Tag Archives: Caroline Wozniacki

WTA Finals 2017: Several Statements But No Definitive Answer

The WTA Finals wrapped up this weekend in Singapore. Before the event began, no one could predict an outright favorite in a field of equals – these being the top eight WTA players of the 2017 season. Ultimately the event, much like the season itself, proved at times unpredictable, entertaining, and satisfying – for some yes, and for others, probably not, in the end.

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Safina Wins First Match While Wozniacki Falls in Stuttgart.

A word of warning to WTA pros. When the tournament you play at asks you to do promo work before the event starts, think twice before saying yes. I mention this as Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who all took time out to pose on the Porsche race track prior to the start of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix all fell in early round matches. Meanwhile, Dinara Safina made a triumphant return while Justine Henin didn’t let a broke pinky derail her chances to win her first event after returning to the tour. Continue reading

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Miami WTA Review: Does Clijsters Want Serena’s Part-Time Job?

Rather than analyze yesterday’s final where Kim Clijsters ran away with the title 6-2, 6-1 by merely keeping the ball in play versus an erratic Venus Williams, I’d rather spend time pointing out this recent Twitter message from Clijsters to Venus’s sister Serena and what it all means for the WTA.

“@serenajwilliams Lucky you on your way to the beach! some of us have to practice for a tough match 2moro!!”

This gentle jab at Serena for spending time (rather obviously by the photos Serena tweeted about herself in a bikini) at the beach while still recovering from her knee injury basically summed up the whole women’s event at Miami. Even though she never stepped on a court, Serena still overshadowed any matches played. And though we still don’t know when or where Serena will play again, it’s safe to stay that Clijsters, who will be ranked No. 10 on Monday, could soon find herself with another job besides taking care of her daughter Jada, that of being No.1. Continue reading

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Sveta Tweets. But What is She Saying?

Many fans of Svetlana Kuznetsova sometimes wonder what is going in her mind during her matches. Well now you may get some insight as Kuznetsova is the latest pro to tweet her thoughts.

Using her Twitter nickname of SvetlanaK27, we’ve learned she prefers the nickname “Sveta” as opposed to “Kuzzy”, that she gets along well with fellow pro tweeter Serena Williams and what some of her favorite movies and tv shows are. Plus she often has “tweet” exchanges with fellow doubles partner Victoria Azarenka (known as Vika7) and Caroline Wozniacki (CaroWozniacki). Continue reading

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One on One with Donald Dell.

I had the sincere privilege of speaking with Hall of Famer and tennis icon Donald Dell. Mr. Dell’s amazing career includes being captain of the winning U.S. Davis Cup team in 1968 and 1969, founding Pro Serv, one of the leading sports management companies in the world, and helping shape the careers of such legends as Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Andy Roddick and now Caroline Wozniacki.

Mr. Dell has just recently released a new book called “Never Make the First Offer” on how to handle negotiating anything in life. We spoke about the book and his thoughts on the game today.

(Click here for your free chance to win a copy!)

You make a point in the classes you teach that if students learn anything, it’s that relationships and trust are the most important. Why is that?

Well as I say to people I have a lot of mileage which means I’ve been around a long time (laughs) but as you go through your experiences in making deals, both good and bad situations, you realize more and more that it’s all about relationships and how you deal with people and how they deal with you. I’ve learned in the sports industry there’s a lot of money but it’s a small group of people and the old saying what comes around goes around is absolutely true and you deal with the same people over various times and how you deal with relationships will either come back to help you or haunt you.

I always say building a relationship based on trust is the best kind of relationship you can have and that takes time. If I go to represent an athlete or client I always tell them that I’m not a masseur here to stroke your ego but what I want you to do is trust me. But you can’t expect them to trust you right away. It takes time. And it may take you six months or five years depending on the client but the goal in that relationship is that the two people working together trust each other.

In your book, you say never to make the first offer unless you think you will be lowballed. How do you get the person you are negotiating with to give you that first offer?

Ninety percent of the time you don’t want to make the first offer and ten percent of the time you might and the reason you don’t is because what you want to do is to listen to what they’re gonna offer and where they’re coming from and you learn a lot from listening and not talking.

For example with salesmen in my office, I always tell them to not talk so damn much and listen. When you should make the first offer is when you get some information before you meet the person, and I making this up, but say you want X and you think they want Y in his first offer and Y is so far below where you want to be then you don’t want him to make the first offer because you’re working off of his low offer. There’s not a pattern stock answer for every situation but you’re better off listening than rushing in with the first offer.

I liked where you talked about dealing with oddballs or those who do business differently like Richard Williams or Phil Knight of Nike. What is the best thing one can do when dealing with that type during a deal?

Really try to do your preparation ahead of time to learn about that guy. Give you an example. Bob Craft owner of the (New England) Patriots. When you meet Bob Craft in a certain kind of business situation he will ask a lot of questions casually and try and stumble and you think he’s the “absent minded professor” type or at least I did when I first met him. He’s one of the smartest people in sports but when you first meet him you can be lulled into thinking he’s that type and he’s not.

You make reference of the great deals you made for Stan Smith with Adidas and Michael Jordan for Nike. Do you see any of the current or recently retired players being able to have a “brand name” that will last as long?

There’s one guy standing there big as ever called Roger Federer and they, meaning IMG or whoever he’s with or Nike, they’ve gone so far as to whenever you see him (Federer) or his family, they’re wearing caps with a big RF and it looks like the beginning of a logo. I expect more and more if he plays another three or four years and continues to dominate they’ll (Nike) build that into another brand name just as they did with (Michael) Jordan when they started another company called Jordan, Inc. and selling 800 million dollars a year now.

Do you think Nadal has that potential?

You need a superstar in today’s climate I don’t think Nadal is there yet. I think Serena Williams if she was managed a little more carefully and was more controlled, which I’m not sure she is, I think she is a comparable name in women’s tennis.

It takes a certain personality that people like and is likable and Roger Federer does a lot of the extra little things that it takes to build a brand name.

You have seen and been a part of many of the significant events of the game. Where do you see the game headed in terms of participation and viewership?

Tennis is on the rebound much more than the press allows and writes about. The USTA last week just announced that we now have 30 million active players in America. That’s a phenomenal figure. We swallow golf participants yet nobody knows it. Why is that? Because most executives over 55 take up playing golf so they spend money on advertising, television and trade magazines so they have a high end interest in their sport. So in tennis we need to promote much much better than we’re doing.

Do you see the increase in people playing the game due in part to people watching tennis on TV more?

Absolutely. The Tennis Channel is doing a phenomenal job and they are now in 24 million homes. I tell everybody in tennis that we are all on the same side of the table and if the Tennis Channel is successful then we are all successful in the sport.

What’s the one main point you want readers to remember after reading your book?

Just that there is a way to prepare and plan successful negotiations. It’s not just hit or miss or highball or lowball. I’d like people to understand that.

For more information about Donald Dell, visit his website here.

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WTA Crystal Ball for 2010.

Now that the WTA season is over and the ladies are resting up for Australia, I thought it was time to look ahead and give my predictions for 2010. 2009 was a drama filled year and I expect even more next year. Players will be “ranked” according to what I think their year-end ranking will be for 2010.

1. Serena Williams – Even with the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, I don’t expect anyone to take over the top spot from Serena and expect her to win at least two Slams for 2010.

2. Caroline Wozniacki – “Sunshine” as she’s known on the tour will have another consistent year and will find herself in another Slam final. If she can win a big one remains to be seen but it will be hard to bet against her next year. Conditioning and her excessive match play may hurt her down the road.

3. Dinara Safina – A lot depends on Safina’s current back injury and her mental toughness for 2010. I can see her in a Slam final but she will have to dismiss whatever demons she has in order to make it back to the top spot.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova – Despite her mental flaws, “Sveta” will always be a factor in 2010 and will probably make it to another Slam final. If she wins a Slam next year is entirely up to her. Watch out for her at the Australian Open as she finished 2010 in good shape healthwise.

5. Venus Williams – 2010 will be the last chance at glory for Venus as she turns 30 this year. Aside from Wimbledon, she’s not been a factor for a while at the other Slams and her knee could be a big issue. Plus the fact that no one tour is afraid of playing her could may next year very tough.

6-9. These slots will change depending on the names, i.e. Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Dementieva, etc. They could breakthrough and win a Slam, but let’s face it, shouldn’t they have done so already?

10. Kim Clijsters – Everybody keeps salivating over Henin’s return but Clijsters, who played lights out tennis at the U.S. Open, will still go into every tournament with nothing to lose and thus no pressure. I expect Kimmie to be a factor in Australia and a heavy favorite at the U.S. Open again.

Wildcards – Justine Henin will be the story at the Australian Open win or lose. It will all depend on her draws and I actually think the clay court season is where she will find the most success. She has more to lose than Kim Clijsters in her comeback so a Slam victory in 2010 is paramount.

Sam Stosur – Stosur finally won a WTA event in ’09 and will probably break into the top 10 next year. She’s got the game to win a big one, maybe even Wimbledon, but does she believe she can win is the question.

Maria Sharapova – Sharapova is finally getting back on track after a rocky 2009. If her serve starts clicking again, she could be a factor but probably not until Wimbledon.

Ana Ivanovic – 2010 will define Ivanovic’s entire career. If she can get over her mental and physical fatigue, she could work her way back into the top ten again. If she can’t, I could see her retiring early. Hope I’m wrong.

Melanie Oudin – Next year will be the real test for the feisty American to prove the U.S. Open run was no fluke. I definitely see her in the top 20 before too long. Perhaps the French Open will be her next surprise Slam as she says she likes the clay?

Amelie Mauresmo – There’s been no word yet on Mauresmo’s potential retirement but even if she decides to stick it out, 2010 will probably be her last year. Maybe she will finally go for broke and play with nothing to lose? If so, we could be in for a real treat.

Let me know what you think!

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Serena and Venus in WTA Doha Final.

Most people expected Serena Williams to make it to the finals of the WTA Sony Ericsson Championships but few, including myself, expected older sister Venus Williams to be there considering her up and down play at season’s end.

But Venus gets a chance to defend her title as she took out Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. The match was another slugfest and early on it looked like Jankovic was going to take it. But Venus started serving big and hitting big especially on the forehand. By the time the third set rolled around, Venus looked more comfortable on court and seemed the fresher of the two despite having played four consecutive three set matches.

Venus, who lost to Serena in early round play, gets a chance for revenge on her little sister after Serena won her semi against a hobbled Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 0-1 (retired). Serena and Venus also play in the doubles championships semifinals later today.

Who will win the matchup between the Williams sisters? Venus needs the win more as she could really use the points to boost her ranking going into 2010. But Serena would love nothing more than win the final event of the year as number one. Should be a great match.

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