Friday January 18, 2013
Romance in the air for leading players
MARIA Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov. Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou. Victoria Azarenka and Stefan Gordy.
The three best female tennis players in the world have something in common at the Australian Open - romance.
Not since Jimmy Connors was engaged to Chris Evert in 1973 has tennis been so immersed in high-profile courtships. Although none of the relationships has been formally confirmed, the lack of denials speaks volumes.
“I don’t like to kiss and tell,” Gordy, the musician better known as Redfoo from LMFAO, told Australia’s Channel 7.
“But we are really close, and she’s a very special person and I’m very happy in my life right now.”
Azarenka and Gordy crossed paths at the US Open last year. He watched all of her matches at Flushing Meadows, and she danced to his music on court.
However, it was only when they were spotted together during the off-season that it appeared they had become better acquainted.
Meanwhile, photographs of a bikini-wearing Williams with Mouratoglou, her coach, in Mauritius appeared on the Internet in December. She was asked at the Brisbane International this month if she would like to confirm a relationship.
“No, not really,” Williams replied. “Thanks for asking, though.”
Sharapova has played her cards close to her chest regarding Dimitrov. But the Bulgarian hit out at repeated questions about his private life after he went out in the first round.
“People love gossip. Who doesn’t? But I believe it’s a privacy invasion. I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
For Williams, love and success have blossomed since she joined Mouratoglou’s training academy in Paris after her loss to Virginie Razzano at the French Open last year.
She has since won Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open.
If the power of love is behind her current charge, the opposite was true a decade ago when she admitted the heartbreak of a failed relationship, with an unnamed suitor, had fuelled her triumphs.
“The guy tore my heart in half,” Williams wrote in her autobiography, “My Life: Queen Of The Court”.
“The worst part was that he left me thinking it was me. He left me thinking that I was ugly. So I decided that tennis would be my salvation.”
Love is also in the air for former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the 10th seed, who speaks openly about her highly public relationship with golf star Rory McIlroy.
But another cross-sport love match, between Serbian starlet and Ana Ivanovic and Australian golfer Adam Scott, is reported to have ended. — AFP