Google Down the Line!: 2009-09-27

Saturday, October 3, 2009

(UPDATED) NaturAna withdraws from Beijing, calls it quits on 2009

Ana Ivanovic's "disappointing" 2009 season came to an abrupt end when she was forced to pull out of Beijing with illness today.

The Serb discussed her feelings about the season in her latest diary entry and also revealed some little known information about her physical health:

I guess having to withdraw from Beijing is an appropriate ending to a very disappointing season. This trip to Asia has been a big disappointment and I have struggled with my health pretty much since I arrived. I am sorry to my supporters who were hoping to see me play here in Beijing. It's very disappointing for me as well, to come here, see the amazing facility they have and not have the energy to be able to step onto court. I can only look forward to coming back here next year.

It's especially disappointing because I was hoping to be able to see some improvements before the season ended. I have gone through a lot of training and physical changes over the past few months, which have mostly remained private until now... My body is quite fragile at the moment, because I over-trained during the first part of the year. This was, I think, what caused me to have many small injuries this season.

Instead of being patient and accepting that my best form was almost impossible due to physical limitations, I was always over-thinking things, and I never dealt with it very well. The season was a continuation of going from one disappointment to another. If I had dealt better with these setbacks, I would have had a lot more success.
The former top lady baller also revealed the addition of a new member to the Team Ana fold:
I have appointed a new fitness coach, whom I will tell you more about later. Over the next month or so I can have a great break. I can rest without thinking about any future tournaments, then train and practise hard for the new season.
She and former strength + conditioning coach Scott Byrnes parted ways back in July.

NaturAna sounds like a big mess right now. That being said, I think a nice break from tennis will do her a world of good. But she'll need to learn to keep things in perspective and realize that wanting it "so badly" is a quick path to disappointment.

UPDATE: Speaking of "NaturAna", guess who just jumped on THAT bandwagon? ROFL - love it.

UPDATE #2: Peter Bodo sees a "lack of nerve" as a major cause for her troubles and thinks NaturAna needs to get more real about her struggles - most importantly, with herself.

(Photo: Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

Shrieka wins first title since comeback, tops injured JJ in Tokyo

Tokyo was no match for an all-business Blondzilla.

Maria Sharapova earned the first title since her return from shoulder surgery and 20th of her career by capturing the Toray Pan Pacific over an injured Jelena Jankovic. After losing the first two games the Russian broke out to a 5-2 lead in the opening set and won the first two points in the next game before JJ called the trainer. The Serb was forced to retire with a right wrist injury.

Shrieka, who also launched her Cole Haan Collection earlier in the week, was understandably thrilled to win her first trophy since her comeback and was appreciative of all the support this week:

I want to thank all of the fans for coming out here and supporting me, it meant a lot to me. To go from not knowing whether you'll ever play the sport again to holding a trophy, it's an unbelievable feeling. You realize what a gift it is to hit a tennis ball. I've put in so much work and this is just exciting.
The 3-time Grand Slammer will move up to No. 15 in next week's WTA rankings.

I'm sure Shrieka is happy to get THAT monkey off her back. She went back to her old service motion this week and it seemed to be the right decision. Clearly her shoulder is feeling great which most likely gave her the confidence to let her game fly. Great news.

I'd say the Russian is setting herself up nicely for a strong start to 2010.

(Photo: Getty)

Chrissie + Greg announce split after 15 months of marriage

Chris Evert + Greg Norman have announced a formal separation after only 15 months of marriage according to a statement released through Greg's LA spokesperson Bart Collins.

The couple requested privacy for themselves and their families and said, "We will remain friends and supportive of one another's family." The pair have not indicated whether they will divorce.

The history of the relationship has been well-documented, including claims made in 2007 by Chris' ex-husband and Greg's former best friend, Andy Mills, who blamed the golfer for ruining his 18-year marriage to the tennis Hall of Famer.

Last July, Chrissie publicly admitted to the affair for the first time but tried to explain it away during an interview with Vogue saying, "It was like an irresistible force. How do you explain something like that?"

Upon hearing of the separation, Greg's ex-wife Laura Andrassy had her own explanation. "They say opposites attract. Here were two people very much alike - high profile and narcissistic people - and that would make a relationship difficult," said Laura.

It was Chrissie's third marriage and second for Greg.

Ouch. Well, I can't say the news of their separation is a shocker. Unfortunately, it's not at all.


Friday, October 2, 2009

SIGHTING: Rafa arrives, smile in tow

After finally being cleared to compete, Rafael Nadal began his season-ending effort arriving in Beijing today for the China Open.

Boy, it's like deja vu: Rafa, Beijing, striped polo. But at least this time he's smiling. Last year, not so much.

More images of his arrival along with Tommy Robredo + Ivo Karlovic here.


(UPDATE) SIGHTING: Serena pounds the pavement

Serena Williams was spotted in Beverly Hills looking all kinds of 80's with her belted checkered shirt dress, mary janes, and wayfarers. Plus, is she wearing crinoline underneath it all?

It's def a different look for ReRe after her recent high fashion glamour.

Love it or leave it? DO TELL!

Suspension talk still lingers in the air. Will she face the music?

(Via jezebel courtesy of WENN)


Gilles Simon howled to the heavens after edging past Evgeny Korolev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinal in Bangkok. He'll face off against Jurgen Melzer for a spot in the final.

I guess Gilly is now ready to receive Jo-Willy - doesn't it all make sense now? Gotta love the Frenchie MOMA.

So in honor of his wolf-y ways and because it's Friday *cheers*, I give you Shakira's "She Wolf" for your listening and viewing pleasure. That's if you like smokin' hot, half-dressed, gyrating, bendy blondes in a cage, I mean.


(image via getty, video via freshmusic9)

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a strange yet interesting gesture during his exhausting 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-6(2) win over Ernests Gulbis in Bangkok. The defending champ and top seed reached the quarterfinals where he'll face off against qualifier Marco Chiudinelli.

Believe it or not I'm actually at a loss to explain what's going on in this pic so you tell me: what the hell is Jo-Willy doing peeps?

(Photo: Reuters)

PHOTO OP: Coffee gets Fed all frenzied (apparently)

"Help me, Roger Federer. You're my only hope."

On Tuesday Roger Federer made a special appearance at Jura, the Swiss coffee machine maker, where he is the brand ambassador. The company organized this event to honor the 15-time Grand Slammer's many achievements.

I've never seen anyone get so excited over a coffee maker. But I guess if they were putting cash in my pockets, I'd be clapping for coffee too.

See more pics here and some (admittedly) grainy video here.

(image via MTF)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(UPDATED) RafaReport: He can practice and he can party

We haven't heard much from Rafael Nadal since his semifinal loss to eventual champ Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open.

But the 6-time Grand Slammer has been practicing indoors working on game as seen here in these videos (thanks Jyocka!):

He's also recovered from his nagging ab injury and will be traveling to Pekin and will support Madrid's Olympic campaign followed by Shanghai, Paris-Bercy, Barclays Masters Cup, and then the Davis Cup final.

But it seems from these photos that tennis isn't the only thing Rafa's had on his mind. Good for him. (Note to blondie: Xisca may not be there but we're all watching.)

UPDATE: Looks like he also took in some Real Madrid today with papa Sebastian and sis Maria Isabel though he must've missed the joke going on behind him. Focus peeps!

(videos via luneworld)

Marty gets 29th birthday prize: an unsuspension

Time's up for Martina Hingis.

The 2-year drug suspension on the Swiss Miss ends today which is, coincidentally, her 29th birthday. SI's Jon Wertheim caught up with her to discuss her feelings on the suspension, its handling, and whether she has ever taken cocaine. Good stuff: From an emotional standpoint, how do feel you've handled the past two years?

Martina Hingis: OK. There were hard times and it was frustrating knowing I did nothing wrong but couldn't really fight this. It was my reputation and I knew the truth. But the process didn't really let me fight. Given your outspoken personality, I think it surprised a lot of people that maybe you weren't as forceful, deciding, for instance, not to appeal. Do you regret that?

Hingis: Like you say, I always spoke [honestly] even if I wasn't always politically correct. I spoke the truth even when the truth may have hurt me. But the system was set up in such a way that there was nothing I could do. Bottom line: have you ever ...

Hingis: No. Taken cocaine? Never. No [recreational] drugs. I don't know even the effects. I've maybe been in a position where I could have. But never, no. If I had ever taken cocaine, I would have said so. Before this happened, did you ever worry about a situation like this?

Hingis: No, because I probably had between 80-100 tests and no problems. The only thing I would ever take was aspirin and I was very particular about these things. Even if I had a flu I'd call my doctor and say, "What can I take?" I was always very cautious. I never took anything that was not approved first. Were any players notably supportive?

Hingis: Billie Jean King wrote a letter on my behalf. But, you know, I wasn't allowed at the Grand Slams, even to enter the stadium during tournaments. So I had little contact with the other players. Richard Gasquet?

Hingis: No. Lots of comebacks going on. You're 10 years younger than Kimiko Date ...

Hingis: I'll leave it Justine [Henin]! It's not so easy. You need to commit. You can't just do it when you want to. I know the women's game isn't at the highest point it's ever been. OK, look at Kim [Clijsters]. But she has the family support, the husband, she's physically strong. She played three tournaments and she's right back and I don't think anyone can hurt her on the court. What is your relationship with tennis?

Hingis: I love tennis, still a big part of my life. I didn't play much in the beginning of the suspension, but then I played more. Now when I play, a lot of the time it's with juniors. I've been able to [distinguish] between the sport and the administrators.

Now, here's a returnament I could get excited about...again. Third times a charm, right Marty?

PHOTO OP: La Monf (finally) arrives in Kuala Lumpur, hairy situation in tow

Gael Monfils took the "scenic" route to Kuala Lumpur but still managed to grab an opening round win.

The Frenchie, who won his first title in four years at Metz last weekend, defeated Denis Istomin 7-6(3), 7-6(2) after arriving at his hotel at 9am in the morning. After winning the title on Sunday he had rented a car in Metz to get to his home in Geneva since there were no flights available and arrived at 3am. Then, he took a flight to Paris on Tuesday to catch another flight leaving for Kuala Lumpur arriving this morning. He only had an hour at the hotel before leaving for his 10am practice. Phew.

Great effort La Monf, but a thumbs WAY down on the hairy situation. Seriously, when did you find the time to get your hair done?

Anyway, I hope you don't think you can hide that mess - unless it came with the hat. Then, you're excused.

(Photo: Malaysia Open)

VIDEO VAULT: Don't hate, Tipsy - imitate

Janko Tipsarevic waxes his usual philosophical self about tennis and his "hate" for fellow Serb Novak Djokovic.

In this day and age of pre-scripted PR talking points, isn't Tipsy's candor refreshing?

LOVE it.

(via ATP World Tour)

PHOTO OP: We're gonna knock you out sucka (at least we think we can)

For better or worse, John Isner + Gilles Simon finally joined Robby Ginepri as shirtless brigade members while practicing their Thai kick boxing moves at an ATP photo op in Bangkok.

I'm sorry but for some reason Gilly is SO not convincing in the top image (neither is John for that matter) though he's def trying hard to bring his "tough" face. Nice try. It looks like he's got a solid high kick below, though.

You confuse me, Frenchie.

PS - Peek-a-boo Robby, we can almost see you.

(Photos: Reuters, Getty)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Total staredown

"I am Blondzilla. I come in peace."

- Thoughts go out to Sam Querrey who needed emergency surgery on his right forearm after falling through a glass table. The US Open Series champ was sitting on the table and, according to his agent John Tobias, was leaning forward to tie his shoe when the glass shattered cutting his arm. He'll be out 4-6 weeks essentially ending his season. "im gonna fight the good fight :)... back home to santa monica in the morning" Sammie said via Twitter today. [TENNIS' Ticker]

- A hobbled Boris Becker and his pregnant wife of 5 months, Lilly, took in Oktoberfest in Munich. The tennis legend is recovering from a recent hip surgery.

- Maria Sharapova, who has returned to her old serving ways in Tokyo, will be touring South America for a series of exos (read: CASH COWS) from November 29th - December 4th. The matches will feature the 3-time Grand Slammer facing off against Argentine Gisela Dulko, her conqueror at Wimbledon. Talk about a girlie glamfest. I can just imagine all the wardrobe changes. *green with envy*

- Could the boy's game use a little more roughing around the edges? Steve Tignor thinks so.

- HCFoo is covering the Malaysian Open for her tennis blog and grabbed an interview with Fernando Verdasco. She was quick to apologize to the Spaniard for accidentally calling him "Feli" the nickname of his compatriot Feliciano Lopez. Good to see Nando take it so well...or did he?

(Photo: Getty)

Monday, September 28, 2009

VIDEO VAULT: Veronica Sawyer has a few choice words for you, FedFans

The above image is the stamp Austrian postal services will be issuing - 400,000 to be exact - in honor of Roger Federer's stint as the world's top baller.

The image was taken during his triumphant run at this year's Roland Garros where he tied Pete Sampras' Grand Slam record at 14 majors. He, of course, broke the record at Wimbledon the following month.

The stamps will be available for purchase beginning in February 2010.

So, FedFans, in the immortal words of Heathers' Veronica Sawyer: "Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up." (6:10)

(Photo via GoToTennis)

(UPDATED) Kimiko has Seoul while mental midgets pave the WTA way


A big congrats to Kimiko Date-Krumm who became the oldest lady baller to win a WTA tour title since Billie Jean King in 1983 when she captured the Korea Open in Seoul this weekend. She won the title, her first since 1996, a day before turning 39. Her embarrassed victims this week included Alisa Kleybanova, Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Kirilenko, and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the final.

And, to throw more salt in the WTA's wounds, the tour's mental midgets are continuing their fine form in Tokyo already this week including opening round losers Ana Ivanovic, who lost her third straight match and second consecutive to Lucie Safarova; Svetlana Kuznetsova who crashed out to Andrea Petkovic; and top lady baller and defending champ Dinara Safina who fell to 132nd ranked 18-year old Chang Kai-Chen, her second straight loss since her third round exit at the US Open.

Okay, I think it's time for me to dust off (one of my) wigs, don my best Nike day dress and hit hit the WTA tour. There's money and ranking points up for grabs and no one's interested in playing - so why the hell not?

We'll see who's laughing their way to the bank (hint: it won't be an -ova but an -ich.)

UPDATE: And Venus goes down. Now where is that afro puff wig of mine? *scratches head*

(Photo: AFP)

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