Google Down the Line!: 2008-05-25

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Viva la France! Host country sends five ballers into men's round of 16 of Roland Garros

In an incredible effort by the host country, France can boast five players in the round of 16 at Roland Garros going one better than Spain who sit at four.

Julien Benneteau has the unenviable task of taking on Roger Federer, Gael Monfils goes up against Ivan Ljubicic, Michael Llodra battles up-and-comer Ernests Gulbis, Paul-Henri Mathieu faces Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic, and Jeremy Chardy gets Nicolas Almagro.

Mouthwatering much?

(image via google)

Friday, May 30, 2008

PHOTO OP: Venus has seen better days at Roland Garros

Venus Williams joined lil' sis Serena on the fast train out of Paris. The 6-time Grand Slammer suffered a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round losing serve six times and committing 29 unforced errors.

Wow. Not as big of a shocker as ReRe's loss but still, wow. I guess and "ic" or an "ova" is taking home this sucker, though after today nothing is for sure.

(image via Getty)

Is Verdasco hiding a hairy situation at Roland Garros?

Fernando Verdasco has a big clay hill to climb in the round of 16. The Spaniard defeated Russian headbanger Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 in the third round and will meet compatriot Rafael Nadal for a place in the quarterfinals.

Now I've always been a fan of Fernando's physical ass-sets but unfortunately he's got a hairy situation on his, er, head people. It seems to be a mullet trying to disguise itself as a new-fangled Spanish hairdo.

But I'm not fooled Fernando - it's got to go!

(images via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Open letter to adidas and their slacker sponsorship/PR teams

Dear adidas:

Note to your sponsorship and PR departments: you're a bunch of slackers.

Your brand has two of the most covered and photographed tennis ballers in the world with Novak Djokovic + Ana Ivanovic. But for some asinine reason you've decided to dress them in gear that they've been wearing all year long for Roland Garros - not a sniff of an fresh, interesting style or new colorway.

As a tennis fan, it's frankly boring to watch and shows a lack of innovation from a brand that thinks they're on the cutting edge.

Take a cue from competitor Nike. They seem to understand that Grand Slams are a showcase not only for their ballers but for the brands themselves; they provide a valuable opportunity to communicate real commitment to the sport. Moreover, the get the ballers and fans excited about the tournaments and fashion by giving sneak peeks and previews. Public relations 101 people.

Nike is showing you up in a big way. Tsk, tsk.

In the words of your long-time nemesis just do it.

(images via Getty)

A Serena stunner: 2002 champ dumped out of Roland Garros. So who wants it now ladies?

Oh what a headache!

Serena Williams, the odds-on favorite to hoist her second French Open crown after Justine Henin's shock retirement, was unceremoniously dumped out of Grand Slam play today in the third round by journeywoman Katarina Srebotnik. The 2002 champion converted only 1 0f 8 break point chances and racked up 25 unforced errors in the 4-6, 4-6 loss - not gonna cut it.

Seriously, what a missed opportunity for ReRe but a tremendous opportunity for any number of lady ballers to grab a maiden Roland Garros crown. Talk about WIDE open.

But who's going to have the courage to step up and take the title now, huh?

And in case you missed it, here's the transcript of ReRe's post-match presser:

Q. Before that match, I think you had 3 to 0 record against her. Was she a different opponent today than before? And also, I think she broke you in the opening game of the first set. Were you surprised that she played so aggressively today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. The last time I played her, she was really, really aggressive, and she played really, really well. So I knew it was going to be a tough match going in today.

Q. You've told us how much you have dedicated yourself this year, so does that make this loss even more disappointing in the context?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But, you know, my hard work is definitely not in vain, so just go into the next match.

Q. Was it a case today that you never really felt like you were getting into it with her, or more of something she did?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt like I was able to get into it, but I just felt like I missed a lot of easy shots and a lot of key points that I felt like could have turned the match around. I wasn't able to capitalize on a lot of that.

Q. Can you just talk about some of the big‑point play? Because shots you normally routinely hit, some volleys, overheads, some returns, just didn't seem to be. Were you a little bit nervous on them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't nervous. She was getting a lot of balls back, and I might have let that get into my head. I should have just made my shot. She was just making some shots I don't think she's ever made before, or she probably would be in the top 2.

But, you know, that was just, I guess, her game today.

Q. You've taken some tough losses before, but this is pretty much of a stunner with your form coming in here. You've been playing well. You've had a good record this year. Agreed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. You know, I knew it was going to be a tough match, but what can I say? She just played unbelievable today.

Q. You said she got a lot of balls back. Did you feel you were pressing at times? Was that you feeling? You were going for things a little bit earlier than you wanted to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. I felt like I needed to press, to kind of stay in it, I guess. But I don't know. I guess it just didn't work for me today.

Q. How do you feel this morning? Was this the case of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or...

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I felt good. I thought I had a good practice, and, you know, I thought, you know, everything was, you know, going to go better. Obviously than wasn't how it went.

Q. Now you're out of the tournament. Do you give your sister, Venus, a good chance to keep the family spirits high?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I hope. You know, I'm definitely rooting for her.

Q. Do you think because she bailed through the first two rounds, do you give her a chance to get far here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's playing really well. She's been working really hard. So, you know, I think ‑‑ hopefully it will pay off.

Q. Can you tell us, Serena, how you prepare for Wimbledon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, just, you know, same thing: a lot of practice and just still trying to stay really fit.

Q. Do you think the back injury in Rome might have had any effect at all, preparation‑wise in terms of how you ended up playing under pressure here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think that had any effect at all. I just don't think I played well overall in this tournament, so...


Q. In your first two matches, did you have any sense of concern about the level of your own game, or did you see this coming at all yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I didn't think I played well. Like I said in each of my interviews, I didn't feel like I played well after my first match or my second match.

But, you know, I wish I'd have played better as the tournament goes on, so...

Q. When you're in a little bit of trouble, do you think if it hadn't been on clay you'd have more chance to get out of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I feel like my chances were really good on clay, because I really like to play on clay. You know, maybe grass, yeah, because it's so fast. But, you know, she plays kind of a fast game, too.

Q. You seem puzzled. Is that a good way to describe how you feel?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not puzzled at all. I just don't want to be here. (laughter.)

Q. Are you still being treated for the injury you picked up in Rome?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Definitely. I've been treated every day, so I don't ‑‑ it doesn't get worse and it's been getting a lot better. It's almost perfect.

Q. So it's still there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But, I mean, that's not the reason, you know, I lost today or anything.

Q. Okay. Just curious.


Q. Looking at the stat sheet, you only encountered, I think, one break point out of eight, and she converted three out of four. What made those difference on the key moments of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just missed some easy shots. I think that was the difference. And she made hers, so...

Q. Serena, I know it's quickly after the match, but if you could just rewind it and do it again, would you do things differently, other than just take care of the big points?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, obviously. There's a lot of things I would try to do different. But, you know, you can't rely on time.

Q. First two match points you get them back, and, you know, there's the thought, Okay, Serena gets back to deuce. You've been in tough matches before and turned them around. Were you, thinking, Okay, I'm back in it now. All I have to do is get a couple of points and maybe I can find myself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. That's what I was thinking. That's kind of always what I think. You know, just, Okay, if I could just win these two points, then, you know, I think I'd be okay.

Q. Then you get to the third match point and that forehand, which for you usually isn't that difficult. You yank it wide. Were you just hesitant there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just yanked a lot of them wide today. I guess it was just another one.

Q. Obviously your opponent was at 120% today. What prevented you from playing at your max, or even above?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Thanks

(image via AP)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jelena checks in with USA Today, discusses injury scare

Jelena Jankovic can breathe a Serbian sigh of relief. The Rome champion pushed through an injury scare in the second set to defeat New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-2, 7-6. She'll face the talented Dominika Cibulkova in the next round.

Following sister Serb Ana Ivanovic's lead from the Aussie Open, JJ will be talking tennis with USA Today and giving progress reports throughout the fortnight. She discussed the scare with the paper saying,

I didn't play my best (Thursday) and as you can see I've already got a few injuries. My knee is scraped, and I hurt my forearm from just hitting the ball because the balls are heavier than usual from all the rain the last few days and the courts are wet. I received on-court treatment because I was shaking and couldn't hit my forehand. With my knee and my arm (now taped), I look like a soldier who came from some battle! But I'm a big fighter and of course in a Grand Slam, it's normal.

Hmmm - let's hope these injuries aren't serious. Jelena still has a long road ahead, and her half of the draw is heavy with Ana and the Williams sisters looming. Consider yourself warned JJ.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Is Federer's Nike fashion fit for the girls?

Some tennis fans are starting to think that Nike is making a girlie-man out of the world no. 1.

Back in April, an astute DtL! reader wondered why Nike was putting the always fashionable Roger Federer in women's trends this season. Well it seems like the global sports brand is at it again this fortnight and some fans aren't happy.

Reader barcelona2012 had this to say about Fed's French Open fashion,

...the white on the sleeves is so girlish. I think it's just the angle, but that photo on the left makes it look like it's a puckered, cap sleeve type shirt.
An anonymous commenter took it another step further saying,
i just emailed to ask why they are making Rog look like a girl. I don't even like the dated white collar and cuffs look on girls. a million UGHS.
Is this a Nike coincidence or conspiracy? Do tell!

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Bartoli

I’m just fed up. I’m going to turn off my mobile phone, turn off my TV set, forget about Roland Garros.

- Marion Bartoli after her first round loss to Australian Casey Dellacqua at Roland Garros.

Good idea Marion. You need to get in some semblance of shape physically and mentally before Wimbledon, where you'll have TONS of points to defend. I hope you enjoyed your stay in the top 10, though, because it's just about over.

(image via Getty)

Giant-killers Chardy, Gulbis + Navarro seize the day at Roland Garros

We have giant-killers in our midst people!

Although I'm not sure how deep these ballers will go in their draws, these three deserve some applause today. So let's give props where props are due:

Frenchie Jeremy Chardy, Latvia's Ernests Gulbis + Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro are responsible for taking the big scalps of headcases David Nalbandian, James Blake + Amelie Mauresmo respectively today at Roland Garros. Bravo!

*Clap, clap, clap*

(images via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Incredibly hulking Rafa goes green in Nike

Rafael Nadal finally completed his first round match defeating Thomaz Bellucci 7-5, 6-3, 6-1. Though the 20-year old Brazilian showed glimpses of brilliance, he was no match for the talent of the 3-time defending champion.

Rafa also debuted his new Nike duds for the occasion which I previewed earlier in the season. The "incredibly hulking" Spaniard looked intimidating in the Global Power Sleeveless in light green spark, the Global 3/4 Tennis Pant in olive khaki, and the Air Max Breathe Cage II in classic green, white, and zinc.

Good luck to all pretenders this fortnight.

(images via Getty)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quote of the Day: Murray

I’m flattered. The more fans I have, the better.

- Yoga-loving Andy Murray on being voted the tennis baller gay men in the UK would most like a date with.

Great quote, great attitude - how refreshing. Oh, and great abs by the way Andy.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Cornet feeling confident in game, looking confident in Lacoste

Alize Cornet is a lady in waiting. France's new teen queen had her match with Argentina's Gisela Dulko suspended due to darkness with the match tied at 3-all in the third set.

And even though she's only 18-years old Alize has made the cover of France's biggest sports mag L'Equipe this week and told the publication she knows her time at Roland Garros will come...maybe not this year but soon:

Roland Garros is winnable for me one day, but not this year. Mentally and physically, it's too soon to be able to manage a tournament like this for an 18-year-old, but I'm learning. Why not next year, or in two years? I can wait five years, 10 years, 20 years -- the important thing is to win it someday. That would be incredible.
It doesn't sound like Alize is lacking in confidence and it shows in her fashion too. She's working a youthful, flirty outfit by Lacoste which showcases her natural exuberance. And even though Gisela is wearing a similar outfit in their match, Alize's accents of red put her over. A winner for sure.

(images via Getty + AP)

Yannick Noah doesn't get the problem with public partying

Yannick Noah has a lot to be proud of, right? The former French Open champion is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his only major win (and the last time a Frenchman has won their native Grand Slam) and has had a successful music career.

He's also big papa to Joakim, his beloved basketballing son who led the Florida Gators to a pair of national championships and now plays for the Chicago Bulls. So it's no surprise that he doesn't understand the controversy about his son's recent arrest in Florida for carrying an open container of alcohol and a marijuana cigarette in public.

Me neither. Have they ever been to Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day parade or a gay pride celebration even? Seriously, that's just scratching the surface. They need to get out more!

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Sharapova shines in Nike, but suffering US Open '07 flashbacks?

New world no. seed...potential career Grand Slam...feeling pressure much? I'm thinking so after Maria "Shriek"apova escaped an embarrassing first round dismissal by finally defeating compatriot Eygeniya Rodina 6-1, 3-6, 8-6. The Russian had 17 double faults in the match...ouch. Click here for her post-match interview.

But at least Maria looked good in the Nike Paris Dress and Tiffany earrings. Unfortunately, fashion won't help her if her game is faltering (think: US Open 2007). Get thee to the practice courts stat!

(image via Getty + AP)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wanna serve like Ana Ivanovic? Well now you can!

Have you ever wanted to serve like a Serbian star? Well now you can...or at least read about how to serve like Ana Ivanovic.

The New York Times' Play magazine has a great piece by TENNIS magazine's Peter Bodo (probably the shortest article he's ever written) that takes you through the reasons why the 20-year old has such a solid serve. He interviews her coach Sven Groeneveld and the recently un-retired baller Brenda Schultz-McCarthy about the the Serb's strengths and the aspects of developing a consistent service motion.

The piece is accompanied by a video of Ana serving and an engaging animated step-by-step instructional (above) of a faceless Ana doing what she does best. It's pretty cool.

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Clay-mated Rafa draws on Michael Jackson powers for Kia ad

So if you're like me and you're trying to pass the time during another horrendous rain delay (retractable roof anyone?) go ahead and feast your hungry eyes on this hysterical European Kia ad starring a clay-mated Rafael Nadal.

Our superhero takes on an game alien in a tennis match that the creature turns into a soccer match. But no worries, Rafa channels Michael Jackson with backup dancers and synchronized moves to battle his foe. Classic:

Thanks to!

Quote of the Day: Kuznetsova

I am not prepared to undergo a makeover. I am not going on the court to show off my dress. I am going out there to play.

- Svetlana Kuznetsova on her (lack of) marketability

Damn skippy. Yeah she's not Maria or Serena and she's fine with it. But she's a baller's baller in the best sense. I do hope she wins another Grand Slam.

Could the former finalist squeak out the title in Paris?

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Rain ruining another day

This sucks - aaargh.

(image via Getty)

SIGHTING: Murray + yoga make a body good

Andy Murray, who famously discussed his yearning for yoga, was spotted cooling down with a side-angle stretch after his 5-set win over beautiful Frenchie Jonathan Eysseric at Roland Garros. The Brit baller has a potentially tricky opponent in the second round: Argentinian Jose Acasuso.

Let's hope yoga can get his physical + mental game on track...if not here, then by Wimbledon.

Side note: LOVING the kelly green Fred Perry t-shirt Andy!

(image via

SIGHTING: Sharapova hits up Tiffany's Paris Store, debuts French Open outfit + earrings

Maria "Shriek"apova, looking flawless in red, made her way to the Tiffany's Paris Store to debut the Nike Paris Dress she'll be wearing during her run towards a career Grand Slam. The world no. 1 also showed off the 18K gold Tiffany earrings designed by Elsa Peretti.

(image via

Monday, May 26, 2008

FASHION FIX: Venus struggles with game + EleVen outfit

Venus Williams recently took some much needed time off to rest and her lack of match play showed today at Roland Garros. The 6-time Grand Slammer struggled mightily against Israel's Tzipora Oblizer, falling a break down in the final set before pulling out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win.

You know what's also struggling? Her outfit. I'm usually a big fan of V's fashion choices but this EleVen outfit is all over the place. The navy, green + white color combo is definitely refreshing but the design of the shirt, with the color panels on the side, and the fit seem amateurish. Plus the top and skirt, stylewise, are a mismatch.

Let's hope V has more fashionable goodies in that Wilson tennis bag.

(images via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Federer defeats Querrey, goes dark for Nike

Roger Federer made his debut at the French Open today defeating giant American baller Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 and continuing his quest for a lucky no. 13 Grand Slam.

Fed also debuted his new Nike duds which I previewed at the start of the spring season. The Sphere React Cool Polo in dark obsidian and the Dri-FIT Control Short in the same hue look great on the world no. 1.

But one question: where is the Sphere React Cool Polo in lilac???

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: The Williams family dance looks painful

Wow - does the drama gene run in this family or what? Mama Oracene, Venus and baby sis Serena seem to be busting some kind of (painful) move.

Maybe it's a Williams family dance?

(images via AP + Getty)

Harkleroad to give it up for Playboy, tongue and all

Okay boys - Ashley Harkleroad is ready for her close-up...and I mean really close.

Pebbles, who was dismantled by Serena Williams in the French Open first round, will be the first tennis baller to give it up for Playboy magazine. She'll be appearing in the magazine's August issue and said about her decision:

There's a few reasons why I did it, but I can't really go into it right now. But like I said, I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. I'm proud of my body. I stay in shape and try to stay fit.

Love it - but let's hope it's a lot sexier than this baller's attempt.

(image via Getty)

Body betrays Eysseric but beauty remains intact

Jonathan Eysseric is one to watch...and in more ways than one.

The 17-year old Frenchie wild card went the distance with Brit baller Andy Murray but fell 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 0-6, 2-6 when his body began to betray him.

Jonathan made the junior finals of last year Aussie Open so I'm thinking we'll get to see more of his striking beauty in the near future...or at least we can hope!

(images via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Serena's tide is rising, goes nautical with Nike

Serena Williams, who may be losing her marbles these days, looked focused in her 6-2, 6-1 demolition of compatriot Ashley Harkleroad in the first round of the French Open.

ReRe also looked classically cool in her Nike Doubles Tennis Dress. I'm loving the nautical feel of the chalk + dark obsidian color combo, the beautiful razor back with contrasting color block (below), and the skinny belt to tie it all together.

Sporty elegance as its best...

(images via Getty,

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