Google Down the Line!: 2008-10-26


Friday, October 31, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Happy Halloween!

In celebration of Halloween today, I won't be posting the usual +NETCORDS but instead this absolutely terrifying video to get you in the mood.

WARNING:
Those of you with a fear of clowns, clowns who dance, or clowns who dance while playing with balloons may not want to watch the following clip.

Boo ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Check it:


SIGHTING: Tati's career in shreads but she can still enjoy a good smoke


Thanks to an anonymous reader for tipping me off to these photos of Tatiana Golovin doing her best impression of a chimney.

Listen - I understand a baller's personal time is their time and they can do whatever the hell they want to do. But if you've been struggling with injuries on the tour after being touted as a possible future champion with serious talent, you'd think you'd want to focus in and get yourself better physically. You know, fulfill the whole "potential" thing and all.


Based on these images, I'd say the Frenchie baller is LEAGUES away from getting better. Sorry Tati fans!

Oh and note to Loic Courteau: if you haven't yet settled on who your latest charge will be, you may want to cross Tati off your list. Unless she drops the smokes, that is.


(images via tatiana-golovin.net)

SIGHTING: Shrieka back in Arizona, talks with Steve Nash at Phoenix Suns game


Maria Sharapova
was spotted getting in some time with the Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash before his team's home game against the New Orleans Hornets last night. The 21-year old baller, of course, has been traveling to Arizona here and there performing questionable rehab practices.

Wow - Shrieka and the 6' 3" Nash look to be almost the same height (and she's most likely wearing her fave ballerina flats.) If this tennis thing didn't work out for the towering Russian she'd definitely have a career in the WNBA, no problem.

She's, like, HUGE.

(image via The Big Lead)

(UPDATED) Rafa + Fed share injury woes, withdraw from Paris Masters


In one of the strangest turn of events in recent memory, both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer withdrew from the Paris Masters today with injury.

Rafa, who lost the first set 1-6 in his match against Nikolay Davydenko, called it quits after getting treatment on his injured right thigh and losing the set. He complained of a knee injury during his post-match presser:

I had some pain in the knee yesterday. I felt the pain a lot when I woke up this morning. When I push (on my right knee) I feel a sharp pain.

Fed
was scheduled to play James Blake later in the day but withdrew sighting back stiffness according to his website:
Dear Fans,

Due to a stiff back, I have decided to pull out of my match against James Blake tonight. My back has been stiff for the last couple of days and I woke up this morning and it did not respond to the treatment I had last night. As a precaution and because I would be unable to play at 100% tonight, I have unfortunately had to take the difficult decision not to play. I thank the tournament and French fans for their understanding and support.

All the best,

Roger
Tough break for the Paris Masters officials and fans. It's unusual to see either of these ballers withdraw from any tourney with injuries, nevermind at the same time (is this the first time ever? someone please confirm!). But after all the recent reader bickering comparing Rafa + Fed's physical fitness it's clear they're both fatigued and need a long-ass break.

Unfortunately for them, the season's not over...yet.

UPDATE - Rafa's appearance at the Masters Cup is not 100% certain after today's injury withdrawal according to the AP:
Nadal said he has never had a similar injury and that he needs further tests before he decides whether to play the season-ending Masters Cup, which begins Nov. 9 in Shanghai.

"We are going to have the tests and everything," Nadal said. "Hopefully it's going to be fine for Shanghai, but you never know."

(images via Getty)


Thursday, October 30, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: A-Rod's in...Kantarian's out...Murray's a man

(Rafael Nadal, Paris)


LINKS

A-Rod books trip to Shanghai [ATP]
More love for JJ [ESPN]
Kantarian calls it quits [SI]


BLOG TALK

Oh Canada! [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]
Not a boy, not yet a man? [Top Spin Tennis Blog]
Wishful thinking Maria K [WTA Tennis Blog]

(image via HC Foo via MTF)

Quote of the Day: Seal on Fed


Roger Federer has been teaching the kids too. That's one of the joys of being connected in the showbiz industry. It's nice knowing these people.

- Grammy Award winning singer Seal on getting Fed to teach his kids tennis

You betcha Seal! *wink*

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: Nole's game continues to falter during the fall - what's the deal?


The fall indoor season continues to be a thorn in the side of Novak Djokovic.

The Serb started the year by earning his maiden Grand Slam in Melbourne and winning Indian Wells and Rome but his results have suffered since. Today Nole was defeated 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 at the Paris Masters today by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, his second consecutive loss to the Frenchie baller after defeating him for the Aussie Open crown. A couple of weeks ago, Nole fell in straight sets to Ivo Karlovic in Madrid's third round and before that lost to Jo-Willy in the Bangkok final.

Last season, the 21-year old won Vienna but fell off in a big way taking a semifinal loss in Madrid, a second round loss in Paris, a went 0-3 in the Masters Cup round robin play. Could it be that he peaks during the first half of the season but lacks the physical fitness to end the season strongly? Or is it something about indoor play that bothers him?? I believe it's the former.

Rafael Nadal
used to face similar criticism (and, to some extent, still does) - his grinding style and emphasis on the clay-court season left nothing in the reserves for the fall. Nole is a grinder as well - he plays a good share of defensive tennis, prefers long rallies in long matches, and doesn't possess a "kill" shot to close out points quickly. He's certainly gotten better at playing shorter matches at the start of tourneys, but not consistently enough and it's caught up to him again. Over time, this style takes its toll and it seems to be doing the same to Nole as he even admitted recently.

This week he strangely arrived to his opening match wearing a black mask. It seems Nole may have been hoping he could be anyone else right about now.

(image via Getty)

Sanjaya wannabe wins WTA's "Challenge Your Hero" contest, will bring drag show to Doha


Drag queens rejoice!

The winner of the WTA's Challenge Your Hero contest has been announced and his/her name is Yodhi Soemardjan from Singapore.

Yodhi's
video, entitled "The Routine Hero" shows the Sanjaya wannabe going through daily routines all the while battling Ana Ivanovic with anything he/she can get his/her hands on: a plate, a broom stick, butcher knife, a table tennis paddle all while donning a creepy looking sailor-esque suit. 


Yodhi gets to bring this drag schtick on the road with a trip to next week's WTA Championships in Doha.

PS - love the reverse, open-stance forehand towards the end. Nice touch like the wig...or is it???

Check it:


ESPN's Tandon provides "WTA's Roadmap 2010 Guide for Dummies", a tool for confused tennis fans everywhere


Kamakshi Tandon is on it. The ESPN scribe, who is following the controversy surrounding WTA Tour's Roadmap 2010, has made a valiant attempt to break down the supremely confusing Roadmap into 10 major highlights - a "WTA's Roapmap 2010 Guide for Dummies" which is something I can understand, at least I think so.

Most of the Top 10 is pretty understandable: No. 4 - a longer off-season! No. 5 - more prize money!! No. 9 - Bye bye to first round byes!!!

But here's where the confusion and controversy lie:

1. Premier tournaments

The WTA tournaments below the Grand Slams are currently divided into four groups: Tier I, Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV. Officially, there will be just two next year -- premier and international events.

Unofficially, however, the premier events will consist of four distinct types: mandatory (all eligible players must play), premier five (seven of the top 10), premier (two to three of the top six marquee players), and open (no minimum or maximum commitment because the events are a week before a Grand Slam or the year-end championships -- expect a feast-or-famine situation).

Mandatory events: Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing
Premier five: Dubai, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati and Tokyo
Premier: Paris indoors, Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford, Los Angeles and Tokyo
Premier open: Sydney, Berlin, Eastbourne, New Haven and Moscow

2. International tournaments

These will be a minor league of sorts for the tour, as only one of the top 20 will be allowed to participate in each event. Top players will be able to play only one international tournament during each half of the season. This would allow a player like Radwanska to play her home event in Warsaw but would limit her to premier events for the rest of the summer and fall.

There also will be a year-end event in Bali for the top eight performers in international events -- a poor woman's Sony Ericsson championships, as it were.

Essentially, the WTA Tour is being split into two tribes: the big ballers vs. the baby ballers and rarely the twain shall meet.

So a top-20 lady baller is only allowed to play one "international" minor league tourney huh? I guess the days of entering these lower-tier tourneys to grab confidence-building wins and quick cash for gracing the masses with their appearance are over.

(image via Getty)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Cilic on the go...A-Rod the overachiever...Wertheim's mailbag

(Gilles Simon, Paris)


LINKS

VIDEO: Marin takes Paris [ATP]
Has A-Rod overachieved? [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]


BLOG TALK

Yanina joins IMG [Nick's Picks]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Rafa on his physical fitness


I am a little bit at the limit, I am a bit short of strength.

- Rafael Nadal on his waning reserves

No kidding. And you still have to finish out Paris, the Masters Cup in Shanghai, and the Davis Cup final in Argentina.

Brutal.

(image via Getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Rafa, Nole, + James take the Paris practice court together

Here's a cool video of behind-the-scenes action at this week's Paris Masters called "Backstage". Rafael Nadal is shown doing some strengthening exercises with bands on the sidelines before hitting the practice court with James Blake. Novak Djokovic also makes an appearance, cracking jokes with the American then getting his practice in on the ad-court next to Rafa + James.

Check it:



The Paris Masters site hosts the extended version featuring a stringer discussing Janko Tipsarevic's and Filippo Volandri's racquets and tension, Marcos Baghdatis working with coach Peter Lundgren, and interviews with Mikhail Youzhny, Olivier Rochus, and David Ferrer.

PHOTO OP: The Green Hornet arrives in Paris, scares off Dmitry

Novak Djokovic arrived for his match against Dmitry Tursunov donning a mysterious black mask. Nole was leading 6-2, 4-3 when his Russian foe unexpectedly retired from the match.

Move over Seth Rogen: Nole as The Green Hornet? I like.


(images via AP, Getty)

WTA gets cranky, "expressly prohibits" top lady ballers from hurting Tour's rep


The controversy surrounding the WTA's Roadmap continues. However, the Tour and the top lady ballers will be sitting down during the WTA Championships in Doha to work towards common ground on next season's schedule.

But according to Kamakshi Tandon over at ESPN the ladies better voice their concerns now or risk a penalty for doing it later:

There will be more meetings between tour officials and players at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar, next week to hammer out the final details. Perhaps the players should take the opportunity to make their objections known, because another new rule will take effect next year -- one that "expressly prohibits" them from making "public comments that a player knows or should reasonably know will harm the reputation or financial best interests of a tournament player, sponsor, official or the WTA."
The ATP already has a similar rule with a $100K fine which is rarely enforced.

Whatever - I don't think this rule will stop Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams, or Maria Sharapova from voicing any objections about the WTA Tour and it shouldn't; it's important to keep the process open to discussion and change.

But, I do hope it makes the lady ballers think twice before going public without correct information, a firm point of view, and a strongly written statement.

(image via Getty)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Left-handed advantage...David's bridge to nowhere...Davenport makes Doha

(Mario Ancic, Paris)


LINKS

Left to wonder [ESPN]
Dissecting David [Fox Sports]
Aleksandra blogs [WTA]


BLOG TALK

Lindsay trades balls for the booth [On the Baseline]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Rafa on Andy


He has just proved in these last few months that he can win the big tournaments, whoever is in his way. He is a massive talent, with a complete game and both an aggressive shot and a containing shot. He makes it all look so easy.

- Rafael Nadal on Andy Murray's progress this season

Agreed - his game has a sneaky quality to it. Andy lulls his opponents and then strikes with devastating effect. He no doubt has a few Grand Slams in his bright future.

(image via Getty)

SIGHTING: Rafisca arrive in Paris, stylishness in tow


Following Andy Roddick + Nikolay Davydenko's lead, an argyle-happy Rafael Nadal was spotted with girlfriend Xisca Perello arriving in The City of Lights for the Paris Masters this week.

I have to say Rafisca make a very fine looking couple. They're easily the most stylish couple in tennis right now - I'm loving all the browns, greys, and blacks in their outfits and the dueling scarves. Yummy.

Plus, they both have a relaxed elegance about themselves. Could it be they're actually comfortable in their own skins? Say it isn't so!



Later that evening, Rafisca changed outfits and headed out for an intimate dinner...



Thanks to DtL reader Maja for the tip!

(images by ELIOT PRESS via BauerGriffinOnline.Celebuzz.com)

Fed to play Davis Cup opening round next March - US fans happy, US team sad


Roger Federer confirmed he will be taking part in the next season's Davis Cup opening round here in the US on his website today:

Dear Fans,

After making it back to the world group for 2009, I have decided to play the first round tie of Davis Cup in the USA in March. I am excited to once again join my fellow Swiss teammates, who I have a great friendship with, and I look forward to what I am sure will be a tough weekend.

All the best,

Roger
Yay! This is great news for US fans but probably not the best news for the US team, however. Fed could single-handedly (and I mean that literally) defeat the team even on their home turf.

Oh well - that won't stop me from being there!

(image via Getty)

(UPDATED) JJ website hacked by politically-motivated thugs, "This is our Revenge," says group


Jelena Jankovic has become a political pawn - or the butt of a politically driven practical joke.

Serbia's top-ranked lady baller's website was hacked by a group calling themselves Albania & Kosovo Hackers Group last night.


Of course, the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo have been well-documented, and Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic even made a trip home and a YouTube video earlier this year supporting his homeland and speaking out against the independence movement in the province.


Really, who said sports + politics don't mix?

UPDATE: It seems there's also something funky going on over at Ana Ivanovic's site too. Conspiracy or coincidence?

(image via jj-jelenajankovic.com)

Monday, October 27, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Marat may retire...Elena in waiting...Getting to know Petra

(Elena Dementieva, Luxembourg)


LINKS

Safin on the slide, may quit [BBC]
Is Dementieva due? [ESPN]
More "out" balls are in than "in" balls are out [NBC Sports]
Petra Kvitova who? [WTA]
Ad-In, Ad-Out [SI]


BLOG TALK

JJ meets and greets [WTA Tennis Blog]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Agent Godsick on Fed


For him, it can’t all be serious. Off the court he is just a kid.

- Roger Federer's agent, Tony Godsick, on the Swiss' focus for 2009

What a strange way to think about Fed. Somehow I can't picture him pulling practical jokes, going to keggers, or playing Guitar Hero II with his buddies (though feeding the Basel ball kids pizza is an interesting start.)

But if he does any of the above and anyone has pictures, send 'em along. Proof is always in the puddin' people.

(image via Getty)

Federico Luzzi dies of leukemia at Arezzo hospital, Rafa pays tribute


This weekend was striking for its series of sad news and the tennis world wasn't spared.

Italy's Federico Luzzi passed away on Saturday in a hospital in Arezzo from leukemia. He was 28. The baller retired from an Italian league match last weekend complaining of a fever.

Earlier this year, Federico was suspended for 200 days and fined $50,000 for betting on matches.

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Federico:

I’d like to take a minute to send my condolences and a big hug to the family of Federico Luzzi. He will be buried today after passing away 2 days ago.

To me, it was quite difficult to believe the news, I knew it wasn’t a joke but at the same time I didn’t want to believe it was true.
I got to train with Federico a few times and I remember him as a great person, fun to be with and very Italian.

All of us who are here in Paris have been talking about it and all of us are in shock and very upset.


One of us is gone, someone who was part of our tennis family.


Federico, wherever you are, I hope you're resting in peace.


Rafa
(image via Getty)

Serena won't be writing so much anymore - how will we be entertained now?


Serena Williams' surfing vacation with boyfriend Common has ended and the US Open champ is back on dry land according to her blog.

Apparently, ReRe's fans clued her into why her posterior is so picturesque but that wasn't the only news:

Thanks for all the answers when I asked why do people always talk about my a$$.... Lol I understand now!
I am revamping the website so we may be down for a few days! We r adding lots of video behind the scene things as well as video blogs as I was never too good at sending written blogs!
Say what? No more badly written blogs that could've been written by a third grader?? I might actually miss them - I know, crazy. But if these vlogs are as good as her Rome love letter, my need for entertainment will be fulfilled.

(image via Getty)

JJ keeps keys to WTA Penthouse, will end year as top-ranked lady baller


Big props go out to Jelena Jankovic who will own the keys to the WTA Penthouse this year, the WTA announced. The slidin' Serb won three matches in a row this fall before her second round defeat in Zurich which helped her hold off Dinara Safina and Serena Williams for the top spot.

JJ has won four titles this year (Rome, Beijing, Stuttgart, Moscow), more matches than any other player on Tour this year - 63 wins against 17 losses so far - and has reached the quarterfinals or better at 19 of her first 21 events, her only early round losses coming at Wimbledon (fourth round) and Zurich (second round).


Well, that takes away some of the drama from what the year-end championships should be about. And if she thought there was pressure on her before to win a major, she ain't seen nothing yet.

Clearly JJ has begun believing she belongs at the top, but now this belief needs to translate into confidence during the tight moments at a Grand Slam. It remains to be seen whether the US Open finalist can pull it out.

But in any case, congrats JJ!!!

(image via Andre Springe, Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Fed, Andy, Robin, Ana, Elena


Roger Federer - Basel

The tourney's homeboy made it three titles in a row Sunday when he dismissed nemesis David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-4 in 70 minutes increasing the pair's head-to-head 10-8 in favor of Fed. Although Basel is a smaller tourney, this win over a baller who has given the Swiss maestro fits in the past in front of his home crowd should give him added confidence. The 27-year old will now travel to the Paris Masters where he will be playing his third consecutive tourney after taking a self-imposed break from the ATP Tour to rest - I suppose he got the recovery he needed, eh?

Andy Murray - St. Petersburg

The Brit baller earned his second consecutive title and fifth overall this year (second to Rafael Nadal's eight) when crushed qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-1 in just 56 minutes. Andy is now on a 12-match winning streak after capturing his second consecutive Masters title in Madrid last week and is playing the best ball out out of anyone right now.

Robin Soderling - Lyon

The Swede earned his first ATP title in three years with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1 win over Frenchie Julien Benneteau. The 24-year old had gone 0-3 in finals this year (Rotterdam, Memphis, Stockholm) but will now crack the Top 20 for the first time in his career with this win.


Ana Ivanovic - Linz

After a mid-season slump filled with injury and self-doubt the Serb grabbed her first championship since Roland Garros, utterly dominating an in-form Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1. This win should set Ana up nicely for a big run in Doha - can she steal the moment away from compatriot and top lady baller Jelena Jankovic at the coming WTA Championships?

Elena Dementieva - Luxembourg

The every-ready Russian (does she ever take a break?) took home her third title of the year when she edged out Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).

(images via AP)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

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

(Ana Ivanovic, Linz)

Weekend Winners: Andy, Venus
Award-winning Rafa earns year-end No. 1 honors
Who's got a pit problem now?
Andy strips then dips
Fernando joins shirtless brigade
Ana + Aggie join Roadmap row
Regarding Rafa
The Ana annoyance
Rafa trades racquets for clubs
Uncle Toni gives good quote
Nadia make pretty
Who knew Amelie could be funny?
Shrieka dons fur, Dolce runs for cover
Rafa's revolving door of fashion

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

(image via AP)

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