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Beyond the Baseline

Friday Five: Wrapping up a bizarre, up-and-down week in tennis

Maria Sharapova After the WTA Championships, Maria Sharapova was goofing off at an exhibition in Prague. (David W. Cerny/Reuters)

It's been a week of bad mojo all over the world and the tennis world was not left unscathed. Blame it on the end of the season if you like, but I'm chalking this week's series of wacky, weird, and sometimes curious events to All Hallows Eve. How else are we to explain that a Polish qualifier named Jerzy Janowicz, ranked No. 69 in the world, is into the semifinals of an ATP Masters event, yet Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray are not? These are strange times, folks.

From the scary to the weird to the downright quizzical, here are five of the week's most unfortunate events.

1. Maria Sharapova goofs off, but twists her ankle at Prague exhibition: After she lost to Serena Williams at the WTA Championships on Sunday, Sharapova was under the mistaken impression that she wasn't going to have to pick up a racket for quite some time. When the press reminded her she had an exhibition with Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova in Prague the next day, she looked deflated. "Oh, no. Oopsies. How did I sign up for that one?" I guess Maria knew something we didn't. The exhibition looked like fun but Sharapova rolled over her ankle a few points before the end of the match. She played on, but boy, that was close. It looked nasty (see the 7:20 mark).

2. Bernard Tomic into more hot water, pun intended: Another week, another bizarre story involving Tomic. It's bad enough the guy has been labeled "Tomic the Tank Engine" by Aussie tennis fans, a reference to his recent admissions that he doesn't always give his best during his matches, but now he's gotten himself into to trouble with the police. Again. In the week that saw him lose his position as the Aussie No. 1 -- he's been surpassed by Marinko Matosevic, a guy that wasn't even selected for the Aussie Davis Cup team -- the 20-year-old reportedly got into a fight with a male friend in a hot tub while partying it up in the Gold Coast. Tomic says it was just some horseplay and nothing should be made of it.

3. Sergey Bubka, Jr. hospitalized after a three-story fall: The 25-year-old Ukrainian and boyfriend to WTA No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, is still in the hospital after falling off a friend's flat from three stories up, sustaining multiple fractures and requiring surgery. French website RMC Sport reports that Bubka, the son of the legendary pole vaulter of the same name, got locked in the bathroom of his friend's flat and tried to climb out the window onto a nearby ledge but slipped and fell instead. Players have taken to Twitter to wish him a fast recovery, including Rafael Nadal.

https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal/status/264340246458687488

4. Novak Djokovic's father hospitalized: Serbian press reported that the soon-to-be ATP No. 1 -- he'll take over the ranking on Monday -- was distracted during his opening round loss to Sam Querrey at the Paris Masters due to news that his father Srdjan had been hospitalized in Belgrade due to an acute respiratory condition. Djokovic flew to back to Belgrade the weekend before the tournament to visit his father in the hospital. "I'd rather not talk about it," he said after losing to Querrey. "Sorry about that, but it's just private and I'd like to keep it that way," he said. "Some things happened and a lot of things are on my mind, so right now I just need a couple of days' rest before London."

5. The WTA trudges on in Sofia: This isn't so much a sign of bad mojo, but it takes a pretty spectacular work of logic to understand how the WTA keeps running tournaments after its season-ending Championships in Istanbul.

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