Google Down the Line!: 2008-03-30

Friday, April 4, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Rafa, Fed, Ana as Maria...Jana vs. Martina II, FSN still sucks and more

- I need a hero: Patrick McEnroe was recently hired to oversee player development for the USTA. Can P-Mac save US tennis? If he can't, then we're all doomed.

- All about Ana:'s Harry Cicma thinks Ana Ivanovic's game is on the rise, though her size my hamper her. Tennis Diary's Nina Rota just wishes she could be more like Maria (sans bangs.)

- Speaking of Shrieka: Maria is preparing for her assault on Roland Garros, which she believes she can win. The Aussie Open champ accepted wildcards to both Amelia Island and Charleston. Do you think she'll hang out with Jennifer Capriati, who'll be in attendance for the tourney's 35th anniversary?

- Inside the SEO: Marija at Women's Tennis Blog has the inside scoop on the superstar treatment our fave ballers receive at the Sony Ericsson Open. Like rice milk? Got it! Need exotic Brazilian red bananas?? No prob!

- Tennis flashback: Remember when Jana Novotna lost her second Wimbledon final to a precocious Martina Hingis in 1997? Well, the Czech will look to gain revenge when the two ballers meet again on grass at the Liverpool International this summer, where Martina will make her third comeback.

- For the sneakerhead in us all: The incredible Stan Smith sneaker with hunter green upper, contrasting sand color pops and vulcanized sole:

- Odd pairing moment: Rafael Nadal will team up with Anna Kournikova for a mixed-doubles exhibition match at Stuttgart in July for the tourney's 30th anniversary.

- Doug is dishing: Doug Robson would like us to call the current state of Roger Federer's game exactly what it is: a slumplet (though, to be fair, that sounds more like an appetizer than anything else.) Slumplet or not, Rafa is hoping the media doesn't start "killing" Fed for the loss (good to know what he thinks of the shark-infested press waters.)

- FSN woes continue: Even the ballers are frustrated with FSN's coverage of the SEO - they can't even scout matches on their hotel TV's! Jelena Jankovic seemed genuinely confused saying, "For some reason, in my hotel, they don't show Fox Sports or something," while Svetlana Kuznetsova said, "I guess [Serena] played unbelievable [against Justine], but I was in my hotel watching Next Top Model or whatever I was watching. I was not watching any of tennis. It was not on TV. I wanted to watch. It was interesting." A sad state of affairs for us all...

(image via AFP/GETTY IMAGES/Al

THE LOW DOWN: Nole returns to homeland, visits Kosovo

Novak Djokovic had some unexpected free time after falling in his opening round at the Miami Masters.

So the Aussie Open champ packed his racquet bags and returned to his homeland to visit the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica in Kosovo where he was greeted by throngs of supporters. Nole made his views known recently when he released a YouTube video supporting a unified Serbia.

UPDATE: Here's what Nole told the crowd who gathered to greet him:

All my wins are your wins too.

This place is really deep, deep in my heart, and I’ll come back here always, whenever I can and give support to people that need it

There are some moments in life when everything in your mind just stops. This is one of those moments for me and my family, for everyone who came today

It’s really hard to find enough time because of all the commitments I have as a professional tennis player, but I’m really happy that I managed to come here, because I know this is my homeland, my family descend from here, my father, uncle, aunt. My grandfather lived here for 30 years.
(images via

SIGHTING: Terrell gives A-Rod support, Brittany's career could use some

Andy Roddick's new card-playing BFF Terrell Owens was spotted in the stands again last night to watch him defeat Federer in the Miami Masters quaterfinals. Could Terrell have been the lucky charm for A-Rod? The Dallas Cowboy footballer told the press in Miami this week,

He was really pressing, trying to get some wins in there instead of letting things flow [...] He’s on the cusp of really being that No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 guy. If he keeps pushing, letting the games come to him and try not to press so much during the matches, he’ll win. He just has to keep his focus.
Maybe. But I think getting his personal life together is playing a bigger role, which he eluded to in his post-match press conference:
I knew [the engagement] was either going to go one way or the other. Either [it] was going to be the end of me or ­­ if I would have lost the first round, or the reason I beat Roger tonight. I think it's somewhere in the middle. I think being happy and content off the court is only going to help in my mind.
Interesting - maybe those two things are related.

B-list (or C?) celeb Brittany Murphy and some suspiciously over-pouty lips were also spotted in the stands for the match. Could she be milking the tourney as a PR opportunity for a flagging movie career? I hope her publicist told her the match was being broadcast on the bumbling FSN Network (read: no one's watching Brittany.)

(images via Getty)

Quote of the Day: A-Rod on Federer win

You know, let's not act like ­­ I'm not going to sit here and act like all of a sudden I've fixed the problem. I think I'm batting 2 for 16. Still pretty crappy, it's a little less crappy.

- Andy Roddick after finally defeating Roger Federer at the Miami Masters

Nice match, Andy...nice.

(image via Getty)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Federer + Blake step out of the political closet

There are some ballers who feel comfortable going political, like A-Rod, Venus + Serena, and Nole and some who don't. Now we can add Roger Federer and James Blake to the former category.

The top-ranked Swiss made it known that he's been following the long-winded US presidential race, though he refused to acknowledge which candidate he might be supporting:

I was following it more actually when I was in Switzerland and not playing [...] Now, in America, I don’t know, it’s almost too much of it.

For me it’s hard to compare, because until now I didn’t really follow it [...] So this is the first year, and so I just want to see how it really works.

I couldn’t believe that it takes that long, you know. There’s so much talk about it for like a year in advance, which is tough for the president, it seems. But, look, it’s the way it is. People are really into it. Seems like the younger generation is more into it. I think that’s key to this race.

James, who has already made public his support for Barack Obama, expressed his views on the upcoming Beijing Olympics and the rumblings of a potential boycott by some athletes over China's crackdown on Tibet:

If they tell me it's the right thing to do to go over there, I'll go over there. If they tell me it's the right thing to do to stay home, then I'll stay home. I would be disappointed, because I want to compete in the Olympics and I want to be there.

I don't feel like it's my decision to go and say, 'I know what's best for the entire country of China, I know what's best for the entire Olympic team'. I think it should be a joint decision, kind of all-for-one decision, whether every Olympic team boycotts or we all go and we represent our country with pride.

It's totally up to them [to boycott.] If they feel the need to express themselves that way, then more power to them. I'm proud of them for taking a stance, but it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be the way I do it.

Agreed - it's great when athletes take a stand. It's not like they stop being human when they pick up their racquets...well, at least some of them.

(images via AP)

Sharapova goes high-fashion but Pris-sy for Tag Heuer

Maria "Shriek"apova recently shot a new ad campaign for one of her many sponsors, Tag Heuer. The Russian fashionista looks high-fashion working her blunt bangs, of course, and smokey eyes.

I definitely like the direction Maria's going in, but is it me or is she starting to look like Pris from Blade Runner? Let me refresh your memory:

THE LOW DOWN: Federer is solid No. 3 in Rafa's mind

With all of Roger Federer's recent struggles (not decline, I don't think), even Rafael Nadal thinks someone else is the No. 1 player right now: Novak Djokovic. In an interview after his 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over James Blake, his second in a row over his American nemesis, the Spaniard said,

I think Djokovic is the No. 1 right now [...] He's a very good player. I am No. 2, so my position doesn't change. And Federer, he's not far away from the top. Roddick is still there, too, so for me not much changes.
So I guess that makes Fed a solid No. 3 in his mind? Sorry Rafa, but I would put you there before Fed. But I agree, Nole has been playing like the world's top-ranked baller for sure.

(image via AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FASHION FIX: The Spring Court sneaker makes a comeback

The Spring Court tennis sneaker is on the rise again. Born in 1936, the sneaker was originally worn by Frenchie tennis ballers back in the day but crossed over into pop culture consciousness when John Lennon rocked a white pair with a suit on the cover of the Beatles' album Abbey Road.

The shoe's trademark features are the four holes on the either side of the sole which combined with the removal insole and arch support provide natural ventilation. No more sweaty feet! And the sneakers come in a cool tin box with graphic sketching.

Check out the site here. The US site even hosts a section called tennis anyone? which is supposed to allow you to play some tennis but it's more like Pong. Oh well - I still love the sneaks.

(images via

A-Rod buys Manhattan pad for $1.19 million

Now that Brooklyn Decker is making an honest baller out of Andy Roddick, they'll have to have a proper home together, right? Will the couple live in his lake-front property in Austin, TX or or his house in Boca Raton, FL?

Well according to The New York Observer today, A-Rod is putting down a cool $1.19 million on pied-a-terre on East 22nd St. in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. The apartment is an old brewery (how fitting) and is described by the Observer as "unheroic":

[...] the unit is unheroic: There’s one bathroom; a little space off the kitchen for meals—it’s called a “dining gallery” on the floor plan, not a dining room; a bedroom with a five-by-five walk-in closet; and a living room.
Here are some inside shots of the space:

(images via

SIGHTING: Common spotted in Miami, Serena spotted on TV show

Serena Williams and Common's "relationship" must be heating up. The rapper was spotted taking in ReRe's match against Kaia Kanepi this past weekend according to the Sony Ericsson Open site:

Boyd Tinsley, a member of the Dave Matthews Band came back for another dose of Sony Ericsson Open action. Tinsley was in the stands earlier this week. Grammy-award winning hip hop artist Common stopped by to watch Serena Williams defeat Kaia Kanepi. Passions' soap star Adrian Bellani was in attendance at Andy Roddick's match. Helio Castroneves, Indy Race car champ and Dancing with the Stars reigning champion, parked his car long enough to see Roddick defeat Ivo Minar.
I don't think he just "stopped by". Common was there to see ReRe play and then some. But, what's with all the secrecy? Don't they know that we're always watching?? Just come out already!

BTW - I don't know if anyone saw it, but ReRe was a guest star on the CW's The Game this past Sunday, stretching her acting skills by playing herself. A screen capture from her appearance is below and she looks great.

If anyone actually saw the episode, let me know how she did!

(image via

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

PHOTO OP: Nole served a bang-er sandwich at Miami player party

C'mon Nole + Maria - how are you going to stop those pesky romance rumors from spreading if you keep "bumping" into each other when you least expect it (well, more likely here at the SEO player party than anywhere else know what I mean!)

And, just so you know, dragging Camilla Belle along won't work either.

(image via

Youzhny entertains Miami crowd with racquet self-abuse, and he even draws blood!

Thanks to DtL! reader Erin for alerting me to this video that ran on CNN's Morning Express featuring Mikhail Youzhny, who's known for some bizarre behavior on-court, including his post-match salute to the crowd while wearing his racquet on his head.

Well, the quirky Russian found another use for his equipment yesterday. During his match 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (6) win over Spaniard Nicolas Almagro yesterday the Russian smacked his head with his racquet three times after dropping his serve in the third set, drawing blood which ran down his face! The trainer had to be called courtside to mend the cuts.

Shouldn't there be a new code violation for racquet self-abuse? But, I guess if a baller wants to beat themselves silly with their equipment in front of thousands of people, we shouldn't get in the way. That's entertainment!

Here's the video:

SIGHTING: Brooklyn supports Andy, shows off engagement rock

For the ladies: Here's a look at the ring Andy Roddick gave fiancee Brooklyn Decker after proposing last week. The swimsuit model was spotted supporting her man as he battled past Ivo Minar yesterday at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Pretty nice rock, eh?

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Minar falls in Miami, works TTK style

Ivo Minar took on the newly engaged Andy Roddick last night at the Sony Ericsson Open but fell easily 7-6 (4), 6-4 to the American.

Though the Czech didn't last too long in the tourney, he made an impression with his tennis gear. I was drawn to his striking red, white, + grey tennis gear and had to find out more about his sponsor.

He's wearing TTK or Tennis Teknology, an Italian-based sportswear and equipment company. The brand also dressed the 2005 Davis Cup winning team from Croatia. Here's a shot of their home base:

Unfortunately, the rest of the site is in Italian so if you know anything else about the company, feel free to send in my way!

(image via AP Photo/Alan Diaz +

Monday, March 31, 2008

Quote of the Day: Serena on age

Yeah, you know, I was like 14 or 13, whatever. It might have been five. It might have been five years ago.

- Serena Williams on watching Gabriella Sabatini play in the Grandstand Stadium at Sony Ericsson Open as a child
So that would make you 18 or 19-years old right now ReRe. Fine - you never said you were a math major.

(image via AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

FASHION FIX: It's a pastel party at the Sony Ericsson Open

The lady ballers are having a pastel party in Miami right now after being hit with yellow fever earlier in the year. Serena Williams in Nike, Jelena Jankovic in Reebok (though I can't account for the uber-orange tone of her skin), and Svetlana Kuznetsova in Fila are all feeling the softer side of the color wheel at the Sony Ericsson Open.

And, just like he caught the ladies' fever while practicing at Indian Wells, Roger Federer will also go lilac for the French Open - I can't wait!

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Azarenka falls apart in Miami, but outfit saves the day

In due time: Up-and-comer Victoria Azarenka is making moves and showing she's a baller to watch. The Belarusian nearly knocked out Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Sony Ericsson Open taking the first set 6-1 and holding a match point before succumbing to the Russian's superior experience, losing the final two sets 5-7 and 0-6.

I'm liking the Nike tennis duds Victoria is working here - she's matched up the black Rally Skirt with the white Set Point Polo which features polka-dotting if you look closely enough.

Clean + classic...what more could you want?

(image via AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

BREAKING: Andy Roddick to marry Brooklyn Decker

It's official: Andy Roddick is marrying Brooklyn Decker! I had written about the engagement last Friday after receiving a tip from an anonymous source.

Now is reporting today that A-Rod popped the questiom to his swimsuit model girlfriend last week:

It's love - love for Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker – they're engaged! The tennis star is officially off the market after popping the question to Decker last Tuesday, sources, including Decker's rep, confirm to PEOPLE.

On Roddick's official Web site,, a statement tells fans, "The couple wanted to tell their family and close friends first but good news travels fast. By the time Andy arrived in Miami for the Sony Ericsson Open, the tournament was bustling with the news."

The pair, who have been dating since 2007, first met after Roddick, 25, asked his agent to track down a number for Decker, 20, a model who has appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

"With their hectic travel schedules, Andy and Brooklyn plan to enjoy their engagement and will wait to set a wedding date," adds Roddick's online statement.
Thanks to the tipster for sending me the news - keep it comin'!

Jelena dress design revealed, but fashion friends are questionable!

Some have rightfully mocked this seriously f-ugly dress worn by Jelena Jankovic at the SEO player party last week. But the Serb would like everyone to know she loves the dress and has given insight into its design saying via her blog:

I tried to relax a bit and charge myself with some positive energy for everything that is going to happen throughout this tournament, but also in doing many things for my sponsors. One of these moments was the �VIP Party� where I wore a dress specially designed for me made out of Sony Ericsson mobile phones Z750. Frankly, I could not believe what I am wearing and that the dress was made out of 700 phones. By the way, this is the first dress ever made out of mobile phones. It was designed by a professional dancer Kelly Kealy Mayton. The dress was purple as well as the new phone Z750 that came on the market and I promoted it that evening. After doing promotions in Doha for Sony Ericsson and presenting Precious Gold phone made out of gold, company representatives chose me to participate in this campaign as well. Apart from the purple color, you can purchase this phone in two other colors: pink and gray. The dress had open back which pointed many cameras towards me, but I have to admit it felt great wearing something unique and priceless, and every girl in that moment would feel special especially when I add to the outfit the shoes which were remarkable. I felt as if I was in a fairytail, like Cinderella, haha. The shoes were decorated with Swarovski cristals and certain mobile phone parts. It might sound weird, but I am including some photos so you can see it yourself.
Okay Jelena - next time someone tells you they'd like you to wear a dress made out of a phone, blackberry, or satellite make sure you like hell (and make sure to turn off the 'vibrate' function.)

Maybe it's not all her fault, though. I think the World No. 3 is getting some friendly, but very bad, fashion advice from one of WTA Tour's usual perpetrators:
I went to one of my favorite boutiques �BEBE� with my good friend Bethanie Mattek who is also sometimes my doubles partner. She invited me to go together and choose clothes for certain happenings that awaited us here in Miami. Media was invited to take picutres while we were posing in front of the mirror wearing variety of outfits. We had a great time and it�s always like that with Bethanie. She is a very positive and outgoing person, and once you are with her somewhere, your whole face will get sore due to constant laughing.
Exactly - you'd be laughing (or getting laughed at) if you wore a Bethanie outfit too:

We all have our issues, I suppose...

(image via

Rafa as tennis commissioner, takes on doubles rules

Rafael Nadal has been blogging from Miami for is giving insight into his training, practices, and off-court activities. But the Spaniard had a piece of advice for tennis organizer in his last post:

I have always said I like doubles and I like to play doubles. But I also think that there are some rules nowadays that make us not play as often. It is true it is easier now to play since we can get in the doubles draw with our singles ranking but there are also times that when we have an injury, or we lost in singles and don't want to stay for doubles, only we have to stay and play or we lose ranking points and prize money. Then we play with no motivation and it is kind of ridiculous. They explain that the rule is to avoid that we sign in and then we retire, but in the end I am not sure what's worst, specially for the spectators. I would redo these rules and make them better, to tell you the truth.
I'm on the fence on this one. What do you think? Do you think players should lose ranking points and prize money if they pull out of doubles??

(image via

Maria Sharapova + Lebron James join up to fight poverty

Tennis gives back: Basketball fan Maria "Shriek"apova has teamed up with superstar Lebron James for an ad campaign to fight global poverty.

The 20-year old, who is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador, stars in the campaign that will focus on the idea of "Teaming Up Against Poverty" to reach the program's goals. The initiative will feature 50 celebrities including soccer greats Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane along with Maria and Lebron and has been shot by world-reknowned photographer Patrick Demarchelier (below).

Let's hope this ad goes over better than Lebron's recent Vogue cover with Gisele Bundchen.

(image via +

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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


A little Maria mystery
Lacoste lovin' A-Rod visits Bloomies
Maria, Sveta, + Nole like balls of a different kind
Nike Spring Preview: Fed, Rafa, + ReRe
ReRe caught out there again
Size does matter
Nole becomes a brand
The ballers get their SEO party on
Is A-Rod getting hitched?
Lindsay the MILF
Top Spin 3 release rocks
Marat gives good quote
Michael as Morrissey
Paul-Henri's such a tease


Fed, Monica, Venus + Serena respond...Andy dreams and more

(image via Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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