We'll keep this last entry of the year short. I mean, there's not much to see anyway, and 2016 has in general been the type of year you want to drop-kick into oblivion. So have a great New Year, and ... what? Oh, I just checked my Twitter! We got some things to discuss!
Petra Kvitova: Apparently, 2016 decided to truly unload in the month of December. With it came reports that Kvitova was attacked by a thief who got into her apartment, and her left hand had been cut as she tried to defend herself. That is the terrible news. The very good news is that she's had a successful first surgery on the hand and she's recovering nicely. For once, tennis is not the most important thing here. What Kvitova went through must have been emotionally traumatized and all we can really do is hope she recovers both physically and mentally from this. And also that the bastard who did this to her is apprehended eventually.
Ana Ivanovic retires: Before we get to this, let's give a shout-out to one trend perfected in 2016: the coy social media announcement. Lots of pro players took to it this year, for varying reasons. Most of them used Twitter and Facebook to announce coaching changes (Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, who used it a lot for this), Maria Sharapova (to preview a press conference about a failed drug test and suspension, but NBD you guys! See you next year!!) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (for a Facebook Live chat about nothing at all), Victoria Azarenka (pregnancy announcement) and now this.
Ana Ivanovic unfortunately might go down as one of the game's underachievers. She never really seemed to recover from the biggest win of her career -- the French Open in 2008. If it wasn't injury, it was unexpectedly dropping early-round matches in majors. But her talent, especially where her forehand was concerned, cannot be denied. She came into the game as one prong of the Serbian attack on tennis (with Jelena Jankovic and some dude named Novak Djokovic) and can boast wins over many top-tier players. It might appear to be an unfinished career of sorts, but best of luck to Ivanovic. Please don't join the Tennis Channel as a commentator.
Serena Williams is engaged: Look, I'd never heard of this Alexis Ohanian before yesterday, either, but this is almost certainly better than Drake. No offense against Drake, but ... he needs to find himself. Seriously, though, back to Serena, who also announced her engagement on her fiance's baby, Reddit. Can anyone doubt that any children produced by this pairing might create the world's first superhero nerds? Crushing calculus and crime in one fell swoop! Good luck, Serena!
Fast Four: I guess I was hoping I could end this year without a rant directed at the tennis powers-that-be who are trying to destroy tennis. But then I read this story about the Hopman Cup trying out this Fast 4 match format. This is barely even tennis. You have to win four points to win a game. No-ad scoring. Four games to win a set. Play a tiebreaker at 3-all. This is just an exhibition, so this isn't the end of the world. But they're only doing it in doubles, and that's crap. Once again, everyone wants to get doubles off the court. There's going to be an exhibition in Sydney with the same format, and it just figures that there's one participant talking about how great it is:
Yeah. The tennis purist.
You know, if you're going to give me half a match, I'm gonna want half my money back.