Google Down the Line!: 2011-05-22

Saturday, May 28, 2011

PHOTO OP: Djokovic, Del Potro and their post-match MOMA

"Be gentle."

Novak Djokovic + Juan Martin del Potro gave up the MOMA after the Serb defeated his good friend 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a third round match at Roland Garros that stretched over two days. It was Nole's biggest test yet in Paris not only because Delpo's, like, HUMONGO but because the man knows how to win on the big stage (hello U.S. Open?). And the prospect of meeting up with someone of Delpo's quality so early on must've had the Beyonce's dancing in Nole's tight, sexy belly. But, he prevailed and will meet homeboy Richard Gasquet for a spot in the quarters.

I don't know about you but seeing these boys get all touchy-feely with each other makes me get all touchy-feely with my...uh...I need some private time, guys. Laters.

One more shot of their post-match MOMA after the jump...

Down, but not out. Yet.

Bloody hell.

Andy Murray turned his right ankle during his third round match today and dropped to the court in pain before requiring lengthy on-court treatment for the injury. He ended up defeating Michael Berrer 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 but his participation in his next match against Victor Troicki is not certain.

At 2-1 in the second set Muzz ran for a drop shot by Berrer and turned his right ankle. He hopped to the side of the court before lying down in apparent agony. Here's a clip of the incident:

The Brit baller told the BBC in a video interview that he felt "a pretty big, sorta, click" after turning his ankle. Oh boy. He's lucky Berrer felt badly enough to stop using the drop shots and running him around or he might well have been out of the tourney. I'm sure if he makes it to his next match the Serb won't be so kind - and that's still a big 'if'.

[Photo(s): Alex Livesey/Getty Images]
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Friday, May 27, 2011

PHOTO OP: Locked and loaded

Now THIS was shocking.

All credit to Daniela Hantuchova who gave a clay court clinic to top seed Caroline Wozniacki during her 6-1, 6-3 drubbing in the Roland Garros third round today. The slender Slovak cut up the court with lovely angles and brilliant blasts down-the-line that kept the top seed from ever finding firm footing. It was her first win EVAH over a reigning World No. 1.

And while it's true Dani played impeccably well Wozzi never put up much of a fight. Okay, she put up her version of a fight which is waiting until her opponent misses. But, unfortunately for the her, Dani rarely did today. It sucks when that happens, huh?

Since there really isn't much else to say about the match I'll leave you with a piece of brilliance offered by Jon Wertheim from earlier today: "The Wozniasterisk just got bigger."

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Rafael Nadal

 I am not playing that well. I am not happy, but I am here.

- Rafael Nadal on the state of his game

All the above. That's pretty much it.

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An ode to Simone Bolelli + Pablo Andujar

Of course, everyone today in the real world and online was talking about the 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss by Kim Clijsters to Arantxa Rus in the Roland Garros second round and rightfully so. And while it was definitely surprising it wasn't a complete shock based on the question marks surrounding the Belgian's health and game.

What I'd like to do here, though, is give props to my boys Simone "The Beautiful" Bolelli + Pablo Andujar. Not because they won their matches because obviously they didn't, but because they pushed their opponents, that being Andy Murray + Rafael Nadal, and looked uber-tasty the whole time (it's a skill, really). They both converted a bunch of break points and even held set points in their matches but couldn't close the deal. I guess that's why they're ranked where they are (48th for Pablo, 126th for Beautiful) while Rafa + Muzz are running rampant at the elite level of the sport.

"Yup. Like a rock."

But what a treat it was - a Man Candy Christmas, if you will, and in May no less (thanks Santa, you're the best!). I rarely get to watch either of them ball but today I got both of them large and in living HD color. And let's not even talk about the fun of DVR. I suppose I should also thank the draw GAWDS for putting them on the path to Rafa + Muzz early because their potential match up meant they were destined for big screen TV time. And they made it happen.

So congrats boys. It doesn't matter that you lost. You made me proud and gave me visuals that will live in my head forever. Well, at least through tonight. And if it makes you feel any better, just know the HAWTNESS factor at Roland Garros this year took a serious nosedive. I know, you're welcome.

Oh yeah, one other thing: I thought I couldn't love that Lacoste polo any more than I already do but seeing you both sweat it up while gunning hard put it over the top. Heh, heh. Hard.

More images of my boys after the jump.

VIDEO VAULT: Sweetness

Give it up, Sugarpova.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Aleksandra Wozniak

The No. 1 players in the world play games some times. It’s obvious that for her it was to try to distract me or whatever. There are all kinds of tricks that the players use to take more time, maybe to get their concentration back again.

- Aleksandra Wozniak on Caroline Wozniacki's drawn out conversation with the chair umpire over a line call in the second set tiebreak of their second round match

Sounds like another episode of "WTA Girls Behaving Badly" or just plain gamesmanship. Wouldn't you say?

[Photo(s): Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]
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Celebrating 40 years of Lacoste at Roland Garros

I wanted to give props to Lacoste for the 40 years of sponsoring one of the best tourneys on the planet, Roland Garros. Of course, I needed to start with the great kits they gave their lady ballers this year (love the boys, too, but I showed my appreciation already), in this case Sam Stosur + Alize Cornet, and the outfits for the chair umpires and line judges:

The French sportswear brand has also dedicated a section of their website to mark this milestone:

It features a fun video highlighting their heritage, the 2011 Roland Garros Collection and a special edition polo and t-shirt for men and women celebrating the partnership:

Each piece showcases a triple logo: the iconic crocodile, the Roland Garros trophy and the official RG logo.

So, if you get the chance check it out!

[Photo(s): Getty Images, AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA]
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(UPDATED) Roland Garros officials ban posting of transcripts - isn't that called 'censorship'?

I'm pissed. If you read this blog during the majors then you know I usually do a post called 'HE SAID/SHE SAID'. It's pretty popular with readers. Personally, I find it interesting to read through the post-match transcripts and pull quotes I think you guys might find interesting/funny/insightful/whatevah. And, usually, the quotes aren't the ones the mainstream media pulls for their stories because they 1) are going to be everywhere anyway 2) usually don't give you a real feel for the baller's personality and quirks. They're standard. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't serve the purposes of this blog or give you guys anything new to explore.

After the first day of play I went to the usual place on the RG site to begin reading transcripts. All I came up were the videos which had been edited. I thought they would post later, but when I went back to check they were not there. Next day, the same, and so on. Well, today, it came to light that the International Tennis Writers Association (ITWA) and a number of journalists sent in a request to the Roland Garros tourney organizers to stop posting the transcripts on their website. AND THEY COMPLIED. The blog Any Given Surface has a nice write-up about it and, in the comments sections, posted a email response from Sandra Harwitt, a member of the ITWA, explaining her views on the issue.

Of course, it got really REAL on Twitter with people completely and understandably outraged, including myself, about this action. Even the journos heard it from everyone with one, in particular, have a bit of a meltdown.

To me, this is censorship - a handful of people deciding what the masses get to read/hear about in the pressers. We're all getting screwed.

Listen, I understand there aren't many journos/media being sent to tourneys due to the economic times. So if this is the case, wouldn't it makes sense to find another way to get the interviews/quotes out such as feeding them to smaller websites, bloggers, social media outlets, etc.? Or what about a 24/48 hour embargo on the transcripts? How would either of these options hurt the tourney? But, in the end, it's all about control of information. The mainstream media want to horde the quotes for their own means and decide what we, the fans, get to read. Apparently, if others get to utilize the transcripts then their jobs will be in danger by - gasp! - a blogger or a tweeter. So they make a request to ban it all together and the RG tourney agrees. You know, compromise is usually a better option than censorship.

UPDATE: Here's the what the RG site said - "We are very sorry, we have been asked by the International Tennis Writers Association not to release transcripts of post-match interviews this year, so as not to disadvantage reporters here at the French Open. You can find many of the relevant quotes in the articles posted on our website." There's been talk they may change their decision because of all of the complaints.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Paul Annacone

A lot of [top players] are creatures of habit. Roger isn’t so much. He knows what makes him successful, but he’s open to debate, to conversations about things that maybe he didn’t used to do. He’s very expansive in his thinking, so it won’t go undiscussed, for sure.

- Coach Paul Annacone on the question of a bigger frame for Roger Federer

So this quote by Coach Annacone is pretty significant. Clearly, Fed's open to the idea of a bigger frame. I wonder if they've already discussed it and he's just being vague or they're waiting for a certain point in the calendar to approach the idea. Either way, this change would be huge, to say the least. 

But, will it really help his game in the end or, more specifically, give him the ability to beat the top two ballers in the world, Rafael Nadal + Novak Djokovic? Because in most cases, he'll need to beat at least one of them to win a Slam. And we all know that's the only reason why he'd do it.

[Photo(s): Alex Livesey/Getty Images]
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Virginie Razzano: "If I did this, it's for Stephane..."

It really is a testament to Virginie Razzano's strength and and courage that she was able to play her first round match at Roland Garros today while dealing with such personal pain. Her fiancé and coach, Stephane Vidal, died 8 days ago from a brain tumor. But, as she explained in a tearful post-match presser, she did it because it's what he would have wanted for her:
"If I did this, it’s for Stephane and for me, too, because it’s what he wanted. He wanted that I play, that I continue my life, even if circumstances like these are very, very difficult and painful. But he believes in me, he believes that I have this strength in me, and he had plenty of it, too. It’s why we were good together.”
Hopefully, she can now take some time away from the courts and surround herself with friends and family. Be well, Virginie.

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FASHION FIX: Sharapova shines in yellow for Roland Garros

Maria Sharapova hit the dirt with a quickness today. 
The blonde bomber wasted no time in her match against Mirjana Lucic, brushing aside her Croatian foe 6-3, 6-0 in 56 minutes. Her serve, which is always the barometer of her game and her mind, held together pretty well. She only served three DF's and kept a 55% first serve for the match - not bad for a first rounder. Shrieka gets homegirl Caroline Garcia next.

The 3-time Grand Slammer also debuted her latest Nike look: The Maria Line 9 Knit Dress ($120) in lightbulb with lemon frost and bronze (read: lots o' shades of yellow) from the Maria Sharapova Collection.

The inspiration, as I posted last week, was based on Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Here's a great shot of the back from Shrieka's match:

Love it. Great fit, beautiful silhouette and smart use of tonal coloring, in this case yellow, that helped keep the detail from overwhelming the dress. It seems like Shrieka + Nike have been in good form, if you will, since Indian Wells/Miami. And, speaking of yellow, I've noticed a ton of it floating around Roland Garros this year and it's awesome. The hue plays nicely against the red clay and it screams SPRING. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

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PHOTO OP: More of Maxime Teixeira - with Body Bonus!

I thought you guys might need a little more of Maxime Teixeira as you prepare for his second round match against Roger Federer tomorrow because the first batch wasn't nearly enough and because he's, like, candy on a stick. Or is it a stick of candy? Anyway, you can even drool at this picture while pretending he's calling you and saying how excited he is to be playing Fed, a living legend. Wait, that's my scenario. Get your own guys.

Please feel free to offer your gratitude and appreciation to DtL tipster JJB for alerting me to these shots (well, I guess I can since you can't).

A bunch more, including our boy joining the shirtless brigade, after the jump. You won't be disappointed. Pinky swear.

PHOTO OP: Just another first round win


So Rafael Nadal's first round match went swimmingly. Not.

The defending champ was pushed to his first EVAH fifth set at Roland Garros by the towering John Isner but raised his level in the final two sets (try ZERO unforced errors in the fourth) to prevail 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4 in a little over 4 hours. He'll take on - deep breath - compatriot Pablo Andujar for a spot in the third round. The pretty will be off the charts (if you don't believe me click here) and LARGE since the match will surely be televised. There is a GAWD, people.

Anyway, I wouldn't read too much into Rafa's struggles in this match. The first round is always nerve-wracking and he always has a few extra Beyonce's dancing in his gut when he faces big servers like Tree. These ballers don't give the Spaniard the rhythm he craves.

He did look great in the photo blue Rafa Tierra Crew. So there's that.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

+ NETCORDS: Roland Garros Edition

If you are what you say you are
A superstar
Then have no fear
The camera's here
and the microphones and they wanna know 

 - Lupe Fiasco, Superstar

So it was another busy day at Roland Garros which means, aside from the big news like the grounding of Tomas Berdych, there were a bunch of small but still interesting tidbits floating around:

- Three American teens had a rough go of it today - all lost their matches - but it made from some money quotes: Christina McHale "I just panicked and didn't take my time."; Melanie Oudin "...I feel like where my ranking is now is where I should be."; Coco Vandeweghe "[The argument] put me over the edge. It's my own fault for letting it carry over." Tennis can have a brutal learning curve, huh?

- Aravane Rezai talked about her struggle to find peace of mind amidst the issues with her father: "Every single day, it’s a fight against myself."

- Ryan Harrison will fill the role of lucky loser after Benjamin Becker withdrew last minute with an injury late Monday. He'll face Robin Soderling.

- A petulant Michael Llodra throws a tennis ball at a security guard in the stands then argues with chair ump Mohamed El Jennati telling him, "We are not in a souq, we are not selling carpets in a market." Yuck.

- Roger Federer is feeling frustrated by the balls. No comment.

- Caroline Wozniacki was working the same Tennis Ruffle Dress from Indian Wells + Miami. What gives Stella??

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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FASHION FIX: The polo returns in red for Federer in Paris

No one would have blamed Roger Federer for feeling a little nervous today. For his first round match at Roland Garros the former top baller was facing the man who almost took him out in Madrid, Feliciano Lopez, a few weeks ago. But today was a different day as a focused Fed dispatched of the Spaniard in straights sets 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3). It wasn't the cleanest match by either baller (shanktastic!) but you can be sure the Swiss was happy to get that one out of the way. He next faces French eye candy Maxime Teixeira for a spot in the third round. 

Fed also returned to form with his on-court fashion. Since March Madness Nike had been outfitting the Swiss in collarless, high-V neck shirts that seemed, oh, a bit off somehow. Like he was out for a practice or his neck was naked. But, alas, the collars have returned in the shape of a polo - the Trophy Stripe Polo ($80) to be exact! Here it is in sport red:

The polo is paired with the Trophy Woven Shorts (about $48) in white which features cute contrast piping on the pocket:

Rounding out the RG kit I give you the Lunar Vapor 8 Tour ($120) in sport red + white:

Look, it was a nice change to see him in something other than a polo since that's what he wears 99.9999% of the time on court. But if you were to ask me what I thought he looked best in I'd still say the polo. It works well on him. He's all about classic design with pops of color here and there (and this red is a strong choice) and not the technotronic trends that are so popular right now. He's a bit of throwback as we all know.

So, I don't know about you but I'm happy it's back.

[Photo(s): Nike, Alex Livesey/Getty Images]
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FASHION FIX: Clijsters takes Fila back to her childhood for Roland Garros

Kim Clijsters + Fila are going old school again.

In celebration of their 100th anniversary, the Italian sportswear brand is launching a new collection at Roland Garros inspired by a Fila outfit Kimmy received for Christmas as a child in the mid 1980's. It's part of a series of 100th anniversary commemorative Champions collections worn exclusively by the 4-time Grand Slammer that also includes the Evonne Goolagong-Cawley inspired kit she wore during her winning run in Oz.

The Fila design team actually combed their archives searching for the outfit based on Kimmy's description. Once they discovered it, the team went to work. They updated the color palette to something brighter for a more modern silhouette. The short-sleeve top, warm up jacket and visor were adorned with the signature print design from her childhood outfit while the F-box 100 year anniversary seal logo was placed inside each piece. And the team used Shiny Crinkle Taslin fabric to give the warm up a full-on 80's look and feel (oooh, I remember it well).

The Champions collection can be found at specialty retailers nationwide or at

[Photo(s): Fila]
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"Ya heard?!?!"

I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. Homeboy Stephane Robert, a 31-year old journeyman, caused a major upset at Roland Garros shocking Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 9-7 in the first round to the roar of the French crowd. Though he fell behind two sets Steph never relented, getting on top of the ball in the latter part of the match and striking down-the-line winners at will. He ended with 62 winners to only 40 for the Czech. The Frenchie will face off against Brows a.ka. Fabio Fognini for a spot in the third round.

As for Big Berd he'll lose a shit load of points after reaching the final four last year. Then, of course, there's Wimbledon where he was a finalist falling to Rafael Nadal. Let's hope the grass is indeed greener for him.

[Photo(s): Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

EYE SPY: Maxime Teixeira

So as I was doing my daily scroll through the tennis photo banks today something, or rather someone, caught my ever curious eye. His name is Maxime Teixeira and he's a 21-year old Frenchie who competes primarily on the ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Futures according to his Wiki page; he won his first Challenger title earlier this year. But, today, he won his first round match at Roland Garros taking out compatriot Vincent Millot 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1.

I'm sure the Frenchies are happy to have another one of theirs make it through the opening gate. And besides, the men's draw is a much better place with Max in it. Why you ask? 'Cause he's HAWT. Duh.

Anyway, here's hoping we get him on a local TV/computer screen in the very near future. And the chances are good we will since he takes on either Roger Federer or Feliciano Lopez in the next round. Ah well, enjoy him while he lasts.

More shots of Max after the jump - click the head.

PHOTO OP: Tale of the tape

"Who needs support when you've got this?"

Varvara Lepchenko may have been partially mummified during her first round match at Roland Garros but it didn't stop the 25-year old from pulling an opening day upset. The American defeated 18th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 needing five match points to close it out. Unfortunately for the U.S., she faces off against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who also went the distance against Arantxa Parra Santonja, in the second round.

Unluck of the draw, I suppose.

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FASHION FIX: Where do we go from here, JJ?


What else can you say about what Jelena Jankovic showcased at Roland Garros today? When she first debuted this ANTA style earlier in the season I wasn't feeling the design much. However, it was more fun and playful than her dresses from earlier in the season which reflected her personality better. But, talk about taking something way too far. Sheesh.

It's going to be hard for me to watch her matches because I'll be completely distracted by not only the dress or the shoes but the whole damn thing. I mean, the color combo is just fug. Even the picture is giving me vertigo. MUST. LOOK. AWAY.

At least she got past the first round. There's a plus.
[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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