I won't be posting +NETCORDS today because I'm traveling to sunny Florida to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
Have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you next week to wrap up all the Davis Cup action.
David Nalbandian was feeling absolutely orgasmic during his opening round Davis Cup rubber versus David Ferrer today (the speedy Spaniard does have that effect on people, you know.)
The prickly Argentine managed to dominate David 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and get his country to a 1-0 lead in the big final. Juan Martin del Potro is currently battling Feliciano Lopez in the second rubber of the day. (UPDATE: Feli defeated J. Martin 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to tie it up!)
So now, if you don't mind, let's enjoy the many "O" faces of Nalby...
(images via Getty)
Speaking of GQ magazine, model-wannabe Maria Sharapova recently posed for an upcoming edition of the lad mag. The Russian glamazon has been on a fashion editorial whirlwind of late having appeared in Hello!, Russian Vogue, and California Style. You know a silly little injury isn't going to stop Shrieka from getting her "pout" on.
Anyway, the description on the video says it's for the pub's December issue though her spread doesn't appear in the US edition. I assume it's for one of their international arms since some of the copy is in Spanish (UPDATE: The spread is featured in GQ Spain.)
Here's some behind-the-scenes footage of Shrieka at the shoot discussing the experience and her rehabilitation from the shoulder injury which hampered her season.
(via the double bagel)
The accolades and tributes are beginning to roll in for top baller Rafael Nadal and his incredible season.
The Majorcan Matador has been named one of GQ magazine's Men of the Year for 2008 in their December issue joining multiple Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Texas Rangers center-fielder Josh Hamilton, and the Boston Celtics as sports figures/teams who made the prestigious list.
You could see it on his face: the moment Rafael Nadal knew that after 160 weeks as the second-best tennis player in the world, he was about to become number one. It came four hours into the Wimbledon final, when it seemed that the 22-year old was again going to crumble at the All England Club, as he had two years in a row. But then it happened: After an extended rally, Nadal hit a forehand so violent and scorching and, well, plain superhuman that Roger Federer froze in despair. And though the Spaniard would never admit it himself ("Roger is always Roger, and he had his chances, too," says Nadal. "With him, I always need to be there with all I've got"), as Nadal pumped his first in the air, he had the look of a man who knew that after years of falling short, he was finally about to break through. Sure enough, Federer went down in the very next set.
Congrats Rafa - keep 'em coming!
(images via GQ)
Thanks to an anonymous DtL reader of tipping me off to more Andy Roddick news!
The American baller has just announced Larry Stefanki will be his new coach.
A-Rod, who ended his coaching relationship with brother John this summer, had mentioned after withdrawing from the Masters Cup that there was "a short list" of potential coaches and he would decide in the coming weeks.
Stefanki last worked with Fernando Gonzalez who he helped reach the Aussie Open final last year and also coached Marcelo Rios and Yevgeny Kafelnikov to world No.1.
I'm taking the wait and see approach to this news. Obviously, a new voice and perspective could be very beneficial at this point in A-Rod's career and Stefanki is loaded with great experience. But I've always said the American's issues begin and end in his head so we'll see how this relationship plays out.
(image via Getty)
From Team A-Rod: How would you like to be a guest of Andy Roddick in Miami next season?
The Andy Roddick Foundation, who just announced their partnership with the New York City Food Bank to help raise money for the organization, is auctioning off VIP Guest Passes for a day at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Four VIP passes are up for grabs "which allows access to the player's lounge. If Andy is playing, you will be a guest in his player box. If not, guests will accompany Andy to an on-court practice court!"
Bidding online opened today and runs through December 6. Click here for more information and to make a bid.
(image via Getty)
A demure-looking David Ferrer was spotted getting manhandled by Fernando Verdasco at the Davis Cup final draw ceremony today in Mar del Plata.
Ah-ha! So Fernando must have been bent over waiting for David yesterday - I mean they are holding hands, right? Case solved.
But I repeat: Ana will NOT be happy when she arrives for the weekend (but David may still be.)
(image via AP)
Thanks to DtL reader amon for tipping me off to the latest on Rafael Nadal.
While his compatriots sweat it out in Mar del Plata, Argentina preparing for this weekend's Davis Cup final, Rafa was sweating it out for a different reason.
The world's top baller (and his sick legs) took a well-deserved vacation in hot + sunny Mauritius with Xisca in tow. He was spotted snorkling, swimming, running on the beach, and riding a 'doughnut' during his break from tennis action.
So I guess this means the knee tendinitis that shut down his season early is all healed up now - how convenient!
Do you think he called Serena Williams for advice on this one?
UPDATE: I guess even Xisca can still be hypnotized by Rafa's more natural "gifts". Maybe it's because those tiny green trunks look like they're struggling mightily to keep him all in.
What IS going on down there, man? Lordy, Lordy...
(images via thesun.co.uk, X17)
Rumors have been circling around the internet recently that Tatiana Golovin might be hanging up her racquets due to a recurring back injury caused by Ankylosing spondylitis, a painful chronic degenerative inflammatory arthritis. Moreover, according to TENNIS mag's Ticker Loic Courteau reportedly stopped working with Tati because of her indefinite injury woes.
But it seems the Frenchie baller isn't giving up on her career. The 20-year old wrote responded to an email from fan site Golovin Attitude and explained:
unfortunately, I’m still suffering from my back, so I have to stop again, I can’t tell you more. It is pretty tough but I am ok and I am still optimistic.Let's hope Tati can recover and get back to the court, though this issue will most likely be something she'll be dealing with for the rest of her career and beyond. But it won't stop the Frenchie's off-court dealings including an appearance in Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Issue due on the stands in February.
I can’t thank you guys enough. I want to thank you and your team, and all the fans for your support and your encouragements
Here's an ATP video for all you Rafael Nadal heads who've been jonesing for some of the Spanish steamroller since his season abruptly ended in Paris.
It's a look back at the historic year for Rafa with his fellow ballers paying tribute to his incredible accomplishments.
A bent over Fernando Verdasco was spotted at Islas Malvinas stadium looking for around for something today.
You know, Fernando could be asking for trouble here - and he just might get it with that pose.
Ana will NOT be pleased.
(image via Getty)
Thanks to an anonymous DtL reader for tipping me off to more hairy Argentinean situations.
We all know Jose Acasuso the repeat offender - he's worked everything from a mullet and a raccoon tail and now he's got something perm-ilicious going on. Clearly he doesn't care that his hair is seriously offensive. Boo-hoo to you then, Jose.
And of course Juan Martin del Potro, who had solved his hairy situation not too long ago, has fallen off the wagon once again.
But who knew Augustin Calleri would follow his compatriots' lead and bust out nasty helmet hair?
Oh boy. It seems Argentina is on a slippery slope to hairy hell. Is it something in the water down there?? If so, it's contagious.
I'm canceling my trip to Buenos Aires stat. And you should too - your hair will thank you.
(image courteys of Mauro V. Rizzi via lanacion)
Could a commissioner or an umbrella organization overseeing both the ATP + WTA Tours come to fruition in the very near future?
Douglas Robson's article for USA Today investigates the possibilities of the two tours moving closer together as more events, particularly when the 2009 season rolls around, see the men and women playing in the same tourney or in back-to-back weeks including Madrid, Cincinnati, and Beijing.
Robson highlights a number of areas where the tours are already leveraging each other:
•Some 35% of the ATP's 63 events and 40% of WTA 50 tournaments will be combined or played in consecutive weeks in 2009, among them events at Madrid, Cincinnati and Beijing.
•Staffs have been consolidating in London in recent years, and both human resources and IT functions are now shared. A number of media functions, such as the production of the annual media guide and the two tour websites, also are shared.
•This year the ATP and WTA teamed up in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation and the four majors to form a so-called integrity unit to combat gambling. That followed the formation of a joint anti-doping program overseen by the ITF in 2006.
•Next year the tours will embark on their first commercial joint venture by pooling digital rights for video streaming of content though a single portal called tennistv.com. They will split revenues evenly.
WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott has been talked about as someone who could potentially oversee both tours and has publicly expressed interest in the role. He already sees an evolution towards the two tours working in tandem possibly in five years:
We have done some things together already. It is happening organically.The challenges to this idea include legal issues such as TV rights, title sponsorships (the ATP has no interest in a Sony Ericsson-type sponsorship for the tour), and the always thorny issue of the Grand Slams which aren't controlled by either tour.
From a business and branding perspective, having the two tours live under one organization seems a like a no brainer and would encourage consistency across the board. It becomes confusing for the casual fan when one tour experiments with, say, on-court coaching while the other doesn't. However, the umbrella organization would need to ensure the unique identity, characteristics, and marketing of each tour remained intact.
As I mentioned previously, leveraging the star power off both tours would give the executives more weight to sell sponsorships and tickets, not to mention buying TV time (another area where consistency in scheduling is crucial for the growth of tennis.) Moreover, it would seem organizing the tours would get easier from a logistical standpoint - where the top ballers go the rest follow.
(image via Getty)
Thanks to DtL reader johanne for tipping me off to the latest news on Rafael Nadal.
LaListaWIP.com, a Spanish research-based website that collects and measures information uploaded online about famous people in sports, politics, entertainment, technology, religion and more, is reporting that Rafa is the third most popular athlete on the Internet behind David Beckham + Cristiano Ronaldo, respectively. According to his site, the Mallorcan Matador has gained 28 million references with only the two footballers gaining more than him.
Other ballers who made the Top 100 include Rainer Schuettler (17), Anna Kournikova (42), Maria Sharapova (53), Roger Federer (54), Ana Ivanovic (60), Serena Williams (79), Justine Henin (82), Bjorn Borg (86), Andy Roddick (89), Venus Williams (91), and Andre Agassi (100). Seriously, Rainer at #17? Weird.
Anyway, congrats Rafa! And, believe you me, you're sorely missed right now (at least by a bunch of readers on this blog.)
PS - I know a sure-fire way of getting yourself to the top of this list: more boom-boom shots.
(image via Getty)
Maria Sharapova, who was spotted with her handlers headed for Barneys yesterday in New York, attended the 5th anniversary of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund at Skylight Studios last night.
The Russian was one of many celebrities at the event including Oscar-winner Charlize Theron; Gossip Girl's Blake Lively + Penn Badgeley; designers Zac Posen, Vera Wang + Diane Von Furstenberg; and of course Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.
Obviously the chocolate duel-tiered minidress and strappy stilettos are a huge improvement over her casual wear during yesterday's jaunt around The Big Apple.
Shrieka sure does dress up well when she wants to!
(images via mariasharapova.com)
The Argentinean + Spanish teams have already gathered in Mar del Plata, Argentina to begin preparations for the big Davis Cup final.
Feliciano Lopez, Jose Acasuso, Juan Martin del Potro, and Marcel Gronellers were all spotted getting some practice in before they face off this weekend.
But one question: Was it a requirement for the ballers to arrive at Islas Malvinas stadium working a hairy situation? Some of the boys are repeat offenders (hello Jose) but, irregardless, these "styles" are seriously out-of-control in a BAD way.
Maybe they couldn't put in the effort because they're so close to the off-season they can taste it. Fine, I'll understand...this time.
(images via Getty)
Maria Sharapova made a visit to The Big Apple this weekend and got her shop on. The tennis fashionista was joined by her handlers as she made her way to Barneys in Midtown.
I guess riding boots are the shoe of choice for Shrieka and her crew on this trip. Good choice since it's the fall season. Her fave ballerina flats just won't work at this time of year in New York, not to mention that frumpy cardigan she's working here. In fact, that sweater won't work at any time in any year - drop it.
Click here for more shots of Shrieka in NYC.
(images via WTA Tennis Blog)
The tennis season for most of the men ended this weekend so you know what that means: bring on the money-making exos!
Bjorn Borg, James Blake, Roger Federer, and John McEnroe arrived in Kuala Lumpur for the Showdown of Champions and attended the pre-match presser today. Last year, Fed + Pete Sampras traveled here during their much-heralded series of exhibition matches.
Call me crazy but doesn't James seem severely out of place here? He must be thinking the same thing. For some reason James and "champion" just don't have the right ring to it. I wish Rafael Nadal, who was the other choice besides the American baller, had made this exo - how incredible would that sight have been?
Oh well, it's a great opportunity for James to join these legends and makes some serious bank along the way. Win win!
(images via Getty)
Is Tennis Week magazine down in the dumps?
According to Tennisreporters.net, publisher Randy Master has left the pub to return to Tennis Channel and IMG, who bought Tennis Week two years ago, is considering its viability.
Full disclosure: I've only seen one hard copy of Tennis Week and it was pretty awful. The articles weren't interesting or in-depth, the images were either out-dated or stock photography, and the paper quality was low. In these tough economic times, media of all kinds are struggling for ad dollars and subscribers which is causing many to shutter their print editions. Frankly, I'm surprised Tennis Week mag is still around.
I think they'd be better off shutting down the print edition only and focusing completely on the web where they can be more current with news and give a broader perspective on the sport.
Besides, what would we do without Carrie Milbank's perky tennis roundups? Perish the thought.
Serena Williams + Common have spent a lot of time together publicly in the last few months including at the US Open and in Hawaii on a surfing vacation.
But the couple isn't really a couple if you're to believe the hip-hop star's recent comments in an interview with Complex.com, a urban magazine and website. In fact, his current girlfriend isn't a girl at all:
Complex: So now, you’re dating Serena Williams?
Common: [Laughs] Nah man, I’m dating hip-hop.
Complex: I don’t know man, I saw you on a surfboard in Hawaii with her…
Common: That was my first time surfing, and I had an incredible time. I’ve been on vacations with groups of friends, but of course they’re going to keep me in the pictures with Serena. They’re not going to film one of my boys, or one of my homies, like they would Serena and I.
Complex: So you’re saying you’re not dating?
Common: Nah, I’m dating hip-hop. My love is hip-hop.
Complex: So is Serena your best girl-friend?
Common: Ha, nah man. My best girl-friend is hip-hop. I’m a single man.
So "hip-hop" is your girl of choice. Of course, what were we thinking? Why ever would we think you and ReRe were dating after spotting you two together for over a year now, including the recent Hawaiian vacation and you acting like the US Open champ's ball boy/boy toy during her major-winning run this summer??
Thanks for clearing that up!
UPDATE: It seems Common is spouting these talking points everywhere. This whole "hip-hop is my girlfriend" thing is starting to sound creepy. He's a grown man that sounds like he really needs to get some - if not from ReRe then someone. Anyone.
(via Women's Tennis Blog)
Jelena Ristic was in the stands this weekend to watch boyfriend Novak Djokovic win his first Masters Cup title in Shanghai.
It seems they're still going strong even after all the rumors and speculation about Nole and his love life this year. Let's hope he keeps those to a minimum next season for her sake, though it doesn't do me any good.
What would I write about then? Oh well.
(images via Getty)
Novak Djokovic's season came full circle when he the ended the season with his first Masters Cup in Shanghai defeating Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 7-5.
The Serb opened the season by winning his maiden Grand Slam title at the Aussie Open, won at Indian Wells and Rome in the spring, and struggled in the fall before adding the year-end championship to his title haul this year.
Morevover, Nole now sits only 10 points from Roger Federer at No.2 in the ATP rankings but will have tons of points to defend when the 2009 season begins.
But until then, have a great off-season boys and we'll see you next year!