August 30, 2007
U.S. Open Notebook
Have Dog Will Travel at the Open
By KAREN CROUSE
The chic tan carryall that Venus Williams
slung over her left shoulder as she left the interview room at the United States Open yesterday carried something more precious to her than cash, Cartier baubles or rackets.
Williams, who dispatched Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-4, 6-2, in a second-round match, unzipped a side flap, and out popped the head of her 5-month-old Havanese, Harold, the tiniest of her three dogs.
Williams, 27, acquired Harold this summer, shortly after she won her sixth Grand Slam title and her fourth on the grass of Wimbledon. Her other dogs, two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are too big to travel with her, so she grudgingly left them behind in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where she lives with her sister, Serena, and Serena’s two dogs, a Maltese and a Jack Russell.
The expression “a dog’s life” took on renewed meaning in New York this week when it was revealed that the recently deceased billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley, otherwise known as the Queen of Mean, bequeathed $12 million to her dog, Trouble, a white Maltese, while leaving two of her grandchildren out of her will.
Would the grass-court virtuoso, Williams, the “Queen of Green,” consider leaving any of her fortune, which includes nearly $18 million in prize money and probably that much more in endorsements, to any of her dogs?
“I know my dog is extra cute,” Williams said, reaching down to stroke Harold’s head, “but he doesn’t need cash.” Williams, who is single
, added: “I’d probably give my money to charity. Even if I had kids I’d probably give most of it away.”
STARS ARE OUT Stargazing at the Open typically revolves around the constellation of celebrities. Sightings in recent night sessions included Martha Stewart, Janet Jackson and Star Jones.
interest in stars is more literal. Rezaï, a 20-year-old Frenchwoman, has more curiosity about Venus, the planet, than Venus, the player.
“When I was a child, I watched the stars every night,” Rezaï said after losing to fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-1. “For me it’s very interesting to learn more about the stars and different galaxies. I have so many books on the stars. When I finish one, I go out and buy another one.”
Rezaï said she planned to study astrophysics when she was done playing tennis. Her short-term goals are twofold. To become a star in tennis and “buy a telescope so I can see the stars better,” she said.
USING YOUR HEAD Ana Ivanovic
, who has won two singles titles this year, in Berlin and in Los Angeles, can tell her star is rising. Leaving the practice courts Tuesday, she was besieged by autograph seekers, including a male admirer who asked her to sign his forehead.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’ ” Ivanovic, a Serb, said, laughing. She declined, but in a nice way. “I felt bad,” she said.
“I say, ‘I can sign your ball or shirt, but forehead?’ ”
It turns out that is not the strangest request she has received. Earlier this year Ivanovic, who advanced to the final of the French Open and the semifinals at Wimbledon, was asked by a fan to sign his underwear.
DELLACQUA TO FACE SHARAPOVA Casey Dellacqua
, an Australian who is coming off a singles title at a Challenger event in the Bronx, plays Maria Sharapova, who cuts an imposing figure with her two Grand Slam titles and her fashion-forward tennis attire, in a second-round match today.
Dellacqua, who recently moved into the top 100 in the world rankings, said, “If I look back to when I was a young kid, when I was just a little girl in Perth, to think that I’d probably be playing Maria on Arthur Ashe Stadium it’s going to be quite exciting and I can’t wait to get out there..”
The match figures to be a contrast in styles, sartorially and otherwise. “She’s got some lovely outfits,” Dellacqua said, “and she’s a very attractive-looking girl and obviously she’s big into fashion. I’m a simple kind of girl, pretty casual, pretty laid-back.”