Google Down the Line!: 2008-07-27

Friday, August 1, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Fed, Juan, Momma Murray speaks...Rafisca stalked and more

(Andy Murray, Cincinnati)


Peter Bodo
thinks he has Fed figured out [ESPN]
Fed to carry Swiss flag in Beijing [Eurosport]
What's up with Momma Murray? [TENNIS]
Del Potro delves into his recent succes [tennis week]


John McCain as tennis prodigy [Craig Hickman's Tennis Blog]
Stalkeratti catch Rafa + Xisca again [Great Tennis Photos]
Vote: should a baller get no. 1 without a Slam? [On the Baseline]

(image via Getty)

Dominika downs Jelena, denies Serb top ranking

Dominika Cibulkova was all smiles today in Montreal after defeating Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup. The win also prevented the Serb from attaining the coveted top ranking from compatriot Ana Ivanovic again.

Great win for the Slovak but JJ is a mess and clearly not ready for the big time. Isn't this the third time she's been on the brink and couldn't close the deal?

Get thee to a serving specialist!

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: (Updated) Sharapova to reportedly skip US Open due to injury - season just about over

After announcing her withdrawal from the Olympics yesterday, it looks like Maria Sharapova will also be skipping the US Open due to the nagging shoulder injury. The news comes from an anonymous US Open official who didn't want their name revealed since Shrieka hasn't officially confirmed the withdrawal.

All in all, I say it's a very smart move. In fact, the Russian should close down shop and not come out until next year or, at the very least, the WTA Championships if she qualifies. She needs a good amount of down time to recover.

Happy healing Shrieka...

UPDATE: Maria posted the following update on her website confirming her withdrawal from the US Open -

Well my 24 hour medical tour came to an end yesterday after I met with Dr. David Altchek who is the premier shoulder doctor in the world. He looked at all my tests from April and today and informed me that I have been playing with a moderate tear in my rotator cuff tendon since April. He actually couldn't believe that I've been playing this long with this injury. You can imagine that I was not very thrilled to hear that my medical team did not see this tear in my shoulder back in April.

The good news is that it didn't get much worse since April but we could have started the healing time back then instead of now.

He does not believe that I need surgery and is sending me to work with a specialist in Arizona next week to do extensive rehab and strength work and he believes that I should be ready to play in 2-3 months. It hurts me so much to miss the Olympics and the US Open, you have no idea, just to type those words hurt!! I think this will be the first grand slam I have ever missed.

Now I need to move forward and stay positive. I am going to work hard to get healthy. I am going to do some extra work for my amazing sponsors who are always patient with me while I am playing tournaments and training. And I'm going to work on some business projects that I never have time to do, which will definitely keep me busy.

Once I'm healthy, I'm sure I'll look at this as a blessing in disguise. Right now it's a bit painful of course, but every athlete goes through these patches and I'm just grateful that this isn't as bad as it could have been.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your support. Will give you another update in a week or so....

(image via Getty)

Ana defeated by Tamira, top ranking up for grabs

Thursday was not a good day to be world no. 1.

Hours after Roger Federer was served out of Cincinnati by Ivo Karlovic,
Ana Ivanovic was knocked out of Montreal. The Serb was defeated by big-hitting Austrian Tamira Paszek 2-6, 6-1, 2-6 in the third round, giving compatriot Jelena Jankovic a great chance to steal the top ranking by reaching the final.

According to Ana, the right thumb injury she sustained in practice almost two weeks ago hindered her performance last night:

It was very frustrating in the first set. I was really down by [the injury], really felt like I couldn't do anything. And then in the break after the first set, I thought to myself, 'you know what, you still can serve and play your backhand, so just imagine you have a terrible forehand and try to put ball in as you can, try to look for your backhand.'

It worked well for a while. But I guess it wasn't too hard to figure out what she had to do. In the third set, she started playing much more to my forehand. It was just so frustrating that I couldn't control the racket in my hand. I couldn't feel anything.
It was very frustrating. I tried to fight as much as I could.

I really wanted to win this match. But obviously she's a very good player and she figured it out...I give her credit for taking her chances and winning this match.
Ana hasn't made any impression on the Tour since winning the French Open and becoming the top lady baller. It's almost as if she's a place holder, keeping the penthouse warm until the real no. 1 comes along. But, I'd chalk this up to a learning experience: learning how to deal with being the hunted and not the huntee.

Talented ballers will always look to play their 'A' game when facing the world no. 1 - something Ana has learned the hard way.

(image via Getty)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

+THURSDAY NETCORDS: Olympics and Federer

(Casey Dellacqua, Melbourne Park)


Who will survive Olympics fatigue in New York? [ESPN]


A closer look at the Olympic medals [Forty Deuce]
Fed focuses on Peking duck while fans fight for Nole [GOTOTENNIS]
Fed's fashion practice [Tennis Served Fresh]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Dr. Ivo shocks Fed, comes down to our reality

Ivo Karlovic came down from the clouds to celebrate his dismissal of Roger Federer 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) in Cincinnati and putting the fate of the Swiss' top ranking squarely in Rafael Nadal's clay-caked hands.

Color me jealous but Dr. Ivo's probably still 6' 5" in that squat position. Must be nice - aaargh.

(image via Getty)

BREAKING: Sharapova withdraws from Olympics with shoulder injury

Maria Sharapova just announced she will not be competing at next week's Beijing Olympics due to the nagging right shoulder injury which forced her to withdraw from this week's Rogers Cup:

After yesterdays match I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder. After taking a few different exams and MRI's this morning, the doctors found two small tears in the tendons of my shoulder.

There are so many mixed feelings because last night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve which could have ultimately been much more serious but after the tests this morning, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem. But on the other hand this is something that needs a lot of time to heal, which really hurts me to say that I have to miss the Olympics.

I'm currently packing up really quick to hop on the plane and head to NY for a second opinion but I wanted to let all of you know first that there's no chance of me competing in Beijing. The timing is so unfortunate and this makes me more sad than anything.

I will keep everyone updated once I get a clear picture of what the next plan is...
Bad luck for Shrieka. Let's hope she received the right diagnosis and will get the correct treatment for this now chronic injury or her career longevity will be seriously in question.

Again: no serve, no wins.

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Rafa on hardcourts

The top management of ATP are always think(ing) about continuing playing more and more tournaments in this kind of surface. I think it's not a good way, because if I look the locker room and you look in the trainers' room, everybody have problems, no? On the knees on the foot, every player, no, here (pointing to the hip). So I think it's not the good way. It's the hardest surface for the body, that's for sure.

- Rafael Nadal's feelings about playing on hardcourts

Hmmm - it's true that hardcourts are the toughest on the body while clay and grass offer more cushion. But is this a matter of surface, playing style, and/or physical preparation? I'm thinking a combo platter here.

One major factor weighing in hardcourts favor, though, is the low cost of maintaining the surface which certainly makes sense when considering the number of tournaments around the world. Plus, it gives a true bounce which most ballers enjoy.

I don't see this changing in the near future. But if it did, I'd give my vote to more grass.

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Are Serena + Common finally getting hitched?

Is Common going to pop the big question to Serena Williams?

The rumor mill is buzzing over at The Chicago Sun-Times about the potential engagement between the two stars. The pair were first spotted together last November in NYC at sister Venus' launch party for her clothing line EleVen.

Bill Zwecker notes:

Not only is the romance between Chicago rapper and actor Common and tennis queen Serena Williams back on -- I'm hearing an engagement could be in the works. While Williams was very cagey about Common when asked about their relationship at the recent Wimbledon championship (''He's a great guy, but right now, I'm just concentrating on my tennis''), a good Common source says the talented entertainer has been checking out some serious bling -- focusing on some major engagement rings.
It's obvious they're still together since they were both seen hitting up the Big Mac 40th Anniversary event although, to be fair, they didn't technically arrive together.

Just come out already - geez. Oh yeah, and in case it's true: happy engagement in advance!

(image via Getty + Starpulse)

Is your fave tennis baller really blogging and do you care?

Ryan Corazza over at ESPN the Magazine's blog wonders aloud how many so-called athlete blogs are true blue. Essentially, are the ballers really writing the personal musings themselves and, if not, should we care?

Corazza mentions Rafael Nadal's blog in the article and links to a post written during his championship run at Wimbledon. In it Rafa says,

First of all I would like to apologize for not sending this blog post last night as usual. I always do it after dinner while I'm at the massage table and my physio works on me. I dictate it and my PR manager writes it. This is how I have been doing it every day.
Fine to me - he's being completely honest about Benito Perez-Barbadillo, his flack, writing the words he dictates. Corazza argues the same saying,
Pro athletes are busy people, and largely, they aren't wordsworths...So having your sentiments typed up by a close confidant isn't a huge concern to the people who host the sites. It's still them … mostly.
But the article got me wondering - how many tennis ballers who say they're writing blogs for different media outlets are actually penning them or, at the very least, dictating them to someone? Should we care??

Hell yeah we should care. I want to know the thoughts are authentic and genuine - not some carefully worded PR piece. As a fan it's fun to get a glimpse into the minds of your fave baller and understand some of their thinking - good or bad.

One baller I'm sure is writing her own thoughts is Serena Williams. Have you ever read her musings? Seriously, you couldn't make that screwy stuff up if you tried - even if you were paid to.

(image via

Injured Ivanovic + Sharapova win in Montreal, but Maria withdraws with balky shoulder

The injuries on the WTA Tour continue to worsen with the Olympics and US Open right around the corner.

Top seed Ana Ivanovic, who's been dealing with a sore thumb she hurt in practice 10 days ago, struggled in her first match since losing in Wimbledon's third round. The sexy Serb needed three sets to defeat Petra Kvitova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 but refused to blame the injury for her scratchy play:

I went on the court and that means that I felt 100 percent ready to play. Obviously it takes some time to get in a rhythm. But I went through this match. It would probably be the same even if I was feeling 100 percent.

Maria Sharapova survived her opening round match then quickly withdrew from the Rogers Cup citing her lingering right shoulder injury and seriously jeopardizing her chances to compete in Beijing. The 21-year old was made to fight throughout her tight 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win against Marta Domachowska, even calling the trainer in the second set.

During the presser announcing her withdrawal Shrieka told the media,

It's obviously unfortunate. You try to do every little possible thing you can. But at the end of the day when you go on court and you're thinking about aggravating things, you're thinking about an injury, it's not really the way to play.

It's tough to go on court and not be close to even 50 per cent. I'm too good of a player to go out there and try to fight through something that can eventually become something serious.

After yesterday's post concerning the WTA's new Roadmap 2010, I give full credit to both lady ballers for flying to Montreal and playing through injuries.

But you have to think the Russian's chances of salvaging the rest of her season are in doubt. No serve, no wins. Ana, well, she's still sitting pretty at the top...for now.

(images via Forty Deuce + Getty)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Serena, Sveta, Fed...texting Olympic tennis, Wilson's balls and more

(Ernests Gulbis, Cincinnati)


WTT gets its due, sort of [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Does head size matter? [TENNIS]
Sveta hearts Fed [tennis week]


ReRe, Zappos, and Gladys Knight - WTF? [GOTOTENNIS] to provide live text Olympics commentary [On the Baseline]
Spotlight on Fred Perry [Tennis Served Fresh]
WTA Roadmap 2010 = stupid [Throw Up the Deuce]
Wilson has official balls [What's All the Racquet]
ReRe talks with Seventeen [WTA Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Nadia dumps EleVen for Babolat but skort needs to go!

Nadia Petrova made quick work of recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tamarine Tanasugarn at the Rogers Cup today defeating her Thai foe 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. The Russian headcase will battle Dominka Cibulkova in the next round.

So Nads was, of course, working EleVen by Venus Williams on the courts recently but it seems she's settled on Babolat as her full-time sponsor. She's wearing the Performance Polo in a mustard color paired with the Performance Skort in white.

I'm loving the color here - it seems fresh next to all the overdone neon + jewel hues drowning both Tours these days. But the skort? Ewww - I just don't get them.

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Will "Road Map 2010" stop the WTA's bleeding? TENNIS mag's Martin is hoping so...

James Martin penned a searing essay for's ESPN blog on the "train wreck" that is the WTA Tour's US Open Series.

As it stands the top five point leading lady ballers are Dinara Safina, Aleksandra Wozniak, Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta and Jelena Jankovic. These women are all deserving of their places in the Series' standings and whatever prize money they earn from playing, but these are clearly not the marquee names the USTA was hoping for with the exception of JJ and possibly Dinara.

According to Martin,

...the U.S. Open Series is quickly devolving into a bit of a joke, proof yet again that the WTA is powerless when it comes to delivering its talent for the summer hard-court season and the USTA's principle marketing vehicle leading into the U.S. Open.
Agreed. But will the WTA's new fangled "Road Map 2010" cure these ills? Let's take a look-see:
  • 40% increase in prize money from $63.6 million in 2006 to $84.4 million
  • 26 Tier I + II tourneys will be combined into 20 Premiere tourneys with a minimum baller commitment of 10 that they will play
  • Four $4.5 million tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing will be mandatory for all players who qualify
  • Five $2 million stops in Canada, Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati and Tokyo of which the top-ranked players must play at least four. The WTA must have at least seven of the world's top 10 ballers at each of these events.
  • Ballers will complete their schedules by playing in at least one or two $700,000 events
  • Zero tolerance for withdrawals from tournaments ballers have committed to playing. If a baller does pull out, even because of injury, she will forfeit bonus money ($5 million available to the top 10 ranked players) and receive zero ranking points for that event
WTA president Stacey Allaster stated that the Tour balanced the ballers' requests with the needs of the Tour itself and the tourneys:
They asked to put the best events in the right dates and we've done all of that. We've given them breaks. Now we're saying, there's going to be a little less flexibility on where you play and if you don't play, then there's going to be really significant ramifications.
Ouch - the zero tolerance policy is pretty tough. But I do agree wholeheartedly that the WTA needed to figure out a way to stop the bleeding and get these top lady ballers to play the premiere tournaments or at least get them to show up and try.

Why do some of the men, like Andy Roddick in Cincinnati, attempt to play with an injury even if he ends up pulling out during the warm-up? The same goes for Andy Murray who dealt with a knee injury in Toronto but is still competing in Cincinnati. Of course injuries are part of any sport, some more serious than others, but it's the effort the fans what to see.

So they get some extra cash in their pockets - but will it get the ladies to show up?

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: A-Rod injury woes build - can he salvage his summer in New York?

Andy Roddick's woeful summer season continues to get worse.

After losing early at both Wimbledon and the Rogers Masters, the American baller withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters with a neck strain yesterday.

A-Rod told the press,

Yeah, I mean, I’ve been feeling fine. I got in practices yesterday and the days before. I fell asleep last night. I was pretty tired. I fell asleep and woke up and I still had the lights on in my room. I just kind of passed out. I think when I did, we’re guessing it was in had the wrong position or whatnot. I work up this morning and something in my neck and kind of any activity is causing it to flare up. I went out and tried to warm for about five minutes at about 5:00.

I mean, we’ve been getting treatment all day. You asked what was leading up. Went to a chiropractor and we had Doug work on it. We’ve had kind of everyone take a crack at it today. Tried to hit at 5:00; didn’t go so hot. Went out for some more treatment. Tried to take some painkillers and whatnot.

You know, I thought I might be able to give it a go if it didn’t get any worse. My second or third serve in warm up out there just got infinitely worse, kind of just to the point where it’s tough to move my head right now.
According to A-Rod, this injury is unrelated to the shoulder injury he suffered in the spring, which forced him out of Rome and Roland Garros.

These setbacks only put more pressure on the 25-year old to make good on his decision to skip the Olympics to focus on winning the US Open. His chances in New York were slim even with good preparation, match play and the rest of ATP traveling back from Beijing - but now those odds are shrinking even more.

(image via Getty)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Rafa, Pat, Dinara...Prince launches, baby ballers and more

(Lindner Family Tennis Center, Cincinnati)


Pat Rafter is now taking questions...[BBC]
Steve Tignor caught Rafa twittering [ESPN]
The battle for ladies no. 1 continuezzzz [Eurosport]
Spanish tennis fed president Pedro Munoz on the outs [TENNIS]
Prince launches Pro Team 100 + Sharapova Collections [tennis week]


Shrieka 2.0 [Drop Shots]
Meet the baby ballers [Forty Deuce]
Dinara vs. Marion [Tennis Diary] Rafa converts another one [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Fed on the Olympics

...I've already won 12 Grand Slams. I mean, another Grand Slam here or there doesn't make that much of a difference. It's nice to get them, but the Olympic Games is something I have never been able to get.

- Roger Federer on the importance of the Olympics relative to winning Grand Slams

Winning a Slam doesn't make that much of a difference?! It's nice to get them??!

I understand that the Olympics, particularly winning the gold medal, are high on Fed's wish list since he's never pocketed a medal. But his answer seems pretty flip especially from a baller who hasn't won a single Slam this year and just lost a heartbreaker at his favored Wimbledon.

And, won't history weigh more heavily towards the number of Grand Slams a baller owns versus an Olympic medal or two? It's a surprisingly casual response for someone who always thinks about his place in the annals of tennis.

I'd call this "playing down the pressure".

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Tipsy's game falters but accessory count rises in Cincinnati

Janko Tipsarevic, who lost to Carlos Moya 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters today, definitely gets my award for "Most Accessorized Tennis Baller". He's got the men AND women beat this time around.

We've all seen the nose strip and glasses (sun + clear) on the Serb's mug before but he's decided to also add a black Fila headband to the mix - crazy! And, if you count the wrist bands then there are four types of accessories total - and that's only what we can see.

Who knows what's going on underneath Tipsy's tennis gear - and I'm not talking about his tattoos either.

Let's just hope, though, that he stops here and doesn't get influenced by Roger Federer's recent accessory mishap. Oh, the horror...

(image via Getty + AP)

FASHION FIX: New adidas by Stella McCartney revealed + ready for Ana Ivanovic

Marija over at Women's Tennis Blog stumbled upon these images of the adidas by Stella McCartney 2008 Fall/Winter Collection.

The designs continue to feature amazing detailing, particularly for sports apparel, including pleating, rouching, layers, drawstring, and even a bubble skirt which all help to keep the pieces looking feminine. The colorways, however, are simple and mostly neutral allowing the eye to focus on the many details of the clothing.

So when are we going to see Ana Ivanovic working this collection? I know Maria Kirilenko wears this line, and she wears it well, but this clothing really needs to be worn by tennis' top lady baller.

How great would this clothing look on Ana's tall, lean frame and against the beautiful tone of her skin and dark features? I can see her wearing this collection at Wimbledon already.

C'mon adidas - make the offer!

(via womenstennisblog)

FASHION FIX: Preview of Rafa's Nike Olympic style

Here's a sneak peek at Rafael Nadal's Nike shirt for the Beijing Olympics to go along with the preview of Roger Federer's duds I wrote about earlier this month.

Rafa will be working his fave look - the Nike Nadal Olympia Sleeveless in red with a yellow Nike swoosh and the Spanish flag of course. I'm not sure about the shorts but he'll most likely keep things simple and stick with his lucky Longer Length shorts.

If it ain't broke people...

(image via

Monday, July 28, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Elena, A-Rod, Dinara...Murray moved, Michael Chang hated and more

(Olympic Village, Beijing)


Ravi Ubha picks Dementiva for Rogers Cup title - is he loopy? [ESPN]
Murray moved by Olympic prospects [Eurosport]
Aviva may become lead sponsor of ATP Tour [Sports Business Journal]
Lebron James works red RF cap - nice schwag [SI]
Safina story saving WTA this summer [TENNIS]


Magdalena Rybarikova who? [Drop Shots]
Somebody hates Michael Chang and I'm not telling [Forty Deuce]
Breaking down A-Rod's latest slump [Tennis Diary]
Nobody wants no. 1...NOBODY [Throw Up the Deuce]
It's Tennis Bag Week everyone! [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Can you guess the mystery tennis baller?

Here's a little tennis trivia: can you guess who the mystery tennis baller is from this ATP headshot? He has a famous uncle on the Tour who's quite the ball striker.

Here's a hint: his initials are P.D. - and if you guessed P. Diddy (is that his name now?) you are, like, soooo wrong.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Mary Carillo steps up style game - could the pant suit be history?

Could Mary Carillo finally be coming to her fashion senses?

According to the Preppy Princess the tennis commentator, who has this unfortunate fondness for Hillary Clinton-style pant suits and turtlenecks (sometimes even worn together - doh!), will be kicking it up a notch and sporting a little special something for her Olympics gig:

I can't tell from this line sketch whether the outfit, designed by Ports 1961, is something closer to a white tie-waist potato sack paired with leggings or maternity wear.

In any case, it's better than the aforementioned suits...and the helmet hair is spot on.

(image via hbo + wwd)

SIGHTING: Serena swallows pride, hits up Big Mac 40th for free food - well, maybe

Serena Williams was spotted getting her Big Mac on for an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the popular McDonald's sandwich.

I'm not sure if this counts as a Serena Party Watch hit or why ReRe's there in the first place - not the best way to uphold her healthier, fitter image.

OH WAIT - here's a better explanation for ReRe's attendance at this event besides stuffing her mug with a free super-sized #4 value meal:

(images via

PHOTO OP: The lady ballers take in runway fashions at Rogers Cup

Ana Ivanovic joined Maria Sharapova and few of the other lady ballers from the WTA Tour for the Rogers Cup fashion show in Montreal. Why does it look like the Serb took two completely different styles - the top and the skirt - and made a big mess of it all? Even the colors are off. Seriously, if Ana is going to be photographed this much she needs to get a stylist.

Also making the show were Vera Zvonareva, in her frumpy best, Stanford champ Aleksandra Wozniak, Dominka Cibulkova and the Russian clique of Elena Vesnina, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva.

(images via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Maria's shoulder injury returns, Olympic + US Open prospects in jeopardy

Maria Sharapova, who was spotted on the press line for the WTA Fashion Show at the Rogers Cup yesterday, has been keeping a secret.

The Russian revealed via her website that the right shoulder injury which derailed her 2007 season returned during Indian Wells back in March. She felt the pain when she reached for a backhand during her tight 3-set match against Alona Bondarenko and is now tinkering with her racquets to find an answer:

Then it was back to work where I spent many hours of each day working with Prince on different rackets and strings. Ever since Indian Wells and that backhand incident, I haven't been able to get my arm up and close to my head without some sort of impingement and I've been trying different rackets with different weight balances that are a bit more flexible and the strings looser to get as much tension away from my arm as possible. So for the last week I have been playing with a new frame...I'm usually very sensitive to any minor changes and we usually do this in the off season, but we really had no choice this time.
This recurring injury would most definitely explain the serving woes the 21-year old suffered during her Roland Garros and Wimbledon campaigns when she was averaging double-digit double faults.

But, with the Olympics and the US Open right around the bend and with no real "Game Plan B" in her Nike pocket, Shrieka will need to get this injury in check quickly or she'll be enjoying more unexpected wacky vacation time.

(image via Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Rafa, Dinara, Sara

Rafael Nadal - Toronto

Rafa continued his dominance of the ATP Tour this past week by winning his second Rogers Masters shield by dismissing surprise finalist Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2. His current stats are gawdy: 29 straight wins, 61 match wins and 7 titles this season, 12 Masters Series shields, 30 career titles (3rd youngest to reach 30 behind Bjorn Borg + Jimmy Connors respectively), and a 30-8 record in ATP finals. The Spaniard has a strong chance of taking the top ranking this week in Cincinnati - a fitting prize for the best baller this year.

Dinara Safina - LA

Dinara is looking all the part of a future Grand Slam champion these days. The big-balling Russian earned her second title this season by dismantling Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-2 in LA. Oh yeah - she also stopped Jelena Jankovic's continuing quest for the top ranking by defeating the Serb in the semifinals. Does anyone else see shades of Lindsay Davenport in the game of the evolving Russian?

Sara Errani - Portoroz

Sara continued her Rafa-inspired trophy-biting ways this past weekend, earning her second consecutive title by defeating Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-3. The 21-year old has now won 10 consecutive matches.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Comment of the Week: Anonymous on Federer letter

But hey, it's sport and sport isn't about beauty or speaking english, it's about winning.

- Anonymous reaction to the importance of being Federer

Pure + simple. But let me add: to win with humility and lose with grace are hallmarks of true champions and that's what Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal give us each and every time they step on the court.

No arguing about that...

(image via Getty)

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