Google Down the Line!: 2008-10-05

Friday, October 10, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Dilemma for Fed...Davis Cup final heads indoors...Previewing Madrid + Zurich

(Fabrice Santoro + Michael Llodra, Moscow)


Fed's big gamble [ESPN]
Argentine's get their wish, sort of [Eurosport]
VIDEO: Madrid + Zurich previews [TENNIS]


What's to blame for recent baller breakdowns? [Tennis Diary]
Feeling sorry for Stockholm [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: A-Rod on Brooklyn

She's certainly no bridezilla.

- Andy Roddick on how fianceé Brooklyn Decker's handling their wedding preparations

Hysterical. I actually can't see A-Rod with a bridezilla type, which is why it's a good thing he didn't end up with Shrieka. Oh the horror.

(image via Getty)

Super Mario suffers another setback, withdraws from Stockholm with illness

Thanks to an anonymous DtL reader and april for tipping me off to this truly unfortunate news concerning Mario Ancic.

The Croat, who showed us all how excited he was to be back in action in Stockholm this week, has withdrawn from the tourney with acute bronchitis with fever.

What the hell is going on with his health? This is a pretty serious issue for him, obviously, and very frustrating for the Croat. Super Mario needs to get to the bottom of these health problems because we're not just talking about a common cold or the flu even, but mono and now acute bronchitis.

Be well Mario...

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Dominika goes down in Moscow, but Lacoste style hits high

Diminutive Dominika Cibulkova, who was spotted getting double teamed in Red Square, had her trip to Moscow cut short (no pun intended, I swear!). The Slovak was bundled out of the tourney's quarterfinals today by Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-4.

I'm liking these new Lacoste duds Dominika is working here. The polka-dot graphic design on the polo adds some nice pop but I really love the skirt. The periwinkle blue is fresh, the striped waist band looks inspired by preppy grosgrain ribbon belts, and the front features functional pockets outlined with white piping.

Sporty, cute, and fun - everything you need in great tennis fashion.

(images via Getty)

Fed announces return in Madrid via website, tennis world will sleep well again

Roger Federer made another official announcement via his website about the news that the US Open champ is returning from his "hiatus" next week in Madrid:

Dear fans

After some rest and physical training, I have decided to play in Madrid next week. I am eager and excited to get back on court after winning my 5th consecutive US Open and the Davis Cup tie last month in Switzerland. I will take it one week at a time to ensure I am fully prepared for 2009.

See you soon

What - no long, drawn out, over-explained reason for his return? Definitely no Oscar for this performance. I can finally sleep again.


(image via AP)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Gonzo's stable visit...Tracy's abs of steel...JJ vs. Marty

(Marat Safin, Moscow)


Gonzo and the horses [ATP]
Down but not out [ESPN]
Tracy Austin has hard abs [TENNIS]


JJ channeling Marty? [Tennis Diary]

(image via Getty)

Fed to play Madrid Masters, Academy Award in the mail

Madrid Masters' tournament director Manolo Santana confirmed today that Roger Federer will be playing in the Spanish city next week, ending his self-imposed 3-week break.

On October 1st, the Swiss stylist announced he was taking an indefinite break to "to get a proper rest and get strong again so that I am 100% fit for the remainder of the year or next year."

In light of today's news, Fed's announcement now seems a little dramatic and over-the-top. It certainly got the media and fans (myself included) speculating about whether he'd be returning to the game this year or next, his health and level of physical fitness, etc. I suppose he needed to let the Swedes down easy but I dare say it gained him a lot of publicity as well.

"And the Oscar goes to..."

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Aussie Open 2009 to showcase changes and improvements - are they enough to solve identity crisis?

In a probable response to their growing fears of losing the Asia/Pacific Grand Slam, Australian Open tournament officials have announced some preliminary changes and improvements for the 2009 season's first major.

Here's a list of what to expect this January:

• new world class player restaurant and player services facility at Melbourne Park
• night final for women
• two extra night sessions on Hisense Arena
• special encore performance of the incredible Wilander - Cash final of 1988
• revamped legends Event
• new and improved Australian Open Series
• two-night concert series featuring four world class performers on finals weekend
• the Australian premiere of internationally acclaimed entertainment precinct Spiegelworld
• an extension of the event’s global reach with new broadcast deals in China and South Africa
• the signing of the world-renowned clothing brand Lacoste
• superb new AO 2009 merchandise range
• exciting array of new ticket options, including exclusive Hisense Arena packages

Aussie Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley is pleased with the changes saying,

We have really accelerated our push to make this Grand Slam the best possible experience for all of the players and indeed the fans.

It will be interesting to see how the Aussie Open evolves in the coming years. However, I don't see anything on this list exciting and innovative enough to help this major overcome its biggest obstacle: lack of identity. They're just trying to "keep up with the Joneses" at this point.

I'm curious to know what the "Australian Open Series" is all about though - is it similar to the US Open Series' format of a "season" built into the run up to the major tourney? If so, it could help ramp up excitement and buzz drawing in fans (and revenue) but more details are needed here.

If Tennis Australia's reported fears are to be believed then the biggest threat to the Aussie's losing this major, in my opinion, will most likely come from Asia, China specifically. They have the interest, desire, resources, and people to make a full-throttle attempt at taking it. They're sporting profile went out 1000-fold because of the overwhelming success of this summer's Olympics, they've wooed the Masters Cup to Shanghai, and the WTA just opened new digs in Beijing. Moreover, their lady ballers' stature on the Tour has grown in a big way this season because of the huge scalps they've taken along the way.

Sounds like a major commitment to tennis from this point of view.

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Zvonareva gets zen-ny in Moscow, puts powers on crushing display

Vera Zvonareva was spotted meditating on a changeover during her match against slender Slovak Daniela Hantuchova today in Moscow.

She must be repeating the mantra: "You don't have to cry just don't have to cry just don't have to cry just focus..."

Well I guess it worked: she gave a total beatdown to Dani winning 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes. Ouch.

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Dominika gets double teamed in Moscow's Red Square

Dominika Cibulkova
, who helped the continuation of Ana Ivanovic's miserable Serbian Slide down the rankings with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) defeat of the Roland Garros champ, was spotted getting double teamed by some guards in Moscow's historic Red Square.

Check out their faces. One word: creepster.

(image via Getty)

Tennis Week's Carrie Milbank making the rounds - so what if it's in a bikini?

Tennis Week's own Carrie Milbank has a secret sexy side - well, not so secret anymore based on these photos making the rounds today.

The Texas-born commentator recently sat down with The Love of Sports to discuss her growing brand and how she made her way into the conversations involving the biggest tennis ballers in the world:

It was the 2006 U.S. Open and Roger Federer had just defeated Andy Roddick for his three-peat win. He was exhausted, stuck in a tiny little room, his trophy on his lap, dozens of interviews lined down the hallway, mine being one of the very last of the evening. When it was finally my turn to sit down with Roger I was sure he would be dishing out one-word answers if anything more than just a nod. But instead, he was one of the most gracious, humble and patient interviews I ever had, and at that moment I truly became a tennis fan.

My gig with didn’t come along until a year later, so you can imagine how quickly I jumped at the opportunity to host a weekly show about one of the greatest sports and some of the most gifted athletes of our time.
But you probably wouldn't want to ask her to hit a few balls with you:
Personally, I’m a total spaz attack out on the court. I can’t even get anyone to play with me ... I am that bad.
I'm sure the (straight) guys wouldn't mind Carrie.

But she isn't just a one-sport kinda girl. The former Houston Texans' cheerleader also dabbles in hockey ("Just give me a gritty, action-packed game and I’m a happy girl") auto-racing and sports cars ("Is it too much to ask for my car to turn into a Transformer at the end of the day and cuddle?”), and power-drinking apparently:
I usually go straight for the hard stuff ... Ketel One Vodka. [Though] on a beer night, it’s all about Blue Moon straight from the tap with a fresh orange slice, but at home it’s my boy Sam Adams Light.
Oh Carrie - you're like every guy's (and some girl's, btw) wet dream: a drinking, car-loving, sports fanatic who likes to lie on rocks while posing in a bikini. You're, like, SO hired for anything.

What was I saying about some girls having all the luck?

(The Love of Sports via Deadspin)

SIGHTING: JJ + Mladjan still together, spotted in Belgrade

Things between Jelena Jankovic and her sexy new boy toy, water poloist Mladjan Janovic, seem to be going strong.

The slidin' Serb and her new beau were spotted at Madera recently, a restaurant in Belgrade, looking pretty cozy together. I guess this budding romance hasn't rocked JJ off her game based on her two consecutive titles (Beijing, Stuttgart) and her move back into the WTA Penthouse this week.

Some girls have all the luck, huh? But word of advice JJ: you better hold onto him tight. That's all I'm saying.

(image via WTA Tennis Blog)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Good-bye Bjorkman...Wertheim mail bag...Petzschner profile

(Arnaud Clement, Stockholm)


Bjorkman bows out [ATP]
A rested Fed is a dangerous Fed [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Philipp Petzschner who? [tennis week]


Van vs. Venus [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
Tennis talk with Feli [Top Spin Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Murray straps on bungee cord for high intensity stability workout

Andy Murray's preparation for his assault on the end of the season is still underway in Roehampton.

The Brit baller, who'll be returning at the Madrid Masters, has given us peeks into some interval training on a treadmill and his core strengthening practices. Now, we get to see some high intensity stability work with Jez Green which "improves Andy's movement, more specifically (and technically) his 'cutting.'"

A number of yellow jumps are placed evenly spaced across the floor while Andy straps on a bungee cord - he'll work on keeping his balance against the pull of the bungee cord. The 21-year old performs different variations including moving forwards, backwards, and side-to-side, singles, in threes, etc.

Great stuff Andy - now can we get a few more ballers to give us a real look into their training practices? Any takers??

(images via

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Max earns degree...ATP's calm before the storm...The real deal on No. 1

(Nikolay Davydenko, Moscow)


Mirnyi earns law degree [ATP]
More jockeying over JJ [ESPN]
Tumultuous time for ATP? [Fox Sports]
No. 1 by the numbers [TENNIS]


Who's shopping for a ring now? [Tennis Served Fresh]

(image via Getty)

SIGHTING: Shrieka gets her shop on in LA, money hopefully insured

Speaking of Maria Sharapova, the Russian fashionista was spotted at the Westfield Shopping Center in LA recently.

She may not be fit to play anymore this year but she sure looks fit to spend through some of that $26 million in her (hopefully) FDIC-insured bank.

PS - Love the satchel Shrieka!

(image via WTA Tennis Blog)

PHOTO OP: Vera pulls a low-budget Shrieka for Hello! magazine

It seems Vera Zvonareva's pulling a Maria Sharapova magazine moment. Well, sort of.

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site is featuring some out-takes of an upcoming photoshoot for Hello! magazine featuring the Russian baller. I'm not a photographer by any means, but these images are full-on cheese.

So Shrieka gets high-fashion and fun while Vera gets sent out to pasture - literally. Couldn't they have hired a hair stylist and put her in some interesting, not necessarily high-end, clothing at the very least?

Talk about feeding someone the crumbs...

(images via

PHOTO OP: Super Mario looks super excited to be hitting balls again

Mario Ancic was spotted cracking an open stance forehand while defeating Olivier Rochus 7-6 (6), 6-2 in Stockholm today.

Okay people - when I saw this photo I had to do a triple take on the image. I was thinking, "Super Mario looks REALLY REALLY excited to be back after getting sick again!"

And just so you know, Mario, we are too...oy...

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Maria K continues losing streak in tennis + style

After triumphing in Seoul a few weeks ago Maria Kirilenko's game has stalled. The Russian lost her second match in a row today when she was beaten by compatriot Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-4 in Moscow's opening round; she also lost her first match in Tokyo last week to Czech Klara Zakapalova. I'm thinking fitness is a factor here - bad news for Maria.

What's also bad news is she's still working the adidas by Stella McCartney Tennis Tank Dress in black with white detailing this time, which is the same dress she wore last week but in all white. Time to send this one to eBay, Maria.

So, is it just me or does this version remind anyone else of a court jester's duds? Check it:

Ewww - maybe that's why this dress creeps me out. Court jesters are scary! Or maybe it reminds me of the outfit on the William Shakespeare action figure:

Not the best source of inspiration for women's wear, I don't think...

(images via Getty and

Ana featured in China: Sports Illustrated, reveals love of all things latin (like, duh)

Ana Ivanovic, who'll be facing Dominika Cibulkova in Moscow's second round, is featured on the cover and an inside interview with China: Sports Illustrated. I guess it counts as a "sports" cover because she's wearing a gown while standing in an empty pool? Whatever...

Anyway, the second seeded Serb was asked by the magazine why she learned Spanish and she replied,

I have always enjoyed visiting Spain and Latin America. I trained there a little bit some years ago, before I turned professional, and I really enjoyed playing tournaments in South America. I love the latin way of life: it is very relaxed, and I also like that the people are very family-orientated, like me.
Ah-ha! Now we know why Ana keeps traveling to Spain and has been hanging out with Fernando Verdasco recently. She loves her some latin!

I suppose if Anando doesn't work out, she'll have plenty of willing options over there.

(image via

Monday, October 6, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Bryans rock out...Flink vs. Tignor...The return of Pim Pim

(Ana Ivanovic, Moscow)


Bryan Brothers trade racquets for rock-n-roll [ATP]
Ad-In, Ad-Out [SI]
Flink thinks JJ undeserving... [Tennis Channel]
...but Tignor tells a different tale [TENNIS]
Pim Pim's back y'all! [tennis week]


What Juan wears [Tennis Served Fresh]
Spotlight on Diadora footwear [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Gimelstob on Kournikova controversy

It was a very painful time of my life. To see people who don’t know you or don’t understand all the information publicly malign you is a very hurtful process. Those sound bites [from the radio talk show] aren’t representative of the person that I am, and the people who know me, know that. Players that rushed to my defense (Andy Roddick and Lindsay Davenport among others) weren’t given the opportunity or the voice to be heard. It was a better story to tell it the other way.

What hurt me the most are the people in the media who I generally have such a good relationship with because I give so much. But the second I took it too far, those same people who would call me for the sound bite, destroyed me.

- Justin Gimelstob on the controversy surrounding his offensive comments about Anna Kournikova and a few other lady ballers

Hard lesson to learn, Justin, but one you clearly needed to take in if you're going to be in the media. In this day and age of quick sound bites and blogs, anything can be taken out of context or lost in translation and repeated a gazillion times. Proceed with caution.

Now, do I think that happened in this situation? No. Terms like "douchebag", "sexpot", and "scumbag" directed towards these women on-air are really hard to confuse, don't ya think?

Tati, Dani, + Paul-Henri all want the same thing - who will win out?

Tatiana Golovin, Daniela Hantuchova, and Paul-Henri Mathieu are all vying for the same thing and only one of them can have it.

The three ballers are all interested in having Loic Couteau, who parted with Amelie Mauresmo last week after more than six years and two majors, as coach.

Loic told French sports paper L'Equipe he's temporarily working with Tati who resumed training this week after dealing with injuries most of this season. He also mentioned Dani contacted him recently about a possible coaching opportunity.

After his loss to Dmitry Tursunov in Metz, Paul-Henri told the press,

An experience with Loic Courteau could be interesting. It has to be seen whether we want similar things. Stay tuned.
No worries Paul-Henri...we will be. But in the meantime, my choice would be Tati: younger (20 y.o. versus Dani 25 and Paul-Henri 26), more long-term prospect, and probably not so set in her ways or game. And like Amelie, Loic could also help her keep these niggling injuries at bay and give her the consistency she's sorely lacking.

(images via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Is the Australian Open in danger of disappearing?

Tennis Australia is worried about their Grand Slam.

According to The Independent, Tennis Australia believe their Slam lacks the same "lustre", facilites, and corporate involvement as the other three majors and could cause them to lose it. But that's not the only reason:

The source added that Tennis Australia were "dead worried" about losing their slam, one of the reasons being that it does not have a unique surface. Both the US and Australian Opens are played on hard court, while Wimbledon and Roland Garros are played on grass and clay respectively.

Despite the concern, there are no plans to change the surface – it was only relaid this year – or move the date of the tournament in light of arguments that such a big event is held too early in the season. Authorities want to keep the January fortnight because it coincides with local school holidays and the finals take place on Australia Day weekend.
Tennis Australia has called in HOK Sport, a London-based architecture agency responsible for Wimbledon's forthcoming Centre Court retractable roof and London's 2012 Olympic stadium, to help with revamping the Australian Open's facilities including better transportation to and from Melbourne Park and the possibility of tearing down and rebuilding Rod Laver Arena which may look "out of date" next to Wimby's new retractable roof.

Rod Sheard of HOK Sport was quoted as saying:
The Victorian government has recognised that the tennis facilities at Melbourne need to be updated to keep up with the other slams. We have been commissioned alongside [Australian architect] Cox to look at the site and prepare a master plan. The authorities are pretty open-minded on what we recommend, and we're looking at things like crowd flows, corporate facilities, relocating the entrance and improving links to other sporting facilities nearby.
I agree the Aussie Open's current surface isn't unique but the biggest reason for its identity crisis is the timing. We're force fed major tennis before we're even ready - there's no real build up to the Slam, no "season", to get fans excited about the year's first major, especially the casual fan. Plus, the ballers have just come off a (very) short break and aren't usually playing their best stuff yet. If they're not fully engaged, how can we be?

It would be in everyone's best interest to give some breathing room at the start of the year. Will it happen? Who knows.

(image via Getty)

Robby hits Moscow party press line with hairiest of situations

Robby Ginepri, who'll be facing a qualifier in the first round of Moscow, joined the rest of the ballers on the press line at the Moscow player party today.

O...M...G. This is one of the hairiest situations I've ever seen on the ATP Tour - it's pretty horrifying. The American is already wearing the dreaded "comb-over" usually reserved for men two to three times his age. Plus, it looks really dry + ragged and the color is some weird shade of orange - icks.

Robby - you're really young so you have time to stop what's happening to you. Take action now (and bring Alize Cornet with you)!

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Top ballers hit the press line for Kremlin Cup party

Top ballers have gathered in Moscow for the Kremlin Cup and they all made their way onto the press line for the tourney's kick-off party today:

A prettied-up Svetlana Kuznetsova looks like she's trying to trash her tomboy image, going decidedly fem for her walk down the press line. I honestly didn't think it was possible but I have to say it's a nice evolution for Sveta.

Elena Dementieva looking minimalist and modern in sleek head-to-toe black (accessories included).

Former Roland Garros champ and mom Anastasia Myskina made a rare appearance on the press line with Roland Garros finalist Dinara Safina. It's great to see Anastasia out and about with the WTA lady ballers.

I don't know why Nicole Vaidisova even bothers to show up to tourneys these days. If anyone needs an extended break to get herself together it's this Czech - and I'm not just talking about her outfit either.

Just pure hotness from Marat Safin.

Alize Cornet had a short stay in Moscow already - she was narrowly beaten 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 by Amelie Mauresmo today. Get thee to a hair stylist, stat.

Speaking of Amelie, here she is looking her relaxed best in jeans, black knee-length coat, and grey silk scarf. The Frenchie seems to know what works on her best - she never looks like she's trying to hard.

Vera Zvonareva's working a peasant blouse here. It was never my fave trend but this one isn't so bad.

Potito Starace + Flavia Pennetta looked cozy taking photos on the press line. Sorry Flavia, but he's not Carlos Moya. Nice try, though.

(images via Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Tomas, Dmitry, JJ, Caroline, Sorana

Tomas Berdych - Tokyo

The Czech baller made quick work of a streaking Juan Martin del Potro hitting 11 aces and converting three of eight break points during his 6-1, 6-4 victory. It was his first title since Halle 2007 and still has an outside chance of making his first trip to Shanghai. Great win for Tomas but something tells me this isn't a harbinger of better things to come for the mentally shaky 23-year old.

Dmitry Tursunov - Metz

The eccentric Russian earned his fifth career title and second this year (Sydney) when he defeated Frenchie Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-4. Remember what I just said about Tomas and his win in Tokyo? Ditto for Dmitry.

Jelena Jankovic - Stuttgart

The Serb made her return to the WTA Penthouse complete this weekend when she dismissed Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-3 for her third title of the year (Rome, Beijing). It was also the first time JJ won back-to-back titles in her career. I'd say she looks the best bet to end the year no. 1 with Serena Williams pulling out of Moscow with an ankle injury, though nothing is ever for sure with JJ.

Caroline Wozniacki - Tokyo

Caroline returned to her winning ways after falling in the opening round of her last two tourneys. The Dane knocked out Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 for her third title of the year and third of her career; it was the pair's first career encounter.

Sorana Cirstea - Tashkent

Sorana earned her maiden WTA title this weekend when she scraped out a
2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Sabine Lisicki. She was contesting her second final of the year after losing to Gisela Dulko in Budapest last spring.

(images via Getty + AP)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

INSTANT REPLAY: A look back at the week's top tennis plays

(Tomas Berdych, Tokyo)

Weekend Winners: A-Rod, Jo-Willy, JJ, Maria K
JJ's bundled up in Burberry
Carlos criticizes WTA ladies
TENNIS mag's wasting away
The Sisters Sledge (actually) make Stuttgart
Dinara, Srdjan, Fed give good quote
The other Andy gets his training on and on
Mardy gets married
Hitting some serious sake
Maria's new man
Anna K can make you money!
Ana can't bring sexy back
Things are smelling good for Rafa
ReRe gets Na-cked out of Stuttgart
Cicma's empty tennis talk
Kei can't keep it together in Tokyo
Tennis + poker are, like, so similar
Injury bug bites Jo-Willy...again
Tomas works his Nike well
Dementiva doing some kind of damage

+ NETCORDS: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

(image via Getty)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...