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June 12, 2011 13:41
Badminton wants to glam up just like tennis already has. And there is no doubt tennis, apart from the actual sport that it is, has a lot on offer for the non-sportingly inclined as well. A look (Agency photos) Zoom Sania Mirza, India: Mirza was brought up in Hyderabad in a religious Muslim family. She began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 14 in doubles. She holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Earlier in 2005, she had become the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 U.S. Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In 2004, she finished runner-up at the Asian Tennis Championship. In winning, with Mahesh Bhupathi, the Mixed Doubles event at the 2009 Australian Open, she became the first Indian woman to win any grand slam event. In 2006, Mirza was awarded a Padma Shri, India's fourth highest honor for her achievements as a Tennis player. However on February 4, 2008, Mirza said that she would stop appearing in tennis tournaments held in India, starting with the 2008 Bangalore Open the following month, citing the series of controversies about her tennis outfits and upon advice by her manager. Zoom Tatiana Golovin, France: She is best known for winning the 2004 French Open mixed doubles event with her countryman Richard Gasquet, and also for reaching the singles quarterfinal at the 2006 US Open, losing to the eventual champion Maria Sharapova. The 22-year-old's highest singles ranking to date is 12. She was born in Moscow but she moved to Paris with her parents, and earned French citizenship. She also spent six years at Nick Bollettieri's tennis camp in Bradenton, Florida, and she speaks fluent French, English and Russian. She is currently coached by former World No. 1 Mats Wilander, having previously been coached by Brad Gilbert and Dean Goldfine. She lives in Hampstead, north London with her boyfriend, Arsenal footballer, Samir Nasri. Zoom Nicole Vaidisova, Czech Republic: Vaidišová has been playing tennis since she was six years old. She is a student of Nick Bollettieri and trains at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Her serve is considered her biggest weapon. On 9 August 2006, at the age of 17 years, three months, and two weeks, she became the 12th-youngest player in WTA Tour history to be ranked in the top 10. She achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 7 on 14 May 2007. Nicole speaks English, Czech, Slovak, Russian, French and Hungarian. She also understands Ruthenian, German and Spanish. As of March 2009, she was coached by her stepfather, Ales Kodat, who replaced David Felgate. Zoom Anna Kournikova, Russia: Her celebrity status made her one of the best known tennis players worldwide. At the peak of her fame, fans looking for images of Kournikova made her name one of the most common search strings on the Internet search engine Google. Although also successful in singles, reaching No. 8 in the world in 2000, Kournikova's specialty has been doubles, where she has at times been the World No. 1 player. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 1999 and 2002. Kournikova's professional tennis career has been curtailed for the past several years, and possibly ended, by serious back and spinal problems. She currently resides in Miami Beach, Florida, and plays in occasional exhibitions and in doubles for the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis. Zoom Karolina Šprem, Croatia: She has won eight titles (seven singles, one doubles) all at the ITF level. She has not won any titles on the WTA Tour. Career highlight is a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon in 2004 where she defeated two-time champion, four-time finalist and then-world No. 8 Venus Williams in the second round before losing to Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinal. The umpire of her match against Venus Williams awarded her an extra point in the second set tie break. He was relieved of his duties after the end of the match. In her first two WTA-tournaments she reached the finals, however in late 2004 her form declined. She began training with Borna Bikic, who at that time was brother of the boyfriend of Jelena Dokic. In late 2007 Šprem announced a permanent split from Bikic, and returned to her old coach. Still, she had to cope with a serious elbow injury. In April 2008 she successfully returned to the pro-tour winning in Amelia Island over Ai Sugiyama and top 10 player Daniela Hantuchová, before falling to Lindsay Davenport in the third round. In 2009, Karolina came back in the top 100, with a main draw entry in the Australian Open, Winning Qualifier rounds at Paris and the Sony Ericsson open. Zoom Vojislava Lukic, Serbia: Born and raised in Subotica (now Serbia, former SFR Yugoslavia), she achieved her highest career ranking as No. 203 in singles on August 20, 2007, and No. 223 in doubles on October 8, 2008. As of April 6, 2009, Lukic is ranked No. 1093 in singles and No. 594 in doubles. Lukic won three three ITF singles titles in 2006, all in Romania - in Pitesti, Medias and Bucharest. She also played for Serbia Fed Cup team in 2007, alongside Jelena Jankovic, Ana Jovanovic and Ana Timotic. Zoom Petra Cetkovska, Czech Republic: She is of ethnic Macedonian origin. She reached her career high singles ranking No.49 on June 16, 2008. In 2007, she made breakthrough in her WTA ranking, and notched 3 ITF titles. Also, she won her first WTA doubles title with compatriot Andrea Hlavácková in ECM Prague Open. She made her grand slam main draw debut in 2007 US Open, going through to second round by defeating Jill Craybas from USA. She eventually lost to 14th seed Elena Dementieva in second round match. At the 2008 French Open, she upset the 23rd seed Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 6-0 in the first round en route to a fourth round showing, her best Grand Slam showing to date. However, she was soundly beaten by then World No. 2 and eventual champion Ana Ivanovic in a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash. Cetkovská lost in the opening round of the 2009 Australian Open to Marina Erakovic 4-6, 7-5. Zoom Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia: On June 22, 2009, she achieved her career-high WTA singles ranking of 40th. Rybarikova is coached by Mojmir Mihal and her fitness coaches are Kristian Cupak and Michal Dubovec. Like many tennis players she started young at the age of 8. She was born in Piestany to father Anton, a business manager, and mother Maria. She has two older siblings, Filip and Nada, and a dog named Sindy. She moved to Bratislava at age 15 to train at the national tennis center there. Her favorite surfaces are grass and hard. She likes pizza, chicken, iced tea, and the movie "Pretty Woman". Her favorite tournaments are Wimbledon and the US Open. She admires Martina Hingis as a tennis player. She has stated that if she wasn't a tennis player, she would like to study archaeology, as she likes the Indiana Jones movies. She carries with her a toy bear as a lucky charm. Zoom Ioana Raluca Olaru, Romania: On July 27, 2009, she reached her highest WTA singles ranking of 53. After ending 2008 at 126, her recent victory in the $100,000 Marseilles ITF tournament places her in provisional rank of 73 going into The Championships, Wimbledon. Over her career, Olaru has won 9 ITF singles and 6 ITF doubles titles, but no WTA titles. She lost to Ágnes Szávay in the final of the Junior's Singles 2005 French Open tournament, and lost in the doubles final to Szávay and Victoria Azarenka with Amina Rakhim. At the 2007 French Open, she upset the 30th seed, Julia Vakulenko in straight sets, but eventually lost to the 7th seed Ana Ivanovic in the third round. Zoom Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland: She resides in Belmont-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland. She joined the WTA Tour and was ranked World No. 48 on October 13, 2008. Her mother, Suzanne, is a dentist from Hungary; father, Igor, is a tennis coach from Romania. She has one brother, Daniel (music teacher) and two sisters, Sophie (musician and student) and Melinda (mother of two girls). Timea began playing tennis at age 3 when mother introduced her to the sport. She speaks French, Hungarian, English, German and Italian. Zoom Camille Pin, France: Camille's 2006 season was rather successful, for a player ranked lower than the top 100 in the women's tour. After a second-round loss to Serena Williams in the Australian Open, she made 3 ITF tour event finals, taking one of the titles at Lexington. She also made some reasonable showings at official WTA Tour events, especially qualifying for the Tier I event at Indian Wells and making the second round. However her 2006 grand slam second round showing at the Australian Open would prove to be her best Grand Slam result of the year, falling in the first round of every other major to tough opponents. Pin made headlines at the 2007 Australian Open, after playing top seed Maria Sharapova in the first round and coming within two points of winning the match. After recovering from a 0-5 deficit in the final set, Pin eventually lost with a final score of 3-6, 6-4, 7-9. Pin dated male professional tennis player Arnaud Clément of France. She is currently ranked 162 by the WTA. Zoom Viktoriya Kutuzova, On November 28, 2005, Kutuzova reached her highest singles ranking, World No. 76. Kutuzova remains most notable for her results as a 14 year old. In her debut WTA maindraw event, the Tier II event in Los Angeles 2003, Kutuzova beat top 50 player, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, in the 1st round, and top 30 player, Alexandra Stevenson in her next match, before losing in the 3rd round to the then world number 12, Ai Sugiyama. Other career highlights in WTA main draw events include, a 4th round appearance at the Tier I event in Indian Wells 2005, eventually losing to then number 1, Lindsay Davenport. Kutuzova has also made the 2nd round at three of the four grand slam events on the WTA tour.Viktoriya has suffered some shoulder problems throughout her young career which have stalled her progression on the main WTA tour.
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