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Serena Williams had won career majors #10 and #11 in 2009, while the slam season had concluded with an un-retired Kim Clijsters ( who’d become a first-time mom in her two years away) picking up her long-delayed maiden major title at the U.S. Open, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final. As the 2010 season was set to begin, we were awaiting the return of another Belgian, Justine Henin, who was staging her own comeback after a year and a half retirement. She’d reach the final of her first event ( Brisbane, losing to Clijsters) and slam ( falling to Williams in the Australian Open title match), but an elbow injury would force her to retire for good in January ’11.

Clijsters would successfully defend her U.S. Open crown that summer, then retire for the final time after the ’12 event at Flushing Meadows. Francesca Schiavone would battle her way to her career moment in Paris, becoming the Roland Garros champion in the spring of ’10. Meanwhile, Wozniacki wouldn’t win a slam that year, but would complete her first of back-to-back #1 seasons. Serena would win (naturally) another slam title (at Wimbledon) during the season, but days later would step on broken glass in a Munich restaurant, miss the rest of the year, and the following March suffer a hematoma and near-fatal pulmonary embolism. gas bijoux discount code She wouldn’t play again until June ’11.

Flashforward to the upcoming start of the 2019 campaign. Both Clijsters and Henin are now Hall of Famers, with both Serena and the Dane on deck for future enshrinement. Schviavone retired this past summer. Henin is now the mother of two kids, while Clijsters has since given two siblings to first daughter Jada. Wozniacki finally won her maiden slam last year in Melbourne and, after having first reached #1 in ’10, briefly returned to the top spot in ’18 after a record six-year absence. She’s now engaged. Serena, too, has become a mother, gotten married, survived another near-death health emergency ( a pulmonary embolism after giving birth), and now holds 23 major titles, just one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record.

Ten years from now, when the 2020-29 stretch is remembered, surely Serena’s playing career will have long since officially ended and become part of tennis history forever. Well, at least we *think* that’ll be the case. Hmmm, daughter Olympia will be, what, eleven years old ( probably going on 30) as ’29 approaches? Old enough to be proficient with a racket… and, remember, she’s *already* been on the court for *one* slam title run, as Serena was secretly pregnant with her when she won her most recent major in Melbourne in 2017.

This post kicks off a second Backspin "Decade’s Best" series, set to appear periodically in this space throughout 2019. At the moment, it’s time for an opening "nominations list" that includes all the players deserving of consideration for Backspin’s "Players of the Decade." Well, it’s more of an "honor roll," really, since the vast majority of the women mentioned below have no chance to rank very highly on the final list. But their individual achievements during the span DO deserve to be highlighted, even if only for a brief moment ( which will occur, for the most part, when they’re "officially" eliminated from contention as the list is cut down as the final season of the decade plays out).

So, how did these nominations come about? It was actually quite easy. gas prices in texas 2015 As I did before the ’09 season, I started with all the players who’ve won grand slam singles titles from 2010-18 ( names may or may not be soon added, of course), then worked down the list from there. Thus far, 152 players have met the "criteria" for inclusion on the master list, but more could pick up their Honor Roll "prerequisites" before the end of the upcoming season to make the final cut.

The first pruning of the list will occur after the Australian Open, when I’ll also compile a Top 10 list to highlight the players who most brought their "A" games to Melbourne over the most recent 10-year span. I’ll do the same for each of the four slams as the season progresses, then count down the Top 25 ( well, probably with an "honorable mention," so 26) players of the 2010’s after the U.S. Open, and over the final weeks of the 2019 season.

Without further ado and explanation, here are all the up-to-date nominations, with the players placed in the highest of their "qualifying categories," which are listed in descending order of criteria "importance" ( or at least something resembling it), though I *did* add a few additional lists for this decade in order to pay respect to the top level wheelchair stars, as well as widening the doubles net a bit.

…and few here — most notably Makarova, Vandeweghe and Vesnina — have been versatile enough that they would qualify for their *doubles* success alone, as well. Lucic would have met the agreed-upon qualifications for 1990-99 ( for her WS/WD/MX results in the late ’90s), but not for 2000-09, and now does so again for 2010-19. Ah, The Most Interesting Tour. And, we see you there, JJ — you can’t hide!

…though 48 players met the qualifying standard before her, Svitolina is the only one here ( though Mladenovic & Strycova should *contend*… Sveta, who knows?) assured of a spot in the final Decade Top 25, based solely on her regular season prowess and just-won WTA Finals title. She really needs to bump her spot up on this list in ’19, though.

…contenders to possibly jump onto the list? Hmmm. gas exchange in the lungs happens by the process of Not many. gas gangrene Alize Cornet has five titles in the decade, but she was a player who started the ’09 season on the verge of adding her name to the list, too, but ultimately never did. Aryna Sabalenka only has two titles as of now, but *could* ( in a best-case scenario) get hot enough in ’19 to reach eight, though she’s more likely to join the list based on her slam results or Top 10 finish. If Wang Qiang could bring her Asian continental success to the rest of the world, she’d be under consideration, too ( though she’s *already* on the nomination list — as you’ll see later).

…speaking to either the singles-only nature of so many of the *top* stars, the doubles depth, or maybe the absense of long-term "super duos" hogging the big titles, this number is nearly double the number (15) that were on the list to begin the ’09 season. And let the internal debate begin… just how high will Hingis land on the Top 25 list with her 2.0 doubles career? Barty should be able to add some singles numbers to her candidacy in ’19.

In recent seasons, the event has taken on a name. Dubbed our "Carl TALKS Weekend" for the free-to-the-public, all-encompassing series of speeches presented by past alumni and future graduates ( named after BSA’s most senior, ummm, denizen), the activities have grown in scope — literally and figuratively — seemingly every year. This time around, nearly every area of campus was simultaneously utilized to both provide therapy and/or much-needed fun for all involved.

From the Navratilova Hall of Records that stands as the hub of the daily BSA grind to the impressive Henin Hall on the newly-renovated west property, Backspin Academy was decorated with festive banners and student artwork that formed a series of connective bridges between the various centers of action, drawing individuals in and encouraging them to turn both inward and outward in order to make their weekend getaway as rewarding as possible.

A man of few words, Carl nonetheless led the inaugural edition of the sure-to-be-annual Carl Games on The Commons, which featured a series of athletic competitions at which Carl has traditionally thrived, including the "chase with club" game and a few hearty rounds of "Squish" ( oddly enough, Carl seemed to *always* win). The agreed upon highlight of the Games was the the first-ever Elking event held on campus grounds. After hearing about the sport for years, the curious specators were all… um, delighted to finally see it up close and personal on the sprawling lawns on which our students often enjoy a break in the middle of each day.

Joining Carl in demonstrating the finer points of Elking expertise was his son Carlo, who many of us haven’t seen since he was just a boy. Carlo has grown into a fine young man in the interim, and announced to all this weekend that he’d been a 2nd Round draft choice of the Saskatoon Berrypickers of the World Elking League. Carlo showed everyone recent of photos of his mom Carla, twin sister Carlita, and infant sibling Carlie from their recent vacation at the Great Wall of China ( including Carla’s remarkable single-bound leap from one side of the wall to the other… something which has led to some discussions with the Chinese Olympic Federation about relocating the family there, which many of us suspect may be the reason why the rest of the family didn’t make the trip back to campus this year).

In between and surrounding the activities of the Carl Games, campus vistors were thrilled with our offerings this year, as the boundaries of the traditional picnic area were populated by a series of pop-up stores, including those featuring items from longtime supporter Sugarpova ( the CEO even dropped by to autograph a few bars of her new chocolate offerings), Jo Konta’s Homebaked Goods, Michaella Krajicek’s one-of-a-kind artwork and resident poet Diane Dees’ tennis-themed "Nomenclature" brand cosmetics & accessories line ( inspired by the well-received poem of the same name that debuted on Poetry Super Highway earlier this year). With items such as The Light and the Joy Glitter ( the weekend’s best seller), needless to say, the lines stretched nearly all the way to the Sugarpova Cineplex.

Of course, the annual magazine cover collage was a big hit, and the site served as a background for quite a few selfies you’ve surely seen on social media in recent days. electricity how it works The BSA Arts & Crafts Club deserves all the credit for spending the year locating and collecting as many of the tangible tributes to the popularity of our students as possible.

This year, we thought we’d add a taste of the academic experience found on campus, allowing the weekend visitors a glimpse of the sort of discussions that go on within the walls of the Academy on a daily basis. One impromptu class — "Svitology-101" — proved so popular that we’re thinking of adding it to the coming semester’s course catalog. It seems as if it’d fit in rather nicely into the vacant slot left open by the recent cancellation of the no-longer-necessary "Wozniology-101" class that was chocked full of enthusiastic, socially concerned students for years.

Another instructive public class involved the aspect of "How-Not-To Report the News" (aka, according to some in attendance, "tennis news dies in darkness"). NOTE: A few of our younger guests, otherwise distracted last summer, had a difficult time determining from the classroom examples precisely *which* player actually prevailed in London… which we thought sort of proved our point.

As always, we’re very proud of our student body and faculty, even if some of them disappoint us on occasion. The BSA environment is one that embraces sincere attempts at redemption, and our arms are always open to reconciliation with even some of the more wayward members of the community. But even if such evolution never becomes a reality, we are committed to finding alternate ways to coexist. The BSA campus is a large one, and there is room for everyone, for we never lose hope.

Luckily for us, the BSA School for the Performing Arts has stepped up to fully commit the time and effort to truly make Carl TALKS Weekend ( for the record, formerly informally dubbed the "Festival of Ideas," a moniker scrapped when Carl threatened to pull the use of his name from the lecture series event unless an *official* change was enacted) a celebration heard ’round the world, bringing together the talents of students from both near and far.

"How to Insult Officials, Be a Poor Loser and Selfish Opponent, Assume the Role of Victim and Simultaneously Demand That Stated Rules Not Apply to You, and Yet Inspire Unbridled Support Due to Great Past Deeds" – Serena Williams ( followed by a many-sided interpretation of double standards by Martina Navratilova, Sally Jenkins and Barbora Strycova)

Since its founding a short while ago, the works produced in association with the Backspin Academy Center for the Performing Arts have seemingly grown exponentially in both quantity and quality. We’re positively bursting at the seams with pride and a desire for the vast array of talent on campus to be recognized and celebrated. This year’s carefully selected films, plays and streaming entertainment allowed the entire campus community, as well as the general public, to experience the breadth and scope of our student body’s creativity in one big three-day gulp. The entertainment was rolled out 24-hours-day on the weekend ( though the one woman show being given by a certain German won’t take place until later this month, she was generous enough to give out audiences a few brief preview of what’s to come on New Year’s Eve). The whole big deal was kicked off with a casual red carpet affair that preceded the opening of our very first, star-studded presentation…

Of course, the BSA arts community does not discriminate. Student-produced works, art house fare and mainstream big budget international productions are given equal time throughout the year on the screens of the Sugarpova Cineplex. For those who wish to take a break from our exclusive productions to enjoy a few hours of Hollywood-style fun in a different setting, there will be fine additional entertainment choices.

Who will reclaim a leading role on campus, or further grow their current influence? With the slate clean, everyone’s grade point average will once again be 0.0 as 2019 begins, after all. Who will break out of the pack and become a new star? Someone will, of that we can be certain. One year from now, we will know all. gas stoichiometry Today, though, we are a-sea in the darkness.