Google Down the Line!: 2008-11-09

Friday, November 14, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: Bjorkman waves good-bye...YEC doldrums...Michelle climbs the rankings ladder

(Jonas Bjorkman, Shanghai)


Bye bye Bjorkman [ATP]
The healing touch [Deuce]
Much ado about nothing [ESPN]


Shrieka 2.0 making her move [Nick's Picks]

(image via Getty)

THE LOW DOWN: WTA to make lady ballers pay for unwarranted medical timeouts - whatever will JJ do?

So along with the numerous changes and amendments now in place for the launch of the WTA's Roadmap 2010 next season (why don't they just change it to 'Roadmap 2009' already?!) there is an additional element being rolled out: "user pays" medical timeouts.

Essentially, the Tour's governing body "intends to cap the number of occasions players are permitted to call a trainer on court for an extended consultation and issue bills for any excess." How do they intend to do this? They have installed a cap of 6 or 7 medical time-outs for the year and plan to charge a 'nominal' fee, ranging from $100 at a smaller tourney to $500 at the biggest, for anything above the cap. However, the four majors will be exempt from the "user pays" system.

WTA vice-president of operations Peter Johnston explains:

We understand that medical time-outs can be legitimate but we want to make sure that players are conscious of how many they're using up throughout the year, so we're looking to find a system of capping them during the season.
It would trigger what we'd call a service fee. It's a sports science and health issue, so it's almost like a pay-per-view. You can keep using them, but you pay for them, and the amount would depend on the level of the event. It's not about us revenue-raising, it's more just a mindset — like, 'Hey, checkpoint, you've triggered this. Are they all legitimate?' It discourages the practice of, 'I'm feeling a bit weary, I might take a medical time-out'.
The Tour plans on reinvesting the fees into sports science services and the players council was described as "being supportive" of the idea.

I agree something finally needed to be done to curb these annoyingly unwarranted mid-match trainer calls but it always bothers me when there isn't consistency across the board and certain tourneys get exempt. Plus, I'm not sure the top lady ballers, who usually grab the most attention with these incessant calls for the trainer, will stop when the fees are miniscule relative to what they're earning overall.

But I imagine somewhere in the world Jelena Jankovic is saving her pennies just in case.

(image via Getty)

Fed the generous tennis giant, offers foes tips on how to beat him

It seems Roger Federer only has himself to blame for recent losses to Andy Murray and today is no exception.

The defending champion, who's been dealing with a sore back and stomach illness, was sent packing from the Masters Cup today after being narrowly defeated 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 by the Brit baller, his second consecutive loss and fourth overall to Andy. It's also the first time since 2002 Fed has failed to reach the semifinals at the season-ending championship.

Momma Murray believes comments made by Fed back in March have been the catalyst for her son's more aggressive approach to the game.

After being defeated in Dubai by the 21-year old Fed told the press,

[Andy's] going to have to grind very hard for the next few years if he's going to keep playing this way. He stands way back. He tends to wait a lot for his opponent to make a mistake. Over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than wait for the other guy to miss.
Oh Fed - you probably don't want to give your opponents any more pointers on how to beat you especially after they just hit you with a loss using the game they already own. It sounds wacky and all but they might actually take your advice since you're a 13-time Grand Slammer and arguably the GOAT.

Not very smart, but your foes sure are thankful!

(image via Getty)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Masters Cup midterm...Hamburg rises...Maria modeling again

(Maria Sharapova, California Style magazine)


It's almost over [ESPN]
Hamburg -2.0 [Eurosport]


Off-court photo fun [Drop Shots]
Shrieka's West Coast stylings [Women's Tennis Blog]

(image via California Style)

PHOTO OP: Which one of these kids is doing her own thing?

Jelena Jankovic was spotted getting her runway on working "fashions" for a Serbian design house called MONA.

Oh JJ - you look like you want to bust out laughing right about now. Or are you in pain? I can't really tell because the hideously shiny clothing is blinding me.

Somebody help - what's the Serb thinking here? Do tell!

PS - Check out the rest of JJ's modeling moment here, if you dare.

(image via WTA Tennis Blog)

PHOTO OP: Nole and his multiple personalities take center stage in Shanghai

Novak Djokovic, who has already secured a spot in the semifinals, managed to showcase a number of his infamous personalities during the Serb's final round robin match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Masters Cup today.

Pissed-Off Nole, Skeptical Nole, Determined Nole, and just plain 'Over It' Nole all made appearances during his 1-6, 7-5, 1-6 loss, his third consecutive defeat to the Frenchie baller this fall.

Good thing the match didn't mean anything or else we might have seen No Class Nole rear his ugly head again.


(images via Getty)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Wertheim's mailbag...The value of Venus...Martina enters reality

(Daniel Nestor + Nenad Zimonjic, Shanghai)


Take the WTA challenge [ESPN]
Jon Wertheim, you've got mail [SI]
Enjoying Venus [TENNIS]
Martina's a celebrity...didn't you know? [Tennishead]


Missing out on Kolya [GOTENNIS]
Venus vs. Wyclef [Richard's Court]

(image via Getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Anando spotted at Real Madrid match, off-season romance begins

So remember when I wondered aloud if Ana Ivanovic would be taking a trip to Spain to visit boyfriend Fernando Verdasco? And remember how I admitted I was, like, so jealous??

Well color me (not) shocked and (still) jealous to have been tipped off by a DtL reader to this video of a spiffy-looking Anando watching Real Madrid get upset by Real Union yesterday.

Wow - that didn't take long at all Ana. You really hopped onto that Spanish train with a quickness. Ride it!

Have a happy off-season Anando...we'll all be watching.

(video via

VIDEO VAULT: Aussie Open teases with launch of official TV commercial

Here's a new, official TV commercial for the 2009 Aussie Open featuring last year's champs Novak Djokovic + Maria Sharapova, finalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + Ana Ivanovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Unfortunately the spot is a true tease. There's nothing special here besides a lot of graphics and a strange soundtrack choice. But it's always nice to think about Grand Slam tennis during these end-of-season doldrums...

Check it:

PHOTO OP: Serena returns to Africa, hosts clinic for children with AIDS

Serena Williams, whose season ended due to injury at the WTA Championships last week, has already made her way back to Africa on a couple of charitable missions.

The 9-time Grand Slammer is slated to visit Kenya to inaugurate the Serena Williams Secondary School in partnership with Build African Schools initiative and Hewlett Packard on Friday, November 14.

She also made her way to South Africa for the computer giant to host a tennis clinic for children with AIDS.

Via her blog:

I'm back in Africa. For the first time I'm visiting Johannesburg - South Africa. I'm here as a Global Ambassador for Hewlett Packard (HP). As a Global Ambassador I am traveling to different countries to promote HP's products, as well as participating in local charities to help people. Earlier in March, I went to India to promote the new HP computers- the super compact designs! It was awesome fun!

Today I'm working as an HP Ambassador in Johannesburg and we are working with the Starfishgreatheart Charity. (Yes it is one word) This charity helps give aid, care, and housing to kids with AIDS. These kids are mostly born with AIDS and they don't have the care that they need or can live with. The kids I met today were orphans. It was so sad to see them in this situation. They had so much hope and love in their eyes, yet a ting of sadness behind their pupils bringing me to tears.

Today we had a clinic with the kids! It was so fun. By the end of the day all the kids were laughing, smiling, and having the time of their lives!!! I was so happy for them! I saw a girl that was sooo pretty. I kept thinking she is too pretty and her personality is too big to have AIDS. It was sad to see. You realize that AIDS has no discrimination and no barriers. It pained me to see such wonderful kids with sadness in their hearts, but hope and love in their eyes.

HP donated funding to the Starfishgreatheart Charity. They are such a great company to be involved with working with such wonderful charities. I hope to see these kids again, and I hope today that we affected their lives by bringing life into their eyes and into their souls. I'm going to be in Africa for a little over a week. On Thursday we are going to Kenya to do the same thing. Let us all appreciate each day we have, and love each day.

(images via

Venus, Serena, JJ, + Ana to play Billie-Jean King Cup at Madision Square Garden

Here's some exciting news: After the overwhelming success of the NetJets Showdown featuring Roger Federer + Pete Sampras, the producers of the exhibition have signed up Venus + Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, and Ana Ivanovic for the inaugural BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie-Jean King Cup.

The exo will take place on March 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden and "will feature a unique format, with two semi-finals preceding a final on the same night. The semi-final matches will incorporate 'no-ad' scoring and will be played over one set; the final will be a best-of-three set match with traditional scoring, although a tiebreak will replace the deciding set. The night, which will benefit the Dream Vaccines Foundation charity, will also feature a special tribute to women’s sports."

Great news - this should be an exciting exo. I'll most definitely be attending this one, live blogging of course!

(image via

A-Rod withdraws from Masters Cup with injury, discusses coaching status

Following Rafael Nadal's lead, Andy Roddick's season came to an abrupt end today due to an injury at the Masters Cup.

The American baller withdrew from his round robin match against Roger Federer after spraining his ankle during practice:

I came out here and tried to warm up 45 minutes or so ago, and it was pretty apparent that my movement was probably 30 percent or 40 percent.

Unfortunately that's just not good enough to get it done at a tournament like this. I didn't feel like I could go out and try to compete and win a tennis match. It's definitely a tough prospect trying to beat Roger with no serve and not being able to move much.

The risk/reward wasn't there. You're risking further injury where it might cut into preparation for next year.
A-Rod also discussed the prospects of a new coach after parting ways with brother John in the summer:
There's a short list. I didn't want to start going through the process of talking to people either over the phone or in person until my season was finished. That's something that I'd definitely like to get taken care of in the next couple weeks.
I'm really curious to know which potential coaches are on the list since he's been through a few already. I suppose we'll find out sooner than later.

Any guesses out there?

(image via Getty)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Marcel makes Davis Cup debut...Stretch for success...Worm-less Nicole takes India

(Juan Martin del Potro, Shanghai)


Marcel has big shoes to fill [ESPN]
Stretching the truth [TENNIS]


Nicole visits India [Nick's Picks]

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Jurgen + Dominika vacation together, play water sports in the Maldives

Thanks to an anonymous DtL reader for sending these images over of Jurgen Melzer and Dominika Cibulkova already enjoying their off season together vacationing in the Maldives.

The Slovak has most definitely moved on from Frenchie Gael Monfils. Was that fast or what?

Anyway, it looks like they're pretty happy and having a grand ol' time in the water but I have to say they don't come anywhere close to Anando, the hottest couple in tennis at the moment. Nice try, though!

Monday, November 10, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Murray making moves...Flink on Doha....Davis Cup format still sucks

(Andy Murray + Andy Roddick, Shanghai)


Andy on the upswing [Deuce]
Masters Cup missing its mojo? [ESPN]
Flink wraps up Doha [Tennis Channel]


Davis Cup needs an enema [Richard's Court]

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Wertheim on WTA Championships

Either the stands were empty or a lot of people came dressed as empty seats.

- Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim on the sparse crowds in Doha for the WTA Championships

So funny. Yes, this move was all about the bottom line but, truth is, the bottom fell out guys.

However, I have this truly novel, off the wall, I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter kind of idea: if you really want to make money off this year-end tennis thing, get smart and create a combined event leveraging the star power of both tours to sell the event. Then you can stick it wherever you want it.

Crazy, right? I know!

(image via Getty)

Distraught Rafa still injured, will miss Davis Cup final with tendinitis

Rafael Nadal confirmed he will not be participating in the Davis Cup final versus Argentina due to the tendinitis that forced him out of the Paris Masters and this week's Masters Cup.

A disappointed Rafa told the press in Barcelona:

After a very long and positive year, it is terrible for me not to be able to participate at two of the events that were part of my goals of the year, Shanghai and the Davis Cup final.

These are tough moments, but I have done everything possible to be fit for the final. It was something I really wanted. I am used to pain, I am used to playing with pain but this time is different, I can't control it.

It's truly unfortunate the top baller's fairy tale season had to end on such a terrible note. Rafa's had issues with his knees in the past and always tapes them for preventative measure, but to miss these major tourneys because of the injury is a very worrying sign.

It's too early to say whether this specific injury will affect him over the long term but his intense and overtly physical style of play won't help matters. Tough luck.

On the flip side, Argentina is positioned now to take their first Davis Cup championship with Rafa on Spain's sidelines - no problem.

(image via

PHOTO OP: Gilles plays hard in win over Fed, adidas shorts tell the tale

Gilles Simon isn't hard up for wins over Roger Federer after earning his second win this year over the former No.1 (yes, "former" Rog) at the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

But based on this image, the Frenchie's hard up for something. What could it be? Maybe we should ask Mario Ancic. It could be something about those adidas shorts - they're like viagra for ballers or something.

My order's in.

(image via Getty)

Second place isn't a fun place for Fed, "I'm not world No. 2..." says Roger

Roger Federer has revealed he isn't enjoying playing second fiddle on the ATP Tour these days.

The Swiss maestro told the media at his pre-tourney presser in Shanghai this weekend,

When they (court announcers) say 'This is the world No. 2' it just doesn't sound right to me because either I'm No. 1 or I'm a grand slam champion.

I'm not world No. 2. I just don't like the ring of it when I'm introduced on court. It just sounds awkward to me because I've been up there for so, so long it just sounds unfamiliar. But, at the same time, it is a challenge to get back where I was and I think next year will be a good chance.

I will be doing everything, starting here.
Fed's Masters Cup campaign, however, was derailed today when he was stunned by streaking Frenchie Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Newsflash Fed: you ARE world No.2 and you haven't been playing like the top baller for a while now so put the sour grapes away. Seriously, just check the results of the guy right above you.

PS - thanks to DtL reader Risha for the tip!

(image via Getty)

FASHION FIX: Nole grabs first Masters Cup win, goes black + gold for adidas

Novak Djokovic is hoping for a better Masters Cup this season than last when the Serb went 0-3 in round robin play. He's off to a great start: Nole defeated Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-3 in his first match and will face Nikolay Davydenko next.

The 21-year old also debuted some new black + gold adidas duds especially made for Nole to wear at the Masters Cup: he's working the Edge Tee, Edge Bermuda, and some fantastic Barricades. The all black moment looks great on him and the gold give's the outfit something special. I love the fact the sports giant made great looking gear especially for Nole at a prestigious tourney like the Masters Cup.

Could it be this outfit, in addition to Ana Ivanovic's plum piece last week, is signaling a positive change in design direction and marketing for adidas?

We can only hope!

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Venus defeats Vera, ends season with first WTA Championships crown

Venus Williams captured the prestigious WTA Championships crown this weekend in Doha losing a tight first set but dominating Vera Zvonareva in the last two 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.

The 7-time Grand Slammer champ earned her third title of the year (Wimbledon, Zurich) and went undefeated the entire week, including 3-set wins over sister Serena and top lady baller Jelena Jankovic.

Congrats to V for the big win and for achieving another "first" at 28-years old. Could a first Aussie Open or Roland Garros crown be in her future? You never know with the V, but it seems she's still committed to being around and winning the big ones.

And for all the ladies: enjoy the off-season and we'll see you next year!!!

Here's a video recap of the championship match:

(images via Getty)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

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

(Masters Cup, Shanghai)

Weekend Winners: Jo-Willy, Nadia
Ana + Elena feeling beachy
The always gracious David
Injured Rafa skips Masters Cup and maybe Davis Cup
ReRe takes on Fed
Sveta's packing heat
Vote for change
Ana looks forward, fashionably speaking
Fernando eyes his birthday girl
JJ gets crafty with denim
ReRe keeps it classic with Nike
The Sisters Sledge feeling inspired
JJ takes a mid-match break
Bjorn gives good quote
WTA Championships take two big hits

+ NETCORDS: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

(image via Getty)

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