Google Down the Line!: 2008-01-06

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ana Ivanovic continues Global Domination Tour, conquers the UK

Cover girl: Ana Ivanovic has continued her Global Domination Tour into 2008. Her latest stop on the Tour was London where she trained for a week in December. It seems the sexy Serb has become the UK's adopted tennis daughter of sorts (they could certainly use one), making two magazine covers this week alone.

We posted about the World No. 4's interview with The Observer Sport Monthly on Monday, and now the latest interview comes courtesy of London free weekly, Sport magazine. In our favorite exchange, Ana reveals a tennis trade secret only the ladies would understand:
Ah, the Press. Have you ever told them something you shouldn’t?
“A few times. Once they asked me how much tennis players follow the fashion and I said a lot. What I wanted to say was “a little bit”. But it’s difficult when English is not your first language because sometimes you say something you don’t mean.”
So you said... what, exactly?
“I said that a lot of players pay attention to the way they look and they put on a lot of make-up when they go on court. Maybe it’s not a nice thing to say, but it’s true. There are a few of them.”
In the top 10?
“Yes. When you are on court you don’t want to be worrying that your mascara is running, but there are some players who really do. I’ll give you a tip so you can tell who is using make-up. When they take a towel, the girls who are wearing make-up go like this (dabs face delicately), they never rub, so that it doesn’t smudge. So you can tell just by watching.”
We certainly will be...

To read the full interview, click here.

An additional, exclusive Q & A from Sport with Ana is available here.

(image via

SIGHTING: The ladies of the WTA Tour are gettin' their game on

Practice makes perfect: The ladies of the WTA Tour are practicing hard, hoping to get their tennis A-game on for the next week's Australian Open. We spotted Maria "Shriek"apova, Daniela Hantuchova, Serena Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Chakvetadze, and Shahar Peer honing their technique, sharpening their movement, and building confidence with the hopes of taking home the first Grand Slam of the year.

The ladies' seedings were announced recently, with the potential for a second round Marquee Matchup: Maria versus a resurgent, but unseeded, Lindsay Davenport. Who could forget Lindsay's 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of the Russian fashionista at Indian Wells in 2005?

We're sure Maria has forgiven, but not forgotten....

(images via Getty)

SIGHTING: Fun in the sun with Marat Safin and his tattoos

Making his mark: We noticed an interesting tattoo on body brigade member Marat Safin during his practice session in Melbourne yesterday. So we did a little more snooping and came up with three - well, three we could actually see.

The Russian tennis baller, who lost to fellow shirtless wonder Andy Roddick at the Kooyong warm-up this week, will be looking to kick-start the season at his most successful Grand Slam - he's a 3-time finalist, including winning the 2005 championship, and played Roger Federer in the best men's match in Australian Open history, according to's Joel Drucker.

(images via AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Justine Henin becomes a little untied, still takes Sydney for 40th career title

A helping hand: Justine Henin got a little untied during last night's final of the Medibank International in Sydney. The yellow tie on the back of her high-mark adidas skirt became undone, so an elated ballboy gave the World No. 1 a helping hand.

But Justine needed no help in taking her 28th straight match and the Sydney title from Svetlana Kuznetsova, who has now fallen to 2-16 against the mighty Belgian. This win also gave Justine her 40th career title and some great confidence going into the Australian Open.

"This was perfect," said the World No. 1.

(images via AP Photo/Rob Griffith & John Pryke)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

SIGHTING: Rafael Nadal preps for Aussie Open run, knees looking questionable

Bad omen: From these photos, taken during a practice session in Melbourne, Rafael Nadal's troublesome knees don't look to be completely healed yet, even though the incredibly hulking Spaniard looks healthy in every other way. This can't be good news for Rafa's chances at the Australian Open next week, where he's never been pass the quarterfinals.

Could this explain the World No. 2's devastating loss at the Chennai Open last weekend, or is this just a preventative tape job?

(images via PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

SIGHTING: Andy Roddick joins shirtless brigade during Kooyong Classic

Our lucky day: So we found more gratuitous shirtless shots - this time of Andy Roddick, who dropped his cute Lacoste tennis duds for a practice session during the Kooyong Classic.

The defending champion reached the final today by easily defeating another shirtless wonder, Russia's Marat Safin 6-3, 6-3.

(images via WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

FASHION FIX: US Open Nike day dress claims second victim

Hard habit to break: If we learned anything from Maria "Shriek"apova's experience wearing this US Open Nike day number it's this: the dress is cursed! So we were dumbfounded when we spotted Kaia Kanepi working it (with the unfortunate matching visor) while battling World No. 1 Justine Henin at this week's Mediabank International. The result: a humbling 6-2, 6-0 loss for the Estonian.

This dress needs to be put away...forever.

(image via AP Photo/John Pryke)

SIGHTING: Rafa, Safin, and Murray go shirtless under the blazing Aussie sun

Gratuitous body shots: One of the great challenges of playing down under and winning the Australian Open is dealing with the infamous heat - it's intense. But one of the great benefits, at least to us, is seeing the many gratuitous shots of male tennis ballers having to strip down to stay cool - or at least to prevent a serious farmer's tan.

After his recent hit-and-run moment, Rafael Nadal was spotted shirtless during a practice session in Melbourne. We knew he was ripped but these images of the Spaniard are frightening (in a good way, of course) especially the one on the left. Seriously, was his head superimposed on that hulking body?

Russian hottie Marat Safin and Brit Andy Murray were also spotted taking in a practice session during the Kooyong Classic, though both players look like they could use a bit more time under the blazing Aussie sun. But, in any case, they're looking fit and ready.

Now we're reminded of the one of the reasons we love tennis so...

(images via PAUL CROCK & WILLIAM WEST for Getty)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Serena Williams' heart is broken, "You can't believe, although a piece of you does believe it," says Serena

More ReRe + blogging: Are things between Serena Williams and rumored boyfriend Common over? We don't know for sure but she's sure feeling something bad about someone. ReRe waxes poetic on her blog about a man, with whom she has been dating, suddenly pulling a disappearing act on the Australian Open champ:
"Weeks turn into months and you no longer talk to anyone else just him. And then it happens. No not the "L" word. But what you have been most afraid of. What deep in your heart you have been afraid to confront. What you always suspected would happen one day sooner or later. HE STOPS CALLING. You panic. But you try to stay calm. He did this before when you first started talking, but u tried to forget it. He disappears for 2 days no phone call. No answer to yours no nothing. This is the very reason you begin to think why your heart was in that steel enclosure. The reason you don't put your emotions your feelings, your heart into any man. Because one day it always turns into this day, but you are already too far out you are at the point of no return, you can't come back. You are too far gone. You can't believe, although a piece of you does believe it."
We can't tell if ReRe is feeling hurt in a sad way or hurt in a Glenn Close,"I'll boil your rabbit", Fatal Attraction kind of way. In either case, (ex) boyfriend and Aussie Open opponents beware...

FASHION FIX: Justine Henin returns to Oz, sports high-mark adidas gear

Seeking redemption: Justine Henin played her first official match down under today since her controversial retirement in the 2006 Australian Open final. Last year, the World No. 1 skipped the Australian leg of the tour completely to deal with her divorce from Pierre Yves-Hardenne.

The Belgian looked in devastating form, dismissing Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 6-2 6-0 after a walkover in her first match at the Medibank International in Sydney. Afterwards, Justine expressed her feelings about being back saying,
"I left Australia with a strange feeling two years ago and I wasn't here last year, so its a great feeling to be back again, [...] I feel really comfortable about what happened and I have no regrets. I was feeling so bad. I wasn't healthy enough to play that match. It's pretty tough in a Grand Slam when you're not 100 percent to take your chances and take the opportunity. [...] I wanted this title so much so it was tough, but I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I'm here because I love tennis."

Clothing sponsor adidas has hooked up the World No. 1 with the same design we loved on Alicia Molik. Here we can see additional details on the back including the yellow tie at the waist and the side slits on the skirt. Also, the 'hint of border' we mentioned on Alicia's post is, in fact, a full border on the skirt.

We much prefer the white + wine color combo over this bright blue, but the design is still tops.

(images via Ezra Shaw/Getty Images & GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

THE LOW DOWN: Serena Williams gets cheesy for cheese

When players blog: Serena "ReRe" Williams has had an epiphany, of sorts. The 8-time Grand Slam champion, who played more tournaments last fall than she had in years, has a new perspective on tennis and life, and she owes it all to cheese. Well, not the kind you eat'll let ReRe tell you for herself:

"I went to Europe as my fans out there would know and played 4 tournaments this fall. This is more than I have played in the fall in the past 5 years!!! Well I ended up reaching number 5 which was so cool before I fell again to number 7 (damit) and I had tons of fun doing it. But the turning point happened when I was on a plane coming back from Paris. I was thinking “did I make the right decision?” Was I right with riding myself of certain relationships?" I began to become scared and I was worried that I had made a mistake."
"Then it happened I picked up this book called "Who moved my cheese" by Spencer Johnson. I was reading this one part that said "What would you do if u were not afraid?" And than it said "there is always cheese don't be afraid to find it." Basically it was talking about being complacent and being afraid of change. I than realized that I was afraid I was afraid of change. I was afraid to move on. I was afraid I was afraid to find new cheese! I thought there was only one cheese out there but after reading that book I realized that there is all types of "cheese" out there. Now I am not talking about real cheese but cheese is whatever you make it to be. Whether or not its money, or boyfriends, or friends. There is always more out there if what u have around you."
Who knew cheese could be so profound, or that ReRe could be so deep? We've never really liked it (cheese, that is), but I guess we've never tried tasting different kinds. Thanks for opening our minds, ReRe!

(image via

SIGHTING: Roger Federer back in action, preps for Aussie Open campaign

Back in action: Roger Federer, who pulled out of the Kooyong Classic with a stomach virus, looks to be in good physical shape based on these photos of a recent practice/fitness session in Melbourne. In fact, the World No. 1 has an opportunity to play some matches at Kooyong now that David Nalbandian, who we thought had a good chance of challenging Fed at the Australian Open, has pulled out of the tournament with back spasms.

According to tournament director Colin Stubs,

"[Federer] said he would like the match practice, [...] We can slot a match outside the format. Federer, (James) Blake, (Novak) Djokovic are not out of the equation for a fourth match outside the bracket."
For his part, the Swiss Stylist said,

"I hung around and I definitely think [the decision is] going to turn for the good and I'll be 100 per cent, really, before the (Australian Open) starts."
(images via AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

FASHION FIX: Chris Guccione channels A-Rod, A-Rod works Lacoste

Double-take: During our daily perusal through the tennis image banks, we quickly glanced at these photos and thought "Andy Roddick?" But, no, it's Andy 2.0 - the Reebok wearing, big serving Chris Guccione. The Aussie captured a big win at the Medibank International today, defeating countryman Lleyton Hewitt in two tie-break sets 7-6 (4) 7-6 (2) and giving him some much needed confidence before next week's Australian Open.

Speaking of A-Rod, the defending champion at the Kooyong Classic won his first match at the tournament defeating Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-0. He, of course, left sponsor Reebok for Frenchie sportswear label Lacoste a few years ago.

The American No. 1 busted out some new Lacoste duds this week which we are liking for him. The white + grey combo with red accents is refreshing - plus, he opted out of the scary shorty-short movement of his fellow Lacoste lads.

We are grateful for small favors...

(images via AP Photo/Rob Griffith & Getty)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

FASHION FIX: Jelena Jankovic comes to her senses, drops her shorts

Moving on: Jelena Jankovic just keeps on going. The seemingly tireless Serb, who suffered a worrisome injury at last week's Hopman Cup, battled a game Tatiana Golovin at the Medibank International today and squeezed out a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 win.

We were so relieved to see Jelena move past her recent shorty-short lapse and throw on this super-cute Reebok white bias-cut tank dress with black piping. As usual, when in doubt go clean + classic - and you'll never go wrong.

(images via AP Photo/Mark Baker)

THE LOW DOWN: Is Venus Williams engaged to boyfriend Hank Kuehne?

Venus "V" Williams looks to be flying high in Melbourne, and not because of her recent win over Maria "Shriek"apova. Rumors are flying online that the Wimbledon champion is now engaged to boyfriend Hank Kuehne with whom she has been dating for almost a year now. A source close to the family told,
"Venus is preparing for (the Australian Open) and she doesn't need the (media) distraction. But everyone is very happy, especially Venus."
Based on this recent photo of V practicing for next week's Australian Open, she is sporting a large ring on her left hand. Could it be true?

(image via WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

SIGHTING: David Nalbandian looks primed for Aussie Open challenge

Spoiler alert? Former Wimbledon finalist and current Roger Federer nemesis David Nalbandian was spotted training in Melbourne recently for the Australian Open.

From these photos the man with the lethal double-fisted backhand looks in great shape to spoil Fed's chances at the first Grand Slam of the year. After all, he did beat the World No. 1 the last 2 times they played - in Master Series events no less (not to mention 2 straight defeats of World No. 2 Rafael Nadal as well.)

The Argentine will also be part of the elite 8-man field at the Kooyong Classic this week. Unfortunately, we won't get to see a rematch between the two just yet as Fed pulled out of Kooyong with a severe stomach virus. More to look forward to in Melbourne, we suppose...

(images via WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images & AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

Monday, January 7, 2008

FASHION FIX: The men are gettin' leggy with Lacoste

Gettin' leggy with it: We've recently written about our disappointment in the continuation of the shorty-short trend on the WTA Tour this season. Well, the women aren't the only culprits. The men of Lacoste - more specifically Frenchies Fabrice Santoro & Sebastien Grosjean - were spotted showing a little too much tennis leg at this week's Medibank International in Sydney.

We already raved about the Lacoste ladies' high fashion marks this season, but the shorty-shorts on their men need to go. We're fine with the overall classic look, but we prefer to live in the now and not the 1970's (even John McEnroe looks in pain wearing those shorts.)

Someone help these men!

(images via DAVID HANCOCK/AFP/Getty Images & GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

The Observer Sport Monthly gets cheeky with tennis' sexiest Serbs

That's how you do it: We give huge props to the UK's The Observer Sport Monthly for its cheeky interviews with the Serbian duo of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic (who made the cover.) The reporters, Emma John and Adrian Deevoy, get inside their personalities by managing to avoid the droll questions most news outlets ask athletes and opting for hilarious, off-color questions for two of tennis' brightest stars.

Emma John gets her shot at Nole, and gets the sexy Serb to talk Maria "Shriek"apova and who has the best body on the ATP Tour.

On playing European football:
"Is he any good [at European football]? 'Yeah!' What kind of player? 'Attacking. I like to score.' This makes sense: given his propensity to strip off his shirt for tennis fans, he would particularly enjoy the celebrations."

On which male tennis baller has the best body:
"Anyway, who has the best body in the men's dressing room? He pauses to consider this quite seriously. 'Oh. Whooh. I would say, for sure, Paradorn Srichaphan. He has not been playing and I haven't seen him for a while. But he still has the best body in men's tennis.' Better than Rafa? 'Rafa? No, no... I don't like bodies like Rafa's.'"

On the rumors about Maria "Shriek"apova:
"...what is the deal with him and Sharapova? 'There is no deal,' [...] 'Obviously when you see her sitting there in the final of the US Open cheering for me you think, 'What's going on?' But it's just a nice friendship.'"

Adrian Deevoy gets the tough task of interviewing the stunning Ana Ivanovic about whether she's ever cheated in a match, playing drunk tennis, and being hit on by women.

On whether she's ever cheated in a match:
"No. Actually, I did once. I was a junior and there was no referee and I played against this Russian girl and she cheated so badly. She was calling balls out that were a metre inside the line. I was so angry, I thought: 'Every time she cheats, I'm going to cheat her back.' So I did."

On who Ana thinks is the most attractive woman on tour:
"It's hard to say for a girl but... [Maria] Kirilenko. She's quite attractive."

On being hit on by women:
"Oh my God, I've had a few uncomfortable experiences but I'm so allergic to that. I just can't... even now when I see my friends and they just want to kiss the cheek. I prefer men."

On playing tennis drunk:
"No, I've never done anything drunk. I'm an in-control person. I was tipsy a few times but I can't drink. I told you, I'm a real party-pooper."

On what Ana would do to win Wimbledon:
"Oh, I'd do so much that you can't imagine - as long as it wasn't really bad. Sell your soul? No, I need that. Your grandparents? I love, love, love my grandparents. Eat a dog? Eat a dog?! No, nothing that crazy.

(images via &

PHOTO OP: Rafael Nadal demolished by Youzhny, pulls out hair in disbelief

The power of words: Rafael Nadal was left pulling out his hair this past weekend as the World No. 2 was dismantled by Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-1 in the final of the Chennai Open, leaving his Aussie Open prospects in question.

For the trophy presentation, Rafa quickly changed out of the horrid Nike outfit he was wearing during the tournament, which we thought left him looking like a hit-and-run victim. Alas, our fears came true...

(images via AP Photo/M. Lakshman)

FASHION FIX: Nike pulls a Sydney switch-a-roo, dresses Hantuchova in Sharapova dress

WTF? Okay, so everything we saw online and heard from sources told us this dress, named the Nike Sharapova Australian Open Flora dress, was going to be worn by Maria "Shriek"apova during the night matches at next week's Aussie Open. So why is the slender Slovak Daniela Hantuchova working it at this week's Medibank International in Sydney? "We've been duped!" was our first thought. But why would Dani want to wear a dress named after Maria? Or is this more marketing genius from the Nike brand, who has been misfiring of late with the men's tennis gear?

With regards to the actual dress, we're not so impressed with it now. We still like the idea of the design, but the color is drab and leaves some pretty eye-catching sweat marks. Not the kind of impression a tennis fashionista wants to make at the first Grand Slam of the year.

(images via GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

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