Google Down the Line!: 2008-03-16

Friday, March 21, 2008

VIDEO VAULT: K-Swiss launches TV ad spot featuring Anna, Alona, and Tommy

Ad watch: Sports brand K-Swiss is in the midst of a major brand revival and is continuing its extensive "Keep it Pure" marketing push including heavy advertising, events, sponsorships, and PR.

I wrote about the print spots featuring Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, and Alona Bondarenko (doing her best Anna K.) and the sports brand recently hosted a launch event in LA with Anna K. working the red carpet in a strange ensemble.

Nevertheless, they've released the broadcast spot featuring their tennis cast of characters.

Check it out:

(video via

THE LOW DOWN: WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott responds to Richard Williams' remarks

WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott has responded to the comments made by Richard Williams about racism on the tour and reiterated the zero-tolerance policy for any incidents involving racism.

According to Scott,

The Tour has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to racism, and I have previously let Mr. Williams know that he should let me know if he ever had evidence of racist comments or acts in women's professional tennis. Champions like Chris Evert and Tracy Austin have done so much to help build women's tennis to where it is today, and it is regrettable that anyone would criticize them in this manner.
I think it's vital for Scott to take a proactive approach to these issues, as he did with Martina Hingis' doping charges + ban and criminal background checks for players' entourage.

SIGHTINGS: Around the grounds of Indian Wells with Nole

Gettin' some Guga: Novak Djokovic was spotted getting his practice on with the beloved Gustavo Kuerten at Indian Wells this week. The Brazilian announced he'll retire from the tour after this year's French Open, where he won the crown in 1997, 2000, and 2001.

Apparently, Guga wasn't the only one getting in on the Nole action: fellow Aussie Open champ Maria "Shriek"apova conveniently booked a practice court next to the Serb:

Hmmm - after sharing the court at the recent Desert Smash Charity Celebrity Tennis event, the two seem to be enjoying each other's company again (remember those pesky romance rumors after last season's US Open?).

I wonder what his girlfriend Jelena thinks about their friendship....

(images via

Thursday, March 20, 2008

BREAKING: Is Mirka Vavrinec pregnant?

Daily Tennis is reporting that Mirka Vavrinec, Roger Federer's long-time girlfriend, is pregnant. This would be the first child for both.

Can anyone out there confirm this news?

Thanks for the heads-up Brent!

[ via]

Creators of Marc Jacobs tennis ad revealed - and they model too!

Mystery solved: The identity of the artists behind the hilarious site I wrote about mocking a Marc Jacobs Summer 2008 ad campaign and featuring tennis legends John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg have been revealed!

According to New York Magazine's fashion blog The Cut the site was created by Thomas Larsson and Greg Hart of creative firm Hart + Larsson and they had this to say about the idea:

We're Hart+Larsson. We're photographers, filmmakers, and advertising creatives. We call what we do The New Enthusiasm: an aesthetic movement (or philosophy) of sorts.

Borg+McEnroe is something we'd been wanting to do for a little while now. We thought it'd be interesting to adopt two generally well-known personas, style them, identify them as Borg and McEnroe, place them within a popular commercial context (the Marc Jacobs display ad), and then turn them loose. In a world dominated by replication and automation, we wondered whether or not we could create an 'authentic' Marc Jacobs ad. And we think we succeeded, for the most part. You know, in truth, we're not really sure anyone would naturally consider Juergen Teller to be a great photographer; perhaps he is, perhaps he's not — obviously, it's all rather subjective. We do know, however, that if one views his work within that instantly recognizable Marc Jacobs frame, one can't help but conclude that one is looking at the work of a master.
Geez - I can't help but be a little disappointed that these images aren't really part of an MJ ad campaign. One can dream.

(image via

Fox Sports Net should never broadcast tennis matches again

Dear Fox Sports Net:

I have some feedback - you and your affiliate here in the New York City area, MSG, are doing a terrible job of covering the Pacific Life Open, one of the biggest tournaments in tennis outside of the four Grand Slams.

During yesterday's now classic match between Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, your programmers made the very asinine decision to stop coverage after the end of the second set. Your broadcasters didn't provide any type of segue - you just never returned to the match. I would relate the feeling to what it must be like to get a big present, open it up, and find nothing inside.

And, to rub salt in the wound, you started the evening's coverage of the tournament late because the game before ran over! Could you not have done the same for the tennis match earlier in the day?

I was accepting of the fuzzy quality of your telecasts and the way you tease viewers with 2-hour blocks (that's maybe one set of a Nadal match) of coverage, but cutting out an entire set of a now classic match with no explanation is unacceptable and a slap in the face to tennis fans and potentially new viewers for your channel. I hate to see what you have in store for next week's Miami Masters.

Please do all tennis fans a favor and give up your pursuit of tennis. Actions always speak louder than words.

To file a complaint to Fox Sports Net, click here.

To file a complaint to Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation and owner of FSN:

Email - or 

Mailing address -
Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and Chief Executive
News Corporation
1211 Avenue of Americas
8th Floor
NY, NY 10036
(image via wikipedia)

FASHION FIX: Nole defeats Cañas, works hazy shade of grey for adidas

Going grey: Hollywood player Novak Djokovic is playing lights out at the Pacific Life Open, having not dropped a set in the tourney so far. The Serb kept up his solid play in dispatching the wily Guillermo Cañas easily 6-2, 6-3 and will face Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

What a relief to see a different color of the adidas Winter Edge Polo on the World No. 3, after getting my fill of the white + satellite blue. The grey version (white + loam) is refreshing and Nole wears it well - but doesn't he always?

(image via Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

VIDEO VAULT: Seles brings two left feet, makeup, and stilettos to Dancing with the Stars

A lefty's two matching feet: Did you get to see Monica "El Stiffo" Seles bust a move on Monday's Dancing with the Stars? You're better off if you didn't - the smiling, giggly image of the 9-time Grand Slam champ you hold dear will still be intact.

Moni did, though, live out a fantasy of many women (and, frankly, many men though I won't mention names): hitting the crap out of a tennis ball in blown-out hair, full make-up, dress, and stilettos. To die for!

In case you missed it:

THE LOW DOWN: Did A-Rod's relationship break the camel's back with Connors?

Insider info: Doug Robson, who provided great coverage of the US' Davis Cup win last season for USA Today, is divulging some insider information on the Andy Roddick-Jimmy Connors split.

Apparently, the partnership hit an impasse when A-Rod was forced to choose between seeing swimsuit girlfriend Brooklyn Decker and meeting up with Connors. According to Robson's latest post,

Roddick wanted to stop in New York City on his way back so he could spend time with his squeeze, the blonde S.I. swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. He asked Jimbo to come to the Big Apple to train. Connors told Andy he preferred him to come to his home in Montecito. It was a good old-fashioned standoff. Neither would budge. Not hard to imagine, is it: Two bull-headed champs standing their ground. Vexed that Connors wouldn’t be more “flexible” considering the princely sum he was paying the eight-time champ from East St. Louis, Ill., the two had a longer conversation about their working relationship, travel, commitment. One thing led to another and…Kaput.
Sex or tennis? Tennis or sex?? I guess we all know what won out.

(image via BBC)

Quote of the Day: Richard Williams on racism in tennis

"Tennis is a prejudice game. Well, I’m black and I’m prejudiced, very prejudiced. I’ll be always prejudiced as the white man. The white man hated me all my life and I hate him. That’s no secret. I’m not even an American, it just so happens that I was born in America. People are prejudiced in tennis. I don’t think Venus or Serena was ever accepted by tennis. They never will be. But if you get some little white no-good trasher in America like Tracy Austin or Chris Evert who cannot hit the ball, they will claim this is great…I think [Venus and Serena] can easily be No. 1 in women’s tennis. They have speed, they have power. Right now, they are more interested in learning to develop more businesses."

- Richard Williams on racism in tennis
I think he and Barack Obama would have a very interesting conversation after the presidential hopeful's speech on race yesterday.

(image via Getty)

SIGHTING: Venus + Serena hit up ESPN the Magazine's 10th Anniversary party

Venus + Serena Williams, who continue to boycott Indian Wells since being involved in a racially-charged incident in 2001, spent their off-time attending ESPN the Magazine's 10th Anniversary party held at Area in LA.

Though some (hilariously) think V is doing her best Whitney Houston these days, both she and ReRe look great dolled up in their jewel-toned dresses - a shift style for V and a sexy halter for ReRe.

Earlier this year, the sisters alos took part in a photoshoot for the 10th Anniversary of the mag.

Let's hope their appearance at the party means I was wrong and the magazine will increase coverage of tennis - that would give them a clear edge over Sports Illustrated's lackluster efforts.

(image via

Jelena Jankovic pulls a Danny Noriega for next match - oh no!

Fun with fuschia: Attention-loving Jelena Jankovic is a tennis girl who likes to have fun with her style - for the better and for the worse (see above.) The Serb, who's known to wear a fully made-up face for her matches, has been blogging from Indian Wells for the WTA Tour and revealed a new look for her next match:

So I've been waiting for my hairdresser to come and put some more of those fuscia (sic) extensions in my hair so it's more visible, but I can't seem to find her. She was supposed to meet me a little while ago. Maybe she's lost or something... I have no idea where she is. Hopefully she's okay! It's okay, hopefully tomorrow we can find time. I would like a good hairdo for my next match.
Oh no! I'm worried how this new 'do is going to look. Hopefully she won't come out looking anything like American Idol reject Danny Noriega:

(images via,

FASHION FIX: Radwanska mixes up game and outfit at Indian Wells

Mix and unmatch: Crafty up-and-comer Agnieszka Radwanska battled Ashley Harkleroad yesterday at Indian Wells and pulled out a tight 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over her American opponent. She'll next face Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in a rematch of their Aussie Open 3rd round encounter which the Polish star won easily 6-3, 6-4.

During her run to the Pattaya Women's Open title in February, I was critical of the unflattering silhouette of Aggie's outfit and wondered why she was wearing a Prokom top, who is listed as her official sponsor, matched with a Nike skirt. She's mixing the two brands again this week though this Nike skirt is a much better fit for her body.

But, I said this about Vania King earlier this week and the same goes for Aggie: can someone get this girl a real clothing sponsorship???

(image via AP Photo/Mark Avery)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Cannot Be Serious: McEnroe + Borg featured in Marc Jacobs ad campaign?

Classic: Now THIS is how you mix tennis + fashion people.

I stumbled upon this hilarious spoof of a Marc Jacobs Summer 2008 ad campaign featuring John McEnroe + Bjorn Borg wannabes circa 1980. The spot was produced by someone called Mr. Teller and features our tennis legends in all sorts of scenarios and "risqué" poses. To see the full campaign, click here.

I wish this was a real MJ ad campaign - tennis really needs an injection of humor right now. Plus, I'd love to hear Bjorn's reaction...he looks like a man being a woman being a man.


(image via's Tignor fears being a tennis journo may get you nowhere - and I agree!

Tennis journo Steve Tignor made his way to Indian Wells this week to cover the Pacific Life Open for his column, Concrete Elbow. In his usually self-deprecating way, Tignor provides interesting, and sometimes hilarious, insights on our fave tennis ballers and the fans who love them:

On watching the Frenchies on the soccer field:
"Watching [Arnaud] Clement’s fast feet, it’s clear that a soccer background has its advantages for tennis players, especially on clay. I’ve always thought basketball, with its jab steps, quick turns, and ready positions on defense, was the ideal preparation, but it doesn’t teach you to create with your feet the way soccer does."

On Ana Ivanovic:
"[...] she struggles with the low forehand. Something about her grip or swing doesn’t let her get under it easily, and she sends a lot of balls flat and long. This looks like something that will always trouble her."

On fans watching Rafa practice with Tommy Haas:
"There’s a genius in every crowd at these practice sessions, and he happens to be near me. He confidently tells a friend, “You see how they never hit the sweet spot? That’s what I mean, it’s hard to hit the sweet spot.” I walk away trying to imagine how good Rafael Nadal and Tommy Haas would be if they could actually figure out how to hit the sweet spot!"

On our theme for the day - uninspired tennis sponsorships:
"My colleague Tom Tebbutt, the tennis writer of Canada, who's sitting with me, says that when [players walk on the court in matching outfits] the player with the lower ranking should change his shirt. Not a bad suggestion."

On Dani:
"Does Daniela Hantuchova aggravate you with her inevitable, and seemingly so preventable, meltdowns? Go watch her in doubles—like Anna Kournikova, her natural tennis skill, her tennis IQ as they say, is allowed full play, with none of that pesky anxiety to drag her down."

On Federer's fashion of the day:
"His outfit consists of a grey T-shirt—and his tuxedo pants [from Wimbledon.] They look completely out of place here; maybe he was out of laundry. Or who knows, maybe he wasn’t sure we would recognize him without them."

On how a tennis-loving mom speaks about her shy child:
"A woman near me scolds her child for standing at the back of the autograph line for Nadal, then says to her husband: “He’s never going to get anywhere in the world being shy.” (I want to say he could become a tennis journalist, but then begin to wonder if that would prove her point.) "

What about being a tennis blogger? No worries - I've already prepared myself for getting nowhere doing this stuff...and I like it!

(image via

FASHION FIX: adidas competes with Nike for "worst tennis sponsorship"

More fashion faux pas: Not to be outdone by competitor Nike, tennis sponsor adidas made sure to embarrass themselves as well at Indian Wells this week.

Frenchies Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, playing his first tourney since his run to the Aussie Open final, and Paul-Henri Mathieu played their third round match wearing the same Men's Winter Edge Theme Polo in white/satellite blue and and the Winter Edge Theme Short in white.

Clearly, these global sport companies don't have their eye on the tennis ball so maybe the players need to take these style issues into their own hands...please!

(image via Harry How/Getty Images)

FASHION FIX: Nike continues frustrating sponsorship, feeds some players scraps

Oh Nike, Nike, Nike: Why do you continue to show your obvious disregard for our sport by continuing to blanket the courts with the same gear for these tennis ballers?

James Blake and Carlos Moya were the latest victims of your lazy sponsorship, having to play their third round match at Indian Wells yesterday in the same colored Spring Global Power Sleeveless top and Spring Global Power 10" short.

I wrote extensively on Nike's issue last season when four players, including Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez, Stefan Koubek, and Moya, all wore the Winter Global Power Sleeveless top in crystal blue during the Madrid Masters. Now it seems the issue has bled into this season.

Apparently if your name isn't Federer, Sharapova, or Williams you get the Nike scraps.

(image via Harry How/Getty Images)

Monday, March 17, 2008

The state of Marion Bartoli: unfit or unflattering?

Firstly, I'd like to admit I haven't actually seen Marion Bartoli play recently in Doha or Indian Wells so these observations are purely based on these images. Plus, I like her attitude + demeanor on and off the tennis court.

But is the pepto-colored dress she's wearing (I hope that's not yours Nike) just horribly unflattering or is last year's Wimbledon finalist completely out-of shape + unfit?

(image via AP Photo/Mark Avery)

PHOTO OP: Querrey's non-dom hand is speaking!

Hands on: Remember our conversation about non-dom hands and the insightful things they say about a tennis baller? Well, what do you think Sam Querrey's non-dom hand is saying (and we won't even get into his hairy situation)??

(image via Harry How/Getty Images)

FASHION FIX: Who's that girl in the fun Fila dress?

Taking a Knapp: I spotted this Fila dress while searching through images from this weekend's Indian Wells matches and fell in love. The design is sweet and flirty with the pleated skirt yet jarring with the large darting in the front - an innovative combo for tennis gear.

I wondered aloud, "Who's the girl in this great dress?" Why, it's none other than Karin Knapp. But, although she may have won in the style department the Italian lost hard to China's Shuai Peng 6-1, 6-3 in the second round.

Oh well, guess you can't have it all though Fila, who brought some yellow fever to Dubai, seems to be on its way.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Ballers trade out tennis gear for runway styles at Indian Wells

Tennis + fashion - what could be more fun? Surely that's what the Pacific Life Open organizers were thinking when they pulled this show together.

Though the fashions leave MUCH to be desired, I always enjoy seeing our fave ballers off the court and out of their usual tennis duds.

The ballers who took part from the women's tour are our usual suspects - Jelena Jakovic and sisters Kateryna and Alona Bondarenko. The men's models included Tommy Robredo and the Israeli doubles team of Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich.

(image via Getty)

Tommy Haas cleans up game + hair at Indian Wells

Another situation solved: A newly cropped Tommy Haas continued his domination over Andy Roddick in the second round of this weekend's Pacific Life Open. The German, who's recovering from another shoulder issue, swept past the World No. 6 in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 and stopped A-Rod's tremendous momentum from Dubai.

Tommy's hair is looking as good as his game after after going under the scissors a la Andy Murray. The sides and back of his 'do have been cleaned up nicely, giving him a youthful vibe.

Could this be a new trend on the ATP Tour? One can only hope...

(image via AP Photo/Mark J. Terril)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

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


A shot of botox does a blog good
ReRe works it for HP
Liveblogging: Fed vs. Pete
A-Rod + Bob give good quote
Historic night
A player's player
Facebooker A-Rod shares intimate fan moment
Robby "Melons" Ginepri
Would you like a Wife Swap?
Martina is, like, sooo over the shrieking
Tennis takes a back seat...again
Fed hit by second virus
Welcome to Hollywood, Nole!
Love blooms but career stalls
Vania looking fashionably confused
Why do skorts exist?


Roger, Martina, Lleyton vs. Bec...NetJets roundup, Maria best dressed, Olympics news and more!

(image via Harry How/Getty Images)

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