Google Down the Line!: 2009-04-05

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baby Mango does sound better than Baby Bastard

So as I was stuffing my face and drinking myself silly at a local bar as part of a master escape plan from a baby shower Kalil + I were invited to today (did they think we'd have fun there just because we're gaybies?), I was inundated with emails and comments tipping me off to the latest Roger Federer surprise: RoKa finally tied the knot!

The announcement was made via his website:

Dear Fans

Earlier today, in my hometown of Basel, surrounded by a small group of close friends and family, Mirka and I got married. It was a beautiful spring day and an incredibly joyous occasion.

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Federer wish all of you a Happy Easter weekend.


It's been a whirlwind month for the 13-time Grand Slammer: the upcoming birth of Baby Mango was announced, he took out Wilson in Miami, backtracked on Monte Carlo, and now marriage.

But Mirka has her long-awaited ring, a baby bump, and, depending on the laws, at least half of his earnings to boot. Nice moves, though I'm hoping *fingers crossed* she had the decency NOT to text in her vows. Addictions are nasty.

In any case, congrats to RoKa!!!

(image via getty)

Friday, April 10, 2009

JC contemplating retirement, Marat to blame

Color me sad today.

Word comes from's ticker that Juan Carlos Ferrero is contemplating retirement at the end of this season:

Juan Carlos Ferrero says Marat Safin's impending retirement has prompted him to think along the same lines. "The motivation is not there after 11 years," said Ferrero, adding that he will make a decision at the end of the year about whether to play for another season.

The former French Open champ, currently ranked No. 115, returned to the tour in Casablanca this week after an abductor problem kept him sidelined during March. Ferrero is 29, the same age as Safin.

Ferrero said that when he does retire, he would like to help train young players and become more involved in his hometown tournament in Valencia, as well as the hotel he owns there.

Damn you Marat - first you break our hearts with your retirement talk and now you've got another cutie thinking along the same lines.

My weekend's ruined before it even began. Happy Friday. Blech.

*head hits keyboard*

(image via getty)

PHOTO OP: Shrieka pimps out TAG Heuer, not so Pris-sy anymore (phew)

Maria Sharapova's starring in the latest campaign for TAG Heuer called "What Are You Made Of?".

The campaign asks people to help the charities of their fave TAG ambassador including Tiger Woods, Leonardo Dicaprio and Shrieka.

Is it just me or does it look like Shrieka's about to take someone out brass knuckle style with that watch in the first picture? I'd be afraid to meet the Ice Queen in a dark alley.

In any case, I'm relieved the watchmaker didn't go all Pris-sy with the Russian again. Egads.

(images via

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fed gets jump start on clay season, accepts wildcard into Monte Carlo

Thanks to a number of readers for alerting me to Roger Federer's recent change of heart.

The 13-time Grand Slammer has decided to play Monte Carlo next week to get an early jump on his clay-court season:

Via his website:

Dear Fans

I have decided to accept a wildcard into the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tournament that begins on Monday. I will head there this weekend to start the clay court season.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support.

All the best,


I guess Fed's season isn't going as he probably planned - duh. At least this will give us fans an early opportunity to see where his clay-court game stands in relation to the big boys. Let's hope it's further along than his hard-court game, though.

(image via getty)

MEDIA MASHUP: Rafa + Murray take their hard shoes off, put their clay feet on

Rafael Nadal, who was spotted putting around Mallorca yesterday, has begun his clay-court preparations with Monte Carlo beginning next week. The world's top baller is the 4-time defending champ at the tourney.

After the practice session, Rafa sat down with IB3 to discuss his results so far and his prospects for the clay season. Here's some of what he had to say according to his site:

About the beginning of the season:

I’m very happy with my results so far as they give me some kind of peace inside; however, it’s only the start of the year.

About the first clay-court tournament of the year:

I can only try to do the best I can in Monte Carlo and try to play at my highest level. That’s the only way I can have good results. The last 4 times there I won, there is something about that tournament that just fits with my game but you never know of course.

About Barcelona…

Barcelona is one of the best clay court tournaments, it’s good history and it’s special to me. I’m playing there for a special reason…I don’t get points or a title, so instead I’m playing there because some of the best players in history have played there.

Andy Murray also hit the red clay for the first time this season in Roehampton. He only went for a light hit since he's still recovering from his triumphant run in Miami and the long trip back home.

So, Andy maybe inching closer to Rafa in terms of his game and his recent results but his arse? Not so much. Nice try though.

(images via

Dinara's move in date set, residence in WTA Penthouse "a great honor"

Dinara Safina is set to move into the WTA Penthouse on April 20th after Serena Williams was defeated in her opening match in Marbella yesterday.

The Russian will become only the second lady baller (Sharapova) from her country to hold the keys while she and big bro' Marat are the first brother + sister to have held the top spot.

Here's what Dinara had to say about the honor:

It's a great honor to reach the No.1 ranking and it is a dream every girl who has ever wanted to play professional tennis shares. It is even extra special for me since my brother Marat was able to reach the No.1 ranking and I am happy to share this achievement with him. There's no question that while I am very proud of my results over the past year, I would have liked to reach this achievement in a different manner. I hope to prove to everyone over the coming months that I merit the honor of being world No.1.

Yes, we're all hoping the same thing. Obviously it's not your fault the WTA's system is severely screwy but it is what it is.

So in the meantime, CONGRATS!!!

PS - I'll be looking for my invite to the housewarming. I give good gifts. Seriously.

(image via getty)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PHOTO OP: Is it the dress, the hair, or the bike chain that's all wrong?

Maria Sharapova is diving full-force into the glamorous Hollywood life.

The 3-time Grand Slammer, who is in midst of planning some major TV projects, was the guest of honor at a dinner thrown by fashion partner Cole Haan at the Chateau Marmont in LA.

Shrieka was joined by a bevy of celebs including actors Josh Hartnett, Jason Lewis, Kerry Washington, and Lily Collins.

Clearly she's been having some hairy situations as of late but even her fashion here is questionable. Is that dress being held together by tape? Plus, I don't know even know how she's standing up under the weight of that bike chain around her neck. Ick.


See more images from the dinner here.

Shrieka + Josh Hartnett

Shrieka, Jason Lewis, Kerry Washington, Lily Collins

Thanks to Maja for the link to Marlie taking a relaxing stroll while having cameras shoved in their face. Nice shoes Charlie.

(images via wireimage)

Serena beaten in Marbella, will lose keys to WTA Penthouse

Serena Williams - surprise, surprise - lost her opening round match in Marbella 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Czech Klara Zakopalova. The 10-time Grand Slammer was clearly still struggling with the left leg injury she sustained in Miami as she was broken seven times in the match.

Click here to listen as ReRe discusses the reasons why she made the long trip despite the injury.

So I believe, based on this result, Dinara Safina will officially take the keys to the WTA Penthouse on April 20th after Charleston. ReRe needed to win in Marbella and defend her title in the southern city to keep her set.

Congrats to Dinara but I still think it's crap.

(image via andalucia tennis experience)

PHOTO OP: Rafa hits the green in khaki on his early Easter break

Rafael Nadal was spotted on the green in Mallorca getting an early jump on his Easter weekend holiday accompanied by two unknown, yet super cute, friends (can anyone ID them?).

I'm not a huge fan of golf and less a fan of golf clothing but Rafa somehow makes these fashions look damn good, especially the khakis. Actually, it's probably no mystery how he does it.


(via eltoroderafa, courtesy of photo agency)

VIDEO VAULT: La Monf shows Shrieka how it's REALLY done

Here's a new video by Prince featuring Gael Monfils discussing and pimping out his new EXO3 Rebel stick.

La Monf is seen doing his usual acrobatics around the court while seeming so genuine and natural (not to mention huggable) during the interview as he regurgitates the great benefits of his new racquet.

Are you listening Shrieka? It's possible to be GENUINE and NATURAL while doing your job - you may want to ring up the Frenchie for some lessons.

Just sayin'.


(video via prince)

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Murray's sittting on top of the...

Well, more like he's standing and pretend serving on top of the O2 Arena, a London landmark and host venue to the 2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

I guess this beats his ode to Pamela Anderson + Baywatch from Miami. Phew.

UPDATE: The Brit baller is also featured on the May 2009 cover of TENNIS mag. But why didn't TENNIS use a current shot of Andy and not this old stock number for the all important cover image? Is it a money issue or just laziness?? I mean, it's not like we're asking for an original shot specifically done for the mag but something that says, "It's the 2009 season and we know it!".

Newsflash for you: we know it's old and we can't be fooled.

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Dani poses poolside in Miami for Hello! magazine

Daniela Hantuchova took part in a photoshoot and interview for Hello! magazine while in Miami for the Sony Ericsson Open.

According to her site, the shoot took place at the Four Seasons Hotel with photographer Chris Bott.

The slender Slovak was also one of the featured athletes in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue this year along side Maria Kirilenko + Tatiana Golovin.

(image via

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PHOTO OP: JJ + Lefty hit the beach in Marbella then win opening match (no, seriously)

Jelena Jankovic and constant companion Lefty (still worried) were spotted at a beach tennis photo call in Marbella this past weekend for the Andalucia Tennis Experience.

Color me THRILLED to see JJ finally won a match after going on a disappointed 2-match losing streak during March Madness. The former top lady baller defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-1 in the tourney's first round - a sign she's gaining some bearings or she's not as lopsided anymore.

In any case, I'm gonna celebrate even if she won't!

*throws glitter sky high*
*throws on horrid fashion*

Damn, that felt good.

(via women's tennis blog, image via andalucia tennis experience)

Reeshard still injured and unsatisfied, shakes up Team Gasquet

Richard Gasquet, who high-kicked his way right out of Miami with a recurring shoulder injury, has made some major changes to his team.

The Frenchie headcase began the season well, making the semifinals in Brisbane + Sydney, but has struggled recently with his game. According to his website via L'Equipe:

There was a lively "team" Gasquet. Untill recently, the Frenchman, following Murray’s example, was accompanied by his coach, a physical coach and an osteopath, Since a few weeks, he does not work with his physical coach, Nicolas Pérotte, anymore and right now he also stopped working with the osteopath, Francois Teissedre.

It seems as if a disagreement about the way to deal with his recurring shoulder injury is behind the separation. “I have wished to make the relation between coach and player closer”, comments his coach, Guillaume Peyre. “Richard is only nr 25 in the world, and there were too many people around him. In addition: many people, many opinions." Gasquet, who still suffers from an inflammation of a tendon in his right shoulder, is in Béziers at the moment working on his lower body and is still not sure whether he will participate at the tournament in Monte Carlo (12-19 April). He will use the competences of specialists at the team Lagardère to deal with his physical condition.

It seems Reeshard may have been getting too many voices in his ear about the best way to handle his injury - sometimes this kind of set up works (Andy Murray) but apparently not for him.

I'm all for making major changes in Team Gasquet right now. His results are severely inconsistent and this injury can become career-threatening if not diagnosed and treated correctly. Plus, it must be a drain on his already shaky mental game to be worrying about his shoulder.

Stay tuned!

(image via getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Shrieka's not winning any Oscars any time soon

Maria Sharapova took some time out during the recent Sony Ericsson Baller Party to discuss her injury status and also to pimp out the latest SE T707 phone.

But pay attention to Shrieka's shocking transformation starting around the 2:30 mark. Let's just say ReRe could probably do a better job at acting - and that's not saying much.

PS - Thanks Maja!


Monday, April 6, 2009

VANtage Point: Miami flashback, honing in on Houston

Now that the hard part’s over … it’s on to the clay-court season!

Yes, VANtage Point is back and ready for some slip-sliding action on the dirt as both tours start one of the most difficult and physically draining stretches of the year. I figure it won’t be so hard for me, though: Whenever Rafael Nadal’s playing in a tournament, I should pick him for the title. That way, I can get my numbers up! Pretty easy, right?

Anyway, after a week off, let’s knock the dust off VP and get to it.

A Look Back: That was some Sony Ericsson Open, wasn’t it? I think the most impressive feat had to be Victoria Azarenka taking the title over my pick, Serena Williams. Over at my blog, Tennis Talk, Anyone?, my Slam predictions are riddled with Azarenka picks, but she has never come through for me. I guess I should stick with her now!

For the men, I think one word best sums it up: WOW. What can you say about Andy Murray? Is there any doubt he’s the best fast-court player on tour right now? I think he’ll get tripped up a little on the clay, but that’s a discussion for another day. He took out Novak Djokovic in the finals, who made some of the biggest noise in the tournament by beating Roger Federer. Or was that big noise Roger’s racquet being shattered? I can’t believe Fed is saying he’s happy to get off the hard courts: That’s a very bad sign. It wasn’t that bad an event for VANtage Point, either, with six of the eight total semifinalists between both draws picked. But I gotta start getting it right on some champs!

This Week’s Spotlight: Hmmm, where to start? Well, there’s a WTA event in Spain that has Serena Williams as the top seed, but I’m expecting her to drop out any second now and the rest of the draw doesn’t intrigue me. So I’m going with my traditionalist’s side and taking a look at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, one of the oldest stops on the tour. The top seeds are James Blake and Mardy Fish, who won the title in 2006.

Players to Watch: Catch him while you can because I think last-year’s runner-up Blake is going out in the first round to Guillermo “Slick Willy” Canas. There’s three wild cards in the draw whose prospects I’m intrigued by: comeback kid Taylor Dent, John Isner and Tommy Haas. I like Haas to make a good run here. As for the defending champ, Marcel Granollers, I can see him going out early, too. A player I think you should really watch out for, here and during the dirt season, is Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

The Final Fours: Since I just mentioned him, I’m going with Chardy over Evgeny Korolev and Jurgen Melzer over Tommy Haas.

And the Winner Is: Chardy takes out Haas in a shotmaking fan’s dream. This is my week, I can feel it!

Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone?

(image via getty)

MIAMI: Who came out on top and who failed miserably at the Sony Ericsson Open?


1. Murray is the new Magician and could make a great centerfold me thinks - The Brit baller earned his third ATP World Tour title of the year defeating Novak Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 and running the draw ragged with his hefty bag of on-court tricks. And, after also making the final in Indian Wells last week, does anyone doubt Andy is now the second best baller in the world behind...

2. Rafael Nadal needs a time out - The Spanish steamroller entered Miami not only with another Indian Wells crown but also some obvious mental fatigue and possible-off court issues. But the Tour moves to clay this week, Rafa's fave time of the year, so he should be feeling good. Let's hope he takes a much needed, and deserved, break right now.

3. What's next for Juan Martin del Potro? - The Argentine giant scored the biggest win of his career and possibly the biggest upset this season by ousting Rafa in an incredibly brave performance in the quarterfinals. J. Martin won his very first career title on clay last year so expect his form, and results, to gain momentum this spring.

4. Novak Djokovic is inching forward - A great showing from the Serb this week, making the final a year after going out in his opening round match last season. His game is slowly (I repeat, SLOWLY) coming together and he made a statement by snapping a two-match losing streak to Roger Federer and causing the Swiss stylist to snap a little something else.

5. Roger Federer is slipping in all ways now - See video. You decide.


1. Victoria Azarenka has set herself up to win a Grand Slam championship - The Belarusian basher capped off a breakthrough week by defeating 5-time defending champ Serena Williams 6-3, 6-1 for the third, and biggest, title of her very young career. Though ReRe was hobbled by an injury to her left leg, Vika made sure to stay focused - even through numerous double faults - in the match to earn the quick win. The 19-year old's game is big but still raw with much room for improvement - good news for her. The bad news: She's a pretty girl but what the hell is Vika wearing here and why? Scary.

2. Serena Williams is still at the top but for how long? - The world's top lady baller suffered a left leg injury during her quarterfinal match but still managed to defeat sister Venus in the semifinals (evening their head-to-head at 10-all), keep the keys to the WTA Penthouse, and make the final. Word is she may have to give up her set by Charleston, which she won last season, but is there any doubt who really is the World No.1?

3. Svetlana Kuznetsova found some footing - It seems the Russian may finally be getting her marbles together after parting ways with coach Olga Morozova recently. Sveta earned her best result this season here, making the semifinals and pushing eventual winner Vika to 7-5 in the third set. The WTA Tour moves to the clay, a surface she's always performed well on throughout her career. Can she finally turn it all around? I've learned not to hold my breath with Sveta or risk certain death.

4. Venus Williams is neither here nor there - I'm not sure if this tourney told us anything about V's game at the moment. She's playing solidly enough but still can't get past ReRe in a big-time match off her fave green grass. And, I don't see her prospects getting any better as the WTA Tour moves to the slippery stuff but her Acapulco win is encouraging.

5. Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Dinara Safina have become an after-thought - Does anyone even remember these lady ballers were in Miami? Sad.


1. Shame on you FSN/MSG - Beating the proverbial horse to death here, but when you think FSN/MSG+ couldn't get any worse they blow all your expectations away by ending coverage of the thrilling Rafa-J. Martin match in the middle of the third set tie-break at 3-all. I mean, really? I don't know what else needs to be said besides what I said last week: "Thank GOD for online streaming!".

2. Tennis on Twitter - I have to say I've been loving all the coverage by the incredibly passionate tennis twits on the social networking site. Not only do you get an array of on-site, timely coverage of the matches and pressers but also some entertaining, irreverent musings from some of the best journalists, ex-ballers, and bloggers out there. Great work.

(images via getty)

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