Google Down the Line!: 2011-04-03

Saturday, April 9, 2011

FASHION FIX: Jankovic 'blossoming' in game and style

So I got my first real glimpse at the new ANTA number Jelena Jankovic debuted in Charleston while watching her pummel the young American, Christina McHale, 6-2, 6-0. She'll battle current World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki for a spot in the tourney final.

It's a green floral tank dress with fluorescent green straps - a sharp detour from dresses the Chinese brand had been giving JJ to wear which tended to be - what's the word? - BORING. She was asked about the new design in a post-match presser and gave a JJ-style answer:
It’s a nice color for spring, and I have these flowers so it’s kind of like the spring blossom. I’m blossoming.

'Blossoming' would be the appropriate word since her game seems to be turning a corner these days. But back to the important stuff. If I'm being honest I don't like it from an aesthetic point-of-view; I don't find it visually appealing. The flowers are okay but the top part of the dress with strapping looks very strange. However, the cut is spot on and shows off that enviable bod (does she look fitter to anyone else?) and it's definitely more fun and loud which reflects her personality more than the dresses she's been wearing lately. And she's right - it's very spring.

So I'm a bit torn on this one. But hey, JJ's having fun again so that's a HUGE plus.

P.S. - Check out Bobby Chintapalli's Q & A with the Serb for

[Photo(s): AP, Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 8, 2011


Sorry that I had to retire, I felt again my back and got very scared. Just did MRI and CT scan, waiting for the result!

- Dinara Safina after retiring from her match against Victoria Azarenka in Marbella with a back injury

In another tweet a couple of hours later Dinara said she was feeling better and would try playing doubs tomorrow with partner Agnes Szavay. Well, that's very good news. The original back injury had her thinking about retirement, so to hear the Russian feels well enough to attempt playing doubs is awesome.

UPDATE: So all is not well. At all. Via Twitter - "Sadly but the tournament is over... Tomorrow going to Madrid to see my doctor and probably will have to do again some check and some more [s]tuff... Probably 1 more MRI because my doctor needs to do it on his machine... Today when I was warming up i've got again pain in my back...It's very sad... Now I'll have to wait for my doctor and gonna decide what I'm gonna do... Uffff I don't know anymore what to think or to do"


Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Murray still trying to find the right mix

Andy Murray knows his game is in need of a major tune up with the most obvious sign being his decision to drop Alex Corretja and begin the search for a full-time coach (he'll be teaming up with the adidas Baller Development Program in the meantime - good move.) He gave the media a lengthy interview at Queen's Club where he announced his return to the Aegon Championships this summer and discussed a number of topics including his thoughts on why this change was needed, what he's looking for in a new head coach and the reasons behind his abysmal post-Oz performances particularly at Indian Wells + Miami. He also confronts the talk by those out there who think he "doesn't listen".

As I mentioned, it's chalk full of yummy nuggets. However, I'm only going to pull out some of the quotes I found interesting. I encourage you to check out his answers here which comes with a bit a video interview with Muzz at the end. You'll be happy you did (or not.)

On his post-Oz Open mindset:
"After Australia, the night I lost in the final, I had a really long conversation with my mum and with Jez [Green, physical trainer] about what I felt I needed to work on.
"Last year, there was no chance I was going to speak to anyone, whereas this year I felt like I was playing well, I was really disappointed with the final, but I knew the little things I wanted to improve on."
I could definitely see the disappointment during the Oz Open final but it came through as massive frustration and petulance. But again, why would he let it get to that point DURING the final? Based on Novak Djokovic's performance this year so far, Muzz probably knew he was up against it from the first ball and it just snowballed into what we all witnessed. So....carry on...

On preparing for Indiami:
"Then it wasn't until maybe four or five weeks [after the Oz Open final] that I actually spent any time on court working on any of these things and, all of a sudden, it becomes a bit of a rush. You have like a week or 10 days to get ready for Indian Wells.
"It seemed like I was trying to do so many things - work on coming to the net, play a bit closer to the baseline, use the forehand down the line a bit more, step in on my backhand a bit more. All of these things I was thinking, going into the match, and you really need to go into a match with a clear mindset but it didn't really feel that way.
"It probably showed in my body language and my mental state. In Miami, I was getting more angry. In Indian Wells, I was just kind of lost. I wasn't really doing a whole lot on court."
Uh, yeah. Ten days ain't gonna cut it for our March Madness. Total brain cramp. But he's been on the tour for a while now and has won in Miami so he knows what it takes to perform at these Masters 1000s. Pass...DENIED.

On what he's looking for in his next head coach:
"I'm looking for someone who can come to the big events with me, who isn't restricted in terms of the weeks they can do. If they can't come to the French Open, for example, then for me that's quite a big negative. I'd like them to be around at the big events.
"It's important to have someone you have respect for and someone that doesn't take any crap. If you're getting away with mediocre sessions, it doesn't have to be screaming at you but it can be taking you to one side and explaining to you things aren't good.
"But if it takes screaming to get the best out of a player, you have to accept that."
I'm not a tennis pro nor am I a coach of any kind so I can't really speak to that point. However, I HATE being screamed at for any reason so it wouldn't work for me. I'd have to plug a bitch.

More from the interview after the jump (I told you the shit was LONG) - click the head y'all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

(UPDATED) SIGHTING: Roddick in Ray Bans and coveralls

Yes, that is Andy Roddick behind the Ray Ban Caravans and, no, he's not trying to fool the stalkeratti. The former top baller caddied for Zach Johnson today during the Par 3 Contest ahead of the 75th Masters at Augusta National.

"My hand's shaking...I can barely put the tee in," he said before he hit for Zach on the 9th hole. Apparently, A-Rod wasn't feeling so confident on this grass. But he did see a similarity between Augusta and the hallowed grounds of the All England Club. "The parallel is definitely Wimbledon. There’s a pride with people just being in the venue.”

I'm kinda loving the whole look including the signature Augusta coveralls. It fits him. I have no idea what that means but it does.

UPDATE: Here's video. He should stick to tennis. Just sayin'.

[Photo(s): Harry How/Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

+ NETCORDS: News from around the grounds

- Here come the French Open fashions! Check this adizine by adidas (you CLEVAH) showcasing the duds their ballers will be wearing to Roland Garros this year. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who just dumped his coach), Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray, Andrea Petkovic, Flavia Pennetta and Fernando Gonzalez are featured in the digital piece wearing their new kits and answering questions in an embedded video on the page. My fave? Gonzo's super cute multi-striped polo.

- Speaking of Gonzo the Chilean tweeted about his return to full-time action after undergoing hip surgery at the end of last year: "Today i finish my 6 months post-op rehab. I was discharged and ready to go back to game."

- Rolex has released their latest ads featuring NaturAna.

- Kim Clijsters will be out for the next 4 - 6 weeks to rehab her right wrist and shoulder which have been overstressed according to recent tests. She will be forced to miss the FED CUP semifinals and Madrid. The 4-time Grand Slammer made the announcement via her website:
I think this is a great pity. The Fed Cup is something I was really looking forward to. But I felt that something was out of the ordinary: There were too many minor ailments, one after the other, which did not seem to disappear. Something like that gets into your head.

I don't want to force anything, because I want to prevent it from becoming chronic by any means. I really want to be there at this year's. Now there is no other option than to rest and I certainly can't use a tennis racket for the first few weeks. We will continue with lots of physiotherapy and exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles."
- Maria Sharapova shot this video during her visit to the Cole Haan boutique at The Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, FL where the Russian launched her Spring 2011 Collection. Like her outfit? Well, liked it enough to place her on their Best Dressed list at No. 7.

- Bruce Jenkins won't be placing Shrieka on anything but MUTE. In his latest column the scribe doesn't hold back, blasting Shrieka, Vika and the sound storm they created during the Sony Ericsson Open women's final:
Both players seem to think it's all perfectly fine, that they're at the vanguard of a trend we should all deeply respect. Wow, are they wrong. Viewers are bailing out like passengers on the Titanic. And when it comes to the people in the stands, here's a message to both of you caterwaulers: They are laughing at you. Got it? And they find it so strange when you warm up in silence.
Is this grunting tirade old and tired? Yes. Are people ever going to stop getting annoyed by it? No. Will the lady ballers ever stop? Probably not, unless they start measuring that shit and creating acceptable levels. Or duct taping. That could work. Honestly, I don't see where this discussion ever ends.

- Fernando Verdasco will not be defending his title in Barcelona. And he's not happy about it.

- Mirka Federer, with a bootylicious Roger in tow, celebrated her 33rd birthday at Italian Prime restaurant in Miami last Saturday. Fed fanatic Anna Wintour and Mary Jo Fernandez were on hand. So was a Victoria's Secret gift bag. Just saying. On Sunday, Tommy Haas rang in his 33rd birthday but he was whisked off to the Bahamas by his wife Sara. Lucky for us they took pics and posted them on his FB page. Sadly, no shirtless shots. Drats.

- Nadia Petrova is not taking any of the blame credit for her recent Ellesse fashion moments. In fact, she mentioned she has no voice in the decision of what she wears, is leaving the sports apparel brand after this year and even says they send her whatever sells well in Japan. Really, Nads?? I wouldn't blame the Japanese for this one - THEY'VE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH ALREADY. Tennis blog A Change of Ends spoke to the Russian during the WTA's All-Access Hour in Charleston and bravely brought back the money quotes. Cheers!

[Photo(s): adidas, Pacific Coast News,]
Bookmark and Share

Monday, April 4, 2011

PHOTO OP: Rafa wears white, like, REALLY well

I swear the Rafarse has never met a pair of white shorts it didn't like. And it doesn't hurt when they're soaked with sweat. Here's more proof so click and zoom people. CLICK and ZOOM.

[Photo(s): Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)]
Bookmark and Share

Staying with it

After the men's final yesterday I seriously needed a drink. Or four.

Novak Djokovic kept the winning streak alive - bringing it to 24 straight matches this season - after he defeated Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in one of the most exciting Sony Ericsson Open finals in my recent memory. It was his second straight defeat of the world's top baller and second straight time he came back from a set down to do it. Regardless of ranking, if he isn't considered the best baller in the world after this opening season streak I don't know who is right now. Let's give it up to him people. *clap-clap-clap*

The start of the match did not portend of things to come with both boys struggling to find rhythm and consistency in their games. The tension was palpable. It was obvious how much badly these two wanted this win and all that comes with it but it seemed to hinder their games at start, a bit more for Rafa than Nole it seems:
Maybe because I was a little bit more nervous than other days, second final, maybe because I never won here and this is the third chance. I played against a player who's playing well, and I lost last week.  All of these facts maybe can affect a little bit to be a little bit more nervous, and the serve is a little bit part of that.
The second set saw both ballers still struggling with Nole feeling his game a bit more than Rafa. But by the third the shit was AWN. The incredible physicality needed for the kind of shot-making and defense these two can produce was on full display. Did I also mention it was blistering hot? By the closing moments of the match you could see the affect the heat had on Rafole - and they admitted as much afterward - but they kept on gunning for their shots and retrieving like you would expect these two champs would do. By the tiebreak, Nole seemed to be the more focused and calm fighting for a quick lead in the tiebreak before closing it out.

It was the kind of awesome display of tennis we don't get to see every day (hence the post-match drinkfest.) We were treated to something really special and as fans we're better for it. It was a massive exclamation point on this first part of the season.

So now we move to the clay and the biggest question, of course is whether the World No. 2 can continue the streak and transfer his confidence and game to the slippery stuff. He's never beaten Rafa on clay but he's also never been on a streak like this one. But this part of the season is owned by Rafa and he isn't going to budge easily if at all. We all know what stepping on the crushed brick does to the 9-time Grand Slammer and his confidence (think pre- and post-Monte Carlo last season.)

In any case there's a new top rivalry in town and it's not named FEDAL.

Victoria Azarenka had a standout tourney easily dismissing Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva earlier in the week and capping it off by winning her second title in Miami over an erratic Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4. The Belarusian basher played her typically uber-aggressive style but added quicker movement and some stand out defense. Oh, and some perspective and a new attitude:
Well, you always care to win.  What I meant by not caring about losing is not to create such a big drama out of it.  If you lose the match, I mean, you just lose a tennis match.  It's not the end of the world. You can see so many things happening in the world, and I know it sounds a little bit out there, but look what happens in Japan, for example, and we're here playing tennis, being able to do something that we love. So, I mean, why make a big deal out of it?
Uh-huh. To say Vika suffocated Shrieka with her D would be a bit of hyperbole on my part but she made the court seem small enough to coax errors out of the Russian or opened it up enough to crack a winner. She did most things better than the 3-time Grand Slammer on the day and stayed focused and calm even when Shrieka finally began making her move in the second set - a move that was a little too late. Vika was rewarded with the big win and a career-tying 6th spot in the rankings today. I don't know how much this win will help her during the clay season - not her best surface - but confidence is good no matter what.

As for Shrieka, she'll need to wait a little longer for that big win. Her tourney was plagued by bouts of severe inconsistency - solid play mixed with in buckets of errors and double faults. More of the same, I guess. Until she gains more confidence in her serve and it finds the box and its spots with more regularity she'll continue to struggle. But she's in the Top 10 again, so that's something.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...