Google Down the Line!: 2007-06-24

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wimbledon Week 2: Who's Got the Buzz?

Week 1 of Wimby is in the dust, but who are some of the newer faces making noise going into the second week? Grab your strawberries and cream because we're about to take a look...

American Laura Granville, a former NCAA standout from Stanford, has been making the rounds on the WTA Tour for a number of years now. This week, the 26 year old beat 5-time Grand Slam champ and former Wimby titlist Martina "Marty" Hingis in the third round. Her next opponent in the round of 16 is...

Michaella Krajichek from the Netherlands. This 18 year old is sister's with former Wimby champ Richard Krajichek. She's certainly on the rise - she beat current world #7 Russian Anna Chakvetadze in a gruelling 3 setter in the last round.

Lookin' like a young Muhammed Ali, 22 year old Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a heavyweight with a game to match. This Frenchman is the REAL DEAL and could make a name for himself this week.

Janko Tipsarevic joins his countrymen, and women, from Serbia as they storm the tennis world. We love Tipsy's (as he's affectionately known) tattoos and shotmaking skills, so we hope to see him for many Slams to come.

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

Friday, June 29, 2007

+ Netcords

- Starting in 2008 the season-ending WTAChampionships will be held in October, giving the players 2 extra weeks of vacation. Next locale: Qatar.

- Controversy is brewing again for the doubles pairing of Israel's Shahar Peer and India's Sania Mirza, a Muslim.

- On a personal note: my darkhorse, James Blake, went down to J.C. Ferrero in another disappointing showing at The All England Club. Oh well, Nikki Vaidisova, my darkhorse from the women's draw is alive and hitting.

Part V: Player Quotes from Wimbledon

Q. Just to clarify, you said it's all on the internet, this part, but your coach made you drink three liters of orange juice or something every day, and was your former coach stalking you and your current husband came in as a private detective to keep him away? Is that the story? What is the story?
A. That was yeah, sort of. But that's not the story you're going to read about. You're going to read about it, but it's not a big deal.

Q. But did you feel you needed a private detective or was it your parents?
A. Yeah, it was more my parents. No, it was not myself. I felt I was always in control of everything I did.

- Patty Schnyder

Q. Can I ask you what strings you use?
A. What strings? For grass I use kind of synthetic and gut, half and half.

Q. Synthetic in the mains and guts in the cross?
A. Yeah.

- Gonzo

Q. On the BBC they were claiming you might have been inspired by meeting Jonathan Ross on his talk show.
A. That's definitely provided all my inspiration to doing well in The Championships.

Q. How was that for you?
A. It was fun. He's a great guy. I had a lot of fun.

- ReRe Williams

Q. Would you say she's the best player in the game when [Serena's] playing her best, or do you think Justine is a little bit better than her?
A. It's a very close call. I would say at the moment Justine is the best player.

Q. So there's going to be no bump, no Serena slamming into you on the changeovers this time?
A. I hope not (laughing).

- Dani Hantuchova

Wimbledon in Vogue

Okay, one more fashion nugget I couldn't resist:

No doubt chiming in on the latest in the tennis fashion debate, Vogue head honcho Anna Wintour gets some rays while watching Roger Federer battle Marat Safin today. Do you think she consulted with ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone on her take on this year's fashion?

Sunglasses or not, we'd recognize the hard-bob haircut anywhere.

Tattoo You

I've seen and read my fill of tennis fashion for Wimbledon this year and I'm ready to move on. How about what's underneath all those frocks?

Check out cutie Janko Tipsarevic, one of the lesser known players from rising Serbia, and his cool tattoos. There must be more - but where?

Does anyone know what it says?

(UPDATE: Tipsy discusses the tattoos at his post-match press conference.

Q. A lot of people will have seen your tattoo. I understand it says, "Beauty will save the world." What are you trying to say with that quote?
A. In my free time I like to read. One of the favorite writers is the Russian guy, Dostoyevsky. The quote, "The beauty will save the world" is from a book called "Idiot" where the main character believes in the idea that the inner beauty will save the world, and because of that idea he dies at the end. This book means a lot to me in my personal ways because I have ideas about life because of this quote.

Q. Is that one quotation?
A. The left one is "Beauty will save the world" and the right one is the first two letters of the names of the members of my family: father, mother, me and brother.)

I'm sure many other players have tattoos - we must investigate...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

+ Netcords Special Edition: Boys of Summer

Just a little afternoon distraction...

Part IV: Player Quotes from Wimbledon

Q. You complained about the prices of the food at Wimbledon. What about the standard of the food that players are served? Should they be given more international cuisine?
A. Compared to the prices, for a plate of pasta, it's costing around £10, right? For £10, which is $20, you can have a great pasta at Cipriani in New York.

Q. What is the quality like?
A. Definitely not the Cipriani of New York. Everybody knows this restaurant. I think it's one of the best restaurants in New York. Also in Moscow, one of the most expensive, and we have a better pasta for 20 bucks, that's for sure.

- Marat Safin

Q. Could you talk about your song ambitions? What are your thoughts there?
A. Yeah, I never talk about this a lot, but I just love music. I play the guitar. I don't think I'll really learn to play the piano because I travel too much. Nowadays all you have to have is a computer, and if you know a new chords, you can speed it up to what tempo you want, and you're there. So there's do overs in your own little computer studio.

I guess I'd like to write probably pop. I really love electronica and house. My sister is really a great writer. I told her, please, I want to be just like you. Hopefully it will rub off on me.

- Venus Williams

Q. On the men's tour fashion seems to be coming more and more prevalent. It's not just the women that everyone talk about now. You've done modeling bits. Can you explain that a bit more. Also why do you think there's a growing trend of men wanting to look good on the court?
A. Maybe the girls were looking so good we wanted to impress them, catch their eye a little bit.

- James Blake

Q. Before your matches, how do you relax?
A. I like to have maybe 15, 20 minutes just by myself to listen to iPod, just some music. Depends on the mood I'm in. And then it's important, too, to have a good warmup, to sweat a little bit. That helps me also with the nerves.

Q. What's on your iPod?
A. I have lot of things. Usually it's R&B and house music also.

- Ana Ivanovic

Q. Are you religious?
A. Well, yeah. I'm Catholic.

- Roger Federer

Tennis Fashion: In or Out?

The female players on the WTA Tour aren't the only ones dodging constant questions and debate about their tennis fashion at Wimbledon this week. We've all seen and heard about Roger Federer's latest Nike tennis fashion - cream blazer (with pants this year), sneakers, shirts, and duffle bag with gold accents, etc. He's the King of Centre Court, and as such, should be adorned as one. According to ESPN's Greg Garber:

"Last year, sponsor Nike created a cream-colored sports jacket Federer wore entering and departing the court. This season's swinging fashion statement -- perhaps second only to Maria Sharapova's Swan Lake-inspired dress -- is the matching Fred Perry-era trousers. When Federer peeled the pants off after warming up, the crowd at Court 1 cheered. The truly breathtaking thing about Federer is his ability to summon excellence pretty much at whim."

Roger Federer does know how to make a statement. But is it too much fashion? I give high marks to the blazer and pants. The outfit ties in a visual element to Fed's historical quest for a record-tying fifth Wimbledon championship in a row. The bag, however, is too flashy and, dare I say, feminine. In his press conference after his 2nd round win, and 50th straight win on grass, over 18-year-old Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, Federer said of men's tennis fashion:

"Yeah, well, I think it's important to look good on the court. I think we could have better outfits on tour in general. I had the idea last year of the jacket. Of course, this year we followed it up with an entire outfit because the idea came kind of short before Wimbledon so I didn't have much time to create something. But the jacket still created kind of a nice buzz. This year I enjoy wearing the entire outfit again."

The fashion helps to market the game in a really great way and gives the tournaments pre-event buzz and great word-of-mouth. It adds a dimension to the players, and as a result, the game benefits. But no worries. In the second week of the tournament, all the tennis eyes will be firmly planted on the real contenders for the Wimbledon crown and order will be restored.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Part III: Player Quotes from Wimbledon

Q. How do you feel when people say you are the prettiest girl ever to play at Wimbledon?
A. Thank you. I'm very flattered.

Q. You didn't get any Valentine's Day cards at all?
A. Few messages, but no cards. I'm sure they were shy (smiling).

- Ana Ivanovic

Q. What is it you really love about the involvement with horses?
A. I think it's a great creature. It's a beautiful animal. So powerful, gives you so much energy. When you're out on the trails, just really the force of the horse. You're kind of in control sometimes. It's just amazing. I always loved things with speed. That's why I love skiing. I like cars. Horses are a different way. It's a little bit of a risk, too. I know. I try not to go to the limits, push it to the limits, always know where the area of limits are. I mean, of course, you can't always tell. I don't know. You're never alone.

Q. Did you know the Wimbledon champion Maureen Connolly had a serious horseback injury?
A. Yeah, it can happen any time. Other people have car accidents.

- Marty Hingis

Q. Can I ask you about your knickers?
A. Excuse me?

Q. Are you wearing red?
A. Are they? They're supposed to match the dress.

Q. But the dress is white and the knickers are red.
A. There's like a little red outline, and they say red is the color that proves that you're strong and you're confident, so I'm happy with my red knickers.

Q. Did you have any sort of grief from the umpires or any of the authorities sort of saying that they didn't fit with the dress code, or were they okay?
A. No, I think it's totally in the dress code. You didn't like it?

Q. No, I thought they were lovely.
A. Thank you. So let's have compliments then. Such threatening questions right away.

Q. They were lovely and I'd quite like a pair. I was wondering, are you going to keep on wearing them?
A. I think so, as long as I keep on winning.

- Tati Golovin

Q. Is it weird because here your sister is, you're so close to her, but yet she is such a different personality type.
A. I know, it's so weird. We're so close. We have complete opposite personalities almost. I guess it works well. Geminis and Libras are like a perfect match. That's what I credit it to.

Q. Air signs?
A. Yeah, I don't know. Are they both?

Q. Which one are you?
A. I'm a Libra and she's a Gemini.

- ReRe Williams

Q. What do you think about tennis players being on dating shows like Mark Philippoussis? Did you see the show?
A. No, I didn't. But I did TiVo it. I can't wait to go home and watch it. Can you find love on a reality show? I don't know.

Q. Would you be tempted?
A. I don't think I'd be able to find love on a reality show personally 'cause I think I have to get to know someone for years. He's a little older, so he might have more of an idea of what he's looking for.

- ReRe Williams, Pt. II

Q. What do you like about Wimbledon?
A. The strawberries! I eat too many of them! The people are really nice here. I’m not a great fan of England but everyone’s really nice here. There’s a special type of atmosphere here.

Q. Are the fans different here?
A. Yes. In Paris, the public tens to warm to me a lot more and it’s like being at home. I like it here and in Australia as well. The US is the toughest. People seem to turn up to do anything except watch the actual tennis…

- Justine Henin

Wimbledon Tennis Fashion Outrage!

Thanks to for tipping us off to the current outrage over the focus on tennis fashion at Wimby. British blogger DollyMix had this to say about Maria Shriekapova's coverage in the rags:

"Why take the time to describe her performance in the match when there's a cute story about how the All England's Club releases a hawk first thing in the morning to scare off pigeons and -golly gee- we hope they don't mistake Maria for a real swan, tee hee. Even the photo captions of Maria completely ignore the fact that she looks pumped, athletic, and victorious, as one caption reads: "Russian star Maria Sharapova is worried the Wimbledon hawk may be attracted to her dress that has swan-like wings on the back.""

I thought she looked both athletic and beautiful in her opening-round win against Chan Yung-Jan of Taiwan. In her press interview after the match the questions were a balance between both match analysis and fashion. I think it adds another dimension to the players, and therefore the sport. But you can't control what the rags will print.

What do you think?

+ Netcords

- Ever wanted to look like your fave tennis star? Now's your chance with BBC's downloadable player masks!. They come in 5 flavors: Nadal, Federer, Murray, Henman, and Myskina.

- The Sisters Sledge will lead the U.S. Fed Cup team in the semifinals against big ol' Russia on July 14 - 15. Now if only Shrieka would play...

- Apparently, Safin can't afford spaghetti at The All England Club these days. Maybe he should try winning some time.

Venus' Signature Shot

I caught this clip of Venus Williams during yesterday's Wimbledon coverage on ESPN. Venus gives her advice and shows her technique on her signature shot - the return of serve - all the while looking like she just left a photoshoot.

Clearly Venus put her own advice to good use in yesterday's near loss to a 19 year old Russian qualifier in the first round. Her champion mettle came shining through - lookin' good V!

(clip courtesy of ESPN)

Fed and the Greats of Tennis

Check it - here's the latest BBC trailer for Wimby 2007. The clip features the current king of grass - Roger Federer - playing against past kings AND queens of the court. It's fitting since his biggest competition is history itself. Brilliant!

(clip courtesy of BBC)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Part II: Player Quotes from Wimbledon

Q. Do you know who your fourth round opponent could be?
A. I have no idea.

Q. So you don't want me to tell you?
A. I don't care.

Q. Serena.
A. Okay. First I think we both need to get there.

- Dani Hantuchova

Q. You said you've got Federer in the third round if you get past Qureshi. You've beaten him before at the Australian Open.
A. Yeah, I need to play my next match against Qureshi so let's look at this one first. My position shouldn't be looking any farther than my second round match.

Q. Do you think people worry too much about Federer, get too nervous when they play him, give him too much respect?
A. I don't really think about Federer. Any other players don't really, really care, and why should I care about them?

- Marat Safin

Q. What sort of things do you cook?
A. Pasta, everything, everything.

Q. Cakes?
A. What's "cakes"? Yes, because was the birthday of Albert Costa. We cooked for the happy birthday.

- Rafa Nadal

Q. Do you identify with swans in some way?
A. In what way?

Q. You made a point of it being a sort of a swan inspired dress.
A. It is, yeah.

Q. Do you feel some sort of kinship with the bird?
A. I don't think that was the initial inspiration with the dress. Originally it didn't have as many pleats in the back. I wanted there to be more of a pleat effect in the back, and I think the end result made it look more like a swan. Even on a hanger, it doesn't look as swan-ish as it does on me (laughter).

I don't know. I just put reference to it because a swan is usually white, right, unless it's weird.

Q. They are a protected bird here.
A. Was that really necessary (laughter)?

Q. Do you think they have a hawk here?
A. A hawk? It's a swan.

Q. They have a real hawk patrolling the grounds every day at 9:00.
A. Does the hawk usually bite the swan? I don't know, does it? Jesus, I might have to cut those pleats away.

- Maria Shriekapova

Q. Will you agree that match was very tight and very close?
A. Yeah, it was definitely a well competed match. I think the fans enjoy that. It was nice because I could definitely feel that they were enjoying when I was playing well and coming back.

Q. Did you enjoy it?
A. I enjoyed the part when I was winning (smiling).

- Venus Williams

+ Netcords

- ReRe Williams is America's favorite female athlete, beating out Shriekapova and her own sister, Venus. One question: how is Anna K. still on this list?

- My Wimby darkhorse, James Blake, is releasing the book "Breaking Back", the story of how he overcame major adversity in 2005 including the death of his father, Thomas, and breaking veterbrae in his neck after sliding into a net post. He ended 2006 as the #4 player in the world on the ATP.

- 15 top WTA players will offer their advice on healthy living in Whirlpool's “Love Life” book – an exclusive compilation of lifestyle tips from your fave players. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.

Sharapova Exclusive: "A Work in Progress" just released a web exclusive with none other than Maria Shriekapova. She talks to Ginanne Brownell about tennis, fame, and her chances this year at Wimby. Here are some excerpts:

Q. Do people stop you on the street and ask for advice on their serve?

A. Sometimes. I was eating at Nobu in California right before I left and a lady came up to me and asked me for my autograph for her granddaughter. Then she said, “You know I have been having this shoulder pain for a while, what should I do?” And I said, “Well that is a coincidence because I have had a shoulder injury and here is what I have been doing.” (Laughs) I try to keep it short and sweet.

Q. Do you think you will win this year? Who could pose a serious threat to you?

A. Apart from my shoulder injury—the right shoulder—it is probably the only thing that I can say right now that can really stop me from having the confidence [that I will win]. But these are just words and you have to go out there and do it somehow.

Q. Did winning the U.S. Open last year help solidify your presence in tennis?

A. Throughout my career, even before I won Wimbledon, I never felt I had to prove anything to anyone. I realize my parents gave me an incredible opportunity to come to the U.S. [from Russia] and play tennis. I never really stood back and thought this is what I want to do. [After] I won Wimbledon, it was two and a half years before I won the U.S. Open and I was still becoming the player I am now. I was a work in progress and I still am. I am 20 and that is pretty young. It is a different feeling after winning your second slam. You feel like you have more experience.

Q. You are one of the most marketed female athletes in the world at the moment. Do you enjoy that part of the job?

A. I love trying different things. I get bored with one thing. I have been able to work with all my sponsors. Everything from details on my dress to telling a company my inspiration for their product…Everything still amazes me. From seeing a billboard to watching a commercial I shot a few months ago. It’s like, “Wow, that is me on TV.” I do not think I will every get used to that. It is really not normal. (Giggles)

Q. There seem to be these two Marias—the sexy, confident tennis player who leaves opponents in her wake and the Maria who collects stamps and is said to still get star struck. Which one is really you?

A. I am sure if I saw myself on television playing tennis and pumping my fist and saying “Come ON!” every time, I would say, “Jeez that girl is very unapproachable, she is like steel.” (Giggles) So I guess the coolest thing about my Web site is that I can interact with my fans. I mean that is who I am, I dedicate six hours a day to my sport, but at the end of the day I just turned 20. My life is really about laughing and hanging out with family and friends.
(courtesy of; image by Fred Prouser / Reuters file)

Monday, June 25, 2007

+ Netcords

- Legend and trailblazer Althea Gibson won the ladies' singles title at Wimby 50 years ago and became the first black player to do so, reports The Independent

The Djoker tells The Telegraph that "if I won [Wimbledon], I would probably take all my clothes off." We're all hoping you keep your promise!

- ReRe Williams is up for "Best Championship Performance" at The ESPY Awards for her stunning win down under at The Aussie Open this year. The awards will be televised on ESPN on July 15 at 9pm. Vote for ReRe!

Player Quotes from Wimbledon

Q. At the French Open you might have heard about Federer, Djokovic, Nadal doing some karaoke to promote the tournament. If Wimbledon asked you to do the same thing, one would you do it and two, what would your tune be?
A: I don't sing.

Q. Not at all?
A. No, not at all. I don't sing. It wouldn't be fun. It would start raining.

- ReRe Williams

Q. What about your outfit here at Wimbledon this year? Anything special about it?
A. Yeah, it's Swan Lake inspired.

Q. I have no clue what that means.
A. When you see it, you'll see a swan. You'll be inspired. My coach saw it the other day and he said he started feeding bread to it, so he got it (smiling).

- Maria Shriekapova

Q. Slight difference this year. Federer didn't play Halle. Seemed to particularly have taken the French Open defeat in the final quite badly, for a few days at least.
A. Did he say that or are you guys saying that?

Q. It's another year, isn't it? It's another French Open final, isn't it? Another defeat. Maybe he's thinking, Am I ever going to win this damn thing?
A. Know what that's like.

- A-Rod

Q. Do you think that your attitude mentally is too negative before you even start to play on grass?
A. Negative, why? I say the true, no?

Q. You feel almost as Federer will beat you before you go on court.
A. He didn't say that.

Q. That's just my impression.
A. Is your impression.

- Rafa Nadal

(Interview transcripts courtesy of

Serena Williams on BBC

Here's ReRe on Britain's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. I think ReRe looks so good but isn't she wearing the same red dress she wore to the pre-Wimby party last week? I really love her new look.

Take a peek before it's taken down!

(courtesy BBC)

+ Weekend Winners

Eastbourne - Henin d. Mauresmo 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2). Foreshadowing? In a repeat of last year's Wimby final, the Belgian comes out on top this time over her French rival. This is great preperation for Henin to complete the career Grand Slam, beating the Wimby defending champion on arguably her best surface. Now can she pull out a third set tie-break, or even get to one, against ReRe Williams, her potential quarterfinal challenger and greatest rival.

Ordina Open - Ivan "Lubi" Ljubicic beat unseeded Peter Wessels of the Netherlands 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), and the third-seeded Anna Chakvetadze beat top-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3. It was the second title of the year for both Ljubicic and Chakvetadze. Lubi is an enigma but when he's on a hot streak, he can be dangerous. He won't do much of anything at The Big W but it's a nice win for the Croatian veteran. Weird Al loses some steam in the final and loses to up-n-coming Russian Chaka, who made it into the Top 10 this year. Chaka is a bit of an emoticon, having her latest tantrum at last month's French Open, losing easily to Shriekapova. But, this win should give Chaka some confidence go into Wimby and she could, at the very least, live up to her seeding (#8).

Nottingham - "Dr. Ivo" Karolvic d. Arnaud Clement 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Dr. Ivo is always a dangerous opponent on a grass court for anyone in the draw, so look for him to have a few wins but nothing more this week.

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