Google Down the Line!: 2008-12-14

Friday, December 19, 2008

VIDEO VAULT: Some ballers can sing and some can't, but all wish you a happy holiday season!

Hey y'all,

So I'll be taking all of next week off to prepare and celebrate the holidays (oh, and actually begin shopping for gifts - I'm totes late!) Regular DtL posting will resume on Monday, December 29th.

I'll leave you with the ATP + WTA's annual holiday video card showcasing our fave ballers hamming it up for our viewing pleasure (some more than others, right Nole?). And thanks to DtL reader B2012 for the link.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!!!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

(UPDATED) + THURSDAY NETCORDS: Birmingham's the place to be...Lindsay preggers again and out of Melbourne...Becker's Bag tops for traveling

* Birmingham, Alabama has been chosen as the location for next season's Davis Cup first round tie between the US and a Roger Federer-led Swiss team. Anyone want to go in on a charter bus? Just askin'. In other DC news, Albert Costa was named head coach for the defending champion Spanish team. "I accomplished a lot of my dreams as a player, winning at Roland Garros and now I’ve managed another one, becoming captain of our Davis Cup team. We’re very ambitious. We want to keep working really hard and we want to win the Davis Cup again," said the former Roland Garros champ.

* The UK's The Times has chosen the biggest winners and losers of 2008. Their biggest winner? Rafael Nadal of course. Their biggest loser? Homeboy Alex Bogdanovic. Geez - the Brits have no prob eating their own, huh? Speaking of reminiscing, Joel Drucker continues his look back for with his biggest delights and biggest disappointments of the year and gives the results of their readers' poll.

* Lindsay Davenport is preggers with her second child and has pulled out of the Aussie Open. "Of course this unexpected but exciting surprise now means I will be putting tennis on hold for the foreseeable future," she said in a statement. Will she finally hang up her racquets now???

* A big congrats to World No.1's Rafael Nadal + Jelena Jankovic who were chosen as International Tennis Federation (ITF) world champions for 2008.

* On the Baseline sits down with Slovakia's Women's Player of the Year Dominika Cibulkova

* Justine Henin will partner with compatriot and track sprinter Kim Gevaert as goodwill ambassadors for Belgium and the Netherlands bids to host the 2018 World Cup

The Aussie Open ain't no walk in the park says TENNIS' Abigail Lorge so you better have prepared in the off-season and be prepared to hit the courts running. Lazy ballers beware...

* Can't find a tennis bag big enough to fit all your gear or just tired of carrying all that crap and ruining your one good shoulder? Check out the Becker Series Pro Bag with Wheels ($80) with features including a separate accessories pocket, a shoe pocket, and three-digit combination lock for keeping those sticks safe and sound!

* UPDATE: RAFANATICS alert! DtL reader Meri has sent over links to four YouTube videos of the "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" charity event almost in its entirety. CHECK IT - Pts. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Thanks Meri!

(image via

SIGHTING: Ana flying solo in Australia, actually training and probably sweating

Could it be Ana Ivanovic has actually been spotted training and working out? Do my eyes deceive me??

Color me shocked, but relieved, to see the Roland Garros champ in Australia getting in some real training with trainer Scott Byrnes in Noosa National Park, acclimating to the heat Down Under, and looking fit and sexy I might add.

No Anando, no posing, and def no cheese. Now this is what I'm talking about!

(images via Women's Tennis Photos)

PHOTO OP: Battle of the shorty-shorts, Rafa vs. Nole

Fine - so I didn't get to see the complete "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" Part Deux charity event live OR on video. I'm slowly getting over it.

I did, however, get my grubby hands on these images of Rafael Nadal + Novak Djokovic playing the soccer portion of the event working what else? The coveted shorty-shorts. Very nice.

I'm thinking they both have lovely legs but who wore them better:

or Nole?


(image via Getty)

VIDEO VAULT: ReRe regains hamstring health for charitable reasons, Oscar in the mail

Serena Williams is a real trooper.

The US Open champ, who's dealing with a pesky hamstring "injury" that forced her out of the Hopman Cup, already showed us some of her questionable warm up techniques before hitting the court for Rock n' Racquets last weekend.

It's good thing, though, that she loosened up those muscles because she really could've hurt herself more doing this almost-synchronized dance routine.

Boy, ReRe can do a mean impression of being healthy, huh? Give that girl an Oscar!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ATP launches latest "FEEL IT" ad campaign, debuts images and logos for 2009

The ATP, which will be rebranded the ATP World Tour next year, has just unveiled its "FEEL IT" campaign for 2009 starring some of the world's top ballers in the world including World No.1 Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and James Blake. The original "FEEL IT" concept for the campaign debuted this past season and helped jump start the ATP's rebranding efforts.

The campaign will "focus on bringing to life the unique global aspect of the ATP World Tour. The evolution of the campaign will position ATP World Tour stars like Rafael Nadal as titans of the sport; playing tennis that is ‘out of this world’. The new execution will bring to life many of the amazing locations of the ATP World Tour and will focus on communicating the ultimate goal of the season, to become the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion."

Rafa had this to say about appearing in the ads:

I like the new ATP advertising campaign. They have done a great job with this since it is cool and spectacular and although I consider myself someone very down to Earth it is funny to see us up there playing with the stars. I hope this campaign helps bring more attention, new people and fans to the tennis tournaments. I understand this is the goal and I am sure we will make it happen.
The full marketing campaign will be comprised of TV spots, billboards, online banners, virals, merchandise, fan giveaways and PR stunts.

The ATP also debuted the new logos for the newly named Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (formerly the Masters Cup), the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, the ATP World Tour 500, and the ATP World Tour 250.

It all looks and sounds fine but I'm hoping the ATP allows these new elements to marinate for a while before making any more changes. Consistency is key.

What are your thoughts on this latest version of the campaign and the ATP's rebranding efforts for itself and the tourneys?


(image via

MEDIA MASHUP: Rafa + Iker host charity event, bring friends to help fight malaria

Rafael Nadal + Iker Casillas held their second annual "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" charity event to fight malaria last night at Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes.

The team's competed in three events including a kart race, one-set tennis match, and a soccer match. Rafa's team featured Carlos Moyá, Jorge Lorenzo, Raúl González, Almudena Cid, Carlos Sastre, Marcos Senna, Novak Djokovic, Sergio García, Carlos Sainz, Sete Gibernau and Samuel Eto'o.

Iker's team members included David Ferrer, Carmen Jordá, Feliciano López, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Santi Cazorla, Sergio Ramos, Alberto Contador, Dani Sordo, Alvaro Bautista, Kanouté and Fernando Alonso.

Although the teams pulled a draw in the tennis match, Team Iker grabbed wins in the kart race and soccer match and won overall.

Check out more images from the event!

Rafa competing in an obstacle course?

The Mallorcan Matador kicks go-kart arse, takes names

A cleaned-up Novak Djokovic hits the press line looking uber-sexy

Carlos Moya: your hairline's falling and it can't get up...

David Ferrer hit the press line too. Does anyone else think he looks better out of his tennis gear than in?

The man of the moment

Here are some video highlights from the big night...translations always welcomed in the comment section!


(images via Getty)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Lochte grabs his stick for GQ...USTA's new $60 million indoor building opens...Memorable moments by Martina

* Gold medal-winning swimmer Ryan Lochte grabbed a hit on some red clay courts for GQ magazine's January '09 issue. Now - I don't think playing in jeans would necessarily work but playing shirtless goes without saying especially with Ryan's sick bod (especially those abs of steel.) Any takers?

*'s Joel Drucker continues his week long look back at the best and worst of the 2008 season. Today the scribe lists his Top 10 matches of the year.

* Wimbledon will hold an exhibition event on May 17, 2009 to test the conditions under Centre Court's newly installed retractable roof. Most importantly, organizers want to test the atmospherics and humidity levels with 15,000 people sitting in the stands because the court surface needs to be "bone dry" when the roof is closed. Tim Henman and John McEnroe have been named as possible participants.

* Speaking of the Brits: the LTA has honored Andy Murray + Anne Keothavong as Male and Female Players of the Year, while Dan Evans + Laura Robson were named Male and Female Junior Players of the Year.

* The Tennis Chick has taken the ATP Top 10 and put it to poetry. Nice.

* The USTA officially opened its $60 million, 245,000 square foot indoor building at The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center today. The new facilities include "12 courts on two floors — there are nine blue U.S. Open hard courts on the first floor and workers are finishing the three blue hard courts on the second floor — a state-of-the-art fitness center, new locker rooms which will be used by juniors and wheel chair competitors during the Open, a second-floor terrace that overlooks the outdoor Open courts, classrooms and a hot and cold production commissary that connects to the concession booths that serve the food court during the Open." Yippee! I can't wait to hit on these new courts and use the new locker room. The old one was, well, old and moldy to put it lightly.

* So what is the primary reason behind Larry Stefanki's decision to coach Andy Roddick? According to an interview the 51-year old conducted with Doug Robson, it's "because [Stefanki] wants to work with an American as a stepping-stone to getting involved with the USTA junior development." The revered coach told Robson, "That’s why I did it more than anything. And also because Andy was so motivated." So if I was A-Rod would I be appreciative or insulted?

* TENNIS' Steve Tignor lovingly looks back at Martina Hingis and two of her most memorable matches - the 1997 Wimbledon final where she defeated Jana Novotna for her first (and last) Championship and this gem. I remember...*looks wistfully into the distance and smiles*

(image via GQ courtesy of Carter Smith, Tennis Week)

Nadia hospitalized with viral meningitis, withdraws from Auckland

Our thoughts go out to Nadia Petrova who has been hospitalized with viral meningitis, a serious medical condition causing inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

She has withdrawn from next month's ASB Classic in Auckland.

Here's to a speedy recover Nads!

(image via

PHOTO OP: Justine reveals ladylike side, Kim reveals tattoo at Sports Gala

Remember when two lady ballers put the tiny country of Belgium on the tennis map and ruled the WTA Tour? Ahhh yes.

Seven-time Grand Slammer Justine Henin and former US Open champ Kim Clijsters reunited at the Sports Gala, Belgium's most prestigious sporting award ceremony, on Sunday.

A dolled-up Justine sat on astroturf (uncomfortable much?) while being honored with a lifetime career achievement award and received two videotaped congratulatory messages from tennis legends Pete Sampras + Stefan Edberg. Here's some of what she had to say:

I have no regrets. I can't regret a life which gave me so much. I learned so many things about myself. It's important to have the wisdom to stop at a time when it's the moment to move on. I have only good memories.

I have so much curiosity, and I want to be able to express myself differently from now on. Even here today. I have personal time now. Time for me. To breath and relax isn't easy for myself having lived such an extremely intense lifestyle. I try for serenity with a rich balance, but without competative pro tennis and adrenalin.
Kim attended the ceremony with husband Brian Lynch and was spotted with daughter Jada's name tattooed on her wrist. Boy, she's finally letting loose y'all!

See more images here and here.

(images via Womens Tennis Photos)

(UPDATED) MEDIA MASHUP: Rafa presents charity gear with Iker, receives Marca Legend Award

Thanks to meri and an anonymous DtL reader for tipping me off to the latest Rafael Nadal news!

It's a been a busy couple of days already for the world's top baller. The Spanish steamroller joined his footballer friend Iker Casillas as they gave president of the 'Communidad de Madrid', Esperanza Aguirre, the t-shirts they'll be wearing during their "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" charity event today. Very exciting!

The pair also announced their roster for the event: Iker will be bringing ballers David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero, cyclist Alberto Contador, F1 racer Fernando Alonso, as well as his clubmates, Sergio Ramos + Fabio Cannavaro.

Rafa will have sexy Serb Novak Djokovic, F1, Rally and MotoGP racers such as Pedro de la Rosa, Carlos Sainz and Sete Gibernau, and footballers Raul and Samuel Eto’o.

And Rafa was presented with ANOTHER well-deserved accolade to go along with the many others he's accepted recently. The 22-year old was awarded the Marca Legend Award for career excellence by Marca, the popular Spanish newspaper.

Congrats to you on behalf of RAFANATICS everywhere!


UPDATE: Here's video of Rafa + Iker presenting the t-shirts at the pre-event presser. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: The cover wars - Shrieka vs. ReRe...The Hewitts add another...Another ass-et admirer revealed!

* Maria Sharapova will be appearing on the cover and inside story for Women's Health magazine's January/February 2009 issue. The Russian glamazon also got into the holiday spirit by decorating her Manhattan Beach home recently. But unlike last year, there were no sightings of Dolce around the digs or a new-fangled hairdo for 2009. Fine - as long as she stays away from the dreaded soccer-mom "up-do". Scary.

* Congratulations to Aussie hothead Lleyton Hewitt and wife, Bec, who welcomed new son Cruz Hewitt on December 11. The pair already have three-year old daughter Mia

* Speaking of Lleyton, he's currently training and recovering from the hip surgery he underwent in August with the hope of re-entering the ATP Top 10. The former World No.1 is spending at least 6 hours a day mixing in fitness and on-court work. "I actually enjoy it. If you’re fit you’re playing most weeks on tour. So this is a good opportunity for me not just to look at the Australian summer, but also the 2009 calendar. Hopefully, I can get my body in as good a shape as possible to see me right through next year," says Lleyton. Honestly, I don't see him making it back into the Top 10 - it's pretty crowded with ballers who are much stronger, fitter, and have superior games.

* TENNIS' Kamakshi Tandon looks back at the historical happenings of tennis in 1968. Included is the historic announcement by Wimbledon the year before to allow amateurs and professionals to enter the major tourney in '68. Fun fact: Roland Garros ended up being the first "open" Grand Slam due to the timing of the settlement allowing pros to play at the majors.

* Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc, who owns 21 career gold medals in wheelchair racing, is a big fan of tennis and an even bigger fan of Rafael Nadal and his famous ass-ets. Chantal told the National Post, "I think every girl is looking forward to next season to see what colour of Capri pants Nadal is wearing. Yes, he is, ah...yes." I concur. I mean, just check the DtL comment section Chantal. You...are...not...alone. (that's for you johanne!)

* The Bernard Tomic saga continues: Papa John publicly apologizes...

* Marta Domachowska has a website - didn't you know?

*'s Joel Drucker picks his Best Baller of the Year

* Serena Williams is one of a number of celebrities featured on the cover of Vibe magazine's annual "Tabloid Issue" for January '09 featuring the Best and Worst of 2008. ReRe, along with rap star Nelly, are both shown above the category of "Hottest Bodies". I guess it must be all those intense warm up exercises she does.

* James Blake is giving up his autographed stick for charity to benefit the Thomas Blake, Sr. Memorial Cancer Research Fund. Want it? Bid here.

(images Women's Health via Drop Shots, Vibe)

MEDIA MASHUP: Nole heats up chilly St. Anton with Marat + Tipsy, will join Rafa for charity event

Novak Djokovic recently met up with compatriot Janko Tipsarevic for an exhibition at the ski resort St. Anton in Austria.

Tipsy was a last minute replacement for Marat Safin who pulled out of the exo after spraining his ankle in practice. The Russian returned to Valencia to visit his doctor but not before taking a few candid shots with Nole *swoons*:

I wonder why I love tennis so? Anyway the Masters Cup champ, who debuted the new metallic silver Barricades during the match, was defeated by his compatriot 9-8 (4).

And more interesting Nole news: he was invited by top baller Rafael Nadal to take part in the "Friends of Iker vs. Friends of Rafa" charity event tomorrow! Other tennis ballers taking part include David Ferrer + Fernando Verdasco. I can't wait to see video/images from THAT event...oy.

In the meantime, here's some video in German from the exo match featuring a furry Nole + Tipsy. Feel free to leave the translation in the comments section.


(image via

PHOTO OP: Day 10 of Murray's off-season training intensive - it's the Winter Olympics in Miami!

Andy Murray, who recently confirmed his sponsorship with Fred Perry for 2009, continued his off-season training intensive in Miami with the team's self-styled Winter Olympics.

DAY 10

The Olympics begin with the 100 metres which gave hottie Ross Hutchins the early lead. The 400 metre, won handily by Andy, followed and seemed to knock a few members of Team Murray off their blocks.

Then, the high-jump came next with Andy taking this event as well. The bench press was supposed to be next, but the team hit the courts for some tennis practice and vowed to complete the Winter Olympics today.

PS - Check out the last pic: Andy's getting pretty freakin' strong. Beware ballers!

(image via

PHOTO OP: Ana poses for Verano '09 calendar, layers the cheese on thickly

Wannabe model Ana Ivanovic is appearing in a 2009 calendar for sponsor Verano. The calendar is a special edition and won't be on sale to the public.

You mean I won't be able to have Ana doing her best Bob the Builder on my wall? Boo hoo.

Let's hope the Serb was contractually forced into eating this cheese plate. Otherwise, she's a lost cause.

Click here and here for more images - if you dare.

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Serena vlogs from Rock n' Racquets, demonstrates questionable warm-up practices

Serena Williams uploaded more vlogs from behind-the-scenes at Rock n' Racquets this weekend.

In the videos, ReRe is at her loopy best as she demonstrates a few of her "warm-up techniques" including band work, "chi" (which I think is her f-ed up version of "tai chi"), and some form of rap (which I'm guessing warms up her vocal cords for grunting.)

Seriously, if this is how the US Open champ warms up I can see why her hamstring has bothered her for the last month or so and has forced ReRe out of the Hopman Cup in January.

She does offer an Oscar-worthy job of acting healthy, though.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

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

(Rock n' Racquets: Columbia, SC)

Smiley + smoochy Anando like airport action
Rafa not picky with fans, just himself
Andy's off-season training intensive: Days 3 + 4, 5 + 6, 7, 8, 9
ReRe + Common split
V gives good quote
A-Rod's body shot for charity
Peter Bodo kicks then kisses ATP ass
Jurgen's trophy girlfriend
ReRe isn't all cried out over Common...yet
Tennis Channel needs shorty-short action, sign up here!
Mallorcan Matador back in training, promotes charity event
At least one Serbian Sister is actually training
Shrieka and the shorty-locks

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

(image via ATP Tennis Photos)

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