Google Down the Line!: 2008-01-27

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A hairy situation now growing on the WTA Tour, Alona Bondarenko to blame

More WTF: What is happening to the female tennis ballers during this weekend's FED CUP competition? First we get Nika Ozegovic's circus outfit, and now we have a hairy situation blooming on the WTA Tour to rival the ATP's issues.

The culprit is Alona Bondarenko, who took on Kristen Flipkens of Belgium during the Ukraine vs. Belgium World Group II tie. It seems the Ukrainian took a lot of time to make her hair look that bad.

When will this FED CUP madness end?!

(image via AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

FASHION FIX: Maria Sharapova debuts in FED CUP, gets sexy with Nike

Maria "Shriek"apova, who's been playing down tensions on the Russian FED CUP team this week, played her first official tennis match in FED CUP play, battling Israel's Tzipi Obziler for a 6-0, 6-4 win and bringing the Russians even at 1-all with their Israeli opponents.

We're loving this Nike outfit on the Russian fashionista. Representing her country's red and white colors, the new Aussie Open champ looks sexy and confident in this clean + simple tank dress.

Now this is how you pull off a red + white number Nika.

(images via AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

FASHION FIX: What was Nika Ozegovic thinking?

WTF moment: OMG - we're speechless, so it's good thing we're writing about this outfit. Nika Ozegovic of Croatia was spotted working this mess at this weekend's FED CUP tie versus Japan. There are no words to describe what's going on in the picture. Our Croatian friend could seriously use a real Fashion Fix right about now.

The shorty-shorts are bad enough, but matched with loose-leggings? And the top...what's that?? What's happening here - did she get dressed in the dark this morning???

Okay, we have to stop...

(image via TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, February 1, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: A-Rod's manager confused by his game, "Maybe 'frustrating' is not the right word..." says Meyerson

Managing the court: Ken Meyerson, Andy Roddick's manager and president of SFX tennis, has a few choice words for his star client's back-tracking game. The former No. 1's 2008 season began on a sour note, falling to unheralded German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of last month's Aussie Open, continuing his string of recent disappointing Grand Slam performances.

When asked about his client's current game Meyerson inquired,
“Why would Andy resort to playing more of a retrieving-type game as opposed to more of an aggressive game? [...] I don’t know whether it’s nerves or deliberate, but I can only say his best tennis is when he takes that first ball and pummels it, whether it’s a return on a second serve and he really goes for it, or is what we know as his classic one-two — big serve, big forehand."
He went on to say,
"Maybe ‘frustrating’ is not the right word, but when Andy plays that way, it’s clearly and objectively not as effective as when he steps up and beats the crap out of the ball. I don’t want Andy to get too complicated, and I don’t like to see him work so hard to win points.'’
True enough. The 25-year old American is supposed to be enjoying his best playing years, but he's moving in the wrong direction. Under pressure, the former US Open champ reverts back to the counter-punching ways of his youth, when all a scrawnier A-Rod could do was track down tennis balls. The 6' 2", 190 pounder should own the court against his smaller opponents - but the mind isn't allowing the body to move forward.

(image via

Serena Williams featured in Monarch Magazine, "I can [play tennis] for another eight years," says Serena

The camera-loving Serena "ReRe" Williams, who showed a shyer side on a recent night out with rumored boyfriend Common, is featured in the newest issue of Monarch Magazine. Essentially, the publication pens a love letter to the 8-time Grand Slam champion, discussing her humble beginnings, domination of the tennis world stage, and funding of a future academic school for children in Senegal.

Here's a highlight from a Q & A with ReRe feature at the end of the article:

Being an African American in this sport, how do you think your success has changed the view of life for young African Americans who follow your career? It's been great. When I was growing up, there weren't many African American tennis players that I could look up to out there, except for Zena Garrison. She had such an impact on my life. I hope that I might have that same impact on others some day. Then I would know that everything I've done would have been worthwile.

Out of all the success you have had at this game, what has it taught you personally? I think it's just to always be true to who I am, and humble at the same time. That is my life lesson. In this business one day your in and one day you could be out. I just want to enjoy success while I can.

How long do you think you can keep playing this game professionally? Well, I'm enjoying it so much. The energy and excitement is always there. I can do it for another eight years.

Another eight years? We've never heard ReRe say she'd continue to play this long - she'd be 34 by this point. With her talent, she certainly could though we're not sure her body will hold up that long. Interesting statement, nonetheless.

(images via

Thursday, January 31, 2008

BLIND ITEM: Double your pleasure, double your fun

Which tennis baller on a world-class doubles team was spotted inviting a front-desk receptionist up to his Sydney hotel room for some fun during this month's Medibank International?

THE LOW DOWN: More insider info on Stepanek + Vaidisova romance

Some insider 411: So a reader tipped us off to some more info on the rumored romance between Czech mates Radek Stepanek + Nicole Vaidisova. Her spy spotted the couple numerous times in a Sydney hotel together during the Aussie calendar swing and said he...

"always saw these two leave Radek's room - they always headed out in the evening together. She was definately (sic) staying in his room. It's not as if it was kept a secret or anything, but then again your regular Sydney-sider wouldn't even care or know who they are were so I guess they didn't feel the need to hide it? He reckons that Radek seems like a pretty cool guy always really friendly and joking around with the staff."
We're sure Radek's a really friendly guy, but we still can't get over what hottie Nicole sees in "the worm". He must have something going on that we're not aware of...go figure.

The FED CUP Chronicles: No tensions in the Russian camp claims Sharapova

Truth be told: FED CUP seems to bring out the world's best female tennis ballers particularly when they have an alterior motive for playing. Maria "Shriek"apova is making her official debut on the Russian team this weekend when the defending champions take on Israel.

The Aussie Open champ joined the team during last season's finals in the role as the world's most famous practice partner and cheerleader. Reports began to surface that members of the Russian team weren't pleased by her attempts at showing allegiance to her country.

But Maria would like us to know that the media has no idea what it's talking about. During the press conference before this weekend's tie, the 20-year old insisted,

"The majority of us have a wonderful relationship. We do, [...] I don't know what you saw, but we all went to team dinners. I have really good relationships. I couldn't play in the final but the captain asked me to come and support them, and that's the least I could do."
Good PR move, but it's quite clear: if she wants to play in the Summer Olympics, Maria must play FED CUP this year. Where will her FED CUP loyalties lie after the Olympic dust settles? We give high marks to Lindsay Davenport, who has been very transparent about her intentions to play the Olympics after her return to the sport.

Why can't all ballers be more straight-forward?

(image via AP Photo/Rick Stevens)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Radek Stepanek + Nicole Vaidisova caught together on video, relationship rumors grow

I spy: It's good to know there are nosey people with video cameras in the world - they make our jobs so much easier. We stumbled upon images of the rumored relationship between Czech mates Radek Stepanek and Nicole Vaidisova in action. Though this is certainly not full-proof evidence that they're together, the Czechs look very comfortable and friendly in this exchange.

These still images were taken from this video - nice work spy!


Get it while it's hot: Nole's sweat-soaked adidas shirt avaiable on eBay

Don't sweat it: How would you like to own a used, sweat-filled adidas shirt worn by Novak Djokovic during his Aussie Open championship run? Well, if you're into that kind of stank you can - for some serious dough, though. The shirt is being auctioned off on eBay starting with a ridiculous bid of $4, 999.00!

Here's the description on the item:

"This shirt was worn by new Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final on Sun 27 January 2008

Caught (full of sweat!) in the audience Row A Seat 108

Comes with the ticket as a proof of authenticity, plus any photos as needed.

Collectable Value - Novak is the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam final and the youngest ever winner at Melbourne Park.

Will post world-wide"
We love how "full of sweat!" is a selling point for this item - ingenious. But seriously, we wouldn't pay that much for anyone's sweat. Well...let's not be hasty...

(image via

THE LOW DOWN: Aussie hopes fall on junior champion Bernard Tomic

Future king of the court: Is Bernard Tomic the next big thing in tennis? The Aussie's are hoping so. The 15-year old defeated Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-0 last week to win the Australian Open junior boys' singles title, becoming the youngest boys' Grand Slam champion ever.

Born in Germany to Croatian parents, Bernard and his parents moved to Gold Coast, Australia in 1996 and a successful junior career was born. He became the first junior boy in history to claim three Orange Bowl crowns in three different age groups: he won the boys' 12s title in 2004 and the boys' 14s title in 2006. Bernard is aiming to add the boys' 18s title to his ever-expanding Orange Bowl trophy collection next year.

And what are the Aussie prodigy's future goals?

"I'd love to reach the top 10," a modest-sounding Bernard told the press after his historic win. "You know, everyone has dreams in their life to become something special, reaching No. 1 in the world. But, you know, I would love to, you know, play Davis Cup for Australia at the youngest age and, you know, be up there with those guys one day and competing against them."
(image via

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Michael Berrer vs. Dr. McDreamy

Tennis twosome: We think sexy German tennis baller Michael Berrer has a striking resemblance to a certain Dr. McDreamy from the hit drama Grey's Anatomy - separated at birth?

(image via AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Russian beauty on display, but why now?

Many women who watch tennis, and many of the women who play professionally, cringe when the media focus falls on the beauty of a player to the detriment of their athletic ability. Understood. But Anne Applebaum of Slate is still stunned by the plethora of beautiful women from the former Soviet-bloc who have stormed the global stage, gaining fame and fortune, most notably our favorite Russian fashionista Maria "Shriek"apova. But where were they all this time?

In her editorial, Applebaum claims to have the answer saying,

"To put it bluntly, in the Soviet Union there was no market for female beauty. No fashion magazines featured beautiful women, since there weren't any fashion magazines. No TV series depended upon beautiful women for high ratings, since there weren't any ratings. There weren't many men rich enough to seek out beautiful women and marry them, and foreign men couldn't get the right sort of visa. [...] This doesn't mean there weren't any beautiful women, of course, just that they didn't have the clothes or cosmetics to enhance their looks, and, far more important, they couldn't use their faces to launch international careers."
She ends the piece by saying,
"Beauty is a matter of luck, but the same could be said of many other talents. And what open markets do for beautiful women they also do for other sorts of genius. So, cheer up next time you see a Siberian blonde dominating male attention at the far end of the table: The same mechanisms that brought her to your dinner party might one day bring you the Ukrainian doctor who cures your cancer or the Polish stockbroker who makes your fortune."
And sometimes, especially in sports, it's a combination of the two.

(image via JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga joins French Davis Cup team, but moves to Switzerland

Tstealing the show: Next month Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the surprise Aussie Open finalist, will make his Davis Cup debut for France since he's from there - at least for now. Reports have surfaced that the 22-year old will join fellow Frenchies Amelie Mauresmo, Marion Bartoli, Richard Gasquet, Arnaud Clement, Fabrice Santoro and Guy Forget in Switzerland when he takes up residence in La Rippe - let's call it tax aversion.

France's Davis Cup tie versus Romania will take place February 8 -10 in Sibiu.

(images via PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO OP: Which tennis baller owns this bird's nest?

Messy moment: We've been very vocal about the ATP's hairy situation from last season growing into 2008. Here's one of the regular perpetrators - can you guess which tennis baller owns this mess?

The FED CUP Chronicles: Defending champ Russia arrives in Israel for weekend tie

Defending champions Russia, led by new Aussie Open champ Maria "Shriek"apova, arrived in Israel for a press conference ahead of their FED CUP tie versus the host country's team. Elena Vesnina, Anna Chakvetadze, and Dinara Safina round out the Russian team. World No. 17 Shahar Peer will lead the Israeli team this weekend, which also includes Tzipi Oblizer, Keren Shlomo, and Julia Glushko.

(image via JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, January 28, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Is Roger Federer set to sign lucrative 10-year extension with Nike?

Bigger & better: Street & Smiths Sports Business Journal is reporting that Roger Federer is about to sign a lucrative 10-year extension with sponsor Nike that could be worth an estimated $13 million a year, making the Swiss one of the highest paid Nike athletes from any sport. In contrast, according to the report, Maria "Shriek"apova brings in $6 million a year while Tiger Woods' contract, the gold standard in the Nike stable, is believed to be worth $40 million a year.

The World No. 1's current contract, which he signed in 2002 and expires next month, was negotiated by Fed himself and is said to be worth $1 million annually - pennies in the tennis business.

Phew - we were worried for Fed but we think he and Mirka will finally be living the good life now.

(image via Rick Stevens/AP) editor on Team Djokovic: "their brazen cheesiness was refreshing..." says Steve Tignor

It seems the "wacky" behavior of Team Djokovic during Sunday's Australian Open final wasn't high on the list of many people - including Steve Tignor's. The editor wants us to know he's fine with it now, but don't annoy him with anymore helpings of this cheese.

Tignor penned these thoughts in his Concrete Elbow column saying,

"As a fan, I’ve enjoyed the wacky Djokovic clan so far—their brazen cheesiness was refreshing on Sunday after the long, entitled reign of that sphinx of the sidelines, Mirka. But how will we feel about Srdjan and company as Djokovic continues to ascend? On Sunday we saw Djokovic as a future king of the sport for the first time, rather than an up-and-coming, attention-seeking class clown. Here’s a guess: His crew’s coordinated shirts and relentless cheerleading—not to mention his own “Yes, I have heart, it’s located here!” chest thumps—are going to wear extremely thin if Djokovic begins to dominate the sport. But we’re not there yet, and we should forgive him his over-the-top excitement this time."
Forgive him? We actually thought the men's final was fascinating not only for the tennis but also for the youthful energy and appreciation of the moment. We enjoyed watching Nole's chest-thumping and his box's enthusiasm and "brazen cheesiness"after countless matches watching the stoicness of Federer and his "sphinx of the sidelines" whispering encouragement from the stands.

We'll take fire in the eyes over a stone-cold stare anyday - so we'll forgive you, Steve Tignor.

(image via & PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

THE LOW DOWN: Novak Djokovic understands Maria, "I think she's a very strong female," says Nole

Common bonds: So what do Aussie Open champs Novak Djokovic and Maria "Shriek"apova have in common besides newly minted trophies? A lot according to the Serb. Though rumors of a budding romance began after the Russian was spotted in Nole's player's box during last season's US Open final and on his arm at parties around New York, the 20-year old has the utmost respect for the 3-time Grand Slam champ.

The World No. 3 talked to the press at Melbourne Park the day after winning his maiden Grand Slam saying,

"I think she’s a very strong female, [...] She is mentally very strong and is a very strong personality. She doesn’t allow anybody to fool with her, and she shows it every time on the court. She already has three Grand Slams. That proves everything. We are kind of on the same line in life. We’ve been through difficult things in our career, and we appreciate success much more, even though we are still young."
Sounds like the makings of a good romance to us - do it, to it!

(images via Mark Baker/AP)

SIGHTING: Serena Williams hits Hollywood club scene, but doesn't go home alone

Moving on: Apparently Serena "ReRe" Williams broken heart is on the mend. The 8-time Grand Slam champ, who hit the quarterfinal skids at the Aussie Open last week, was spotted arriving at Hollywood club Hyde ready to party in a white waist-coat, cobalt blue dress, black patent tote, and peep-toe Christian Louboutin heels.

But the tennis fashionista didn't end the night alone: TMZ caught ReRe, with rumored boyfriend Common, in the passenger seat of his black SUV as they left club Villa the same evening.

Why does the camera-loving tennis star seem so nervous about being photographed with the hip-hop star?

(images via

Novak Djokovic greets fans by the Yarra, gets drink on for the cameras

Giving thanks: Following Maria "Shriek"apova's lead, Novak Djokovic greeted the press and many of his supporters at the Yarra River in Melbourne to celebrate his Aussie Open win; he now leads the ATP 2008 Race to the Masters Cup after his first Grand Slam title.

will next join his Serbian countrymen as they take on Russia in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group tie from February 8th - 10th.

The 20-year old seems to have put his training on hold for now, getting his drink on and downing some well-deserved bubbly by the water. We're sure there'll be more partying to come in Serbia...stay tuned.

(images via WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

INSTANT REPLAY - Aussie Open Edition II: a look back at the week's top tennis plays


Nicole & Keith take in some tennis
Feli leaves Nike for Joma
Women's 2nd Marquee Matchup: Justine vs. Maria
A star is born
ReRe hits the skids
Preview: Women's Semifinal Showdowns
Ana squeaks by
The shirtless brigade grows
Celebrating the French way
Men's 1st Marquee Matchup: Fed vs. Nole
True heir to the throne?
Preview: Women's Final
Maria comes full circle
Preview: Men's Final
Pat gets inducted
Celebrating the French way, Part Deux
Nole takes his place

Novak Djokovic wins Aussie Open for first Grand Slam, celebrates family-style

Serbian stunner: Novak Djokovic is a Grand Slam champion. As we predicted, the World No. 3 defeated unseeded Frenchie Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), to win the Australian Open title and became the first tennis baller from Serbia to win a Grand Slam singles title. After the historic win, Nole told the press,

"I always believed [I could win a Grand Slam.] You know, I always believed. I didn't want to think in a negative way. I always had a big support, especially from my parents, my father. You know, I think he always believed more in me than I did in myself."

"With the way I was playing throughout all the junior years and junior events, I think I earned enough confidence and motivation to be a professional tennis player and to be as a Grand Slam champion."

"So, you know, for somebody it was not realistic, for somebody, yes. And it was difficult to judge in that time because Serbia doesn't have such a big tennis tradition. Considering all these bad times we had, you know, in the time when I grew up and practicing there. So it was basically impossible if you look in it that way, but I always believed."

The new Aussie Open champ, pulling his trademark shirtless moment, celebrated with his ever-present family including father Grdjan, momma Dijana, and brothers Djordje + Marko (who also play tennis) in the locker room.

Could the Djokovics be the next tennis dynasty?

(images via Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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