Google Down the Line!: 2010-07-18

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Novak Djokovic visits Tara, opens tennis courts at School of Friendship

Novak Djokovic, who pulled out of The Farmer's Classic in LA for personal reasons and was replaced by Andy Murray, is pictured here during a recent visit to the School of Friendship on Tara mountain in western Serbia with children-proteges of the Naša Srbija (Our Serbia) organization.

The world's second-ranked baller donated funds to the charitable organization and helped officially open the tennis courts during his visit. "It is important to see children laughing and having fun, enjoying in this wonderful center," said Nole. "This is a great thing and it is not just my wish, but also the wish of Serbia and all of us standing here."

The Djokovic clan plans to take care of 12 children from the Naša Srbija organization.


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USTA claims rebuffed as Juan Martin del Potro updates status

Status: CONFIRMED. Uh, not quite.

Juan Martin del Potro took to Twitter to clear the air about his status after the USTA claimed the Argentine had begun hitting in preparation for the defense of his U.S. Open title:

Translation (via "I haven't picked up a racquet yet so I can't tell an exact date. When I know I'll tell you the news here. I'm improving, that's a good thing."

Also, according to a tweet by Fue Buena, Delpo's kinesiologist spoke to ESPN Radio in Argentina and confirmed he will return at the Thailand Open in September and not at Flushing Meadows.

This incident is a big PR strike against the USTA. They made public information about Delpo that obviously wasn't confirmed by anyone in his camp. Even if, hypothetically, they received some kind of update from someone on his team it wasn't information that should've been shared so quickly especially after Bangkok was the only tourney actually mentioned as a return by the 21-year old himself. The officials needed to treat this information as a "hopeful sign" rather than official news and if, by chance, he somehow made it to Flushing Meadows it would have been a surprise bonus for everyone involved. Now, THAT would have been a better lead-up headline than what they're dealing with now.

We all know they have their motives for wanting the defending champ to be mentioned in their communications and marketing of the U.S. Open (e.g. sponsorships, advertising, ticket sales) but, unfortunately, they're now walking around with an omelette and a side of bacon on their face.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Serena Williams + Sascha Bajin's Twitter lovefest

Now that Serena Williams is supposedly off-again with rapper Common (though this pic may say otherwise) she's a single lady with an empty ring finger. Uh, not so fast.

She has one of the closest baller-hitting partner relationships that I know of in the tennis world with Sascha Bajin, or Big Sascha in Twitterverse speak. He's always in her baller box rooting her onto another major title, they hang out off-court tons and the pair share playful banter for everyone to see online. And today was no exception.

Apparently Big Sascha offered up a nice piece of ring bling for the top lady baller and she couldn't have been more thankful:

Nice words for a friend. And just for the record, here's a photo of the ring in question...

Cute, no? Anyway, Big Sascha was quick to respond to Kandse's effusive tweets upping the 13-time Grand Slammer with his own saccharine-laced musings:

"I was born to make you happy"? "I will be there for you"? I mean, just throw something sparkly on Kandse's other ring finger and call it a day. I kid. Clearly they have a strong professional relationship and solid friendship.

But it seems like one of those horrific Meg Ryan/Jennifer Aniston rom-com movies you've been forced to sit through (fine, I've watched some by choice and hated myself through every minute of it) where the two players spend every waking moment together but date other people and then finally realize "The One" has been in their face the whole time. Awww, and CUT.

Also, check out Big Sascha's Twitter page background. It's a photo from Kandse's U.S. Open win in 2008. You see? Even the flag boy looks a bit confused by their interaction. I'd believe his reaction because he saw it all live and in the flesh.

Listen, I'm not trying to start rumors - pinky swear - but she's available (again, SUPPOSEDLY) and I haven't seen him tweet anything about a girlfriend. So just get on with it already. You'd make us all (read: just me) very happy. And isn't that what love is all about?

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FASHION FIX: Brooklyn Decker trend watch in Hotlanta

Brooklyn Decker, who we last saw decked out in Herve Leger for the ESPY Awards, took a turn for the casual as she watched hubby, Andy Roddick, scrape out a 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-3 win over compatriot Rajeev Ram in sultry Atlanta.

Yes, it's been a near record summer in terms of heat in many parts of the U.S. - including New York City where I'm currently melting - and Hotlanta is no exception. I'm not complaining, though, because it gives people license to wear next to nothing just to survive and that makes my fave past time - people gawking - a much more pleasant experience. At least for me.

But I digress. Back to Brook. The tennis WAG busted out a few trends for her hubby watching:

1) Ray Ban Aviators: Yes, I know I've written about this style maybe a little too much but they're my fave style and the WAGS seem to love 'em too. It's a classic and not a fad like their cousin, the 8o's Wayfarer, which is EVERYWHERE on EVERYBODY right now. But don't worry. Once the Wayfarer gets tired and leaves you, Aviator will be there waiting. You'll see.

2) Boyfriend t-shirt: This trend is all about taking your boyfriend's t-shirt and wearing it as your own, except it's not his - the shirt was made for you. It's an I-just-rolled-outta-of-bed-after-sex-with-my-man-piece-and-threw-on-his-shirt look. Don't act like you've never done it. Or it.

3) Gladiator sandals: Gah! Like the Ray Ban Wayfarers this sand style is everywhere on everybody. I love Brook's color choice but these have been around for a couple of years now. If you don't already have them in your closet then try something new like platform sandals or these cute flats.

4) Chunky necklaces: This accessory trend can get complicated and heavy if you wear too many. Plus, you may need help getting up from your chair and that's never cute (though if you've got A-Rod at your back then you're just blessed.) Keep it simple like Brook is doing here and you should be able to get around all on your lonesome.

P.S. Getty Images listed the woman to Brook's right as Stacy Gardner, Mardy Fish's wife. I'm thinking not.

[Photo(s): Getty Images] 

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Up Close + Personal: James Blake visits the Sports Chalet in LA

Fila + Sports Chalet in West Hollywood are hosting a "meet and greet" with James Blake this Monday,  July 26th from 6 - 7 pm.

He's in town to compete at the Farmer's Classic at UCLA which starts next week but will offer fans a chance to grab a picture with the tennis star and get his autograph beforehand. Additionally, attendees will also be eligible to win James' J-Block t-shirts and Thomas Reynolds tennis gift packs all courtesy of Fila.

Proceeds from the sale of the J-Block t-shirts, which are sold exclusively at Sport Chalet, will benefit the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund.

For the Sports Chalet location, click here.

[Photo(s): Fila]

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(UPDATED) Juan Martin del Potro readies his return to the ATP World Tour

Juan Martin del Potro is preparing to make his comeback to the ATP World Tour after undergoing wrist surgery back in May. *cheers*

According to a statement released by the USTA the U.S. Open champ will be in Flushing Meadows to defending his title. Now, there hasn't been confirmation from his camp so I wouldn't be too quick to assume the 21-year old will be there. It could be a wait-and-see situation from all sides.

Delpo, though, has confirmed he will be competing at the Thailand Open, alongside Rafael Nadal, which begins on September 27. "I am looking forward to playing the PTT Thailand Open on my return from injury," he said. "I really enjoyed myself on my last visit to Bangkok and hope for good results at this year's tournament."

Believe me, I would be ecstatic to see Delpo at the U.S. Open but the USTA may be hedging their bets in the hopes they can get him in full health by August 30, the start of the year's final major.

We'll see. *everything crossed*

P.S. - Anyone have a spare ticket to Bangkok they'd like to throw at me? Just askin'.

UPDATE: I guess the USTA is really, really intent on pushing the story of Delpo's likely return to the tour in defense of his U.S. Open title. Via
The USTA's announcement that Juan Martin del Potro will try to defend his U.S. Open title is no fantasy: The Argentine is already hitting, according to USTA spokesman Tim Curry. USTA officials have kept in contact with del Potro, who had wrist surgery earlier this year. At this point, his wrist is healing ahead of schedule.
But mega-blog Fue Buena, who happen to be based in Buenos Aires, had something different to say in response to tennis scribe's corresponding tweet about the USTA claim:

Intrigued, much? It seems there are a few things happening here. As I mentioned above, the USTA would love nothing better than to have the defending champ at the tourney for obvious reasons. No one wants the biggest headline of the days leading up to the U.S. Open to be his absence. Pretty empty stuff.

On the other hand, Delpo's team probably wants to keep all the options on the table for the slim chance their boy actually recovers in time to play at Flushing Meadows. It's hard to imagine that scenario since he just tweeted about his continuing recovery only last week and has mentioned nothing yet about a return to training. And then he's supposed to enter a defense of a Grand Slam? With the U.S. Open a little over a month away, he'd be coming in on a wing and a prayer.

But stay tuned.

[Photo(s): Zimbio]

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Letter to DtL readers: Wanna whittle away more of your time with me?

I struggled. I kicked and screamed. I said to myself, "Why are you doing this? Is it really worth the sacrifice, the time away from your partner, your dogs, your Happy Hour happiness, your LIFE?!"

And, in the end, I took the plunge. I pressed the 'create' button and - voilà - I had a Facebook page for Down the Line! Why do they make it so simple for addicts like me? I need therapy. Stat.

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SIGHTING: Andy Murray + Kim Sears sun bathe in the Bahamas - but they're not alone

Not to be outdone by Rafisca, Andy Murray and the WAG-alicious Kim Sears switched into vacay mode and hit the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas for some R + R before the Brit baller resumes training in Miami. (Edit: Looks like he's already there.)

Okay Muzz. You're in a tropical paradise sunning next to your gorgeous, nearly-naked girlfriend (looking sexy in tini-wini white bikini I might add) and what do you do? The very thing that allegedly got you dumped by said gorgeous girlfriend - gaming. Could that be why Kim seems to be searching for something, anything, to do?

Believe me, I understand her predicament (my other half has THE addiction.) It's not easy having a three-way relationship, or four based on Muzz's other apparent addiction:

But she's still right there. Dude. Seriously. Put the devices down and learn to relax. You're on vacay with your girl. They'll still be there when you return to reality. But they won't give you a rub down like she will. Uh-uh.

[Via: Daily Mail via Great Tennis Photos, Photo(s): Splash News]

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

(UPDATED) + TUESDAY NETCORDS: Quick hits from around the grounds

* Rafael Nadal, who is scheduled to return to the practice courts this Thursday according to his site, was spotted with girlfriend Xisca Perello on the green still in vacation mode. You see? His infamous ass-ets are so drool worthy even SHE needs to document them and Xisca's seen them up close and personal, I'm guessing (read: fantasizing.)

* Ana Ivanovic was denied a wild card into Montreal and will need to play qualifying to get into the main draw. The tournament director handed it to homegirl Stephanie Dubois instead and said in a statement, "...she's a player who has done a lot for our tournament - almost saved it one year. She has a lot of charisma. Everyone likes her. But the fact is that she hasn't demonstrated (with her play) that she deserves a wild card. It's not the same as a player who has been injured and away for awhile. ... She is the one who dropped down to No. 65, not because of an injury."

Agreed and not at all disrespectful in my opinion. The truth, no matter how it's said, really does hurt. NaturAna should start playing some tourneys on the ITF Women's Circuit (women's Challengers) and rebuild her game and confidence Agassi-style. She's not one win away from getting her A-game back - she's many wins away. If she really has the goods we'll see her back full-time on the WTA tour. If she doesn't, well...

* TENNIS mags Steve Tignor + Peter Bodo talk tennis fandom: truth vs. modesty and social vs. solitary

* Serena Williams a.k.a. Kandse (which I LOVE and may start calling her) is given some spotlight in this month's Vogue and not for her tennis. The aspiring nail-technician gives writer Marina Rust a manicure and said of a recent nail-fail incident, "One time, I was at Wimbledon, and I was going for this shot, and I fell and broke a nail. I was so mad I stopped the game. I had to focus that anger on the other player, the one that made me break that nail." Geez. I'd hate to see what she did to the person who broke the glass that cut her foot, espesh if it means she'll miss the U.S. Open. You are DEAD.

* Ravi Ubha for tells us who he thinks needs a strong summer including Andy Roddick, Marin Cilic, Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

* 18-time Grand Slammer Martina Navratilova will receive the Eugene L. Scott Award for "her contribution to tennis and commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game."

* "Without tennis, who am I?" is a pointed and painful question Jennifer Capriati, who's recovering from an accidental prescription overdose, has asked of friend Justin Gimelstob according to an insightful article about the 3-time Grand Slammer by Johnette Howard for Thankfully for all, the answer isn't a 'Celebrity Rehabber'. Double PHEW.

* Thank you Fue Buena for this photo. That is all:

UPDATE: TMZ has more Rafa porn, more specifically the Mallorcan Matador beaching it today!

[Photo(s): Serena Williams - Vogue, Rafael Nadal - Sina Sports, Splash News Online] 

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Serena Williams in danger of missing U.S. Open due to injury

After already announcing Serena Williams would need surgery on her foot and, consequently, miss three tourneys leading up to the U.S. Open, the WTA's spokesman Andrew Walker said she is now questionable for the season's final major.

I thought the jousting was a bit much. Now I'm sure of it, just like mama Oracene is sure ReRe's being a baby about it all though she doesn't agree.

WTA Tour: Serena's status questionable [ESPN]

Photo(s): Getty Images

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Andy Roddick

I had a Britney Spears moment after Wimbledon.

- Andy Roddick when asked about his most recent hairy situation during his presser at the Atlanta Tennis Championships today

Wow. Of all the moments that's one of the worst. See photo.

[Photo(s): X17] 

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

PHOTO OP: Radek Stepanek + Nicole Vaidisova tie the knot in Prague

Radek Stepanek and former lady baller Nicole Vaidisova were married at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague yesterday.

Czech public radio reported that guests included ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr and tennis player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Vaida, 20, retired from the WTA tour earlier this year while The Worm, 31, is currently ranked No. 29 and was the former boyfriend of Martina Hingis.

I wonder if she'll ever return to the tour. She's still so young and could make a comeback. I mean, married people are winning major all over the place (Federer, Clijsters) so it's not out of the question.

Anyway, congrats to the newlyweds!

[Photo(s): Getty Images] 

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