(December 4, 2012) --
Fed’s Big Fan: While LeBron James was named Sports Illustrated’s Athlete of the Year, tennis scored another (Charles Barkley for Andy Murray) nod from a top-notch athlete as skier Lindsey Vonn chose Roger Federer as her winner. “You know, I've met a lot of athletes over the years, and plenty of arrogant athletes who either don't care to meet you or have any interest in what you have to say. But of all the athletes I've ever met, Roger is the kindest and most genuine.”
Juan Gone: Mr. Tall and Frightening Juan Ignacio Chela (he always had a menacing face on, didn’t he?) retired from the ATP Monday, tweeting that “it was time to move to another stage in my life” and hanging up his racquets after 14 years on tour. While Chela, 33, went 326-277 in his career, winning six titles and reaching a high of No. 15 in 2004, he also advanced to three Grand Slam quarterfinals, as recently as the French Open in 2011. Chela notched wins over Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Tommy Haas. Not a bad scalp list!
And who knew that this clip -- the epic Andy Roddick vs. Chela point from the US Open in 2002 -- would tie the boys together as same-year retirees. Good luck, fellas!
Speaking of Andy: There will be no great return for A-Rod. Karen Crouse details in a piece out Tuesday in the New York Times that Roddick’s win over Andy Murray at the Miami Tennis Cup was just a flash in the pan—no test of comeback waters. “I know I can play a little,” he told Crouse. “I enjoy this. This keeps me connected to the game. I still enjoy getting out there and playing points and competing a little bit. I don’t know that I could play a full schedule and stay healthy.” Roddick beat Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals before losing to Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 7-5 in the final.
Taylor Takes the Leap: Taylor Townsend, the No. 1 junior in the world is not just a junior anymore following this week, as she’s announced she’ll turn pro following the Orange Bowl, going on now. She’s signed with Lagardere as her representation, who has clients in Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Taylor will likely still play junior Slams (she’s just 16) while competing in smaller pro events (she’s ranked No. 497 on the WTA).
Itty bits: Should the WTA go back to a quality-based rankings system? Robert F. Waltz says yes on USA Today. | Agnieszka Radwanska was a runaway winner for the WTA’s Fan Favorite award, taking 42% of votes among 13 choices. Venus and Serena took the doubles nod while Caroline Wozniacki was voted to have the must-follow Twitter account. | Sam Stosur walked away from Australia’s most prestigious tennis awards night a winner, taking home the Newcombe Medal for the third straight year. Marinko Matosevic, Lleyton Hewitt and Casey Dellacqua were also nominated. | Eugenie Bouchard is 18, inside the WTA’s top 150, and a Garage Clothing Brand Champion. Oh, and she loves fashion, of course! | Remember that U.S. Open official who was accused of murdering her husband? Well, the charges have been dropped against Lois Goodman and the 70 year old wants to work again. | Andre Agassi, politician? Hey, it could happen. More: Here’s the full Agassi Q&A. | According to the Huffington Post, the Miami Tennis Cup ball girls “stole the show.” Um, OK. But this opening pic of Roddick is priceless, we must admit. | Anastasia speaks! Anastasia Myskina says ladies’ tennis is more interesting than men’s. Mark us unsurprised. | Pro men’s tennis in California? It’s endangered, writes Bruce Jenkins in the SF Chronicle. | Join the retirement train? Mahesh Bhupathi says 2013 may be his last season. | Former pro Todd Martin has acquired the TGA Premier Youth Tennis program, one of the nation’s largest such programs.
(Photo Credit: Andy Kentla)