Fourhand: Azarenka has flower named for her, and more

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Here's a quartet of items you may have missed recently, or that flared up just yesterday, in the tennis world. Buckle up; there are some doozies here. That said, we'll start off light:

VIVACIOUS  Victoria Azarenka found out in the past week that a flower has been named after her. The honor was "amazing," Vika tweeted,and you can see the "Va-Va Victoria" blooms here. The flower's keepers say in a written statement exclusive to “The HGTV HOME Plant Collection's Va-Va Victoria™ rose is beautiful, strong and resilient. We chose to name it after Victoria Azarenka because she represents all of these things.” So what about that Carefree Caroline? A Wozniacki homage? Answer: No.

KING IS QUEEN  A multi-threat upstart named Billie Jean King—activist, author, speaker, tennis player—will serve as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. President Barack Obama and FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, are sitting out the trip, a perceived slight to Russian president Vladimir Putin. What's more, the move signals Obama's response to the next Olympic host nation's law regarding gay "propaganda." [See The Spin's exclusive Q&A with Billie Jean here.]

OVERSHARE-APOVA?  In a lengthy New York Times piece by ace scribe Christopher Clarey, Maria Sharapova sounds off on a wide swath of topics, including would-be rival Serena Williams ("Absolutely, I'm glad she exists"), her impending Sochi TV-presenter work for NBC, her bum shoulder, flash-in-the-pan coach Jimmy Connors, paramour Grigor Dimitrov, and more. Some of the Russian's statements about both Serena and her Siberian homeland's law largely considered anti gay may land her in hot water Down Under once the WTA Tour's Brisbane tournament gets underway. Waiting there for her: the No. 1 Williams.

DOUBLES TROUBLE  First, John McEnroe spouted off about the state of doubles tennis at the ATP World Tour level these days. It was a matter of time (mere days) before the backlash peaked, as it did with Brazilian Bruno Soares's comments that basically amounted to saying that McEnroe is aloof and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would lose to Bob and Mike Bryan.

What to say about this little doubles tiff? Obama's gesture? Sharapova's statements? And Vika's flower? There's much afoot here.


Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.

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