Google Down the Line!: 2007-12-16

Friday, December 21, 2007

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Roger, Justine, Amelie, Steffi vs. Andy...Alicia defends Mark, Maria is most spankable and more

- No AP love: So the tennis dynamic duo of Roger Federer & Justine Henin have won virtually every tennis accolade imaginable, including ITF and TENNIS magazine honors, this year. But today both World No. 1's are playing second fiddle in the AP's Athlete of the Year honors. Fed lost out to New England Patriot's pretty boy Tom Brady while Justine saw golfer Lorena Ochoa grab the most votes. Fed, who yet again lost the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year honor to another footballer, is most likely the greatest player the sport of tennis will ever see, while Justine had the best, and most dominant, year of her career. Bullshit - that's all we have to say.

- Tennis gives back: Another player known for her dominance, Steffi Graf, and her Children for Tomorrow foundation are building a medical centre in the German city of Hamburg to counsel children who have been traumatized by war or losing their homes. In other philanthropic news, The Andy Roddick Foundation is working on building an $8.2 million tennis complex called Andy Roddick Foundation International Tennis Center in Austin, TX. The center will serve as a training ground for the Andy Roddick Youth Tennis Program, which gives at-risk youth the opportunity to learn the game and compete.

- A brand new day: After a career-making 2006 led to a disappointing 2007, former World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo is determined to make a brilliant start to her 2008 in Oz. The 2-time Grand Slam champ told the Herald Sun, "Even as a veteran of 11 years in pro tennis, I still have a great passion for the game and I must say that there is less pressure being ranked lower,[...] I am doing everything I can to make that (winning the Australian Open) happen. Australia has always meant something special to me."

-Naughty or nice: Maria "Shriek"apova was voted Most Spankable Sportswoman, beating out Tatiana Golovin, Martina Hingis, and the Williams sisters. The Lifetime Achievement Award for Most Spankable went to Chris Evert. Really? Well, we suppose she deserves a few spanks after her latest romantic drama.

- Playing defense: Aussie Alicia Molik has come to the defense of her compatriot Mark Philippoussis. The 'Scud', who tore cartiledge in his right knee during qualies for the Australian Open and is now considering retirement, has been the subject of severe criticism in his home country. "I think it's a shame that all the public feel like they need to get so involved and so critical and criticise so much, because I just don't think it's fair. Let him be, let every sportsperson in Australia be — and yeah, there's a lot to deal with obviously for him, on the court, to not to have to worry about what's said and what's written. Let him go about his business. He's still playing tennis," said Alicia.

-'s Bonnie D. Ford puts her hat in the ring with the best and worst of 2007.

- WTF moment: It's good to know even rich and famous tennis players can take a step down and join the common people. Stepping out of your comfort zone - we applaud you!

- What was 2007 like for Sania Mirza? How is she preparing for 2008 and her first event, the Hopman Cup?? We'll let the Indian sensation tell you herself.

- On the Baseline has 10 questions for Marion Bartoli and up-and-coming player Tamira Paszek, while has 10 questions for the ladie's 2008 season - sense a trend?

- Changing of the guard: Congrats go out to Mary Jo Fernandez for her new role as FED CUP captain, replacing Zina Garrison who will step down at the end of 2008. “I am thrilled to be part of the U.S. Fed Cup team once again, [...] Fed Cup was one of the most important and memorable times of my career. I am excited to be working with Zina in 2008, and then taking on the Captain’s role in 2009,” said Mary Jo.

(image via AP Photo)

PHOTO OP: Rafa gets a helping hand from Real Madrid's Fabio Cannavaro

Here's a lucky Rafael Nadal getting a friendly helping hand from Real Madrid uber-hottie Fabio Cannavaro during the "Friends of Iker vs Friends of Rafa" soccer match in Spain yesterday.

Seriously, Cannavaro could give us a helping hand anytime....ouch...

(images via Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Venus Williams chosen by Vogue magazine as one of the best dressed for 2007

Venus in vogue: Venus "V"Williams, our TENNIS 2007 Award winner for Style Maven of the Year, has picked up another important fashion accolade. The 6-time Grand Slam champion has been chosen as one of the best dressed women of 2007 by Vogue. She tells the magazine,
"Whether I’m on a best or worst-dressed list, if I’m creative, step out a bit, take a chance, at least I know I’ve done something different.”
V joins Kate Bosworth, Kathryn Neale, Astrid Munoz, Georgina Chapman, Kelly Wearstler, Amy Greenspon, Caroline Sieber, Huma Abedin and Agyness Deyn on the elite list.


THE LOW DOWN: Will Rafael Nadal be buzzing off his lovely locks?

Will Rafael Nadal be hacking off his trademark hair? That's the rumor we've been hearing around the tennis forums today. Apparently, in an attempt to clean up his supposed "bad boy" image, the Spaniard will be changing his look - adding sleeves to his sleeveless, raising the hemline on his pirate pants, and shaving off his cascading locks prior to Wimbledon. Clearly this makeover won't be happening at the Australian Open if he's really wearing the rumored Nike outfit we wrote about last week.

Okay everyone - a collective "NO!" We're hoping the rumor is just a rumor. We like the fact that Rafa stands out from the crowd and follows his own style. A bad boy he's not, but his looks gives him that edge, plus he's never had a hairy situation like some other players on the ATP Tour.

We guess we'll just have to wait and see...

(image via

Thursday, December 20, 2007

FASHION FIX: A preview of Nicole Vaidisova's Aussie Open '08 tennis gear

More Australian Open '08 fashion: Here's a preview of Nicole Vaidisova a.k.a. the future Mrs. Radek Stepanek's Reebok dress for the Aussie Open. The red colorway is nice - it helps take the boring design of the dress and make it interesting. But did they have to match the visor AND the racquet to the dress? Will she be wearing ruby red Reebok sneakers too??

We'd prefer more contrast in the outfit - it's all a bit overboard for our tastes.

(image courtesy of Talk Tennis via

FASHION FIX: A closer look at The Boris Becker Collection

Boris Becker made an appearance at the McFit Masters of Legends tennis tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany this week. The former Wimbledon champion battled John McEnroe and sported gear from his eponymous fashion line. We weren't so familiar with the collection so we clicked over to his site and check out the goods - and were we surprised.

The Boris Becker Collection is a full tennis line that not only includes apparel but also tennis racquets, tennis bags, strings, dampners, and even tennis balls! Though there are 3 fashion groups, we pulled highlights from our favorite: BB Retro Court - Black & White Collection. (We'd be fools to try to review the equipment so we'll leave it to What's All the Racquet.)

Boris Becker Collection logo

Polo Shirt pin stripe & Tennis Polo

Knitted Vest & Classic Shorts

FASHION FIX: Lleyton Hewitt enters the fashion game, looks to build a brand

Another tennis fashionista: Could you be wearing the above image on your tennis gear? Would you want to?? Lleyton Hewitt seems to think you will. The Aussie hot-head and his management team are in the process of developing and trademarking his famous "C'mon" battle cry and a logo based on the hand signal called "the vight" for branding purposes. Lleyton told Austrailan Tennis magazine,
"It's funny — I walk down the street and everybody says 'C'mon.' They copy me for doing my signal. I'm not quite sure how to describe that signal, there's no real word for it. So we've trademarked 'C'mon.'"
But the future Lleyton Hewitt brand won't be limited to tennis clothing.
"We're going to try and push ["C'mon"] as much as possible as my brand, and get it out there in the marketplace, make shirts for kids, golf shirts and different kinds of stuff like cargo shorts."
Lleyton wasn't the first tennis player to use "the vight" hand sign, however. It was invented in the 1980's by Niclas Kroon, an obscure Swedish tour player, and later made famous by Mats Wilander. The word "vight" is loosely translated to mean "for sure".


Holiday Surprise: Maria Sharapova's got a new hairdo

Maria "Shriek"apova is giving her fans a holiday surprise - a new 'do! Maria is working some serious bangs now - and we love it. It's clean, modern, and sophisticated. Here's the Russian fashionista decorating for the holidays with her pal Dolce from that ubiquitous Canon commercial.

Now, will this new hairdo go well with her rumored Australian Open Nike gear? Only time will tell...

(images via

VIDEO VAULT: Rafael Nadal sharpens his acting chops for TIMEFORCE watches

We all knew Rafael Nadal could smack a tennis ball, but did you know he could act? We didn't until we saw these funny commercials the World No. 2 did for TIME FORCE concept watches where he has his own Rafa Nadal Exclusive Collection. His co-star in these spots is his 7' 1" countryman Paul Gasol who plays for the Memphis Grizlies NBA team. The two athletes are put to three different tasks involving a chihuahua, a sumo wrestler, a some friendly ball-bashing. The ads are in Spanish - but no worries, you'll get the gist.

Rafa seems surprisingly natural in front of the camera - second career, maybe?

( source)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SIGHTING: Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias visit Paris, stop by Hermes

After taking a trip back home to Russia recently, Anna Kournikova packed up her bags for another overseas adventure. Joined by boyfriend Enrique Iglesias, the former tennis star hit up Paris and made a pit stop at the Hermes store for some holiday shopping.

We think she looks great - the best in a while. The black waistcoat, knee-high black boots, red leather satchel, leopard print silk scarf, and oversized sunglasses are all very flattering on the Russian fashionista.

(images via

Martina Navratilova discusses being gay in tennis, doping, and Federer vs. Henin with Outsports

Out and proud: The legendary Martina Navratilova recently sat down with gay blog Outsports on the set of Good Morning America where she was taping cooking segment. (Cooking - who knew?) Anyway, the 18-time Grand Slam champion gave a nice, lengthy interview to the blog and touched upon many topics including her recent appointment as Health & Fitness Ambassador for AARP, her experience as a gay athlete, the absence of openly gay male tennis players, her dream tennis student, doping & drug use, and her predictions on what will happen first: Roger Federer winning the French Open or Justine Henin grabbing the Wimbledon title.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

Q: How did your relationship with the AARP come about?
A: They contacted me about doing an event a year ago, and I guess they liked what I brought to the table, so they wanted to expand the relationship.

Q: The way you’re looked at by society is athlete first. But most of the rest of the well-known openly gay athletes are known as gay first and athlete second. Why do you think society looks at you differently, as an athlete first before you’re gay?
A: I’m a woman first, because that’s been more limiting in a way, and it still is, depending on what country you’re born in. I want the fact that I’m gay to be irrelevant one day. It’s relevant now because we don’t have equal rights and we are discriminated against. One day they won’t even say gay, but right now it is part of leading the way and being a pioneer and leading the fight for equal rights for all of us. It might be because I became famous first as a tennis player and then I came out. But then it was still always “lesbian tennis player.”

Q: How much money in endorsement deals do you think you lost over the course of your career because you were out?
A: Oh gosh. I don’t know. Maybe $10 million? A lot.

Q: There are more and more out lesbians on the tour, but we still have never had an openly gay man in tennis. Why do you think that is?
A: I have no idea. I don’t personally know any who are gay, because none have come out to me.

Q: Really? That seems crazy.
A: Honest to God. I have suspicions, but I don’t know of one who’s definitely gay. I read that letter to Tennis magazine [in 1994] from an anonymous male player who said “thank you because we’re not all as brave as you are,” but I don’t know who they are. But I don’t know why. It can’t be because they’re all worried about endorsements, because most of them don’t get any anyway. [...] There were women I didn’t know were gay that I found out after. I would get a vibe from some players when I was playing. The ones who were very certain of their sexuality, one way or the other, were more friendly. And the ones who were less certain or were homophobic were not so nice. Or they were afraid that people would think they were gay because they were my friends. [...] There was a Russian player who wanted to play with me but her father wouldn’t let her play with me because I’m gay. And at the time she was a nobody. He liked me, he’d say hello to me, but he would not let her play. It’s bizarre, I could have been a help to her. Now she’s off the tour because of injuries.

Q: If you could coach one player on the men’s or women’s side, not necessarily the best player but the person you’d most like to get your hands on, who would it be?
A: It would have been Novak Djokovic [...] Justin Henin would have been a pleasure to work with. There’s a girl named Agnes Savay who is a great talent as well. She’s Hungarian. I saw her hit two shots and saw how she carried herself between shots and I thought, that kid is for real.

Q: How much recreational drug use is there on the tour?
A: Not much anymore because you get busted for it. I don’t think recreational drugs should be tested for, because they’re not performance-enhancing. As athletes we should be punished for cheating, but smoking pot is not cheating.

Q: Why do you think they test for recreational drugs?
A: Tennis is an Olympic sport, and the Olympics has a wide range of drugs that are not allowed. [...] My biggest problem with the drug testing is that they punish you before you’re proven guilty or not. So now with [Martina] Hingis, whether it was her sample is one question, or if someone put it in her drink or her food, she tests positive and now she can’t play and she has to clear her name. She can’t compete until the case is resolved, and that could take a year.

Q: Do you think Federer will ever win the French or Henin will ever win Wimbledon?
A: Yes, both. I think Henin has a better chance, because her game is better-suited to winning Wimbledon than Roger’s is for clay. But both could win it this year, and since the French comes first, Roger would do it first. If Nadal wasn’t around he would have already won it a couple times.

(image via

THE LOW DOWN: When tennis players don't pay the bills...

During our daily perusal through the many tennis player sites, we came across this note on Rafael Nadal's: 'Account for domain has been suspended'. Say what? Our first thought was the Spaniard is revamping his site, but the fact the notice says the account was suspended left us wondering. Could it be Rafa's team neglected to pay his bills?

There seem to be more miscommunications in the Rafa camp recently. We suppose we can chalk this up to another PR blunder for the World No. 2.

UPDATE: It seems the Rafa camp paid their bill, and now the site's back up!
(image via

FASHION FIX: Will Maria Sharapova be wearing this Nike gear at the '08 Aussie Open?

Snoop dog: Being the good journalists we (think) we are, we did some snooping and stumbled across these sketch drawings of some new Nike gear on a tennis forum thread titled 'Maria's Possible Outfits for Aussie 2008'. Apparently this group has our favorite screecher's name, Maria "Shriek"apova, in its title and includes the tanks and skirts below (though we think if she's wearing anything from this group, it'll most likely be the dresses.)

We like all of the colorways except for the purple - we've never really been big fans of purple because it's a pretty tough color to work into a good outfit. Of course, we're loving the gray and tank dress with the pink (?) graphic design on the skirt; the white is clean and classic.

Can anyone confirm Maria will be wearing any of the pieces above during the Australian Open next month?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FASHION FIX: Autographed Nike 'RF' caps available via Roger Federer Shop

Ask and you shall receive: A few of you have been asking, searching, and pleading for more information on purchasing the black Nike RF cap that Roger Federer has been wearing recently. Now comes word the cap is available at the Roger Federer Shop and has been autographed by the World No. 1.

But move fast - only 200 are available. The cap is priced at 250 CHF/Swiss Francs (equivalent to $217.00.) All proceeds will go to the Roger Federer Foundation.

To purchase a cap, click here!

(images via AP Photo)

BREAKING: Anna Chakvetadze and family robbed at country home in Russia, parents tied up

BREAKING: Reuters is reporting Anna Chakvetadze and her parents were victims of a house invasion at the country home in southwest Russia early this morning. Anna was not harmed but her father suffered cuts and bruises from the incident.

The group of five to six men were wearing masks and climbed over the fence of the home, tied up her parents, and took over $200,000 worth of valuables. According to Anna's father Jamal,

"They started to beat me up, I resisted, then they hit me either with their hands or a pistol. It was dark, told me I had a child there, reminded me about it, so that I gave them everything. So I did."

UPDATE: New reports are saying Anna was tied up along with her parents and according to Shamil Tarpishchev she "tried to resist but it was useless."

(image via

THE LOW DOWN: To grunt or not to grunt, that is the question...

Grunt it up: We don't call her Maria "Shriek"apova for nothin'. And apparently former Wimbledon finalist Judy Dalton agrees with our assessment of the former World No. 1. Judy, holder of nine Grand Slam doubles titles, believes, however, that the grunting must be stopped and told The Age she would even forfeit a match if faced with Maria "Shriek"apova on the other side of the net saying,
"If that was me and I was playing Sharapova, I would be saying, 'If you continue with that you can have the match, I'll walk off, and I'll lodge a complaint,' [...] The other girls should say 'Fine, I'll forfeit the match.'[...] Will it happen? I don't think so."
But is grunting considered gamesmanship, or worse, cheating? According to the article, "Under the rules of tennis, the chair umpire must be convinced that they are excessive and intentional. If so, 'any continual distraction of regular play, such as grunting, shall be dealt with as follows: for the first offence, a let should be called and the player should be told that any such hindrance thereafter will be ruled deliberate. Any hindrance caused by a player that is ruled deliberate will result in the loss of a point.'"

Maria's noise level was famously measured by the London tabloids "grunt-o-meter" during Wimbledon at 101.2 decibels — "the equivalent, apparently, of a police siren at close range or a small aircraft landing nearby."

A small aircraft landing nearby? Wow, that's pretty loud Maria, but we still love your grunting ways. Is it excessive? Probably. Is it dramatic?? Of course, but so is Judy's claim that she'd forfeit a match (what about a Grand Slam final, Judy?) Besides, we'd have to drop Maria's nickname and that's never fun.

(image via

Monday, December 17, 2007

SIGHTING: Jelena Dokic bags two wins in Oz Open qualies, needs tennis tan back

A pale comparison: After finally stuffing her pride aside and accepting help from Tennis Australia, Jelena Dokic began her quest for an Australian Open wildcard. The former top-fiver won her second match in qualifying this weekend defeating Christina Wheeler 3-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-3. and now moves into the quarterfinals after her two wins.

We knew Jelena wasn't playing much tennis over the last few years - but was that an excuse to stay out of the sun? The girl looks translucent - though she has nothing on you, Casper. Get thee to a sunnery!

(images via AP Photo, Getty)

Tommy Haas signs 3-year endorsement deal with K-Swiss

Tommy Haas is joining Russian Anna Kournikova under the K-Swiss flag. The German tennis star recently signed a three-year endorsement deal as a new spokesman for K-Swiss and will wear K-Swiss clothes and apparel on court starting in January. Tommy was most recently with German sports brand Limited Sports and Nike prior to that sponsorship. Asked about the partnership, the World No. 12 said,
"I remember seeing K-Swiss as a kid when I was starting my tennis career and am thrilled to be associated with a brand with such a strong heritage, [...] I am obviously excited about the performance tennis styles but also eager to collaborate on off court opportunities as well."
The new global K-Swiss advertising campaign will make its debut in February, 2008. The campaign will be showcased in television, print, on-line, and outdoor venues. Tommy joins Alona Bondarenko, Australian Open women's doubles champions Cara Black and Liezel Huber, and the aforementioned Kournikova, who recently shot a TV spot for the sportswear label in LA, as the current tennis stars for the K-Swiss brand.

(images via

THE LOW DOWN: Is James Blake dating Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks?

More from the gossip mill today: James Blake seems to be following Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick's lead in the dating department these days. The New York Post's Page Six is reporting sightings of James with Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks in LA. According to a source,
"They met in LA and have been dating seriously."
Selita was previously linked to Nick Cannon, the actor recently picked to portray the legendary Arthur Ashe in his biopic.

(images via,

THE LOW DOWN: Czech mates? Stepanek and Vaidisova rumored to marry

We couldn't believe the rumors swirling around this past weekend about Radek Stepanek and 18-year old Nicole Vaidisova. According to the Bradenton Herald in Florida, the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court said the pair, who are both from the Czech Republic, applied for a marriage license on December 10. Huh?

Remember not so long ago, the 29-year old Radek was on the fast track to becoming Mr. Martina Hingis until their engagement was ended before the US Open in August under mysterious circumstances (we're thinking her failed drug tests might have been a reason). Talk about moving on.

In any case, to say this news is shocking is an understatement. No word yet today on whether the pair has confirmed the engagement. Stay tuned...

(images via AP Photo)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

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


A-Rod hosts Charity Weekend
Aussie Open '08 fashion preview: Serena, Fed, and Rafa (well, maybe...)
When Anna K. models and blogs
TENNIS 2007 Award:
Male and Female Style Maven

A-Rod brings Brooklyn to Manhattan
James hosts Anthem LIVE!
Gallery of the Unknown Tennis Player
Renaissance woman
How Chris met Greg


THURSDAY: Jelena, Boris, A-Rod, Venus vs. Serena...Sania makes amends, Becks makes us cry and more

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