What Becomes a Backspin (Semi) MVP Most?
We've gotten to the point where we can see the 2016 season's finish line from here. So, it's time to define what "most valuable" has meant around these parts over all these many months.
Yes, "recapping days" continues with the arrival of the moment when I piece together this space's fifth annual listing of the people, personalities, scenarios, hopes, dreams, Hall of Famers, quests for freedom, notable attire and even foreshadowing celebration partners (you'll see) that provided me with a "helping hand" in shaping this season's shenanigans. Some may not necessarily have been THE stories of the year -- in fact, some may have never risen above "subtext level" -- but they surely struck this Backspinner's fancy at some point. And that's enough.
Cat on the loose! ?? ?? pic.twitter.com/teFmr8CNJM— WTA (@WTA) February 24, 2016
80. Katerina Stewart - from USTA "Playoff" runner-up to Army Cadet
79. The thrill of (Ekaterina Alexandrova) victory
78. Flavia's victory lap
77. That Anna Blinkova interview
76. Li Na: Tournament Host par excellence
75. Goodbye, Nicole Vaidisova (and this time we mean it)
74. CoCo Vandeweghe -- when part of you wants to like her, but an even bigger part just can't quite get there
73. Marija Cicak
Marija Cicak laying down the law: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, IN THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT, please support both teams in a nicely manner.'— Lucy Sophia (@lucysophiaj) August 8, 2016
cicak for mvp
72. Alize Lim's "shorteralls"
71. The zebras of Paris
Roland Garros 2016 or the year of the zebra pic.twitter.com/Acd1FNYaQt— Alirio Escalona (@alirioescalona) June 2, 2016
70. China (and Peng Shuai), finally, in the post-Li era
An ode to Peng Shuai and her "DiCaprio moment" -- the feel-good story that tennis desperately needed this season: https://t.co/TZZXcFVLdD— The Tennis Island (@thetennisisland) October 17, 2016
69. When the tour's best trophy loses its character...
68. The Dashas (a prelude to 2017)
67. Lemonade (but not Ice-T)
66. The Hall of Famer's Twitter Account of Which We Do Not Speak
65. Like a
64. The Young Ukrainians (aka the WTA's new ska band): Dayana Yastremska, Katarina Zavatska and Anastasia Zarytska
63. The USTA vs. Genie Bouchard... still
62. Tatjana Maria's lawsuit threats
Cornet probably not on Maria's Christmas Card list anymore after today's match. pic.twitter.com/rO6HLEzTxJ— The Tennis Island (@thetennisisland) May 26, 2016
61. The Pantuckovas... the OTHER Czech sisters
60. When Week 1 does indeed plot out many of the storylines of the season
RISERS: Sloane Stephens (tied for tour lead w/ three titles) and Dasha Gavrilova (two weeks later, the AO's "big story")
VETERANS: Aga Radwanska (wins title in Asia; now tied for tour lead w/ three titles) and Angelique Kerber (two slams & new #1)
FRESH FACE: Daria Kasatkina (now highest-ranked teenager)
DOWN: Ana Ivanovic (who dat?)
ITF PLAYER: Viktoriya Golubic (future Fed Cup star and tour title-winner)
Meanwhile, the Tennis Gods mischievously foreshadowed "the near future" for one player...
Oh, and this happened, too...
When ??'s about to hit the fan pic.twitter.com/SwG2noKFHC— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) January 6, 2016
59. The Arthur Ashe Stadium roof
And the countdown begins for the next USTA good idea to come to fruition... in approximately 2036. Isn't that right, USTA "surely-future-President-in-Waiting" Michael Cohen...?
"Says who?" Donald Trump aide Michael Cohen questions polls that show the businessman trailing Hillary Clinton https://t.co/Ri6l5akJEC— CNN (@CNN) August 17, 2016
58. To be continued in 2017 (for better or worse)
57. A sudden star in her early spring
FED CUP ZONES— Diane Elayne Dees (@WomenWhoServe) April 17, 2016
The Asia/Oceana Zone
The Europe/Africa Zone
The Golubic Zone
56. Yulia Putintseva
55. The Second Queens of Mexico (after an acceptance of the voting results, and a peaceful transition of power from the Bacsinszky administration)
54. Sveta - outliving the Kuznetsova Curse
53. Jordanne Whiley's voice
52. Non-Williams Bannerettes learn to crack eggs
50. A Belgian Barbie on Hall of Fame induction eve
49. Still the answer to so many questions...
48. The remaining members of the Italian Quartet's final victories?
47. Introducing Naomi Osaka
46. The Serbs. One seemingly almost set to be forgotten, but the other not yet ready to go down without a fight
45. Potapova, Yastremska and the Match That Wouldn't End
44. Pliskova #2
43. Roland Garros Radio - always as brilliant as it wanted to be
Biscuits, cookies... cookies, biscuits...
42. Suzanne "La Divine" Lenglen: Day-by-Day at Roland Garros
41. Backspin's favorite little Latvian menace, whose snarl can be felt from across the plains (in a loving, I-think-I'm-gonna-like-her sort of way... honest, Jelena... really, I promise)
?? Jelena Ostapenko's syntax from conversation with her coach during the changeover of Kasatkina match. Priceless ?? pic.twitter.com/RPVHhBMVlN— Eustace (@EustaceTarwater) June 22, 2016
And when a Ostapenko and a Putintseva meet... well, just stand back.
Highlight of the match. pic.twitter.com/nBhvOXb2dd— Steven Mills (@StevenMtennis) October 1, 2016
40. Belinda's (almost) lost year
When you spent too much time watching the St. Petersburg cheerleaders https://t.co/0hibnFhD98— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) February 12, 2016
When you know you're gonna be on WTAreactions pic.twitter.com/vA6Lm1cPBH— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) February 13, 2016
39. The Dutch Fed Cup Team
38. Jiske Griffioen
37. The Dynamic Duo (aka "Team Bucie")
36. Bud Collins, rest in peace (and colorful trousers)
35. Sloane: Current, Future... or somewhere in between
It's only right to live a trophy life ?? pic.twitter.com/zjU4nhbwkC— Sloane Stephens (@SloaneStephens) February 28, 2016
34. The Bracelet!
33. In this day and age, you must...
32. Garbine Muguruza & Sam Sumyk, Step 1 (but to what?)
telenovela de tenis https://t.co/b4XfPYeEqM— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) February 25, 2016
31. The Wimbledon Rad Threat Level Chart (2016)
30. Barbora Strycova's ankle
29. Ana Konjuh's ankle
28. A newbie -- Konta, Bertens, Vesnina & Pliskova -- for every slam semifinals
27. MJF - from incompetent to competent and out the back door in eight months in 2016, her eight-year "legacy" secure.
Ah, but eight years of "service" is not not eight years of "success." Some of us won't forget... even
25. Caro does SI, again
24. Wozniology-101... class is back in session
23. Blame it on "Rio"
Big shout out to my baby "Rio" who is celebrating with some bubbly tonight!!! See you soon lovey! ?????? pic.twitter.com/DYJ7v7oArv— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) August 14, 2016
22. The NextGen make their presence known
21. The French Pastries & the Czech Maidens
20. Oh, Schmiedy...
Schmiedlova has had better days. R2 was the end of the road in Versmold... pic.twitter.com/zqvbyYa3or— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) July 7, 2016
FIFTEEN straight R1 losses for Schmiedlova, this one coming from a MP up. Truly tragic to watch...— Phil (@phil4321566) July 11, 2016
Quite an achievement from Schmiedlova losing two matches from MP up the same week.— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) August 19, 2016
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova drops to WTA 150th this week....... going to be struggling to get into Grand Slam qualifying soon!— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) October 3, 2016
"We beseech the tennis gods...."— Diane Elayne Dees (@WomenWhoServe) March 24, 2016
"Fix Schmiedy!" pic.twitter.com/0d9T4zbc5S
19. "When you love the game it's easy to give everything, every time." - Venus Williams
Fave video of all time ?? pic.twitter.com/k4kf58XVSO— fairly ugly carpet (@atpwtalove) August 14, 2016
18. Serena - when what would be a "career year" for most is a frustrating, mostly forgettable (save for SW19) campaign for a 22-time major champ
17. Sania, Martina and the doubles "palace intrique"
16. ESPN's overflowing Basket of Deplorables
15. Good Petra, Bad Petra, and all points in between
14. The Queens of Clay (and Fed Cup)
13. "The Dasha Show"
11. Angelique Kerber, from one foot on the plane back to Germay (in Melbourne) to #1 in the world (in New York)
MAGIC from Radwanska ?????????? pic.twitter.com/hXoZPhBGqm— OurNumberOneRF?? (@Mikno78) July 2, 2016
9. WADA, ITF, CAS... WTF?
8. When everything gets dragged out into the open, like roadkill rotting beside the highway
Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore's remarks this morning not likely to delight the WTA, its players, or fans: pic.twitter.com/56zSV0SK2X— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 20, 2016
7. Pliskovian Faith
6. Vika, while she lasted...
I have some news for you all ?? pic.twitter.com/64Kf90tZF6— victoria azarenka (@vika7) July 15, 2016
...and until she returns.
5. In lieu of Sharapova, send Instagram and Twitter
Hey Barcelona!! pic.twitter.com/U9fSPq8La7— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) July 11, 2016
4. Read it and weep...
3. "La Petit Taureau" Week, to Newport, Svitolina, infinity and beyond
@ International Tennis Hall of Fame ;-)— Justine Henin (@Justine_Henin) July 16, 2016
2. Free Maria
1. Halep and "The Cliffs of Simona"
**Past "BACKSPIN MVP" Top 3's**
1st - "The Radwanska"
2nd - Victoria Azarenka
3rd - "Carl & Carla"
[All-Time Backspin MVP List]
1st - Kim Clijsters
2nd - Justine Henin
3rd - Jelena Jankovic
1st - Serena Williams & Vika Azarenka
2nd - "The Radwanska"
3rd - "Citizen Anna"
1st - Team Genie and/vs. Team Sloane
2nd - 2004 Revisited (Russian Revolution)
3rd - Captain/Coach Amelie Mauresmo
1st - "Being Simona Halep"
2nd - Maria Sharapova's Instagram account
3rd - "The (Almost) Grand Slam" (Serena Williams)
All for now.