It was love-all for tennis in 2009, with nuptials, hookups, and enough juicy rumors to keep us bloggers chattering like overworked yentas. Here’s a review of some of the year’s juiciest love matches.
Ana Ivanovic and her Australian golfing beau, Adam Scott, inspired this post. She’s been in Australia for over a month now to train (I hope) and cheer on Adam at two golf tournaments. Both comely stars endured slumps this year, but Ivanovic is quoted in Monday’s Herald Sun as saying it has “made us strong.”
“We both had a tough year. By coincidence it happened at the same time. But we both understand that in the career of a professional athlete there is a time when you face difficulties and things don’t go as planned.”
Don’t you feel really, really sorry for them?
Of course, just a year ago we were ogling photos of Ivanovic with stud muffin Fernando Verdasco. Things went south at the beginning of 2009 (in more ways than one) when Nando was accused of being Ana’s black widow at the Australian Open:
Q. Can you explain why you are playing so well and why Ana Ivanovic seems to have so many problems?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Good question. You know, I don’t know. I think you should ask Ana more than me about this.
I don’t think that is my fault. This is what I think, you know. If you want to know something more, I think you should ask her, no? I don’t like to speak about other persons.
Senor Fever enjoyed a nice rebound at the Indian Wells tournament in March, where rumors swirled around his friendships with Caroline Wozniacki and the actress Camilla Belle:
Maria Sharapova – who once said she’d like a “night match” with Ana’s Adam – was reportedly so head-over-heels in love with Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC Sport’s chairman and president, at the beginning of this year that Papa Yuri was stewing. Maria and Charlie called it quits sometime this summer, around the time Maria returned to tour (and hanging out with Dad, again.) Now Maria is supposedly dating LA Lakers’ star Sasha Vujacic, after the two were spotted cuddling at a U2 concert this October.
Whoops! Wrong blond!
We can’t overlook one of the great love stories of the game: Roger Federer married Mirka Vavrinec over Easter weekend in a small ceremony in Switzerland. And did you hear? Mirka gave birth to twins in July.
Check out the latest Federer family photo here.
Andy Roddick and SI swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker also wed in April. I’m guessing this photo is from their rocking BBQ post-party, but I’m not sure.
The usually hard-nosed Roddick revealed during Wimbledon just how much Brooklyn inspired him at one of the lowest points of his career. Try to read this and not say “AWWWWW!”:
Q. Back to the conversation you had with your wife at the end of last year of whether you could play or not. What side did you take and what side did she take?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a year ago here. I was probably leaning towards not really playing that well. She didn’t really know much about tennis, so she thought I was playing real great (laughter).
Q. And she convinced you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, she thought I looked cute in the shorts.
Q. You talked about your family. Roger is a married man, too. How much of a role does your family play in your success of this year?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I don’t know. I know that kind of being happy and not having any worries away from the court, in my mind it can only help things. You know, Brook has been a very calming influence, and someone that I can kind of confide in and not have to put up, you know, a super brave front in front of.
In other nuptial news, Simone Bolelli married a Uruguayan lingerie and swimsuit model named Ximena Fleitas. I think Mrs. Bolelli takes her work home with her.
Photo via hcfoo.com
Stan Wawrinka was the latest tennis star to tie the knot, marrying Swiss television presenter Ilham Vuilloud this month. Click here for photos.
Sania Mirza was engaged this summer to 23-year-old “business scholar” Sohrab (“no relation, yet”) Mirza.
Because every story about Sania’s life must include something bizarre, her engagement announcement was overshadowed by the arrest of two men who took her news way too personally. Mirza and Mirza have not yet set a date for the wedding (or have wisely decided to keep such information Top Secret.)
Rafael Nadal’s 2009 relationship news sadly centered around the disintegration of his parent’s marriage. He also refuted the assertion that long-time girlfriend, Xisca Perello, served as his tennis muse (Nadal takes sole responsibility for his own career, thank you very much.) But we still had a teeny tiny engagement rumor to keep us entertained.
And then there was the Marat Safin wedding rumor, which – coupled with his impending retirement – was a cruel, cruel blow to female-kind. But Marat eased our fears somewhat when he said he was still seeking the perfect procreation partner:
It was reportedly love at first sight when Jelena Jankovic met water polo player Mladjan Janovic at the Beijing Olympics last summer. There were some “secret wedding” rumors at the beginning of 2009, but nothing’s come of them. . .yet!
JJ’s countryman, Janko Tipsarevic, reportedly proposed to his girlfriend, TV presenter Biljanu Šešević while on a recent vacation in the Maldives. (via FortyDeuce.)
I’m assuming she said yes.
Game Over! Kim Sears and Andy Murray split up after four years together, reportedly over his addiction to Call of Duty.
Novak Djokovic had a relatively stable relationship year in 2009, with Maria Sharapova steering clear of his box and memories of that sexy javelin thrower fading after the Beijing Olympics. The lovely Jelena Ristic has cemented herself as a semi-constant in Nole’s camp. Ristic and Djokovic even took a month long Mediterranean cruise together after Wimbledon, reportedly to “make their love stronger.” (click here and here)
But regardless of his relationship status, Nole will always be a flirt (striptease begins at the 1:50 mark):
Any excuse to Google “Novak Djokovic nipple tassels”:
And heck, why not watch the outtakes?
“So what was better, winning a grand-slam tournament or sex?” Djokovic was asked in Shanghai this year. “Nothing, nothing, nothing is better than sex, it is what God created us to do,” Djokovic replied. But what if he were to win Wimbledon? “Ask me the question again on that day,” he said.
Serena Williams has been linked to rapper Common since 2007, but are they really an item? Serena was predictably coy with the London Times this October:
“I always say I am dating my racket because I spend so much time playing tennis that I don’t have much time for anything else,” she says, giggling. “Besides, I am a psycho when it comes to dating. Like if a guy doesn’t call me when he says he is going to call me, I get all emotional.”
Common is a brave, brave man.
Serena told People Magazine in August that sometimes she needs clarification of her relationship status:
“Trust is very important to me, and I’m not going to get my information about my boyfriend from the media. Sometimes I read that I broke up with him, and I have to call and confirm. (Laughs) Which actually is my favorite part, because I love to make that phone call and be like, ‘Are we still together?’
Serena never identified her boyfriend by name in the interview.
The MARRIED PEOPLE kept it hot in 2009!
Mr. and Mrs. Davydenko in Shanghai:
Though Kolya assures us that he still drives the ladies crazy (via ESPN):
“Because you’re not so good looking [away] from the court, [does that] make you put more focus on your tennis? And given the chance, would you like to be more good looking or keep your life going like this?” a reporter asked him (in Shanghai).
Many in the room cringed. But Davydenko chuckled, then answered: “Um, you know, if I don’t have a wife, maybe I can say, ‘Yeah, I disappointed I’m not, maybe, good looking.’ But really, I have many girls [that like me] in Russia. I don’t know about China, but in Russia, I still look good.”
Nuptials aside, I think this is my favorite Tennis Love Moment of the year:
I know, I know, there’s more to talk about! Like Greg Norman and Chris Evert‘s 15 month, 100 million dollar, fling-with-a-ring, Safina’s marriage to tennis, and the surprising hotness of Robin Soderling’s girlfriend, but my fingers just can’t type anymore.
To check out some what I missed, click here to read ESPN’s take.