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Monday, December 20, 2010
Updated: December 28, 1:42 PM ET
Off-the-court turning points in 2010

By Sandra Harwitt
Special to

Elena Dementieva
Elena Dementieva's tearful retirement in Qatar at season's end took everyone by suprise.

It hardly seems possible that a tennis season could surprise us anymore, but another year has passed with no shortage of interesting events.

Rafael Nadal ended the season as the No. 1 player for the second time in his career, winning three of tennis' four majors. Roger Federer, who took home his 16th Grand Slam trophy in Australia, sent a strong message that he plans to dog Nadal for that No. 1 honor when he beat the Spaniard in a three-set final to win the season-ending Barclays.

Caroline Wozniacki has yet to post her first Grand Slam victory, but consistent play throughout the season enabled her to end the year as the top player in the women's game. Kim Clijsters won a second consecutive U.S. Open trophy -- the third of her career -- and closed the season with a win at the season-ending Championships. And Serena Williams, the champion at Wimbledon, disappeared soon thereafter because of a foot injury and already has pulled out of the 2011 Australian Open.

Besides all of the on-court happenings, many of the players have had some serious goings-on in their private lives. Here's a wrap of some off-court turning points for a number of well-known players.


Radek Stepanek to Nicole Vaidisova: It was a year filled with milestones for Vaidisova, 20, who retired in March and married fellow player Radek Stepanek, 31, in July. The wedding took place in Prague. Prior to Stepanek hooking up with Vaidisova, he had been engaged to Martina Hingis.

Martina Hingis to Thibault Hutin: Hingis, 30, had a busy romantic year as well. She broke up with Swiss businessman fiancee Andreas Bieri, met fellow horse show jumper Thibault Hutin, 24, when they both competed in a horse show in St. Tropez in April, then tied the knot with Hutin in Paris in December.

Bob Bryan to Michelle Alvarez: Bob Bryan popped the question at Big Sur in September, tweeting the engagement with "special place, special girl." The longtime couple married in December, and Bob posted a wedding photo on Facebook right after the ceremony.

Janko Tipsarevic to Bojana Sesevic: The longtime couple married at home in Serbia in July. Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic -- Tipsarevic's winning 2010 Davis Cup teammates -- were all on hand for the celebration.

Sania Mirza to Shoab Malik: In January, Mirza broke off her engagement to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza, a match for which she wouldn't even have had to contemplate changing her last name. In April, she married Pakistani cricketer Shoab Malik. (At least she doesn't have to change her monogram.) Not all was dandy, however: A Pakistani woman, Ayesha Siddiqui, claimed that Malik, whom she had never met in person, married her over the phone prior to his nuptials with Mirza.

Jim Courier and Susana Lingman: It was a big year for Courier, the former Grand Slam champion, who married longtime girlfriend Susana Lingman in August, and weeks later was named the next U.S. Davis Cup captain.

Other nuptials: Jamie Murray to Alejandra Gutierrez; Alona Bondarenko to Nikolay Dyachok; Stephanie Foretz to Benoit Gacon.

Coupling commitments

Maria Sharapova and Sasha Vujacic: After a year of dating New Jersey Nets (and former Los Angeles Lakers) guard Sasha Vujacic, who hails from Slovakia, Sharapova was asked for her hand in marriage. These towering athletic presences seem to be enjoying the heights of happiness. Expectation: Tall offspring!

Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta: The ink was barely dry on Bhupathi's divorce papers from model Shweta Jaishankar when he announced he was engaged to Bollywood actress and former Miss Universe Lara Dutta. Yes, Jaishankar cited Dutta as the cause of her marriage breakup.

Stork visits

Lleyton Hewitt and wife, actress Bec Cartwright, welcomed their third child, daughter Ava Sydney, in October. Older siblings are sister Mia and brother Cruz.

Tommy Haas and Sara Foster, welcomed their first child, daughter Valentina, in early December.

Michael Chang and his wife, former collegiate player Amber Liu, set up a cradle for their future baseliner, daughter Lani, who arrived in December.

Former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, now a TV presenter, welcomed her second son, Georgii, this year. He has an older brother, Zhenya.

Headed to the rocking chair

Carlos Moya: The former French Open champion, sidelined by injuries the past couple of years, formally announced his retirement. There are those who would say Moya's best performance came when he posed nude for famed late photographer Herb Ritts.

Elena Dementieva: The 2008 Olympic gold medalist and two-time Grand Slam finalist surprised everyone when she announced at the season-ending championships in Doha, Qatar, that she had just played her last match and was moving on to pursue other interests.

Other notable retirees: Taylor Dent, Sebastien Grosjean, Guillermo Canas, Martin Damm, Dominik Hrbaty, Thierry Ascione, Alberto Martin, Mariano Puerta, Christophe Rochus, Paradorn Srichaphan, Peter Wessels, Mariano Zabaleta, Camille Pin, Alina Jidkova, Valerie Tetreault.

Sandra Harwitt is a freelance tennis writer for