Google Down the Line!: 2010-10-10

Friday, October 15, 2010

PHOTO OP: Show me your teeth

"You've been a very, very bad ball."

That might work in Frenchie land, but where I'm from you'd be asked to pick up your panties and leave. Trust.

[Photo(s): Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images]
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taking it to the limit

Jurgen Melzer is having a career year already.

The Austrian can claim a semifinal appearance at Roland Garros and fourth rounders at Wimbledon and the US Open as proof. He also reached a career-high No. 12 in the ATP World Tour rankings on the backs of those Grand Slam efforts and put himself within striking distance of the eighth spot for the Barclays ATP World Tour Final. So no one in their right mind would blame the 29-year old for taking it easy during the fall and quietly setting off on a well-earned vacay.

But today Melz made it known that he's ready to mix it up with the big boys in London when he upset World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the third round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the first time this year the 9-time Grand Slammer has failed to reach the quarterfinals. The veteran was the aggressor dictating with flat, penetrating shots and keeping the Spaniard on the defense throughout. Rafa was admittedly not at his best after contesting his third consecutive tourney but the Austrian should be given full credit for closing him out especially after having lost their three previous matches in straights.

Afterward he sounded like a man on a certain mission:
To be honest, I could live with that, having busy days in London. But it's a long way there. I'm in the quarter-finals. I have a good chance to reach the semis. I'm almost 900 points off the eighth player. This is a very long way. If it somehow happens, I'll be there, I'll be happy, and I'll be hopefully performing well.
Melz isn't ready to call it a wrap just yet. And with the way he's playing, why should he?

London. So close yet, well, you know the rest.

[Photo(s): Getty]
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(UPDATED) THE LOW DOWN: Suit claims Roger Federer involved in illegal betting

Was Roger Federer involved in illegal betting?

So says a lawsuit filed by Agate Printing, Inc. against Theodore Forstmann, owner of IMG and the home to the Swiss superstar's management.

The suit alleges a number of actions by Forstmann not only involving Fed but Tiger Woods as well. The item involving Fed, though, claims Forstmann raised his bet on the 2006 Roland Garros final from $10,000 to $40,000 after receiving "inside information" from the 16-time Grand Slammer. Fed lost that final to Rafael Nadal.

"The allegations in James Agate's complaint are beyond false, they are preposterous," said Michael Sitrick, rep for Forstmann. "Unfortunately, people like Agate look at people like Forstmann as the lottery." The printing company already has admitted to lying and spreading false rumors about the IMG head in a letter sent in April 2009.

Agate, who, according to TMZ, filed the claim due to a breach in contract by Forstmann and because he left tax liabilities on Agate brought on by gambling losses (how the hell does THAT happen?) seems to think they can really hurt Forstmann this time by dragging two of his biggest clients and two of the most recognizable athletes on the planet into the lawsuit. At the very least, they'll get the public's attention. But that's probably about it.

UPDATE: Fed responds to the allegations during his post-match presser in Shanghai today (around 6:10) saying "Since it involves my name, somewhere out there, I know it's 100% not true...":

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VIDEO VAULT: Djokovic, Agassi, Henin and Nadal

Click here to watch video
Novak Djokovic became the third baller, after Rafael Nadal + Roger Federer, to enroll in the ATP Art School after qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He got his chance to roll around in paint (literally) and create his self-portrait to be auctioned off for charity. Nole's so lucky I wasn't on set and that the paint wasn't edible.

Click here to watch video
Here we go again. Following in the footsteps of Roger Federer + Andy Murray, Andre Agassi throws his hat in the trick shot ring with this promo spot for HEAD. I guess AA could hit the net post from the baseline. But from the stands? *scratches HEAD*

Click here to watch video
I know I'm a little late on this one but I had to post about it. Justine Henin has been known (at least around these here parts) to channel her inner Madonna so it should come as no surprise to see her live the dream and put on her own version of the Blonde Ambition Tour on Belgian TV show Cap 48. Either that or she's stuck in 1990 wearing the same get up. Believe me, it happens (see your local shopping mall.) Thanks Josh!

Click here to watch video
Rafael Nadal is featured in a new Spanish promo spot for insurance sponsor Mapfre. The World No. 1 is asked to answer questions about his personal interests and not about his life as a baller. It's filled with fun facts and funner faces - see pic. (via NadalNews)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gone, but not forgotten

Hi Rafa. I'm back.

Kalil + I had such a great time in Florida celebrating my parent's 40th anniversary. It was an emotional trip for obvious reasons which always seems to put me in a pensive, introspective mood. I was able to spend time with family and friends I hadn't seen in a long time; it was fun to catch up on their lives and see how they've changed since the last time we spoke. If ever you feel like time is moving at the speed of light, it would be in those moments. Forever young we are not.

The weather couldn't have been better - sunny, 80's, moderate humidity - so we managed to sneak in some hitting with HEAD and Dunlop followed by quick dips in the pool. Now, it wouldn't be a true family gathering (or life) without some drama but all in all it was a beautiful time. A big thanks to those of you who left kind messages for my parents and me in the comments section and on Twitter and Facebook - they read them as well and were moved by your words.

If I'm being completely honest, though, it's always hard to plop my brown arse onto a chair, open up the computer and write something after being away for a bit. You could compare it somewhat to tennis in that you form a 'writing rhythm' when you are posting regularly, but once you stop, it takes a moment to get it back. So I took yesterday to catch up on the happenings and find my motivation. And I think I did.

What was the biggest piece of news to happen while I was away? Aside from all the Brett Favre cock talk (don't be fooled - some penises are not pretty, NSFW) here are the choices:

A) Rafael Nadal wins his seventh title of the year and 43rd of his career in Tokyo over Milli Vanilli (thanks natch)

B) Caroline Wozniacki boots Serena Williams from the WTA Penthouse and takes residence becoming the 20th top lady baller in WTA history at 20-years old

C) Novak Djokovic defends his title in Beijing besting David Ferrer grabbing his second title of the season

D) Wozzi downs Vera Zvonareva in Beijing for her sixth title of the year

E) The Wounded Tennis Association continues its work with Venus Williams, Dinara Safina, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova ending their seasons and ReRe all but pulling the plug on hers

I guess I'd have to go with choice...uh...'B.' The way Wozzi earned the achievement - by leaping past an inactive and still-injured ReRe - may have been like tripping someone on crutches (no offense V)  on your way to the head of the class but the Dane's season-long consistency earned her the keys and that's all that matters. I keep going back to something TENNIS' Steve Tignor wrote when it seemed likely Woz would usurp the top spot:
Yes, she would be the real No. 1, and she would deserve it. She would not be the best player in the world; that’s still Serena, who won two majors this year. Being No. 1 is a different achievement. It might not sound glamorous, but it’s an honor nonetheless: Wozniacki would be recognized as the best in the world at her job.
Bulls-eye. But, fair or not, the sharks will be swarming and looking for her to legitimize the ranking by winning a major, or as Tigger so eloquently put it, by "mak[ing] something artificial into something real."

Now that's some tough love. Damn, it's good to be back.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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