Friday, October 3, 2008
Road to Shanghai [TENNIS]
Road to Doha [TENNIS]
Todd talk [tennis week]
Breaking down Jo-Willy's breakdowns [Tennis Diary]
(image via Getty)
Elena Dementieva, who was defeated 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-1 by Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in the Stuttgart quarterfinals today, looks absolutely demented here. She's going to put a serious hurting on that unsuspecting tennis ball - I'm sure of it.
I wonder who or what the Russian is thinking about right about now. Any guesses? Do tell!
(image via Getty)
Tomas Berdych's erratic game seems to be rounding into form in Tokyo. The Czech baller dismantled Fernando Gonzalez 6-0, 6-4 in their 62 minute quarterfinal; it was his second defeat of the Chilean this year (Cincinnati). He'll face American Andy Roddick for a spot in the final this weekend.
I'm LOVING the Nike outfit Tomas is wearing here. It looks to be the Resort Polo in grey from their Holiday 2008 collection (colorway possibly Europe only) paired with Global Team Short in scarlett.
This color combo (which Nike debuted at the US Open with Roger Federer's duds) paired with the white hat, white + red Vapors and grey wristbands still seems fresh and the stripes add a nice bit of texture to the entire outfit. Plus, it looks like the Czech added a personal touch with his underwear's peek-a-boo green waistband.
Hmmm - I wonder what other sneaky things are going on underneath his outfit...
(images via Getty)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Don't sleep on the fall [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Kooyong grabs Ernests [Yahoo! Sports]
Shrieka 2.0 makes first quarterfinal [Nick's Picks]
Is JJ pulling a Marcelo? [Peter Bodo's Tennisworld]
For your mini-Maria [What's All the Racquet]
(image via Getty)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and his game hit the skids again in Tokyo today.
The Frenchie baller, who soared to his first ATP title last weekend, came crashing down after suffering an abdominal strain while leading Serb Viktor Troicki 7-5, 1-2.
I'm not quite sure what to make of his laundry list of injuries at this point. What I do know is that it sucks for tennis to not have him around.
Be well Jo-Willy. Oh, and get yourself a traveling physio - it's done wonders for Andy Murray.
(image via Getty)
Old age may have finally caught up to Boris Becker.
The recently engaged 6-time Grand Slammer is one of the star attractions on the Pokerstars.com team so the UK's trash rag The Mirror decided to sit down with the tennis legend for a video interview as the European Poker Tour got underway today.
As if reading mental cue cards, a serious and somewhat ragged-looking Boris discusses his long history playing the game, the competitiveness between players, and what he hopes to accomplish on the tour.
The German star also reveals how the card game reminded him so much of his time he ruled the roost in tennis:
I used to play tennis, obviously, so poker is sort of the next thing. It reminded me a lot about my past, the skills you need in poker you need in tennis as well: concentration, patience, endurance, reading the other player, I'm bluffing sometimes...No kidding with the "bluffing" thing B.
But seriously, "concentration", "patience", and "endurance"? Really?? I had no idea tennis + poker were so similar - crazy! It's good to know you've put those skills to good use and they won't get rusty in your dusty tennis bag.
Hey Rafa - if this tennis thing doesn't work out you'll always have a spot on the poker tour (some people have all the luck.)
Check out the full video here.
(image via Getty)
Kei Nishikori's homecoming was short and not very sweet.
The Japanese baller was spanked off the court in front of his home crowd in Tokyo today, losing the 55-min match to a suddenly solid Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2. The Frenchie had a great serving day hitting 7 aces in the mini-match.
As for Kei, well, a lesson learned: it's hard playing great ball in front of your home peeps. Just ask Richard - it's a thrill-a-minute for him in Paris because his crowd might actually eat him alive.
(images via AP)
Harry Cicma reports on tennis for NBC Sports, an institution in the world of athletics as far back as I can remember.
So you'd think the sportscaster would have great access to ballers and insidery information for hungry fans, right? Well, let's see!
Here's his rundown on the current issues surrounding Ana Ivanovic this season. Check it:
Huh? Where's the beef Harry?? Maybe it was the topic. Let's try his take on Andy Roddick's season so far:
Harry, c'mon! There wasn't a single interesting, insightful comment in either video (the part after the long commercial I was forced to watch I mean.) I could've done that "fluff piece" from my make-shirt desk using my web cam at the dining room table.
Geez - someone sign me up for one of those cushy, NBC Sports news "jobs" please...
(image via nbcsports.com)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Flink thinks WTA [Tennis Channel]
The curious case of Kuzy [TENNIS]
Personalize your Prince [Daily Racquet]
Exclusive: Donald Young talks tennis [Black Tennis Pro's]
(image via Getty)
Li Na has a way with the Williams sisters.
The Chinese baller, who defeated Venus at the Beijing Olympics, pulled a Serena stunner knocking the world no. 1 off her perch in Stuttgart with a strange looking 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 scoreline and ending ReRe's short stay in the WTA Penthouse.
Jelena Jankovic will again take over residence on Monday - so let's make sure the powder room is stocked with gowns + glitter, okay guys?
(image via AP)
- Roger Federer on why he's skipping next week's Stockholm Open
Tough luck Swedes but Fed's bout with mono may have been worse than he originally let on based on this statement. He's thinking long-term here so I say go the "Williams' way" and take the rest of the year off if needed.
Listen, I'd love to see him back as much as anyone but I'd much rather have him around for many years to come. You do the math - Fed already has.
(image via Getty)
Rafael Nadal will soon have more in common with Roger Federer than Nike, no. 1, and a Wimbledon crown.
The buff baller has reportedly signed a deal with Inter Parfums to develop a fragrance line called Lanvin L'Homme Sport based on his image to be launched in summer 2009. Of course, Fed has his RF Cosmetics body care line featuring a cologne, after shave balm, body wash, and deodorant stick. No word as to whether Rafa's line will be as extensive.
I'm thinking the shape of the bottles will be inspired by his recently revealed full-moon moment. Do you think his ass-ets are trademarked yet?
PS - Thanks to reader Brent for tipping me off to the news!
Team Murray continues to give us a glimpse into Andy Murray's fitness sessions in Roehampton. Yesterday, the Brit baller worked the treadmill to exhaustion and today we get to see him strengthening his core.
According to his site,
During the session Andy starts with "the superman" (top image), a balancing practice that uses the abs to keep him steady on the ball. Next up is "plank" which may be familiar to those yoga and pilates practitioners and is held for a minute each repetition:
In performance sport circles, core stability is seen as key to peak performance and injury avoidance. In a nutshell, it's about the strength and conditioning of the deep, underlying muscle groups that ordinary folk often neglect.
Andy's core programme sits neatly, and somewhat painfully alongside the running work. Unlike the traditional 'hard fitness', core exercises demand a high level of concentration and attention to detail: to get the most of it, you need to nail the poses.
Andy then moves into the "roll and hold" on the ball where he rolls to one side, holds the pose, then repeats on the opposite side:
Now comes a very difficult looking practice, the "Swiss ball push up" (don't try this at home, people!):
Okay - I need to catch my breath after that one. Tthe fun doesn't stop there, however. The 21-year old ends with a workout for the arms, shoulders, and parts of the back using resistance bands:
I guess this is how someone becomes the number four baller in the world - I get it!
(images via andymurray.com)
Team Ana released some images from their ballers photoshoot for the WTA Tour's "Looking for a Hero?" global marketing campaign. Now, after seeing the left image it struck me as being very familiar. What other baller on the Tour is a wannabe sexpot model? Oh right - Maria Sharapova, duh!
Look, we all get that sex sells but there's absolutely nothing sexy about the image particularly when you're working your adidas duds against a blank background. Plus, the posing + pouting don't work for you Ana - not that they work for Shrieka either.
Seriously Team Ana, do you really want your girl to go down the same road as Shrieka? I think you guys need to focus on getting Ana back on track to her winning ways or none of this will really matter anyway.
(image via anaivanovic.com)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Juniors saving US tennis apparently [tennis week]
Urszula Radwanska who? [Drop Shots]
Elena gets her Stuttgart shop on [HCFoo's Tennis Blog]
- Srdjan Djokovic, Nole's pops, complaining to Serbian paper Sportski that Serbia drawing Spain in next season's Davis Cup first round tie is "no coincidence."
You know what? This sounds all too familiar to me. Crazy is as crazy does.
Get this family some Prozac please...
(image via Blic)
Jim Courier knows how to get people to watch older fogies chasing after fuzzy yellow balls hit by other older fogies - give 'em some Anna Kournikova.
The 4-time Grand Slammer is co-founder and promoter of the Outback Champions Series, where retired over 30 ballers can continue to stay competitive...oh, and continue to make a living off the sport.
So when Jim failed to secure two of his biggest draws, legends John McEnroe and Pete Sampras, for the Series stop in Charlotte his marketing mode kicked in (read: how can I still make a lot of cash outta this thing?) and he unleashed Hurricane Anna on the unsuspecting city:
...[Courier] tapped Anna Kournikova for a couple of mixed doubles exhibitions on Saturday. Bingo: both day and night sessions are sold out. Kournikova arrives early a.m. from her Miami home, hits the hotel for a cat nap, then strolls onto the still wet grounds at The Palisades, eyes glued to a Blackberry as a line of admirers waits at the entrance to center court.The Series' next stop is in Dallas featuring the debut of Boris Becker to the tour, but in case fans aren't interested in ballers who actually won a tournament of some kind in their Hall of Fame careers Jim secured Anna for a two-event deal.
Anna on the Champions Tour - how perfect. Seriously, the fact that she can sell anything blows my freakin' mind.
Hey Anna: I'm trying to sell my apartment. How do you feel about doing open houses???
(image via Getty)
The word on the street is that Maria Sharapova is now officially off the market!
According to Tennis Week, Shrieka is now dating Charlie Ebersol, the son of Dick Ebersol, an executive at NBC who helped launch Saturday Night Live. In 2004 Dick, Charlie, and 14-year old Edward were involved in a plane crash that killed the youngest son.
The pair joined Andre Agassi as guests at the Bryan Brother's All-Star Tennis Smash charity gala dinner over the weekend where Shrieka put herself up for auction and joked, "My boyfriend will outbid you." No such luck - a day with the Russian fashionista went for $10,000.
Well, fine. I guess we can officially trash those Nole-Shrieka rumors...at least for now.
Thanks for the heads-up Erin!
(image via tennisforum.com)
Some top ballers gathered this week in Tokyo for the AIG Japan Open (phew - isn't this tourney lucky to still be around.) They also attended the official opening ceremony where they broke open sake barrels to wish happiness and success for the tourney.
But, lo and behold, there was one baller who looked like he either wanted to somewhere else completely or he hit the sake way too early and way too hard:
I wonder why? Maybe it's because this classy moment of David's is making the rounds...priceless:
(images via Getty)
As reported yesterday in Monday's + NETCORDS, Mardy Fish married fiancée Stacey Gardner of Deal or no Deal in a lavish, black-tie wedding at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on Sunday.
The bride and groom were surrounded by 150 guests including groomsman James Blake, James' brother Thomas, and basketballer Kevin Garnett. Good friend Andy Roddick was not in attendance since he was a little busy winning Beijing.
Stacy had six bridesmaids all wearing black dresses and worked with wedding planner Linda Howard, from Sensational Celebrations, while Mark's Garden provided the flowers. The couple walked down a red rose petal-strewn aisle to U2's "A Beautiful Day".
(images via HCFoo's Tennis Blog)
Andy Murray, who was spotted at the National Tennis Centre planning his Fred Perry duds for 2009 recently, is still in Roehampton working on his game and fitness before returning to the ATP Tour.
The Brit baller was hoping to run a few 400 metres at Wimbledon's track (loving these black and silver Nike track trainers, btw) after a hitting session with coach Miles but with the gates locked Andy and trainer Matty Little hit the gym for some 40/20 intervals - 40 seconds on the treadmill (your choice of speed and incline) and 20 seconds rest, 15 times.
I'm out of breath just thinking about it. This training sounds really tough...and it looks like I might be right:
(image via andymurray.com)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Goran is now taking questions! [BBC]
Top ballers not falling off [ESPN]
ReRe aims for car over cash [NBC Sports]
Amelie splits from Loic [Sporting Life]
Checking in with Kimiko [WTA]
Ad-In, Ad-Out [SI]
Mardy gets married [tennis week]
Rafa's stalkeratti are busy [ATP Tennis Blog]
Bjorn sheds his shirt [Tennis Served Fresh]
Sveta, the sloppy second [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
(image via Getty)
- Dinara Safina on almost quitting the sport earlier this season
I love how open and expressive Dinara, and brother Marat for that matter, can be when discussing their careers. They don't give off false bravado or offer pat, nuanced, "I just need to play my game" type answers. They give the press and fans genuine, from-the-heart, commentary on what's going on in their minds. You can truly get a sense of their personalities, good and bad.
It's a great respite in this day and age of the mega-celebrity athlete buffered by their many handlers - another reason why we're lucky Dinara stuck around.
(image via Getty)
The Sisters Sledge, Venus + Serena Williams, played their first doubles match in Stuttgart today defeating the team of Daniela Hantuchova and Agnes Szavay 6-4, 6-1. The fourth seeds will next face either Italians Maria Elena Camerin + Flavia Pennetta or Czechs Andrea Hlavackova + Lucie Hradecka.
Color me surprised to see the Williams sisters not only playing into the fall but also continuing their gold medal-winning doubles pairing. It's one thing to be in the draw but quite another to actually show up - something they seem ready to do these days. Maybe ReRe will actually end the year living in the WTA Penthouse - who knew?
Of course, this doubles play will most likely keep their single's games and minds sharp - a very, very bad sign for the rest of the singles draw and the WTA Tour overall.
Oh well - may the better ballers win!
(image via Getty)
- "The Curious Case of Nikolay Davydenko" by Peter Bodo which takes a look at the man who sat squarely in the middle of the match-fixing scandal
- "How to be a Good Tennis Parent", a special guide for all those stage parents who want to live vicariously through their (maybe) talented mini-ballers
- "The Golden Year", a look back at Steffi Graf's historic Golden Slam run in 1988
With magazines and newspapers struggling to keep subscribers and the internet taking chunks of their ad revenue, could this be signs of trouble for TENNIS magazine?
(image via TENNIS)
THE LOW DOWN: Carlos Rodriguez slams WTA lady ballers, "...outside of the Williamses and Sharapova, the rest are still really poor."
Matt Cronin for FOXSports.com has an fascinating interview with Carlos Rodriguez, former coach and business partner to Justine Henin, in which he discusses Justine's retirement and the state of the tour. Carlos also had some biting words for some of the up-and-coming lady ballers and their "efforts" to grab the keys to the WTA Penthouse.
Rodriguez says that one of the reasons that Henin is retired is that she's looking to prove to herself that she can do more than just "hitting the ball" and will only likely consider a comeback once she has taken a very necessary mental break.
On which ballers have real quality:
I have a lot of respect for the other players, but outside of the Willamses and Sharapova, the rest are still really poor.
You can't teach [how to fight.] You can learn a lot of things, but you cannot change the natural personality of a player. With Serena, Venus, Justine and Jennifer Capriati, they have the personality that even when they weren't enjoying it, they could go through. There's no question that Maria, Serena and Venus are far and away from the other players. Their quality is too good.
On Jelena Jankovic:
That's the face of tennis today, with a player who is reaching No.1 without winning a Grand Slam. It's a sign. She's a good player, but when you see Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters, they not only win Grand Slams, but they have the charisma. They give something extra, not only hitting balls. There's more behind them.
On the recent struggles of Ana Ivanovic:
I think Ana can do big things, but she needs more maturity. It's very difficult for a player to learn what to do when she's in trouble. Ivanovic is not able to have a Plan B or C to solve the situations, and she loses complete control. The coach can help with this, but in the end, it's up to the player to find for herself what possibilities will work. The coach can only help you to a certain point.
On his short stint working with Anna Chakvetadze:
Anna seems like she wants to work, but I told her, at the end of the day, deep inside of you, you don't want to try to go further and to push yourself more to succeed. I cannot help you if you don't have the will to do something, even if I'm the best or worst coach in the world. She has the talent. But she's really confused as to what she needs to do to succeed to do to become a No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world. She's not ready to make the sacrifices it takes to go to the top, there's not question about it. A champion is one inside and outside the court, and when you take Anna outside the court, she's really a disaster.
On Nicole Vaidisova's potential:
She's amazing. It comes back to the entourage she has around her. It's so important. When you are talking mental, these girls are very strong, but when you are talking emotional, it's very hard. The emotional takes over the mental and she completely loses the way. It's a pity. I hope someone can take care of her because she's charismatic and is a really good player, but her emotional (state) and the intelligence is not that good.
On Maria Sharapova:
She showed that she's able to dominate, but it's not a question of once in a while, it's a question of regularity and the only way she can do it is to concentrate 100 percent on her tennis. If Maria doesn't do that, she's never going to find the consistency throughout the year. In tennis, to be a champion, you have to choose to do everything you have to succeed in your sport. I think today Maria is unable to do so.
She has to concentrate, practice and live for her tennis — no endorsements, publicity and wasting time outside of the court with other things that distract you from No. 1. Once and for all, in front of the mirror, she has to ask herself, 'What do I want to achieve in my career?' I have all the possibilities to be No. 1 and stay there for a long time, but this is the price I have to pay.
On Serena Williams:
Serena has the quality, and everything she needs mentally and physically to do it she has. But is she going take care of herself and prepare to go into action? If she does that, I think Serena has another two or three great years left.
Don't hold back Carlos, tell us how you really feel! Boy, he certainly laid into some of these ladies - Anna's "really a disaster" off court? Ouch.
I agree with him on most of the points especially Ana's lack of a Plan B, Chaky's lack of real desire and motivation, and which ladies are true champions on the tour.
Like Cronin, I was also surprised with his choice of Nicole as the baller with the most potential. Clearly the Czech has talent and potential and suffers from emotional breakdowns. But more talented than Ana? I find them to be quite similar actually: big serves, blowtorch forehands, stiff backhands, average footwork, mentally shaky.
And it seems the door is open for Justine to make a comeback though I don't think it'll be anytime soon if it does happen at all. Drats.
(image via daylife.com)
Jelena Jankovic, who seems sold on working glitter for the rest of the year, was spotted working a Burberry cover during her Beijing win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
A Burberry blanket to soak up her sweat? How very fancy of her. She should follow A-Rod's lead and give it up for charity. In fact, I hear EBay calling JJ...
(image via Getty)
A-Rod earned his third title this season (San Jose, Dubai) when he struggled to beat Israel's Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 in Beijing. Afterwards, the American baller donated $25,000 of his winnings to the Chinese Tennis Association to help with the earthquake recovery in the Sichuan Province:
I would really like to contribute a part of my prize money to those families affected, to those who lost everything they had, suffered painful injuries or lost loved ones in the earthquake. It’s my great honor to be in Beijing to work with CTA to assist those kids who are in need. It is an athlete's privilege and responsibility to give back.Great moment - kudos to you A-Rod!
Unbelievably, Jo-Willy earned his very first ATP title in Bangkok when he defeated top seed Novak Djokovic 7-6(4), 6-4 in a rematch of the Aussie Open final where the Serb earned his maiden Grand Slam trophy (karmic brothers maybe?). If he can keep his injury woes at bay, this winning run should boost his confidence and make the Frenchie a big threat the remainder of the season and beyond.
In a battle of mental midgets, JJ avenged her loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Tokyo, routing the Russian baller 6-3, 6-2 and earning her second title this year. The Serb stopped a run of four straight hard court losses to Sveta and continues her run towards the WTA Penthouse. I suppose whomever is left standing after everyone else implodes will win titles this fall - how entertaining.
The Russian didn't let the fashionable bloomers she was working here stop a run to the title. Maria, the top seed, stopped a three-match losing streak by defeating Aussie Samantha Stosur 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Seoul earning her third Tier IV title of the season (Estoril, Barcelona). So when is Maria going to step up and take her game to the next level? Winning is winning for sure, but it makes me think the 21-year old is destined to be a second-rate baller in a (sometimes) pretty dress.
(images via Getty)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
(Hey people - I've decided to bring back "INSTANT REPLAY", the weekly roundup, for your reading pleasure. Enjoy! Rich)
Rafa streaks, J.Martin strips in Davis Cup semis
Nole 2.0? Mare's hoping not
Did adidas spring a leak?
Murray gives good quote
The other Maria works bloomers in Seoul
Ballers party in Beijing, Anando heats up
Beautiful Bolelli banned
Jelena joins Nole in Bangkok, puts him on lockdown
Shrieka pouts + poses for Hello! magazine
SAB: Ekaterina vs. Steffi
Beware the greying ballkid
Jo-Willy channels Ali in shorty-shorts
Nole arms it in Bangkok
Ana actually won!
That's a man baby...or is it?
Shrieka shuts it down
The other Andy gets a fitting
Ana actually lost!
Reuters crushes on Nole
Fernando spotted with Dragana, Anando rumors grow
Rafa's rounded ass-ets revealed!
+ NETCORDS: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
(image via Getty)