Google Down the Line!: 2008-08-03


Friday, August 8, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Marat, Ana, Nole...Pam splits, Dominik backs Fed, and more

(Olympic flame, National Stadium)


LINKS

Shriver splits from 007 [ESPN]
Dominik has Fed's back [Eurosport]
Another boob caught betting [NBC Sports]
Jay Berger blogs [TENNIS]
Marat's making moves [Tennisreporters.net]

BLOG TALK

Ana + Nole's Olympic adidas fashion [Forty Deuce]
Olympic-free tennis on TV [GOTOTENNIS]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Top ballers join compatriots for opening ceremonies in Beijing

The opening ceremonies for the XXIX Olympiad took place today in Beijing.

While some baller's personal issues kept them from partaking in the festivities, most of them joined their compatriots inside the National Stadium to watch the spectacular show.

Rafael Nadal (whose face might crack if he smiles any harder), birthday boy Roger Federer carrying the Swiss flag, Ana Ivanovic, Novak Djokovic, Lindsay Davenport, Andy Murray, and Fernando Gonzalez carrying the Chilean flag were spotted making their way through the throngs of world-class athletes and performers.







(images via Getty + ATP Tennis Blog)

Lindsay withdraws from singles in Beijing - is this her last hoorah?


Lindsay Davenport's Olympic hopes were dashed today when she pulled out of singles competition with the recurring knee injury she sustained at Wimbledon. The American baller, who's still hoping to play doubles with Liezel Huber, told the press,

I've been resting it since hurting it at Wimbledon for the purpose of being here and being able to do my best. For me it's a thrill to be back no matter what happens. It's the Olympics.
I think this will be the last time we see Lindsay in any form of professional tennis since the Olympics was her main reason for coming back.

What a way to go out...

(image via Getty)

Olympics opening ceremonies pain in the ass for JJ


Well it seems the injury bug won't stop biting Jelena Jankovic these days.

Serbian papers are reporting that JJ will not be participating in today's opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics because of an injury she sustained in practice this morning.

No specifics were given about where the bug bit but I have an idea. Damn, I knew that "half-moon volley" looked dangerous...and very uncomfortable.

Stick to the basics JJ.

(image via Getty)

Fed celebrates 27th birthday and will carry Swiss flag on auspicious day

Roger Federer is celebrating his 27th birthday today and will carry the Swiss flag into the National Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad.

According to Chinese culture "8" is the luckiest number because its Chinese pronunciation is similar to the Chinese words for "prosper" or "wealth". So today, 8.8.08, is the most auspicious day of the century. Wow - some people do get all the luck, huh?

The Swiss stylist sent a message to his fans about this special day:

Dear fans

It is an absolutely fantastic combination to be celebrating my birthday and the start of the Olympic Games - on the very same day!

The Olympic opening ceremony here in Beijing will start on the 08.08.08 at 8:08:08 pm - that's quite a few eights! Eight has always been my personal lucky number. And eight is considered one of the luckiest numbers in Chinese tradition because of its unique pronunciation. So being here in China on this specific date and time, celebrating my birthday during such an amazing event... It is almost impossible to find the right words to describe this feeling.

I am looking forward to tonight enormously, leading Switzerland into the stadium with our national flag. The huge crowd, the amazing ceremony and the best athletes from all over the world gathered here, will all make for another memory to last forever. What a privilege it is to be here!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your unconditional support. I love to come to my website and find you all discussing the future, the present and also the past. Your interest in all different topics around me, tennis and sports in general is fascinating. Thank you for all the time so many of you have invested in writing me messages, letters and cards and making me special gifts. This means a great deal to me and it fills me with pride to have so many of you thinking of me.

Our community is steadily growing towards the barrier of 200'000, what an amazing number. So many individuals from all over the world with a common interest meeting in one spot - precisely like here in Beijing for the Olympics! I would like to say thank you one more time and hope you enjoy the Games, wherever you are.

Sincerely
Roger

Happy birthday Fed!

(image via Getty)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Fed, Rainer, JJ vs. Ana...shirtless ballers, Playboy bunnies and more

(Lindsay Davenport, Olympic Green Tennis Center)


LINKS

Who's hot, who's not [ESPN]
Rainer vs. ITF [Eurosport]
Fed not feeling the protests [Guardian]

BLOG TALK

Playboys visit the bunnies [ATP Tennis Blog]
JJ takes a backseat to Ana...again [Forty Deuce]
Gratuitous shirtless shots from Beijing [Great Tennis Photos]
Let's make a deal! [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Fila + Wallpaper collaborate on tennis-inspired polos


Fila and design magazine Wallpaper have collaborated on the incredible designs for two tennis-inspired polo shirts.


The first polo, called "Grand Slam", was inspired by Bjorn Borg's iconic tennis gear from the 1970's and "sports gold pinstripes and a solid block of glyphs, which, on closer inspection, reveal themselves to be the scores of each of Borg’s championship matches."

The reverse side features Bjorn's runner-up results which he may not care to see but I wouldn't mind wearing.


The second polo was inspired by Luke Wilson's character Richie (see below), a former elite baller, from the film "The Royal Tenenbaums". The design elements include a blue and white striped design and a graphic pair of sunglasses printed on the chest pocket.


LOVE.

(images via highsnobiety.com)

FASHION FIX: Argentineans leave winter blues for summer fun - and outfits tell the tale

The Argentinean contingent left the South American winter for the heat + humidity of Beijing with the start of the Games only a day away.

Guillermo Canas, Juan Monaco, David Nalbandian looked their cool weather best in down vests, sweaters, and scarves before takeoff but apparently made a mid-flight change and - poof! - arrived ready for action:


(image via ATP Tennis Blog courtesy of Getty)

SIGHTING: Shirtless Nole gives autographs, gets tough draw in Beijing

Novak Djokovic made his first, and most certainly not his last, shirtless appearance at the Olympic Green Tennis Center today.

The Serb sits in the half of the draw that features incoming world no. 1 Rafael Nadal and his Cincinnati conquerer Andy Murray - not the easiest of opponents for sure.

Click here for the full men's draw and here for the ladies.

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: JJ gives her best power shot - or so it seems

So Rafael Nadal was spotted performing his best "deep throat" with the tennis ball the other day during practice. Fine.

But Jelena Jankovic seems to have found a completely new use for the balls in Beijing and I'm not even sure that's legal.

What the hell is going on her people? Do tell!

(image via Getty)

Ana surprised by wacky welcome, thumb still hurting


Ana Ivanovic just wrote her first blog from Beijing and the world no. 1 discussed the media maelstrom she encountered when entering the Chinese capital:

This is my first trip to China and I was amazed by how many people were waiting at the airport to welcome athletes. I’ve never seen so many supporters and photographers before, it was crazy!
The sexy Serb also revealed the right thumb she injured in Montreal has yet to heal and has prevented Ana from fully preparing:
Unfortunately my thumb is still painful and I cannot practice. I am still having laser treatment on it, but it’s very frustrating, not being able to prepare as I would like. I just hope it heals very soon.
Oh no - this is definitely not good news for Ana. It seems the injury is worse than originally suspected and will definitely hurt her chances for a medal. Stay tuned...

(image via Getty)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Gonzo, Taylor, Justine...gold vs. Grand Slam, ATP wins, and more

(Roger Federer, Olympic Green Tennis Center)


LINKS

10 greatest tennis nations [ESPN]
Gonzo chooses practice over presentation [Eurosport]
ATP defeats antitrust claims [Fox Sports]
Gold or a Grand Slam? [NBC Olympics]
WTA Olympic history [WTA]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]

BLOG TALK

Dent ready for a comeback [Nick's Picks]
It's all your fault Justine [On the Baseline]
We've got another grass lover! [Top Spin Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Venus + Serena make landfall in Beijing with US team

The top ballers continue their arrivals in Beijing for the start of the Olympics this Friday.

Venus + Serena Williams made their first appearance in the Chinese capital today with the rest of the US team. It seems the Arrivals Committee finally figured out what "crowd control" means because the Sisters Sledge had an easier time than Rafa and Ana navigating through the airport.

Anyway, the two looked jet-lagged like the everyone else but presumably more ready-to-go after trading most of the summer US hardcourt swing for relaxation and restrooms.

Check out their arrival:



(video via reuters)

Letter to readers: Just say no to SPAM!


Hey guys,

I just saw a bunch of anonymous comments pimping some homemade Rafa t-shirts. While I completely support entrepreneurism of all kinds, I don't support spamming.

If you have something you'd like me check out and possibly link, please contact me directly at tips@downthelinetennis.com.

Thanks in advance!

Rich

SIGHTING: Kate Hudson joins Sara Foster in Haas' Countrywide cheering squad


Tommy Haas' girlfriend Sara Foster and her famous friend actress Kate Hudson were spotted watching the German star get shocked by a rising Donald Young at the Countrywide Classic last night.

Uh-oh! I'm having deja vu...

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Fed's mood still ornery but style is spot on

Roger Federer continued to hone his struggling game with the opening ceremonies only two days away. The Swiss stylist hasn't been in the best of moods yet, but he did take time out to visit the Olympic Village for some shopping, eating, and of course the ever-important photo op.

I'm really loving this Nike "08" black + gold t-shirt with a gold star on the backside (how appropriate) he's working here in a practice session. He changes out into a white + red version (below) during the same practice but this colorway is much better to me.

Anyone out there have any more details on this t-shirt? Do tell!


(images via Getty)

Young defeats Haas in LA - could this be a career breakthrough for Donald?

Donald Young may have finally found his footing against the big ballers of tennis.

The much-touted American grabbed a big win last night when he easily dismissed 2-time champion Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-4 at the Countrywide Classic in LA. Donald snapped a 4-match losing streak and will look to win consecutive matches since Indian Wells when he faces Frenchie Marc Gicquel in the next round.

The 19-year old lefty has been under the gun since turning pro in 2004 and hasn't performed well under the pressure. But he looks to be filling out, gaining much needed strength and stamina.

Let's hope he keeps the momentum going, though. American tennis could really use some freshness and excitement right now and it's not going to come from Andy Roddick and his crew - sorry guys.

(image via Getty)

Ancic withdraws from US Open with mono, season most likely over


Mario Ancic, whose 2007 season was derailed by a bout of mononucleosis, has announced his withdrawal from the US Open with a recurrence of the energy-sapping illness. The Croat withdrew from last year's tourney with a shoulder injury.

Super Mario's Wimbledon performances, particularly his after-dark win against David Ferrer in the third round and his comeback from 2 sets to love down against Fernando Verdasco in the round of 16, were some of the best stories to come out of the fortnight.

Tough luck Mario - get well.

(image via Getty)

SIGHTING: Rafa hitches a Segway ride, practice outfit gets crazy

A relaxed Rafael Nadal was spotted making his way around the Olympic Green Tennis Center on a Segway . More than 100 of the 2-wheelers have been made available for transportation around the venues to help cut down on car fumes.

Meanwhile back at the practice courts, Rafa continued sharpening his skills while working some crazy-ass outfit. Is he becoming delirious from the smog?

It all seems to fit his personality whatever the reason. Go figure.




(images via Getty + RafaelNadal.com)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Dani, Rafa, Elena...Bryans blog, Olympics TV coverage and more

(John Isner, Countrywide Classic)


LINKS

Bryans' Olympic
blog [ATP]
Olympic tennis as team sport [ESPN]
Harry Cicma gives himself props [NBC Sports]
Dani gives good face - so what's new? [WTA]
Changing of the guard complete says Tignor [TENNIS]

BLOG TALK

More Rafa in the Village [Great Tennis Photos]
Full TV schedule for Olympics coverage [On the Baseline]
Nike gets graphic [Tennis Served Fresh]
Top 10 dreamin', ladies edition [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
Dementieva in denim - WTF? [Throw Up the Deuce]
Wilson repositions for '09 [What's All the Racquet?]
Fernando + Gisela make their entrance [WTA Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Murray on Olympic Village digs


I think quite a few of the tennis players are staying in hotels but I don't understand why you would want to. If you make the decision to play in the Olympics why would you want to stay anywhere else? It's a great experience to spend time with the greatest athletes in the world and I'm sure that I will speak to some of them.

- Andy Murray on staying at the Olympic Village

Exactly - staying at a luxury, 18-star hotel and separating yourself from the rest of the athletes is lame.

(image via Beijing 2008)

VIDEO VAULT: Fed, Maria, Pete + Johnny Mac show "Courage" in new Nike spot

Nike just released a new commercial as part of their global "Courage" campaign which is associated with the Beijing Olympics.

The spot combines the Human Race running event for August 31, the new Hyperdunk sneaker, and 20 years of the iconic "Just Do It" campaign. The Killers track "All These Things I've Done" serves as the anthem for this commercial - nice.

Tennis superstars Roger Federer + Maria Sharapova make appearances along with classic clips of legends Pete Sampras + John McEnroe.

Doesn't get better than this - check it:

PHOTO OP: Rafa gets some practice swallowing the ball in Beijing


Rafael Nadal, who survived the media maelstrom at the Beijing International Airport yesterday, keeps his eyes and mouth (apparently) on the ball at the Olympic Green Tennis Center today.

It looks like it might fit, strangely enough. No wait - that's Nole with the big mouth, right?

(images via Getty)

SIGHTING: Fed takes the practice court - so what's with the agitation?

An agitated-looking Roger Federer, who opted out of staying in the Olympic Village this time, took to the practice court at the Olympic Green Tennis Center in Beijing. Could the infamous pollution be getting to him here?

Anyway, the soon-to-be world no. 2 will be carrying the flag for the Swiss delegation during the opening ceremonies which also coincides with his 27th birthday. And, according to Olympic tradition "whenever it's an athlete's birthday, a simple birthday party will always be thrown and a special present given to the birthday man/woman."

So, will Fed at least grace the Olympic Village with his presence for this celebration? Swiss delegation head Werner Augsburger wouldn't comment.

Strange doings all around...

(images via Getty)

SIGHTING (updated): Ana arrives in Beijing, no fanfare to be found yet

Ana Ivanovic, who made the decision to compete at the Olympics with a sore thumb, arrived at Beijing International Airport today.

The top-ranked baller seems to have experienced nothing like Rafa's media madness - she navigated through the empty airport and was greeted by a lone Serbian fan.

Where's the crowd people? It's Ana - geesh!

Updated: Thanks to an anonymous reader who sent in a link to this image of the media getting their frenzy on over Ana - now that's what I'm talking about!


(images via Getty)

Monday, August 4, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Andy, Fed, JJ...Nole gets some love, Ana still Beijing-bound and more

(Olympic Green Tennis Center Main Court, Beijing)


LINKS

Out with the old, in with the new [ESPN]
Fed's top tennis moments in pictures [SI]
Murray's moxy [Tennis Channel]
Speak Arlen, speak! [tennis week]

BLOG TALK

Melanie Oudin who? [Drop Shots]
Grab your gas masks people - we're going to Beijing! [Forty Deuce]
Ed McGrogan's love letter to Fed [Gasquet & Racquet]
Freaky Frites goes all CIA at Countrywide [GOTOTENNIS]
Ana still Beijing bound, sore thumb and all [Great Tennis Photos]
Nole scores a new fan [Tennis Diary]
Top 10 dreamin' [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
JJ's saves (fully made-up) face [Throw Up the Deuce]

(image via Beijing 2008)

SIGHTING: Rafa greeted by media circus in Beijing airport


The ballers have begun making their long journeys to Beijing for the opening of the Olympic Games this week.

Soon-to-be world no. 1 Rafael Nadal arrived in the Chinese capital from LA working a pink shadow-striped Nike polo and surrounded by throngs of media, fans and of course the ever-present stalkeratti (most likely hoping for a Rafisca sighting.)

He was joined by his doubles partner Tommy Robredo on this trip. The pair will also be staying in the Olympic Village unlike some other ballers.

Click here for video of their arrival - it's nuts!

(image via ATP Tennis Blog courtesy of Getty)

Jelena to grab top ranking - but is she really smiling?


Either Jelena Jankovic has split personalities (very possible), is a good actress (questionable) or the WTA Tour's PR people got hold of the stuttering Serb (likely) because she's singing a different tune about her rise to the top ranking next Monday.

JJ has been vocal all season about her belief that the top ranking is essentially meaningless without a Grand Slam title and she repeated these thoughts after her defeat to Montreal finalist Dominika Cibulkova last week:

It doesn't matter, the first ranking. I want to be healthy. I don't really think about number one. If it's going to happen, it will happen but at the moment I don't deserve that spot. I am not in the best shape.
But according to her recent blog post JJ couldn't be happier and is looking forward to her stint in the penthouse:
Let's start with good news. A press release went out today that when the next rankings come out on August 11th I will be the world�s next number one! For me this is a childhood dream come true. In fact I think I am still living the dream � it is difficult to believe that it is a reality and I think the news is still sinking in. To have my name added along side a select few of tennis greats who have achieved a number 1 ranking status is a real honor and I will do my very best to represent the position well to do those who have come before me proud.
I have been pretty consistent over the last 12 months and finally, a lot of my hard work is paying off. Although I am really happy, I hope to continue business as usual and I want to continue to be a good ambassador for the sport. Of course, I want to share this victory with you, my fans, because I truly could not have reached this level without you � so thank you!
I think JJ's been playing it down because she knows there'll be a big, nasty asterisk next to her name which means even more pressure - and we know how well she deals with that monster.

But the Tour's flacks performed damage control and got to her once it became inevitable she would get the top ranking. Either way, she'll be world no. 1 - whether she likes it or not.

(image via Getty)

BALLER BLOGS: Rest and relaxation for Venus, restrooms for Serena


The Sisters Sledge have been preparing for their journeys to Beijing for this week's Olympic Games. But before they took off today, Venus + Serena made sure to blog about their recent activities including training, off-court activities and, for ReRe, more personal "issues."

V has been resting + relaxing at home after suffering a "minor knee injury" that forced her out of the summer US hardcourt swing, but she's eager to get to the Chinese city:

The last two weeks have been very simple: I’ve just been taking care of my body, resting away from the court for a few days and then preparing myself for the weeks ahead. I had a minor knee issue that made this time off even more critical and I am doing much better now. It was a fast two weeks but I am looking forward to going to Beijing.
The Olympics is one of those experiences that every athlete lives for. It is also great to be there with Serena and the other American players that I have gotten to know over the years. In past years, I have traded pins, hung out in the Olympic Village and really immersed myself in the Olympic spirit and I’m sure I will do some of that again this year. But I’m feeling like somewhat of an Olympic veteran - its hard to believe this will be my third Olympics! Anyways, I’m off..wish me luck.
The Wimbledon champ did, however, have some time to shoot an episode of the show "Iconoclasts" for the Sundance Channel with music artist Wyclef Jean, trading tennis lessons for some on his:
I filmed an episode for the Sundance Channel Show, “Iconoclasts”, with Wyclef Jean. He is really a great guy and we had a ball hanging out together for the day. He gave me a guitar lesson and I gave him a tennis lesson. I don’t know what he will say about my guitar-playing ability, but for a guy who had never picked up a tennis racquet before, I was very impressed with his tennis! We did the guitar lesson at one of the popular LA music studios. It was not overly elaborate but you could tell this is the place where artists come to focus and get the job done. During my guitar lesson, TI walked into the studio and it turns out he was recording with Justin Timberlake in the room next door. In an ironic way, this felt like the music equivalent of the practice courts at a major tournament.
Sister ReRe has been leaning more towards beach time with some training thrown in for good measure. But all did not go as planned for the former no. 1 on a recent trip to the beach:
For an embarrassing story the day I did go to the beach I had to go to the bathroom really bad, and I ran to the bathroom forgetting that my phone was in my back pocket, well needless to say it fell in the toilet, and I did not see it until… well lets just say I was really relieved that I did not have to do the number two!!!!! OMG I was so embarrassed and not only that, they always tell you to back up your info, and back up your contacts on your compuer, and I actually DID back up my contacts on the computer. BUT I backed them up in MAY. So for the past 3 months I did not back anything up, and all the extra contacts, ( all the “summer” contacts) were lost.
Okay TMI. But I'm confused - if she's at the beach then presumably she's wearing a bikini. So either the bikini has back pockets (weird) or she's sticking the phone somewhere else less comfortable. Either way, that's gross - her writing included.

(image via Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Andy, Dinara, Caroline


Andy Murray - Cincinnati

The Other Andy made a major career breakthrough this weekend earning his first Masters Series shield by defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6(4), 7-6(5) for the second time in as many matches. He becomes the first Brit baller to win in Cincinnati and will move up to a career high no. 6 in the ATP rankings. If I were a betting man (and I'm not - I swear!) I'd put Andy on the short list of faves for the US Open.

Dinara Safina - Montreal

Dinara continued her recent dominating play at the Rogers Cup grabbing her second consecutive title by crushing diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1. The big-balling Russian had an outstanding week in which she came back from a set and a break down to oust Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals and dismissed Victoria Azarenka in the semis. Her first Grand Slam title is within her reach - can she stay consistent and seal the deal in New York?

Caroline Wozniacki - Stockholm

Caroline made history earning her first career title and becoming the first Dane to win a tournament on the WTA Tour when she claimed the Nordic Light Open championship. The 18-year old needed to play two matches on Sunday to win the title after play was suspended on Saturday due to rain. She defeated top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals then obliterated Vera Dushevina 6-0, 6-2 in the final.

(images via Getty)

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