Google Down the Line!: 2009-02-08

Friday, February 13, 2009

Letter to DtL readers: Friday is a good day but maybe not for blogging

Kalil + me, Brooklyn

Hey guys,

Posting may be slow to non-existent today because my partner, Kalil, and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary together!

*confetti, horns*

Yeah, it's a good day.

Talk later,


(image via me)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

PHOTO OP: Grigor pushes Rafa in Rotterdam, debuts cuteness to the world

Well, hello Grigor Dmitrov.

The rising 17-year old, who won the 2008 junior boys' titles at Wimbledon + US Open, pushed top baller Rafael Nadal in the Rotterdam second round going the distance before succumbing 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.

Obvs Grigor, who works a sweet one-handed backhand, is one to watch and in more ways than one. I mean, cute much?

*hides from authorities*

PS - This one's for you Tessa!

(images via Getty)

Serena joins chorus of anti-WADA voices, describes measures as "very invasive"

Serena Williams has become the latest high-profile baller to come out against the new anti-doping measures aka the WADA code.

The current WTA Penthouse resident, who crushed Karolina Sprem 6-1, 6-2 in Paris today, has joined Rafael Nadal + Andy Murray in calling the new measures too extreme:

I think it's too much. It's very invasive. ... Basically, they show up at your house on any day.

I jump from city to city all the time. First of all, I never tell people where I am because I like to do my own thing.
However, ReRe does believe the measures, though stringent, will keep the doping cases to a minimum (which they are relative to a lot of other sports):
It's definitely the purest sport, that's the only upside to it. We won't have problems in tennis that we have in other sports.
I still believe testing is needed to keep integrity in tennis but the WADA measures are too extreme.

(image via AP)

THE LOW DOWN: Matt Cronin rebuffs Djambuli quote on Shrieka - so who can we trust?

Matt Cronin over at is reporting the quote from the Russian Express about Maria Sharapova supposedly attributed to Anna Chakvetadze's father, Djambuli, is most likely false:

For those of you whop read the Russian Express story that alleged that Anna Chakvedatze’s father Djambuli told Yuri Sharapov that he has lost all control of Maria, that story is said to have no basis in reality. Mr. Chakvetadze and Sharapova are not friends and would never have such a conversation.

Due to the massive cutbacks in the publishing industry, reporting, or lack there of, has grown increasingly sketchy, while the editing, or the lack there of, has also hit the skids. How is it, for example, that two separate wire stories on Sharapova’s withdrawals from Paris and Dubai hit the news rolls a week apart and that the second one is being treated as a new story with real news value? How is it that it was reported that Sania Mirza pulled out of Fed Cup last week with a torn abdominal muscle and is back on court this week at the Pattaya Open. It must have been no more of a muscle strain.

Due to the lousy world economy, there are fewer on site reporters these days, which increases the size of the black hole of tennis reporting. Outside of the Slams, there are not enough common threads running through the sport, and fans are forced to guess as to the playing level and the lifestyles of the competitors. There are tons of fans blogs, and some of them are very good, but because they aren’t out there reporting, they are forced to rely on the same small information flow coming out of most tournaments and are forced to guess as to what’s really going on. Moreover, the tours are once again not doing a good enough job promoting their players and are frequently waiting for journalists to come to them rather than pitching interesting stories. They need to help the sport come alive, rather than watching it sleep post the Aussie Open.
Great work Matt. And, the point about the Tours not doing enough to promote the ballers is spot on. But I would go one step further and say some mainstream tennis media are also lacking in real, in-depth reporting and not vetting the information they're receiving either.

Exhibit A: I got the quote from's "The Ticker" which I believed had information that was verified as "true" by the editors at the site. Clearly, it was not and now seems to have been taken down from their site.

If we, as bloggers who don't have "access", can't trust the information coming from mainstream tennis sources, who can we trust?

PS - Thanks to an anonymous DtL reader for the tip off on Matt's story!

(image via

VIDEO VAULT: Behind-the-scenes of The Balearic Islands campaign with Rafisca

Thanks to rabid Rafanatic Johanne for sending me over this video of Rafael Nadal!

As you all know, the Mallorcan Matador is starring in the new ad campaign for The Balearic Islands and was featured in their beautifully dreamy TV spot.

Well, here's some great behind-the-scenes footage of the making of that piece which also features a guest appearance by the very pretty Xisca (why does she have to seem so nice?!).

Now fans of Rafisca always wish them well, but some of them (I won't mention names - protecting the "innocent" and all) would give their left anything to trade places with her for a day, hour, and/or minute. Just puttin' it out there.



Get your own personalized, limited-edition Rafa, Rog + Andys

Rafael Nadal

Illustrator/Artist Vietnam The Movie, based out of Stroud in Gloucestershire, has released these cool, limited-edition prints of some of the world's top baller boys.

Only 100 of these prints will be produced, cost 15.53 pounds each ($22.13), and are available in various finishes and sizes.

Click here to order.

Roger Federer

Andy Murray

Andy Roddick

(via Tennis Served Fresh; images via

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: JJ + Mladjan get cozy and cuddly for Hello! magazine

A glammed up Jelena Jankovic, who entered a war-of-words with Roger Federer recently, took part in a photoshoot for the Serbian edition of Hello! magazine with her super sexy boy toy Mladjan Janovic. *swoons*

The pair are seemingly going strong and look great in this editorial. Can she BE any luckier?

Anyway, it's funny to see JJ getting photographed on her fave left side again. I mean, does she even have a right side? I have my guesses.

UPDATE: Here's the cover shot featuring the sexy Serbian couple (thanks HCFoo!). Guess which side of JJ was shot???

(image via Women Tennis Photos)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PHOTO OP: Eye candy goes hand in hand in Rotterdam

Rafael Nadal struggled through his opening round match against Simone "The Beautiful" Bolelli in Rotterdam but managed to scrape through in the end.

The top seed defeated his Italian foe 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 converting only 3 of 15 break point chances. He'll next face 17-year old Bulgarian wild card (and '08 junior Wimbledon + US Open champ) Grigor Dmitrov for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Oh to be in the front row during this eye candy match - there are no words.

*goes speechless*

(image via Getty)

Quote of the Day: Dzhamal Chakvetadze on Shrieka

Maria's mind is not on tennis these days, it's on love. I talked to her father Yuri some days ago. He doesn't know what to do. He's lost all his influence with his daughter. Masha has completely stopped listening to him. During the last six months, she has become used to the good life and is in the middle of a love affair, she doesn't need anyone except this guy.

- Dzhamal Chakvetadze on Maria Sharapova

A 21-year old woman wants to run her own life and enjoy a romantic relationship with a special someone (most likely Charlie Ebersol). Shocker!

I'm the first one who wants to see Shrieka healthy and back on the court but if this is true I'm happy for her. It's important to have other things going on besides tennis, tennis, tennis. Plus, it's good she wants to make decisions for herself and not suffer under the heavy thumb of father Yuri.

So, get over it.

(image via

Ana settles on new coach, hires Craig Kardon

(Billie Jean King + Craig Kardon)

Ana Ivanovic has finally settled on a full-time coach.

The Roland Garros champ, who was rumored to be looking towards Dave Rineberg, has chosen American Craig Kardon. Kardon is a former pro who previously worked with Martina Navratilova (during her run to a record 9th Wimbledon title), Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati, Alexandra Stevenson, and Xavier Malisse. He also runs his own online coaching center.

Ana made the announcement via her website saying,
I’m happy to begin working with Craig. We’re going to see how it goes in the beginning and then I’ll make a decision about the longer-term future.

I feel like I made good progress during the Fed Cup tie and I’m not so far away from finding my old form. Craig has a lot of experience, he encourages attacking tennis and I am hopeful we will achieve some good results together.
Congrats to Kardon for the new gig and to Ana for making the decision to find a full-time coach with solid credentials. Let's hope he can get the Serb into top form before she has to defend her French Open title in about two months time.

(image via

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

VIDEO VAULT: Two top-ranked ballers hit the Rotterdam courts - which one is more dominant?

Thanks to DtL reader Sabine for sending me over this video of Rafael Nadal in Rotterdam!

The 6-time Grand Slammer took some time out from his tourney preparations to crack some groundies with champion wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands.

But don't be fooled people: the Dutch lady baller has been ranked World No.1 since 1999 and has been unbeaten since 2003. Take that Rafa (and pretty much anyone who plays a pro sport)!

Seriously, Esther's 360 moves are def scary. I don't think I'd want to face her on court. EVER.


(image via Getty)

(UPDATED) Jankovic hits back at Federer comments, "Why does he need to do that?" says JJ

Jelena Jankovic thinks Roger Federer should back off.

The former WTA Penthouse resident hit back on comments made by Fed last month saying a baller who hasn't won a Grand Slam shouldn't hold the top ranking:

Why should he even care? I don't like putting my nose in other's business.

I mean, one thing I like about Nadal is that he is such a great champion, he is so humble, always has kind words for everybody, he is a role model for everybody.

Federer is a great champion, I don't want to get in a fight with him but why does he care, I really don't understand.

Why does he need to do that?
JJ also made reference to some the Swiss' comments about fellow Serb Novak Djokovic's mid-match retirement during his Aussie Open quarterfinal match:
I don't think it's nice to attack other players. If he retired, he probably had his reasons, he knows better. You cannot attack someone when you don't have proof, when you don't have a piece of evidence.

There is no reason to offend him that way.
You know, I'm all for any baller speaking their mind so kudos to both JJ and Fed for expressing how they feel. There are too many instances these days of top ballers spouting off generic media talking points or answering scripted questions *yawn* so it's refreshing to hear these statements, regardless of how you feel about the issues. Nothing wrong with a little spice to heat things up.

Besides, what the hell would I blog about, right?

*looks inquisitively into distance*

UPDATE: Here's the quote in question. Fed was discussing Andy Murray's chances of becoming the top baller after falling to the Brit baller in Doha...
Things change very quickly. But I hope if [Andy] were to become No.1 he would win a slam - not like the women's side. No disrespect to Jelena Jankovic but it took Rafa five grand slams to become No.1.
He says "no disrespect" but when you bring someone's name into the conversation, you're asking for trouble. Just sayin'.

(image via AFP)

SIGHTING: Rafa gets a new ride, picks up sparkling new Aston Martin

Baby's got a brand new car.

Rafael Nadal was spotted with momma, Ana Maria, and coach Uncle Toni recently checking out his beautiful brand new Aston Martin. Oh, what an appropriate car for the man with the most famous ass-ets in the world.

Ride it Rafa...ride it well.

PS - Thanks to DtL readers Meri, Maja, + Lisa for the tip off!

(images via zimbio)

MEDIA MASHUP: Tati, Dani, and Kiri featured in Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Issue

The Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Issue featuring Tatiana Golovin, Daniela Hantuchova, and Maria Kirilenko has been released and showcases the lady ballers on the beaches of the Dominican Republic working designer swimwear. has also provided some behind-the-scenes footage of the shoots with the ladies.


Click here for more images from the Swimsuit Issue. Tati, Dani, + Kiri also sat down for an interview with the mag (click on their name to read the piece.) The most memorable lines?

Who's your dream guy? "I think I found one. I've been dating my boyfriend for a year." [Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri].

Dani: Every girl has her dating checklist. What are your top three deal breakers when dating? "I don't like when the guy is late, speaks only about himself and doesn't open the door for me."

Kiri: People have said that I look like..."Not sure who do I look like, but people say I look like a princess."

Thanks to DtL readers Jason + Sarah for the tip!

(images via Sports Illustrated)

Monday, February 9, 2009

SIGHTING: Serena + Common spotted on LAX security line - are they together again?

Serena Williams was spotted in the security line at LAX recently with on-again, off-again, whatever-again boy toy Common. The 10-time Grand Slammer stopped by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno while on the West Coast last week.

I mean, SERIOUSLY - didn't they supposedly just break up their non-relationship? I've become so confused about these two that I've now decided to call a spade a spade: these two are just good friends with great benefits.

We've all had them (fine - a lot) and ReRe and Common have all the makings of this type of relationship: lots of hanging out and playing together but no commitments and a total denial of any relationship.

It's like an advanced level booty call. So enjoy guys.

PS - Thanks Maja!

(images via

DtL Weekly Poll Results: Nando + JD most likely to make biggest impact this season

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's poll (385 votes for the boys, 253 votes for the ladies) asking which ballers would make the biggest impact on the ATP World Tour and WTA Tour this season.

Based on their outstanding performances at last month's Aussie Open, Fernando Verdasco + Jelena Dokic received the most overall votes. Nando reached his first Grand Slam semifinal and played the longest match in Oz history falling to eventual champ Rafael Nadal in five epic sets. JD was the feel good story of the fortnight coming out of the tennis doldrums to reach the quarterfinals after defeating Anna Chakvetadze + Caroline Wozniacki along the way.

The full results of the polls are as follows:

Fernando Verdasco - 54%
Gilles Simon - 16%
Juan Martin del Potro - 13%
Ernests Gulbis - 8%
Marin Cilic - 4%
Gael Monfils - 2%
Bernard Tomic - 1%

What's interesting here is Ernests Gulbis, who has yet to win his maiden ATP title, received more votes than Marin Cilic who already has two singles titles under his belt this season (Chennai, Zagreb) and three overall. Where's the love peeps?!

Jelena Dokic - 37%
Victoria Azarenka - 24%
Carla Suarez Navarro - 19%
Alize Cornet - 11%
Laura Robson - 3%
Michelle Larcher de Brito - 1% (5 votes)
Alisa Kleybanova - 1% (4 votes)

The result of the ladies poll isn't too surprising though most voters don't seem to think Alisa will build on her upset of Ana Ivanovic and the fourth round showing in Oz. In fact, she was beaten out by up-and-comer Laura and barely by Michelle. I wonder if this decision was based on the Russian teen's seeming lack of fitness because the girl can sure hit a ball.

If you voted, I'd love to hear the reasons you chose the ballers you did.

THIS WEEK'S POLL: Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have both come out against the new WADA anti-doping measures while Roger Federer has defended them. What do you think about the WADA policy being implemented in tennis? VOTE NOW!

(images via Getty)

MEDIA MASHUP: Shrieka and Cole Haan ad campaign to launch, talks collaboration with ET

The collaboration between Nike subsidiary Cole Haan and Maria Sharapova is about to enter its full-fledged launch.

The Russian fashionista, who's slated to return in March from injured-reserve, will be starring in the brand's new ad campaign for her collection of handbags and shoes. It debuts this week in the March issue of Vanity Fair.

The ads will also appear in Conde Nast mags Vogue and Lucky, Hearst Magazines’ Harper’s Bazaar, Time Inc.’s InStyle and American Express Publishing’s Travel + Leisure while a catalog of the collection will be polybagged in the April issue of Hachette Filipacchi Media's Elle.

BONUS: Here's Shrieka discussing her relationship with Nike, the Cole Haan collection, and some behind-the-scenes footage from the campaign shoot on Entertainment Tonight...

(via Maria Sharapova Blog)

Fedophiles overwhelm - will they be reborn?

Apparently Roger Federer's Aussie Open final loss and now infamous post-match moment has fired up the Fedophiles.

The 13-time Grand Slammer penned a new note to his fans via his website thanking them for their avalanche of support post-Oz:

Dear Fans

I would like to thank you for the overwhelming amount of messages and letters you sent me this past week. Losing the Australian Open final certainly hurt, but it is important to move on and focus on the challenges lying ahead. I feel fine and fit and am eager to get back on court. I have enjoyed a few days off, which was great, and will soon be training again.

Thank you once again for supporting me and giving me such a lot of positive input! A lot of you have noticed that my website was slow after the final Down Under. The reason for that was the enormous amount of traffic – more than we had ever experienced before. New hardware for the server has been ordered and will be installed as soon as possible so that you can enjoy without hassles in the future!

Kind regards

Uh-oh. Could it be possible that the loss and his subsequent pool of tears put fire in their belly and has given him and his fanbase new life?!

Rafanatics, you've been warned...

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Andy in training, practices new abdominal strengthening exercises

Andy Murray is back to his training ways at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton.

The Brit baller is continuing to strengthen those sick abs of his before getting back to the ATP World Tour. He's practicing some oldies but goodies (like the Superman above) but also including some new ones courtesy of Strength & Conditioning Coach Matty "Treacle" Little.

In this exercise, Andy begins in a kneeling position with his arms resting on the ball in front. He slowly begins to straighten out his body until it's completely flat, engaging all the vital core muscles then rolls back for the next repetition:

Treacle continues to up the ante with this exercise. Andy begins completely horizontal on his back and, using his core muscles, begins lifting his lower body through 45 degress until he's completely vertical. Phew! *completely out of breath*

The last core strengthening practice begins with Andy horizontally on his side, bottom arm stretched out holding a dumb-bell. He slowly rolls the dumb-bell towards himself using his abdominals to lift his body to about 45 degrees then proceeds to roll back down slowly - ouch.

Okay these are some serious exercises but I can so appreciate his commitment to continuing the strength and fitness work.

(image via

The FED CUP Chronicles: Flavia's "Fingergate" highlights opening weekend

The quarterfinal round in FED CUP action took place this weekend with the following results in the World Group Play0ffs:

US 3, Argentina 2

0, Italy 5

Czech Republic 4, Spain 1

Russia 5, China 0

The biggest news coming out of this weekend's ties was "Fingergate", an incident that occurred during Flavia Pennetta's match against Amelie Mauresmo. The Italian baller became irate and flipped off Chair Umpire Louise Engzell after she overruled an in-call during the tense second set tie-break; she received a warning for her bhavior.

The overrule gave Amelie a match point but the Frenchie, who was clearly still feeling the effects of the moment, double-faulted and proceeded to lose the match 2-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4. Suffice it to say the 2-time Grand Slammer was not pleased with Flavia's behavior or Engzell's reaction to the incident:

At that moment, I didn't really see and cotton on. She gave the finger - she should have been removed right away.
There are rules and the rules need to be applied. When Zidane head butted in the World Cup final he was thrown out of the match, the same thing should have been done here.
The French team submitted a complaint to the FED CUP committee but ITF Executive Vice President Juan Margets made it known they will choose whether or not to receive it, but the "chances of the score being reversed is pretty unlikely."

I'm not clear on the exact wording of the rules here so I won't speculate, but what seems obvious is Amelie should have closed out this match, regardless of the questionable decision-making by the chair. But it's not surprising - it's just an another unfortunate moment for her during a very unfortunate turn-of-events.

(image via AFP)

VANtage Point: Looking back at Jo'burg, looking forward to Paris

Welcome back to VANtage Point! You might’ve been thinking that I wouldn’t return after predicting such big things for career journeymen Bjorn Phau and Benny Becker last week, but I remain undaunted! To ask one rank-and-file pro to do well at a tournament was probably pushing it, but two? I was really asking for it. But that’s how I roll. (Don’t you love that phrase?) Anyway, on to the Point!

A Look Back: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended up winning the ATP 250 stop in Jo’burg last week as called here at the Point. But as I mentioned, I miffed on expecting Phau and Becker to make runs. However, if you look in the comments, I did make a mention of Chardy possibly doing well. (I know, that’s kind of lame, but I’ll take it!) Congrats to Jo-Willy!

This Week’s Spotlight: I was a little torn on picking what event to look at this week (something I’m sure will happen throughout the season) because one of my favorite ATP stops is the San Jose tournament. However, you can’t deny the star power over in Paris as the Open GDF Suez taking place on the WTA Tour. I mean, come on: Serena, Elena, JJ, Alize—the list goes on and on. Well, not really, since it’s only a 32-player draw, but you know what I mean! The winter indoor season kicks off in earnest here.

Player to Watch: With all those big names, whom do I go with? I think I’m going to go with the biggest name of them all, Serena Williams. After she won the Aussie Open, she said she wanted to get back to her dominant ways. Doing it at the Slams is good and all, but I think you have to establish that at the weekly stops, too. Will she be able to do it here, so soon after winning a major? Will she bail at the last minute? Will she win the whole thing? Someone help me, I don’t have all the answers!

The Final Four: Elena Dementieva over Serena Williams; Jelena Jankovic over Alisa Kleybanova.

And the Winner Is: The Dementieva train keeps rollin’ as she nabs her third title of the year.

Van Sias writes the blog Talk Tennis, Anyone?

(image via Getty)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Jo-Willy, Gonzo, Marin

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Johannesburg

As Van predicted, Jo-Willy defeated his compatriot and first-time finalist Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win in Johannesburg and earn his third ATP World Tour title (Bangkok, Paris Masters). He also raced through the draw without dropping a set all week - nice.

Fernando Gonzalez - Vina del Mar

Gonzo grabbed his fourth title at his home tourney, crushing good friend Jose Acasuso 6-1, 6-3 to win at Vina del Mar. The Chilean baller earned his 11th career ATP World Tour title and, like Jo-Willy, blew through his draw without dropping a single set.

Marin Cilic - Zagreb

In a battle of Croats, rising start Marin Cilic beat Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4 at their home tourney in Zagreb earning his third ATP World Tour title (New Haven, Chennai).

(image via Getty)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

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

Rafa topples Rog in Oz, raises trophy in triumph
Post-match pool of tears
Rafa + Andy give good quote
VANtage Point: Welcome!
Aussie Open '09 wrap-ups: The Boys & The Ladies
Ana wears Rolex, talks Melbourne
Murray gets frosty
Will Rineberg join Team Ana?
Rafa backs Phelps
Should these post-match moments be stopped?
Rafanatics Gone Wild!
Keeping up with Kiri
Did the "LIVE CHAT" with Rafa crash the server?
Nando revealed
Rafa shoots TV ad
Shrieka shoulder issues continue, looks towards March return
Madona gets her (full) dress on
Justine + Kim gear up for exos
Queen of Oz visits Jay Leno

(image via ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...