By Blair Henley
(December 10, 2012) -- On Sunday Roger Federer wrapped up the Brazilian leg of his ten-day tour of South America, going 2-1 with a loss to Thomaz Bellucci and wins over Tommy Haas and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Next, he’s on to Argentina where he will play Juan Martin del Potro twice in a 20,000-seat stadium built specially for the event. Federer will then wrap up the tour in Colombia with one more showdown against Tsonga. If a trip to South America isn’t in your budget, make sure to tune into Federer’s newly launched YouTube Channel for live streaming.
And consider this: Federer is reportedly earning $12 million for the six-match tour, which is nearly $3 million more than he earned in prize money over the course of the entire year. Federer isn’t the only one raking it in thanks to the offseason exhibition circuit. Kim Clijsters is extending her farewell tour with a match against Venus Williams in Antwerp, Belgium. Clijsters will also be joined by Amelie Mauresmo and Kirsten Flipkens.
Clay specialist Juan Ignacio Chela retired last week at the age of 33. Also known as "El Flaco," meaning “the Skinny One,” Chela won six singles titles all on clay. His career earnings totaled over $6.5 million.
Remember Roger Federer’s 3-6, 7-6, 19-17 win over Juan Martin del Potro at the Olympics? Well, we may not get a chance to see a marathon thriller like that again, as ITF officials are considering adding a third-set tiebreak for Olympic play in 2016. They’re also discussing the possibility of eliminating the bronze medal match, awarding the third place prize to both semifinal losers. (What do you think about this? Leave us a comment below.)
With her quarterfinal run at the Orange Bowl in Florida, 16-year-old Taylor Townsend became the first American junior in 30 years to clinch the ITF’s year-end No. 1 ranking. It’s been a whirlwind week for Townsend who announced her decision to turn pro in 2013, and subsequently signed with sports agency Lagardere International.
Italian Flavia Pennetta has made an unusual pick to replace her longtime doubles partner, Gisela Dulko, who retired from the tour several weeks ago. She will reportedly be teaming up with Svetlana Kuznetsova, who had a rough year on the singles court in 2012. Both players have won the Australian Open doubles title, so we’ll see what happens with those two next year.
The Women’s Tennis Blog is reporting that Victoria Azarenka has broken up with her tennis player boyfriend Sergei Bubka Jr. who, you may remember, took a three-story tumble from a Paris apartment back in November. While it’s not clear if Azarenka broke up with Bubka Jr. before or after his injury, we hear that Vika is enjoying the single life. As for Bubka Jr., he’s back on his feet after sustaining multiple fractures. No word on his return to tennis.