Friday, October 21, 2016

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.

HM- When you hear the Abominable GOP Nominee is in the stadium...


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80. Katerina Stewart - from USTA "Playoff" runner-up to Army Cadet

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79. The thrill of (Ekaterina Alexandrova) victory


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78. Flavia's victory lap


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77. That Anna Blinkova interview

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76. Li Na: Tournament Host par excellence

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75. Goodbye, Nicole Vaidisova (and this time we mean it)


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74. CoCo Vandeweghe -- when part of you wants to like her, but an even bigger part just can't quite get there

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73. Marija Cicak



cicak for mvp


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72. Alize Lim's "shorteralls"


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71. The zebras of Paris



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70. China (and Peng Shuai), finally, in the post-Li era


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69. When the tour's best trophy loses its character...


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68. The Dashas (a prelude to 2017)

So much fun playing with this girl! Looking forward to our next tournaments together ??@kasatkina

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on


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67. Lemonade (but not Ice-T)

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66. The Hall of Famer's Twitter Account of Which We Do Not Speak

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65. Like a Russian Polish nesting doll, hatched from the tennis legacy of Aga & Ula... we get Iga


IGA SWIATEK
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64. The Young Ukrainians (aka the WTA's new ska band): Dayana Yastremska, Katarina Zavatska and Anastasia Zarytska

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63. The USTA vs. Genie Bouchard... still

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62. Tatjana Maria's lawsuit threats


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61. The Pantuckovas... the OTHER Czech sisters

My fighter for today ?? #littlesis ??????? #75in3rd #firstrounddoneforher & #iamstartingtomorrow ???? #letswork #sisters #tennis

A photo posted by Gabriela Pantucková (@gabrielapantuckova) on


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60. When Week 1 does indeed plot out many of the storylines of the season

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Victoria Azarenka (two months later, she'd win Indian Wells & Miami)
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...


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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...?


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58. To be continued in 2017 (for better or worse)


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57. A sudden star in her early spring


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56. Yulia Putintseva


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55. The Second Queens of Mexico (after an acceptance of the voting results, and a peaceful transition of power from the Bacsinszky administration)


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54. Sveta - outliving the Kuznetsova Curse

Who is Svetlana??? @tianjingopen

A photo posted by ???????? ?????????/Kuznetsova (@svetlanak27) on


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53. Jordanne Whiley's voice

Opening xfactor night with my song ??

A video posted by Jordanne Whiley (@jordanne_joyce) on


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52. Non-Williams Bannerettes learn to crack eggs


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51. B-U-Y-U-K-A-K-C-A-Y


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50. A Belgian Barbie on Hall of Fame induction eve


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49. Still the answer to so many questions...

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48. The remaining members of the Italian Quartet's final victories?


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47. Introducing Naomi Osaka


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46. The Serbs. One seemingly almost set to be forgotten, but the other not yet ready to go down without a fight



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45. Potapova, Yastremska and the Match That Wouldn't End



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44. Pliskova #2

A bit unhappy face but inside happyyy?????? #first

A photo posted by Kristyna Pliskova (@kristynapliskova) on


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43. Roland Garros Radio - always as brilliant as it wanted to be




Biscuits, cookies... cookies, biscuits...
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42. Suzanne "La Divine" Lenglen: Day-by-Day at Roland Garros




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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)




And when a Ostapenko and a Putintseva meet... well, just stand back.


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40. Belinda's (almost) lost year



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39. The Dutch Fed Cup Team


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38. Jiske Griffioen


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37. The Dynamic Duo (aka "Team Bucie")


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36. Bud Collins, rest in peace (and colorful trousers)

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35. Sloane: Current, Future... or somewhere in between


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34. The Bracelet!

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33. In this day and age, you must...

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32. Garbine Muguruza & Sam Sumyk, Step 1 (but to what?)


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31. The Wimbledon Rad Threat Level Chart (2016)


Ever vigilant.
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30. Barbora Strycova's ankle

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29. Ana Konjuh's ankle


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28. A newbie -- Konta, Bertens, Vesnina & Pliskova -- for every slam semifinals

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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 if when the F.O.B.'s (Friends of Mary Joe) try to rewrite history on the matter.



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26. Gibbsy



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25. Caro does SI, again


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24. Wozniology-101... class is back in session


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23. Blame it on "Rio"



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22. The NextGen make their presence known

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21. The French Pastries & the Czech Maidens


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20. Oh, Schmiedy...






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19. "When you love the game it's easy to give everything, every time." - Venus Williams



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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



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17. Sania, Martina and the doubles "palace intrique"



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16. ESPN's overflowing Basket of Deplorables
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15. Good Petra, Bad Petra, and all points in between


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14. The Queens of Clay (and Fed Cup)



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13. "The Dasha Show"




Weightlifting career? ??

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on


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12. SimonaShortz!

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11. Angelique Kerber, from one foot on the plane back to Germay (in Melbourne) to #1 in the world (in New York)



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10. Aga




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9. WADA, ITF, CAS... WTF?

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8. When everything gets dragged out into the open, like roadkill rotting beside the highway


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7. Pliskovian Faith

A photo posted by US Open (@usopen) on


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6. Vika, while she lasted...




...and until she returns.
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5. In lieu of Sharapova, send Instagram and Twitter

Photo Booths, they never go out of style. This was one I can share from that fun night at Boca Grande ??

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on



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4. Read it and weep...

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3. "La Petit Taureau" Week, to Newport, Svitolina, infinity and beyond









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2. Free Maria


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1. Halep and "The Cliffs of Simona"



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**Past "BACKSPIN MVP" Top 3's**
[2012]
1st - "The Radwanska"
2nd - Victoria Azarenka
3rd - "Carl & Carla"
[All-Time Backspin MVP List]
1st - Kim Clijsters
2nd - Justine Henin
3rd - Jelena Jankovic
[2013]
1st - Serena Williams & Vika Azarenka
2nd - "The Radwanska"
3rd - "Citizen Anna"
[2014]
1st - Team Genie and/vs. Team Sloane
2nd - 2004 Revisited (Russian Revolution)
3rd - Captain/Coach Amelie Mauresmo
[2015]
1st - "Being Simona Halep"
2nd - Maria Sharapova's Instagram account
3rd - "The (Almost) Grand Slam" (Serena Williams)













All for now.

3 Comments:

Blogger colt13 said...

Love the Blinkova interview.

Well, Kuznetsova has made this interesting. Either Konta becomes the first woman from Great Britain since 1984 to play the YEC, or Kuznetsova keeps the streak of having a Russian qualifying every year since 2003-Sharapova did in 2013, but didn't play.

Fri Oct 21, 04:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I liked how Blinkova seemed to really consider whether or not it was the best day of her life, and honestly concluded that, yes, it was. That was months ago, of course, but it was great to see her have her first tour-level success this week in Moscow (though it ended with an injury).

Fri Oct 21, 05:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Nice to see how effective a game of slice can be - great match of Monica Niculescu. Impressive brickwall today. Impressive 1st serve of 86%. Well deserved win over Petra (Oh Petra played actually quite well).

Sat Oct 22, 11:24:00 AM EDT  

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