Category Archives: Features

Sharapova & Ivanovic – The Burden of Being a Brand.

With her first round loss to Maria Kirilenko at the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova’s comeback is still slowly getting back on track in 2010. Though in her press conference Sharapova confidently said “I’ll be back on a second Saturday. You’ll see.”, her “second career” is not just about hitting tennis balls.

With her reported new deal with Nike worth $70 million dollars over eight years, Sharapova is still the highest paid female athlete. With her new fashion line, Sharapova emerges as a “brand” that will remain in the sports apparel and maybe even the fashion world long after she retires from the game. Continue reading

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Weekend Wrap Up – Oudin Shines in Fed Cup.

With the Super Bowl dominating sports news this weekend, don’t forget about the tennis being played with some “off the radar” players coming through with big wins.

Fed Cup was the focus of the women this week. The U.S. team, led by Melanie Oudin, who won both her matches, easily won their tie against France 4-1. Considering this was played on red clay and in France, it’s quite an accomplishment and could bode well for Oudin with the clay court season just around the corner. Continue reading

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Henin v. Clijsters – Winning Matches vs. Winning Hearts.

With her 6-4, 6-2 semifinal win over Andrea Petkovic at the Brisbane International, Kim Clijsters set up another finals clash with Justine Henin.

This is the first meeting between the two after their last encounter at Wimbledon in 2006 which Henin won. Henin is still 12-10 lifetime against her fellow Belgian.

Henin has cited Clijsters’ stunning comeback and U.S. Open win as one of the inspirations behind her own return. Clijsters is slightly favored in the match as Henin’s form this week has been shaky at times.

Despite their less then friendly rivalry in the past, mostly due to Henin’s cool persona in her “first career” as she calls it, both women expressed excitement at playing each other tomorrow.

Even if Henin loses, how she projects herself to the public and media now and during the Australian Open will be just as important as her win/lose ratio. Henin certainly earned respect on tour for her many titles, but Clijsters earned more genuine admiration just for her good natured personality.

As with other players in the past, it’s usually those who embrace their public role that end up being more admired as time goes on. If Henin wants that legacy, she will have to work at it just as much as she does with her famous one-handed backhand.

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