(October 11, 2012) --
The Obama Open? Move over, Serena! Malia Obama is now queen of the court. The elder daughter of the First Family was caught on the tennis court earlier this week giggling with her teammates from the Sidwell Friends private school. But the images of Malia, 14, practicing in her team’s uniform, are perhaps creating somewhat of a stir. MaxPreps.com, which originally published the photos and scored an interview with Malia’s coach, removed the slideshow it had created. The information, aggregated by the U.K. pub the Daily Mail, was still alive on the web as of Wednesday -- as were images of the mini Michelle going after a serve and hitting a pair of forehands. Is the White House none too happy?
Money’s Up Down Under: Should we have ever been worried? The Australian Open announced last week that the prize money will go to a record $31.1 million this coming January, axing any possibility of a strike by the men’s players. But world No. 3 Andy Murray revealed this week that he never actually considered the boycott a reality, saying: “You know, from my side, I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option.” That total is a $4.12 increase from the 2012 payday. Hey, who said the economy was still struggling?
Power in Age: The fellas of the PowerShares Series (aka the “Champions’/Senior’s/Old Guy’s Tour) ++will hit the soft(er) courts of America (better for their knees!) starting this Saturday in Surprize, Ariz. John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Todd Martin, and Jim Courier -- who has a hand in the business of the tour -- are the first batch of oldies to go at it. The men of yesterday will tour around 12 cities for seven weeks, including a stop Nov. 5 at Madison Square Garden. Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, and Pat Rafter are also set to compete for a total prize money chunk of $1 million (sorry guys, this isn’t quite the Australian Open). Sampras is the defending champ, though McEnroe gets the endurance prize: he’s the only guy to commit to all 12 stops. The sites are: Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, San Jose, Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Philadelphia. The tour aims at stopping at big-market urban centers without a big tennis event (sans New York, Atlanta and LA).
Mor(ier) of Courier: Freelancer Bobby Chintapalli scored a great interview with Courier, also the US Davis Cup captain, surrounding the topic of women’s tennis for USA Today. DYK? Courier is married to Susanna Lingman, who played four years at Harvard and competed on the ITF tour. He was name-dropping with Chintapalli, saying he has his eye on up-and-coming Americans Varvara Lepchenko, Christina McHale, and Melanie Oudin (well, Oudin is more of a up-and-down coming, right?). But his No. 1 lady? (Sorry Susanna and Malia.) That’d be Serena. “You can’t help but be inspired and in awe of what Serena’s doing this season,” he said. But who can challenge Serena? Petra Kvitova tops his list, followed by Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.
Stadium Speak: Last week the BNP Paribas Open (full disclosure: I blog for their website) announced its plans for a new stadium on the grounds at the tournament site which would seat a whopping 8,100 peeps. The tournament is looking to expand by 2014, with hopes of attracting some 500,000 fans within five years. Just how big is that? It would surpass both Wimbledon and the French Open. (Wow.) Meanwhile, the USTA was questioning a plan by Major League Soccer to put an expansion team in Corona Park in Flushing, Queens, adjacent to the National Tennis Center. “It raises a lot of concerns for us,” said Gordon Smith, the USTA’s executive director. Smith is mostly referring to the planned concerts that the stadium would also host, increasing neighborhood noise and traffic.
Itty bits: Remember that guy who posted an online death threat against Roger Federer? Yeah, well he’s really, really sorry about that. | The Yahoo! Tennis landing page’s headline: “Ignoring death threats, Federer wins in Shanghai. It’s image along with said headline? (See pic above.) For at least four hours Wednesday night. Oops. | The WTA player party in Linz was held at a steel company’s HQs. Is that a snowmobile? Motorcycle?! Vroom, vroom, ladies. | Venus Williams gets top billing in SheKnows.com’s gallery of “Stars who changed their diets for their health.” Take that, Madonna! | There’s a new tennis store opening in Bloomingdale, Fla. That’s right, keep on chuggin’, economy. | You know Lois Goodman, that 70-year-old lineswoman whisked away from her US Open hotel prior to the tournament while being charged with her husband’s death (via a coffee mug). Well, she passed a polygraph test. Seriously, get this storyline on CSI: Tennis Tour ASAP. | How soon can Partysaurus Rex make a cameo at a tennis tournament? Pretty please?
(Photo Credit: screengrab via Yahoo! Tennis)