Google Down the Line!: 2008-08-10

Friday, August 15, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Rafa, JJ, Nicole...McEnroe responds, Serbians slide, and more

(Venus, Mike, Serena - Beijing)


Rafa as Spain's Olympic savior [ESPN]
An inauspicious start at no. 1 for JJ [Eurosport]
Don't forget Cincinnati! [WTA]
Why's Federer falling? [SI]
McEnroe talks back [tennis week]
More James + Gonzo []


Let's do the Serbian slide! [Forty Deuce]
Nick + Nicole back together [Nick's Picks]
Anna K. does Maxim [Great Tennis Photos]

(image courtesy of Bryans' iPhone via ATP)

Quote of the Day: Tignor on Rafa + Nole

For the first time this week, I could see that the Olympics had upped the passions of both players. Finally, the sport seemed to belong at the Games—seeing Nadal and Djokovic referred to as Serbia and Spain on the scoreboard made tennis, at least temporarily, about more than individual glory.

- TENNIS mag's Steve Tignor on the titanic Olympic semifinal battle between Rafa + Nole

Really? You don't say.

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Swiss team shocks Bryan brothers, Fed's prayers may be answered

Roger Federer is praying at the temple of Wawrinka today after the pair pulled a huge upset in Beijing.

The Swiss stylist, who was stunned by James Blake in the quarterfinals, and his doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka ousted the top seeded Bryan brothers 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the Olympics semifinals. The dynamic duo will face the unseeded team of Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson for the gold medal.

Fed definitely needed some divine intervention here and it looks like he got some.

And boy does he look happy about it!!!

(image via Getty)

Rafa's going for gold and living out Fed's dream season

Rafael Nadal continued his brilliant season today in Beijing.

The incoming no. 1 avenged his recent defeat to Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati knocking out the Serb 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. The Mallorcan Matador will now take on a controversial Fernando Gonzalez for the gold medal while Nole will battle James Blake for the bronze.

Does anyone else think Rafa's living out Roger Federer's dream season? I do, and I also think it'll be a cold day in hell before Fed offers Rafa another free ride on his private plane.

Boo hoo.

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Did James' ball nick Gonzo's stick? You decide.

What really happened during today's Olympic semifinal match between James Blake and Fernando Gonzalez?

James, who lost to Gonzo in a thrilling 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 match, accused the Chilean of unfair play for an incident that occurred in the final set. At 8-9 and with Gonzo serving, James hit a back hand passing shot that landed long but he claimed it ticked the Chilean's racquet. Upon TV review the ball was shown to have clipped the edge of his racquet but Gonzo didn't concede the point.

The 2004 silver medalist doesn't believe the ball touched his racquet telling the press,

I didn't feel anything. I mean, it's just one point. There is an umpire. If I'm 100 percent sure about it, I mean, I will give it. But I'm not sure.
James felt, in the spirit of the Games, the Chilean should have conceded the point saying,
I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it. That's a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor.

Whatever he wants to say is fine. Whatever is going to get him to have some sleep tonight, then that's fine.
I tracked down a YouTube clip of the point in question and around the 2:05 minute mark you can see a close-up of the incident:

Did it clip Gonzo's Babolat stick or is James seeing things? Based on this video and seeing it on TV it looks like the ball did touch his racquet and he would have felt it. C'mon, ballers are so sensitive to their equipment including the slightest changes of tension in their racquets so how did he not feel a ball nick his stick?

I do hope he's telling the truth. Otherwise, it's bad sportsmanship and worse at the Olympics - happy sleeping tonight Gonzo.

McEnroe stays true to form, gets booted from Newport tourney

Unlike a fine wine, some things don't get better with age.

John McEnroe was booted from his opening round match against MaliVai Washington at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport.

The 49-year old hot head was disputing a line call when he received a code violation for using an obsenity. In typical style, John kept up the arguing and was given two more abuse of official penalties as the crowd began yelling for him to continue play. The tennis legend then offered the fans an obscene gesture as a "thanks for coming."

Apparently MaliVai was the one who gave notice to the officials telling them he wasn't happy with John's tirade:

There are a lot of things I can deal with—disputed line calls, stoppage in play. I have an issue when my opponent starts berating people, fans and umpires. I said something to the official. As players, we are in control of the match. Officials are in charge of the integrity of the game.
Ahhh - this story made me nostalgic for some of John's most classic (or is it classless?) moments. Let's take a look:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: J. Martin, A-Rod...US Open wildcards, Chinese etiquette questioned, and more

(James Blake, Beijing)


US Open men's wildcards announced [ESPN]
US Open women's wildcards announced []
What's wrong with a lil' "oohing" and "ahhhing"? [Yahoo! Sports]


Swiss boys gettin' personal [Forty Deuce]
The secret of J. Martin's success [Tennis Diary]
The A-Rod argument continues [Top Spin Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

Rafa + Nole reach semis in Beijing - who'll be gunning for gold?

Here we go again!

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will face each other for the sixth time this season after both ballers won their respective quarterfinal matches at the Olympics today.

Rafa dismissed Austrian Juergen Melzer 6-0, 6-4 in their first meeting and Nole needed three sets to subdue flashy Frenchie Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Nole, of course, just defeated Rafa at the Cincinnati Masters after the Spaniard clinched the no. 1 ranking. The winner will be gunning for gold while the loser will battle for bronze.

So who'll come out on top here people? Do tell!

(image via Getty)

Venus falls to Li, will be flying coach-class back home

Tennis' Olympic Omen was on overdrive today.

Roger + Serena were already shown the Beijing exit door and now Venus Williams can start booking her coach-class ticket home as she likes to do when she loses. The Wimbledon champ was thumped 7-5, 7-5 by homegirl Li Na, who survived despite hitting 12 double faults...that's right people, 12 DOUBLE FAULTS.

V must be kicking herself for not taking her opportunities, but what can you do when you hit 59 unforced errors of your own?

Not...gonna...cut it.

(image via Getty)

Tennis' Olympic Omen strikes again, Fed + Serena latest victims

Tennis' Olympic Omen has already grabbed the scalps of Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Nikolay Davydenko on the men's side and Svetlana Kuznetsova on the ladies'. You can now add Roger Federer and Serena Williams to the growing list and end all talk of a Wimbledon sequel (drats!).

Fed's quest for a first medal of any kind at the Olympics came to an abrupt end today when he was shocked by American James Blake 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the quarterfinals. James had only won a single set in their previous eight matches but came up big denying Fed another career goal and continuing the Swiss' misery this season.

I'd say Fed's US Open defense is looking pretty awful right now.

ReRe's quest for her first singles gold medal was stopped cold today by "that" Elena Dementiva. The 8-time Grand Slammer gave up a one set lead and fell to the surging Russian 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a match that saw a combined 122 unforced errors against 25 winners - ick.

But I guess well all know which Elena came to play today.

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: All work and no play makes Maria a dull girl

Maria Sharapova is still in Arizona rehabilitating the balky shoulder that forced her out of the Olympics and US Open.

But don't think it's all work and no play for the Russian fashionista. In fact, here's proof she's made the best of a bad situation: watch Shrieka ski on water! watch her eat and pose!! watch her bust out the strange mime dance from her wacky European vacation with BFF Camilla Belle!!!

Oh, good times Shrieka...good times.

(image via

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Rafa, JJ, Marion...Open Era turns 40, bionic tennis, and more

(Alizé Cornet, Beijing)


Rafa to remain no. 1 after US Open [TENNIS]
Open Era's 40th anniversary celebration in New York [tennis week]
Marion injured again [Yahoo! Sports]


Bionic tennis has arrived - batteries not included [Daily Racquet]
Washington DC round-up [Tennis Diary]
Bangs-R-Us [What's All the Racquet]
JJ gives back [WTA Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Wertheim + Tignor don't care about Olympic tennis - do you?

SI's Jon Wertheim and TENNIS mag's Steve Tignor can't seem to understand why we should care about tennis in the Olympics.

When a reader asked Wertheim recently if he'll be including an Olympic-size version of his weekly "Tennis Mailbag" he says he's "passing" on the Games. Why? I'll let him explain:

Beijing messes everything up. Injuries are rampant, as players don't have time to recover after the Slams. The Masters Series events are moved two weeks ahead in the calendar. Players are wary of taxing themselves too much before Beijing so we have unfortunate situations such the now-infamous Montreal doubles session. The U.S. Open Series is more or less a fragmented mess, characterized by weak draws. (If this is the "Greatest Road Trip" in sports, maybe we should go on a cruise.)
He ends his response by saying, "I suppose we should simply resign ourselves to the unfortunate fact that once every four years, the summer calendar will be a mess." Right, as if the tennis schedule is such a gem normally.

In his blog Tignor whines (and I mean that in the worst sense) that tennis is "diminished by the Olympic surroundings" and the only way its fans (and apparently its mainstream media) can truly appreciate the sport is on its "home turfs" such as Arthur Ashe or Rod Laver Stadium or even Wimbledon's Centre Court (which Tignor believes won't help Olympic tennis when it's played there in 2012 because it won't be called "Wimbledon".)

He ends by saying,
No matter how long tennis remains in the Olympics or how many of the top players compete, "gold medal" will never be synonymous with the sport the way "Grand Slam" is. For that reason alone, we won't need to watch it.
P-P-P-lease. Are we so close-minded and self-involved that we can't appreciate the sport in any and all contexts, from the Olympics to a city park? Or is it that the mainstream tennis media feels encroached upon, that "others" are co-opting coverage of the sport they should own??

Maybe that's why they feel the need to render Olympic tennis meaningless and unimportant.

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Serena on Elena

Hopefully I won't have to play that Dementieva. But if so, I'll be ready.

- Serena Williams on facing Elena Dementieva in the Olympic quarterfinals

I wonder if ReRe is talking about the Elena who stunned her in the Moscow final last year or the one with super powers?

Either way she may be in troubllllle...

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Serena survives, reveals secret love to the world

Well, well. It looks like Serena Williams has been keeping a secret love from us.

The former no. 1, who survived a fierce 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 battle with up-and-coming Frenchie Alize Cornet in Beijing today, is sporting a heart-shaped tattoo on the nape of her neck.

Hmmm - wonder who that sexy surprise is for? Any guesses??

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Fed roars to win over Berdych, avenges '04 Athens loss

How badly do you think Roger Federer wanted this win?

The Swiss styist avenged his heartbreaking 2004 Athens loss today defeating Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-6 (4) to make the quarterfinals in Beijing. Fed's quarterfinal opponent will be American James Blake who defeated Frenchie baller Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2.

Apparently, he traded his tearful 'o4 cry for an emphatic '08 "Yes!" after hitting a service winner on match point.

This tourney is gettin' good people!

(image via Getty)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Bryan boys, Liezel, A-Rod...Beijing baller talk, Perrotta pushing medals, and more

"Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays! xoxo Victoria"


No ranking points for Perrotta, medals enough [ESPN]
All about the Bryans [tennis week]
Fed + Rafa taking different roads towards gold [Yahoo! Sports]


Look who's talking in Beijing [Forty Deuce]
Liezel Huber who? [On the Baseline]
Non-Olympic tennis seriously [Tennis Diary]
Van would like a word with you A-Rod [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
More boobs in the news [Throw Up the Deuce]
Ever heard of Athleta tennis gear? Now you have... [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Could we be headed for a Wimbledon sequel? Maybe so...

Are we headed for a repeat of this year's historic Wimbledon at the Olympics?

It's sure looking good especially if the champs and finalists from that fortnight - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Serena Williams - keep their stellar form.

Here are the number of games these ballers have lost through two rounds:

Rafa - 13
Fed - 12

V - 10
ReRe - 6

Not bad...not bad at all.

Elizabeth Merrill
for believes a Rafa-Fed gold medal match could legitimize Olympic tennis in the eyes of its own community and would most certainly pull the sport out from Olympic obscurity:

Federer and Nadal have a unique opportunity this week to help the Olympic cause. If the sport's two most dominant players can advance to Sunday's final, on the heels of their breathtaking match at Wimbledon, it would most certainly be a showcase event in Beijing.

My mouth is watering. And, even though a Venus-Serena gold medal match doesn't garner the same excitement and anticipation, the sisters could reign in three medals themselves since they're also competing in doubles. Nothing to argue about there.

Although it's too early in the tourney to say, I think it could be an incredible moment for the sport of tennis. Let's keep everything crossed.

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Elena confuses balls + boobs in Beijing

Like Rafael Nadal and Jelena Jankovic before her, Elena Dementieva was spotted getting crafty with a tennis ball at the Olympic Green Tennis Center in Beijing recently.

Boy, she can't serve worth a lick (watch it) but she sure is talented. I bet she'd give "Marky" Mark Wahlberg a run for his infamous third nipple.

Anyway, I'd love to see Elena's new move battle JJ's "half-moon volley". Who'd come out on top (watch it, again)?

Let the visuals begin...

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: To the the the the right goes Rafa

Rafael Nadal and coach Uncle Toni are featured in this Nike video shot during his championship run at Wimbledon talking about Rafa's incredible ability to play tennis left handed while doing everything else with his right hand.

The piece shows the incoming no. 1 performing a few moves, including writing and shooting darts, with his right hand and then his left. Which way do you think he performs best? Like, duh.

BTW - the video is in Spanish. To watch the video with English subtitles, click here.

Cool video. Check it:

Monday, August 11, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Sania, Kolya, Ana...Shrieka rehabs, Rafter's return, and more

(Serena Williams, Men's Fitness)


A-Rod vs. J. Martin, Part Deux? [ATP]
Kolya barely keeping head above water [Eurosport]
Steve Flink talks J. Martin [Tennis Channel]
Akgul Amanmuradova blogs [TENNIS]
Sania withdraws from Olympics with wrist injury [tennis week]


Ana so sad [Forty Deuce]
ReRe gives it up for Men's Fitness [Serena Williams]
Riffing on Rafter [Tennis Diary]
Shrieka gets her rehab on [Women's Tennis Blog]

(image via Men's Fitness)

PHOTO OP: Lebron knows tennis, meets-and-greets Fed

NBA superstar Lebron James was spotted in the stands checking out Roger Federer's opening round win against Dmitry Tursunov in Beijing and then behind-the-scenes to meet the 12-time Grand Slammer.


(image via

FASHION FIX: JJ should be milking cows in her Reebok wear

As you know, I usually like to discuss a baller's match before getting to the good stuff. So here's Jelena Jankovic's Beijing first round recap: she won.

Now let's get straight to the point: what the fuck did Reebok give JJ, the new top lady baller, to wear on the biggest stage in sports? Is this their version of a sexed-up Swiss milkmaid or something?? It's an awful, homemade, "sew by numbers" piece of crap.

Phew - needed to get that off my chest! Blogging really is like therapy sometimes...

(image via Getty)

Becker reportedly engaged to Haas' former girlfriend - did he propose via text message?

Boris Becker is quite the ladies' man, or so he may think.

The 40-year old tennis legend is reportedly engaged to Sandy Meyer-Woelden, the 24-year old daughter of his late manager Axel Meyer-Woelden. She's a former model and also the ex-girlfriend of Tommy Haas. Check it:

Okay - let's do this shall we? Boris conceived his daughter Anna with Angela Ermakova in the broom closet of Nobu London and then late last year dumped his last girlfriend, Sharlely Kerssenberg, a day before his 40th birthday through a text message. Nice touch.

All in all I'd say you have your work cut out for you Sandy. What a catch!

(image via SI + Getty)

FASHION FIX: Warrior Rafa wears tribal markings in Beijing

Rafael Nadal battled through less than impeccable form to make the second round in Beijing. The incoming world no. 1 needed 3 sets to defeat Potito Starace of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and will face Lleyton Hewitt in the second round (DVR alert!).

So when I previewed Rafa's Nike duds for the Olympics I didn't see the back and missed this great design. Check out the interesting graphics on Rafa's shirt - does it remind anyone else of tribal markings or battle scars?

A warrior motif for Rafa - nice touch Nike.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Venus still working EleVen - what will become of the collection now?

Venus Williams followed lil' sis Serena's lead and made her way into the second round in Beijing. The Wimbledon champ quickly defeated Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-2 and will face Iveta Benesova in the next round.

Now, V is still wearing EleVen by Venus Williams at the Olympics. But I'm wondering what will happen to the collection now that her licensee, Steve & Barry's, has filed for bankruptcy protection?

Apparently, she'll still be paid the $250K owed to her under contract even though the company will be auctioned off later this month. But it'll be tough to keep the collection afloat without a distributor who follows the "cheap chic" philosophy of the line.

Tough luck for V - but maybe Target has some room on their retail floor...

(image via Getty)

"Olympic Omen" begins taking its toll, Andy + Sveta first to go down

Tennis' Olympic Omen has struck and the upsets have begun in typical style.

Andy Murray became the first high-profile victim falling in the first round to unheralded Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei 7-6, 6-4. I can think of one baller who won't be sad to see Andy get booted: Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who's lost his last two matches to the Brit baller, was in Andy's half of the draw.

This loss, however, could be a mixed blessing for the Cincinnati champ. Andy now has time to prepare for the year's last major where he'll be a favorite to take home his first Grand Slam.

Svetlana Kuznetsova's season continues to stall. The Russian baller was also dumped out of Beijing's first round losing to homegirl Li Na 7-6 (5), 6-4 hitting 6 winners to 46 errors - ugly. This loss isn't as shocking as Andy's since Na's beaten her before in big matches (Wimbledon '06), but this loss won't help Sveta's already lagging confidence.

Unlike Andy's situation, I don't think the extra time off will help Sveta since it'll give her time to think - something she does too much on the court already.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Serena wins match + style game with Nike

It took two days to complete because of a rain delay but Serena Williams finally won her first match on her quest towards a gold medal in Beijing. The American crushed Belarus' Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-1 hitting seven aces in the match.

I'm loving this version of the Nike Women's Doubles Dress that ReRe is working here. Even though it's in the US' red-white-blue the color accents add punch + pop to the dress and aren't overdone here. I could do without the matching red headband and red + white Cages, but it's the Olympics, right?

wears it all very well.

(image via Getty)


Juan Martin del Potro - LA

I'm thinking Juan Martin has realized it feels much better to win than to lose - and he likes it.

The 19-year old won his third consecutive tournament in less than a month defeating Andy Roddick 6-1, 7-6(2) at the Countrywide Classic and entering the top 20 for the first time (world no. 19). He'll surely be one-to-watch in New York and has become a dark horse for the US Open championship with this title.

A great win for the Argentine but another huge setback for A-Rod. The American baller was the sole top-tenner in the draw with the next highest seed being Fernando Verdasco who sits at world no. 13 this week.

Seriously, if he couldn't stroll to this hard court title with the best ballers in Beijing what are his chances at any major from now on?

(image via Getty)

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