2015 WTA Yearbook
Our Beloved Backspin Academy
Here in the U.S., the Presidential campaign (from the party nomination slog to the actual general election) sometimes seems interminable. But this term's Backpin Academy race for Student Council President was, well, nonexistent.
When you have unwanted guests at a family gathering pic.twitter.com/NQCwrFELdk— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 9, 2015
For the 2015 school year, there was never any question about who we wanted to be our President, and one suspects that she was, is and will continue to be until she is no longer able or willing to hold the office. So, for the first time ever, we didn't even go through the motions of the election process, nor have a single ballot cast to determine our vaunted leader. We just knew. But lest you worry that we have cavalierly tossed aside our democratic principles as if they were a Romanian tennis coach, have no fear. On an assigned day, we all gathered on and around the newly-constructed Jelena Dokic Roundabout in the center of campus and, by collective agreement (actually just a simple show of hands), did decree that sitting Class President Serena Williams would indeed remain in office by the consent of the entire Academy community.
It was nearly unanimous.
Naturally, as usual, there were a few crooked sticks who chose to use the moment of honor to air their grievances concerning our President, some of them revolving around personal issues long held for years, mostly with little basis of fact or taste and often tinged with a hint of jealousy. To their annoyed detractors, some Presidential naysayers even offered to back up the veracity of their dissent by publicly performing a feat of strength.
But there were no interested takers... and thus the decision was stamped official (i.e. Ms. Jankovic danced in one complete traversing of the Roundabout, consecrating the result).
And so it was that President Williams remained in office for a third consecutive term, adding to the historic length of service she set one year ago. In all, our leader has officially occupied the Rectangular Office in Henin Hall for five full terms over the course of her time with us. Only former President Henin herself had ever sat in the seat of power for more than one total term before her. In fact, for the most part, we feel that President Williams has filled the role as well as anyone ever has.
Some go so far as to call her our GREATEST President. For sure, all on campus look to her to gauge their own efforts, and though we usually frown upon bestowing such a title on any individual for fear it may serve as an untenable burden to further success, we refuse to construct any sort of official position in the contrary. We do so, of course, with a respectful nod to Traveling Dean Emeritus Navratilova, who still manages to grace us with her presence and advice on a regular basis. We are so grateful for her.
As it played out, the recently completed term had a vastly different theme than was the case a year ago. 2015 was about big ideas and even bigger goals. Last term, President Williams saw fit to keep a close eye on the day-to-day operations on campus but was often not at her best when we constructed a big stage outside and put on a grand show. This year, while sometimes arriving fashionably late, she stole the show at nearly every large occasion while leaving the smaller issues to her well-stocked and talented staff.
It all worked like a charm. Well, almost.
As we neared the end of the term, excitement overflowed the campus, as the President prepared to put on her greatest performance ever at the final big get-together of the year. In anticipation of a Grand night, banners were hung between the light poles with care with the hope that our President's legacy would soon be cemented near there. Needless to say, everyone got a bit wrapped up in her quest. So, when she was unable to complete her attempt at perfection we were all disappointed, as all our carefully constructed celebration plans went awry. In a series of instants that granted us the thrill of witnessing two former Presidents finally experiencing hard-won joy in the shadow of the sadness of the unfulfilled hope of our current President, we were all a bit exhausted in the end. As was the President, for she took an extended break for the remainder of the term following the event.
While she was away, co-Vice Presidents Hingis and Mirza temporarily assumed the daily reigns of power. Both took to the short-term set-up quite seamlessly, as if they'd been preparing for it all their lives. Which, of course, they had... with Ms. Hingis, for one, having gone from student to professor and back again over the years. In fact, they were such a winning and adored combination -- a "dream team," if you will -- that their portrait will likely find its very own place in the Academy's Hall of Honor, even if they never "officially" serve as the head(s) of the entire student body. We have a long tradition of power sharing in the BSA student government, and this was just another version of such. Thus, BSA maintains its well-earned reputation for great, and peaceful, political power experimentation. This year's scenario, especially, put a big smile on all our faces. Bravo, everyone!
As President Williams' reign remains unbroken as we head into a fresh term in the new year, the search will soon begin for a new campus theme for 2016. Will it be simply a slightly altered version of that of the most recent term, with a somewhat more Golden hue, or will we be surprised by what transpires over the next twelve months? Ah, the excitement of the unexpected is almost here once again. Surely, young Presidential timber -- from up-and-coming students Garbine and Karolina to Belinda and others -- is being groomed, and the future looks bright. But our President, while beloved, is not one to be trifled with.
*HONOR ROLL OF BELOVED CLASS PRESIDENTS*
2001 Jennifer Capriati
2002 Serena Williams
2003 Justine Henin-Hardenne
2004 Lindsay Davenport
2005 Kim Clijsters
2006 Amelie Mauresmo
2007 Justine Henin
2008 Serena Williams
2009 Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone, Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci
2010 Caroline Wozniacki
2011 Petra Kvitova
2012 Victoria Azarenka
2013 Serena Williams
2014 Serena Williams
2015 Serena Williams
As it is, we move forward with the roll call...
CLASS PRESIDENT: Serena Williams
VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Flavia Pennetta (decided to decline appointment... she just had better things to do)
VALEDICTORIAN (official): Angelique Kerber
Co-VALEDICTORIAN (declared by the USTA governing body of Grade Point Average Computation): Karolina Pliskova (decision was challenged in BSA student court)
Co-VALEDICTORIAN (result of intense negociation with the USTA by the Czech Tennis Federation): Karolina Pliskova & the Czech Republic Fed Cup Team
SCHOOL SPIRIT COORDINATOR (a Bracelet for everyone!!!): Aleksandra Krunic
STUDENT/COMMUNITY OUTREACH LIAISONS (or... not?): Ula & Aga Radwanska
Personae Non Gratae ON BACKSPIN CAMPUS (with photo taped inside the front gate): Sergiy Stakhovsky
INSPIRATIONAL ADVISOR: Venus Williams
Backspin Academy's humble and hardworking staff occasionally experiences 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.
For the third straight year, though, BSA has seen the exit of one of our most well-liked, and recently epicly successful graduate students. Two years after Mademoiselle Bartoli walked through the Academy's front gate, and just one year after the wonderful Li Na did the same, we once again said goodbye to a member of the family soon after she'd experienced the high point of her campus career.
Ms. Pennetta, as with the others, will be missed greatly. But, as has been the case the last two years, as well, we expect that she won't become a sudden stranger. Some of us believe she may even one day lead (from the sidelines) a group of her fellow Italians into battle in one of the competitions in which our students -- including herself -- have always performed quite well over the years. But that's just a hunch.
Speaking of former students Bartoli and Li, their departures did not prevent them from being seen on a regular basis around Academy grounds. As always, they are still part of the BSA community. The sight of the Frenchwoman huffing and puffing in the Academy gym is a common occurrence now, while her Chinese counterpart announced and later welcomed an addition to her own family -- daughter Alisa -- during the course of the recently completed term.
"Dennis is doing good job -- he just makes one ace." - Li Na, when announcing her pregnancy
Meanwhile, the Academy's Student Guidance Services experienced quite a bit of that aforementioned upheaval this term. Unsatisfactory results, family considerations, personal whims and, sometimes, "business decisions" saw members of the department come and go as if through a revolving door, occasionally personally taking on the role of counselor to one student, only to be taking up the case of another soon afterward while leaving their past advisee to search for a new helping hand with little warning. Needless to say, it all set up a chain reaction of sorts which led to what some around campus compared to a game of "Pick-Up-Stix." Hopefully, though, all will eventually find their way to successful partnerships. We only wish the best for everyone associated with Backspin Academy.
But, alas, we expect such changes will become the norm as the Academy moves forward. Patience is often short where most students are concerned, and finding the correct match is an ongoing process for most of our young charges. Even the seemingly more successful ones, and certainly quite a few of the most talented.
On both a somber and somewhat brighter note, one year after we lost former student Elena Baltacha, our late British friend was honored across the pond in a most appropriate way in Nottingham.
It stirred memories that touched all our hearts.
Meanwhile, 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 Traveling Dean Emeritus Navratilova, that is.
=FACULTY, STAFF, DEPARTMENT HEADS & APPOINTEES=
ORIGINAL DEAN EMERITUS (celebrating her 42nd year of living the dream): Billie Jean King (with ultra-attentive student Nicole Gibbs)
VISITING DEAN OF THE ACADEMY'S SOUTH AMERICAN CAMPUS: Maria Bueno (Oh, the welcoming parade was amazing!)
EXPERT GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (now +1 at the Academy holiday party): Amelie Mauresmo
Aaron est arrivé le 16/08/15 et nous sommes enfin à la maison... Totalement renversant ! pic.twitter.com/OgnxlzCrSw— AmelieMauresmo (@AmeMauresmo) August 24, 2015
EXPERT (but not perfect) GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Anastasia Myskina (but that's why we loved the Czarina so much in her student years, isn't it?)
NON-GUIDANCE NON-COUNSELOR (still on staff after years of poor performance reviews): Mary Joe Fernandez (Apparently, she has incriminating information on several members of the Academy Board of Directors... but that's just a rumor -- you didn't hear it from me!)
NEW GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (in the "Pinish." camp): Sascha Bajin
TWO-ARE-BETTER-THAN-ONE GUIDANCE COUNSELORS: Wim Fissette & Sascha Bajin ("Sam who?," said Vika.)
ADVICE-SLINGIN' GUIDANCE COUNSELOR:
RESULTS-ORIENTED GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (who once again fulfilled the promise of getting his advisee back in the winner's circle... however briefly): Carlos Rodriguez (So says Daniela Hantuchova.)
BACK-FOR-ANOTHER-TOUR-OF-DUTY-WITH-AnaIvo GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (though he knows in his heart it's only temporary, as with everything with the Serb): Nigel Sears
"There is always nerves in the beginning." - Ana Ivanovic, skipping over both the middle and the end
LOYAL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (a unicorn in a field of hippos): David Kotyza
DISLOYAL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Sam Sumyk (picketed by the Vika Army)
HEY-THIS-MESS-ISN'T-MY-FAULT-I-JUST-GOT-HERE GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Sam Sumyk (picketed by the Genie Army... who decided to remove the word "karma" from their mental dictionary)
"HOT POTATO" GUIDANCE COUNSELOR ("The third attempt in ten months HAS to be the charm, right?"): Sam Sumyk (jumping onto the Muguruza missle and riding it into the stratosphere... and looking to prove that "karma" isn't in HIS dictonary, either)
AFTERNOON GUIDANCE COUNSELOR WITH A LONG RESUME: Jimmy Connors
NEW GUIDANCE COUNSELOR GETTING IN BEFORE "THE YEAR OF": Jesse Levine ("No pressure," said Madison, with a wink.)
NORTH AMERICAN "NEXT ONE" GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Nick Saviano (Sherpa setting the ropes for Future
(Caro and the End of the Search for) THE NEXT GREAT GUIDANCE COUNS-...: Arantxa Sanchez (Oh, nevermind)
FORMER & CURRENT GUIDANCE COUNSELOR (holding on as lightning prepares to strike for a second time): Melanie Molitor
"NEXT!!" GUIDANCE COUNSELOR THROWING THEIR HAT INTO THE RING (FULL-TIME):
"On the tennis tour you need good mental health." - Casey Dellacqua
Meanwhile, the usual comings-and-goings occurred in the student population, as well, as Ms. Pennetta was not alone in announcing that she would be leaving us and embarking on a new life outside the Academy gates. Students Scheepers, Grandin, Meusburger, Mayr-Achleitner, Uhlirova, Raymond, Domachowska and Pervak all walked through the exit for the last time. Well, at least for now. For the likes of former students Schnyder, Sevastova, Martinez-Sanchez and Majoli all rejoined the community this past term. Not only that, but after long absences students Kleybanova, Robson and Duval were also welcomed BACK with open arms. As always, the Academy is always here to provide a warm embrace to any former student and/or staff member who decides they want to return to us, in whatever role they wish. Yesterday, today, and forever.
BACK FROM VOLUNTARY SABBATICAL: Patty Schnyder
TRAINER IN DEMAND: Alex Stober ("The key to my future," says
FUTURE FITNESS COACH IN DEMAND: Unnamed (ask Kiki if she's willing to give up the mystery girl)
WEDDING CRASHERS: (clockwise from upper left) Michaella Krajicek, Elena Vesnina, Arina Rodionova, Maria Kirilenko, Raquel Atawo (nee Kops-Jones), Elena Vesnina
Name Change News: After getting married this summer, Raquel Kops-Jones is now officially Raquel Atawo. pic.twitter.com/LYCcbLyyn7— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) December 11, 2015
FORMER STUDENT GETTING THE OLD BAND BACK TOGETHER: Captain Anastasia Myskina & Team Russia
THANKFULLY BACK ON THE HONOR ROLL: Venus Williams
THANKFULLY (finally) HER-STORY (on a few weekends each term): Aleksandra "The Serbian Good Luck Charm/The Bracelet" Krunic
When you're the real winner of the US Open pic.twitter.com/S15ARPgQMv— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 14, 2015
SELF-APPOINTED YEARBOOK SWIMSUIT PHOTO EDITOR: Caroline Wozniacki
ACADEMY HISTORIAN: Bud Collins (always and forever)
CHEER SQUAD ADVISOR: Diane Dees (the original "Fighting Italian" approves)
ARTFUL SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT DIRECTOR: Maria Sharapova
ETIQUETTE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN: The Swarmettes vs. The Canadians, starring Genie Bouchard and Alexandra Dulgheru
(DELIGHTFULLY BLUNT) COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Sania Mirza (ten year t-shirt anniverary!)
FAITH IN THE CAUSE...:
SCHOOL OF LEARNING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR: Vicky Duval, Allie Kiick and Melanie Oudin
SCHOOL OF LIVING --and thriving -- THROUGH CHAOS: JJ, of course
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & DESIGN: Venus Williams
SCHOOL OF RESPECT AND DECENCY (and proving you're worthy of the effort): Svetlana Kuznetsova
"I believe that people don't have a right to judge her without knowing her. I will tell you even more that I don't think I know her that well. She's really famous and has lots of fame around her, and I think it's the right thing how she takes it. She separates it away and only has close people. Otherwise it's very difficult to be in her situation and to play such a great level of tennis and have so much commercial and to be so popular. It's really hard to combine these two things. The real Maria, only the real people around her know that. Other people, if she doesn't let them go in her life, doesn't mean that they can tell her that she's bad. I don't believe that." - Svetlana Kuznetsova, on Maria Sharapova
SCHOOL OF IMPERSONATION: "little Vika"
OFF MEDICAL LEAVE (and soon better able to back up her '14 success... hopefully): Peng Shuai (aka "the mysterious lady in black" between Aga and Garbi)
"I like to be seen as a phenom; I like not being like everybody else." - Oceane Dodin, acting very un-Pastry like (hmmm, or maybe it's just the opposite... or both simultaneously)
*ACTING DEPARTMENT HEADS & SELECTED CLASS INSTRUCTORS*
UNORTHODOX RUSSIAN: Vitalia Diatchenko (making the most of a bad situation)
"I'm getting a little bit tired, but I'm a woman in demand and when you're winning you find somehow some energy to keep going." - JJ
CONVERSATIONAL MANDARIN (new first-year professor!): Zheng Saisai (we'll see how this goes)
CONVERSATIONAL ITALIAN: Flavia Pennetta & Roberta Vinci
When there's always time for banter pic.twitter.com/JuLpdCAszJ— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 12, 2015
"I was tired. I was sweaty. I was dead." - a winning Alize Cornet
(OH SO) FRENCH-101: Alize Cornet & Caroline Garcia (the "best" is sometimes the "worst," and the "worst" is sometimes the "best")
RUSSIAN TRAVEL: Vitalia Diatchenko & Elena Vesnina
GOOD CZECH, BAD CZECH...: Petra Kvitova (clockwise from upper left) Mono Petra, Stereo Petra, Studio Petra, Merciless Petra, Jedi Petra, Engaged Petra, Happy Petra, Fast & Furious Petra, Pool Petra
(MEXICAN) SIGN LANGUAGE: Timea Bacsinszky
Making someone's day like pic.twitter.com/us8c4StJI4— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) October 7, 2015
.@TimiBacs... https://t.co/C8CvNtpM2T— Enrique Cavazos (@kke26) March 7, 2015
WHEN IN ROME (or Acapulco)...: Timea Bacsinszky
THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA-101:
THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA-102:
FUTURE WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN INDIA: Karman Kaur Thandi & Pranjala Yadlapalli
TURKISH HISTORY: Cagla Buyukakcay
LATVIAN HISTORY: Jelena Ostapenko
THAI ARCHEOLOGY: Tamarine Tanasugarn (sign up while it lasts!)
MODERN ANCIENT JAPAN: Kimiko Date-Krumm
TRAVELING THE WORLD, REMAINING THE FACE OF BACKSPIN (and being seen from space): Victoria Azarenka
NON-BARBIE POST-MOTHERHOOD SUCCESS (with far fewer pats on the back): Kateryna Bondarenko, Evgeniya Rodina & Tatjana Maria
YOGA FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE (preferably, with a wagging tail): Serena Williams (w/ "teacher's assistant" to her left)
Current scenes in Stuttgart: pic.twitter.com/ijvUmbscXs— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) April 26, 2015
(STILL) A THING OF LEGEND: Martina Navratilova
ELKING-101: Carl Begins with the Basics
CRICKET-101: Ashleigh Barty
BASKETBALL HALFCOURT CHALLENGE PHYSICS: Victoria Azarenka
vika half court challenge:
SO YOU WANT TO BE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?: Serena Williams
Reclaiming what's rightfully yours like pic.twitter.com/OMJUdUA08B— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) November 6, 2015
SO YOU WANT TO BE A THIEF?: Victoria Azarenka & Sascha Bajin and Andrea Petkovic
Taking candy from a baby like pic.twitter.com/GbbsCOkaRa— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) June 29, 2015
BALLET: Aga Radwanska
MEDIA RELATIONS TECHNIQUES: Serena Williams (if you last long enough, they'll come to love you before it's too late)
ITALIAN CHARM SCHOOL DIRECTOR: Roberta Vinci
"I felt the expectation that everyone was waiting for me to win. I didn't play my best but she was very good. She has a beautiful future." - Simona Halep, on herself and Garbine Muguruza
Our students always tell us that they truly enjoy our award-winning lecture series. Here's a preliminary look at our upcoming jam-packed schedule:
"Dealing with Expectations That Scrape the Sky, Edition 5: RedemptionJay, Part 2": Simona Halep (with an introduction and closing by Justine Henin -- yes!)
"It might not go your way, but at least you're out there trying." - Sloane Stephens
"My Successful Summertime March on Washington": Sloane Stephens
"Preventative Medicine, Smart Body Management & You":
"Better Late Than Never": the editors of Sports Illustrated
"A Williams' Work is Never Done: The Story Continues (still)": Venus Williams
"What Do You Do Next When, in What Might Your Best-Ever Chance for Greatness, You Just Miss? -- You Bear Down and Attack, Attack, Attack!": A Story of Long-Awaited Success: Lucie Safarova
"This year I learned that I'm stronger than I thought." - Garbine Muguruza
"How to Ditch a Formerly Promising Hotel Career and Learn to Love Your Old Job All Over Again": Timea Bacsinszky
"Right now in my head it's frustration and disappointment." - Caroline Wozniacki
"All Right... Neeeeext!!!": Ana Ivanovic (a long-running, crowd-pleasing lecture that just never seems to end)
"It's Not as Easy as You'd Think... just ask us": Nadiya & Maryna Kolb (with an introduction by Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar)
"Second-Best is Never Enough, But I Can Live with It (for now)": Serena Williams
"I can't sit here and say (I'm the greatest). But I can sit here and say that I'm the greatest player that I've been able to be." - Serena Williams
"All the Words That Aren't Fit to Print": Victoria Azarenka & Serena Williams
"That call was bull****. Everyone knows it." - Victoria Azarenka
"How To Be Both a Breath of Fresh Air and a Bit of a Disrespectful Dick at the Same Time Without Really Trying": Coco Vandeweghe
"Wrong Place, Wrong Time? Well, These Blades Were Made for Rollin'": Donna Vekic
"Continued to Take Pride in Being Picky (or look for someone else to blame soon)": Simona Halep
"The Success of the 'Bring Back the Shorts!' Campaign Continues to Bear Fruit (though a little more tangible success would be nice, too)": Diane Dees and Victoria Azarenka
"Everything You Want to Know About Me But Were Afraid to Ask": Fred (via Snapchat from Bastad)
"Nothing Lasts Forever": Flavia Pennetta
"Nothing Lasts Forever (coming in 2016!)": Roberta Vinci (with possible co-speaker Francesca Schiavone)
"Everything Takes Time": Camila Giorgi (Pandora's box -- bag? -- is officially open -- run!!!)
So I thought "Pisa" was a boring caption and an obvious caption.... No one gets my humour... ever.. ?? pic.twitter.com/mD1wY9iBL0— Daria Gavrilova (@Daria_gav) April 29, 2015
"Love Me Back": Daria Gavrilova
"The Tale of the Little Giant": Danielle Lao
"You Didn't Think You Were Going to Get Rid of Me That Easily, Did You?": Jelena Jankovic
"You Don't Really Know Me Yet, But You Will. Soon.": Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
"You CAN Go Home Again": Flavia Pennetta
"The State of Women's Tennis, 2016 - A Seven-Part Seminar": hosted by
1. "How Parts of the Sports 'Viewing Public' Will Always View Women's Tennis...even if they don't view it much at all":
"If people say we're 'unfeminine,' well, I say screw 'em." - Rosie Casals, in the 1970's, commenting on people who considered female athletes "unladylike" (from the book The Rivals by Johnette Howard, 2005)
"The fans help tremendously, especially when you're an emotional wreck." - Andrea Petkovic
Our student body is a talented crop, and always on the look-out for rewarding extracurricular activities to take up their valuable time.
(She Comes By It Naturally) DRAMA CLUB: Jelena Jankovic (reclaiming her past position by shockingly deposing Alize in a landslide vote)
(Disappointingly) DRAMA(tic Coaching Decisions) CLUB: Simona Halep & Genie Bouchard
(Relationship) DRAMA CLUB: Maria Sharapova (but she just let it slide right off her back, as any 'Pova should)
(German) DRAMA CLUB: German Fed Cup Team
GERMAN CLUB: Andrea Petkovic & Angelique Kerber
FOODIE CLUB: Daniela Hantuchova
ORNITHOLOGY CLUB: Garbine Muguruza (or maybe she's just auditioning for a role in next year's Woody-themed production of "Harvey")
ARACHNOPHOBIA CLUB: Alison Van Uytvanck
LEPIDOPTERY CLUB: Aga Radwanska
Went to visit my babies and a beautiful trail ride with Carlyto on a perfect day pic.twitter.com/EZYC5PgCMy— Martina Hingis (@mhingis) November 10, 2015
EQUESTRIAN CLUB PLEDGE: Maria Sharapova (application for membership denied)
WAX FIGURE CLUB (the most exclusive club on campus!): Li Na
SUPERHERO CLUB: Ana Ivanovic, (secret identities classified) and, well, guess who
OLDER THAN WE FEEL CLUB: Venus Williams (w/ Caro Wozniacki) & Martina Hingis (w/ Belinda B.)
MOTHER & DAUGHTER CLUB: Caroline Wozniacki & mother Anna
SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING TENNIS TOUR CLUB (classic): Venus & Serena Williams
TWEENER CLUB: Kristina Mladenovic & Francesca Schiavone (photo unavailable at time of publication -- member in #62 training)
HALL OF FAME CLUB (active members): Martina Hingis
PHOTOBOMB CLUB: Anastasia Myskina, Caroline Wozniacki, Genie Bouchard and little Mister Make-a-Face
When you totally ruin a picture with a photobomb ???? pic.twitter.com/Nuj10U1oAS— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) July 17, 2015
Highlight of the night... Photobombing Queen B pic.twitter.com/Ed2kxtwFWy— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) February 16, 2015
Mastering the art of photobombing like pic.twitter.com/tz4QeDj8cS— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) October 18, 2015
COPPING-A-PIRONKOVA-FEEL CLUB: (members are kept secret -- public acknowledgement of membership could lead to arrest)
"I feel good right now. I can maybe touch the sky with my finger." - Roberta Vinci
"Today is my day. Sorry, guys." - Roberta Vinci
[ Yearbook note: in recent years, the Russian Chess Club was in danger of being disbanded due to a lack of interest from the student body before the Bannerettes and Canadians stepped in to spare it from such a fate. While the Academy's Russian population has increased of late, the plan to move forward without BSA's original chess club was revived due to the surprising success of the British Chess Club. It was put to a vote at the final Student Council meeting of the term, and the more generously populated British club won out by a single vote. Some attribute the defeat to the absence from the occasion of an under-the-weather Hordette Ekaterina Makarova, as a single additional vote would have produced a deadlock that would have preserved the Russian Club for at least one more term. At any rate, the RCC decided to agree to hand over the keys to the chess room, but vowed to bring the issue to a vote again next term. We are sorry to see the venerable club go, though we know we may see it revived some day.]
Our list of past Prom Queens (& one temporary King) is quite star-studded:
2004 Maria Sharapova
2005 Nicole Vaidisova
2006 Nicole Vaidisova
2007 Agnes Szavay
2008 Caroline Wozniacki
2009 Melanie Oudin
2010 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2011 Caroline Wozniacki
2013 Genie Bouchard
2014 Belinda Bencic
2015 Belinda Bencic
=JUNIOR/SENIOR PROM COMMITTEE & HONOREES=
PROM QUEEN: Belinda Bencic (still the "girl with the curl")
QUEEN'S COURT: Annika Beck, Margarita Gasparyan, Nao Hibino, Ana Konjuh, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Elina Svitolina
LADIES-IN-WAITING: Timea Babos, Ysaline Bonaventure, Jana Fett, Daria Gavrilova, Beatriz Haddad, Daria Kasatkina, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko, Rebecca Peterson, Katerina Siniakova, Patricia Maria Tig, Donna Vekic and Wang Yafan
JUNIOR QUEENS COURT: Paula Badosa, Anna Blinkova, Dalma Galfi, Anna Kalinskaya, Sonya Kenin, Tereza Mihalikova, Katie Swan, Sofya Zhuk
JUNIOR LADIES-IN-WAITING: Usue Arconada, Bianca Andreescu, CiCi Bellis, Kayla Day, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Viktoria Kuzmova, Vera Lapko, Greet Minnen, Charlotte Robillard-Millette, Fanni Stollar, Marketa Vondrousova, Xu Shilin
PARTY-CRASHERS: Jamie Loeb, Maya Jansen & Erin Routliffe
EARLY 2016 PARTY-CRASHER: Maddison Inglis
LONG-AWAITED RETURN TO THE DANCE FLOOR: Laura Robson
SOON TO BE BACK FOR MORE: Aravane Rezai
SOON TO BE BACK FOR MORE (but only allowed on the floor while draped in bubble wrap): Jamie Hampton
MOST SOUGHT AFTER DANCE PARTNER: Kristina Mladenovic
MOST SOUGHT AFTER CHAPERON/DANCE PARTNER: Martina Hingis
SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE PARTNERS: Raquel Atawo & Abigail Spears
FORMER SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE PARTNERS: Sania Mirza & Hsieh Su-Wei, Martina Hingis & Flavia Pennetta
DREAM-TURNED-REALITY SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE PARTNERS: Sania Mirza & Martina Hingis
DYNAMIC SENIOR-LEVEL DANCE PARTNERS: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova
LONGTIME BFF DANCE PARTNERS: Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic
NEW BFF DANCE PARTNERS: Belinda Bencic & Kristina Mladenovic
NEWLY-INTENDED DANCE PARTNERS (ready for Rio): Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic
NEWLY-INTENDED DANCE PARTNERS: Petra Kvitova & Radek Meidl (but no hockey sticks are allowed on the floor)
BLOOD-RELATED DANCE PARTNERS: Chan Hao-Ching & Chan Yung-Jan
DANCE PARTNERS (FOR INTERNATIONAL TEAM COMPETITIONS): Aga Radwanska & Jerzy Janowicz
LONG AWAITED DANCE PARTNERS (for Rio): Martina Hingis & Roger Federer (we can hardly wait to see them on the dance floor!)
AELTC DANCE PARTNERS: Novak Djokovic &
HANDS-OFF DANCE PARTNERS: Aliza Cornet & "Rafa Nadal"
COLLEGE DANCE-OFF WINNERS (TEAM DIVISION): Astra Sharma and the Vanderbilt Commodores
LUCK-LESS WALLFLOWER: Yana Sizikova
LATE-ARRIVING ATTENDEES: Vika Azarenka's luggage
2015 CHAPERONS: Flavia Pennetta & Fabio Fognini
"Thirty is the new twenty-one." - Bethanie Mattek-Sands
MOST WELL-LIKED: Flavia Pennetta
STILL THE FUNKIEST & MOST WELL-LIKED, at Backspin HQ: Vika "Face of Backspin" Azarenka
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, over age 21: Garbine Muguruza
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, age 21 and under: Elina Svitolina
POWER DUO MORE OFTEN (in '16): Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic
NEW POWER DUO WHEN THE DUST SETTLES FOR '16: Timea Babos &
ORIGINAL (and still cookin' with heat) SWISS MISS: Martina Hingis
NEW SWISS MISS: Belinda Bencic
MOST IMPROVED SWISS MISS: Timea Bacsinszky
LEAST PUBLICIZED SWISS MISS (singles): Stefanie Voegele
LEAST PUBLICIZED SWISS MISS (x 2): Viktorija Golubic
UP & COMING SWISS MISS: Jil Teichmann
JUNIOR SWISS MISS: Rebeka Masarova
NEXT "IN" SISTER (singles): Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
NEWLY "IN" SISTERS (doubles): Chan Hao-Ching & Yung-Jan
NEXT "IN" SISTERS (doubles): Lyudmyla & Nadiia Kichenok
Why Twirlgate Is So Much More Interesting Than Deflategate http://t.co/pchoVYAeRy— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) January 24, 2015
MOST VERSATILE GERMAN: Angelique Kerber (successful even when laying down on the job)
BEST RUSSIAN KID: Elena Vesnina
NEXT ITALIAN VET LOADED FOR BEAR?: Sara Errani
PERSONALITY MINUS, circa 2013-14: "Current Sloane" Stephens
PERSONALITY ALMOST-PLUS, circa 2015: Sloane Stephens
PERSONALITY PLUS, circa 2014: Genie Bouchard
PERSONALITY MINUS, circa 2015: Genie Bouchard
PERSONALITY ????, 2016: Genie Bouchard
PERSONALITY PLUS, late 2015: Garbine Muguruza (to be cont'd...)
PERSONALITY PLUS, always: Jelena Jankovic & Andrea Petkovic
SUMMER OF BRENGLE SITE, 2015: Australia
BEST VICTORY MOMENT: Serena Williams
When victory is sweet pic.twitter.com/0HucG8GQFG— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 12, 2015
MOST EASILY RECOGNIZED WINNERS & LOSERS (w/o a scoreboard): Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (not Camila Giorgi) and Margarita Gasparyan (not Patricia Maria Tig)
BEST PEOPLE'S TIMEA INTERVIEW:
BEST PEOPLE'S TIMEA ON-COURT WARDROBE CHANGE WITHOUT A MALFUNCTION:
BEST ON-COURT INTERACTION: Kristina Mladenovic
Learning not to laugh at a player for celebrating a point too early like pic.twitter.com/MJDFys1qHS— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) August 19, 2015
BEST PLAYER "SURPRISE/SHOCK/TA-DA!" FACES: Elina Svitolina, Madison Keys and Carina Witthoeft
When your friends are making plans without you and you're like pic.twitter.com/hueC7S9lEO— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 9, 2015
BEST (abbreviated) RETURN: Serena in Indian Wells
BEST ADVICE FOR THE FUTURE TENNIS LIFE OF SIMONA HALEP:
WORST BET LOST TO KIKI MLADENOVIC: Belinda Bencic (lesson learned)
MOST INTRIGUING NEWLY HIGH PROFILE MATCH-UP: Muguruza vs. Kvitova
STILL INTRIGUING LONG-TIME HIGH PROFILE MATCH-UP: Serena vs. Venus
BEST NEW TENNIS SIGHT, 2015: the copper-covered roof on Margaret Court Arena
CREEPIEST COUCH/STRANGEST SOFA: Flavia Pennetta
FACES IN THE CROWD: Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Francesca Schiavone, & Magda "Hey, Does This Count?" Linette
Ieri pomeriggio ci siamo divertiti pic.twitter.com/KpTGudsfjf— Francesca Schiavone (@Schiavone_Fra) May 13, 2015
"Racquets, I can handle, but this...?" Magda Linette celebrates with a ball-kid selfie after making the Tokyo semis pic.twitter.com/QNXZif4qM4— TennisTV (@TennisTV) September 18, 2015
BEST GAP: Kristina Mladenovic
*BACKSPIN ACADEMY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS*
The Academy has truly embraced the performing arts. Once again, our plucky performers tirelessly worked to entertain the student body and faculty throughout the term.
Our small productions have grown into true EVENTS over the last few years, going from one-time performances to long-running hits starring members of our beloved campus community. The (yet again) newly-named Li Na Theatre was booked with plays, musicals and other performances from the first to the last week of the term. Our season ticket purchases increased 300% over the last year, allowing us the budget to further deepen our reach into the artistic bloodline of a very talented campus.
Our fledgling technical production team even set up a recording studio this summer. We dropped our very first limited release CD album right before the holidays!
Of course, our heart and soul is and will always be our original plays and musicals. It was where we first dipped our proverbial toe into the performance waters a few years ago when we greatly expanded our arts curriculum, and it still brings us the most joy and pride. The very first star to be born on the Academy's stage was Ms. Wozniacki, and her long-running (save for one term) "Many Faces of Caroline" production returned in 2015 for yet another fabulous run. Or at least it started out that way. A play that was at one time a fun flight of fancy before transforming into a RomCom, then changing pace a year ago and adding some intense action scenes into the mix (oh, how the Academy audiences were thrilled by the unexpected turn!), once again zigged when we all thought it would zag in its latest incarnation.
While the new production had its crowd-pleasing lighter moments, the reviews were somewhat mixed as its central storyline took a somewhat darker turn. Our star's year wasn't quite as successful as she and we had hoped it would be, and that played out on the stage.
And, yet, it was still another mostly enjoyable turn from the Dane, and surely allows the versatile Ms. Wozniacki the opportunity to possibly surprise us yet again in the new term. Once more, we are all positioned on the edge of our seats in anticipation.
There was some hope that the short-run "The Many Faces of Vika" would return from its one-year sabbatical during the last term. While there were persistent rumors of a revival, and the star of the production was often seen practicing her big stage moves, a full-blown production never materialized. Nevertheless, we continue to hope that it will return in the near future.
Of course, out schedule includes a consistent stream of "short-run" or preview shows, some more successful than others.
Some were highly anticipated, but either quickly lost their original steam, or failed to grip the audience as everyone had hoped.
No one is perfect.
We'll be on the look-out for new and terrific ideas to grace our stage in the future, but we're just tickled pink, red and white to announce now that we'll have Caro -- and all her faces -- back in 2016. We're happy to announce the show is already booked for another year-long run!
Last but not least, we were all thrilled to see the construction of the new Sugarpova Cinema 10 -- naturally, donated by one of our most successful students -- completed in record time. The queues are consistently around the corner on the weekends as we go en masse to be entertained by the images flickering on the big, supersized IMAX screen, or in the smaller more intimate viewing rooms reserved for special occasions. Our favorite attraction in the complex? A brand-spanking-new Cheesecake Factory! (And, of course, FREE Sugarpova at the snack bars!)
The new venue at which to display -- show off? -- their moviemaking skills led to a series of student-produced films making their celebrated debuts on campus this term. A sampling of some of our biggest hits:
And, of course...
Hey, we have to make a little money, too! (Plus, some of our professors have fleeting memories of heading out to a drive-in movie lot to view the original "Star Wars" as a mere tot back "in the day.")
And, thus, we arrive at the end of yet another year, as soon our thoughts will drift to the ideas and notions that will shape the NEXT twelve months.
So much can change over the course of a year. Consider, twelve months ago Garbine Muguruza was a well-regarded student on the Academy grounds, but no STAR pupil. Not yet.
¡¡Recargando las pilas!! -- Recharging my batteries!! pic.twitter.com/CRax7fiptH— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) January 29, 2015
She'd shown flashes that had caused many of her professors to whisper of her potential. "If she could only harness her skills and focus her mind... she might just be the one to beat," it was heard, behind closed doors, in the presence of those in the know.
As the year ends, Garbi has climbed over at least one prominant "star" honor roll student who seemed destined for greatness -- soon -- at this time twelve months ago. Now it is the Spaniard who has the attention of all on campus, as we cross our fingers that all her dreams can indeed come true without any sort of set back or inner turmoil. For as she peers into her immediate future, her grin matches our own.
We hope both will be able to say the same at this time next year.
Now, we deliver the results of the student-submitted ideas for how to close out this year's yearbook. We've been delving into the submissions in recent days, and these are our finalists...
From Ms. Diatchenko, a classic pose.
From Ms. Hantuchova. When it doubt, hug a big tennis ball.
From our co-Vice Presidents (and short-term acting Presidents).
And from our very generous student/benefactor:
But, of course, we all knew who was going to win before we looked at even a single submission. Because, you know, Aga wins ALL these types of contests. Why alter the course of history now?
Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Aga, is that you, or...? Cound it be The...? Naaah.