Google Down the Line!: 2008-11-02

Friday, November 7, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Fed setting the stage...Doug takes on Doha...Bodo dissects Venus vs. Serena

(Vera Zvonareva, Doha)


Fed's final push [ESPN]
Qatar keeps a-changing [Tennishead]


Doha run down [Doug's Sports Dish]
V's tortoise to ReRe's hare - who wins? [Peter Bodo's Tennisworld]

(image via MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

THE LOW DOWN: Serena + Ana continue worrying trend, withdraw from WTA Championships with injury and illness

Serena Williams + Ana Ivanovic have both withdrawn from the WTA Championships today complaining of injury and illness, ending their Grand Slam-winning seasons on a sour note.

A day after being left in tears after her 7-5, 1-6, 0-6 loss to older sister Venus, the self-described "junior" baller champ cited a stomach muscle pull for withdrawing from her round robin, sudden death match against Elena Dementieva (who qualified for the semifinals with the walkover) saying,

I did feel pain last night. I was still in pain just getting out of bed.
Birthday girl Ana had been dealing with a pesky virus all week and ended her misery by defaulting from her dead rubber match against Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Serb said,
It's obviously very hard for me. Yesterday I didn't feel good and today, even worse.
She'll be replace by alternate Agnieszka Radwanska.

Oh boy. The WTA Championships was already struggling for attention after its monetarily-motivated move to Doha. And, Jelena Jankovic's confirmation as the year-end No.1 a few weeks ago all but killed any anticipation and buzz for the tourney. But this is certainly NOT the kind of attention they were hoping for.

These withdrawals have become common place on the tour but to have two of their top lady ballers quit during the big year-end Championships has to hurt, especially for the tourney directors who've shoveled out obviously large amounts of cash for this event. Now, I'm not saying their issues aren't serious, but the trend of injury and illness withdrawals and trainer calls mid-match for seemingly non-serious issues is a continuing problem.

Will the new Roadmap 2010's scheduling changes, including a shorter season and longer breaks between tourneys, help curb these injury issues and therefore these troublesome withdrawals? It remains to be seen.

(images via Getty)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: ATP schedule breakdown...Wertheim mailbag...Billie Jean still fighting

(Dinara Safina, Doha)


Tandon takes on ATP calendar [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Billie Jean's gender equality fight continues [Tennishead]


Van vexed by Vera [Tennis Talk, Anyone?]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Ana celebrates 21st birthday with high-voltage cake, avoids third degree burns

Ana Ivanovic hasn't come close to sniffing a win at this year's WTA Championships but it isn't all bad for the Roland Garros champ this week.

She celebrated her 21st birthday today and was presented with a cake shaped like a tennis racquet (shocking!) made by Le Notre Paris at the VIP Village of the Khalifa International Tennis Complex. The Serb was joined by Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott, Tournament Director Karim Alami and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Staff.

I wonder what Fernando is giving her? Hopefully something big, shiny, and a diamond ring, silly!


(images via Great Tennis Photos)

Quote of the Day: Borg on Murray

I feel sure he will win one of the majors next year, and eventually become the No1.

- Bjorn Borg on Andy Murray

Pretty big endorsement, eh? But just remember, this is the guy that picked Roger Federer to win Roland Garros on the eve of this year's final then said it "wouldn't surprise" him if the Swiss retired next year after making the 5-time defending champ his third pick at Wimbledon.

A tennis legend does not a fortune teller make. Believe at your own risk.

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: JJ enjoys soothing massage during defeat of Sveta in Doha

Jelena Jankovic was spotted getting treatment on her back during her match against Svetlana Kuznetsova at the WTA Championships in Doha. The top lady baller defeated her Russian foe 7-6 (6), 6-4 to go 2-0 in round robin play and reach the semifinals.

JJ sure looks like she's in excruciating pain here - I can see why she called the trainer. It must be tough.

I'd love to tally the number of injury time outs JJ has taken this year. Any guesses? Do tell!

(image via Getty)

Venus + Serena get political, speak out on Obama's inspiring victory

Although most athletes tend to avoid political discussion, Barack Obama's incredibly inspiring presidential campaign victory on Tuesday didn't go unnoticed in the tennis world.

The Sisters Sledge, Venus + Serena, were moved by the Chicago senator's win even though they don't vote because of religious reasons.

As someone who famously spoke out on equal pay for lady ballers, V discussed what President-elect Obama's victory would mean for minorities in the US saying,

America is a wonderful place. I love my country, I love living there and I love my passport.

But also it's a country that since its beginning - especially as it is supposed to be a place where people were escaping intolerance - it became a country which was intolerant of different minorities and skin colours.

It's interesting because just my parents - my dad grew up in Louisiana in a place where he was called `boy' and shown no respect, where he couldn't say anything, and his mother was a poor shear cropper. So I am very close to things like in the past.

So I think it's amazing that America has an opportunity to have someone who is from a minority or mixed race, or whatever you want to call him.

And, hopefully, it will just get more people opportunities and more people to work harder and say 'yes I can do my best whatever my background is'.
ReRe remembered the pioneers who helped pave the way for the sisters,
When I think of everything Afro-Americans have been through, 40 and 30 years ago, and even today you read of ridiculous things which have happened in America.

People see the importance of change and supporting someone who believes in change. Just to see Obama with his wife and kids, and how they are going to be the first Afro-American family (in the White House). It takes words away. I choked up.

I think of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X an Althea Gibson - she's why I am playing tennis today - all those people. And Arthur Ashe, who also led the way."

It's a great time to be black now in the USA. I did feel my shoulders were (back) and my chest stuck out a little more. In the back of my mind was, although this is a huge tournament, that there are so many big things going in in my home country and I would love to be there. But work beckons.

FASHION FIX: Serena defeats Dinara, works classic Nike stylings

Serena Williams finally made her debut at the WTA Championships in Doha. The 9-time Grand Slammer wasted Russian Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-1 in her opening Maroon group match and will face sister Venus next.

ReRe also debuted a new Nike style during her match - she's working the Court Tank and the Court Skirt both in aqua grey from their Holiday collection. It's a classic look paired with the layered mesh ruffles on the skirt and black accents on the straps and the ruffling to give it texture.

I'm not blown away here, but ReRe always look best when she let's her tennis do the talking and not her fashion.

Good choice.

(images via Getty)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Mac vs. Murray...Flink is feeling Jo-Willy...adidas goes for the gold

(Venus Williams, Doha)


ATP CEO faces tough challenges [ESPN]
Mac on Murray [Eurosport]
Torturous times for Andy [Sporting Life]
Flink thinks Jo-Willy's got it [Tennis Channel]


adidas' golden touch [Daily Racquet]
La Monf joins Prince [What's All the Racquet]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: JJ receives year-end trophy, finds new uses for denim in Doha

Jelena Jankovic and her bangs were spotted receiving the year-end No.1 trophy today in Doha.

I'm almost speechless so I can still say the striped halter dress is bad but the denim vest is absolutely cringe-worthy. 

Hey JJElena Dementieva called and she wants the missing piece from her Yonex mess back.


(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Peek-a-boo Fernando, we all see you

A smoldering Fernando Verdasco was spotted in Ana Ivanovic's baller box watching the Serb go down, though stylishly, during her opening round-robin match in Doha today.

Clearly Anando is still going strong - I'm curious to see how much time they spend together over the off-season. 

Do you think Ana will be taking a trip to Spain? Wanna bet?? Wouldn't you??? Fine - I'm jealous. There, it's out.

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Ana defeated in Doha, works winning adidas dress though

Ana Ivanovic's campaign towards her first WTA Championship crown hit a snag today. The Serb went down hard in her opening round-robin White Group match to compatriot Jelena Jankovic today 6-3, 6-4, her first defeat to JJ in three years. Not the best of starts.

Anyway, Ana debuted her new adidas dress in match play that she wore during the Doha Desert Island promo yesterday; this outfit was also rumored to be her Aussie Open '09 dress. 

I have to say this is the best dress in AGES by adidas - the detailing is superb particularly the roughing and the asymmetrical neckline. Plus the deep, rich plum color looks fantastic against the 20-year old's olive skin and dark features.

It seems they've finally taken some design inspiration from the more forward adidas by Stella McCartney collection and infused these elements in their broader collection. Smart move.

(images via Getty)

Rafa diagnosed with tendinitis, may miss Davis Cup final

Word comes today that Rafael Nadal may be doubtful for the Davis Cup final versus Argentina.

The top-ranked baller, who withdrew from the Paris Masters with a knee injury and subsequently withdrew from the Masters Cup, had medical test performed on his right knee and it was diagnosed with tendinitis. Rafa is planning to have treatment done on the knee through Saturday and another batch of tests on Monday.

Bad news for Spain. It would've been a tough match anyway based on the surface picked by the Argentines but without Rafa Spain's chances are minimal at best.

Stay tuned...

(image via Getty)

Letter to DtL readers: VOTE!

Hey y'all,

Posting will most likely be slow today since I'll be waiting in line to cast my vote in the US presidential election.

Make sure to utilize your right to vote, no matter who you support this year!


Monday, November 3, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Ravi vs. Katrina...The A-Z's of Doha...Sneaking a peek at Bjorn's undies

(Khalifa International Tennis Centre, Doha)


Ravi + Katrina break down Doha [ESPN]
Ad-In, Ad-Out [SI]
Alphabet soup for Doha [Tennishead]


Jessica Moore who? [Drop Shots]
Bjorn's undies finally appear [Tennis Served Fresh]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Sveta wears WMD's to Doha, considered armed and dangerous

Svetlana Kuznetsova
was spotted working scarily severe eyebrows at her pre-tourney presser for the WTA Championships in Doha.

I think we've finally found those missing WMD's people - somebody call Bush.

(image via Getty)

Serena plays cardigan-wearing, panty hose-loving Fed for Halloween

So I guess Serena Williams fibbed a little when she promised the world she'd be writing a little less (phew!) and video-ing a little more (yay!) on her website. But it seems incomprehensible writing is a hard habit to break for the US Open champ - bad luck for us.

Anyway, for Halloween ReRe decided to emulate her fave tennis baller, Roger Federer, and even worked the Wimbledon Gatsby-esque cardigan given to her by the Swiss maestro himself.

Via her blog:

Can u guess who I am dressed as???

If you said Roger Federer that you are correct! I love him and he's my fav player!!!
Being a big fan of Roger (and playing tennis has its perks). Roger gave me one of his Wimbledon Sweaters! I was so ecstatic when he gave it to me I did not know what I was gonna do.

Than for Halloween day I got invited to this party and I HAD to dress up and.... Well..... Let's just say I hope he's not mad with what I did to his sweater. It kept me super warm all night and I of course still have it, and will forever cherish it.... And the memories I had wearing it. Lol

I hope he doesn’t see these pics and say "I'm never giving her my Line again!" Hahaaaha we will see......

Anyways- Let me know what you think!!!

First of all, who the hell knew she hung out with Nicky Hilton? Weird. Secondly, who wants to see Fed doing an impression of ReRe doing an impression of Fed??

Seriously, he'd look so INCREDIBLE in shimmery, nude panty hose.

See the rest of the pics here.

(image via

BREAKING: Rafa to skip Masters Cup, will focus on Davis Cup final

After withdrawing from his quarterfinal match against Nikolay Davydenko in Paris with a knee injury, Rafael Nadal has confirmed via his website that he will NOT be traveling to Shanghai for the Masters Cup due to fatigue:

Dear fans and media reps,

It has been a long and difficult year where I managed to obtain great results, both on a professional and on a personal level. I have mentioned on various occasions that the tennis calendar has been extremely hard with practically all weeks playing and where it forces players to compete week in week out, making it impossible for a top level player to be 100% on each event.

On a personal level I had as one of my goals to become #1 during this year and competing at so many events might have harmed, specially at the end of the season, my physical condition, taking away the freshness needed to play at the top level of the game on these last events. I don´t know if this has been a mistake or not but the fact is that with the goal achieved I also have to take one of the most difficult and painful decisions.

I have decided not to compete on the Masters Cup in Shanghai. As I say this is one of the most difficult decisions in my career due to the importance of the event and above all, due to the fact of not making possible my will to be with the fans in China and the tournament organizers that always treated me in such special way.

I am deeply sadden and disappointed for my fans around the world that expected to see me in Shanghai fighting in every match. I do expect to be there again in October 09 for the ATP Masters 1000 event in Shanghai.

I know that many people where speculating with this news and even though I have yet not done any test, I can say I take the right decision. I want to recover and be ready for the important Davis Cup final with my country that will be played in Mar del Plata, Argentina. That is also another reason for not coming to Shanghai.

Many thanks to all for your support and understanding.

(Inside Rafa's sweaty, headband-wearing head: "Hmmm. Masters Cup title or Davis Cup champions? Davis Cup or Masters Cup?? Both. No! Neither. No!! Masters Cup. No!!! Davis Cup. ¡Sí!)

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Cheery Nalbandian accepts runner-up award, smirks and says "die" to the camera

In typical style, David Nalbandian looked absolutely thrilled after losing his Paris Masters shield to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga this weekend.

Doesn't the Argentine look like he's about to smack the nearest Parisian he can find with his lovely runner-up trophy (wait, where's Jo-Willy in that pic btw?) I guess he's pissed he couldn't pull off his October surprise this year and grab the Madrid-Paris double again.

David should know by now you can't put all of your season's eggs in these two baskets. No worries - there's always the Davis Cup final to save his season.

(image via Getty)

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Ana + Elena hit (on) the beach, crack groundies on Doha Desert Island

Ana Ivanovic
and Elena Dementieva spent some of their pre Championship time doing promo work for the tourney.

The lady ballers got in some practice on a make-shift tennis court on Doha Desert Island.

Kinda cool but I hope this isn't the scene during the tourney. Big crowds and bigger energy is what the Championships need or this move to "Dough-ha" will all be for naught...well, almost.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for tipping me off to the video of this hitting session. Check it...

(images via Getty)


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Paris

Jo-Willy finally seems to have turned a corner in his career this fall. The tourney's homeboy, who grabbed his first career title in Bangkok recently, ousted defending champion David Nalbandian 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 for his first Masters Series shield and confirmed his spot in Shanghai for the Masters Cup, another first. Jo-Willy's injury woes seem under control, for now, which is good news for him but bad news for the ATP Tour. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal struggling with injury and Novak Djokovic just plain struggling, watch for a big run by the Frenchie baller in Shanghai.

Nadia Petrova - Quebec City

The Russian headcase is enjoying a run of good form these days. After capturing Cincinnati in August, Nads swept through the draw until the final where she out-fought first time WTA finalist Bethanie Mattek 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 for the title. I stopped reading into her wins a long time ago so let's just say "good job" and leave it at that.

(images via AFP, Getty)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

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

(WTA Championships, Doha)

Weekend Winners: Fed, Andy, Robin, Ana, Elena
JJ owns the penthouse
Less writing, more video for ReRe
Leukemia takes Luzzi
Tony, Rafa (1, 2), Seal give good quote
JJ + Ana's websites hacked by political thugs
Fed to play in US for Davis Cup
Stylish Rafisca arrive in Paris
WTA worried about their rep
The Green Hornet appears
Rafa, Nole, + James's joint practice
For the WTA dummy in all of us
Drag queens love tennis too
Nole's game falling again
Rafa + Fed bit by injury bug in Paris
Shrieka hits up Phoenix Suns game
Tati is smokin'

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

(image via Getty)

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