Google Down the Line!: 2008-10-19

Friday, October 24, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Meet Monica...Getting inside Nicole's noggin...Ana is China's No. 1

(Juan Martin del Potro, Basel)


Sveta searches [ESPN]
Monica Niculescu who? [WTA]
Vaidisova is vexing [TENNIS]


Again: where does Rafa find the time?! [double bagel]
Those were the days Ana [Women's Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

(UPDATED) FASHION FIX: Rafa becomes tennis' latest fickle fashionista, birthday suit and all

After yesterday's press conference for the 2008 Prince of Asturias Awards a dapper Rafael Nadal made his way to the official ceremony, with mom Ana María Parera in tow, at the Hotel Reconquista today.

The sexy Spaniard has become the master of wardrobe changes lately and seemingly handles it all with ease: Rafa in his trademark sleeveless Nike, Rafa in green Nike golf wear, Rafa as Roger Federer, Rafa in his birthday suit!

And, thanks to DtL readers Barcelona2012 + Sonja we have motorcross Rafa from yesterday's press conference:

Phew. I'm completely out of breath just blogging about it - how does he do it?

PS - The hair hasn't been so bad lately either. Some guys have all the luck - double drats!

UPDATE: Here's video of a clearly humbled Rafa accepting the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports today in a totally different outfit. So I guess the suit in the very top image was his "arrival" outfit?

Boy, he's even got Shrieka beat now - geesh.

(images via Getty,, ATP Tennis Blog)

PHOTO OP: Shrieka gets furry for Russian Vogue - is Dolce in danger?

Maria Sharapova's attempt at becoming a high-fashion supermodel continues in this month's Russian Vogue.

The 3-time Grand Slammer was shot working a couple of fur coats and a strange triple-tiered fur skirt thing. Ick.

Oh boy Shrieka. Granted its Russian Vogue and maybe the world won't catch on, but if the fur is real you better watch your back for raining red paint.

And word to her furry doggie Dolce: you may want to watch yours too...

(image via

Amelie actually has personality and a sense of humor, unleashes them on the world

As you may have noticed or not, I don't cover Amelie Mauresmo very much on DtL. Now, it's nothing personal against the Frenchie baller or her game (even though her world-renowned penchant for mental meltdowns drives me batty) but, frankly, she usually doesn't do or say anything that's remotely interesting...until now!

The 2-time Grand Slammer is blogging from Luxembourg for the WTA and in her latest post had some fun musings for her fans after defeating German Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals:

I did win my match today, but I'm sorry to say my day started pretty badly. I called my two dogs this morning and they wouldn't talk to me! I was a little bit upset. Here I am, desperate to talk to them, and they wouldn't even pick up the phone. It was really difficult for me. On a happy note, I later found out they're running out of credit on their mobiles, so I'm hoping that was the reason they didn't pick up! I'll have to get them some more when I'm back. I've attached a picture of what they were doing when I was calling them.

After the match, the tournament gave me a bottle of wine - this blog is working well for me now, because I was saying how much I liked Bordeaux wine and now they got me some! Maybe I should start saying how much I like Ferraris...

Phone-talking dogs? Ferraris?? C-r-a-z-y Amelie! Color me shocked that I'm rolling on the floor laughing my arse off right now - you're killing me!

What was I thinking not covering you? My mind has SO been changed.

(image via Getty,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Get to know Anastasia...Pick your favorite fashion fiend...Cutting the USTA fat

(Mikhail Youzhny, St. Petersburg)


Ravi's power play [ESPN]
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who? [WTA]
Whose fashion are you feeling? [Tennis Channel]


Patrick cleaning USTA house [Doug's Sports Dish]

(image via AP)

VIDEO VAULT: Rafa arrives for Prince of Asturias Award ceremony, works (familiar) super cute striped moment

Here's video of Rafael Nadal arriving in Oviedo, Spain for the Prince of Asturias awards.

The top-ranked baller will be receiving the prestigious 2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports which "will be bestowed upon the individual, group or institution whose lives are not only examples to others, but who have also reached new heights in mankind's struggle for excellence, and who have contributed by their efforts to perfecting, nurturing, promoting and disseminating sport."

was excited to be receiving the honor saying

It’s an incredible honour for me to receive the ‘Principe de Asturias Sport Award’. I’m extremely grateful to the jury and everyone else who chose me as it’s an achievement greater than usual, it makes me feel proud.

Not only does this represent great sport values but also, and most importantly, good human values. This award is one of the best things that could happen to me outside of the tennis court because it says to me I’m doing this right when it comes to human values.

I always try to do the right thing inside and outside of the tennis courts no matter what. This award represents something different to a sports award and the fact that it’s been given to me means it’s not only thanks to my hard work but also because of those around me, specially my family.

To be given an award like this in what has been a very special year for Spain’s sport makes it even that much more special.

All nominees are of an extremely high level and the simple fact that I was considered amongst this group of people is satisfactory enough, even if I had not won the award.
Congrats to Rafa for the big honor and for the super cute outfit, particularly the striped grey sweater, even though it kinda reminds me of a certain someone else:

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Has Nadia finally lost her marbles? You be the judge.

Like Ana Ivanovic, Nadia Petrova was spotted in another traditional Austrian dress at the Linz baller party recently.

I'm sorry but Nads looks straight up looney here and must be thinking (with a Russian accent of course), "Don't you like my pretty dress? And my pretty hair?? I'm so pretty, right mommy???"

So scary. What could the Russian but thinking here? Do tell!

(image via

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Dokic is determined...Jon's mailbag...Did Dominika dump Gael?

(James Blake, Basel)


Rafa vs. JJ [ESPN]
Dokic digging deep [Eurosport]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Michael marries Amber []


Dominika moves on to Melzer [Women's Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Uncle Toni on Rafa

I try always to explain to him, things that happen in life, everything has a positive and a negative. When you shoot a gun, it give you a kick in the shoulder, right? Same thing. There’s more pressure when you’re at the top, so that’s the kick back from being no. 1. A lot of people have it worse than him, they have to work much harder than him, for less, and they do it.

- Uncle Toni on the pressures of being in Rafa's position

Who's the zen master now Babs?

(image via

PHOTO OP: Rafa in green hits the green for pro-am Castello Masters Costa Azahar

Like any 22-year old who just grabbed the year-end no. 1 ranking (you know those guys) Rafael Nadal, working a pale green Nike polo and matching golf shoes, took time out of his incredibly intense schedule to compete in the pro-am of the Castello Masters Costa Azahar at the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo in Castello, Spain.

He was joined by Spanish golfer (and Martina Hingis ex) Sergio Garcia, who's competing in the pro tourney, and the country's top bull fighter Enrique Ponce.

The sexy Spaniard was asked to compare tennis + golf during this year's Indian Wells tourney:

Difficult to compare, no? But I always say the same. Mentally I think both are very tough, because in golf you can't have any mistake. But in golf you play very good shot you are going go birdie, no?
In tennis you do very good shot and you can lose the point. So I think on golf you play against yourself. In tennis you play little bit against yourself, but especially against opponent, so that's difficult to compare for that reason. I prefer play golf, no, because all the time depends on you, no?

And what are Rafa's strengths in golf?

Depends at the moment. Sometimes the drive. Sometimes the irons.
Something tells me if he puts his mind to it, he might do alright in this sport too...

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Anyone else getting annoyed by Ana?

Ana Ivanovic was spotted at the Linz baller party wearing a traditional Austrian dress (Sonja - if you're out there reading this post please confirm!)

I know I'll probably get shit for this one but, honestly, there's something about Ana that's really starting to annoy me. You could probably tell the Serb to do anything and she'll do it - Ana's like some smiley raven-haired robot.

Throw some traditional garb at her and trot her around like a prized puppy, throw on another gown and stick her in a pool, throw on some horrible adidas duds and have her pose like a z-level Shrieka, throw on some trashy bikinis and pose like a porn star for some lagging lad mag, and on and on and on.

Maybe if someone told her to act like a top lady baller and win a tourney she might actually do it. Ugh.

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Top ballers reminisce about Rafa

Here's an interesting, albeit short, video featuring Roger Federer, Ivan Ljubicic, Carlos Moya, Andy Murray and James Blake all speaking about year-end world no. 1 Rafael Nadal.

It's interesting to hear Roger + Ivan discuss the first time they started hearing about the Spanish steamroller and their first battles with Rafa. They always knew he had a special quality and they couldn't have been more right.

Check it:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Rafa is influential...Murray better than Nole...Filip vs. Pete

(Bobby Reynolds, Basel)


influence [ATP]
Murray moving in on Nole? [tennis week]


Filip visits Pete [Nick's Picks]
Uncle Toni's influence [Peter Bodo's Tennisworld]

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Ana + Aggie speak out on Roadmap 2010, big concerns over mandatory tourneys still linger

Ana Ivanovic + Agnieszka Radwanska have followed Dinara Safina's lead and come out publicly against the scheduling changes in the WTA Tour's Roadmap 2010.

Both lady ballers, who are competing this week in Linz, sounded off against the increase in mandatory events for top ballers. Here are the highlights from the Roadmap:

* 40% increase in prize money from $63.6 million in 2006 to $84.4 million
* 26 Tier I + II tourneys will be combined into 20 Premiere tourneys with a minimum baller commitment of 10 that they will play
* Four $4.5 million tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing will be mandatory for all players who qualify
* Five $2 million stops in Canada, Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati and Tokyo of which the top-ranked players must play at least four. The WTA must have at least seven of the world's top 10 ballers at each of these events.
* Ballers will complete their schedules by playing in at least one or two $700,000 events
* Zero tolerance for withdrawals from tournaments ballers have committed to playing. If a baller does pull out, even because of injury, she will forfeit bonus money ($5 million available to the top 10 ranked players) and receive zero ranking points for that event

Based on these new rules, each top lady baller must play a minimum of 24 events, which includes the four majors. Ouch.

The French Open champ admitted the lady ballers "probably didn't look deep into it and kind of let it go" because the Roadmap was announced during the height of Grand Slam season and they would "have to talk more between us":

I do believe it's going to be a lot of tournaments we have to commit to and it's maybe going to be a little bit harder in that sense. We don't have much opportunity to choose, and at the end of the day it might be that we play more matches than we did in previous years.

I think it's good that tournaments will have guaranteed players and week after week have top players competing against each other. I think that's good for women's tennis. But on us individually it's tough to say what impact it's going to have.

Aggie was more aggressive in her stance against the changes telling the press,

After the new rules with the WTA I don't want to be top 10 because the rules are so bad and everything is for the WTA. I cannot play the small tournaments and it's quite bad. I hate these rules. I can play just two small tournaments a year.
We're all saying this, but the WTA is doing everything for themselves, for the sponsors, but they don't realise we have to choose where we want to play and not want to play.
Uh-oh. Now that the lady ballers have actually had time to mull over the new schedule they're none too pleased. As I mentioned previously, a meeting of the top ladies is desperately in order here and there's no time like Doha to make that happen.

I agree with Ana that the timing of the Roadmap announcement wasn't ideal and it didn't give the ballers time to digest the changes and make recommendations. Moreover, the decision by the WTA to launch the "2010" Roadmap in 2009 is idiotic and robs these ballers of more time to voice their concerns. But my gut tells me that's what the Tour wanted - to fast forward the launch to force feed the changes before the ladies could do anything about it. Not the best way to build bridges.

I can see why they feel the need to just speak out whenever they can and to whomever is listening because, clearly, the WTA is not.

(images via AP, Getty)

PHOTO OP: Shirtless Fernando gives lucky racquet a ride

Keeping with the obvious theme this morning of shirtless ballers, DtL reader Rafafan tipped me off to these sexy shots of Spain's Fernando Verdasco, now the newest member of the shirtless brigade.

I'm not sure what this photoshoot was for - but seriously, who the hell cares? I think we all knew he had a bodacious body but it's always good to have proof. How about we change the rules for Davis Cup to have the teams compete as shirts vs. skins? I think people might actually tune in again.

Now we also know why Ana Ivanovic wants to hop on this Spanish train. Well Ana, get to hoppin'!

(image via

PHOTO OP: The Madrid master takes dip in ice bath and reveals hidden hotness - who knew?

You'd think after a baller wins a big title like the Madrid Masters that they'd get to celebrate with some late night drinking and late morning sleeping. Nope.

Andy Murray, who defeated Gilles Simon for his second consecutive Masters Series shield this past weekend and is certainly coming into his own, was rewarded with a trip back to Roehampton and a 10 minute dip in a 7 degree ice bath to help remove lactic acid build up in his leg muscles.

The Brit baller begins with a 7 mile slow pedal on a stationary bike. Afterwards, Andy throws on some neoprene socks (which help to make the ice bath more bearable) and takes the plunge.

According to the site,

Once they get out after ten minutes, their legs are bright red, and ice cold to the touch.

The science of it all is that the cold forces the blood vessels to constrict, draining away the blood. Likewise, when they get out, their legs fill up with 'fresh' blood, helping to invigorate the muscles.

Sounds pretty intense Andy but well worth it is since you're turning right around and heading to St. Petersburg.

But question: where have you been hiding that body all this time? I guess it's all those core, stability, and treadmill practices you've been performing lately. No complaints here.

You're officially welcomed into the shirtless brigade Andy!

(images via

Monday, October 20, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Everbody loves Gilles...Flink vs. Tignor II...Amelie tries that blogging thing

(Augustin Calleri, Basel)


Gilles giving it a go [ESPN]
Shrieka drives a gas guzzler [Forbes Autos]
Shanghai-bound Kolya [Masters Cup]
Ad-In, Ad-Out [SI]
Flink feeling Murray... [Tennis Channel]
...and so is Tignor [TENNIS]
Amelie blogs [WTA]


Dominutive Dominika [Women's Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Rafa + Venus share Bart's unfortunate pit problem

It seems Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams have more in common than being this year's Wimbledon champs. Following in the infamous steps of Marion Bartoli, both ballers were spotted with their own personal pit problems.

Now granted, Rafa's been gracing us with his bush ever since he started working the sleeveless Nike shirts - but let this be a strong argument to put that trend out of its misery (and ours) and for a tour wide "man-scape".

And for all of V's usual glamour, I'm surprised she'd get-up-and-go without noticing her hairy situation.

Why don't they just make it part of their morning rituals: Racquets? Check! Tennis fashions? Check! Blackberry? Check! Sharpees for autograph seeking hounds? Check! Closely clipped and clean pits? Check check!

See, that's not so difficult.

PS- Thanks to DtL reader Allison for the image link to V!

(image via imageshack, Getty)

Rafa makes more history, will end year as top-ranked baller

Rafael Nadal became the first Spaniard in history to grab the year-end ranking when Roger Federer was defeated by Andy Murray in the Madrid semifinals. The Spanish steamroller stole the mantle from Fed who held the distinction for the last four years.

Rafa told the press about his latest achievement,

To become No. 1 during the year was one of my goals and it is important to have achieved it. Moreover, if you finish the year as No. 1 it is even more special. I am also very happy to bring something more to Spanish sport, something for Spanish history and for our great tennis tradition.
Huge props to you Rafa for making history and achieving so many of your career goals this year. It's impressive stuff - like those sick arms. Ay yay yay...

(image via Getty)


Andy Murray - Madrid

What a week for the Brit baller. The 21-year old grabbed his second consecutive Masters Series shield, fourth title this season (the first Brit to accomplish the feat), and seventh overall ATP title when he defeated Roger Federer (increasing his head-to-head over the Swiss to 3-2) in the semifinals and Frenchie Gilles Simon in the final 6-4, 7-6 (6). The US Open finalist looks to be playing the best ball around at the moment and is certainly setting himself up nicely to take his first Masters Cup title.

Venus Williams - Zurich

Finally! The Wimbledon champ actually won another tournament other than her fave grass-court major when she defeated Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (1), 6-2, stopping a surprising 3-match losing streak to the Italian. V also defeated Ana Ivanovic in a tight 3-setter in the semifinals and may have secured her spot in Doha with this win. Stay tuned...

(images via AFP + Getty)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

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

(Venus Williams, Zurich)

Weekend Winners: David, Igor, Philipp, JJ
Dinara speaks out against Roadmap, WTA clears air
Jo-Willy visits Hugo Boss
Marat and latest love caught kissing
Nicole and mystery ring follow Radek to Madrid
Martina + Nole give good quote
Separated at birth: A-Rod vs. Kolya
Madrid model ballgirl confesses
Tennis Australia responds
ReRe's blogs about surfing rehab
Fed feeling elegant, becomes top prize money earner
Nole and Co. to buy Amersfoort
The Sisters Sledge get glamorous
Carlos dogs Flavia

: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

(image via Getty)

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