Google Down the Line!: 2011-05-08

Friday, May 13, 2011

PHOTO OP: Tennis in technicolor

Hey Nole! Joseph called and he wants the fabric from his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back. Here's a pic if you don't remember him. I think you do, though.

Sorry guys, there really isn't much to say about Novak Djokovic's tennis since he's playing in some other stratosphere at the moment. He just bullied Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-0 and pretty much toyed with the towering Swede throwing in drop shots and ridic lobs during the bagel set. And now he gets Andy Murray.

I'd say 'GOOD LUCK!' to you Muzz but you're going to need a lot more than luck to break his 35 match win streak. Frightening indeed.

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MEDIA MASHUP: WTA tour launches "Strong is Beautiful" global ad campaign

(This post was also removed during BLOGGER'S major fail this week. Apologies again.)

The WTA announced the launch of a new global ad campaign entitled "Strong is Beautiful" which features some of the biggest names on the tour. It will roll out over the next two years covering 80 markets and incorporating TV, print and digital ads along with a strong social media component. The WTA hopes to engage fans from around the world and bring along new fans by showcasing 38 of the current and future stars of the tour.

Photog Dewey Nicks, who shot a select group of lady ballers for a brilliant slide show and video last year for The New York Times Magazine right before the US Open, was brought on board to helm the creative and shoot the ads.

The first spot to be released is called 'Sugar & Spice' and focuses on the qualities needed to be successful in the competitive world of tennis:

The second spot, called 'Countries', is narrated by Caroline Wozniacki and focuses on the global nature of women's tennis:

The remaining spots are individual ads featuring Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters all discussing a quality or challenge that has made them unique. I adore these ads in particular because Vika, Li + NaturAna get to narrate in their native tongue. Now there's some global for you. You can check out these videos after the jump (click the head).

Kudos to the WTA for this awesome campaign. It's visually stunning, modern, elegant, and even haunting. The ads, at their core, really transcend the sport and have the potential to connect with fans, new and old, in all different kinds of ways. And isn't that just the recipe for growing the sport? Genius. Oh, and thanks for not hiring this guy to take the reigns. Yeah, going the Maxim route probably isn't a plan for success. Just a thought.

Visit the WTA Facebook page to view all the upcoming ads as well as their dedicated YouTube page for more videos.


(Due to a major BLOGGER fail this week, this post which I published on May 11th was erased. I'm now adding it back so apologies for re-publishing it.)

"My eyes. Up here."

Someone was enjoying the second round match between Yanina Wickmayer + Ana Ivanovic in Rome today (won by the Wicky) but it wasn't for the tennis.

Enjoy boys. And girls.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Ok, I need to be quick here since work is kicking my cojones. The headline should tell you all you need to know but in case it doesn't let me further explain: IT'S NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND HE'S WEARING A GLADIATOR COSTUME WHILE HAVING OIL RUBBED ON HIS LEGS.

Uh, screw work. I need some private time now. Laters.


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RICHARD'S RANKINGS: Breaking down Rome

Internazionali BNL d'Italia

ATP World Tour: Rome Masters 1000
WTA: Premier
Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez

Lots of exciting chances on the women's side of the rankings with this last 1000 point week before the French Open. For starters, no matter what happens Caroline Wozniaki will remain the No. 1 women's player in the world. She only has 80 points to defend so she could make a big move even higher up this week.

The biggest movers can be the players currently ranked No. 5, 6 and 7 - Francesca Schiavone, Li Na and Sam Stosur, respectively. Reigning French Open champion Schiavone has 140 points to defend this week in Rome. If she wins or is a finalist, Schiavone will move up ahead of No. 4 Victoria Azarenka who is not playing Rome. Additionally, if Li runs the table and Schiavone doesn't go further than the semifinals, Li will take Schivone's place. If Stosur at least makes the final and Li fails to reach the semifinals, then the Aussie will take Li's place. The women are bound for some shakeups heading into the French. Two things are certain: Wozniacki is No. 1 and Clijsters is No. 2.

The men's side has the chance for a lot of point changes, but not as much movement. First, this Rafael Nadal/Novak Djokovic story is shaping up to be quite the battle - and it's great for men's tennis to have a new rivalry. Here is the biggest piece of news: Djokovic CAN become No. 1. But, in order for that to happen, Nadal would have to win only one match and Djokovic would have to win the title. That said, the French Open will definitely be a major factor in where these two go the rest of the season.

Roger Federer is not going anywhere, so he'll keep the No. 3 ranking. The No. 4 - 7 players could all see movement. For instance, Andy Murray (4) can't go up, but can go down if Robin Soderling (5) becomes a finalist in Rome and Murray loses before third round. Similarly, David Ferrer (6) can't move up, but can move down if Tomas Berdych (7) makes it to the finals and Ferrer loses before the quarterfinals.

Should be a fun week!

About Richard: A life-long tennis fan, Richard offers thoughts on rankings for both the ATP and WTA. He runs a tennis blog, The Let Tennis, and is the author of two books, including his latest, Anything is Possible. You can visit his website at

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Masters of Madrid

"My lips on this phallus? Seriously?"

Sometimes I wonder what it must feel like to step onto a tennis court, stare across the net and feel a sense of completeness. Like I know I can handle whatever my opponent throws at me be it a rifled serve, scorching groundies or the patience of a saint; that at my core I know my best is better than theirs or, at the very least, believe it is for that game, set or match.

Rafael Nadal owns this kind of rare belief. He steps in between the lines and knows that even if he can't pummel his way through an opponent, his will and desire can trump all. He's the ultimate competitor and has the ability to win a match in the locker room, as they say. But a strange thing has happened this year: The world's top baller finally has met his match in Novak Djokovic.

Although he was riding a 31-0 record heading into the Madrid final and had beaten Rafa the last two times, Nole was still considered the underdog. It was clay, not his favored hard court, and the Serb had never won a match against Rafa on the surface the lefty has dominated for years. Plus, it was being played in Rafa's backyard and home field advantage can never be counted out. But Nole has been doing the unthinkable all season long and this was no different upsetting Rafa 7-5, 6-4 to claim his sixth title and remain unbeaten in 32 matches this year. Yeah, we can talk crosscourt backhands (Nole's was LETHAL) and big serving on key points but what it all came down to, as it has in their recent matches, was belief. Nole stayed with Rafa in those long, brutal rallies where the Spaniard's champion mentality normally gains a foothold and waited for the right opportunity to go on the full attack. Even when he lost the two break advantage in the first set he never wavered or flinched.

In a tennis match you only need to be better than one other person. And when that person is Rafa and you're playing on clay and win, you know you're doing something special. Now onto Rome where Nole can grab the top ranking if he wins the title. Good grief.

"Good for you, Nole, but I ain't giving lip service to this thing."

Petra Kvitova strikes an intriguing figure. When she smiles she reveals a mouth full of metal [SELF REVELATORY ALERT: I, too, had chosen to wear those things in my early twenties. And went dateless. But I really love my teeth now...] and struts around the court with a Lindsay Davenport-esque posture and gait. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the girl can smack a bitch up. No, I'm not talking about Vika who she defeated 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 to win Madrid. I'm talking about the ball, the poor felty thing that she strikes so beautifully with such ease. Like Linds, her timing is impeccable causing the ball to leap off her racket with lethal precision and pace.

Vika, as hard as she hits the ball, was mostly forced into the role of retriever - not a winning game play for the Belarusian. In fact it's not a path to success for Kvits, either, which is why her Plan A of first-strike tennis in the final worked so well. Here's the flip side, though: When Plan A hits the skids we've seen some f-ugly losses from the newly-minted Top Tenner. Consistency has yet to befriend Kvits as it has with Vika recently which is why the Czech remains a work in progress. But if she gets on a HAWT streak for, say, seven straight matches over a fortnight it wouldn't surprise either.

[Photo(s): Getty Images] 

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

VIDEO VAULT: Nadal knows lobs

I'm pretty busy with work today but I just had to mention quickly the astounding feat that was Novak Djokovic's first EVAH defeat of Rafael Nadal on clay in the Madrid final today. The Serb won 7-5, 6-4 breaking Rafa's 37-match win streak on clay and upping his season opening win streak to 32-0. I'll have more to say about Nole's huge win as well as Petra Kvitova's victory over Victoria Azarenka in the women's final a bit later.

In the meantime, here's video of another astounding feat from the match: Rafa's 'tweener lob winner. There was some sick shit going on in this match. Seriously.

[Video: ATP ]

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