Google Down the Line!: 2008-03-02

Friday, March 7, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Federer suffering from mononucleosis

Full disclosure: The New York Times is reporting that Roger Federer has been dealing with the effects of mononucleosis, an energy-sapping virus. He was diagnosed in February and was told he may have had the virus since December 2007.

According to the report Federer only disclosed the illness now "because he did not want to detract from victories by Djokovic or Murray."

To read the full article, click here.

(image via

Maria Sharapova becomes Ocean Drive magazine's latest cover girl

Model impression: Maria "Shriek"apova, who was spotted looking stylish on the red carpet at the 10,000 BC premiere this week, is the cover story for the latest issue of Ocean Drive. The Aussie Open champ does her best supermodel impression, though we all know her best work is done on the tennis court.

Unfortunately, the interview is choppy and leaves much to be desired (no, she hasn't won the French Open yet.) But Maria does reveal she plans to play for the next 5 years, which only makes her 25-years old. Isn't that prime playing time for a tennis baller?

Here are the highlights:

Which players do you admire?
It’s hard to admire other players because you have to go out there and play against them. You hope that you beat them. I’ve never been a person who had heroes or people to look up to. I’ve never thought that anyone was perfect, including myself. Everybody has flaws. I appreciate people’s talent and ability. I try to pick up on the good things they do. But I never wanted to play the same way someone played or be like someone else.

What is your biggest indulgence?
I’m really into modern art. I hope I can buy an Ed Moses this year. That is my latest obsession.

Who are your favorite designers?
Chanel, Vera Wang and Tom Ford. I love fashion. I would love to incorporate my ideas into fashion—after tennis, of course.

Is it hard for you to date with your schedule?

It’s more difficult versus living in one place. Any relationship that I have is long-distance because of the amount of travel. That makes it tough.

Are you dating anyone?
I don’t talk about that.

What type of music do you listen to? Who are your favorite artists?
Dave Matthews, David Gray and Amy Winehouse. I can listen to hip-hop and then I can easily go into something slower like Counting Crows.

How long will you play tennis?
Until the day I have no interest in going to the practice court. Or when I don’t feel like getting better. I will be playing for the next five years.

And what about life after tennis?
I don’t see myself coaching. One of my goals is to open a small tennis academy back in Russia for young kids. They need a good indoor center. One of the reasons I left Russia is that they don’t have too many good indoor centers, and the ones they had were pretty expensive. They were more for the rich than young kids growing up.

(images via

FASHION FIX: Venus is pretty in pink at Bangalore Open

Venus Williams (finally) sported some new tennis duds in Bangalore. The Wimbledon champion, who reached the semifinals at the tourney with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Russian headcase Vera Zvonareva, had been working some gear from last season's EleVen line recently (see photo here.) But the 27-year old looked pretty in a pink tank top and white flirty-skirt + visor.

Though it's not my fave look from the former World No. 1 (her afro-puff moment comes to mind) it's a refreshing change.

(images via STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: A-Rod, Maria, Mary goes home...chairs + balls, Men's Vogue hearts tennis and more

- Fed-esque: Andy Roddick gets dumped by coach Jimmy Connors because he was "keeping him away from the golf course a little bit too much" then goes out and impressively defeats World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of Dubai 7-6, 6-2. Geez - these top tennis ballers are making the concept of full-time, traveling coaches seem so over. What else is over? A-Rod's recent "boorish" behavior, according to SI's Jon Wertheim.

- Tennis ball chair: I don't know about you, but I don't want that many balls against my or not.

- Anna K. news: Our favorite tennis non-baller is returning to the courts for World Team Tennis. The original Russian glamourpuss was booted by the Sacramento Capitals but landed firmly with the St. Louis Aces.

- Dork is as dork does: Maria "Shriek"apova spoke to Play Tennis Florida for their March issue and revealed that she's a different person off the court than the ultra-confident baller the world watches on the court. "I'm a goofball," said Maria. "I'm the dork [in my group of friends]. I give you Exhibit A (because she's given up Exhibit B already):

- Iconic moment: Frenchie sportswear label Lacoste - who sponsors most of the French ballers, Andy Roddick, and others - celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with its Spring/Summer 2008 collection.

- A long way from home: Tennis commentator and former baller Mary Carillo made a trip home to Naples, Florida to discuss her career and the state of tennis.

- Best Cross-Platform Sport Marketing: Conde Nast mag Men's Vogue is sponsoring the NetJets showdown between Roger Federer and Pete Sampras and has partnered with NBC Sports/ to provide editorial content on the historic match - including the display of the Men's Vogue logo on the web page. Now that's what I call intelligent and innovate cross-marketing - though I think this could have something to do with Anna Wintour's stalkerati moment...creepster!

(images via AP)

SIGHTING: Sharapova walks red carpet for 10,000 BC premiere

Maria Sharapova was spotted on the red carpet last night for the world premiere of 10,000 BC, which stars her good friend actress Camilla Belle. In fact, the Russian fashionista blogged about the upcoming premiere on her site saying,

I am really excited about this week.... it's finally Camilla's movie premier (sic) (10,000BC) and I can't wait to go and support her. Highly recommend to go see it on opening weekend!!
(image via

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Worldly Venus + Serena talk politics at Bangalore Open

Speaking up: Andy Roddick isn't the only tennis baller feeling all political these days. The 'Sisters Sledge' - Venus + Serena Williams - threw their racquets in the ring and spoke out on the emergence of minorities, more specifically African-Americans, in tennis and in the US at this week's Bangalore Open where they're playing singles and teaming up for doubles.

Eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena said, "Each year when I go on tour and at the US Open I see another black face. It just makes my heart smile." However, she emphasized the limited access to the sport for some saying, "Maybe sometime if you want to talk economics, then maybe it (tennis) might not be affordable for some black people. Traditionally you look at tennis, you see in the past, 50 years, maybe one black player there. Tennis is an expensive sport."

Older sister Venus, who is widely recognized as a catalyst for getting women equal prize money at Wimbledon, commented on the current U.S. presidential race saying, "It is good that minorities are coming to the fore, (Barack) Obama is an example." She was quick, though, to point out she's "equally happy" for Hillary Clinton though "it is tough for Afro-Americans in US."

Good for them. If only more athletes were as brave, worldly, and aware...

(image via AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Quote of the Day: Jankovic on hygiene

I have been washing my teeth and face with Evian water only.

- Jelena Jankovic on her first visit to India for the Bangalore Open
So much for shattering the image of the spoiled professional athlete. Some PR please?

(women's tennis blog, image via

FASHION FIX: Nike goes 'new blue' for spring, leaves winter in the dust

Don't be blue: With another winter slowly creeping towards oblivion (I hope), the coming spring season's best hues are finally making their mark. The ladies were hit with yellow fever in Dubai, and now the blues are hitting hard around the globe.

Following Rafael Nadal's lead this season, Nike tennis ballers Roger Federer in Dubai, Serena Williams in Bangalore, and John Isner in Las Vegas were spotted working 'new blue' for the sportswear giant.

I'm loving the light, airy feel of the new blue + white moment from Nike. It's still clean + classic but with a smart, modern feel.

(images via AP + Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: A-Rod leans left, steps out of political closet

Sporting political muscle: Though most athletes tend to either shy away from political speak to focus "on their games", some do actually embrace the moment. The most recent example was, of course, the out-spoken Novak Djokovic and his video support for Serbian unity.

Now, Andy Roddick has cracked open his political closet door - well, almost. In his latest blog entry the former US Open champ, who reached the second round at the Dubai Tennis Championships this week, teases us with left-leaning talk by saying,

The Democratic election has been a lot of fun to follow…. regardless of who one votes for it has been a blast to read about and follow… I am hoping the actual presidential election will be just as much fun!
Frankly, I'm loving the political speak...and the gratuitous belly shot!

(image via HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SIGHTING: Nole drops tennis racquet for skis, hits the slopes at Ski Dubai

Novak Djokovic was spotted hitting the slopes at Ski Dubai, the world's largest snow park to match the soon-to-be world's tallest building Burj Dubai, before his first match against Marin Cilic at the Dubai Tennis Championships this week. The Aussie Open champ won his match against the rising Croat 6-4, 6-3 without facing a break point and will face the French magician Fabrice Santoro in the next round.

Nole's no stranger to the ski slopes of course - his father Grdjan was a champion skiier back in Serbia. "I took up skiing before I learnt to play tennis at the age of four,” said Nole. “Skiing is a great sport, it’s a lot of fun and it’s my biggest passion."

(images via

THE LOW DOWN: Hingis to make another return to tennis play (well...sort of)

Hard habit to break: It seems she just can't stay away. Former top-ranked tennis baller Martina Hingis, who famously re-retired after testing positive for cocaine and receiving a 2-year ban, is returning to the courts. The Swiss Miss has accepted an invitation to play at the Liverpool International in June, though she could only enter the non-competitive Legends section of the draw. Martina told the press,

I have heard a lot about Liverpool over the years and all the fine work they have done up there to develop tennis in a region that is mostly famous for football. l am very much looking forward to playing the event and to seeing what’s on offer in the European Capital of Culture.
The 27-year old will be joined in the Legends group by fellow retirees Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Cash.

(image via

SIGHTING: Pat Rafter works Bonds' runway for Melbourne Fashion Week

Like a fine wine: Tennis Hall of Famer Pat Rafter was spotted looking casual-cool on the runway during Bonds' Pop UP Show at the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. The Aussie star is an ambassador for the underwear label (though he sometimes doesn't wear any) and took part in the show for Melbourne Fashion Week.

Some things just get better with age...

(image via Getty)

Monday, March 3, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Will Federer skip the Olympics? "I still have not made up my mind...," says Roger

In the hot seat: Is the pressure of possibly being the greatest tennis player of all time finally getting to the usually unflappable Roger Federer?

The Swiss Stylist, who has expressed his desire to participate in the Olympics and win the gold medal, sung a different tune this week when he revealed that the decision to travel to Beijing for the Summer Games has not been finalized yet.

Federer, who was defeated by Britain’s Andy Murray in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships today (his first opening-round loss since 2004), was disillusioned by his experience at the 2004 Athens Games and told the press in Dubai,

It was quite difficult in Athens. Taking the bus and not being in control of my own schedule, and many people recognising me in the village. It was not as enjoyable as Sydney, which I loved. I still have not made up my mind (whether to play in Beijing).

The 12-time Grand Slam champion is two Slams away from matching Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major titles. However, he lost the Australian Open title to Novak Djokovic (sour grapes?), the French Open - played on Fed’s least favorite clay surface - has been owned by Rafael Nadal for the last three years, and now the opening-round loss to Murray in Dubai.

With the Olympics falling in between Wimbledon and the US Open, is Fed leaving the door open for him to focus on the last two majors of the year?

(image via AP)

Quote of the Day: Fed on Aussie Open loss to Nole

“It must have taken me a maximum of two hours to get over the loss."

- A prickly Roger Federer on his Aussie Open loss to eventual champ and growing nemesis Novak Djokovic
Hmmm - could this be another sour grapes moment on the tennis tour?


FASHION FIX: Rafa visits Burj Dubai, works graphic Nike design

Building confidence: Rafael Nadal is looking to get his tennis game in gear this week after disappointing losses at the Aussie Open and in Rotterdam. The Spaniard is the No. 2 seed at this week's Dubai Tennis Championships, which will also feature World No. 1 Roger Federer and Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic.

Rafa was spotted doing a photo op at the construction site for the Burj Dubai, which will become the world's tallest building when completed. He's also working a new + interesting black and white Nike-designed graphic pocket-tee.

Does anyone out there have more info on his shirt?

(images via AP Photo/Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, HO +

FASHION FIX: The ladies trade out tennis gear for saris at Bangalore Open

So sari: The ladies of the WTA Tour are setting their sites on an Indian summer as they gather for this week's Bangalore Open...all except homegirl Sania Mirza, who controversially pulled out of the tournament due to the treatment she's been receiving from her country. The players worked the runway donning traditional saris for the occasion.

Serb Jelena Jankovic, a Sania supporter, is top seed in the tourney, which also includes a rare non-Grand Slam appearance by both Venus and a "recovered" Serena Williams.

(images via STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

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


One hairy situation solved, another one to go
The state of A-Rod's game
Yellow fever hits Dubai
The falconer and his muse
My non-dom is bettah than yours
Maria gives good quote
Pennetta does periwinkle
Same dress, different color
Alona does Anna
Bringing home baby
Separated at Birth: Dani vs. American Idol


Serena, the Grafassi's, see Maria ride it...Matt vs. A-Rod, Wii goes Oscar and more

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