Commentary

Off-court happenings in 2011

Originally Published: December 29, 2011
By Sandra Harwitt | Special to ESPN.com

It's not all about what goes on between the lines on a tennis court. Just like anyone else, the famous have milestones happening in their lives during the year. Here are some of the key turning points from the world of tennis in 2011.

Marriages

Kevin Anderson: The No. 32-ranked South African married his University of Illinois sweetheart, Kelsey O'Neal, in Wilmette, Ill., in November.

Eric Butorac: The Minnesota native wed Maggie Suydam in Newport, R.I., in September. The weekend event included a tennis-themed party at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Kateryna Bondarenko: The Ukrainian married Kiev businessman Denis Volodko in September.

[+] EnlargeElena Dementieva
Susan Mullane/US PresswireA year after retiring, Elena Dementieva has started the next phase of her life.

Elena Dementieva: The Russian, who retired last season, wed former NHL star Maxim Afinogenov, who now plays for SKA St. Petersburg in the Continental Ice Hockey League. The couple married at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow in July. Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Kirilenko and NHL star Alexander Ovechkin were among the guests.

Gisela Dulko: South America's No. 1 singles and doubles player called her July wedding to soccer player and fellow Argentine, Fernando Gago, a midfielder with Real Madrid, a "magical dream day."

Alicia Molik: The Australian married boyfriend Tim Sullivan at a Yarra Valley winery in February. They are expecting their first child in January.

Engagements and Couplings

James Blake: The sought-after bachelor is off the market. He's engaged to publicist Emily Snider, and they're talking a November 2012 wedding.

Maria Kirilenko: Changed boyfriends, moving on from fellow player Igor Andreev to NHL star Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Births

Ivan Ljubicic and wife, Aida: They welcomed their second child, daughter Zara, in November. Their son, Leonardo, was born in November 2008.

Carling Bassett Seguso and Robert Seguso: Former players welcomed their fifth child and third daughter, Theadora, in October.

Expecting

Bob Bryan and wife, Michelle: They will welcome their first child in January 2012. Bob and brother Mike were named the 2011 ITF Doubles Players of the Year.

Anastasia Myskina: The former French Open champion is expecting her third child next year. She has two sons.

Johan Kriek and wife, Daga: They are expecting their second child next year. They are currently the parents of toddler Karolina. Kriek has a daughter, Madison, a college freshman, from a previous marriage.

Retirements

Sybille Bammer: The Austrian announced her retirement after Wimbledon and was known as one of the rare playing moms on the WTA Tour.

Stephanie Cohen-Aloro: The Frenchwoman announced her retirement in February, saying that while she was still passionate about tennis, her "motivation has started to dip a little."

Justine Henin: The seven-time Grand Slam champion retired for the second time because of a persistent right elbow injury in January.

Oscar Hernandez: The Spaniard never fully recovered from a herniated disk surgery in November 2010 and announced his retirement in July.

Wesley Moodie: The South African, who won the 2005 Wimbledon doubles title with Stephen Huss, called it quits after 12 seasons.

Thomas Muster: Former French Open champ retired for the second time in October. The 44-year-old returned to the tour in 2010 but won only two matches of 26 played.

Patty Schnyder: The Swiss Miss ended her 17-year career in May with 11 career titles and a top-10 ranking for a total of 94 weeks.

Others to retire in 2011: Maureen Drake, Tathiana Garbin, Alina Jidkova, Katie O'Brien and Mara Santangelo.

Honors and Awards

Andre Agassi: The eight-time Grand Slam champion was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Novak Djokovic: Named "Ace of the Year" in GQ magazine's 2011 Men of the Year list. Djokovic was also named the 2011 ITF Player of the Year, the first player other than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win the award since 2003.

Mardy Fish and Andrea Petkovic: In the weird news category, Fish, Petkovic, 658 New York kids and their chaperones set a new Guinness Book World Record for the most people bouncing a tennis ball on a tennis racket in one location. The event took place at the U.S. Open on Aug. 26.

Peachy Kellmeyer: The former player and first WTA Tour employee in 1973 was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. As tennis coach at Marymount College in Boca Raton, Fla., she offered sports scholarships to girls before they were allowed, and the ensuing lawsuit set the precedent for Title IX equality in college sports legislation.

Petra Kvitova: The ITF honored Kvitova with the 2011 Player of the Year award. The Czech won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and piloted a Czech team to the Fed Cup title.

Marat Safin: The former No. 1 was elected to the Russian federal parliament, known as the Duma. Safin will represent the Nyzhny Novgorod region, which is about 300 miles outside of Moscow. He's aligned with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russian Party. Former player Anna Chakvetadze also ran for parliament representing the Right Cause party but was not elected. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly stated the election was "rigged."

Sandra Harwitt is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.

Sandra Harwitt is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.