Thursday January 12th, 2012

• Taking after a German great, Sabine Lisicki has earned the "Boom Boom" nickname for her monstrous serve and forehand. In the video above, one of her sponsors decided to take that nickname literally.

• Maria Sharapova, the elder stateswoman: "Someone was saying how young Petra [Kvitova] was -- and she's 21. I was thinking to myself: 'Oh my God, 21, what does that make me? I'm like a grandma!' But I'm just three years older than her."

• Peter Bodo looks at who's hot and who's not among the top 10 on the ATP and WTA Tours leading into the Australian Open. Here's Bodo on Rafael Nadal: "Let's not mince words and just face the facts: Things just haven't been going well for Rafa, not since [Novak] Djokovic blossomed into a dominant player -- a development that can be traced back to the clay-court season of 2011. ... Nadal failed to gain back any ground in the fall, when Djokovic was out of action, and he also got off on the wrong foot this year, taking a desultory 6-3, 6-4 loss in the semis of Doha to Gael Monfils. You almost want to ask, What's eating Rafa Nadal?"

• There was a time when rap beefs involved actual territorial wars between the East Coast and West Coast and ended in tragic violence. Now they feature romantic tug-of-wars involving a Canadian rapper and an artist formerly known as "Common Sense," possibly over Serena Williams' affections. (Warning: Link contains strong language.) See? Evolution is a good thing.

• The Cold War is over: Alex Bogomolov Jr. paid the USTA $75,000 after switching his nationality from American to Russian. "To tell you the truth, it was a big load off my shoulders after we (sent) the check," Bogomolov told ESPN.com.

• If you live in the New York area and want Tennis Channel, you might be out of luck. Verizon and Cablevision have blacked out Tennis Channel since September because of a fee dispute, bad news for fans considering it has rights to all four Grand Slam events and so many other tournaments. • Non-tennis: A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the admissions process at Cambridge.

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