The tennis year starts with a bang in January at the Australian Open - one of the sport's four cornerstone events right out of the blocks.
That inevitably leads to an anticlimactic month of February devoid of events that remain in the tennis conscientiousness beyond the money and ranking points they provide for the players.
This year's February has been spiced up by interesting news regarding former world No. 1 (currently No. 3), Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has sparked a flurry of speculation in the media by making an appearance in the latest video by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira. They appear as a couple for her song "Gypsy," which is part of her new release "She Wolf."
While Paris Match magazine had a catchy, provocative headline, "Idylle Latine?" (Latin Idyl?) about the two, the rumours are surely untrue. Nadal's publicist and close associate, Benito Perez-Barbadillo, said about talk that Nadal and Shakira had been dining alone in Barcelona before the video shoot, "we were all there, and Shakira only came when we'd finished the main course to have something to drink, accompanied by her manager, Ceci Kurzman and Jaume (de Laiguana, a photographer/video producer)."
In explaining why she chose Nadal for the video, Shakira was quoted as saying, "I thought that maybe I needed someone I could in some way identify with. And Rafael Nadal is a person who has been totally committed to his career since he was very young. Since he was 17, I believe."
She added about Gypsy, the name of her song, "I've been on the road since I was very, very young, so that's where the gypsy metaphor comes from."
They certainly make a fine-looking couple but there is little chance there is anything going on.
To begin with, they both have long-standing significant others. Shakira has been going out with banker Antonio de la Rua, son of former Argentine president Fernando de la Rua, for close to 10 years. Nadal's steady girlfriend of about four years has been Francisca "Xisca" Perello, a fellow Majorcan.
Anyone who has had anything to do with Nadal knows he is one of the most honourable and genuinely caring champions in the history of tennis. It would be completely out of character for him to do something like this to Perello.
Also, Nadal was deeply affected when his parents, Ana Maria and Sebastian, split up early last year. It is hard to imagine him doing the video with Shakira in any way that would hurt Perello.
The whole affair has stirred up memories of another tennis player who shot a steamy video with a pop star - Anna Kournikova who appeared with singer Enrique Iglesias in his "Escape" in 2002. They have now been together for many years but it is highly improbable Nadal and Shakira will have the same fate.