The great divides: Ladies feuds to watch
PARIS -- Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska are taking group vacations together. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams are Twittering things like "u rock!!!" to one another through cyberspace. Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are playing Fed Cup together.
Prefer a little bad blood with your matchups instead? Here are three feuds that are still going strong:
Serena Williams versus Justine Henin
Old wounds run deep, it seems. Controversy erupted between these two in a closely fought semifinal at the 2003 French Open, starting when Henin held up her hand while Williams was serving in the third set. Williams asked for a first serve to restart the point, but the umpire, who had not seen the gesture, refused. Henin remained silent while Williams protested, for which Serena was vociferously booed by the crowd. After losing the three-set contest, she later accused Henin of "lying and fabricating."
Williams was on the other end of a similar incident in Rome earlier this month, holding up her hand when receiving serve while up 5-3 in the third set of a semifinal against Jelena Jankovic. Cameras didn't catch all of what Williams said to Jankovic at net afterward, but here's one interpretation: "I would never cheat you like that. … Don't think I would do that. I'm not Justine." Judge for yourself:
"I don't even remember that," Williams said when asked about the incident the next week. "I just remember I had a match point and, oh -- I should have won that match."
Williams and Henin are still on course for a quarterfinal matchup that could decide the winner of the tournament.
Jelena Jankovic versus Ana Ivanovic
The origins of this feud seem lost in time, but the Serbian pair have always been guarded and distant with each other despite coming from the same city and breaking out on tour at similar times. The crackle of tension is loud at the moment, with Jankovic's mother criticizing Ivanovic for missing Fed Cup in April and Jankovic imitating Ivanovic's trademark fist pump after defeating her at the Madrid WTA event.
"Somebody else had coffee somewhere while my child played hurting for her country," Snezana Jankovic told the Serbian media after Serbia's Fed Cup loss to Slovakia, referring to a tabloid photo taken of Ivanovic and boyfriend Adam Scott at a cafe that week.
The two players met on court in the second round of Madrid two weeks ago, with Jankovic winning an error-strewn encounter in three sets. Packing up her bags and looking at her player's box after the match, Jankovic pumped her fist, Ivanovic style.
Ivanovic, who is quieter but no less adamant, reacted to the incident after her second-round loss at the French Open. The smile was warm, but the words were clear: "You know how they say -- sport doesn't build character, it shows it."
Jankovic shook her head ruefully when told of Ivanovic's reaction, and critiqued her opponent's fist-pumping style. "All the players, they do different kind of gestures with their hands," Jankovic said. "But when you do that in the player's face, and especially after not winning a point [but] after your opponent missed an easy ball, I don't think that's fair play.
The two were set up to meet in the French Open quarterfinals, but Ivanovic's second-round loss to Alisa Kleybanova means the faceoff will be delayed until another occasion.
These two Frenchwomen with sharp minds and strong views are France's best hopes on the women's side at the moment. Bartoli, who came to prominence by reaching the Wimbledon final in 2008, is France's top-ranked player, but Rezai is the flavor of the month after Madrid two weeks ago.
"I don't give a damn," Bartoli said when asked about the greater attention being given to 23-year-old Rezai in Paris this week, telling the French press corps, "Do what you want. I played semis in Miami, I had the impression that nobody notices. You can manage the way you want."
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And it seems Bartoli, who is 25, was referring to Rezai when she said, "The player who had ambition is the player you mentioned before. I have no ambition. … I try and play well and win matches. I don't care about anybody else's ambitions. A tournament is not managed on ambitions."
Rezai didn't hold back when asked about Bartoli's apparent resentment. "Marion is a difficult girl," she said. "She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul. If she has a problem with me, I don't know [why] because I did nothing.
"That's a bit of a shame, but that's her education. I mean, she attacked me many times in the press.
"I don't have the same education as the one she has. I think I have respect for players. I do what I have to do. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it's very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls."
Bartoli won their first two meetings in straight sets, but the elder Frenchwoman retired after losing the first set in their most recent match, the final of the WTA Bali championships in 2009. A meeting in Paris this fortnight could happen only in the final -- a long-shot matchup, but the one locals are hoping for.
Kamakshi Tandon is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.
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