Google Down the Line!: 2011-04-24

Friday, April 29, 2011

PHOTO OP: Spank it. Hard.

Juan Martin del Potro reached the semifinals of Estoril today after he defeated top seed Robin Soderling 6-4, 7-5 in a rain-interupted match. It's the Argentine's fourth straight win over Sod - an impressive stat against someone ranked No. 5 IN THE WORLD. Yes, Delpo's won a major and stuff but still, impressive. He'll face off against Pablo Cuevas, who beat Tomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-2, for a spot in the final.

What a beautiful shot of Delpo leaping into his fearsome forehand. When he's killing that shot you better have your big girl panties on or risk being rolled over and, well, you know the rest. If you don't I can fill you in. Pun intended.

I can't wait to see what he does at Roland Garros. Could be kinda awesome (no jinx, really).

[Photo(s): Patricia De Melo Moreira /AFP/Getty Images]
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PHOTO OP: Venus + Serena visit D.C. for kids clinic, return date still unknown

Venus + Serena Williams took part in a kids clinic at Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C. yesterday. The Sisters Sledge spent 45 minutes at the event showing the group of 7 to 17-year olds how to hit groundies like champs. Late that evening the sisters mixed dresses with trainers in what seemed to be the theme for the Tennis Ball II Gala.

The big news coming out of the presser for the clinic was the withdrawal from next week's Premier Mandatory tourney in Madrid by both V + ReRe. V officially withdrew from Rome as well and ReRe, who is still recovering from the pulmonary embolism, is expected to follow suit. "I’m feeling better. Just starting training. I’m a little later than I suspected and hoped,” said the 13-time Grand Slammer. "But it’s going steady. Slow and steady, I think, always works out when it’s a race. V was asked about their participation at Roland Garros which starts in about three weeks. It’s a great event, and we definitely want to be there. We just take it week by week, evaluating, and the good part is we both get better every week.” Not much to go on there, eh?

As soon as the news hit all the talk online quickly moved past the clay and Roland Garros (though V is eyeballing Brussels as a possible warm up to RG) to the greener pastures of Wimbledon where they've been soooo dominant including 9 Championships between them. Will they play Wimby and, if so, what kind of shape will they be in anyway?

 If either of them are healthy enough to play RG they will play because neither like to miss majors. Honestly, I don't see ReRe making it there and I have my doubts she'll make Wimby in time. V, however, will probably make RG though I can't see how she'll make it past the first round never mind the first week with minimal match play on the slippery stuff. Even when she's on her game it's a tough surface for her.

I think she should hold out for Wimby. Her game is tailor made for the surface and against a field that lacks the comfort or experience on this surface she still comes in with a big advantage. Now, V has had some sketchy losses (uh, Pironkova + Sprem?) but if she's healthy she could do well. I'm not saying she'll win but her experience and game on grass can beat out most lady ballers on the tour right now. You don't win it 5 times without knowing a little somethin'. 

More images of Venus + Serena at the clinic after the jump - click the head.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

PHOTO OP: Sharapova and Ice Rink attend the Sony Ericsson Challenge

Maria Sharapova and her fave accessory (no not Sasha) took part in the Sony Ericsson Challenge at the Plaza del Callao in Madrid, Spain today. She's there not only to participate in the clinic but also to compete in the Mutua Madrid Open next week.

So as I mentioned in the headline Ice Rink was in attendance during the event - there's even a close up shot of it. But, the photog focused the lens on Shrieka so the ring isn't as sharp in the shot. I mean, REALLY. Priorities, photogs. Priorities:

Still nice. I guess.

More images of Shrieka at today's clinic after the jump - click the head.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(UPDATED) FASHION FIX: Are you "All In" for these adidas tees?

Have you guys seen these new adidas t-shirts their boys have been wearing during their practices in Estoril? How much do you WANT?

These tees are part of the adidas' latest brand marketing campaign called "All Adidas" which features the tagline "All In". It launched last month with a series of commercials that highlights their connections with worlds of sports, music and fashion. David Beckham, Leo Messi, Derrick Rose, B.O.B and Katy Perry all make appearances in these fast-moving, visually exciting spots. The brand has a dedicated YouTube page for the new campaign where you can watch all of the commercials.

So back to these most highly coveted tees. Apparently, they're not being sold to the public which makes absolutely no sense at all. Maybe they thought there wouldn't be a demand, but maybe that's because they haven't made a PR push and no one really knows about them yet. So, let's get the word out. I mean, these tees are like tennis' version of the sports jersey. How awesome would it be to have your fave baller riding your back?? Uh, don't answer that. Focus on the tees, people.

UPDATE: So it's settled. Go here, find your country or region, click the "Contact Us" link and let them know "I WANT A BALLER ON MY BACK!" That is all.

[Photo(s): @AnaTennisGirl TwitPic]
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PHOTO OP: Taking it to the (Serbian) streets

His hands may be saying "Double OMG it's Nole!!!!" but his face is saying "Hell NO I'm not giving you my wallet, thug." Or something like that.

Check out more pics of Nole walking the streets of Belgrade today on his website.

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To tweet or not to tweet - that is the question

Jarmila Gajdosova, who used to go by Groth before divorcing ex-husband Sam recently, must have gone to the Donald Young school of tweeting. No, her tweets aren't profanity laced and she's not lashing out at the Australian tennis federation. But she is airing out her dirty laundry and putting it out there for public consumption. Check out some of these recent updates (click to enlarge):

Whoa. At least Donald's had to do with tennis.

It's not like Jarka's discussing vacay plans or what's playing on her iPod at the moment. It's, like, REALLY PERSONAL STUFF Y'ALL. The girl needs a diary. With a heart shaped lock.

I do think there's a fine line between dropping the wall a bit and giving people a glimpse into your life and taking a sledgehammer to it. Maybe it's just a sign o' the times but that fine line seems to be moving quickly. Personally, I think it's a bit much. Go talk with a good friend or see someone if you need to vent or work through some shit. A therapist Twitter is not.

So is it just me or does anyone else think it's over the top?

P.S. This one's for migi.

[Photo(s): William West/AFP/Getty Images]
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Monday, April 25, 2011

(UPDATED) Patrick McEnroe wants an apology and gets one - so are we done here?

So Patrick McEnroe held a conference call with the media today to discuss - WHAT ELSE? - the controversy involving Donald Young and his now-infamous 'FUCK' tweet about the USTA. Essentially, he goes through in detail the help the USTA has given Donald over the years including coaching, wild cards and "substantial" grant money, though he wouldn't divulge how much (I'd LOVE to know the amount - wouldn't you?) PMac also says an apology is in order which he apparently got today. Rachel over at OnTheGoTennis has the full transcript which is longer than long so pop on over there if you're interested and have an hour of five to spare. Also, if you'd like to get a glimpse into baller development and assistance USTA-style then it's worth a read.

Here's my quick take on the brouhardyha: I think both sides looked foolish for airing their dirty laundry. From a PR perspective (for which I have years of experience) it's a complete and utter FAIL. Donald looks like the stereotypically spoiled and entitled pro athlete while the USTA and PMac look petty for going tit-for-tat with Donald in the public arena. Unfortunately, perception can sometimes substitute for reality in the media. Perhaps the USTA felt the need to go public since there was supposedly no communication going into or leaving the Young camp about this situation. In any case, neither side comes out looking great here.

Hopefully this drama is finally over and done now that they've kissed and made up. Oh yes, and this: Congrats Tim Smyczek on winning the wild card - BONNE CHANCE!!

UPDATE: Here's Diane Pucin's full article on the apology for the LA Times.

UPDATE #2: He speaks! Donald, that is. 

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Novak Djokovic

I now believe I can beat anyone on any surface, although beating Nadal on clay remains a big ask and the biggest challenge of all.

- Novak Djokovic on facing Rafa on clay

I don't know about you guys but I'm ready to see these two go at it. And watching them face off on clay wouldn't be so bad either.

Bring it, boys.

P.S. Follow my updates on Twitter and Facebook. C'mon, you know you want to.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

How Goergous

The talk of German women's tennis has been centered on Andrea Petkovic this year and with good reason. She has an unstoppable charisma, possesses a big personality to match her game, loves interacting with the media and fans and earned some impressive wins this year over Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova. That's all well and good but when it comes down to tennis Julia Goerges just might be better.

Jules beat Wozzi in a competitive Stuttgart final today upsetting the world's top lady baller 7-6 (3), 6-3 and earning the second and biggest title of her career. The 22-year old just kept serving huge (her kicker espesh) and backing it up with power groundies keeping the Dane pinned back and on defense for most of the match. She also took advantage of her opportunities earning the only break of the match in the second set and making good when coming forward (15 of 22 net points won).

In women's tennis it's all about who can hold serve and Jules uses her smooth, powerful delivery to open up the court for her equally big forehand. That's the major difference between Petko and Jules but one that could mean the difference at the business end of a tourney, particularly at majors. Petko's serve is mediocre at best and has hitches that can cause it to break down under pressure. I have a feeling she and her new advisory coach, Heinz Gunthhardt, will be spending some time at that stroke.

Jules also showcased some serious mental toughness outplaying the World No. 1 and earning the career win in front of an uber-supportive home crowd (and a father who looked on the verge of a heart attack at every turn of this match.) She hadn't won a match against Woz in two tries so to pull off the upset under these circumstances is impressive.

A quick note about Wozzi: She has yet to win a title on the red clay and this loss gave some clues as to why it's going to be a challenge. Her movement isn't as natural on the clay as it is on the hard court and can't seem to generate enough pace when she doesn't have firm footing. Moreover, she's still susceptible on the clay when a big hitting baller gets on a streak. Without the offensive tools on the slippery stuff she'll need to force her opponents into errors to get the wins. She's the best in the world at doing that consistently, but over two weeks and seven matches at Roland Garros? BIG question mark.

But it's Jules with the title. Enjoy driving that new Porsche, girl. And better luck getting it started next time.

[Photo: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images]

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