Google Down the Line!: 2010-08-22


Saturday, August 28, 2010

MEDIA MASHUP: Henin, Murray, Ivanovic and Tsonga help adidas celebrate the Barricade

 

adidas held an event last night at their store in Soho, NYC to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barricade. Justine Henin, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were on hand to discuss their fave stories about the popular shoe and to help cut the Barricake:


I can't vouch for how it tasted (we weren't offered a slice so I stuck to the vodka at the bar - a little too much) but they sure did a good job of recreating the shoe. It was a pretty fun, intimate event and the ballers seemed to be in a relaxed mood taking some interviews and posing for pictures with the guests. I also got to spend time with The Karens of Global Village Tennis News and Tennis Identity and the boys of Tennis Served Fresh, Erwin + Nick. Make sure to check out TI's q & a with the Serb and TSF's q & a with Justine.

Oh and I can't forget about the highlight of my night. Thanks NaturAna! *smiles*

Here's video of the q & a session with the ballers and some footage of them cutting the Barricake. AND, there are more images from the night below!












[Photo(s): DtL]
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Friday, August 27, 2010

VIDEO VAULT: Icons beget icons



Here's the newest TV spot by the Tennis Channel promoting this year's US Open.

It showcases a few of the faves for Flushing Meadows scaling some of New York City's most iconic structures including the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Guggenheim and the Chrysler Building.

I guess it was a bit too late, however, to edit out Serena Williams who makes an appearance in the spot. Ah, well.

[Via: Tennis Channel]

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PHOTO OP: So what does tennis taste like?


Last night I took my first nose dive into being a member of the press on a red carpet line (though this one was green) for one of the biggest pre-US Open events of every year: Taste of Tennis sponsored by BNP Paribas! Some of the biggest ballers in the world teamed up with a number of the world's top chefs for great food, a few cooking lessons and lots of partying all to benefit the New York Junior Tennis League.

It was strange being on the other side of the rope after having spent many working hours as a publicist producing and managing events like TOT. That being said I was prepared for some moments of calm followed by an intense crush of celebrity arrivals, flashing bulbs and yells of, "Victoria, to your right!" and "Andy, just a few questions please!" Oh, that might have been me and it didn't work. A-Rod wasn't in the mood for talking - just cooking with chef, TV host and Billy Joel ex Katie Lee.


The first arrivals on the carpet were the chefs including Lee, Fernando Navas of SushiSamba, John Villa of Tao and Bart Vandaele of Belga Cafe. The ballers were next up and the first to arrive was Victoria Azarenka followed by Christina McHale, Sorana Cirstea, Sabine Lisicki, Amer Delic,Vera Zvonareva, Gilles Simon with Thierry Tulasne, Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters who was bravely working harem pants. Tennis Channel commentator and ex-baller Justin Gimelstob was also on hand and came through the line.


The pictures aren't the best quality - apologies! - because I literally had my hands full, but I achieved my big objective which was to record some interviews with the ballers. Vika, Sora, Lissie, Bepa, Kimmie and Gimel were gracious enough to stop by and answer some questions about tennis and food so look out for that video (edit: click here to see the interviews) shot and and now being edited by my friend Sam Zalutsky (www.SaZamProductions.com).

Oh yes, Grammy-winning musician and supremely handsome John Legend was also in the house for the evening. *sigh*


Once the green carpet arrivals were complete we headed up to the main event on the second floor. For some reason I had been told press was not allowed into the party but all that was required was a showing of our media credentials and we were in. The venue was packed with what must have been 150-200 people. The food was extraordinary as you can imagine and the music and drinks (not to mention the cute boy factor) were off the charts. Sam and I stopped by every food station to sample the world-class offerings save for some of the desserts.


While at the party I spotted Brad Gilbert, Sven Groeneveld, Lissie, sexy Sergey Demekhine (coach to Bepa and an ex-model) and Fernando Verdasco, who waved me off for his dinner plate when I asked for a picture *super sad face*. The only other sighting of the night was Mardy Fish carrying a bag and racquet as he headed out of the W Hotel.

All in all it was an awesome night. I can see why this event is one NOT to be missed!

 

Check out more of the images from the green carpet and beyond after the jump (click on the headline.)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

FASHION FIX: A closer look at Rafael Nadal + Roger Federer's US Open Nike numbers


Here are the duds Nike debuted for Rafael Nadal + Roger Federer last night at the Primetime Knockout Event. Let's take a peek, shall we?


For his day matches Tron will be working the Fall Vamos Court Crew ($65) in hot lime - how fitting - and, to the pleasure of many fans and Brad Gilbert, an all-black look for night. It's the first time he'll be working a full-on black kit at the US Open or anywhere else on tour. So should we crown him Darth Rafa? Uh, not sold on it. I'll stick with Tron.

Both tops are paired with the Fall Vamos Woven Short ($60).


He'll be tearing up the Flushing Meadow DecoTurf blue courts with his fave Air Court Ballistecs 2.3 ($120) in white with lime for day and lime with black for night. It was the global sports brand's intention to keep Tron in all-black at night to highlight these sneaks. And it worked.


Nike has moved 5-time US Open champ Roger Federer in a decidedly different direction from the Spaniard by outfitting him in more classic pieces inspired by the blue collar/white collar shirts that personify New York. Traditional menswear elements including the windowpane collar treatment and stripe are also highlighted.


The Swiss will be working the Victory RF Court Polo ($80) in football blue for day and dark obsidian navy at night matched with the Victory RF Tennis Shorts (about $39 - UK) in dark khaki and dark obsidian navy, respectively.


The 16-time Grand Slammer will be continue with the Lunar Vapor Tour ($120) in white with football blue for day and white with dark obsidian navy for night.

I think it's a smart move for Nike to return to the days of giving Rafa + Fed more distinct looks. There was a moment last season when the two started to dress too similarly - it seemed like Rafa was getting outfitted by Fed. Can imagine that scene? *visualizes...lulz*

Anyway, this direction keeps their individuality and plays well to their personalities. Me likey.

[Photo(s): Nike]
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PHOTO OP: Nike knocks it out in New York


I stopped by the Nike Primetime Knockout Event last night that featured Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka playing light-hearted doubles with actor Bradley Cooper, model Bar Refaeli and New York Giant Justin Tuck and debuting their US Open outfits on Pier 54 in New York City. Serena Williams, her boot (it was on) and umbrella made a special appearance as the hilarious on-court interviewers. They killed it last night even asking Rafa + Fed to show their abs to the crowd (they politely declined. *super sad face*) She seemed so much more relaxed - maybe it's because she's not competing. Yeah.

My friend, Michael Alan (www.michaelalanphotos.com), came with me and took a ton of great photos some of which are above and below. He really captured the fun and frivolity that was had by all. I'll upload the rest of the album to the DtL Facebook page as the come in. I did my part and grabbed a few shots of my own from on-court and during the media session and posted those on my TweetPhoto page. They're not as nice as Michael's so please, BE KIND.

And, the always awesome Karen over at GV Tennis News has the full recording from the media q & a that happened after the doubles exo. Pop on over there if you're so inclined.

If you want to borrow some of these images, please make sure to credit Michael Alan (though the very last one would be mine so credit me!)

P.S. - Check out my Twitter timeline for more detailed (and I use that term uber-loosely) coverage of the action last night. Good times.







[Photo(s): Michael Alan, DtL]
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Power is in the eye of the beholder


The New York Times Magazine has taken an innovative approach to its in-depth look into the state of modern women's tennis timed appropriately for the start of the US Open next week utilizing various forms of media to bring their words to life. It's a study in multi-media storytelling using different forms to draw the same picture, in this case the power of women's tennis.

The print piece is an article by Michael Kimmelman entitled "How Power Has Transformed Women's Tennis" which begins with Justine Henin practicing and apparently out-gassing her male hitting partner at Wimbledon back in June and ends at the ladies' Wimbledon final. But in between these bookends is an examination of the power inside women's tennis including the expansive reach of the WTA into China, the increase in prize money (and equal pay at Slams), the growing global marketing prowess of the tour and some of the ballers and, of course, the lady ballers themselves including the quintessential power merchants and game-changers, Venus and Serena Williams.


Accompanying the print article are two visual forms: a slideshow and slow motion video shot by Dewey Nicks featuring ReRe, Jelena Jankovic, Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stosur and Vera Zvonareva doing what they do best in a smokey bare room outfitted not in their usual tennis wear but in mostly high, frilly fashion. He creates a fascinating balance between the intensity of who they are as ballers - complete with sweat, messy hair, and protruding musculature - and the fact they they are women who happen to be athletes.

His use of slow motion and delicate soundtrack offers a sense of restraint and control juxtaposed against the untamed nature of their racquet's impact, dark lighting, exploding powder and glitter and wild, unkempt hair. A history of tennis, if you will. The brilliance in the visual, however, is neither side takes precedence; they are one and the same. Powerful and equal.

A must read and see.


[Photo(s): Dewey Nicks for The New York Times] 

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FASHION FIX: Maria Sharapova goes deep purple for New York night time


Here's the Nike dress Maria Sharapova will be wearing for her night matches at this year's US Open to go along with her Betty Draper-style day dress. She talked a little bit about it at the evian event yesterday and, true to her word, it is a deep purple.

The updated collars are similar but the buttons on front and at the hem are gone, the front features more of a bustier versus the flap-over, and the skirt isn't as billowy - a sleeker more body conscious look for those matches under the bright lights of New York.

I definitely prefer this dress over the day version in fit, style and color. But again, we'll wait and see what it looks like on the Russian glamazon.

[Photo(s): USAToday.com]
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MEDIA MASHUP: Maria Sharapova and evian celebrate "Live young Month" in New York


Maria Sharapova joined evian at an event to support their "Live young Month" campaign at the Openhouse Gallery in New York City today. The 3-time Grand Slammer was decked out in Philip Lim shiny hotpants (legs, people, legs), a black Diane Von Furstenberg blazer, navy Cole Haan peeptoe sling backs and, of course, the tee with the Shrieka's head on a baby's body. Well, she didn't arrive in the tee but actually went and changed into it for the photo op. When duty calls....

Anyway, she started off by allowing us to take a bunch of photos followed by a welcome message to all. Then, she flaunted her ping pong and lefty skills (it's true!) with Extra's NY-based correspondent AJ Calloway who, incidentally, had his own version of the baby tee in African-American. No, the baby tees don't discriminate either. During their hitting session, she mocked his lobs and punished him with power. Really, she did.

If you peek in the background of this video you'll see her agent, Max Eisenbud, who was not only accompanying Shrieka but also her boy, LA Laker Sasha Vujacic (who can't be seen here but can be seen here), who's much cuter in person than I gave him credit for. Forgive me.



Here's Shrieka, after the shirt change, getting her pose seriously on. The girl can't get enough of the camera, really. Oh, you can see Calloway's baby tee in the background here. I wonder if they have a tee in Asian-American? I mean, they BETTAH.



After two more photo ops and a bit of a wait (thanks to @GVTennisNews, @RosenbergTennis and @ttanyone for helping kill the time there), we were led to an all-white back room where the roundtable was being held. We were asked to keep the questions focused her off-court life so they ranged from fashion, food, health and fitness, etc. You know, DEEP THOUGHTS.

I did ask her about the inspiration for the US Open day dress and if she could give us a hint on the night dress. She kinda answered my question but said the night dress will be revealed at tomorrow night's Nike Knockout Event. I'll be there and will be sure to take pictures of that number.

One bit of important news: she only needed a few days to recover from her foot injury and then went back to Florida to train for Flushing Meadows. Phew.





P.S. - I think I shot the best evian ad EVAH, though it could be less blurry. She could sell dirt and still make sick money. Lucky legs.


[Photo(s): DtL]
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PHOTO OP: The girl in the plastic bubble


Trivia question time! Is this Sam Stosur's audition for the rom-com remake of the 70's classic The Boy in the Plastic Bubble or a pic of her getting treatment in a hyperbaric chamber?

I know, I know. Take your time...

BONUS: Check out her US Open Lacoste outfit here.

[Photo(s): SamStosur.com]
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FASHION FIX: Melanie Oudin to showcase "COURAGE" adidas style


Here's a look at the new, customized adidas Barricades 6.0 Melanie Oudin will be working during her campaign at this year's US Open. The 18-year old, who's "BELIEVE" kicks made headlines during her thrilling run to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal last season, designed them herself at miadidas.com and chose the word "COURAGE" this time around.

“The reason I chose the word COURAGE is because in order to believe you have to have the courage to do so,” said Mels. “Courage to me means playing with no fear and going for it no matter what. You can believe in yourself so much but unless you have the courage to go on the court and put yourself on the line every time you won't make it. You need courage and belief to make it to the top.


I'm liking this color combo much better than last year's for sure. Let's hope Mels, who's entering Flushing Meadows on a 4-match losing streak and carrying a huge bag of ranking points on her back, will somehow let her game do the talking as well.

Visit miadidas.com for more details on how to make your own customized pair.


[Photo(s): adidas]
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BALLER BLOGS: Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic, looking fit as EVAH in this photo, gives us a quick recap of her efforts during the North American hard-court swing though she doesn't get too specific in her latest blog (try one match win in three tourneys, but who's counting?)

She went right back to practice, though, and seems in good spirits: "The US open is the last grand slam of the season and I would like to give my maximum and to play the best I can!"


[Photo(s): jj-jelenajankovic.com]
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Monday, August 23, 2010

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Quick hits from around the grounds


Happy Monday, uh, at least for me though maybe not for Bepa who had to wait until today to reach and then lose the Rogers Cup final. She won once today, though, even if it was due to an injury withdrawal by Vika. Silver lining.

Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend just like I did. Kalil's 4.0 party was so awesome I may have danced off half my body weight during the entire evening (watch out Dani.) That would also explain the reason why I just couldn't peel my tired arse off our couch yesterday - the other reasons involving alcohol, though the two aren't mutually exclusive in this case. Basking in the afterglow I suppose.

So just a quick recap of some of the big tennis news I missed over the weekend plus a few other nuggets for your reading pleasure. At least that's my goal:

- Three-time US Open champ Serena Williams and defending men's champ Juan Martin del Potro will not be competing at Flushing Meadows as both officially pulled out with injury-related issues. Kandse is still recovering from her foot injury (which now doesn't seems as fake as some had suspected - or is it???) and said she is "devastated" to miss the year's final major. Delpo is continuing to work on his game after wrist surgery and isn't ready for top-level tennis just yet. They've been added to the list that already includes Justine Henin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tommy Haas.

- Kim Clijsters picked up a leg injury during her quarterfinal defeat to Vera Zvonareva at the Rogers Cup but is still looking forward to the defense of her US Open title. Great news. Let's not have both defending champs sidelined, please.

- Maria Sharapova has teamed up with evian to help promote the brand's "Live young Month" for August. The 3-time Grand Slammer will be appearing at a promo event tomorrow at the Openhouse Gallery in NYC to chat with fans, journalists and bloggers (including yours truly) and to crack a few ping pong balls with a lucky few. The event runs from 11am to 7pm. Make sure to visit evian's Facebook page for a chance to win a Live young Baby Tee like the one worn by Shrieka here. One grand prize winner will be chosen at the end of the month and will receive two tickets to next week's US Open! Side note: I'll also be on the horn sitting in on a conference call with Venus Williams tomorrow to talk about her collab with Polo Ralph Lauren.

- Swiss watchmaker Longines and 22-time Grand Slammer champion Steffi Graf, will host the Center Court for Kids Tennis Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 2 at Central Park Tennis Center in Manhattan during this year’s US Open.

- If you're a US Open virgin or even if you've attended this Slam before, it's always a good idea to check out Kourtin' Karen's US Open tips over at Gloval Village Tennis News beforehand. It's the best list of do's and do not's out there for tennis fans visiting the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

- New York magazine profiles John McEnroe and his tennis academy dreams...

- American Express has launched a new website called NextContenders.com where tennis fans are invited to go behind the scenes during the Open with John Isner, Sam Querrey, Caroline Wozniacki and Melanie Oudin. You can check out photos and videos as well as some personal anecdotes from each baller. AMEX is continuing some of their most popular activities including Radio Live at the US Open (complimentary for card holders), where fans can get live match commentary right on-site, and the Madison Square Park viewing party in Manhattan which features jumbo screens, local NYC-area concessions, an interactive photo booth and ping pong tournaments sponsored by SPiN New York, the table-tennis social club.

It's going to be a VERY busy week around these here parts so stay tuned for updates!

[Photo(s): Getty Images, evian]


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