Guest Post: The top five things you didn’t know about women’s tennis

14 Sep
As a husband to a wife who writes a blog I feel I have a certain sense of responsibility to sit back and enjoy the ride (often at my own expense).

Today is the first day of HOPEFULLY a few cameo appearances I can make on the “mum plus more” blog as I am clearly the “more” in the “mum plus more”.

My aim? To increase the circulation of male readers to this site….no not really. Just for kicks ultimately.
Because I don’t read books this could be a little tedious but I DO watch television and more specifically sport. So that’s what you get on debut.
Having revelled in the excitement of Sam Stosur and her thrilling win against the “oh so petulant” Serena … it was the elephant in the room (not Serena but the tennis)
I read on ESPN today that young is OUT and EXPERIENCE is IN when it comes to grand slams


In the 1990s, teenagers won 15 Grand Slams in the women’s tournaments.
In the 2000s, that number dropped to three.
In 2001, the average age of a Grand Slam finalist was just under 21
In 2010, it was up to 27. This year, through three Slams, it’s 26.5.

Which means at 27 years of age Sam Stosur was right on time!!
Armed with that information I have decided to do what all good commercial networks do when they lack for imaginative programming and that is to have a top 5 facts you probably didn’t know about my favourite female tennis players (none of this is actually based on ability) and you wont see Anna Kournikova in this list….as we are talking about tennis players.
5. Pam Shriver.
Gee she was tall – not the tallest ever – but she was big. In fact she always reminded me of Tom Hanks in Big for some reason – and not just because she was big, I think it was the hair. Maybe that’s just me thinking that.
She was born on the 4th of July (seems ironic) and she was one of the big names in Tennis when I was a kid. She is now a commentator and works for ESPN. She played against the BIGGEST names in the game and was frustratingly good and bad all at once. In saying that she won as many as she lost in grand slams. The real reason I put her in the top 5 was because she married George Lazenby. How cool is it that she married James Bond!!! (not sure if they are still together though)

4. Gabriella Sabatini
Argentina was famous for a few things back in the 80’s. Diego Maradona and his hand of god, the Falklands war and of course Gabriella Sabatini or GABSAB as I came to know her (probably sounds like an argentine brand of wine).
Of course she had more glamorous nicknames like “Divine Argentine” and “Pearl of the Pampas” but that always had the makings of a slippery puff pastry.
She had it all – but she was always just top 4 fringe in my mind. I guess she was up against some mega talents like Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport
GABSAB was famous for her SABATWEENIE shot which was a forehand blast between her legs. Roger Federer has now made it his thing but GAB SAB was one of the pioneers.
She ultimately won the US open as her best result beating Steffi Graf in the final
She is now a successful business woman who has a line of perfumes, donates money to argentine tennis development and ironically plays some exhibition tournaments for the Steffi Graf foundation.
If you cant beat them. Join them.
3. Liz Smylie (nee Sayers)
Poor old Liz. She was probably more remembered for her Extra chewing gum than for her tennis. But she was a dogged competitor and a real trier. And to salute her we have to remember that
“ecssshtra, itsshhh great tashte, really lassshhhttsss”
You do have to wonder about the creative genius behind the advertising agency that latched on to a sports person with a speech impediment to promote their product but…amazingly it worked!!
well it worked better than Lisa Curry promoting P & O cruises or Justin Langer selling Johnnie Walker scotch.
I know, I know, the best she ever did was the 4th round at Wimbledon but she was a winner at Wimbledon in the doubles. That’s pretty good for an aussie!

2. EVA HRDINOVA
Me neither…I hadn’t everheardinofhereither until I saw her on the TV ONCE. The problem with actually seeing her is that it has to be in round one because that seems to be about as far as she gets. She is still playing (in fact she is the perfect age to win a grand slam at 27) but she has one draw back to her game. She is the tallest woman EVER to play tennis professionally. AT 6 ft 3 it would be impossible to lob over her head but damn easy to do a drop shot on her. See if you can pick her in this line up.

1. Anna Smashnova – she may not be number 1 in anyone else’s world but she is in mine. What a great surname. Not to mention she was one of the SHORTEST players in the game – if not THE shortest.
she retired in 2007 after reaching a career high of 15 in the world. I guess being so short she was a baseline specialist best at home on the clay surfaces but her best results were really just the 3rd round at the Australian open and at Wimbledon and a career best 4th round at the French open on the clay. BUT at 5 ft 3 it was her lack of height that puts her at number 1 on this list.  
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