Here We Go Again
It always seems to be something with Maria Sharapova's father, Yuri, whose sign language to his daughter at the 2006 U.S. Open final caused a ruckus. On Wednesday, the Australian television network broadcasting this tournament reported that the WTA was "investigating" Yuri Sharapova because of a throat-slitting gesture he made courtside after her dominating win over world No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals Tuesday night.
WTA spokeswoman Amy Binder said there was no investigation and that the story arose out of a misunderstanding when the tour asked Channel 7 for tape of the incident. Maria Sharapova was caught off-guard when reporters asked her about it after her win -- she was blowing kisses to the crowd and not looking at her father at the time. WTA CEO Larry Scott then issued a statement saying he was satisfied the incident stemmed from an "inside joke."
Apparently, it's all about the camouflage hoodie Yuri Sharapova has sported at several of his daughter's matches. During a news conference last week, Maria Sharapova joked that it made him look like an "assassin."
--Bonnie D. Ford
Clark Kent Syndrome
James Blake, on whether Roger Federer has an intimidating presence off the court:
"No. And I think that's something that's very unique about him, is that it comes from his play. A lot of the veterans or retired players are kind of shocked that he is as nice as he is. Honestly, I saw him at dinner last night. We said, 'Hi, how's it going?' The waitress came over and said, 'Do we need to move you guys apart?' 'No, we don't care. We can be friendly.'
"So he doesn't try to, you know, make himself somewhat unknown or mysterious to the rest of us, what he's doing. He's genuinely a friendly guy.
He seems like one of the guys in the locker room. Then you go out there, he beats the crap out of you, you come back in the locker room and he's one of the guys.
"I mean, it's not intimidation by him being extremely huge, muscular, talking down to anybody, being condescending, having any sort of a huge entourage keeping him isolated. He's just that good."
--Bonnie D. Ford
Time For A Rest
At the ripe old age of 25, Henin feels it's time to give her "old" knee a rest.
The top-ranked Henin complained of a sore knee after tumbling out of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-0 quarterfinals loss to the fifth-seeded Sharapova.
"I was really concerned about my knee for a few days," the Belgian said. "So I was a bit anxious, because I knew I wasn't really 100 percent. Even if it's not an excuse about what happened on the court, because she was much better than me."
Now that she's heading home, Henin said she'll have a chance to put her feet up.
"It's just my knee is getting old, and, yeah, probably have to rest a little bit now," she said.
Henin missed the Australian Open last year and returned to the tour with a stunning 63-4 record in '07, including titles at the French and U.S. opens.
Bonnie D. Ford is on the grounds at the Australian Open for the two-week event. She'll have firsthand knowledge of everything that's transpiring Down Under. Send your questions to Bonnie here