Friday, December 18, 2009
Notable 2009 off-the-court events
By Sandra Harwitt
Special to ESPN.com
In Barcelona, Spain, the site of the recent Davis Cup final, the streets are festively decorated and the Christmas greeting in Catalan, the language of the locals, is a tennis-coincidental "Bon Nadal." No matter whether you are in Barcelona or any other place in the world, the holiday season is upon us. So, while everyone is wishing one another season's greetings, let's enjoy a cup of eggnog and look back at some of the tennis turning points from 2009:
Roger Federer and Mirka Vavrinec: Full-time companions since meeting at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Roger and Mirka finally took the walk down the aisle in April. The wedding happened soon after the couple announced they were expectant parents.
Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker: Roddick and his swimsuit model love, Decker, who recently tried her hand at acting, tied the knot at his home in Austin, Texas, in April. The couple held the ceremony and reception on a Friday night to accommodate Elton John's schedule so that he could serenade the newlyweds.
Stanislas Wawrinka and Ilham Vuilloud: It must be the Swiss way, but the country's No. 2 player, Wawrinka, married his longtime girlfriend, TV presenter Vuilloud, who like Vavrinec already had a bun in the oven. The wedding took place in December and the baby is due in February.
Ashley Harkleroad and Chuck Adams: Their September marriage followed the baby arrival for Harkleroad and Adams, her coach and a former ATP Tour player. It's a second try at marriage for Harkleroad, who divorced fellow player Alex Bogomolov Jr. in 2006.
Boris Becker and Lilly Kerssenberg: Becker took the plunge for a second time, with Dutch model Sharlely "Lilly" Kerssenberg in June. He previously was married to Barbara Feltus, with whom he had two sons, Noah and Elias. By August, the newlyweds announced that the new Mrs. Becker was expecting.
Sania Mirza and Mohammad Sohrab Mirza: Not only won't Sania Mirza have to change her monogram, she won't even have to change her frequently used passport when she marries childhood friend Mohammed Sohrab Mirza, a Hyderabad, India, businessman, who conveniently has the same last name. The couple announced their engagement in July but say they won't rush to marry.
Alicia Molik and Tim: At the end of the year, Australian Alicia Molik announced her engagement to a man from Perth she would identify only as Tim. She also announced that she is returning to tennis after a brief retirement from the tour because of injury and illness.
Chris Evert and Greg Norman: Apparently love was not eternal for Chris Evert Lloyd Mills Norman and her third husband, Australian golfing great Greg Norman. Norman's "people" announced the once lovey-dovey couple separated in October after only 15 months of marriage.
Roger Federer and Mirka Vavrinec: Stunningly, the couple kept the secret that they were expecting twins under wraps until the birth of daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva in July.
Max and Xenia Mirnyi: The Mirnyis welcomed their third child, son Demiol, to the family, joining daughters Melashka and Petra.
Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach: The couple welcomed their second child, daughter Lauren Andrus Davenport Leach, in June.
Barbara Schett and Joshua Eagle: The former players announced the arrival of their first child, son Noah, in April.
Ashley Harkleroad and Chuck Adams: Baby came before marriage for these tennis lovebirds when son Charles Hooper Adams arrived in March.
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Jose Santacana: Former four-time Grand Slam champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and her second husband, Jose Santacana, welcomed their first child, daughter Arantxa, in February.
|The ostensible passionate courtship between Greg Norman and Chris Evert lasted only 15 months.|
Heading to the rocking chair
Marat Safin: The charismatic former U.S. and Australian Open champion hung up his rackets at the end of the season to the dismay of his many fans who looked forward to his entertaining on-court antics.
Amelie Mauresmo: The former Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, who reached the No. 1 ranking and won 24 career singles titles, announced she was ready to move on in December. Fellow Frenchwomen Nathalie Dechy and Emilie Loit also decided to leave the tour this year.
Thomas Johansson: The 2002 Australian Open champion, who achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7, ended his 15-year career in June.
Fabrice Santoro: The Frenchman with the quirky game style, which led him to two Grand Slam doubles titles and drove fellow players crazy, decided it was time to retire after 21 successful years on tour.
Guillermo Coria: The 2004 French Open finalist played only one match in 2009 and officially announced his retirement in April.
|After two Grand Slam titles and plenty of highlights -- and lowlights -- Marat Safin is calling it a career. |
Sandra Harwitt is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.