Google Down the Line!: 2007-12-02

Friday, December 7, 2007

SIGHTING: Behind the scenes at Maria Sharapova's Gatorade G2 commercial shoot

Maria "Shriek"apova is looking to improve her#3 ranking on the recent Forbes 20 Under 25 list by building a bigger portfolio. The World No. 5 took time out to shoot a commercial endorsement for the new power drink Gatorade G2 in Miami. The spot is scheduled to debut during the Australian Open next year. After shooting the commercial, Maria attended the Miami Heat basketball game where she got giddy for a free goody.

(images via

THE LOW DOWN: John McEnroe suspects mafia involvement in tennis match-fixing

Is the tennis world being infiltrated by the mafia? Likely, according to John McEnroe. Tennis' most famous loud-mouth told The Daily Telegraph,

"The thing that worries me is that mafia types, like the Russian mafia, could be involved. That's potentially pretty dark and scary, [...] I think that's the side that people aren't really looking at with these match-fixing stories. Someone may have threatened the players, and they are put in a situation. I'm guessing that could happen. That would make more sense to me than top players throwing a match for money."

"Throwing a match for money would be stupid, as you would be risking losing what you've worked for your whole life. It seems crazy that players would take that risk for money. It would make more sense that they've been threatened in some way and that's why they're doing it."

Oh, the ol' mafia excuse again. Why is McEnroe allowed to propogate this type of stereotyping publicly without consequence? It's unfortunate and unnecessary.

Is it completely inconceiveable for a player to match-fix from pure greed? Not to us.

(image via

Thursday, December 6, 2007

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Andy, Lleyton, James vs. Serena, Pete vs. Steffi...Team Andy criticized, Puma plays tennis and more

- Bargain basement: Dipping their toe into the tennis conversation that is equal pay for women, Sportingo asks: in their prime, who was the better bargain for tournament organizers: Steffi Graf or Pete Sampras? "Consider the following: Pete Sampras finished his career with 14 Grand Slams and Steffi Graf, his contemporary, with 22. She also has 107 titles to her name, 43 more than Sampras. Yet Sampras finished with double the prize money of Graf. The reason is simple; men get higher prize money than women. The question, however, is why?"

- James Blake and Serena Williams will headline the 5th annual Anthem LIVE! in Norfolk, Virginia, which supports cancer research. Mardy Fish and Tatiana Golovin will also be on hand to support the cause.

- The Brits are split on Andy Murray's decision to choose a team over a single coach to help build his career. The recently retired Tim Henman told The Herald, "Andy's made a decision he wants to go in a different direction, and, as your own boss, that's your prerogative. He's now going to assemble the people around him and hopefully move forward from there."

Fellow retiree Greg Rusedski, however, isn't so keen on the 20-year old's decision saying, "You need to have one coach leading the whole situation, like there was Gilbert before, [...] "It will be interesting to see who will be the main person in his camp because with all these personalities someone's got to put a programme together, whether it's a physical trainer, the mental side, and there has to be someone who oversees all those things, [...] I was a little surprised with the team of advisors route he went down, I thought he'd hire another top coach."

The Brits aren't the only ones with an opinion about Andy's decision, though. Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich, backing Rusedski's position, thinks this decision might be based on something other than tennis saying, " someone who still needs to develop both his game and as a person I think it might not be helpful for Andy to have a big entourage. [...] I think it can be dangerous having a big entourage, but Andy has to find out himself. [...] He shouldn't start feeling too special about the fact that he might be able to hire five or six people, who cost a lot of money."

- Martina keeps moving: The legendary Martina Navratilova has signed on to be the new Health & Fitness Ambassador for AARP, the world’s largest advocacy organization for people over age 50, showing all of us that age is really just a number.

- Lleyton in waiting: Aussie hot-head Lleyton Hewitt is preparing for his full assault on his country's Grand Slam with a rigorous training regimen with coach Tony Roche. The former World No. 1 told Adelaide Now, "I'm hitting every day with Rochey for three hours, [...] I'd be spending about the same time in the gym each day. [...] By the time the Australian Open comes around, I'd be fitter than I ever have been going into it." Lleyton believes this could give him the edge he needs over the top players, including Roger Federer, saying "I'm going to be a lot fresher than Federer, [...] Even when you look at (Novak) Djokovic, (Rafael) Nadal ... (Nikolai) Davydenko were getting tired at the Masters Cup so I'm going to be a lot fresher than those guys but I've just got to try and get some matches under my belt."

- Shopping for a tennis fashionista this holiday season? Puma has just released the Lydia Holiday Tennis Bag in black-dazzling blue, made from eco-friendly materials and featuring a pocket for your 'racquet' - though this is more fashion than function, of course.

- Getting to know Davis Cup champion Andy Roddick. Most revealing moment: "Favorite TV Shows: 'Lost. My Name Is Earl. I love My Name Is Earl. Don't know if it's because I get the trailer park humor since my parents lived in one before they got married, but I think the show is hilarious.'"

- Sentimental for Seles: The Daily Forehand runs down their list of Monica Seles' top-5 clashes. No. 1? The classic battle between Seles and Graf in the 1992 French Open final.

- Mats Wilander, who recently worked with Tatiana Golovin before parting ways with the Frenchwoman has signed on to co-coach another Frenchie: headcase Paul-Henri Mathieu

(images via TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images,

Jelena Jankovic joins UNICEF as National Ambassador to Serbia

TENNIS 2007 Shank Award winner Jelena Jankovic attended a press conference in Belgrade today where she was officially appointed a UNICEF Ambassador to Serbia. The World No. 3 joins Roger Federer, who recently filmed a World AIDS Day spot for UNICEF, and fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic as ambassadors for the global organization.

(image via DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

FASHION FIX: Maria Sharapova auctions off US Open Nike evening dress, purges remaining bad energy

It's official: Maria "Shriek"apova has moved on from her US Open '07 nightmare. Back in October, the Russian fashionista purged herself of bad energy by auctioning off the white Nike day dress she wore while suffering two straight disappointing losses.

Now comes word via her site that the red Nike evening dress, autographed by Maria, is gonners too. The frock is being auctioned off to benefit the Maria Sharapova Foundation and will be available for bids through Wednesday, December 19th.

To take a chance at grabbing the dress, click here.

VIDEO VAULT: Tennis players and the people, or things, they look like

Tennis twosomes: We stumbled upon this hysterical You Tube video today that reminded us of our Separated at Birth posts. It shows tennis players and the people - or sometimes things - they look like. A few items to note: 1) The person who made this video put tons of thought behind these choices 2) This person clearly has a lot of time on his/her hands 3) Radek Stepanek is gonna be pissed!

Gallery of the Unknown Tennis Player #6

Did you figure out who the mystery player's were from last Friday's GUTP quiz? If you guessed Andy Roddick and Daniela Hantuchova then kudos to you!

Here are today's secret tennis stars. Take your best guess...

"I'm the youngest woman's No. 1 in history, yet I can't catch a break. I've been accused of hitting the nose candy, but I say my urine samples got all screwed up. Now my career is tainted - no pun intended, of course. Who am I?"

"I'm mad...mad I say! I need to get myself to Anger Management 101 or a head shrinker at the very least. The media keeps bashing me because my personality constantly overshadows my immense talent . Who am I?"

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: The US Davis Cup team enjoys some 'manly moments'

One of the best things, we think, about sports is seeing grown men get all touchy-feely with each other when something great happens - a Super Bowl win, World Series title, an NBA Championship. But as an individual sport, tennis usually misses out on these 'manly moments'...unless it's Davis Cup. The US team's fantastic win over defending champions Russia this past weekend gave the men a great opportunity to celebrate in the best way possible: with a little man-on-man action.

See? A little man-on-man lovin' never hurt anyone...

(images via AP Photo)

THE LOW DOWN: Are Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova heading down the aisle?

Did Enrique Iglesias finally propose to Anna Kournikova? The rumor mills have been buzzing since the Russian tennis star was spotted wearing a $6 million diamond ring on her left ring finger. According to reports,
"[Iglesias] has previously refused to confirm the couple is engaged, but the sportswoman was photographed in London wearing a diamond on her left hand on Tuesday (04Dec07) in London. Earlier in the evening, the pair had enjoyed a romantic but unique meal in the capital - the chef at Japanese eaterie Sapporo Teppanyaki lobbed food at the pair so they could catch it in their mouths."
The couple have been dating since 2002, after Anna starred as the latin singer's girlfriend in the video for hit 'Escape'.

(image via

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Maria Sharapova makes Forbes 20 Under 25 list, pulls in $23 million

We can see why Maria "Shriek"apova was all smiles over the weekend, even though she wasn't making money on the tennis court. Forbes magazine released their annual 20 Under 25 list, which ranks the Top-Earning Young Superstars and which makes the rest of us want to cry (psychology degree? dumb!). The Russian fashionista came in at a respectable #3 after bringing in a cool $23 million from June 2006 - 07. Here's what Forbes had to say about the Maria money-making machine:
"Tennis' 'It' girl struggled with injuries in 2007, winning only one tournament and banking $1.7 million on the court. That's down from five tourney wins and $3.8 million in prize money the previous year. Not to worry, Sharapova's endorsement portfolio is one of the strongest in sports. This year she added Pepsi as a sponsor to an already impressive roster that includes Nike, Canon, Colgate-Palmolive and Motorola."
Phew - after her said struggles this year, it's good to know Maria won't need to break the piggy bank any time soon...or ever.

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Young Roger Federer shows off continental forehand for Gillette

We all know Roger Federer has one of the most feared forehands on the ATP Tour. But do you think he'd be World No. 1 if he was still hitting that shot with a continental grip? In the new Gillette Champions commercial for holiday entitled "Home Movies", the stars of the Gillette commericials -Roger, Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry - provide rare footage of their younger playing days. The ad shows a skinny, mop-topped 11-year old Federer unwrapping his new racquet then sliding on the red clay hitting a continental forehand. Check it out...

(image via

TENNIS 2007 AWARDS: The Shank Award

So we've arrived at our second TENNIS 2007 Award. Last week, we awarded Serena Williams the first award for Best Dramatic Performance which took place during her 4th round Wimbledon show. The second award is for the biggest choke in a match this year - we're calling it The Shank Award. This most deserving player gave us a few matches to choose from this year but this match beats out the rest.

The Shank Award - Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic met rising 18-year old star Agnes Szavay for the first time in the final of the China Open and was expected to pull out an easy win over her more inexperienced opponent. The first set was very tight affair, ending with the Serb overcoming a 0-5 deficit in the tie-breaker and winning 7-6. She carried the momentum into the second set, racing to a indomitable 5-1 lead, or so she thought. The Hungarian, who began the year ranked 207th, launched an impressive comeback breaking back the World No. 3, winning the second set 7-5, and dominating the third 6-2 for her second, and biggest, title of her fledgling career.

After the match, Jelena acknowledged her opponent's talent saying,
"She's a youngster and she's got huge potential and for sure we'll see a lot more of her."
Tennis insiders said the same thing about you, Jelena, when you were but a youngling on the tennis tour. Now it's time to put or, well, you know the rest. In any case, congrats Jelena on your TENNIS 2007 Shank Award!

P.S. Didn't catch the match? Click here to view the 2007 China Open final.

Monday, December 3, 2007

PHOTO OP: Andy Murray reveals pop-up hairdo to the world

Down the Line! has been confronted with another 'hairy situation' on the men's tour. Clearly shielding the unsuspecting public from the underbelly of his baseball cap, Andy Murray posted these pics of his pop-up hairdo on his blog with the top photo labeled 'Option 1' and the one below is 'Option 2'. Can we P-P-P-PLEASE have an 'Option 3'?

(images via

THE LOW DOWN: Will Monica Seles return to tennis action next year?

The second coming: Could Monica Seles be planning a second return to tennis action next year? According to On the Baseline the 9-time Grand Slam champion revealed her intentions of a return to the LA Times saying,
“I certainly would not ever be able to do a full schedule again, because of the foot, [...] but I’m thinking about the Slams and about some of the bettertournaments that lead into them."
And when will the former No. 1 make the final decision?
“I won’t decide for sure until the beginning of the year, and the Australian is certainly not possible, [...] But Miami - maybe.”
At the age of 34, however, she will not be able to make an impact on the tour. In today's game, movement is just as important as fitness and power, and that was never Monica's strength even in her prime. She is one of tennis' greatest champions and most likely wants to end her career on her own terms, and rightfully so.

SIGHTING: Maria Sharapova enjoys some Miami Heat

Maria "Shriek"apova was spotted on a different kind of court this past weekend. The former World No. 1 watched on as the Boston Celtics dribbled past the Miami Heat winning 95-85. The Russian millionairess got giddy when she grabbed a t-shirt thrown by a Miami Heat dancer. Free is free!

(images via AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

PHOTO OP: US wins record 32nd Davis Cup championship

Congratulations to the US Davis Cup team for their determined three-and-out performance this weekend and a record 32nd Davis Cup title. Andy Roddick bullied Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, James Blake battled for a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-3) defeat of Mikhail Youznhy, and Bob and Mike Bryan clinched the championship defeating Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-2.

We'd also like to give huge kudos to USA Today and Douglas Robson for having the guts to keep consistent coverage of the Davis Cup in the national spotlight.

(images via Getty)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

INSTANT REPLAY: a look back at this week's top tennis plays


A legend and his heir apparent square off
They say Serena has a new man...and some old hose
Sveta can't dance
Gallery of the Unknown Tennis Player
Fed is a GQ kinda guy
Boris makes return to singles play, texts his ex some sweet-nothings
Rafael defends his revelation
TENNIS 2007 Award: Best Dramatic Performance
Did Tommy cry wolf?
A Goodwill Ambassador makes a pubic plea
Uncle Toni gives his two cents
Rumors follow the Frenchman
Seles, Davenport, King and March of Dimes
A country's No. 1 thais the knot
Doctor's orders
Andy builds his dream team
Juju takes on Madge


WEDNESDAY: Venus, Justine, Igor, Roger vs. Pete...Tommy talks racquets, Davis Cup doodles and more

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