Google Down the Line!: 2009-03-08


Saturday, March 14, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Nole on adidas falcon theme


It’s one of my favorite animals, and I think it describes in some ways my personality as well. I play a pretty aggressive game, and I’m very emotional, and I’m kind of connected to that bird.

My grandfather used to call me always when I was younger, ‘falcon, falcon’ – doesn’t make any sense in English, but in our language it does.

- Novak Djokovic at his Indian Wells presser discussing the falcon theme of his current adidas duds

Er, I would've picked a peacock for you Nole. Just sayin'.

(image via adidas)

Open Letter to Sveta: Take a break, you need it (badly)


Dear Sveta,

Hey! I really like you. You seem to have a fun + friendly personality and I hear you get along with pretty much everyone on the WTA Tour. That's nice.

I even like your game - that is, when you're not getting in your own way. You know what I'm talking about, the way you have of obsessively thinking about it during a match to the point where all moments of spontaneity and creativity are completely destroyed. It's like throwing cold water on a brightly burning flame.

If I remember correctly back to 2004 when you had that surprise run to your first and only major championship to date - the U.S. Open - you're an all-court lady baller with shots to spare. But for some reason you've made the unwise decision of parking your Russian arse at the baseline all...day...long.

The results speak for themselves: lost 10 of your last 11 final appearances, suffered a second round loss in Dubai to Elena Vesnina, and only reached two quarterfinal appearances to date at Syndey and the Aussie Open where you served for the match against eventual winner Serena Williams and then crumbled.

Now you've been upset in the second round of Indian Wells by 18-year old Urszula Radwanska 2-6, 6-4, 3-6 after being up a break in the third set. She's a talented baller but still raw and not at your level at all. But you found a way to lose. Yes, YOU found a way to lose a match you should've won. And as last year's finalist and World No.8 you'll be taking a hugh hit in the rankings and will most likely fall out of the Top 10. Let's not even discuss Miami where you made the semifinals last season - the field will be much deeper (read: the Williams sisters return).

So my advice? Step off the baseline. In fact, step off the court completely and take a break to clear your mind and get some head shrinking. The Tour will be here when you get back but it needs you to be in better shape. And I would think you'd want that for yourself too.

(image via getty)

Vaida showing some solid form at Indian Wells - is a career turnaround next?


Nicole Vaidisova may be starting to put the brakes on her career free fall at Indian Wells.

The Czech lady baller crushed 24th seed Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 6-1 in the tourney's second round and began the week by dismissing wildcard Michaelle Krajicek 6-3, 6-4 in her first match. Now, these wins wouldn't normally be newsworthy but for someone who's been struggling to move past first and second rounds this is a mini-breakthrough. Vaida, who holds the 80th spot in the rankings, will be happy to take whatever she can get from them - namely some much needed confidence.

Moreover, the 19-year old recently reunited with stepdad + coach Alex Kodat who helped steer her to a pair of Grand Slam semifinals (Roland Garros, Aussie Open) in her very young career. It seems some emotional rifts may have been healed.

And, if ever there ever was a sign of growing maturity, this decision might be it.

(image via getty)

Friday, March 13, 2009

+ FRIDAY NETCORDS: "Bring Your Giant Russian to School" Day


* Kim Clijsters will be playing two matches for the St. Louis Aces in World Team Tennis this summer. The Belgian baller will make her debut on July 21 in St. Louis and play in Philadelphia on July 22. So about those comeback rumors...you were sayin'? [The Denver Post]

* After deciding he just wasn't that into Roger Federer, Darren "Killer" Cahill has decided to join the successful adidas baller development program and will work along side Gil Reyes + Sven Groenefeld. I guess it all worked out for the best since the program and his family are both based in Las Vegas. Boy it's nice to have these incredible options - Killer must be damn good. [TennisGrandStand]

* Vera Zvonareva, who already owns an undergraduate degree in sports management, has been enrolled in a three-year postgraduate program at a diplomatic academy supported by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She's interested in possible post-tennis career at the United Nations. Love that but really, who wudda thunk it? [ESPN]

(image via getty)

PHOTO OP: Rossie returns, gives Murray a hand


The doubles pairing of Andy Murray + Ross Hutchins made their debut at Indian Wells today.

The Brit ballers defeated the team of Tomas Berdych + Nicolas Kiefer 6-4, 0-6, 10-7 in the tourney's first round and will face either Mario Ancic + Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or the Brazilian team of Andre Sa + Marcelo Melo (love that name).

It's nice to see Andy + Ross together again after seeing so much of them during their shirtless off-season workouts in Miami. Wait - who am I kidding? Andy Shmandy, we see him all the time. It's damn good to see Rossie again even with his shirt on!

Beggars can't be choosers I say. *swoons*



(images via getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Mario the Renaissance Man loves ladies of all kinds


Mario Ancic sat down for a fun Q & A with a show called Ace The Tennis Show.

So on top of being a world-class athlete the towering Croat, who earned a law degree last year, prefers the night over day, reads more books than magazines, likes walks on the beach, and women of all kind.

Single ladies - are you listening? Jump that NOW.

CHECK IT:



(via Game, Set, Match)

Fed + Andre reportedly in talks for MSG exhibition next March - who'll watch Baby Mango then?


Roger Federer can't seem to stay out of the news this week.

The 13-time Grand Slammer was supposedly rebuffed by Darren Cahill as a potential coach, announced the upcoming birth of Baby "Mango", and now the latest: he + Andre Agassi are in talks to meet up for and exo event at Madison Sqaure Garden next March!

After the success of his exo with Pete Sampras last season and the ladies' BJK Cup a few weeks ago, the organizers are looking to build an annual tradition of tennis at the Garden.

OMG - this pairing would make a phenomenal exo. Let's make this happen boys - and I'll even babysit too (and possibly blog about it - shhhh)!

(via LynnLovesTennis)

FASHION FIX: Shrieka's stylish return to tennis, defeated in doubles action at Indian Wells


She's baaack! Well, kinda of course.

Maria Sharapova made her long-awaited return to tennis action at Indian Wells yesterday after seven months on injured reserve for a balky right shoulder. The Russian glamazon teamed up with compatriot Elena Vesnina for doubles but the wildcard pair were narrowly defeated by Ekaterina Makarova + Tatiana Poutchek, 6-1, 4-6, 10-7.


Afterwards, Shrieka told the press she was anxious to see how her shoulder would hold up and what she was hoping to achieve in her return:

It feels very good to be back, I just wanted to test it out. I started training a couple of months ago. I just wanted to... test it out in a match situation and get a little different scenery than the practice court and play in front of the crowd, so that was exciting.

The main goal for here was just to get out there and be in that atmosphere again. The hump I've got to get through right now is to put together two weeks of coming out to the court and playing two or three sets every day, and doing that for seven or eight days in a row. Right now I'm able to do maybe three days or four days and then I have to take it easy on the fifth.

The 21-year old was also asked about the next steps in her recovery. "I'm done with setting a timetable for myself. Those days are over," said Shrieka. Alrighty then.


I LOVE these new Nike duds Shrieka was wearing in her match. She has one of the best eyes for style on the court and this ensemble is quite fitting for her: a simple cream tank paired with an elegant high-waisted gauzy skirt in a pale yellow-green colorway featuring a gathered waistband. Quite the stylish return indeed.

These pieces don't seem to be part of Nike's Spring/Summer '09 collection so I'm thinking they were specially designed with Shrieka in mind. I'll be sure to let you know if they do eventually become available for purchase.

In any case, welcome back Shrieka. You've been sorely missed!

(images via ap)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: You don't grip it 'til it turns blue silly


* Roger Federer, 27, says about Rafa: "I am really motivated because I don't know how much better he can play. I don't know how much better I can play but I am right there and he's playing the tennis of his life." Rafa's only 22-years old Fed. You may want to rethink those thoughts. [ESPN]

* Former Gasquet & Racquet blogger Ed McGowan gives his picks on which ballers have the most to gain in the next few weeks [TENNIS]

* Holy crap: tickets for this May's "A Centre Court Celebration" featuring Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters, and Tim Henman sold out in 5 friggin' minutes. I know one DtL reader who got her mitts on some (hint: she "snatched" them up with a quickness.) [Tennishead]

* Anna Chakvetadze's website has been relaunched - yay! Now can we do the same for her game? [SEWTA]

(image via getty)

BREAKING: Mirka is totally preggers announces Fed!!!


So it's not an engagement ring but maybe something better for the ever-patient Mirka Vavrinec.

Roger Federer announced his long-time girlfriend is PREGNANT via his website:

Dear Fans

I arrived in Indian Wells earlier this week and I am eager to get back out on court. My back is feeling much better and I am ready to go.

I also have some really awesome news to share with all of you: Mirka and I are excited to let you know that we will be parents this summer! Mirka is pregnant and we are so happy to be starting a family together. This is a dream come true for us. We love children and we are looking forward to being parents for the first time. Mirka is feeling great and everything is going well.

Speak soon and thanks for all your continued support!

Roger

OMG - I really thought they were pregnant last year, or at least trying, after the rumors and the mysterious weight gain. Maybe something happened then.

But in any case congrats to RoKa and thanks to Pamela for the tip off!!!

PS - I'm putting my hat in the ring and offering up names: Ralph for a boy, Lauren for a lady. Perfection for the preppy fashionista!

What says you?

DO TELL!

PHOTO OP: Even Rafa can't stand his own funk


Rafael Nadal was spotted freshening up during a practice session at Indian Wells.

Wait - why is that bottle so huge? Is he seasoning those pits or just deodorizing??

Must be pretty stank.

(image via reuters)

FASHION FIX: Sorana crushed in doubs but wins style game at Indian Wells


Sorana Cirstea + doubles partner Galina Voskoboeva had a short but not so sweet time at Indian Wells. The pair were crushed by the American pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands + Mashona Washington 6-2, 6-2. Maybe the 32nd seeded Romanian will have better luck in singles when she battles Russian Elena Vesnina in the second round.


I'm liking these adidas duds Sorana is wearing here. She's working the Winter Adilibria Cap-Sleeve ($40) in White with the Winter Adilibria Skort ($40) also in White. The top features some great feminine detailing to add texture including a squared off scoop neck with pintuck pleat details, puff cap sleeves, ribbon detail along the bustline, extra long length with a fitted waist for a bloussant effect while the skort (still don't love them) showcases nice pleating. The Cap-Sleeve also comes in Neon Yellow which could've looked great against the Romanian's dark features actually.

It's certainly a much better design than the Adilibria Dress Ana Ivanovic has been wearing FOREVER. Why didn't they just have Ana wear this outfit just to mix up her styles?

Anyway, nice choice for Sorana.

(image via getty)

Speed takes hit after off-season training admits JJ, though RightSide may be at fault too


Jelena Jankovic finally admitted what most fans already knew: she built up strength during the off-season at the expense of her speed and has paid the price.

The once speedy Serb hasn't been to a WTA Tour final yet this season after winning three tourneys last fall and ending the year in the WTA Penthouse. She discussed the issue with the press gathered for the WTA media day at Indian Wells saying,

I did a lot of things for my endurance and I had some problems moving. I lost my speed on the court and I lost my reaction. I lost my biggest weapon. Until now, I was having trouble reacting and moving, especially with my returns and getting that first step. I just lost that and I have been trying to get that back.

I hope to get my game together and start playing on a high level again. That is my goal for this moment. I am not thinking about anything else. I am not putting expectations on myself.

However, JJ remains confident about her ability to turn her game around after winning the race to become year-end No.1 last season:

I ended the year in a really good way when I had a lot of pressure on me. Everybody wanted to finish number one and I am only the ninth player to do that. I really wanted that number one position and I knew I had to win three tournaments in a row to secure my ranking. And I have done that.

I proved to myself I was able to play on a high level, play under pressure and take on that role as the number one player in the world. I really liked that challenge.

True enough JJ. Your lack of speed recently has caused you to go for low-percentage shots when out of position and that formula is the kiss of death for someone whose game is based on consistency and forcing errors from their opponent.

The season is still very young so let's hope this newfound clarity about your game will help you round into form. But you still can't argue with the body that came from the hard work - DAMN - though I still think being lopsided might be part of the problem.

(image via getty)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

+ WEDNESDAY NETCORDS: Who told Fed to work cap sleeves (not cute)?


* Joel Drucker, who's been covering Indian Wells since 2001, provides a intriguing timeline of happenings and interviews surrounding the decision by Venus + Serena Williams to boycott the tourney. After reading it I only have one thing to say: see what you started Lena? [ESPN]

* Remember that supposed moment of tennis giving back by the ATP World Tour? More like "tennis talking smack". It seems the execs may be pulling the old "robbing Peter to pay Paul" scheme by offering tourneys a return since no Tour-wide sponsor has been secured yet. If a tourney opts for the rebate now, they won't receive monies once a global sponsor is signed. Damn you ATP...damn you! *raises fists of fury* [Doug's Sports Dish]

* Steve Tignor gives his previews + predictions for the BNP Paribas Open boy's and ladies' draws, choosing Rafael Nadal + Dinara Safina as champs and ending the men's preview by saying "you bet against Rafa at your peril these days." Good thing our boy Van wasn't listening! [TENNIS]

(image via nytimes.com)

PHOTO OP: It's tennis not badminton baby


Jelena Jankovic was spotted getting her practice on ahead of her campaign for a maiden Indian Wells championship and first title of the year.

Hmmm - maybe this explains her crappy results recently.

(image via AP)

BREAKING: Fed + Cahill will not be working together, "traveling" to blame says Godsick


The pairing of Roger Federer + Darren Cahill is over before it even began reports The New York Times:

Federer, the 13-time Grand Slam singles champion from Switzerland, and Cahill, one of the most successful coaches in tennis, have long been considered a likely match. Both are understated and analytical, and Federer has a strong connection with Cahill’s home country of Australia.

But according to Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, Federer and Cahill will not be working together going forward, in large part because Cahill was not prepared to travel as extensively as Federer would have required. Cahill has two young children and is now based in Las Vegas, where he moved when he was coaching now-retired American star Andre Agassi. Cahill also has a second home in Adelaide, Australia.

“Darren’s a great guy, and personally I think it was a good fit, but it just didn’t go much further once it came down to the traveling,” Godsick said. “Darren thought about it once he got there. Roger is a guy who lives in Switzerland and trains in Dubai, and Darren has kind of set up a comfortable life in Vegas. And I think he realized that just being on the road 20-plus weeks would be too tough a go for him with his young family.”

Well that was a fun fantasy while it lasted (like 2 seconds). What is this The Bachelor? Maybe Fed just wasn't that into him. NEXT!!

Thanks neil in toronto for the tip off!

UPDATE: Okay the plot thickens. Apparently, Darren is the hit it and quit kind of guy - at least the way Fed tells it. Figures.

Via Tennisreporters.net:

He called me up after the Australian and asked me if I was still interested in working with him because we had contact in the last five years and after I decided not to play Davis Cup and Dubai [because of my bad back] he came to Dubai and worked a bit and we decided not to do it. It was test. He went back [home] and he told me it would be tough to do the travel with his kids and the weeks I required he couldn’t really do, so I never had to think and go too far and make a decision on my own. He took the decision for me.

I don’t have any technical flaws or problems working hard, maybe it’s about the little things, talking about the other players, some exercises in practice, it's having someone else around. But I’m very happy with the coach I have here, Severin Luthi [Switzerland's Davis Cup captain], he did all of last year, 35 weeks, so for me nothing really changes, I'll continue with the great team I have. We had a good time with Darren.

(image via gototennis)

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Gwen + Gavin take in Nole + Marat at K-Swiss Desert Smash


Gwen Stefani, son Zuma, and her sexy tennis-loving hubby Gavin Rossdale were guests at the 5th annual K-Swiss Desert Smash gala at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, CA.

The tennis and golf event benefited Variety Club of the Desert: The Children’s Charity, a group of local business leaders helping kids in need.


The famous family and their fellow celeb guests including Lance Bass, Michael Vartan, Daniel Baldwin watched a doubles match featuring the sexy pairing of Novak Djokovic + Marat Safin. Do you think they did a synchronized short dropping show, y'know for old time's sake?

One can only dream. *faints, drools on self*

UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous reader you can see more images from the day here (btw, who's the grey-shirted hottie in images #17 + 20. D-reamy.)

(image via FilmMagic)

THE LOW DOWN: IMG reportedly shutters Tennis Week magazine after 35 years

So long Tennis Week magazine.

Last year IMG, the mega sports marketing agency who bought the mag, were reportedly considering its viability after publisher Randy Master left and returned to the Tennis Channel.

Now comes word today the mag has indeed folded after 35 years:


Tennis Week Magazine has folded after 35 years of publication, TennisReporters.net has learned. Founded in 1974 by Eugene L. Scott, a former US Davis Cup player who was once ranked within the world top 15, the magazine was acquired by IMG in December of 2006, seven months after Scott’s death. It has been through a series of publishers since then and apparently, was unable to generate much cash, a big no-no when it comes to IMG’s philosophy of profit or perish. There is now word yet on whether its web site will continue to publish.
A sad day for Tennis Week mag but certainly not unexpected in these harsh economic times. Media + publishing have been one of the hardest hit since advertisers have tightened their belts tremendously. With readers turning to websites and blogs in greater numbers, many high-profile influential pubs are trying to understand how to utilize their online presence more effectively. Plus, I don't know a single person who actually read Tennis Week or even knew where to get it.

As I said last year after hearing the rumors, IMG would be smart to stick to the web which, in my opinion, is where it's happening for our sport. TennisWeek.com has a unique brand identity and seems to have a good mix of content including tennis news, sidebar "off-court" stories, editorial, and video.

(image via Tennis Week)

VANtage Point: Davis Cup doodle, Indian Wells begins!


Sorry for the delay, folks. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Van must be basking in the glory of getting so many Davis Cup picks right last weekend. How did he do it? Did he pay people off?” There’s no payola scandal or guesswork going on here at VANtage Point, my friends. Our crack team uses the latest statistics on a particular player, runs them through our high-powered jumbo supercomputer, which then produces the amount of accuracy you would come to expect at the Point! Anyway, the delay is due to the later start date of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, which I’ll discuss shortly. But first …

A Look Back: The first round of the Davis Cup has come and gone and it went pretty much how I expected. The only tie I missed the call on was Germany-Austria—that Jurgen Melzer: career journeyman if I ever saw one. He wasn’t the only one that stunk up the joint, though. I wasn’t too impressed by what Novak Djokovic and James Blake brought to the table, either. I guess France was kind of disappointing to some, but you saw it here first at the Point that the Czechs were gonna bounce them, and that they did!

This Week’s Spotlight: The men and women are goin’ back to Cali this week for the BNP Paribas Open. It starts today and the top 32 players get first-round byes. Anyone who is anyone is there, except for the Williams sisters. Roger Federer is back from “injury” and so is Maria Sharapova (sans quote marks around injury), but only to play doubles.

Players to Watch: I think you have to have your eye out for that Federer guy. This is his first match since, well, you know, that CRUSHING Australian Open finals loss. Also, Andy Murray’s been out of the loop for a couple of weeks now—what’s up with him? (I think Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will get him, but we’ll see.) You want to know who I’m really intrigued by? Andy Roddick. Does he have another Masters title in him and can he go through the Fantastic 4 to get it? As for the women, be sure to give a gander to Dinara Safina. Last year’s "It Girl" had a great Aussie Open this year, but other than that she’s had some tough losses. I actually think Victoria Azarenka will give her another one. And can the defending champ, Ana Ivanovic, break out of her slump here? Watch out for her. But all eyes will be on Sharapova. Personally, I don’t see the need to play doubles here unless you’re 100 percent, but that’s a subject for another day. Regardless, the amount of outside media attention she brings is good for the game.

The Final Fours: For the guys, I’m going with A-Rod over Rafael Nadal (Yeah, I said it!) and Federer over Tsonga. On the women’s side, I’m taking Azarenka over Vera Zvonareva and Ivanovic over Jelena Jankovic.

And the Winners Are: Federer’s “injury” timeout pays off and he takes out A-Rod in straights, while Ivanovic, like Federer, will be picking up her first title of the year here. VANtage Point won’t be around next week since this tournament is sooo long, but catch it the week after for a look at Miami!

Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone?

(image via getty)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

VIDEO VAULT: Behind-the-scenes of adidas' baller development program, moobs and all



Thanks to DtL reader Sara for sending me the link to this video about adidas' baller development program. Yay!

It's pretty interesting to hear about the program in more detail from Gil Reyes, Sven Groenefeld, and a few of the adidas execs. WTA CEO Larry Scott and ex-ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers also make appearances.

Ana Ivanovic, Fernando Verdasco, Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Querry, Sania Mirza + Grigor Dimitrov are all interviewed in the video and discuss their experiences and the great benefits of working with the coaches and trainers. Note to Nando: you don't have to work the faux-hawk when you're lifting too. Put the gel down. Just sayin'.

PS - Sara was right about Gil's moobs being straight up boobs. Ana's got nothing on him nor do most of the lady ballers, although he and ReRe could probably share sports bras.

PHOTO OP: That's what Gilles gets for losing both rubbers


(image via MTF)

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Grigor may be allergic to shirts of any kind but not flags


* Roger Federer apparently told the hosts of Swiss talk show "Glanz and Gloria" he was "embarrassed" by his post-match pool of tears at the Aussie Open in January. OMG - I was embarrassed FOR you Fed. See? It's totally cosmic. [ESPN]

* A dumbfounded Simon Reed calls the LTA's decision to offer central contracts, which are akin to salaries, to support their struggling ballers "hare-brained". Seriously, who the hell's running the joint over there, Bernie Madoff? In that case, count your pennies guys. [Eurosport]

* Sania Mirza, who's been training with Gil Reyes in Las Vegas as part of adidas' baller development program, had a recent run in with Steffi Graf in the facility's parking lot. According to Sania, the 22-time Grand Slammer was on her way in for a hit when the pair met and the Indian baller only "managed to mumble something." Hopefully it wasn't anything about that Perry Rogers lawsuit. Bad Sania! [tennis week]

(image via DimitrovFan)

Seles' upcoming autobiography too clean, needs a little dirtying up


Sarah Thurmond offers a review of Hall of Fame inductee Monica Seles' soon-to-be released (April 21) autobiography Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self for TENNIS.com which she describes as "part memoir, part personal-growth journal".

Sarah had a few issues with Moni's writings, the biggest being the lack of details or "
behind-the-scenes dirt":

About leaving the Bollettieri’s in 1990, she writes that there was “a miscommunication, misunderstanding, and a lot of hurt feelings.” She leaves out the specifics. She handles the horror in Hamburg, where a deranged Steffi Graf fan stabbed her in the back during a changeover in a match, in the same manner. Seles writes that Steffi visited her at the hospital and acted “as if nothing happened.” She’s angry that the tournament continued without her, but holds back from telling us how she really feels about Graf.

Oooh how disappointing. I think we'd all love to know what exactly transpired in the hospital room that day and what their relationship is like now. Oh Moni, do tell!

*fingers + toes crossed*

(image via open-tennis.com)

WTA's No Confidence Club gathers at Indian Wells - can somebody kill me first?


To say I'm dreading watching the WTA's Indian Wells ladies' draw play out over the coming week or so is an understatement - maybe I'd rather have my fingernails pulled off.

With no Serena or Venus Williams in sight (due to their yearly, now tiresome boycott - isn't forgiveness a virtue in their religion?) and Maria Sharapova only committing to doubles after 7 months on injured reserved, here's what we're left with as the top 10 seeds (full draw here):

1. Dinara Safina
2. Jelena Jankovic
3. Elena Dementieva
4. Vera Zvonareva
5. Ana Ivanovic
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova
7. Agnieszka Radwanska
8. Victoria Azarenka
9. Caroline Wozniacki
10. Marion Bartoli

Dinara as the top seed is bent over, gut-wrenching, "you're killing me" laughable. I mean, she hasn't been able to put a serve in the box all year. And the rest of the list, maybe with the possible exception of teen queens Vika + Wozzi, are already members of the WTA's No Confidence Club. The other two haven't been around long enough yet to earn membership but let's take a wait and see approach, shall we?

I really have little interest in waiting to see which lady baller will grab this prestigious title by making the least amount of unforced errors and double faults.

I'd rather take the first train to Yawnsville, please.

(image via getty)

VIDEO VAULT: A-Rod feels the need for speed in Michael Tolcher music video


Andy Roddick makes a guest appearance in the new video for Michael Tolcher's latest single "Speed Feels Better".

The American baller, who just led the U.S. Davis Cup team into the quarterfinals where they'll meet the tough Croats, explained how the two hooked up:


I stalked Michael until he let me into the video. But no, Michael was nice enough to play a charity event of mine a couple years ago, did a great job, so when he asked if I could be in the video I jumped at the chance to be here and repay the favor.

The video features other high-profile athletes including sexy swimmer Amanda Beard, ice skating's Kimmie Meisner, and the NFL's Barry Sanders + Rick Ankiel.

CHECK IT:



(via JustJared.com)

PHOTO OP: Serena, Nando + JJ grab some cover

A few top ballers hit the media merry-go-round and are featured on the covers of some magazines this month and next...


Serena Williams, Essence


Fernando Verdasco, XL Semanal - more images here


Jelena Jankovic, TENNIS

Monday, March 9, 2009

Andy still feeling kinda crappy, still making March Madness


VIDEO VAULT: The show must go on for Fed and let Indian Wells be the place



A Roger Federer fan named kisaragi1692 posted a pretty well made video montage today of the Swiss stylist on YouTube featuring the classic Queen anthem "The Show Must Go On" as a soundtrack.

The vid is chalk full of classic Fed highlights and, unfortunately for Andy Roddick, many of them feature sick shots made against the American. There's even a shot of an old doubles match against Rafael Nadal. But I digress.

Indian Wells begins this week and will mark the highly-anticipated return of the 13-time Grand Slammer to the ATP Tour since his heartbreaking loss to Rafael Nadal at the Aussie Open. And with this knowledge firmly in mind, I found the choice of song striking. Check the out lyrics:

Empty spaces - what are we living for?
Abandoned places - I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Another hero - another mindless crime.
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime.
Hold the line!
Does anybody want to take it anymore?
The Show must go on!
The Show must go on!
Inside my heart is breaking,
My make-up may be flaking,
But my smile, still, stays on!

Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance.
Another heartache - another failed romance.
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess i'm learning
I must be warmer now..
I'll soon be turning round the corner now.
Outside the dawn is breaking,
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free!

The Show must go on!
The Show must go on! Yeah!
Ooh! Inside my heart is breaking!
My make-up may be flaking!
But my smile, still, stays on!
Yeah! oh oh oh

My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies,
Fairy tales of yesterday, will grow but never die,
I can fly, my friends!

The Show must go on! Yeah!
The Show must go on!
I'll face it with a grin!
I'm never giving in!
On with the show!

I'll top the bill!
I'll overkill!
I have to find the will to carry on!
On with the,
On with the show!

The Show must go on.

There's an acknowledgement here of Fed's place in the tennis hierarchy today but a reminder of what brilliance he still possesses. Fair enough.

I've also been getting a real sense amongst some FedFans that the heartbreaking Aussie Open loss was not only a truth-telling moment and an emotional catharsis but also the end of one incredible phase of his career.

His return to action this week after a lengthy break begins a new one marked by the addition of "trial" coach Darren Cahill in his Nike pocket. Maybe he's saying it's time to look forward and not dwell on the past losses or even major wins (time doesn't stop for anyone, eh?) but create a fresh start and new approaches to his game in every way possible.

Because that's exactly what it'll take.

(video via kisaragi1692)

VIDEO VAULT: Godzilla gets it where the sun don't shine (thanks Nole)



Here's the latest Speed Lesson from Novak Djokovic + HEAD. As usual, you probably won't learn much about how to actually hit an overhead smash but who cares! I'm a sucker for any Godzilla reference.

But what a way to take him out at the begininng. Not pretty and very painful me thinks.

(video via HEAD)

THE LOW DOWN: Kimmy readies for Wimbledon exo...and more?


The rumors of Kim Clijsters preparation for a return to professional tennis continue to gain steam.

The Belgian baller has been training for an exo this May celebrating and testing out the new roof over Wimbledon's Centre Court with Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and Tim Henman. Apparently the training has been more intense than one would think for an exo, according to The Times online:

Word reaches the Net Post that the Belgian former world No 1, who 'retired' from the game in May 2007 is putting in an awful lot more court time and rigorous training that would usually be associated with preparing for an exhibition - even one as momentous as that on Wimbledon's Centre Court in May. Clijsters is in the field for the Raising the Roof event at the All England Club with Tim Henman, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf but we hear the 2005 US Open champion has been playing for six hours a day some four times a week with a coach and trainer at hand. That's a lot of court time for a bit of hit and giggle.

Kimmy is only 25-years old which is still young for a lady baller and she seems to have her personal life in order now that she's been married and has a child. Plus, I wonder if her training and thoughts of a possible comeback have anything to do with the passing of her father, Lei, from lung cancer this past January? It might be helping her to get through the grieving process. Who knows.

In any case, Kimmy would be a welcomed return.

(via timesonline.co.uk, image via The Age)

WEEKEND WINNERS: Davis Cup + Bart

The opening weekend of Davis Cup 2009 is now in the books. But as we look towards the World Group quarterfinals, which take place July 10 -12, let's look at the winners this past weekend:

Spain 4, Serbia 1

Rafael Nadal went 2-0 while Novak Djokovic went 0-2. I guess you won't win if your top baller can drop his shorts but can't win a rubber. The defending champs will now battle...

Germany 3, Austria 2

Nicolas Kiefer + Philipp Kohlschreiber both came through winning their doubles rubber and each winning their singles matches. Philipp came back from two sets to love down to defeat Jurgen Melzer, who also lost his reverse singles match against Nicolas.

Argentina 5, Netherlands 0

Last year's finalist sans two of their biggest stars - David Nalbandian + Juan Martin del Potro - came through in a big way with Juan Monaco + Juan Ignacio Chela winning their singles matches and Martin Vasallo Arguello + Lucas Arnold winning their doubles rubber to clinch the win. The Argentines will now battle...

Czech Republic 3, France 2

Experience overcame youth when Radek Stepanek came through winning the doubles rubber with partner Jan Hernych and clinching the win with his singles defeat of a shaky Gilles Simon, who had already lost the opening rubber to Tomas Berdych. Poor Sneaky - too much pressure, not enough experience.

United States 4, Switzerland 1

A Roger Federer-less Swiss team was no match for an Andy Roddick-led US team on their home soil. A-Rod won both of his singles rubbers defeating Marco Chiudinelli + Stanislas Wawrinka while the Bryan Brothers won their doubles match against Yves Allegro + Stanislas Wawrinka. The US will now battle...

Croatia 5, Chile 0

The dynamic duo of Mario Ancic + Marin Cilic was all the Croats needed to make their way to another battle against the US in Davis Cup. Mario defeated Nicolas Massu, Marin beat Paul Capdeville, and the pair teamed up in doubles and brushed past Nicolas + Paul to clinch the win.

Israel 3, Sweden 2

Despite anti-Israeli protests in Malmo, the visiting team clinched the win over Sweden when Harold Levy pulled out an epic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 win over Andreas Vinciguerra in the fifth and deciding rubber. The Israeli team will now battle...

Russia 4, Romania 1

Dmitry Tursunov came back from two sets to love down to beat Victor Hanescu 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and clinch an unassailable 3-1 lead over the Romanians. Teimuraz Gabashvili won the dead rubber match over Victor Crivoi to give Russia and 4-1 win.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marion Bartoli - Monterrey

She may have been overshadowed by Davis Cup this weekend, but Bart didn't mind. The Frenchie captured her first WTA Tour title of the season and fourth of her career by defeating Li Na 6-4, 6-3 in the Mexican city. Bart also reached a milestone winning her 300th match when she beat Jheng Zie in the semifinals. Congrats B!


(images via Rafael Vélez, getty, ap)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quote of the Day: Rafa on Rog


I believe I'm sincere and in the end we have a sufficiently good relationship that we don't get upset with each other when things come out in the press. If Federer told me I was the best, I would love it, I would be happy.

- Rafael Nadal on his relationship with Roger Federer

I honestly wonder what it would take for Fed to call Rafa "the best".

What do you guys think? Do tell!

(image via getty)

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Maybe Nole should've worn a mini instead


Novak Djokovic got dressed down during his 4-6, 4-6, 1-6 loss to Rafael Nadal in Bendidorm today. Spain defeated Serbia 4-1 (David Ferrer beat Viktor Troicki 6-0, 6-3 in the final dead rubber match) and will face Germany in the quarterfinals.

Note to Nole: cute skirt, wrong occasion.

UPDATE: Here's video of the incident in question. Peek-a-boo we see (some of) you Nole!



(image via getty)

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

(Rafael Nadal, Benidorm)


Boris getting married
Weekend Winners: Nole, Mardy, Nico, Venus
The Spanish boys arrive in Benidorm
VANtage Point: Davis Cup edition
Tennishead's in my head
Guess the baller behind the shirt
Lindsay's laps of luxury
Speed Lesson #2: the return
BJK talks BJK Cup, ReRe tops V
Inside JJ's Orbit
Rampant virus strikes again
Stick it to Rafa's belly
Why do rich people get free stuff?
Regal Rog does Nationale Suisse
Nole visits Serbia Open
Nice smile, nicer abs
Fed + Cahill team up on "trial" basis
SerenaWilliams.com gets a touch up
Gilles in Wonderland, can work a racquet like nothing
Gearing up for Davis Cup
Give me my money shot!
NaturAna talks tennis with Cicma
JJ + LeftSide get worked out (poor RightSide)
Shrieka's rumored withdrawal from IW, to play doubles only
ATP World Tour gives back to tourneys
K-Swiss nets Anna K
ReRe and ass-ets get Jimmy drunk (sorta)
Nothing to do but practice I guess
Viktor all tangled up...with himself?


+NETCORDS: Wednesday

(image via getty)

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