Sunday, December 03, 2017

2017 WTA Yearbook

As the latest term comes to its natural end, we here at Backspin Academy choose to send our students, benefactors and emotional supporters back out into the world with something for them to savor and hold dear as they remember their campus experiences from the past year.

And that time has come once again.

Our Beloved Backspin Academy

Of course, due to the well-known-by-now oddities in the BSA election process, this year we were forced to suspend the usual election year festivities, rallies and, ultimately, results. So, for as long as they wish, *last* year's office holders will continue to "unofficially" maintain their status until further notice. Everyone affected are to be assured that all relevant documents will continue to be stored in the Navratilova Hall of Records along with the rest of the Academy's historical evidence.


But, have no worries. 2017, as viewed from a coveted seat on the rooftop of Henin Hall, was still a rather lively year. Luckily for us, the BSA School for the Performing Arts has stepped up, along with our top sponsor, to fully commit the time, effort and funds necessary for the production of our annual Yearbook, as well as this December's three-day Festival of Ideas weekend. The notable works of some of the most talented members of the campus community will be exclusively honored in this year's keepsake, along with a rundown of the schedule for our well-regarded "Carl TALKS" lecture series which will be a key part of the festival alongside our new, star-studded BSA creative arts showcase featuring all varieties of student-produced films and plays.


As always, we're very proud of our student body and faculty, even if some of them disappoint us on occasion. The BSA environment is one that embraces sincere attempts at redemption, and our arms are always open to reconciliation with even some of the more wayward members of the community. But even if such evolution never becomes a reality, we are committed to finding alternate ways to coexist. The BSA campus is a large one, and there is room for everyone, for we never lose hope.

So, away we go...

First off, we'd like to thank the BSA Bookstore (now with a redesigned website!) for its support and sponsorship of this year's Yearbook.

The shelves and storerooms are stocked with all sorts of items that can fill an urgent need, or maybe even inspire a new one. If you get the chance when you're on campus, drop by and have a look (you never know which familiar-faced student might be working behind the register!).

Here's a quick look at some of the bestselling items...

Students and visitors alike love our specialty t-shirts, which we wear proudly all over campus (and sometimes even abroad!)...

A few of our current and former students became authors over the past year, and anyone can obtain their work in the bookstore. Meanwhile, another of our more versatile students had a particularly brilliant idea to utilize her photography to produce a coffee table book about drinking coffee at various tables around the world. Our award-winning children's series offered up two new titles in 2017. Additionally, we've been forced by a scurrilous lawsuit to stock the controversial book penned by the head of the French tennis federation, but only in the French-language text version (though we *do* have one particular student who is willing, for a fee, to read the book aloud for any purchaser in one of the 27 or so languages she claims to speak). We look at these terms as a "win," as the original lawsuit attempted to force *all* visitors to buy a copy, or else forfeit the opportunity to buy any bookstore item ever again.

Our top student this year has seen all sorts of sights, often from rather dangerous -- but beautiful -- positions. Someone suggested that the views might work rather well in puzzle form and... voila!

All sorts of things occur in the lives of our students, both on campus and off. The BSA Bookstore is the one-stop shop for all their needs. And for those of you with a yen for collecting memorable (and rare) items, we stock *all* the campaign buttons for this year's Student Council President election race that never took place. Get yours while supplies last.

We delight in offering some choice, personally-designed items meant as keepsakes for some of our more popular students' friends, family, fans and otherwise. The Bookstore tries to meet every need, however specialized...

As usual, our students are much in demand around the world. Apparently, just the appearance of *one* of them on a magazine cover is often seen as an exceptional editorial choice. Naturally, the bookstore stocks as many as our shelves will allow (talk to us if you want to special order a copy of something we don't carry)...

Over the years, we've come to expect our creative students to document their lives through music...

From classic toys to posters commemorating classic past events, the Bookstore on Dokic Drive strives to stock at least one item that will tickle the fancy of *every* visitor...

And, of course, we'd be remiss to not acknowledge with heartfelt anguish the passing of one of our favorite individuals, and an Academy presence for years. Jana Novotna left us recently, but her will, smile, humanity and good natured personality will never be forgotten. There are reminders of her all over grounds, from the longtime Novotna Nook in the library on the East Campus to the newly-constructed HanaJana Center on the West, as well as in the song that persists in all our ears when we think about the last time we saw her. We will offer a remembrance poster as a free gift to all shoppers, and 25% of all Bookstore profits will be donated to her favorite charity for as long as we breathe the crisp campus air. RIP, Jana.

Our students and visitors always tell us that they truly enjoy our award-winning "Carl TALKS" lecture series, affectionately named after the most unique personality on campus (well, technically, he lives with his STILL growing family -- no, Carla isn't pregnant again, but the couple has taken in Carl's troubled nephew Pete -- in a comfy cave just off the Academy grounds).


Here's a preliminary look at the jam-packed schedule for the HanaJana Center during BSA's three-day Festival of Ideas this December. We're excited to announce that Venus Williams will be serving as our Mistress of ceremonies!

"POJD!" - Petra Kvitova
"Applying the Art of Decoupage to a Tennis Career" - Elina (Patience is My Co-Pilot) Svitolina
"I'm Back" - Victoria Azarenka [POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE]
"I Don't Care What People Think Anymore" - Caroline Garcia
"Do You Know What I Did Last Summer?" - Sloane Stephens
"Third Time's the Charm" - Martina Hingis
"Do You Know My Mommy?" - Alexis Olympia

"Is it an athlete's job to inspire? Inherently what I think athletes do at a top level inspires people, but each person takes that responsibility differently." - Venus Williams

"Making Everything Bad Suddenly Okay" - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
"How to Insult Friends and Inspire Unprincipled Unpleasantness in People" - Kristina Mladenovic
"The Fine Art of Bannerette Whispering" - Kathy Rinaldi (with an "Introduction to Pastry Whispering" from Amelie Mauresmo)
"It's a Yes" - Casey Dellacqua
"Smiling Through the Pain, Eventually" - Bethanie Mattek-Sands
"You May Not Know Me... but I'm pretty awesome." - Aliaksandra Sasnovich

"I'm Just Glad To Be Here (but winning is heaps cool, too)" - Ash Barty
"French Tennis Fascism for Dummies" - Bernard Giudicelli
"Clay, Me & My Knee: A Rewarding and Ultimately Crazy Journey" - Laura Siegemund
"Bueller... Bueller... yes, you in the back -- [INSERT APPROPRIATE NAME ON DAY OF TALK]" - Sascha Bajin
"I'll Accept Playing Second Fiddle, But That Doesn't Mean I Don't Get to Solo on Occasion" - Anastasija Sevastova

"What I will say about sport, I think why people love sport so much, is because you see everything in a line. In that moment there is no do-over, there's no retake, there is no voice-over. It's triumph and disaster witnessed in real-time. This is why people live and die for sport, because you can't fake it. You can't. It's either you do it or you don't." - Venus Williams

"When the Toughest Year is the Best Year" - Simona Halep
"Enjoying the Game in a Way That it Hurts" - Barbora Strycova
"It's Not You, It's Me (but I'm still moving on)" - Angelique Kerber
"It Wasn't You, It was Me (and dad)" - Caroline Wozniacki
"It Wasn't You, It was Me (I think), So We're Still Good" - Garbine Muguruza (w/ follow-up Q&A with Sam Sumyk)
"Leave the Racket, Take the Tortellini" - Sara Errani

"I Wanted to Be a Maria, But Now I'll Settle for Being a Harkleroad" - Genie Bouchard (w/ a follow-up chat by Ashley Harkleroad: "Leave Me Out of It")
"When A Sister Understands: Taking Advantage of the Opportunity of a Tennis Lifetime" - Chan Yung-Jan
"Dealing with Future Expectations That Will Now Scrape the Sky (and don't call Me "Jelena" -- that's my mom), Pt.1" - Alona Ostapenko (w/ Pt.2 coming in 2018)
"#MeToo" - Anne Keothavong (w/ Johanna Konta) [online chat]
"Nighttime is the Right Time for Fighting" - Madison Keys
"Having Your Historical Imprint Systematically Removed From the Public Record By Your Successor" - Mary Joe Fernandez (w/ an introductory primer by Barack Obama)
"Are You Ready For Me?" - Aryna Sabalenka
"What She Said" - Serena Williams
"Preventative Medicine, Smart Body Management Recuperation & Recovery, & You" - Sabine Lisicki
"Across How Many Decades Are Shadows Cast?" - Beatriz Haddad Maia
"I"m Not Sure Why I'm Here (I think someone just wants to announce my name)" - Eliessa Vanlangendonck
"Remembering Jana" - a tribute by Martina Navratilova

"People relate to the champion. They also relate to the person also who didn't win because we all have those moments in our life." - Venus Williams

"POJD! (closing statement)" - Petra Kvitova

Since its founding a short while ago, the works produced in association with the Backspin Academy Center for the Performing Arts have seemingly grown exponentially in both quantity and quality. We're positively bursting at the seams with pride and a desire for the vast array of talent on campus to be recognized and celebrated. This winter's Festival of Ideas will allow the entire campus community, as well as the general public, to experience the breadth and scope of our students' creativity in one big three-day gulp. A select number of live plays and films will be featured throughout the weekend, for 24 hours around the clock (be sure to catch all the 5 a.m. performances -- you won't regret it, as everyone will be served breakfast in their seats immediately after the final curtain!), followed by a red carpet affair which will precede the opening of our very first, star-studded presentation.

[HINT: click on images for inspirations]

Our original plays and musicals will be performed at the fabulous JJ Center for Dramatic Arts, on the stage of the glorious Li Na Theatre...


For some, nothing beats the heart-pounding excitement of a live performance, and the festival caters to such tastes. Naturally, there will be *many* opportunities to bask in the thrill-of-the-moment throughout the upcoming three-day celebration...

Meanwhile, our film and television festival will once again take place at the high-tech and oh-so-comfortable Sugarpova Cineplex...

This year, we're pleased to include a production from our remote all-male academy...

Meanwhile, our top G.P.A. student was busy over the past year, appearing as the lead in *two* different -- very different, in fact -- films...

A young lady from Latvia took the campus by storm in 2017, quickly becoming a BSA favorite. Naturally, everyone wanted her to appear in their latest production in order to "hop on the Alona train." She jumped at her many new opportunities, developing a keen eye for the sorts of roles that will appeal to herself as well as her new fans...

Meanwhile, our award-winning top Spanish student went a more classic route...

After years of starring in the long-running "Many Faces of Caro" production, our resident Dane made the leap to the big screen this year...

The Czech contingent at the Academy have always been at the forefront of the campus goings-on. This year was no different, as both heartwarming and edgy films appeared with Maidens as their stars...

Our sole Siberian-born student/benefactor jumped at the chance to put a whole new spin on a timeless classic. It's been called "a delightful, sometimes bawdy, romp"..

The process is *always* important for our top Ukrainian student, and she finally decided to sign up for a BSA production in 2017, quite simply, because she felt "the time was right." We can't wait to see what she'll do NEXT year.

Antagonists have always played important roles in film, often with certain performers developing a knack for the perfect portrayal of a "type" that doesn't generally go down as the story's "hero." But when you play the "black hat" so well...

And, with superhero movies all the rage, you knew it *had* to happen...

In a late edition, we've added the premiere of the recently-rediscovered, long-awaited production that's been withheld from public view for too long (after first being announced in our year-end rundown a few years ago)...

[original 2014 poster]

As far as the television production part of the festival...

Good news! We're proud to announce that our award-winning "Better Call Bencic" series will return in 2018 with an all new, much-anticipated season after a longer-than-we'd-wished-for production hiatus.

The big three-day weekend will also see the much-anticipated debut of all new episodes of some of our *other* most-beloved series, including a well-known show *now* with a whole new star...

And *the* show that everyone is always talking about the day after a new episode airs is *finally* producing new material...

Of course, the BSA arts community does not discriminate. Student-produced works, art house fare and mainstream big budget international productions are given equal time throughout the year on the screens of the Sugarpova Cineplex. For those who wish to take a break from our exclusive productions to enjoy a few hours of Hollywood-style fun in a different setting, there will be fine additional entertainment choices.

We truly hope our first (of many?) Festival of Ideas will leave everyone satisfied, as well as with an appetite whetted for still more in 2018.

And, finally, we're always striving to broaden the experiences of everyone who graces the BSA campus. This year we even introduced a Remote Tour Guide Series featuring one of our most unique students. It was quite the hit!

When Petko goes to an art museum, every masterpiece is fair game...

And, thus, we arrive at the end of yet another year, as soon our thoughts will be overtaken by the ideas and notions that will shape the NEXT twelve months.

Who will reclaim a leading role on campus, or further grow their current influence? With the slate clean, everyone's grade point average will once again be 0.0 as 2018 begins, after all. Who will break out of the pack and become a new star? Someone will, of that we can be certain. One year from now, we will know all. Today, though, we are a-sea in the darkness.


If we knew the answers ahead of time, we'd miss out on all the fun.


Blogger Diane said...

Brilliant! Especially the Maria entries, which are totally inspired. “Quiet Intersections” had me almost falling off of the sofa (Yoko Ono could probably do something wicked with “Fairly Ugly Carpet”). And the bookstore is wonderful. (I would buy that bracelet.)

I don’t know how you do it, Todd, but I’m glad that you do :)

Mon Dec 04, 08:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks, D. It took some time, but it was a bit less harried an experience with the somewhat more streamlined format. ;)

My personal favorites, I think, are the Venus/Wonder Woman poster, as well as the Sharapova/Roman Holiday2 one, which came out with a particularly clean look.

Mon Dec 04, 11:24:00 PM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

Yeah, those are great. And the Pliskova poster :D

Tue Dec 05, 12:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

I think this shows that you, and some other Twitter users, know how to market the sport better than the WTA. More grousing about that after Todd's next post, which is hopefully soon,hint, hint.

Shows great creativity.

Sun Dec 10, 02:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Michael Joyce has joined Konta. The biggest thing in the UK since The Nolan Sisters. Too dated? Well, they were around when Wade won Wimbledon, so maybe Girls Aloud might be better, especially since Konta is looking for 'Something New." Because of the way last season ended, I assume that she wants to finish strong and will play better at the end of the year, so the slam prediction would be for the end of the year. So Johanna, "Tell me what you want , what you really, really, want."

Going with the puns, to lighten this week's topic.

Stat of the Week-9- Career high ranking for Australian Karen Krantzcke.

Baker Mayfield won the Heisman and everybody knows. Petra Kvitova won the Karen Krantzcke Award and nobody knows. The WTA has a problem getting the word out.

NASCAR has the Most Popular Driver award. Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have won the award 31 times, and since Earnhardt just retired, next year's winner will be the first since 1991 to be neither of those.

Since Kvitova won, you probably assume that the award is about perseverance, but it is officially the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award. And since 2000, they have been similar to NASCAR. If Petra is the Serena here, winning it for the 6th time, 5th consecutive, then Clijsters is Court, having won it 8 times. The others since 2000 are.....your trivia question.

Krantzcke doesn't belong in the Seles/Connolly wing of what if, but the Petrova one. Remember when Petrova led the tour in wins, then looked like a favorite for a slam? Karen's career arc is similar.

Krantzcke helped the Aussies win Fed Cup in 1970 with Judy Dalton. Dalton needs to be talked about, and if you think I am ignoring Krantzcke's story, that is sort of how her career went. Overshadowed by Court and Dalton at the start, and Goolagong at the end, she was never the Aussie #1.

Dalton deserves notice too, because along with King, she was the most vocal of the Original Nine. Ironically, she was the one who took advantage of it the least. You could argue Kristy Piegon-but she was a 20 yr old that didn't pan out, Dalton was already 33, the oldest of the group, and after playing 32 slams from 62-70, only played in 9 from 71-77, culminating in a QF run at the AO in 1977 as a 40 yr old.

Dalton's singles career is similar to Radwanska. Like Aga, she reached a Wimbledon final, and couldn't get past the QF at the USO. But she won 8 doubles slams, 5 w/Court, and helped pave the way.

Starting from the 1969 USO, Karen went QF-SF-SF-QF, at the next 4, being seeded 7th at Wimbledon. Then became sick and missed the USO and the rest of 70.

1971 brought an aborted comeback, as she reached 3 QF, plus a doubles final, but complications due to hypoglycemia shortened a season in which she missed all 4 slams.

Mon Dec 11, 10:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Part 2.

1972 brought a return 2 form, as she didn't win a singles title but reached a final, a SF and 6 QF. Then went 4-6 in doubles finals. 73 was a regression, as she went 2-7 in doubles finals, and didn't reach one in singles.

1974 brought something not seen since before her illness-a singles title-New South Wales in which she defeated Goolagong. Only 3 doubles finals 0-3, but one of those was at the Mo Connolly Brinker tourney in Dallas. Brinker had passed away a couple of years earlier, but the Dallas event holds a quirky spot in history on the singles side as every winner in their 18 year history, starting with Nancy Gunter(Richey), won a slam.

75 and 76 were mostly spent on the ITF circuit, so 1977 becomes the bittersweet season. After not being in a slam since 1974, she made a SF run at the AO, one of 2 SF runs that season. She also won doubles at the Lionel Cup-San Antonio. Billie Jean won singles there, which becomes more relevant soon.

Two weeks after her doubles win, Krantzcke died of a heart attack while jogging. That week, the Lionel Cup-New York(also listed as Port Washington) was played. Billie Jean King won, and donated 3,500 dollars to the Women's Sports Foundation Scholarship Fund in Karen's name. I guess this is where I should mention that that was her whole check-3000 for singles, and 500 for doubles. Also note that this title is not listed on Billie Jean's WTA page.

But if King is incomparable, Caroline Stoll can be compared to Vaidisova. The runner up at the Lionel Cup, she also did not take her prize money. But that was because she was ineligible as a 16 yr old amateur. 5 months later, and still 16, she lost her 2nd WTA final, to the only player that took home money that day, in King's doubles partner Renee Richards. Yes, King being inclusive even then.

Stoll turned pro, won 4 titles at 17, 1 at 18 and by the end of 1979 was 15 in the world. Due to injury or apathy, she was 43 by the end of 80, and retired by the end of 81.

It is probably that King's donation got the ball rolling, as Krantzke died in 1977, and the award has been around since 1978. In similar fashion,baseball's Cy Young died in 1955, the Cy Young Award has been around since 1956.

A worthy award for a player the WTA hasn't done enough to explain why she has one.

Quiz Time!
14 of the last 18 Krantzcke award winners have been Clijsters and Kvitova. Name 2 of the others?

Check the wording. I had to say others, because even though that encompasses 4 years, there were only 3. Dementieva won it twice, which use to be the standard. Peanut Louie among others, won it twice, but Clijsters and Kvitova are the only 2 to win more than 2. The others? Ivanovic and Davenport.

Mon Dec 11, 10:52:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

A lot of stuff I didn’t know, colt. Thanks!

Mon Dec 11, 10:54:00 AM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Diane, Thanks for the kind words, I struggled to get the right tone with this.

Mon Dec 11, 10:58:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yes, some much interesting info there, esp. about Krantzcke. It was well told, as there was indeed a bit of a shock when you came to her untimely death.

So many awards, trophies and arenas are named for people whose names become known, but their stories have been lost in the whole process. Handing out some of the awards named for such people in the relative silence of the offseason doesn't really help, either.

Of some note as far as that, a nod should be given to ESPN for the continued efforts to keep alive the legacy of Jim Valvano with the Jimmy V Week programming notes every year, and for the Courage Award (though even the good foundation of that has been co-opted for entertainment/attention purposes a bit of late) handed out in his name at the ESPYs every year. So it *can* be done, if there's a will to do it.

On the coaching changes, it's hard NOT to be super intrigued by the Osaka/Sascha pairing. Both for her, as well as for Bajin, who'll finally get to be in the lead coaching role (I suspect the whole Wozniacki ending should put an end to his settling for "co-" or "hitting partner" status in the future, as even with great success your fate is decided at the whim of not only the player, but other factors, as well).

Konta/Joyce, Kerber/Fissette and Vekic/Beltz seem noteworthy in a good way. Not so sure about Strycova/Kotyza (if this one doesn't last, he may run out of Czechs to turn to).

Ah, missed this one. I was thinking along the lines of some combination that included Mauresmo, Pierce or maybe Seles. But the actual winners aren't a surprise.

Next full post might not be until the Prediction Blowout after Xmas, though I may slip something in before then, I suppose.

Maybe by then we'll have some idea where, when or if the Stanford event gets a new home. That whole decision by the Univ. seems to be one that doesn't really do anything good for anyone, including the school itself, and has just left everyone upset.

The WTA *should* do a superhero-themed sort of promotion with the players. But I guess that's just Promotional Idea Never To Become a Reality #21 as far as the tour is concerned.

Mon Dec 11, 03:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, and I meant to add that the Elena Baltacha Foundation continues to do a good job of keeping *her* memory alive, as well. Just held their awards ceremony, in fact.

Mon Dec 11, 03:53:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, and the Courage Award is named for Arthur Ashe, not Valvano. (Knocks self upside head.)

Thu Dec 14, 01:19:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And (from a late yearbook edit):


"In a late edition, we've added the premiere of the recently-rediscovered, long-awaited production that's been withheld from public view for too long (after first being announced in our year-end rundown a few years ago)..."

Original 2014 Poster Here

Thu Dec 14, 01:47:00 PM EST  

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