Google Down the Line!: 2009-03-29

Friday, April 3, 2009

(UPDATED) VIDEO VAULT: What did Wilson ever do to you Fed?

Roger Federer may want to retire his denial dance once and for all this season.

The 13-time Grand Slammer was all out of sorts (to say the least) and was bounced from the Sony Ericsson Open today by Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The Serb will now face the winner of the Andy Murray-Juan Martin del Potro match tonight in Sunday's big final.

So how out of sorts was the supposedly serene Swiss? Well, I wouldn't ask his now-deceased Wilson stick. Just sayin'.

*blows air kisses to Maja*

UPDATE: Click here for the transcript from Fed's post-match presser - it's a MUST READ (thanks Tessa!). Someone is PISSED though I think Wilson should be more - may he rest in peace. Boo hoo.


(UPDATED) Rafa waxes philosophical, felt "emptiness and a loneliness" after Oz Open win

Big thanks to DtL reader whynotme for sending me (and translating) the link to this French interview featuring Rafael Nadal published today on L'

The Mallorcan Matador, who was stunned in Miami yesterday, is asked a series of questions based on the idea of "If you were...".

Check out this question and his very surprising (at least to me) answer -

Q : If you were... a person you hope to meet?

A : Roger Federer. When I was young, I always had this dream : I was at the bottom of a huge mountain and I was looking at the top. When I beat Roger Federer in January, in Melbourne, in the final of the Australian Open, I felt an animal excitement. But afterwards, I felt an emptiness and a loneliness indescribable. As if I had no more aim/no more purpose. To me, Federer is still the number 1 in the world. I want to meet him again on court. I know he can beat me.

It seems, if this interview is to be believed, he may be lacking some motivation right now since he's now dominating the baller who he considers to be the best ever. So, in his mind, what's left? Is it better to dominate your greatest rival or to be challenged, and defeated, at times along the way?? Rafa seems to lean towards the latter.

I actually find this perspective incredibly refreshing. Most athletes want to win, win, win and aim for the ultimate prize only. Rafa, though, may be looking at the battles themselves with Fed as the biggest prize of 'em all.

UPDATE: Here's the entire Q & A translated into English. Forgive the Google translation!
World No. 1 tennis player, it erodes his opponents with his shot lifts overpowering. Yet this young man of 22 years is also a model of simplicity, the disarming sweetness. Qualities that may have prompted a home fragrances begin to do so in another career: that of his new muse water toilet, Lanvin l'Homme Sport.

If you were ... A place of celebration

My island, Majorca, where I grew up. My ancestors came to settle in the fourteenth century! Always there with my family in the house where I was born. My grandparents live in the ground floor. My uncle Toni [coach] is on the second. My parents live in the third. And I share the top floor with my sister, Maria Isabel.


My strength, I can not always control it. My grandmother watches all my games on TV with his girlfriend of 80 years. One of them told him: "He hits hard, but with great politeness."


I love Spanish pop groups like La Oreja de Van Gogh and singers like Alejandro Sanz and Julio Iglesias. Before all my matches I m'isoler with my iPod. I have a ritual: before playing, it is imperative that I listen to a song from the musical Phantom of the Paradise.

A book

La Cité des dieux sauvages, Isabel Allende. I am very touched by the commitment of the writer. Since the departure of Pinochet, she returned to Chile and fight for the rights of his people.

A landscape that creates the dream

I was 4 years old when my father raised me on a fishing boat to take me to the other side of the island. The land to the sea .. There is nothing more beautiful. When I stopped tennis, I buy a boat to spend the rest of my days. This will be a motorboat. I love the speed.

A meeting that you hope

Roger Federer. Small, I was a dream: I was at the foot of a huge mountain and I looked at the top. When I beat Federer in January, in Melbourne, in the final of the Australian Open, I felt excitement animal. But then I felt an emptiness and a loneliness indescribable, as if I had no other purpose. For me Federer is still the No. 1 worldwide. I want to meet again on the court. I know it can beat me.

A word that serves as a motto

Gandhi said: "I do not like the word tolerance, but I can find no better."

A table

I have taken a passion for a painter of Majorca, Ricard Chiang. It is very strange paintings, black and silver, which are forests, crucifixes, caravels ...

A revolt

Success will not change my life. My room is still the same, my friends are guys I met at school, my girlfriend is a friend of my sister. Holidays in Monaco or St. Barth I'm not interested.

A garment that makes it beautiful

I know nothing about the fashion trends, but like all Spaniards and Italians, I choose what I wear. Holding my favorite: jeans, a white shirt, a jacket and tailored Santiage.

(image via getty)

PHOTO OP: Murray a pain in the arse for Nando

Fernando Verdasco's hopes for another Andy Murray upset were dashed in Miami last night.

After pulling an arse muscle in the second game of the first set, the Spaniard was quickly brushed aside by the relentless Brit baller falling 6-1, 6-2 in 75 minutes. Nando had shocked Andy in the Oz Open fourth round back in January. The 21-year old will now face an upsetting Juan Martin del Potro for spot in his first Miami final.

Nando doesn't think the injury will hamper him, though, for long:

I hope not too much. I didn't push so much after I feel it, so I hope that in few days I will be fine. Anyway, I just finish the match. I decide to come to the press straightaway to then have all the time I need to make the treatment. You know, then with the doctors and the physios, they will tell me what they think I should do. But I think that in a few days if I take rest I will be fine.

Injuries in a big match are always disappointing so hopefully Nando recovers both physically and mentally from the set back. He's had some injury issues of late which makes me think he may be over doing it in Las Vegas. But big props to him for finishing the match (Nole, are you listening?).

He may want to pull back on the training now and get some match-consistency.

(image via getty)

SIGHTING: Enrique + Anna still hot, watch Serena defeat Venus in Miami

Anna Kournikova, a Miami finalist in 1998, was spotted in the stands with her sexy boy toy Enrique Iglesias watching Serena Williams defeat sister Venus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals.

The top lady baller evened her head-to-head with V at 10-all and, more importantly, held onto the keys to the WTA Penthouse. She'll face Victoria Azarenka for a chance to earn a record-setting sixth Miami crown.

These two are still unbelievably hot together. I'd love to watch. Just once. And join in. At least once.

PS - It seems like someone else might have a Crackberry addiction. Someone page Mirka.

(image via getty)

(UPDATED) J. Martin stuns Nadal in Miami, ruffles Rafa's feathers

In one of the biggest upsets of the season so far, Juan Martin del Potro upended top baller Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in Miami after being down 0-3 and two breaks in the deciding set. He snapped a 4-match losing streak to the Spanish steamroller and will now face Andy Murray for a spot in Sunday's final.

In his post-match presser, Rafa admitted he wasn't at his best the entire tourney but didn't feel J. Martin played at his top level either during the match:

I think he didn't play one of his best matches, no? That's what I feel. I don't know. You can ask him later maybe. But I think he played well. His level is 7 of the world, no, so he's very good. I think he didn't play an unbelievable match, but I didn't play on my best level today.

Unsuprisingly, J. Martin took an entirely different view of the match when asked about Rafa's comments:
I played unbelievable. I beat the No. 1 of the world. If you don't play unbelievable, you cannot beat him. I'm happy, but tomorrow I will play again, so I hthink in the next match.
Hmmm - did Rafa have a bite of sour grapes here? It seems the Matador was definitely unsettled by this loss to J. Martin based on his reaction to the loss. Why would he need to make comments about the Argentine's level of play especially after losing to him? A simple, "He was the better baller today - period" would suffice.

The 22-year old, though, wasn't at his best in Miami and showed clear signs, especially in this match, of mental fatigue. The World No.1 has been playing tons this year and winning so a break is in order.

In any case, a huge congrats to J. Martin who had never even won a set off Rafa. He stayed mentally tough when down two breaks in the decider and took the match by serving big, hitting out and coming in to knock off volleys (and suprisingly well, I might add.) The Argentine giant was the better baller in the clutch and, in my opinion, played an unbelievable match.

I mean, like J. Martin said, how else does one defeat Rafa?

UPDATE: Is there personal turmoil bothering the World No.1 right now too? There are rumors surfacing that all might not be well at home. Here's what he said at the end of his presser -
Q. Are you mystified or puzzled by how you played during this tournament, or do you
understand why you didn't play well and know what to do next?

RAFAEL NADAL: Always is a reason because you are not playing at your level during the tournament. No, I am calm. I am happy about myself, about everything this year, yeah. I don't know. Always is a reason, but it's personal.
TENNIS' Peter Bodo also made reference to these rumors -
There are rumblings that there's a bit of turmoil in Nadal's life at the moment, and if you read the end of his presser closely you'll get a hint it may be true. For that reason, I'll tell you that I've heard some rumors here at Key Biscayne, but nothing I can confirm or share - other than to say the issue isn't career threatening or health-related. I don't mean to be coy, but that's all I have to say about it, and I suppose that if there's any substance to the rumors, it will be confirmed - sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned.

(images via getty)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

PHOTO OP: Vika's prayers are answered, reaches first Miami final

Victoria Azarenka is making all the right moves these days.

After reaching the seminfinals at Indian Wells last week, the Belarusian lady baller went one better today in Miami upsetting 2006 champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to reach her first final at the Sony Ericsson Open. She'll face a very daunting task on Saturday, though, when she faces either 5-time defending champ Serena Williams or 3-time champ Venus Williams for her third, and biggest title, of her young career.

Clearly Vika has a bright future but she'll need to notch her game up a few levels to compete with either of the Williams sisters. Her serve is good but not consistent and her second delivery is attackable. More importantly, she has yet to display ownership of any effective strategic patterns she can feel confident using during a long, drawn out match.

That being said, Vika can smack the felt off the ball. Plus, her fight + determination, which I think were the keys to getting past Sveta today, seem to be a natural part of her personality. She'll need every ounce of those qualities, and then some, to beat whomever she faces on Saturday.

(image via getty)

Venus sets up Serena showdown, charms with "super-sexy voice" in post-match presser

Venus Williams' post-match presser after defeating Iveta Benesova 6-1, 6-4 in the Miami quarterfinals last night was a great mix of interesting commentary on WTA tennis and moments of pure humor. (Seriously, I need to sneak my arse into these media moments.)

She'll face lil' sister ReRe in a blockbuster semifinal bout for a spot in Saturday's final. A win by V would also knock the current top lady baller from the WTA Penthouse.

In the meantime, check out these choice quotes from her presser:

Q. Did you watch Serena struggle at all today?

VW: You know, it wasn't on TV, so I just, you know, could only watch the score. I didn't get to see the match.
Like last year, I love how the ballers can't even watch the actual matches because they aren't even being broadcast in Miami. That's more than super sad.
Q. Do you have a cold or something?

VW: No. It's just a super-sexy voice. Gotta get used to this. I don't know.
LOVE. Now all V needs to do is change all her voice mails using this scratchy yet sultry voice. Not that I've ever done that - pinky swear.
Q. Do you feel like when you and Serena are playing at your best and are sharp, do you feel that you two are the best in the world?

VW: Yes, on the women's tour I believe we are the best in the world. We work hard at it, so...

At the moment my ranking doesn't reflect that I'm at No. 1 or No. 2, but I'm working on it.

Like, duh.
Q. Do you feel like the ranking system is not reflective of the reality of the tour?

VW: Well, the ranking system this year is new, so we'll have to see how it works. The tournaments are weighted according to how you do in the big events, so playing well at the big events important. I think it should be that way.

Q. Is there something wrong [with the ranking system], though? A lot of people are going to No. 1 and they haven't even won a Grand Slam title. That's the big prize.

VW: Well, I mean, Serena has played fantastic.

Q. Well, she's won.

VW: It's strange. It is a little strange that she's having to fight so hard to keep her ranking. Regardless of if she's No. 1 or not, I don't think the person who might take over her place or persons, whoever are up to that -- whoever, I don't know the numbers.

But I don't think that that'll feel that they are the true No. 1. I think Serena right now is the
true No. 1.
So true and everyone knows it (and some have said it), including the pretenders who are shooting to take the keys away. If ReRe loses to V, she'll have to pony up her set to Dinara Safina.

I laugh HEARTILY at that prospect. Puh-lease.

(image via getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Nole's TMI moment - where's Tipsy when you need him?

Thanks to DtL reader Sara for alerting me to this video of Novak Djokovic!

The Serb, who got a little match-y with Jo-Willy yesterday, was interviewed by three kids called the Sports Brothers and they asked him all sorts of on and off-court questions.

Too Much Information Alert: Pay attention to his most embarrassing moment in the beginning of the clip. Maybe he can borrow some adult diapers from Tipsy. They really ARE all the rage, huh?


(video via sports brothers)

PHOTO OP: Blowing mid-match air kisses doesn't usually work A-Rod

Andy Roddick came this close to defeating Roger Federer again.

In front of an electrified, raucous crowd the American baller suffered his 17th loss to the Swiss stylist falling 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a thrilling Miami quarterfinal match. A-Rod gained his second career win over the 13-time Grand Slammer at the same point in last year's Sony Ericsson Open.

A-Rod managed to stay close throughout the entire match but fell victim to a few unfortunately timed let cords that fell Fed's way (on a third set break point against the Swiss and one to set up match point) and his own questionable decision-making.

RIDDLE ME THIS: Why did A-Rod constantly approach to Fed's ferocious forehand only to get passed time and time and time again? Does he heart embarrassment or was it simply his own insanity??

It was like being on auto-pilot and knowing you're about to crash. Jesus, take the wheel.

(image via getty)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PHOTO OP: Why wear matching colored shirts when you can wear none at all?

Novak Djokovic
finally got the better end of nemesis Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Miami today (watch it.)

The Serb managed to snap a 4-match losing streak to his Frenchie foe defeating him 6-3, 6-4 in quarterfinals. He'll next face either Roger Federer or Andy Roddick for a spot in the final.

I love seeing Nole shirtless any day, any time. And today would've been a great day for him to wear nothing on top since both ballers were working the same pool colored adidas shirt though the styles were different (Nole = Edge Polo Falcon line, Jo-Willy = French Open Competition Tee).

I REPEAT: anyone for a "shirts vs. skins" rule to resolve these situations? For the lady ballers too??

(image via getty)

PHOTO OP: Serena can grit teeth + tweet simultaneously - can she BE any more talented?

Na Li had Serena Williams just where the 5-time Miami champ wanted to be - playing from behind on her back foot.

In what's become a trademark display from the top lady baller, ReRe lost the first five games and first set and had multiple break chances against her in the second set but rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2 win. It was her third consecutive win over a Chinese baller and puts ReRe in the semifinals with a potential blockbuster matchup with big sister Venus waiting in the wings (V plays Iveta Benesova in the ladies evening match.)

Boy that ReRe is GOOD. In fact, she's so good she even had time to "tweet" mid-match pimping out some of her own body care:

If only we could all be as multi-talented as ReRe...or have a PR firm to do it for us.

(image via getty)

PHOTO OP: The BIGGEST SACK rules the galaxy in...


Can someone PLEASE translate this French article??! And why does Nole look like Jay Leno doing Han Solo???

*clutches stomach*
*passes out*

PS - Big thanks to B2012!

(image via SportVox)

Rog still living his own reality, Rafa + Murray "not really" a problem

Roger Federer, who defeated a resurgent Taylor Dent 6-3, 6-2 in Miami, is still living a self-delusional lifestyle.

In his post-match presser, the second seed was asked about the being in the role of "huntee" after years of getting chased by the rest of the ATP World Tour:

Q. Obviously for years you were the hunted, No. 1. Do you enjoy the hunting, being on the opposite side of that? Does it entail a change of mind or attitude in any way?

ROGER FEDERER: Umm, not a whole a lot. You know, I mean, I had more of an issue with myself, you know, getting myself back in shape for the last year. That's been my problem, not really Rafa or Andy or Djokovic, or you name it. Those comes naturally if I play well that I can beat these guys.

Uh, you have 9 combined, consecutive losses to Rafa (5) + Murray (4) - I'd say that's a BIG problem. And I think we're all still waiting for these supposed beat downs of those two ballers to happen Fed.

As they say, acknowledging the problem is the first step to recovery. I don't think it'll happen until he suffers losses to ballers ranked below him or them, though. He can still believe he's right there with them because Rafa + Murray are in the upper echelon of the sport so the losses aren't really "bad ones". But if gets hit with a few losses by the likes of Andy Roddick, Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or anyone outside the Top 10, reality may finally take hold.

Tick tock, tick tock...

(image via getty)

Serena joins the masses, launches Twitter page

Serena Williams is a officially a twit.

The 10-time Grand Slammer is the latest baller to start up her own Twitter page and made the announcement via her website:

I am still in Miami for the Sony Ericsson, just in case you forgot. I am feeling great and ready to play but I can't just sit around doing absolutely nothing. I enjoy purchasing music from itunes, reading, playing with Jackie (my Jack Russell), and logging on to myspace, facebook & of course

So, I was searching the web last night in search of more information related to I have been hearing so much about twitter that I wanted to be apart of this social site. At first, I was a bit apprehensive at the thought of writing quick updates. Seriously, isn't that what myspace & facebook are for but then I realized the impact which I found to be relevant for me.

Twitter will allow me to write quick updates when I am to busy to write lengthy blogs. There are moments when I want to write a quick note to you but I don't have the necessary time. But, with twitter I am allowed to express myself quickly with feedback from you, my fans.

ReRe's page can be found at here. She joins Andy Murray + Andy Roddick who are already twittering (am I missing anyone else?). Oh and *shameless self promo moment* you can follow DtL's here too!

PS - Apparently ReRe just had her nails painted orange to match her Miami outfit. *vomits*

(image via twitter)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PHOTO OP: No sweat for Murray - well, maybe a little

Andy Murray was in blazing hot form today in Miami.

The Brit baller absolutely decimated Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-0 in a paltry 58 minutes. The Serb's serve was his downfall: he connected on only 33% of his first serve deliveries and Andy made sure to take full advantage. The fourth seed will face either Fernando Verdasco or Radek Stepanek for a spot in the final four.

Wow - talk about hitting your stride. Anyone else's mouth extra water-y now for a Rafa-Murray semifinal?

(image via getty)

JD's hard work paying off, takes on new sponsorships including Lacoste

Although she had been working Fila as recently as Indian Wells, Jelena Dokic has officially signed on with Lacoste. The Aussie baller wore the new gear during her brief stint in Miami where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

Her new deal with the French brand is estimated to be potentially close to $4.4 million over three years. JD's also now being represented by IMG, has entered into a lucrative arrangement with Aussie budget airliner Jetstar, and will be renegotiating her deal with Wilson.

After toiling in tennis oblivion for year, I bet it feels really good to have these types of sponsorships back. The hard work is paying off. Let's hope, though, JD gets some rest. Her recent results, including an early loss to Jill Craybas at Indian Wells and the Wozzi one in Miami, have been pretty shaky.

But at least she's looking good in those new Lacoste duds now!

(via women's tennis blog)

PHOTO OP: Battle of the Lovely Locks takes Miami - who wins?

Roger Federer + Simone "The Beautiful" Bolelli were spotted together during a practice session in Miami.

I wonder what they're discussing - hair care? They sure do have lovely locks though Simone is just plain "lovely". Oy.

*drools on keyboard*

More images of the session below + here.

PS - I wonder what Fed's record is for the most wardrobe changes in a single practice session? Inquiring minds need to know.

(images via GOTOTENNIS)

Serena scrapes by Zheng in Miami, cuts up in post-match presser (poor Dinara)

Serena Williams really should teach a master class to the WTA Tour on gutting out matches.

The top lady baller was at her stubborn best in her fourth round match in Miami coming back from a break down in the final set to defeat feisty Jie Zheng 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 and earn her 50th career match win at the Sony Ericsson Open. She'll have a chance to face sister Venus in the semifinals if she gets past her third consecutive Chinese baller, Li Na, in the next round.

ReRe was asked about her current stint in the WTA Penthouse after the match and she had some biting, albeit hilarious, commentary on the Tour's ranking system:

Q. Do you enjoy being in a position of being No. 1? Does that in any way help you, or do you...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Most of all I enjoy winning slams and the big tournaments. I obviously do enjoy being No. 1. I think it's great. I think it's they epitome of a great athlete.

At the end of the day, I've been No. 1 and I'll be No. 1. It seems like I'll be remembered more for how many Grand Slams I'll win.

But No. 1 I think is also equally as important.

Q. You won't be No. 1 unless you make the finals here, you know that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I don't put pressure on myself, so we'll see. If I make it, I make it; if not, oh, well. It will be kind of weird to be No. 2 to -- because I think the girl that would take over would be like -- lost early here and hasn't really, whatever.

So it's like whatever. I don't really care.

Q. You said you wanted to be remembered for winning the slams. But in terms of holding on to the ranking, you've come a long way to get back to the top.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But, I mean, at this point doesn't matter how many Grand Slams you win, can't be number one. Even if you get to the finals of Wimbledon and win the US Open and Australia, that's not what the No. 1 player gets. It is what it is. It's like, whatever.

You have to like, I don't know, win all the smaller tournaments to be No. 1.

Q. Would you prefer they change the system to make it a little bit more weighted so the Grand Slams did matter more? Those are the tournaments every player wants to win.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't really care one way or the other. Like I'm not -- my whole goal in life isn't to be No. 1. Yeah, I want to be No. 1, but I feel better about winning Australia or US Open or winning the French Open or anything like that. I think I feel better with that.

Or winning here. Just winning titles. Obviously winning titles doesn't make you No. 1 on this tour anymore.

Let's finish ReRe's sentence here: "...the girl that would take over would be like -- lost early here and hasn't really..." won a damn thing that would truly earn DINARA the keys to the WTA Penthouse. Ouch - the truth hurts sometimes.

And note to WTA Tour officials: when your top baller essentially calls your ranking system a big, fat stinking pile of crap something needs to be addressed and changed. Seriously.

(image via getty)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sharapova Inc. raking in bigger bucks, animated "Super Shrieka" in the works

Thanks to DtL reader Maja for sending me over this SportsBusiness Journal article about the state of the juggernaut that is "Sharapova Inc." (read: it's raining even more CASH.)

Check out a few of the very interesting tidbits from Daniel Kaplan's piece...

On her her most recent marketing campaigns:

Three of her sponsors — Tag Heuer, Cole Haan and Sony Ericsson — unveiled in recent weeks marketing campaigns around Sharapova, notwithstanding the decline in the luxury goods market. Sharapova also just signed a new, $2.5 million-a-year deal with a shampoo maker.

On her current deal with Nike and its effect on Serena Williams:

The company spends so much money around Sharapova, sources said, it’s one of the reasons why Serena Williams, currently the world’s top-ranked player and whom Sharapova upset to claim her landmark 2004 Wimbledon win, has not found a suitable renewal offer for her own deal with the sneaker power. Nike declined to make an official available for comment.

On how agent Max Eisenbud manages all of her commitments and her upcoming schedule:

Eisenbud copiously schedules each year down to the hour, parsing the 14 to 16 days Sharapova commits to her sponsors. For appearances at sponsor parties, he bestows each company a single hour annually with her before one of the four Grand Slams. Photo shoots are limited to Saturdays between 1 and 8 p.m. in the offseason, four days next week following the Sony Ericsson Open, two days after Wimbledon and one day after the U.S. Open.

Beginning April 6 in Los Angeles, Sharapova will cram in photo shoots for Nike, its subsidiary Cole Haan, Canon, the shampoo company (whose identity could not be determined) and the cover of ESPN The Magazine. She returns to her home in Florida after April 10 to resume training, and leaves April 30 to compete in Rome.

On her popularity and reasons behind it:

Davie Brown, the Omnicom unit that ranks celebrities, places Sharapova’s popularity in the United States in line with “A-list Hollywood ‘It’ girls, including Keira Knightley and Rihanna,” according to a February study. That report does not track overseas, though, where Sharapova is arguably a far-greater celebrity.

To many, the reason for Sharapova’s popularity is obvious. Even her agent doesn’t discount that a good measure of her fame boils down to the fact that she is a pretty blonde from Russia’s Siberia.

But winning Grand Slam events and playing with a ferocious on-court style are also pluses, and U.S. residency allows her to straddle cultures. Her life story of emigrating impoverished to Florida at age 7 with her father, Yuri, gaining entry to the Bollettieri Tennis Academy at age 9, and winning Wimbledon eight years later is the fairy tale marketers clamor for.

On her upcoming projects including a possible animated series:

Still only 21, Sharapova now is branching into other endeavors. She will serve as the executive producer of a weekly drama series loosely based on her life that MTV has agreed to run. Eisenbud is also planning an animation series portraying her as a tennis player by day and a spy/superhero by night who uses the global tennis tour as a cover. Sharapova plans to do voice-overs for both series.

Okay there's TONS of nitty-gritty stuff here to dissect and still more in the article so take a moment to read it Shrieka (and non-Shrieka) fans. Here are the most intriguing points to me:

1. Is the 3-time Grand Slammer's deal really hurting ReRe's chances for a renewal contract with Nike? There had been murmurs Nike might be cutting the World No.1 loose last summer since she was getting towards the end of her career. But now that she's won two straight majors and moved back into the WTA Penthouse, I'd be surprised if they couldn't work something out. According to the article, however, ReRe is currently without a shoe or apparel contract which could mean she hasn't signed up for a renewal just yet. Stay tuned.

2. Sharapova Inc. is a well-oiled, well-managed machine that's continuing to rake in more cash even though she hasn't played singles since last August. I'm sure Eisenbud is making a good living doing this job (and seemingly well, I might add.)

3. The fact her popularity measured in February ranks with Keira Knightly + Rihanna blows my mind. Again - she's not even playing!!!

4. It all seems like a PR ploy to let marketers know the Russian's still a valuable prospect even though she's been injured.

4. An animated, super Shrieka??! HELL FRIGGIN' NO.

(images via

(UPDATED) SIGHTING: Shakira scopes out Rafa in Miami (watch it)

Rafanatic Shakira was spotted in the front row watching the world's top baller get pushed by Federico Gil in Miami today.

The Portuguese qualifier managed to break Rafa twice but the Spaniard's quality came through, grabbing his 10th consecutive match with a 7-5, 6-3 scoreline. He'll face either Igor Andreev or Stanislas Wawrinka for a spot in the quarterfinals.

This isn't the first time this season the Colombian Grammy Award-winning singer has been spotted rooting on Rafa. She was also spotted giving him a hand in Abu Dhabi back in January.

It's been duly noted, Shakira. We're watching. Closely.

UPDATE: Thanks to Johanne for sending over this video link (read: evidence) of Shakira's behind-the-scenes meet up with a few ballers including Rafa. He gives her a shirt, she offers singing lessons, and she calls him an "animal". Say what?! We're still watching. Closely. CHECK IT -

(image via getty, video courtesy of merikob)

FASHION FIX: Fila returns to its roots with the Heritage collection

Dmitry Tursunov - Men's Heritage Stripe Polo

Though their ballers didn't fare so well in Miami, Fila's fashion game turn returned to its winning ways.

The sports apparel brand went back into their archives to launch the Fila Heritage line at this week's Sony Ericsson Open. This line comes courtesy of the Spring 2009 collection and harks back to the heydays of the 1970's when Bjorn Borg's iconic look (LOVE), which featured signature Italian styling, brought the brand some of its greatest popularity. This time, however, the gear gets the 21st century treatment with state of the art performance fabrications.

Each piece features the F-Box Heritage patch logo and the quintessential Fila colors of red, white, and blue.

The men's Heritage Stripe Polo details include a self fabric collar, 4-button placket and side vents, a snap contrast placket and contrast piping. The collection also includes 8 ½ ” inseam shorts, jacket and warm-up pants and was worn by Dmitry Tursunov (top).

Anna Chakvetadze - Cami Tank

Anna Chakvetadze wore her fave cami-tank from the Women's Heritage collection during her matches in Miami. Details on this piece include ruching on the center front and contrast twist back straps. Chaky also showed up to the Fila Friday Night Q & A host by Cliff Drysdale working the Heritage Jacket.

Anna Chakvetadze - Heritage Jacket

For more information on the line visit and check out Svetlana Kuznetsova + Janko Tipsarevic in the Heritage Collection (note to Tipsy: go with this look next time. Just sayin'.)

And a big shout out to the Fila PR team for all the info!

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Janko Tipsarevic

Agnes Szavay

(images via fila, getty)

PHOTO OP: Fashion or fetish? You decide.

Janko Tipsarevic was spotted at a Miami practice session by miri of Nadal News working some kinda craziness.

Who knew adult diapers were all the rage. Go figure.

(image via nadal news)

NaturAna + Dinara beat themselves up, expect great results (wrong-o)

Take a moment to check out these quotes by Ana Ivanovic + Dinara Safina who lost to Agnes Szavay 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 and Samantha Stosur 6-1, 6-4, respectively, in the Miami third round this weekend (BTW - so did Vera Zvonareva but she won in Indian Wells and gets a mini-pass this week):

Dinara: ...I just can say it was sad the way I played today. Just basically I wasn't playing. I go to the court, and I don't even fight for it. So it's just bad behavior from my side. The champions, they don't do this. It's a good punishment for myself.

NaturAna: I always was missing by a little bit, and got really down on myself. It was kind of hard to pick up from there. I think [the reason was] I sort of expected some things would come easier today on the court than they actually did. It was tougher than I expected.

So let's remember the formula for failing in a match: make a few easy mistakes, beat yourself up, make more mistakes, give up mentally, stop fighting, make more mistakes, lose the match, beat yourself up to a pulp. Ahhh - feeling good yet?

When are these lady ballers, including Jelena Jankovic, going to learn to scratch, scrape, and claw their way to a win when their game isn't on point? I give the Williams sisters, especially ReRe, full credit here. She may walk onto the court with all kinds of ideas in her head - fashion, screenplays, some tennis - but when the going gets tough she'll take off the earrings, put the screenplay to pasture, and get down the dirty business of winning matches. It's time to get gritty ladies.

, Dinara, and JJ should know by now they wear targets on their backs and their opponents will bring A-games when playing them. Get used to it.

Now to be fair, neither NaturAna nor Dinara has ever done particularly well in Miami (quaterfinals for both) but in tennis it's all about a positive state-of-mind, desire, competitiveness, and heart - something they have yet to find.

(images via getty)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

PHOTO OP: You think JJ's at least doing this well?

Jelena Jankovic's nasty Serbian Slide hit hyperdrive when the she was shocked by Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-4, 7-6 (5) in Miami after leading 5-2 in the second set and holding 3 set points and then 5-2 in the tie-break. It's her second consecutive loss after failing to get past her opening round in Indian Wells last week losing to a fresh-faced, snake-wearing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

What's most disturbing aren't necessarily the losses (though they are troubling, no doubt) but HOW she's losing them: straight sets, losing big leads. It seems JJ's missing the fight and desire to dig her ANTA heels in and grind out a match - "winning ugly" as they say though her version seems more like "whining ugly" these days.

(image via getty)

FASHION FIX: Serena grounds Alexa, goes overkill with orange

Serena Williams is trying to make history again here in Miami and the defending champ got off to a fine start.

The top lady baller, who will hold the record for the most Sony Ericsson Open titles by winning for the sixth time here, defeated teenage compatriot Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-3 in a 63-minute mismatch. She'll face China's Shuai Peng in the next round.

ReRe debuted some new Nike duds as well in her first match. She was working the Serena Dri-FIT Sony Ericsson Women's Tennis Tank Top in orange paired with what looks like Nike Woven Pleated Tennis Skirt in orange (can someone confirm?). ReRe also busted out a colorful, iridescent-looking satchel on-court:

I'm really not into the whole matchy moment here. I mean, this orange is a great color when used as an accent here 'n there to add pop but now she looks like a walking, ground-stroke slapping popsicle. That being said, the bright orange does play well against her darker complexion and the brightness fits Miami.

Now this shade of orange doesn't work on everybody, but ReRe can def pull it off. Just don't wear it head to toe people. I BEG of you.

(images via getty)

(UPDATED) FASHION FIX: Rafa crushes Teimuraz, goes back to polo-wearing ways (WTF?)

Rafael Nadal made a solid start to his campaign towards his first Sony Ericsson Open title and another shot at the Indian Wells-Miami double last night.

The world's top baller swept aside Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2 in the second round and only dropped five points on his first serve. Gawdy much? Up next: Portuguese qualifier Federico Gil.

So it seems Rafa has returned to his much-maligned polo shirt wearing ways in Miami and I'm sure the Rafanatics will have a few things to say about it (like, duh.) Take thee to the comments section!

In the meantime, let's get back to his on-court fashion: the 6-time Grand Slammer is working the Nike Dri-FIT Sunny Men's Tennis Polo Shirt in white/yellow/mint green and the Dri-FIT Bold Open Men's Tennis Shorts in white tied together with mint green head and wrist bands.

I deflove this color combo but I'm not sure moving Rafa towards a buttoned-up polo look is the way to go without adding more punch and Raflair with bolder graphics or designs. The color-block short-sleeve shirts he's been wearing lately were a good compromise but this style is moving him towards *cough* Swiss territory. Egads!

BONUS: In addition to the Bold Open Men's Tennis Shorts in white he's wearing now, check out the rest of the duds the World No.1 will be sporting as he goes for a fifth consecutive Roland Garros crown including the Nadal French Open Men's Tennis Polo Shirt in white + grey, Nike Reversible Men's Tennis Hoody, and the Bold Open Men's Tennis Shorts in black!


UPDATE: Lots o' questions in the comments on this pink colorway of the polo Rafa was supposed to be wearing at Roland Garros. There's always a chance for a last minute switch-a-roo (wouldn't be the first time, huh?).

Let's keep everything crossed it makes it into his kit and I'll post if it gets confirmed. Thanks to an anonymous reader for the images!

(image via getty,,

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