A worn down Andy Murray, who finished off James Blake in an epic 3-set second round match ending at almost 2am local time this morning, was knocked out of the Paris Masters by Radek Stepanek 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. It was the Brit baller's first loss in four matches to the crafty Czech.
He follows Roger Federer's shock exit yesterday at the hands of Julien Benneteau, who had his own letdown and was beaten by compatriot Gael Monfils in their match today.
Oh Muzz. We could all see you were tired but is that really a good way of keeping yourself awake? I usually fall asleep afterwards. But that's just me.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Ana Ivanovic and her WAG ways were spotted taking part in the Adam Scott Support Tour, this time in Melbourne.
The Aussie is competing at the 2009 Australian Masters being held at the Kingston Heath Golf Club. In October, they traveled to Singapore where Adam was playing in the Barclays Singapore Open.
Not much to say here, actually. I'm sure NaturAna is happy doing what she's doing at the moment - being a good girlfriend. I just hope to see some training shots soon.
It's magic. It's fabulous. Everything you can imagine. All those words. This memory will stay forever in me and in my career with all the emotions I felt. And hearing the crowd when they are all behind you, the noise is enormous. I didn't believe it was possible to experience something like that...As for Fed, this early loss has given Rafael Nadal an opportunity to close the gap on the World No.1 and claim the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title. According to the Tour, the Spaniard trailed the top seed by 1,215 points after yesterday's results and could cut that margin to a 305 points should he go on this week to win the Paris Masters.
I don't remember any match in my career where I really used my mental resources and physical resources as much as in this match to stay focused, to stay in the present moment, to be aggressive. I needed to go and get that match. I shouldn't be happy with just waiting. I needed to be very precise and to be aggressive, and that is what made the difference.
Oh, this is gonna be good.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rafael Nadal was more an escape artist than a top baller today at the Paris Masters today.
The Majorcan Matador had to save five match points down 5-6 in the second set and overcame a 3-5 deficit in the decider to oust compatriot Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5. The single-handed slinger clearly had a case of the nagging nerves and needed multiple rub downs for cramps during the 3 hour 15 minute bout. The second seed will face another Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, in the third round.
I imagine Rafa's form will get much better in the next round especially against someone who has no real weapons and who'll give him a nice, steady ball to hit. Oh, the 5-0 H2H in the 23-year old's favor doesn't hurt either.
UPDATE: Here's the new ad for the Balearic Islands that I previewed back in August. It's DEF not better than the first one Rafa shot. No chance.
Danielle Ribner is the founder and designer behind Loup, a new tennis apparel collection that "gives a woman the confidence to play hard, while ensuring that she looks and feels feminine."
The line, whose name was inspired by her family nickname "Lou," is smartly focused (11 pieces in various colors make up the first collection) and aims to bring a modern silhouette to performance pieces. In other words, you CAN look good while getting your game on.
I offered a Q & A to Danielle and she obliged! You guys know I'm a fiend for fashion.
Anyway, check it out...
DtL: What is your design background and which designers have influenced you the most?
DR: I graduated from the Parsons School of Design and participated in many internships is all types of fashion. I then worked for Jones Apparel designing for lines like Nine West, Jones NY and Anne Klein learning all about designing collections and mass production. I started Loup in 2008 using the skills I learned in a big company to develop my smaller brand.
There are so many designers that have influenced me, but for Loup in particular I was very inspired by Claire McCardel and her passion for making clothing functional and extremely modern. As for contemporary designers, I love Stella McCartney’s playfulness, Marc Jacobs forward thinking and Alber Elbaz’s love for a woman’s figure at Lanvin.
DtL: What was the motivation behind creating Loup?
DR: I’ve always loved tennis and its culture, and would constantly think about what I would design for the top players. To me it always seemed as though there was more to be done for tennis clothing, but no one really wanted to bother making the clothing really fashionable. What inspired me the most was that tennis is one of the only places where you don’t have to dress like a man to seem powerful – the best and strongest women players wear skirts and dresses, and the shorter the better! Plus I love the challenge of designing feminine and flattering clothing that can help you perform better but also be worn off the court.
DtL: Where is the company based and how many people work there?
DR: Loup is based out of New York City, and we do all the production domestically in New York, Florida and Los Angeles. The company is basically just me, with the help of the extremely talented pattern makers, samples makers, and the factories I work with. I look forward to keeping the brand small and getting to work with great feedback.
DtL: In five words or less how would you describe Loup to DtL readers?
DR: Inspiring strength through femininity.
DtL: Are there specific design elements that were inspired by the game of tennis?
DR: There are a lot of images from the game that constantly inspire me like the airy flow of tennis skirts, the full extension of the arms, the classic crisp whites, the traditional colors of the court like the blues and greens, and of course the challenge of where to store the ball!
DtL: So, the Oz Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, or the U.S. Open?
DR: So difficult! I’ve always had a big soft spot for Wimbledon – seeing all those tennis whites is pretty rare! And although I’d love to see some Loup with clay streaked across it, I’d have to say the U.S. Open. It’s what I grew up with and I have attended for the last 5 years! Definitely very inspiring.
DtL: If you could pick one word to describe the state of women’s fashion in tennis, what would it be?
DtL: You’ve just secured a lucrative apparel sponsorship deal with a top lady baller. Who would it be and what would she be wearing from Loup?
DR: Elena Dementieva – 2 Layer Dress, Ana Ivanovic – Gathered Dress, Melanie Oudin – Pleat top and 2 Tier Skirt
DtL: Rog or Rafa (or someone else?)
DR: Rog! – He’s so strong and aggressive, but it comes off quiet, easy and elegant and without a hair out of place. His game parallels a lot of elements we like to bring into Loup.
DtL: Who is your fave tennis baller of all time? What drew you to him/her?
DR: This changes constantly. Growing up I loved watching Lindsey Davenport, she is so strong and I could never quit tell what she was thinking. Looking at photos of Suzanne Lenglen really inspired me in my first season. I’ve also always loved the style [of] Aurthur (sic) Ashe – he also has that quiet confidence in his game.
DtL: Do you play tennis? If so, how would you best describe your game?
DR: I play whenever I can, which can be hard since I live in New York City. I tend to focus on developing my short game because it seems to intimidate people. Because I’m not the strongest or fastest, I need something to gain an edge!
First outfit: 2 Layer Skirt - $85
Second outfit: 2 Layer Dress - $99.
See the full collection at www.louponline.com or by clicking here.
(Photo: Christopher Starbody, Model: Kris Benton)
Marat Safin played his final professional match at the Paris Masters today. In a symbolic passing of the torch, the former U.S. Open champ fought hard but eventually succumbed to the reigning U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. He ended his 13-year career with 15 titles including 2 majors, 422-267 singles record and nine weeks as the world's top baller.
The pair shared some MOMA at the net after match point followed by a sweet gesture by Delpo: he made his way over to SexGawd's side of the ump's chair to spend some time and share some words with the new retiree.
In an emotional ceremony, the 2-time Grand Slammer was given the key to Paris from President of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) Jean Gachassin followed by a video tribute starring the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko. A number of past and present ballers joined him on court to celebrate the moment including Nole, Gilles Simon, Ivo Karlovic, Tommy Robredo, Federico Gil, Albert Costa, Younes El Aynaoui, Marc Rosset and Delpo.
He had a few things to say about his career:
[My best moments] came in different stages of my career. Beginning with 1998 Roland Garros when I qualified and I beat [Andre] Agassi and [Gustavo] Kuerten and I lost to [Cedric] Pioline. And of course there is the next one, winning the 2000 US Open.Here's video of the ceremony in case you missed it.
I don't have a lot of them [titles] only 15, so not too many majors. But they were really special and very welcome. A lot of people [think] that I'm not really [a] hard worker, but you can ask all my coaches how I dedicated myself to tennis. I worked for it, and I worked very hard.
CHECK IT (thanks Jills) :
Even though he wasn't winning anymore, Marat had a unmistakable presence whenever he stepped onto the court and a unique way with words that could only be described as "Safinisms."
We'll miss you SexGawd. May you go happily into the tennis afterlife.
More images from the ceremony below.
(Photos: Getty, AP)
Novak Djokovic continued what seems to be his now annual "masked" entrance onto Court Central at the Paris Masters today.
Last year the Serb came out as his alter ego, The Green Hornet, and this year he arrived dressed looking like "death." Though, to be honest, if that's what death looks like then bring. It. AWN.
Oh yeah, he defeated Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5 and will face either 16th-seeded Tommy Haas of or homeboy Arnaud Clement in the third round.
(Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Serena Williams was spotted on the grey (?) carpet with Tyra Banks at the 2009 Glamour Women of the Year Awards held at Carnegie Hall in New York City last night.
The 11-time Grand Slammer was honored alongside Rihanna, Maria Shriver, Stella McCartney, Amy Poehler, Marissa Mayer, Jane Aronson, Susan Rice, Euna Lee & Laura Ling, the women of Iran's One Million Signatures campaign, and Maya Angelou. A special recognition was given to First Lady of the U.S. Michelle Obama.
At least ReRe kept her clothes on for the awards ceremony. Phew.
A number of French footballers recently visited with compatriots Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + Gilles Simon in Paris. The team was in attendance to check out some matches at this week's Paris Masters and support their boys.
I have to say I'm disappointed. I've come to expect some serious Frenchie MOMA when the boys get together like here and ESPECIALLY here. Come to think of it, why is Gilly always involved?
If he is as fair play as he says he is, he has to go to the end. You know, the ATP has a bank account and he can give the money back if he wants.
Me, I don't need money. The question is: Why did he do this? What is done is done. Does he hope to sell more books? It's absolutely stupid.
- Marat Safin on Andre Agassi
Great sound bite Marat and it got you in the media big time on your way out. No surprise there - you've been doing this your whole career - though me thinks you doth protest too much.
There must be shady things going on around the Tour that the public doesn't know about (like, duh) and it seems he'd like it kept that way. For instance, are there other incidents of ballers successfully "getting over" on the ATP + ITF who have kept their mouths glued shut and gone on their merry way? I don't know for sure but I'd say there's probably been some based on his reaction.
Has Marat lost his marbles or does the Russian have a point here? Or here's the bigger question: should a baller keep these lies hidden from the public forever to protect the image of the sport or is it better come clean, whether it's today, tomorrow, or 20 years from now?
Richard Gasquet arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland to face the Court of Arbitration Sport (CAS) for the testing positive for cocaine earlier this year.
An independent tribunal brought in by the ITF cleared the Frenchie in July - 2 1/2 months into his ban - and he was allowed to return to the ATP World Tour after claiming the substance entered his system through a tainted kiss. However, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have asked the CAS to ban Reeshard for one to two years.
I'm sure Reeshard is feeling a bit uneasy, and understandably so, after the recent 1-year bans received by Yanina Wickmayer + Xavier Malisse and the revelation by Andre Agassi that he lied about a positive drug test in 1997 and escaped a suspension.
On a positive note (no pun intended, swear) he's looking great for his court appearance. The second photo could be an ad for something though probably not this one for obvs reasons.
UPDATE: The ruling is expected to come in December.
(Photos: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Thanks to a tweet by James Larosa (and the stalkeratti) the rumored budding romance between Maria Sharapova + the LA Lakers Sasha Vujacic is def AWN - well, as much as a photo of two happy looking people strolling down a sidewalk holding hands can say.
So I guess the race to name this coupling will begin. Somebody shoot me if I start.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Brace yourselves peeps.
We've landed in Paris-Bercy, the final stop on the Marat Safin So Long Tour. *cries*
It's here, and we're here, to watch the final serves, groundies, and tantrums we've all come to know and love from our tortured Russian.
And, the SexGawd decided he wanted to thrill us (or torment us?) a little bit more by saving 3 match points in his 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 win over homeboy Thierry Ascione in the Paris Masters first round.
He spoke about his game afterwards saying,
The tennis I'm playing at the moment is not the best of my career. I always came here to win but this time, frankly, I don't think I can do that.That might come in the next round when faces a tough task in U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro. But who knows?
I'll just try to finish on a high note and say goodbye to everybody.
In the meantime, enjoy it y'all. Soak it in.
UPDATE: Here's SexGawd speaking about the match and his next one against the Argentine. He looks relaxed and ready to be sent into retirement. Prepare thy racquet, Delpo.
Rafael Nadal posed with his Serge Kampf Award from the French Academy of Sports in Paris today.
The 6-time Grand Slammer was honored for being the "best sporting talent" of 2008 including winning his fourth consecutive Roland Garros title, his first Wimbledon championship, the Olympic gold medal and becoming World No.1. Alize Cornet won the Lafon newcomer prize.
Rafa is also scheduled to play either compatriot Nicolas Almagro or Swiss Marco Chiudinelli in the second round (his opening match) at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
A big congrats to the Team Italy - Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani - on winning their second Fed Cup title and first since 2006.
They played an overmatched U.S. team in the final and dominated the series 4-0. On Day 1, Flavia beat Alexa Glatch, 6-3, 6-1, while Francesca defeated Melanie Oudin, 7-6(2), 6-2. Day 2 saw reverse singles with Pennetta clinching an insurmountable 3-0 lead by upending Mels 7-5, 6-2. The doubles rubber was still played with Sara + Roberta edging the Liezel Humger and partner Vania King, 4-6, 6-3, 11-9. The last singles rubber was canceled.
Mels made some interesting comments after the U.S. loss eluding to the absence of some lady baller on the team:
I wanted to come here. I wanted to play for my country. Other people choose different things. Some people I guess didn't want to play as badly as I did.Hmmm - I wonder who she could possibly be speaking about here?
But I think that the team that we had here really wanted to be here. You don't want people here that don't want to be here. Even if you lose, if you give it everything you have, then that's the best you can do.
Andre Agassi made his much-anticipated TV appearance on last night's 60 Minutes sitting down with Katie Couric to discuss "Open" and the revelations that have shocked much of the tennis world. The first half of the segment is above while the second is below.
I began reading his autobiography this weekend (thanks to the Knopf for the advanced copy) and although I'm not finished I can say it's absorbing stuff - revealing in so many ways. Andre's humanity really comes through here, and the revelations take on a different tone when read in the context of his life rather than as singular, isolated incidents.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
UPDATE: Martina Navratilova responds to AA's call for "compassion"...
(videos via cbsnews)