Google Down the Line!: 2008-07-20

Friday, July 25, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Fed, Ash, Anna C., US Open Series and more


The challenges for women in sports [BBC]
Fed's fatigue [ESPN]
Ashley's behind-the-scenes battles [tennis week]
Chakvetadze's freefall continues []


The greatest road trip gets some McEditing [GOTOTENNIS]
Who wants on-court coaching ladies?! [On the Baseline]

(image via Getty)

A DtL reader argues the importance of being Federer - do you get it?

Hey y'all,

Avid DtL! reader Jessica Diamond sent me this impassioned letter about Roger Federer and her feelings about his influence and place in the game in light of his continuing on-court struggles. She gave me the go ahead to post it so I did!

Check it out:

Any avid tennis fan knows that lately, something stirs in your stomach when you see Roger play a loose couple of points. Last year, you would have thought, "Nah, it's okay. Roger's got him. He'll rally back." And then he always did. [Wednesday night], as the forehands were dropping farther and farther into the doubles alley, and less on target, you thought, "He could really lose this" and he did.

Watching Roger lose to Simon was especially uncomfortable and I'm not a fanatical Federer fan either. I have always loved his elegance and mastery, especially amongst so many robotic, muscular players who come to the net only 3x times per match. However, in years past, I've rooted for the underdog (not Nadal) because Semi-Finals and Finals were becoming downright boring. Now realizing that the #1 spot may be someone's new crown, I'm nervous. Simply put, Roger's the best guy for the job and maybe the only guy.

Has anyone considered what the #1 of tennis might look if it's not Federer? Nadal, who can't get through one simple sentence without butchering it, no? Djokovic, who will weave that undeniable arrogance into his courtside presence, not to mention his post-match interviews?
Anyone for that matter, besides Roger, in comparison, is nothing more than sloppy seconds. Tennis has been preserved by Federer's dominance.

This beautiful sport full of old traditions and sophisticated appeal is always in danger of becoming too edgy, too modern. While the level of play must progress and become more contemporary, there's something beautiful about the way tennis has hung onto it's roots. I like to think that Roger has had a big hand in that in the past 5 years. After all, Roger is Tennis reincarnate, their personalities and their aura are almost interchangeable.

Old fashioned, refined, traditional, affluent, articulate, and well-bred. I just don't see these traits in the boys that are salivating for the #1 spot.

Roger, too often in the past, we've been quick to obsess and praise you for your style of play. Now, with your #1 ranking slipping slowly through your fingers, we need to remind of you of your other job off the court. You are the Ambassador of Tennis, and the only one who can lead this sport with authenticity.

Good Luck and no pressure.

-Jessica Diamond

Alright, I'm sure you guys have thoughts on this letter - I most certainly do - and I'd love to hear them. And no worries, I made sure to let Jessica know to wear her best and thickest skin...

(image via Getty)

Nole makes TIME magazine's "100 Olympic Athletes to Watch"

TIME magazine just released their list of the "100 Olympic Athletes to Watch" and Novak Djokovic was the only tennis baller to join the elite group.

Here's what the newsmagazine had this to say about the Serb:

The world No. 3 ranked male tennis player, behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic started the year by winning the Australian Open, and is known as much for ability to mimic his fellow pros as he is for his down-the-line backhand. He became the European champion by the time he was 14, and rose to world fame in 2007 as a runner-up at the U.S Open, reaching Wimbledon semis, and winning four out of five Master Series finals, beating Federer and Nadal along the way. The Olympics, he says, are the most important challenge of all. "That's how I see the Games, although many players wouldn't agree. There are four Masters Series every year, but the Olympics come only once in four years", he said.
Interesting that he beat out Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to make the list - what gives?

(image via Getty)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Fed, Rafa, A-Rod, Sampras and more


No repeat for Rafa this hardcourt season [ESPN]
Tom Perrotta's Viewpoint [TENNIS]
Fed's downfall []


Fed as A-Rod circa 2004 [Craig Hickman's Tennis Blog]
Olympics tennis talk [Great Tennis Photos]
Fed as Sampras circa 1996 [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: A-Rod's smashing success at the Rogers Cup today

Andy Roddick gives his Babolat stick some love during his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss to Marin Cilic at the Rogers Cup.

Hey, do you think there's any room left on the US Olympics team for A-Rod? He could surely use the extra practice now.

(image via Getty)

Could Acasuso's raccoon tail become all the rage? Only time will tell...

Ahhh - sometimes you can take comfort in the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same. Such is the case with Jose Acasuso.

The Argentine, who lost in the third round to Fed-killing Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4 at the Rogers Cup today, is one of the original hairy situation offenders. But as you can see Jose hasn't heeded any warnings about the raccoon tail he's wearing under his Topper hat.

So if you can't beat 'em, I suppose you should join right? Now you can have one of your very own (tail included of course.)

Nice going Jose...nice.

FASHION FIX: Rafa returns with win, debuts new Nike design

Rafael Nadal, like Federer, played his first match since his Wimbledon triumph at the Rogers Masters but this one, unlike Federer's, went according to plan.

The 5-time Grand Slammer started slowly against American Jesse Levine, going down 1-4 in the opening set, but got his game in gear and took a easy 6-4, 6-2 decision.

Rafa also debuted a new Nike Dri-Fit Power Sleeveless design in cobalt blue that features something resembling claw marks (are those yours Fed?) on the front. For shorts, the Spaniard is still working his lucky Longer Length Short in white which he wore during his run to the Wimby title.

Nice change up - solid blue color - not trying too hard. I like!

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Anna K. bites her tongue, avoids Gimelstob's prying eyes

Can somebody say A-W-K-W-A-R-D?!

St. Louis Ace's Anna Kournikova and the Washington Kastles' Justin Gimelstob finally faced each other (well, Gimel faced Anna - she's not even trying to sniff in his stanky direction) in DC at their World Team Tennis match last night. It was their first interaction since he made degrading and rude comments directed at the original Russian glamourpuss.

A couple of observations here:

- Isn't it creepy that Gimel has a wry smile on his face while he eyeballs Anna's goods? I thought he said he had "no attraction to her"? Douchebag.

- What the hell is Anna chewing on? Could she be biting her tongue?? She really should've laid into him - like a backhand to the head or somewhere less empty.

Who knew the WTT was where all the gritty action is these days? Billie Jean's always ahead of the curve...

(images via AP)

FASHION FIX: Fed defeated in Toronto - could bad accessorizing be to blame?

Can Roger Federer's season get any worse? Quite possibly.

With the Beijing Olympics mere weeks away, the "official" world no. 1 was unceremoniously booted from the Rogers Masters by the streaking Gilles Simon 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round. I'd say this one has to hurt but at this point the Swiss Stylist must be feeling numb, burnt or a sprinkling of both.

And, call me crazy but I don't think his choice of on-court accessories is helping his cause either. Seriously, why is he carrying an orange + black patent leather bowling bag? I don't really understand what he could be keeping in that small "murse" besides headbands, socks and possibly concealer.

Maybe it's Mirka's method of punishment for losing. That's tough love for ya, I guess.

(images via Getty)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Rafa, The Magician, Robin, Nole vs. Maria?, Borg's undies and more


The Magician still driving ballers batty at 35 [ESPN]
Getting to know Robin Soderling [tennis week]
Legends and future legends to face off in Malaysia [Daily Express]


is launching Rafa racquets for kids, muscles not included [Daily Racquet]
Would you pay to see Nole take on Maria? On the court, silly! [GOTOTENNIS]
New Yorker's can check out Borg's undies soon [Racked]
Canada's only hope hits the skids in Toronto [Tennis Diary]
Much ado about Ashley [Talk Tennis, Anyone?]
Nole is no. 1 in finger only [Throw Up the Deuce]
Making major Head-way on the tennis tours [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Fed's not feeling Rafa as unofficial no. 1 - are you listening Boris?

Roger Federer isn't into hypothetical situations or imaginary rankings for that matter.

The top-ranked Swiss, who'll meet Indianapolis champ Gilles Simon in his opening match in Toronto, is still the world no. 1 in his mind regardless of his recent losses in majors to Rafael Nadal nor what others may think:

There is never an unofficial world No1. Of course [Rafa] has still won two unbelievably difficult tournaments and whoever wins those is supposed to be No1. But I have had a very good end to the past two years. It's hard to snatch the No1 position, he knows that.
Is Fed living in denial or rightful in his defiance? Clearly a little of both. He's still, based on the archaic ranking system, the top baller but it's hard to argue against someone carrying around the French-Wimbledon double and two Master Series' shields in his Babolat bag.

(image via AP)

SIGHTING: Ana's tini-wini orange bikini on display during Mallorcan vacation

Ana Ivanovic and Rafael Nadal have a lot in common these days: matching French Open crowns, love of Rafa's home of Mallorca and now, apparently, the island's infamous stalkeratti!

Rafa was the recent victim of the camera-toting peepsters and now it seems they've switched their lenses over to the sexy Serb. Ana was spotted poolside looking super fit and super hot (though the same can't be said for some others in the group) as she grabbed some well earned R+R with coach Sven Groenefeld, physio Scott Byrnes and the family.

The world no. 1 recently blogged about her time on the island paradise saying,

I’ve just left Mallorca. I came here for both a holiday and to prepare for the hard court season. It was a memorable trip.

I know Mallorca a little bit from my junior days – I used to go there to train with my coach at the time, Erik Van Harpen. I actually won my first ever senior tournament there.

I love beaches and warm weather, so it was the perfect destination after the long season in Europe ended. It gave me the opportunity to relax, reflect on what I’ve achieved and look forward to the next part of the season, which will also be very busy!

As well as exploring some of the secluded areas of the island by taking boat rides, I tried some of the local delicacies like gazpacho, paella and tapas. What I remember most vividly is the beautiful turquoise colour of the sea and the pure white sand.
Seriously, could Mallorca be the 21st century version of Fantasy Island? Ricardo Mantalban, be proud...

(images via via forty deuce)

Tennis' lady ballers rule Forbes earnings list, Maria tops with $26 million

Maria "Shriek"apova's game may be struggling these days but the Russian still rules when it comes to making green.

Forbes magazine just released their annual list of the Top-Earning Female Athletes and the Russian fashionista, who also made the mag's Celebrity 100 and 20 Under 25 lists, ranked first making $26 million up from the $23 million she made last year.

Here's what Forbes had to say about the Aussie Open champ:

There's nothing like the combination of talent and good looks to woo corporations looking to spend endorsement dollars. Sharapova's Australian Open title this year was her third Grand Slam win, along with 16 other singles titles. She's recently added Sony to an endorsement portfolio that includes Pepsi, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike and Motorola.
Tennis was the dominant sport on the list with Serena Williams coming in a distant second with $14 million, Venus Williams third with $13 million, Justine Henin sits at fourth with $12.5 million and Ana Ivanovic at ninth with $6.5 million.

The lady ballers are making some serious bank - don't be fooled.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Nole wins opening match but loses style game in Toronto

Novak Djokovic played his first match since his humbling second round loss to Marat Safin at Wimbledon. The defending champion defeated homeboy Frank Dancevic 6-4, 6-4 to move into the third round at the Rogers Masters where he'll battle either Robin Soderling or Fernando Verdasco.

What can be said of his new adidas duds though - the Summer Edge Theme Crew in lava orange paired with the Summer Edge Short in mono sky blue? Egads. The color combo is frightening - is this supposed to be some kind of "fire + ice" moment? It's horrendous.

No offense to Fernando but I hope the Spanish baller doesn't play Nole. Why? Because it could be painful on the eyes. Check it:

(images via Getty)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Servers can suck sometimes...

DtL! seems to be having server difficulties this evening...please stand by!

+ NETCORDS: Tuesday Edition

Berdych blogs [ATP]
Katarina blogs [WTA]
More Olympics fashion [Forty Deuce]
Ana and the Serbian Olympic squad [Great Tennis Photos]
Newbees get their practice on [Nick's Picks]
Olympus US Open Series TV sched [The Tennis that we don't see]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Navratilova on the lady ballers

So it's just kind of, who's going to step up? Somebody will, they just haven't yet.

- Legendary Martina Navratilova on the state of the women's game

Damn Justine - you left a huge void in the game. You were the only lady baller who acted like she really wanted to rule the roost, both on and off the court.

Who'll be the next dominator of the WTA Tour? Who wants it the most??

(image via Sony Ericsson WTA Tour)

FASHION FIX: Preview of Federer's Nike Olympic style

Here's a sneak peek at Roger Federer's Nike gear for the Beijing Olympics in Switzerland's red + white colorway.

The Swiss stylist will be working the Federer Olympica Polo in red that features a white Nike swoosh and cross on the chest (though the image below looks reversed - Nike swooshes are usually on the left side.) The shorts are the white Control Short Fed's been wearing recently.

will also be debuting new Nike Vapors in white with a red border on the sole. And of course, the outfit is pulled together with a red bandana and wrist bands.

(images via

Monday, July 21, 2008

+ NETCORDS: Monday edition

(Hey readers - After a long absence I've decided to reintroduce my "+ Netcords" posts as a quick, daily roundup of news around the tennis blogosphere. I'll be perusing some of the top tennis blogs daily for great posts but if you're a blogger and have something specific you'd like me to include, drop me a line at See ya!)

Marion gives back [Craig Hickman's Tennis Blog]

Milking Rafa [Daily Racquet]

Rough lives of the rich + famous [GOTOTENNIS]

Jelena wins, Dokic that is [Great Tennis Photos]

Nike signs a Serb [Nick's Picks]

Ana visits Mallorca [Throw Up the Deuce]

Tennishead Week [What's All the Racquet]

(image courtesy of hyperbolepanda)

Quote of the Day: Fed on Wimbledon loss

I haven’t read the press at all the last two weeks…because I tried to get away from it all, tried to forget really the loss.

- Roger Federer on getting past his painful loss to Rafa at Wimbledon

Fed may have been able to forget about his French Open defeat because he was completely white-washed, but the Wimbledon loss was so close he could taste the championship. But, alas, it was Rafa's trophy to bite.

We'll see how the Swiss has recovered this week in Toronto. Stay tuned...

(image via AP)

PHOTO OP: Does Rafa enjoy press conferences? His faces say no...

I'd love to sit in on some of Rafael Nadal's press conferences just for the laughs - his faces are classic.

The Wimbledon champ looked completely puzzled and/or annoyed when answering media questions at the Rogers Masters today. He looks like he wants to take someone out with a quickness.

What the hell is going on here people???

(image via Getty)

Kiefer gives good hair - but what's new?

Shirtless brigade member Nicolas Kiefer passed a tough opening round test at the Rogers Masters in Toronto today, defeating Mardy Fish 7-5, 7-6 (4). The German will take on either Mikhail Youzhny or Andreas Seppi in the next round.

I've never seen Nicolas with a hairy situation - ever - so it came as a surprise to see that he chopped off his lovely locks. But I have to say the 31-year old baller is looking really good here with his new clean-cut 'do. Super cute.

Maybe the German is following the zoning Juan Martin Del Potro's recent winning strategy.

Who knows. But what do I know? Good hair = confidence.

(images via Getty)

Evert explains away illicit affair with Greg Norman so all is well!

Chris Evert, who married golfer Greg Norman in the Bahamas last month, publicly admitted for the first time that the two sports legends carried on an illicit affair culminating in a divorce from their respective partners.

As I wrote back in December of last year, the couple had known each other for many years as Greg was best friends with Chris' ex-husband Andy Mills. The 18-time Grand Slammer told Vogue magazine their attraction to each other was unstoppable and apparently unavoidable:

It was like an irresistible force. How do you explain something like that?
You would think Chris would know the answer to that question after three marriages, but I guess ignorance is bliss...for now.

(image via Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Gilles, Juan Martin, Fernando, Aleksandra, Pauline

Gilles Simon - Indianapolis

The Frenchie defeated defending champion Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4 to win his first US hardcourt title and second of the season. He dismissed Tommy Haas and Sam Querry along the way.

Juan Martin Del Potro - Kitzbuhel

July has been a career month for the 19-year old baller. A week of capturing his maiden ATP title at Stuttgart, the big-serving Argentine took his second-in-a-row disappointing the home crowd by crushing homeboy Juergen Meltzer 6-2, 6-1. Juan Martin becomes only the second baller this year behind Rafael Nadal to win back-to-back ATP titles and will move into the top 30 for the first time.

Fernando Verdasco - Umag

The Spaniard captured his first title in four years when defeated Russia's Igor Andreev 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the Umag final.

Aleksandra Wozniack - Stanford

The Canadian qualifier made history this week in Stanford earning her first WTA Tour title and becoming the first woman from her country in 20 years to earn a championship, knocking off an injured Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-3. The 20-year old will enter the top 50 for the first time this week.

Pauline Parmentier - Bad Gastein

The Frenchie claimed her second career title defeating
qualifier Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4 in the final. She also grabbed her first top-20 scalp, crushing top seed Agnes Szavay 6-4, 6-2.

(images via Getty)

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