Google Down the Line!: 2009-09-13

Friday, September 18, 2009

VIDEO VAULT: Top ballers talk adidas Development Program - are you sold?

Check out this video about the adidas Baller Development Program produced by the Tennis Channel. It's beautifully shot and features appearances by legend Andre Agassi, Fernando Verdasco, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Darren Cahill, and Gil Reyes (with the bouncing moobs.)

I'm not sure if it's a commercial or not but it sure does a great job of promoting the program and its mission.

Thanks to RagingBitch for the tip off!

PHOTO OP: Hometown hero

Juan Martin del Potro returned to his hometown of Tandil, Argentina for a firetruck ride and a ticker tape parade thrown to celebrate his US Open win.

I wonder how all of this attention and adulation must feel to the 20-year old. Amazing comes to mind.

(Photos: AP, Getty)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

VIDEO VAULT: Kimmie wins, coach loses...his hair

Never bet again Kim Clijsters because you'll lose.

Coach Wim Fissette promised to shave his head if the Belgian lady baller won the US Open.

Well, she did. And then, he did.

(via clijsterstube)

THE LOW DOWN: Things are heating up Down Under

It seems Bernard Tomic won't be getting an invite to the Hewitt household for dinner any time soon.

Team Tomic, including Bernie, his father John, and their handlers, has caused a rift with compatriot Lleyton Hewitt stemming from a request made by the 2-time Grand Slammer during this year's Wimbledon. While preparing for a fourth round encounter with Radek Stepanek on the middle Sunday, Lleyton and his team reached out to the rising 16-year old and his camp.

David Drysdale, Lleyton's manager, discussed the incident with The Age:

As Team Hewitt tells it, several phone calls were made to Tomic, his father and an IMG agent on the Saturday evening, asking if Tomic would hit at 1pm the following day. There was no response, but the 16-year-old was present when Hewitt arrived to practice. His physiotherapist, Ivan Gutierrez, made the approach to the Tomic entourage.

''We turned up and saw the Tomics around and we thought, 'oh, maybe they got our message, and they were there to hit with Lleyton', so Ivan went over to Bernard's trainer at the time, Rudy [Sopko], and said; 'is Bernard here to hit'? Drysdale said.

''Rudy knew nothing of it, but said; 'look, Bernard's looking for a practice partner and I think Bernard would like to do it', but then the agent came in and said; 'no, he's not hitting with Lleyton, Lleyton's not good enough'.''

''They were his words: 'Lleyton's not good enough', and we just about dropped on the spot. We were pretty dumbfounded. Lleyton just could not believe it, and the more he thought about it the angrier he got about it.''

Drysdale then approached Juan Carlos Ferrero who happened to be courtside to discuss a possible practice session with Lleyton. The Spaniard told him,

'no, no, I've got a practice partner, but that young Australian kid Tomic, he just came and asked me to hit, why don't you ask him'?

Uh-oh. Of course, Bernie's agent Lawrence Frankopan denied all wrong doing:

The idea that an IMG agent would say that a multiple grand slam champion was not good enough to hit with a 16-year-old, that's just ridiculous. It's laughable.

When Frankopan was asked why Team Tomic would go to another right-handed baseliner he replied, "Unfortunately I wasn't necessarily involved in the dealings at that time.''

Gotta love the ol' "step around" right there. But those involved on Lleyton's side see one person as the culprit here: Papa John, who isn't afraid of a little controversy himself. In fact, last season he had to publicly apologize after having words with an umpire and pushing Bernie to default a match over accusation his opponent was being allowed to foot fault during the match.

Accoring to Drysdale,

There's no way Lleyton as a junior would ever had said 'no' in that situation … I know it's John Tomic who made the decision. We can't completely penalise Bernard for it … and I hope that [new Davis Cup coach] Todd Woodbridge can sort all this out, because I think that one of the problems with the Tomics is that Tennis Australia has been trying to pin their hopes on someone for so long, since Lleyton, and they're so desperate to get someone other than Lleyton, that they're allowing this guy to get away with far too much.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out for Australia's opening Davis Cup tie next season and whether Bernie will be asked to join their country's squad. Unfortunately, we've all seen this scenario play out before in tennis with the father-as-coach wielding control over their son's or daughter's career in an unfortunate manner.

Let's hope Bernie doesn't pay the price for his father's mistakes. Again.

(Photos: AP, Getty)

PHOTO OP: Serena Party Watch hits Gucci in NYC

Serena Williams has been busy pimping out her new book, "On the Line", and discussing her much-discussed US Open meltdown around the TV circuit.

But the 11-time Grand Slammer blew up the Serena Party Watch by visiting the Gucci flagship store in New York City last night to support the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (F.F.A.W.N.), the Italian lux brand's partnership with Grammy-winning singer Mary J. Blige.

Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys

The store is donating 10% of the day’s sales to F.F.A.W.N., in support of its mission to help all women gain the confidence and skills they need to reach their full individual potentials.

Lebron James

Donald Trump

(Photos: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: US Open champs return home, greeted by adoring fans

Juan Martin del Potro survived his ride on the NYC media merry-go-round yesterday and arrived to a hero's welcome in Ezeiza, Argentina by throngs of well-wishers.

A decidedly older crowd (at least by the first pic) was gathered to greet Kim Clijsters as she arrived at Brussels Airport. She took time out to sign some autographs and thanked everyone via Twitter:

Arrived back home this morning, after three months! Its good to be home again! Thanks to all the fans for the welcome at the airport x

Ah, nice to be a champion.

UPDATE: See more pics of both arrivals here!

(Photo: AP, Getty)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

(UPDATED) VIDEO VAULT: Mels talks tennis with Ellen, plays backlot doubs (or something like that)

Melanie Oudin made an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show today to discuss her dream run at this year's US Open. We also get to see Mini-Mels holding her first ever trophy and THOSE adidas shoes. Again.

But Ellen had a surprise for the soon-to-be 18-year old baller: a dress with the words "laugh. dance. believe" on the arse from what looks to be a collection by the talk show host. I can't tell if it's real or not but it sure looks like the dress was designed more for the "ladies that lunch" and not a teen cougar.

Anyway, they take to the studio backlot a little later to grab a hit and are joined by Queen Latifah and DJ Tony Okungbowa for some doubs.

So this is TOT but for some reason Mels keeps reminding me of a certain overlooked middle sister. You?

Check for another appearance by Mels on Conan O'Brien tonight!

UPDATE: Here's her appearance on last night's Conan. Who knew you could yell at your feet to make them move faster? Ca-razy.

(vid via Fierce Tennis)

(UPDATED) MEDIA MASHUP: Delpo dives full on into post-US Open frenzy

Newly-crowned US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro, who qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour finals, jumped aboard the NYC media merry-go-round today making many a stop to celebrate his stunning upset over Roger Federer yesterday.

At a media round table, the 20-year old was FINALLY allowed to address his fans (thanks to Sports Illustrated) in Spanish and English after initially being put off by Dick Enberg during the trophy due to time constraints and the presentation of his new Lexus. Delpo was only allowed to say a few words in his native tongue after having to ask again. Tsk, tsks to everyone involved in that unfortunate moment.

Here's the clip in case you missed it:

The Argentine also made a pit stop at the Empire State Building for a quick photo op and was greeted by a few fangirls while leaving the iconic landmark. It seems he's really got his head in the clouds now, eh?

And, you can't be in New York City without visiting the morning shows and taking a seat at a prestigious talk show table:

Charlie Rose

Today Show

The Early Show

Live with Regis & Kelly

UPDATE: CBS uses the "Dick Defense."

(images via Getty, ATP, Disney-ABC Domestic Television)

(UPDATED) From Juju to Kimmie...with love

Justine Henin, whose own supposed comeback is rumored to be underway, had some nice words for her countrywoman Kim Clijsters after her US Open victory this weekend:

Dear Kim,

Congratulations with your magnificent victory.
Once again, Jada can be very proud of her mama. Your achievement is just fantastic! Warm applause to you and your whole family.

Best regards,

Nice to see the support between the two Belgian lady ballers. Now hurry up Juju and get yourself back on court!

UPDATE: According to's The Ticker, the comeback may be announced sooner than later...
According to TV channel RTBF, Justine Henin has placed an order for 14 racquets tailored to her specifications and may announce her comeback in a press conference held as early as this week.
Me thinks we should retire the word "retirement" in tennis. For good.

UPDATE #2: Even Kimmie thinks Juju is making a comeback...
I do think that she's planning something. The way she ended her career seemed strange to me. I do think that she will come back.
Yup, her retirement and the reasons behind it are still very confusing to me, too. I wonder if we'll ever know the real reason.


PHOTO OP: Delpo beats Fed to win US Open, earns first major title

This year's US Open saved the biggest upset for last.

Juan Martin del Potro capped off an incredible summer by shocking 5-time champ Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 to win the US Open, his first Grand Slam title. The towering Argentine has now only suffered one loss since Wimbledon (d. to Muzz in Montreal) and becomes the first baller from his country to win at Flushing Meadows since Guillermo Vilas in 1977 when it was played on clay. Moreover, he's the only baller other than Rafael Nadal to have beaten Fed in a major final and the first to beat the Swiss and Rafa back-to-back at a Grand Slam. Phew - talk about doing it in a BIG way.

Here's a bit of what Delpo said after the tremendous win:

Q. How did you do what you did out there and how does it feel?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It's difficult to explain this moment. You know, since young I dream with this and take trophy with me. You know, I did my dream, and it's unbelievable moment. It's amazing match, amazing people. Everything is perfect.

I don't know, I can't believe.

Q. First of all, congratulations. You've been speaking all week and quite clear that this is your favorite tournament and you've always dreamed of winning it. Sometimes dreams come true. Describe the emotions that you felt when it was a reality.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, when I lay down to the floor, many things come to my mind. First my family and my friends and everything. I don't know how I can explain, because it's my dream. My dream done. It's over. I will go home with a trophy, and it's my best sensation ever in my life.
It's too early to explain. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week I will be believing in this. But now, I don't know. I don't understand nothing.

Q. The crowd out there, was that special?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, of course, the crowd, it's so exciting cheering for both players. Very respectful for both players. They made a good show for everyone.
A huge congrats to Delpo for coming good in such a high-pressure situation against the 15-time Grand Slammer. He easily could have gone away after his nervous start and especially after the consecutive double faults to lose the third set. But the 20-year old fought until the end using the cheering crowd, who I thought would be firmly behind the Swiss, and Fed's uncharacteristic errors and expletives to his advantage.

More images below!

(Photos: Getty)

Monday, September 14, 2009

PHOTO OP: Kimmie on top of the world, visits Times Square

Newly-crowned US Open champ Kim Clijsters was mobbed by photogs this morning at the crossroads of the world, Times Square, for a photo op to celebrate the big win.

The Belgian lady baller, who rocketed to the 19th spot in the WTA tour rankings today, was joined a little later on by Brian + Jada for the requisite family portrait with the trophy.

(Photos: Getty)

PREVIEW: US Open Men's Final

Roger Federer (1) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (6)
Head-to-Head: 6 Fed, 0 Delpo
Last meeting: Roland Garros semifinals, Fed 3-6, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

Here it is: the very last match of the Grand Slam season. Go ahead and cry.

Roger Federer will be looking to match Bill Tilden's record of six straight US Open titles and earn his 16th major when he faces first-time finalist Juan Martin del Potro in today's final.

How They Got Here: Roger Federer played a brilliant match against a solid Novak Djokovic defeating the Serb 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 and punctuating the win (or rubbing it in?) by cracking a tweener to reach match point. Sick. Delpo played the best match of his career by owning the baseline and dominating Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to reach his maiden major final.

It will be the pair's seventh meeting with the Swiss dominating their series 6-0.

Here's what Rog had to say about Delpo's game:
Well, I mean to go back to the beginning of the year, I had a very easy match with him in Australia, which was very surprising to me, because he came ‑‑ you know, it was a quarterfinal match. I just found out Mirka was having twins.

I was going into that match like, All right, let's see how this is going to affect me. And it didn't. So I was relieved there.

Then in Madrid, and especially in Paris, you could feel like he was just improving every month. Every month he was getting better. He was hitting his serves better, from the baseline he was getting more confident. He knows much more now today what he needs to do on the tennis court.

Whereas maybe in the beginning, because he's so tall, he needs to figure out his game. And I think he did that in the last six months now. I don't know what's going to happen this time, because, again, Paris was clay. This is faster hardcourt. But he's got, you know, the all‑court game. I think it's going to be interesting, I think.

Here's some of what the Argentine had to say about facing Fed:

When I was playing against Roger in the French Open I was so close. On that surface was much better for me.

And if I play against him tomorrow, the surface going to help too much him not too much me. But I have a good sensation with everything, and I hope the best for tomorrow.

Outlook: It's hard to look past Fed as the winner here. He hasn't lost a match at the Open since 2003, has been playing some of his best stuff of late and will most likely have the crowd support. Plus he'll have his third straight first-time GS finalist at the US Open (Nole, Muzz) so he'll most likely benefit from some early match nerves by the Argentine.

It's a tough situation for Delpo but he managed to bring his game to new heights against Rafa on the big stage. He's well-suited to the fast courts of Flushing Meadows and has been using the pace and weight of his groundies to awesome effect.

But I think the moment may be a bit too big for the 20-year old. He may manage to grab a set but when all is said and done, Fed will be left standing.


(Photos: Getty)

Serena offers apology, amends statement

Serena Williams, who released a statement through the WTA yesterday, has offered an apology via Twitter and also penned a new post on her blog amending the aforementioned statement:

Hey guys!!!

I want to amend my press statement of yesterday, and want to make it clear as possible - I want to sincerely apologize FIRST to the lines woman, Kim Clijsters, the USTA, and tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst. I'm a woman of great pride, faith and integrity, and I admit when I'm wrong.

I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately and it's not the way to act -- win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner.

I like to lead by example. We all learn from experiences both good and bad. I will learn and grow from this, and be a better person as a result.



Clearly she (or her publicist) realized there was something important missing her in her statement yesterday.

I wonder how the crowd will respond during her doubles final match at the US Open today?

(image via twitter)

PHOTO OP: Kimmie defeats Woz for US Open crown, earns second Grand Slam title

Kim Clijsters completed her unlikely comeback last night when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3 to win her second US Open ladies' title and second Grand Slam championship.

Kimmie was down a 2-4 in the first but was able to break back when the Dane was serving for the first set. She eventually took the set by breaking Wozzi again and ran through the second, dropping to her knees after smashing an overhead on match point.

It was a remarkable effort by the Belgian who was playing in only her third tourney since returning to the WTA tour. She becomes the first ladies' wild card ever to win a Grand Slam and the first mom to win a major since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon in 1980. Moreover, Kimmie will return to the tour rankings and land somewhere, oh, in the Top 20 with this victory. Nice moves.

Here's some of what she said in her post-match presser:

I'm still, whenever I see my group, every time I say, like, I can't believe this happened. Because it still seems so surreal that, yeah, in my third tournament back won my second Grand Slam.

Because it wasn't in the plan, kind of. I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a Grand Slam so the to start the next year I didn't have to go through all the new experiences over.

So, yeah, it just feels ‑‑ I mean, it feels great, obviously. It's a great feeling to have, but it's confusing in a lot of ways, as well. It went so quickly, everything, so I didn't really ‑‑ especially after yesterday's match. And then with the rain delays and everything, it just felt like especially these last couple of days everything went so quickly.

But it means the world, and I'm just so glad that I am able to share it with my husband who is here who wasn't here a few years ago, and with my whole group who is here. And with our daughter, of course, is the greatest thing ever.

Husband Brian Lynch and daughter Jada joined Kimmie on-court for a post-match photo op and celebration.

(Photos: Getty, AP )

VIDEO VAULT: Between the legs, between the lines

In case you missed it here's THE shot of the US Open this year courtesy of - who else? - Roger Federer.

Don't try this at home kids. Or do. Whatevs.

(via teareasonable)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PHOTO OP: The future's so bright but where the hell are my shades?

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..."

Juan Martin del Potro, who's been great for photo ops recently (see Exhibits A + B ), does it again with this shot and with his dominating 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over Rafael Nadal in the US Open semifinals today.

The Argentine cracked 33 winners against 28 errors, slammed down 6 aces and made 17 of 24 net approaches to reach his first major final. It was his third defeat of the Spaniard this year, including wins at Miami + Montreal.

Delpo owned the battle of court positioning, stepping in with confidence and firing groundies to all parts of the court. He was a man on a mission and Rafa was just another obstacle in his way today.

As for The Matador, he equaled his best effort at Flushing Meadows but according to a tweet by his health is where he's taking the big hit:


(Photos: Getty)

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