tearful campus that she was physically unable to continue to attend classes, while Miss Marino has left the Academy to deal with far more troubling personal issues. Though we still hope that she'll return to our warm embrace some wonderful day in the future.

While our hearts were left a bit empty because of those we will sorely miss, we revel in the return of past Academy stars Hingis and Kleybanova. So GREAT to see their lovely smiles again!

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

"Some people, the (opposing) player's mother is younger than me." - Kimiko Date-Krumm

=FACULTY, STAFF, DEPARTMENT HEADS & APPOINTEES=
ACADEMY DEAN EMERITAS (celebrating her 40th year of living the dream): Billie Jean King (Dean Navratilova graciously stepped aside this past term, allowing her old friend to shine in the spotlight)

ACTING Co-DEANS: Venus Williams & Kimiko Date-Krumm
FORMER Co-DEAN ON ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION FOR CONDUCT DETRIMENTAL TO THE ACADEMY: Nuria Llagostera-Vives (for two years)
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (still rolling the dice and winning w/ Vika, but he might have his work cut out for him yet): Sam Sumyk
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (is another pairing a charm, this time with the former Princess of Charm?): Thomas Hogstedt
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (who is still SURE it will all work out fine in the long run w/ Petra...though we're now on the fence): David Kotyza
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (ready for one more big grand slam close-up... with or without advertising placard/cap): Carlos Rodriguez

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (timing is everything, or everything in time): Patrick Mouratoglou


"I think for Serena, nothing is out of reach. If she really wants something, it is very difficult to stop her." - Patrick Mouratoglou

FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (M.I.A.): Thomas Johansson
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (but still a dad who wields an opinion like a club... so, trust but verify, Caroline): Piotr Wozniacki


FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (still waiting for a call from JJ... but hearing only silence, which is quite rare from Queen Chaos): Ricardo Sanchez
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (but it was nice while it lasted): David Taylor
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (but only barely): Jana Novotna (hey, but Marion DID win Wimbledon after working with her... heehee)
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Jimmy Connors (Maria who?)
BACK FROM SABBATICAL: Martina Hingis
SOON TO BE SEEN AROUND CAMPUS AGAIN: Jelena Dokic
ON INDEFINITE-TO-PERMANENT LEAVE: Marion Bartoli
STILL ON INDEFINITE-TO-PERMANENT LEAVE (but at least now has a bit more free time to think about a return): Nicole Vaidisova
STILL ON INDEFINITE-TO-PERMANENT LEAVE: Dinara Safina
FORMER STUDENTS WHO ARE STRIVING TO PASS ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE: new '13 Fed Cup captains Alicia Molik (AUS) and Conchita Martinez (ESP)
MINING FOR A BIT MORE SLAM GOLD: Miles Maclagan (and maybe even proving that Sam CAN play well in Australia?)
MEDICAL STAFF: Simona Halep's plastic surgeon's work (before = 0 titles, after = 6 titles)

YEARBOOK PHOTO EDITOR/PAPARAZZI: Caroline Wozniacki

MARCELA ZACARIUS INTRODUCES...: Victoria Rodriguez & Renata Zarazua (joining BSA's growing Mexican contingent)
ACADEMY HISTORIAN: Bud Collins (always and forever)
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR: Sloane Stephens [position open - previous director relieved of duties by BSA Etiquette School Director]
ETIQUETTE SCHOOL DIRECTOR: Agnieszka Radwanska [position temporarily vacant - BSA Etiquette School Director was suspended for lack of etiquette]

LUNCH LADY: Victoria Azarenka (brazenly -- just how we like her -- skirting Michelle Obama's cafeteria recommendations)

(BLUNT) COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Nadia Petrova
UNCOMMUNICATIVE ESPN COMMENTATOR: L.Z. Granderson

ULTRA-COMMUNICATIVE ESPN COMMENTATOR: Pam Shriver

"She's like a little artist out there. You can almost see her brain tick and how seldom she's at a loss for what she should do. (For) someone (who) has so many shots she seems to be very precise and clear." - Pam Shriver, on Agnieszka Radwanska

WONDERFULLY COMMUNICATIVE HUMAN WITH AN EVIL ENTITY AS AN ALTER EGO: Agnieszka Radwanska

"I want both!" - Aga Radwanska, when asked if she'd rather be ranked #1 or win a slam
"A lot of things, actually. Slow drivers, for example. And when my internet is not working... so angry." - Radwanska, when asked what annoys her

"OTHER" FED CUP STAR OF THE YEAR: Mona Barthel, the forgotten German

SUBSTITUTE FED CUPPER OF THE YEAR: Alexandra Panova, "C"-team Hordette giving an A+ effort under WTF circumstances

BEST FED CUP CROWD SURFER: Aga Radwanska

BEST FED CUP CROWD SURFER (RUNNER-UP): Ula Radwanska

SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL TWITTER DIPLOMACY: Serena Williams (to Sloane Stephens)

SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY: Vera Zvonareva

SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: The eleven students representing eleven different nations in the term-ending Best Grade Point Average list... the Academy is so proud of its diversity
SCHOOL OF RADWANSKIAN MASSACRES ON INTERNATIONAL STAGES: The Rad, on Day 3 at Wimbledon

SCHOOL OF LIVING WITHOUT FEAR (and being inspiring): Alisa Kleybanova
SCHOOL OF LIVING WITHOUT FEAR (and being Jankovician): JJ, of course


SCHOOL OF INNOCENT, BUT POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL, COMEDY: Caroline Wozniacki in Brazil, as "Serena"


(Unconvincing) DEBATE TEAM LEADER: Sloane Stephens (though she can surely commandeer the microphone)

"Like, seriously! People should know. They think she's so friendly and she's so this and she's so that -- no, that's not reality! You don't unfollow someone on Twitter." - Sloane Stephens, on Serena Williams

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, DESIGN & WORLD TEAM TENNIS: Venus Williams
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & SWEETS: Maria Sugarpova Sharapova

ON MEDICAL LEAVE (but soon better able to put the world on her shoulders... hopefully): Maria Sharapova
BACK FROM FORCED SABBATICAL: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
ADVANCED SCHOOL OF METEOROLOGY: Eugenie Bouchard

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL OF METEOROLOGY: Tornado Alicia Black & Hurricane Black
REMEDIAL SCHOOL OF METEOROLOGY (& Entomology): Alize Cornet & Lauren Davis (both were wheeled off the court in the Miami heat... oh, and Davis was also stung on the bum by a bee)


"It has always been a part of my personality to be different. I
ctually love that part of my game, you know: being able to have something different. At the end of the day, when the spectators were looking at ten matches, they will remember this girl that was doing something different."
- Marion Bartoli

*ACTING DEPARTMENT HEADS & SELECTED CLASS INSTRUCTORS*
UNORTHODOX RUSSIAN: Svetlana "I Don't Need No Stinkin' Seed" Kuznetsova
CHINESE-101 & 102: Li Na


"My problem isn't that I lost. I've lost a million times in my life. My problem is trying to find the desire to fight and be on the court ready to fight. For a few weeks, I haven't felt like I wanted to be on the court. That's the problem." - Sara Errani

ITALIAN THERAPY: Sara Errani
(New) ITALIAN LEADERSHIP: Roberta Vinci

ITALIAN FASHION: Camila Giorgi

FRENCH-101: Marion Bartoli (New Instructor: Kristina Mladenovic, though she needs a "co-teacher" to truly execute the lesson plan)
GERMAN-101 (if you didn't sign up for the class, she'll find a way to get you in): Angelique Kerber
GOOD CZECH, BAD CZECH: Petra Kvitova
RESURGENT BELGIAN: Kirsten Flipkens

CONVERSATIONAL POLISH: Katarzyna Piter (filling in for a vacationing Aga & Ula)

CONVERSATIONAL ENTITY: Dominika Cibukova (though, apparently you have to put double bagels on her desk rather than apples)
SIGN LANGUAGE: Eugenie Bouchard

TENNIS ACADEMY DIRECTOR: Coach Stefan Gordy

INTRODUCTION TO BRITISH HISTORY: Laura Robson & Heather Watson (class cancelled due to lack of interest... everyone has flocked to Professor Murray's course instead)
(Future) AMERICAN HISTORY: Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys... there is some dispute about who'll eventually show up
THE FUTURE OF CANADA NORTH AMERICA?: Eugenie Bouchard
WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN INDIA: Sania Mirza
KIWI HISTORY (a one-woman story): Marina Erakovic
MONTENEGRAN HISTORY: Danka Kovinic
TAIWANESE ARCHEOLOGY: Hsieh Su-Wei
MODERN ANCIENT JAPAN: Kimiko Date-Krumm
THE FUTURE OF JAPAN: Ayumi Morita & Kurumi Nara
TRAVELING THE WORLD (finally, and successfully) WITHOUT COMPLICATION: Bojana Jovanovski
VICTORY DANCING-101: Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova


TWERKING-101... or not: Victoria Azarenka


CHARM SCHOOL DIRECTOR: Li Na, smiling in the face of pain

THE ART OF TEAMWORK: Washington Kastles


"With women (in sports), it's always been assumed that if you're a really good athlete you must be a lesbian. So women always have to prove their heterosexuality in sports.'" - Martina Navratilova, about how women's sexuality isn't covered same way as men's in the sports world

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 3": Petra Kvitova (with Part 4 coming in 2014, hopefully with a surprise ending)
"Telling Everyone Stories About Your 'Friend,' Then Blaming Others for Making Up Stories About Your 'Friend' Being Your Friend: An Oral Essay": Sloane Stephens
"Preventative Medicine, Smart Body Management & You": Nadia Petrova Replacement Speaker: Li Na (assuming she can keep her feet under her)

"Better Late Than Never": Elena Vesnina (with a rip-roaring "Why I Want to Punch Liezel" routine -- complete with lifelike replica crash test dummy -- for a curtain call)
"Suddenly Living in the Shadow of Even Greater Greatness?": Venus Williams
"What Do You Do Next When, in What Might Your Best-Ever Chance for Immortality, You Fail?": Agnieszka Radwanska [speaker cancelled scheduled appearance - on vacation with sister and friends]

"Convincing Yourself is STILL the Hardest Part": Samantha Stosur
"How to Resurrect a Formerly Promising Career": Nadia Petrova
Replacement Speaker: Jelena Jankovic (& friend)

"17 is the Loneliest Number": Arantxa Rus
"Gain a Boyfriend, Take a Tumble (or two or three), Fire a Coach, Hire a Coach, Fire a Coach and Nearly Become a Sugarpova: The Story of My Summer": Maria Sharapova

"What Have You Done for Us Lately vs. How Much Money Can You Make Us by NOT Playing: The Principles of Bad Gastein vs. Linz": Lisa-Maria Moser
"All Right... Next!": Radek Stepanek: Petra & Me (sure to be a winning follow-up to his previous one-man shows: "Martina & Me" and "Nicole & Me")
"Keeping Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer": Vika Azarenka (w/ Stacey Allaster)

"It's Not as Easy as You Think... just ask me": Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (back for another year!)
"Promising Yourself that Second-Best is Never Enough": Sabine Lisicki

"No, We Aren't Long-Lost Siblings": Carla Suarez-Navarro & world champion bull rider J.B. Mauney (co-speakers)

"Yeah, We Only Have One Measly Title to Show for Our Efforts, But We Can Do This!": Carlos Rodriguez & Li Na
"So This is What It Takes to Get You Off My Back?": Hannah Storm
"I Stare Because I Care": L.Z. Granderson
"Bring Back the Shorts!": Diane Dees

"Embracing the Crazy, version 2.0": Jelena Jankovic
"Embracing the Media-Generated Controversy & Outrage": Stacey Allaster (along with a Q&A session regarding her lecture from last year's series, "Thinking Other People are Stupid: The Key to Personal Success")

"A lot of times, you know, my mind just keeps running, and sometimes it makes sense, what I say, and sometimes it doesn't." - Jelena Jankovic



"(Closed eyes, with laugh) Well, (spreads arms) that's me!" - Marion Bartoli, when asked to explain how she went from mediocre season to grand slam champion

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=
(She Really Should Know Better) DRAMA CLUB: Serena Williams (well-known personalities probably shouldn't make public pronouncements about controversial issues without first knowing the facts... I'm just sayin')
(Unexpected) DRAMA CLUB: (shockingly) Maria Sharapova

"(He) has a black heart." - Serena Williams, in Rolling Stone magazine, where she called a Top 5 player who isn't "invited to the good parties," and said she's "boring" while talking about her boyfriend, who has "a black heart." Immediately, the people in question were assumed to be Maria Sharapova and her BF Grigor Dimitrov, who briefly dated Williams in the past
"If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about." - Maria Sharapova, taking a surprising public shot back at Serena and her own coach/boyfriend Patrick Mouratoglou

(Immature) DRAMA CLUB: Sloane Stephens
(Relationship) DRAMA CLUB: Caroline Wozniacki
POLISH ART(ful Nude Modeling) CLUB: Agnieszka Radwanska

ADVANCED POLISH ART(ful Nude Modeling) CLUB: Marta Domachowska

POLISH MAGAZINE COVER MODELING CLUB: Marta Domachowska & Ula Radwanska

RUNWAY MODELING SCHOOL: Sloane Stephens

GLEE CLUB: Vania King (duets)


PSYCHOLOGY CLUB: Petra Kvitova, and THAT Petra Kvitova... usually taking turns teaching in the middle of class
SHAKESPEARE JANKOVICIAN CLUB: Elena Vesnina Jelena & Marko Jankovic

NEOPHYTE ACTORS CLUB: "CSI" guest stars Chris Evert & Lindsay Davenport
SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING NAME TAGS CLUB: Kristyna & Karolina Pliskova

SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING DOCUMENTARY CLUB: Serena & Venus Williams

TIME TRAVEL CLUB: "Future Sloane" Stephens: Future Top 10er
FRENCH SPEECHMAKING CLUB: Serena Williams
IMPROMPTU SPEECHMAKING CLUB, MASTER CLASS: Li Na

"Truth is, I'm younger than you." - 30-year old Li Na, responding to interviewer Rennae Stubbs' question about 30 being "the new 20"

[Yearbook note: last year, with the Russian Chess Club in danger of being disbanded due to a lack of recent interest from the Hordettes, the Bannerettes agreed to step in to provide a little competition... and then the Canadiettes decided they wanted part of the action, too]

=RUSSIAN/AMERICAN-CANADIAN CHESS CLUB=
Co-CHAIRWOMEN: Maria Sharapova & Serena Williams (though Maria hasn't defeated Serena in a chess match in years)
Co-ASSISTANTS TO THE CHAIRWOMEN: Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina (looking to become the best duo on earth)

THE NEXT BIG THING?: Eugenie Bouchard
STAR-CROSSED: Nadia Petrova. Oh, Nadia.
RESURRECTED FROM LENIN & GRANT's TOMBS: Svetlana Kuznetsova (on occasion), Olga Puchkova, Vera Dushevina & Evgeniya Rodina
OLD(er) CHESS MASTER: Lisa Raymond
EMERGING FROM THE MIST: Jamie Hampton
EMERGING FROM THE HAZE, THEN RECEDING SLIGHTLY BACK INTO IT: Maria Kirilenko & Christina McHale
FULL OF LIFE: Alisa Kleybanova
UTILITY PLAYERS: Raquel Kops-Jones & Abigail Spears
POCKET HORDETTE: Valeria Solovieva
POCKET BANNERETTE: Lauren Davis
FAITHFUL GIRLFRIEND/FAN: Maria Sharapova

DON'T ALLOW THEM TO BE ALONE IN THE SAME ROOM: Elena Vesnina & Liezel Huber
BACK, BUT SUDDENLY FINDING LESS ROOM ON THE ALL-CANADA TEAM: Aleksandra Wozniak
BACK IN BLUE, WHITE & RED, AND WONDERING WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED WHILE SHE WAS IN KAZAKHSTAN: Ksenia Pervak
SECRET WEAPONS: Alison Riske & Valeria Savinykh
MISSED MOST: Vera Zvonareva
IMMORTALIZED IN PLASTIC: Anna Chakvetadze... never to be forgotten at the Academy

FOR HONOR AND COUNTRY: Russian Junior Fed Cup Team

FOR HONOR AND COUNTRY... up to a point: Ekaterina Makarova

BEST FORMER PARTNERS: Maria Kirilenko & Nadia Petrova: Hordettes in Doubles Arms
NO "GOVERNOR"-esque EYE PATCHES IN SIGHT, BUT WE DO HAVE BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS AND GOOGLE GLASS:

CAPTURING GREATNESS IN A BOTTLE...almost: Alexandra Panova
ITF ITEM: Anna Morgina

BEST JUNIORS: Louisa Chirico, Tornado Black & Varvara Flink
NEW NCAA PHENOM: Jamie Loeb
JUNIOR VARSITY NextGEN HORDETTES/BANNERETTES OF THE FUTURE: Madison Keys, Vicky Duval, Taylor Townsend, Elizaveta Kulichkova & Darya Kasatkina
HEY, WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE???: Sloane Stephens


"How did you catch us?" - written by Maria Sharapova on a courtside camera lens following a match, one day after photographers broke the story of her relationship with Grigor Dimitrov after taking photos of them on a street in Madrid




=JUNIOR/SENIOR PROM COMMITTEE & HONOREES=
PROM QUEEN (but with Presidential dreams): Eugenie Bouchard

QUEEN'S COURT: Timea Babos, Ashleigh Barty, Annika Beck, Vicky Duval, Ons Jabeur, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Ayuma Morita, Garbine Muguruza, Kurumi Nara, Karolina Pliskova, Kristyna Pliskova, Monica Puig, Alison Riske, Elina Svitolina, Alja Tomljanovic, Alison Van Uytvanck, Donna Vekic and Catharina Witthoeft
LADIES-IN-WAITING & THEIR JUNIOR QUEENS COURT: Belinda Bencic & Ana Konjuh

JUNIOR LADIES-IN-WAITING: Beatriz Haddad Maia, Mayo Hibi, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Antonia Lottner, Elise Mertens, Jelena Ostapenko, Anna Schmiedlova and Katerina Siniakova
PARTY-CRASHERS: Tornado Alicia Black, Usue Arconada & Jang Su Jeong

LONG-AWAITED, BUT BELATED ARRIVAL: The Swarmettes
BACK FOR MORE: Michelle Larcher de Brito

BEST DANCE PARTNER: Kristina Mladenovic
ALTERNATIVE DANCE PARTNERS: Minnie & Maria

SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE PARTNERS: Martina Hingis & Daniela Hantuchova

SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE MARATHONER: Martina Navratilova
COLLEGE DANCE-OFF WINNER: Nicole Gibbs (formerly of Stanford)
SUDDEN WALLFLOWERS: Serbian Fed Cup Team
(Still the) SCHEDULED PROM ADVISOR: Nicole Vaidisova (in 2004, at 15, the youngest BSA dance contest winner ever), formerly armed with a "If at First You Don't Succeed, Get Married" theory of life... but now leaving us wondering if she might reconsider her path
CHAPERONS: Cara Black, Casey Dellacqua & Daniel Nestor
HITTING THE REFRESHMENT TABLES: WoziRoy

HOPING TO MAKE A CAMEO APPEARANCE: VikaFoo!


"It took Daniela a lot courage and inspiration to kind of dig me out of a grave." - unretired Martina Hingis, on doubles parnter Daniela Hantuchova



"You feel like you're almost not walking anymore on earth. You're really flying." - Marion Bartoli, on winning Wimbledon

=CLASS FAVORITES=
MOST WELL-LIKED: Flavia Pennetta
FUNKIEST & MOST WELL-LIKED, at Backspin HQ: Vika "Face of Backspin" Azarenka

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED (???????), age 20+: "Future Sloane" Stephens
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, under age 20: Eugenie Bouchard
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, age 18 and under: Madison Keys
POWER DUO ONCE MORE, but no more: Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka

THE "REAL REASON" A POWER DUO-NO-MORE: PLUSHIES & FURRIES EDITION???: Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka & friend

MOST P.O'ed HORDETTES: The Russian Fed Cup "A"-team
MOST COOLED-OFF AUSTRIAN: Tamira Paszek
PERSONALITY PLUS, circa 2012: "Future Sloane" Stephens
PERSONALITY MINUS, circa 2013???: "Current Sloane" Stephens
BEST VICTORY LEAP: Vicky Duval

BEST VICTORY CLIMB: Marion Bartoli

BEST (PERFECT WORLD) POLITICIAN-LIKE MANEUVER: French Fed Cup coach Amelie Mauresmo brokering deal with Marion Bartoli to play for France for the first time in nine years
FAVORITE SELF-ANOINTED "ENGLISH NAME": Jiang Shan... or, should I say "Dennis?"
STILL ENDEARING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS (even in a supporting role): Francesca Schiavone

LEAST ENDEARING MOVE (even if it made financial sense on some short-sighted levels): the WTA allowing the Rogers Cup in Toronto to import ATP (losing) players from the event in Montreal, paying them to play nighttime exhibitions in order to boost attendance
BEST NATION-HOPPER: Ksenia Pervak (Russian... err, Kazakh... no, I mean Russian)
QUIETEST TOP 20 HONOR ROLL STUDENT: Carla Suarez-Navarro (highest-ranked title-less pro not named Sloane)
BARELY-TOP 10 STUDENT FINALLY MAYBE THINKING LIKE A #1: Caroline Wozniacki
QUIETEST FED CUP ACHIEVERS: the Argentine and Brazilian FC squads
LEAST PUBLICIZED SWISS MISS: Stefanie Voegele
(NEW) BEST ISRAELI: Julia Glushko
MOST LIKELY TO CONTEND FOR SOUTH AMERICAN SUPREMACY?: Paula Ormaechea vs. Teliana Pereira
FAVORITE YOUNG ITALIAN: Camila Giorgi (even if she sometimes "forgets" her shirt)

FAVORITE NAME (but only if you say it three times fast): Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani!

FAVORITE CAVEBABIES: "Carlo" and "Carlita," sure to make "Carl & Carla" proud

FAVORITE HEROINE: "Citizen Anna"
MOST BELOVED CHARACTER: ol' QC... the end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end
HORROR FOR THE WORLD:

HOPE FOR THE WORLD?:

FASHION DO: Venus Williams at the U.S. Open

FASHION DON'T: Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open

OFFICIATING DON'T, a.k.a. assuming Vika has a short memory, and one only restricted to occurrences in HER matches: Mariana Alves


"After all you've done, how are you still in the game?" - Victoria Azarenka, to chair umpire Mariana Alves

LATE BLOOMERS: Kirsten Flipkens & Yvonne Meusburger
MAYBE NOT SO LOST A CAUSE, AFTER ALL: Jelena Jankovic
STILL ON THE FENCE: Ana Ivanovc
BEST (Future?) TOURNAMENT TIE-IN: "The Sugarpova Open"

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS...?: Aravane Rezai
NEW/OLD KIDS: Jelena Jankovic & Kimiko Date-Krumm... doubles achievers?
ANOTHER ACCESSORY FOR BARBIE: Jack (not Ken!)

A NEW CALF FOR La Petit Taureau:

Lalie, sparking a hankering for some...

SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK (get your Waffle-ly adverbs here!):


MOST ANTICIPATED (HOPEFUL) RETURN (AS FAR AS BACKSPIN HQ IS CONCERNED): Jelena Dokic (pretty please... one more moment to savor, Fair One)



"I guess I'm pretty tough." - Victoria Azarenka, after withstanding VikaGate to win another Australian Open

*ACADEMY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS FEATURE PRODUCTION*
...our plucky performers are always tirelessly working to entertain the student body and faculty throughout the calendar year, with the long-running "The Many Faces of Caroline" the most lauded production since the establishment of our performing arts curriculum. Our signature show took a one-year break last term, but is back for a limited test-run again this year -- colloquially dubbed "The Many Faces of Caro" -- in hopes of a bigger-and-better, re-cast sequel hoping to premiere sometime in 2014.

Stepping in last season in the absence of "TMFoC" was its sister show, "The Many Faces of Vika." The people in the know on campus just loved it! So, it's back, too!

*"THE MANY FACES OF CARO"*
[testing the waters for a new beginning]
=TRYING TOO HARD?=

=THE RING... my precious=

=WALKING ON AIR=

=WHO SAYS BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN?=

=RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH A LEGEND=

=FANGIRL=

=GIRLFRIEND=

=TAKING ON A SECOND JOB=

=STILL FINDING HER WAY=

=LPGA... here she comes! Or not.=

=Whew!=

=WOZI-CONDI-ROY?=


*"THE MANY FACES OF VIKA"*
[a brand new exhibition from Miss Azarenka]
=HONORARY CHAMPION SHEILA, Part 2=

=THE FALL: A STILL LIFE EXHIBIT=

=THE FALL: AN AUDITORY EXPERIENCE=


=VIKA'S GOT BALLS... a whole wall full of 'em=

=THE WOMAN IN BLACK=

=PLEASE, VIKA -- DON'T HURT US (unless you want to, of course)=

=THE ATP IMPRESSIONIST=

=IN THE ZONE=

=VIKA: VIDEO STAR IN ANIMAL PRINT=


And, of course...

=NO LONGER CRAZY, BUT STILL A KID... sometimes=



"I'm one of these girls that's never going to give up." - Heather Watson

*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 ACADEMY ALL-STAR TEAMS=
*ALL-BEAUTIFUL*
Serena Williams wins eight matches to begin the season, extending her winning streak to twenty. After additional 34-match and 14-match runs, she ends 2013 by winning her last eighteen. Serenativity Indeed.
=============================
Vika's Melbourne heart
=============================
That Petra!

=============================

=============================
Aga Radwanska's titles-in-two-weeks start to 2013
=============================

=============================
WTA 40-Love

=============================
"Serbian Good Luck Charm" Aleksandra Krunic

=============================
Serena vs. Vika

=============================
Serena vs. Venus... for the first time in four seasons

=============================

=============================
Jelena Jankovic's Charleston "towel shimmy"
=============================
Petra & Friend

=============================
The Joy of Anabel Medina-Garrigues in Perth

=============================

=============================
Sloane Stephens at the slams

=============================
ESPN's $770m U.S. Open deal
=============================
Daniela Hantuchova: 2014 calendar

=============================
Laura Robson is... Gene Simmons of Kiss

=============================
Maria Sharapova winning 28 straight games to begin the Australian Open
=============================
Sara Errani's eyes, Year 2

=============================
Agnieszka Radwanska's brain
=============================

=============================
Venus Williams' 129.9 mph serve
=============================
Simona Halep on the town

=============================
Sania Mirza still not letting herself get kicked around
=============================
Li vs. Djokovic in Beijing

=============================
Bojana Jovanovski winning in Tashkent by taking "the long way home"
=============================
This...

=============================
But this, too...

=============================
Daniela Hantuchova winning on grass in Birmingham
=============================
Sabine & the Squirrel

=============================
The Fed Cup final being moved back a week in 2014 to not conflict with the Tournament of "Champions"
=============================
A roof on Ashe... eventually

=============================
It's the Italians!

=============================
Venus Williams & Andy Roddick buy into World Team Tennis
=============================
Lisicki reaches the Wimbledon final

=============================
The Radwanskian Massacre... from The Rad's point-of-view
=============================
Serena, the Comforter in Chief

=============================
Marion & Dr. Bartoli

=============================

"You never know what is going to happen. It's pretty hard to say I will never come back." - Marion Bartoli

=The mayor of Toronto said WHAT?=

Casey Dellacqua & Ashleigh Barty

"Why do I have to apologize?" - Aga Radwanska, after a Polish Catholic youth group dropped her as a spokeswoman, calling her ESPN the Magazine photos "immoral behavior"
"It was a long time ago. Anyway, it shouldn't be connected, these two things. It's for a sport magazine. It shows sports bodies and sports life, and all the interview is about tennis." - A-Rad, speaking on her involvement in the "I am Not Ashamed of Jesus" campaign as a teenager
"I think I wasn't really expecting that huge a thing about it. (I'm) still happy that I did it." - Aga (with a smile)

*ALL-UGLY*
One year after Whack-a-Vika Down Under, the sequel arrives in Melbourne -- "VikaGate"
=============================
Even in victory, a final attempt to insult (umm, it's "BLR," not "BEL")

=============================
"LinzGate"
=============================
Polish Catholic groups vs. Aga

=============================
Nadia Petrova (0-4) at the slams
=============================
Aga Radwanska's finish in Istanbul
=============================
Serena vs. Sharapova
=============================
Serena Williams in Rolling Stone
=============================
Sloane Stephens in ESPN the Magazine
=============================
ATP players talking about the WTA tour, 9 times out of 10
=============================
The Russian Fed Cup dispute
=============================
"Serbian Back Luck Charm" Vesna Dolonc
=============================
Jelena Jankovic's verbal challenge to Serena in Charleston...and quick demise in the final soon afterward
=============================
The "Impossible" is Possible, Pt.1: Melbourne

=============================
The "Impossible" is Possible, Pt.2: SW19

=============================
Anabel Medina-Garrigues caught fluffing tennis balls vs. Serena, then complaining about "unfair" on-court noise
=============================
The Slovak blow a 2-0 lead in the Fed Cup semis vs. Russia
=============================
The Venus Williams' 129.9 mph serve isn't an "official" record because it was recorded on the correct equipment
=============================
Maria Sharapova's shoulder
=============================
They had a 5.1 earthquake in Indian Wells... and Jelena Jankovic wasn't on court to enjoy it. What gives!?!?!?
=============================
The whole "disrespectful" flap being a big deal. But, then again, considering how things played out later in the season...

=============================
After twenty-six all-Russian singles finals from 2003-11, none taking place from 2012-13
=============================
Azarenka's bad pedicure
=============================

The Radwanskian Massacre... from most everyone's point-of-view, well, except for Marion Bartoli and The You-Know-What!
=============================

Hmmm, this new poll is just in...


Meanwhile...

*THEY AREN'T BUYING MELONS, ARE THEY?*


Shiver.




So, I guess it's time to refresh our memories about the layout of Radwanska Abbey. You know, just in case Citizen Anna needs our help.





I think we all need some encouraging words right about now.

"It's never too late for a new beginning." - Chris Evert

Thanks, Chrissie!

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, in keeping with the general Yearbook tone...



Come on... you had to know it'd turn out that way.

All right, it's finally time to go. So, from Backspin HQ, located on the top floor of Henin Hall, to be continued...


Res Ipsa Loquitur. All for now.

2 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

Best. Yearbook. Ever.

Did you break into the unseen work of Diane Arbus to find that first photo of the Radwanska sisters (or maybe it's just a lost still from The Shining)? You can practically see the mist rising above them.

When Simona's breasts, JJ's monkey and Vika's thong-clad boyfriend are all brought together, that's a good year. Pour some Sugarpova on me!

Wed Nov 20, 09:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! Thanks, Diane. Well, it's certainly the longest edition ever!

As long as the sisters don't start saying "redrum" or talking out of their index fingers, I guess we're okay. Hopefully.

I have to say, I do think Aga & Ula were something of the stars of this year's Yearbook. I was especially excited to finally find another version of the "tour" of Radwanska Abbey, too! You-Know-What must be getting a bit lax in the security department. Hmmm, maybe that's a sign that Citizen Anna has already been successful?

"JJ's monkey"... just the phrase makes me smile. ;)


Wed Nov 20, 11:53:00 PM EST  

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