Ekaterina Makarova retires at age 31

Ekaterina Makarova, who reached No. 8 in singles and No. 1 in doubles (just over 18 months ago), has announced her retirement.

It was not unexpected; the 31-year-old Russian played just three singles matches in 2019, the last in Dubai nearly a year ago.

She entered, and withdrew from, numerous tournaments in 2019.

She is officially on the ITF’s anti-doping retired list, dated Jan. 28, 2020.

In all, Makarova won 14 doubles titles and three singles titles.

Of those 14 doubles titles, three were majors; she was denied twice in the Australian Open final in a quest to own a “career Slam”.

Radwanska expecting to join the mom club

There are probably betting odds out there on a lot of the WTA’s players, once they get married and retire from the sport.

When will they make “the” happy announcement?

The odds will get shorter soon enough on Caroline Wozniacki, who ended her career in Melbourne.

But the latest is Wozniacki’s pal Agnieszka Radwanska, who announced via Instagram that her little family is about to expand.

Radwanska, who is still just 30 – younger than a lot of players out on the Tour – married Dawid Celt in July, 2017.

He’ll captain the Polish Fed Cup team this week.

Jack Sock pops the question

It was a tough season on court for American Jack Sock.

But he finished it on a high note, proposing to girlfriend Laura Little.

And Sock did it in style – in Central Park, with the carriage ride, the big rock, a touching video to the strains of “My Person” by Spencer Crandall, and some lovely words. 

“Words truly can’t describe how I feel about you but when you know, you know. I will forever be thankful that you came into my life and that I’m lucky enough to call you my best friend and soulmate.”

Groeneveld back to the ATP Tour

After spending much of his career in the WTA, longtime Maria Sharapova coach Sven Groeneveld will hit the ATP Tour in 2020.

Groeneveld is the new coach of Japan’s Taro Daniel, a New York-born player currently ranked No. 111 in the world.

Daniel, 26, was at a career-best No. 64 in singles just before last year’s US Open.

Since July 2018, he had been coached by Gustavo Marcaccio, who also is the sub-captain of the Argentine Davis Cup team.

Groeneveld works with the Japanese racket company, Toalson. So it’s familiar territory. 

He last coached on the men’s side with promising Chinese youngster Wu Yibing.

Bartoli engaged to Belgian footballer

Marion Bartoli, whose ill-fated and destructive first romance was well-chronicled in her memoir, has found love again.

And after a whirlwind courtship, the 35-year-old former Wimbledon champion turned television commentator has announced her engagement to footballer Yahya Boumediene.

Per one of her Instagram posts, they first laid eyes in a train station in Belgium.

Boumediene, 29, is described by Closer magazine as a young prodigy whose potential was held back by recurring injuries. He last played for FC Rapperswil-Jona, a third-tier club in Switzerland.

He’s been without a club in 2019. But he takes a lot of selfies.

Spears hit with doping suspension

American doubles specialist Abigail Spears is suspended after a test during the US Open came back positive for prasterone (DHEA), testosterone and metabolites.

Those substances, per the ITF rules, trigger an automatic provisional suspension.

Spears took to Instagram to take responsibility, apologizing to her doubles partners and saying that after testing clean for nearly 20 years, she had consulted a reputable doctor after being “unwell for an extended amount of time” earlier in the year.

She took supplements he recommended for diagnosed vitamin deficiencies without going through the WTA or WADA.

At 38, it’s a tough blow.

Dominika Cibulkova announces retirement

Former world No. 4 Dominika Cibulkova announced her retirement Tuesday, coinciding with the official launch of her new memoir.

It’s no surprise, as the 30-year-old Slovak hasn’t played a match since the French Open.

She told the WTA website that she had “100 per cent decided” to retire after that match in Paris, a loss to Aryna Sabalenka. 

But she’s only officially announcing it now.

Cibulkova has invested in a tennis academy and a nightclub, per the WTA interview.

She retires with eight WTA Titles – including the Tour Finals in 2016 – and nearly $14 million in prize money.

Basilashvili undergoes elbow surgery

Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked a career-best No. 16 going into the French Open, has been quiet since winning in Hamburg after Wimbledon.

He hasn’t had many “bad” losses. But he hasn’t made any big moves. And it turns out he’s been playing with an elbow pain significant enough to have surgery.

The surgery took place Wednesday. Hopefully it’s something along the lines of Nishikori, where Basilashvili doesn’t expect to delay the start of his 2020 season.

An immediate concern is that if Basilashvili isn’t up to the ATP Cup, the No. 2 Georgian is ranked … No. 680. And Georgia has already qualified.

Errani tells critical Italians to call Santa

Sara Errani’s serving struggles have been well-documented.

But she hasn’t given up trying. Errani reached the final at a $60K ITF in Asunción, Paraguay Sunday.

Monday, she let loose on the trolls from her homeland who non-stop barraged her with “insults and criticism” all week.

She wrote that not a single person in Paraguay was anything but encouraging, as she tries so hard to work through it. 

She added they could direct any further correspondence to the WTA to make a request to change the serve rules – or write to “Babbo Natale”. (Santa Claus).


Radical transformation for Jelena Dokic

Former world No. 4 Jelena Dokic has been fairly low profile – at least outside Australia – since the release of her devasting memoir two years ago.

A knockout at any weight, the 36-year-old has undergone a metamorphosis over the last year.

In association with Jenny Craig, for whom she became an ambassador last January, Dokic dropped 15 kilos (33 pounds) to get down to 185 pounds by last March.

Through last May, at the six-month mark, she was down 66 pounds to about 150 pounds.

And just look at her now. 

Check out her Instagram account. How great must she be feeling about herself ?