Google Down the Line!: 2008-12-07

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SIGHTING: Shrieka gets pretty for Tiffany's store opening but what's up with her hair?

Maria Sharapova (or is it her mom?) was spotted at the opening of Tiffany & Co.'s new store at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA.

The Russian glamazon also met up with Willie Ebersol, brother of her rumored boyfriend Charlie Ebersol.

The dress Shrieka's wearing is pure prettiness but I can't really tell what's going on with hair. The shorter style ages her and makes her face look really wide. Let's hope it's just an "up-do" and not a permanent cut.

But one thing we can all be happy about: it seems she's finally moved on from the bangs - smart move Shrieka.

(images via

Friday, December 12, 2008

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: A-Rod hosts Rock n' Racquets...Patty turning 30...Wimbledon fashions

* After raising $1.1 million during the Andy Roddick Charity Event last weekend, the former World No.1 will host the annual Rock n' Racquets event tonight Louisville, Kentucky. The event, which also benefits the Andy Roddick Foundation, will feature US Open champ Serena Williams, American John Isner, and Dane Caroline Wozniacki and make additional stops in Columbia, SC on December 13 and Knoxville, TN on December 14. Hmmm - how's that hamstring injury doing, ReRe?

* The LTA is warning young Brit ballers to watch what they do online especially on social networking sites or risk having their funding withdrawn. Players are being asked to review their internet content and delete anything that may be regarded as “controversial” after two ballers, Naomi Broady + David Rice, were found to be too explicit and in breach of their contract with the LTA in 2007; they subsequently had their funding taken away. Great - that's like cutting off my oxygen. You're killing me LTA!

* Frenchie racquet and stringing manufacturer Tecnifibre has re-launced their website in celebration of Fernando Verdasco's Davis Cup heroics last season.

* Speaking of the Spaniard: Not only did they pose for ANOTHER photo at ANOTHER Real Madrid match, but Anando were also caught on video leaving the match together. Word of advice: you'll get mobbed by the stalkeratti if you make all your entrances and exits public - unless that's what you want. (Thanks Tessa!)

* The Tennis Chick is pissed (Kanye style) at the USTA and TENNIS mag and she's not gonna take it anymore!

* TENNIS's Tom Perotta lists his 10 most intriguing commodities for ESPN and whether to buy or sell. Biggest surprise buy? Nicole Vaidisova. Biggest surprise sell? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I think I'll find myself a better portfolio manager...

* A big "Happy Birthday!" in advance to veteran Swiss lady baller Patty Schnyder, who turns the big 3-0 this Sunday

* Wimbledon has their own line of tennis gear out and the elegant High Street Racer Tank ($48) + Flounce Skirt ($39) are definitely tops. The tank features a beautiful racer back and v-neck wrap front while skirt has contrast detailing and an elastic waistband. The outfit also comes in white for those summer hitting sessions. *sigh*

* Roger Rasheed on the Bernard Tomic controversy via "From Tennis Australia's perspective, it is very hard to take control of a family and say this is what you can and can't do with your child. But what you can do is say, 'You know what? We can't be involved with this situation' This is how we play the game, this comes under our code of conduct and we can't show this message to the other kids going round Australia, that we are prepared to accept this type of behavior'."


THE LOW DOWN: Bodo backs down from ESPN comments, kisses ATP booty in a bad way

Well it seems TENNIS mag's Peter Bodo was taken to task after the scribe lambasted the currently vacant ATP CEO role in a recent blog for aka Bodo's now infamous "Negative Nancy" moment.

Apparently the ATP's main flack, Kris Dent, had some words with Bodo about the blog and, in particular, his remarks regarding the ATP in-house staff. In the blog Bodo writes, "Senior employees might be intractable and exacting, and often at cross-purposes" but recently backtracked on his comments saying,

I want to make clear that I was playing around and meant "employees" metaphorically - as a reference to the top players, agents and tournament promoters, all of whom loosely can be said to work for or under the ATP CEO. This was an obtuse and ill-chosen device, because it sure reads like a criticism of ATP staff - which is an extremely professional, diligent and cohesive unit. It's always been a great pleasure to work with them.
Okay - bad enough. But in today's Tennisworld post called "An Open Letter..." Bodo bends over for Dent again and gives the flack an open space to push his image-saving agenda for the ATP. Here's just an excerpt of the very lengthy letter:
Indeed many of the positive changes that have been made to the men's game in recent times have come about because both the tournaments and players have been represented at the ATP Board table, and they have been able to find ways of moving the sport forward to the benefit of all in the men's game.

Innovations like Hawkeye and the changes to Doubles scoring, for instance, have been introduced successfully and have become huge fan favourites. Similarly, having both groups represented at Board level has allowed the calendar changes for next year to be made - positives such as creating a healthier schedule for players to plan their season from, the creation of a new, dedicated Asian swing post-US Open, and the less congested spring clay and autumn indoor seasons are good examples. The increases in investment into new stadia ($800m worth) and the record prize money levels on offer next year only came about because both tournament and player representatives worked at a Council and Board level to create them, together.
Something smells fishy and a bit lame here. I mean, since when does a journalist hand over their column to a PR flack intent on pushing their own agenda? Aren't journalists supposed to cut through all the fat and "spin" to try and give an unobstructed view of current events and happenings to their readers?? At least, that's supposed to be the intention but what's developing here is the exact opposite.

I'm getting the feeling someone's in the back pocket of the ATP and we, as fans, will need to be more vigilant about what we're hearing and, most definitely, what we're reading.

PHOTO OP: Day 9 of Murray's off-season training intensive, half-day is a good day

After yesterday's brutal track work, Day 9 of Team Murray's off-season training intensive promised to be tough but shorter and a bit less grueling.


Today's half-day of training involved the team working on movement, balance, and speed as Strength + Conditioning coach Jez Green introduced bungee cord and jumps practices.

The court was eventually inundated with Brit ballers including lanky-looking junior Liam Broady who hit a few balls with Jez.

The whole team eventually engaged in a hitting session for a few hours followed by a 1.5 hour Bikram Yoga class.

Team Murray's self-styled "Winter Olympics" begin today - stay tuned!

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Rafa + Iker promote the hell out of their charity event

Thanks to DtL reader meri for the tipping me off to the latest on Rafael Nadal!

Here's a special treat for all the RAFANATICS out there: After yesterday's teaser, here's a series of videos featuring the Mallorcan Matador and Iker Casillas promoting next week's "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" Part Deux.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Fed "honored" in more ways than one...US tennis on the upswing...The ever-posing Anando

* Not to be outdone by Andy Murray + Jelena Jankovic, 2-time Grand Slammer Amelie Mauresmo has been posting images of her off-season training intensive with new coach Hugo Lecoq on her website. The Frenchie looks to be in typically great physical shape but isn't the question with Amelie always, "How is the mind?" Stay tuned...

* Roger Federer has been nominated again for the United States Sports Academy's 2008 Athlete of the Year Award which he won in '06 + '07 along with top baller Rafael Nadal. Other nominees include Usain Bolt (track and field), Kobe Bryant (basketball), Brian Clay (decathlon), Haile Gebrselassie (marathon), Ryan Howard (baseball), Jimmie Johnson (auto racing (NASCAR)), Eli Manning (football), Rafa, Michael Phelps (swimming), Tim Tebow (college football), Tiger Woods (golf). Tough crowd so vote your fave here!

* Speaking of the Swiss Maestro, his Gillette ad with golf's Tiger Woods and football/soccer's Thierry Henry has been named the worst TV advertisement of the year by industry mag Campaign. Ouch - I guess his midas touch is getting a bit rusty...

* So long and farewell oh retired ballers

* Marion Bartoli has been nominated for the 2009 Femmes En Or award which is intended as a tribute to women who help women to change society.

* Anando, who are currently hanging in Spain, posed for ANOTHER photo while taking in ANOTHER Real Madrid match. Do these two love the spotlight or what? It's exhausting, and I just blog about them.

* Tennis participation in the US grew to 27 million, a 7% increase this year, which is the highest number in 15 years. Dave Haggerty, president of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) said in a statement, "By almost every key metric and based on the trends the sport remains poised for growth in the coming years."

* Lindsay Davenport has entered the Aussie Open draw, putting to rest all the retirement talk...for now

* TENNIS's Tignor gauges the influence of two German giants

* You can call her Dr. Sania Mirza now. The Indian lady baller will be receiving an honorary doctorate from Dr. MGR University in Chennai on Thursday. "I am delighted. Good that my achievements are being recognised. It is a great feeling to be honoured with a doctorate," Sania told The Hindu.

* Add these Nike Air Zoom Trainers ($80) to your "" list boys and bring some streetwear into your tennis life. They're an updated version of the cross trainers Johnny Mac wore back in the day and features include "soft synthetic leather upper offers a secure, glove-like fit, while the phylon midsole and Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot add a low to the ground, cushioned feel." LOVE.

(images via,

SIGHTING: JJ leaves Mexico, returns to Nick Bollettieri's for more off-season prep

Jelena Jankovic, who has been training hard in San Luis, Mexico, returned to her former homebase at The Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida to continue her preparations for the 2009 season.

It seems clear the slidin' Serb is intent on getting physically fitter and stronger but she's also looking to add more variety to her game which can only help, I say:

JJ is def looking bulkier for sure (I mean check out that shelf) - must be all those workouts in the sand down in Mexico. She also seems truly focused on winning that maiden Slam and keeping the keys to the WTA Penthouse.

Could it be there's actually a lady baller who wants to be world no.1 and is willing to do the hard work to stay there? How novel!

Check out Nick's Flickr page for more JJ shots.

(images via

PHOTO OP: Day 8 of Murray's off-season training intensive, shirtless Ross makes welcome return

After the pink play from Day 7, Team Murray got back to the grueling work of their off-season training intensive in Miami.


The day began on the track at Tropical Park with the team performing ten 200 metres sprints with less time to complete and recover in the 80 degree (plus humidity) conditions. Okay - I'm already feeling nauseous just writing this post - ay yay yay.

But the sight of Ross Hutchin's shirtless return is a welcome relief as is mini-me Matt "Treacle" Little in his mini outfit. WTF?!

Let's just say it was a brutal workout with every member of Team Murray feeling the burn and little something else bubbling up...

After completing the full set and coming back to consciousness, Team Murray gladly took their 3-hour lunch followed by a late day hitting session.

Day 9
will be a much anticipated half-day of training but involving a 1.5 hour Bikram Yoga class - fun!

(images via

MEDIA MASHUP: Rafa back in training, releases first promo for charity event

Rafael Nadal is back in training after a knee injury cut his 2008 season short.

The world's top baller discussed his super busy schedule, including resuming practice, via his website today:

Just wanted to let all my English speaking fans that I have resumed practice a couple of weeks ago and things are going well.

Friday Dec. 12th I am having the year end dinner, Christmas dinner, with my team. They will all come to Manacor and we will celebrate this great 08.

On Monday morning I will practice and then fly in the late afternoon to Madrid since there is a dinner offered by MARCA with the King of Spain and some other sportsman. This is to close the festivities of 70th anniversary of the newspaper.

On Tuesday we are doing the match against Malaria and hopefully the stadium will be full. We are very excited about this again.

Thanks to all.

Phew! What a relief. The Mallorcan Matador and his pal Iker Casillas have also released Part One of their promo series for next Tuesday's "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" Part Deux event to fight malaria.


Geez, he even does preppy well. Anyway, don't forget RAFANATICS: you can still help your boy (and his shorty-shorts) try to get this important event broadcast stateside by contacting the Tennis Channel. Hurry!

(image via google)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

(CORRECTED) SIGHTING: Anando getting serious, take family photos in Madrid

Thank to DtL reader Tessa for tipping me off to the latest Anando news!

Ana Ivanovic traveled to Madrid to watch boytoy Fernando Verdasco play an exhibition and the pair were spotted at the airport again (it seems to be their fave place for intimate Anando action, huh?) where Nando picked up the smiley Serb.

The pair were greeted by the whole Verdasco clan including father Jose, mama Olga, anad sisters Sara + Ana.

A few observations:

1) it's getting s-e-r-i-o-u-s people

2) now you can tell how monstrously tall Ana is compared to the rest of the humanoid ladies

3) they all seem so strangely chummy already as if they've known each other a while, even holding hands as they skip through the streets of Madrid. Haven't they only been dating since the US Open?

I guess the Verdasco fam really likes Ana. No pressure Nando...really, none at all. *thinks don't screw this one up man-whore*

See more pics here and here.

CORRECTION: This took place in Ferrol, Spain not Madrid. See comments for more details. Thanks anonymous reader!

(images via Women Tennis Photos)

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: A-Rod raises major money...Stocking stuffings...Jamie vs. Lil' Wayne

* A big congrats to Team A-Rod and the 8th Annual Andy Roddick Charity Event at the Polo Club Boca Raton. The American was joined by tennis superstars Venus Williams and Bob + Mike Bryan last weekend managed to raise $1.1 million for A-Rod's Foundation! Click here for images of the former No.1 working with kids from his San Antonio Youth Tennis Program at the event.

* Jon Wertheim's 2008 Baggie Awards announced

* Former ATP baller Mark Draper has admitted Bernard Tomic, who alledgedly walked off-court during a Futures tourney in Western Australia, is in a very "rebellious stage" in his life. Mark, who's Bernard's regular hitting partner, said "I've sort of told him the way I believe he should behave towards me and others around him. If he is disrespectful towards me, I won't be working with him. If his behaviour is consistently good, I wouldn't have a problem with it. He's at an age where he is not willing to listen as much as he used to, which goes against everything John stands for." Mark has subsequently stopped working with the Aussie prodigy.

* Speaking of feisty Aussie's, Jelena Dokic has apologized to Tennis Australia for remarks she made earlier this year after being denied a wildcard into the Aussie Open. The former world No. 4 said at the time, "I think I’ve done more in one week and had more big wins in one week than some of those girls have in their whole careers." She's currently in Melbourne preparing to compete in the Aussie Open qualies.

* With the holiday season in full-swing,'s gear guru Jon Levey has chosen his fave tennis gear, trainers, accessories, and videos of the year including the newly released DVD of the classic 2008 Wimbledon men's final. It makes great stocking stuffing!

* What's the last album Jamie Murray downloaded? "The last thing I downloaded was the new Lil Wayne. That's the rapper in me coming out."

*'s Sandra Harwitt gives a rundown of the year's couplings + uncouplings, returners + quitters, and births + deaths - all without the gory, but juicy, details.

* Rafael Nadal's uber-controversial US Open Nike shirt has been re-released in a new colorway for the brand's Holiday collection and is now called the Mens Bold Stripe Polo Shirt. The slim-fitting polo features "a traditional polo collar and a two button placket, front pocket, contrast stripe across the front of the shirt, and mesh inserts under both arms for ventilation." I still love it and even more because of the yummy yellow.

* Fernando Verdasco will have a street in his childhood home of Boadilla del Monte, Spain named after him. I guess Ana will want a matching one, too.

* James Larosa is back at his Tennis Channel blog Sweet Spot listing off the best men's matches of the year. Take your best guess at which one tops this list.

* How about a little tennis with a twist?

(images via,,

RAFANATICS: Help Rafa get Tennis Channel to broadcast "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" Part Deux!

Thanks to DtL reader johanne for tipping me off to the latest Rafael Nadal news!

Calling all RAFANATICS: the Mallorcan Matador needs your help.

Your boy just left this message on his website about the upcoming "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" Part Deux:

Dear English speaking fans,

My team has received some e-mails from you about the information in English. Well I am sorry for this and I have asked them to try to have you more updated. I am told that they are trying to have the Tennis Channel get interested in broadcasting the Malaria gig I am doing with Casillas. We will keep you posted on this.

Many thanks

Okay RAFANATICS, contact the Tennis Channel folks at and let your voices be heard. How else will we get a live, shorty-short wearing Rafa stateside?


(image via

PHOTO OP: Day 7 of Murray's off-season training intensive - got pink?

Team Murray faced Day 7 of their off-season training intensive and pink was the name of the game today.


Andy and Matt "Treacle" Little settled a score made last year: if either beat their personal best at in the 400 metres (Treacle), and win a Masters Series event (Andy) the other would be forced to work pink outfits. The autographed clothing would then be donated to Momma Murray's fave charity, Career Research UK, which fights breast cancer.

Suffice it to say they both hit their goals. Good for them, I say. The color, however, isn't helping the Brit baller's pasty skin - it's blinding now - but you gotta love the velour shorty-shorts! But one request Team Andy: can we see Ross Hutchins or Dani Vallverdu modeling a pair? Just askin'.

Anyway, the day's training continued with movement drills (below) and work with the dreaded medicine ball (very top image) - all while being eye-balled in his shorties by confused UM students everywhere.

The day concluded with lower body work including squats and leg presses...

(images via

MEDIA MASHUP: Serena blogs + vlogs from LA, Common still on the mind

Serena Williams, who recently pulled out of next month's Hopman Cup with a lingering hamstring injury, has resurfaced on her website.

The US Open champ flew into LA from her homebase of Florida for a photoshoot and managed to make a new vlog and blog from her hotel bed accompanied by Cimba, her stuffed animal companion (she's how old?).

Anyway, she discusses the never-ending renovations on her house and pushes good friend Brandy's new album "Human" and even rumored ex-boyfriend Common's new album "Universal Mind Control".

Via ReRe's blog:

Hey Guys!!!

Ok so don't ask, but I understand this is new album day! Both Brandy and Common have new albums that are coming out TODAY! I just bought the new Common album. If you are a Common fan you are going to LOVE his songs - Changes, Inhale, and Break My heart. Break My heart is my personal fav!

There are some upbeat tracks like Universal Mind Control (this is a crazy, hot song) , Make My Day (another one of my favs), and Gladiator (I can work out to this one). It's simply great, fun music. Most of all Punch Drunk Love is a sexy hot song! Hot hot hot! I say its got my vote!! Go out and get it!
Great classic fun music!!! So go out and get those albums!

I promise they won't disappoint you!

Here's footage of ReRe's LA photoshoot:

Wow - when the insider said their breakup was "amicable" they weren't kidding. I certainly wouldn't be pushing his new album.

When I breakup with someone, I secretly follow them around everywhere 24/7 so I can make sure they aren't seeing anyone else right away.

Or is that when I first meet them? It's all a blur really...

(image via

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Bid on Shrieka's bag...More ATP CEO news...The $100 million dollar roof

* Maria Sharapova is auctioning off an autographed Nike duffle bag to support her Foundation. According to her site, the bag is "a soft gold color accented by shimmery gold trim. This bag has been personally used by Maria and is gently worn." What, "gently worn" as in "kinda tore up"? I love the spin - bid here.

* Jelena Dokic, who is currently in Melbourne and will try to qualify for the Aussie Open, had some advice for prodigy Bernard Tomic who is being investigated by the ITF for allegedly walking off the court during a match at his father's urging. "From parents, to managers, to everything - there's a lot of pressure. You just have to surround yourself with the best possible team that you can, who are really positive and who are there for you no matter what happens," says Jelena. Aren't stage parents the worst?

* Roger Federer + Andy Roddick have both finished in the ATP Top 10 for seven consecutive years

* Project 45 is in full effect

* The USTA + Tennis Australia have more in common than they may think (hint: something about sinking tennis programs or something). And apparently, Aussie legend Ken Rosewall feels the same way.

* Former French Open finalist Martin Verkerk, who has struggled with injuries for years, has retired due to lack of motivation.

* Check out the Fila Winter Court Dress ($53) featuring the following details: a scoop neck, contrast binding around neckline and armholes, contrast inset on left strap, contrast mesh V-shape, and an embroidered Fila F-box on front left hem. 23.5" body length. A simple dress with great colors for the season.

* Via "Adam Helfant, the former vice president of global sports marketing at Nike, is the frontrunner for the [ATP] CEO spot. The SportsBusiness Journal reported the contrary, saying that Patrice Clerc, the former Roland Garros TD, is the frontrunner, largely because many of the players want a European named. The tour is holding its final interviews this week in New York. The SBJ also reported that Mark Young, the ATP head of the Americas, and Brad Drewett, who runs the international division, are also up for the job." They must be MAD man. Why would they want this "thankless" job??

* The USTA will need to pony up an estimated $100 million to install the much-needed retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. How will they do that might you ask? USTA managing director Danny Zausner told SportsBusiness Journal, "Maybe there’s an NBA opportunity." How very intriguing!

(images via,

SIGHTING: So Dominika's the stylish, pretty one in this relationship, huh?

Dominika Cibulkova and boyfriend Jurgen Melzer were spotted together at an award presentation in Slovakia where the diminutive baller won the Women's Tennis Player Award 2008.

I have to say Dominika looks cute enough in her silk black ruffled halter dress, but what's up with Jurgen's spread collar/choker moment and square-toe black lace ups? Ick - that's straight up cheese and I haven't even started on his hairy situation.

Sorry Domi but La Monf has much better style. Strike one.

(images via

Peter Bodo rails against ATP CEO role, gets all "Negative Nancy" on our ass

Either Peter Bodo's having a tough go-of-it in the hallowed halls of TENNIS mag or he's just plain over it. But someone's having a temper tantrum.

In his blog for, Bodo discusses the prospects of the new ATP CEO and does his absolute worst at selling the "thankless" position to anyone with intelligence or, at the very least, someone with good intentions:

If you're hoping some new messiah will emerge to bring bliss to the ATP and tennis fans worldwide, I have news for you: It ain't gonna happen. That's because no hard-charging boy wonder (or corporate veteran) would want this job. As Etienne de Villiers learned, the ATP tribe is a restless one, constantly bickering and feuding. It is more inclined to burning its leaders at the stake than to adopting the discipline of a highly trained work force that will march toward a better future in lockstep.
Wow, bitter much? I know Bodo has been around the sport since it was invented (say the 19th century) so he's seen the ups, downs, and nasty in-betweens and knows a lot of what he speaks about. But is this editorial, which will most likely have a wider audience on than his spindly one at, helping the situation at all? Or is that the point??

Bodo ends by peering into his crystal tennis ball:
I'm predicting that the ATP won't hire a strong visionary leader, because I'm not sure any person who fits that description would want the job. The next CEO will be an "insider" who is most acceptable as a negotiator among self-interested parties. Let's be frank about this: It's a job for an I-dotter and a T-crosser, not a visionary.
We get it Bodo. It's a tough role with complex challenges and separate, sparring international entities all wanting their interests accounted for and questions answered. But do you have to be such a "Negative Nancy"? It's the holidays dude. Cheer up.

(image via Getty)

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