Google Down the Line!: 2011-06-19

Friday, June 24, 2011

PHOTO OP: Be right back

"Peep this while you can."

Well, not exactly. Rafael Nadal ran off the court shirtless, of course, when the rain began falling during his third round match against Gilles Muller at Wimbledon today. He had just won the first set 7-6 (6) when play was suspended.

Aaaaaah. One thing that never gets old is gawking at Rafa topless from the front and especially from the back. And if you don't believe me try this: Open your eyes and stare at his backside. Oh, and get the drool cup ready. See? Never old.

More shirtless shots of Rafa after the jump.

SIGHTING: Kim Sears in the Wimbledon baller box

I don't know if it was her long, flowy locks, the natural makeup, the navy dress, the cream satchel or the whole damn thing but WAG extraordinaire Kim Sears looked uber-GORGE while watching boy toy Andy Murray spare the family jewels at Wimbledon today. He be real lucky, y'all.

More shots of Kim at today's match after the jump.

VIDEO VAULT: Proceed with caution!

If you missed its main tour debut at Queen's Club don't worry: Here's the new trick move performed by Andy Murray which is something like a reverse tweener. He busted it out again during his 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Ivan Ljubicic in the Wimbledon third round today.

I wouldn't try this at the park courts boys, but if you're foolish enough to try DON'T SWING TOO HARD IF YOU PLAN TO HAVE KIDS. Just a thought.

[Via: MrSportswatcher]

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day 4

Q. The fact you've been so relaxed, you've been making friends with a squirrel.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You've seen my tweets. It's my best friend now in London, the little squirrel. She's getting closer and closer each day. I'm trying to feed her from my hand. Maybe one day.

Q. Does she have a name?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I will think about that. 

Q. Have you gotten your strength, fitness, muscle, back to where you want it now?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. It's still work in process, but it's big, big difference since French Open. And I feel it, you know. Each week it's been better and improving. I really did a lot of work on it since French Open, spent lot of time in the gym. You know, wasn't having much time off.

But that's at the end of the day what gives you confidence. And I can see it gives results on the court. So it just makes you want to do more and more. It's then finding balance when it's enough and when you have to switch and do recovery instead.

Q. So what are you bench pressing?

ANA IVANOVIC: I haven't gone that far yet. I'm still with rubber bands (laughter).

Q. Did the crowd ask for your shoes? Have you ever given your shoes before?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, the first time. After the match, I saw the kid with my shoes and I sign for him.

Q. Did you walk back to the locker room in your bare feet?


 Q. You and Venus almost look at it as an insult that you're not automatically put on Centre, 1, like Djokovic, Nadal.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they're never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players or by ourselves in doubles even. So, you know, at the end of the day, I don't know. Like I said, they're not going to change, doesn't look like. So I don't know.

Q. Do you think in any way it could relate to you and Venus, you're bigger than life, you speak your mind, you're big personalities? Do you think that relates to it at all in any way?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I don't really think about it. I don't make it a big issue.

I think at some point maybe I should. I don't know. I just really try to focus on not going down on Court 2. At least now they have a review out there, so I do like that. It was much better than the old one that was actually closer. I really hated that court, but...

Q. What is your reaction when you find out the next day's play? Do you say, Oh, no, that you're going to be out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just say, What court am I playing? I just say, What time am I playing? Like 12:00. Oh, I have to wake up early.

Q. Jimmy Connors the other day made kind of a Jimmy Connors type point saying he felt the rivalries in this era were soft. Can you talk about that.

ROGER FEDERER: It's hard for me to talk about his generation because I don't remember him much from playing. I mean, I was hitting with a junior the other day, and he didn't remember seeing any matches of Pete. It's like, C'mon. The guy just played 10 years ago. That's how quick it goes, unfortunately.

I can only talk about it from hearing. But obviously the rules have changed quite drastically. So we're not allowed to do all sort of crazy stuff out on the court, otherwise we get penalised, fined, all that stuff. You don't want to be a bad sport either toward your opponent.

If that's what he means, I can understand some points with him. But it's not as easy as it seems. I think we play with a lot of respect for the game still, which I think is most important, to be quite honest, that we respect what has been done before, like, for instance, from players like Connors and McEnroe, Laver, back to when it all started really.

I think that's very important that we don't forget the roots of the game. Every generation is different. Our rivalries are different. They might be different in five to ten years. You have to enjoy the ones that are happening at the moment.

Q. Why is there such a difference between the men and the Chinese women?

NA LI: Women's always working so hard (laughter).

Q. What's the problem with the men? Lazy?

NA LI: Yeah, right, lazy.

Q. Are you telling the Chinese men to work harder?

NA LI: I mean, if someone tell them what they have to do is nothing. They have to think about what they have to do. You know, is much different.

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

PHOTO OP: Double-fisting


Sabine Lisicki brought the bombs while on the brink of defeat and held on to upset Li Na 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 in the Wimbledon second round. The Roland Garros champ served for the match twice in the decider and even held two match points but couldn't close the deal.

As much as I love Li it's exciting to see Lissie finally healthy and playing great tennis of late including her win at Birmingham. She imposed her power game towards the end of the third set and took the match from a clearly tight Li. It was really impressive to see how boldly she served to save those match points and close out the ninth game. That's what you call 'winning'. Brave stuff.

[Photo(s) credit: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL]

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day 3

 Q. You said you watched Scream last night to relax. Do you normally watch horror films to relax?

ANDY MURRAY: I wasn't watching it to relax. You normally pick the one thing that will stop you thinking about tennis. Scream did a pretty good job of that.

Q. Have you picked a film to relax to before your next match?

ANDY MURRAY: No, not yet. I'll see whatever is on Sky Movies. I mean, the movies on Sky aren't great, I don't think. There's about 20 movie channels, and you're normally struggling to find a good one. Wait and see tomorrow what they've got.

Actually, I did hear yesterday at the end of Scream they have Scream II on tonight and Scream III on on Thursday. Maybe I'll watch one of them.

Q. The Wimbledon homepage did an online survey yesterday who was the best looking male player who played Wimbledon in history. Who would have gotten your vote?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually I've never liked any of my colleagues. I try to keep it professional, hence no tennis relationships. So it's probably for the best for me to stay out of this. I usually like winners, though (smiling). So anyone winning is pretty cute to me.

Q. The difference with Roger, though, was that you were deemed to be in the ascendancy. If you look on the Wimbledon website today, the most popular story is you being toppled as No. 1 if you don't win this tournament and that you may be a man in decline. Do you feel like a man in decline?


Q. Yes.

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe. But I won Roland Garros two weeks ago. I don't forget (smiling). Maybe you or the website yes. After winning Roland Garros, two weeks later is a little bit fast to say I am. You can say that maybe next year, but probably now is a little bit dangerous to say that. But, no, you know, is my seventh year without be out of the top two. Is a lot of years. Probably I started to be decline, but hopefully not. Maybe they are right. I don't know.

Q. What effect did that title and victory in Birmingham have on you for your confidence? What did you take from that?

SABINE LISICKI: Well, a lot of confidence, of course. You know, after two years not playing on grass I didn't know how I'm going to play on it, so I just wanted to go in and play as many matches as possible.

It went pretty well. Yeah, a lot of confidence and just the feel for the grass as well. It's different to anything else.

Q. Could you take a moment and talk about the job you think the American media does covering tennis.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think I'm going to have to separate this into first of all, there's no way I can answer this and have it be a win for me, but I'm going to do it anyways.

I'm going to separate. Tennis journalists like yourselves who cover week to week to week to week to week I think do a great job, and I respect the job that you guys do. Someone who, you know, covers something and it's the first tennis match they've ever been to and all of a sudden they become an expert bothers me a little bit. I feel like we get that sometimes. That's probably the only time where I get a little perturbed, when someone isn't, one, researched, and when I feel like they have their article written before a match takes place.

Q. Is that mostly in terms of is tennis dying, a country club sport?

ANDY RODDICK: Listen. Here is what we're going to do. If you want to talk about an, Is tennis dying article, let's go by participation numbers, retail numbers, prize money, up, up, up, up, up. I hear this, Tennis is dying. Maybe it's water cooler talk. But I'll put more stock in the business of tennis in our country growing as opposed to having fun conversations around a water cooler.

Q. Why do you think it is that people refuse to accept the stats? The Wall Street Journal printed some stats which said that tennis over the past nine years is the only sport to increase participation in America.

ANDY RODDICK: This kind of gets to my first point. You can just say something and people read it as fact, but it's not researched. If you look at racquet sales, USTA memberships, across the board, it's been up. Do we have four guys in the top five in the world? No, we don't. That's about the only difference. That doesn't mean that tennis is dying. It's an international sport. I feel like a lot of times people refuse to accept that back home, which is unfortunate. It's as international a sport as there is as far as popularity. I feel like it doesn't get its maybe fair shake.

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PHOTO OP: Bolelli beams

"Yeah I'm excited. Just ask my nipplet."

Even his happy place is sex.

Simone Bolelli, who got into the main draw as a lucky loser, ousted 14th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the Wimbledon second round today. He'll attempt to reach his first Round of 16 at a major when he takes on Richard Gasquet next.

I'm pretty pissed I missed this match. To see Beautiful earn a big win on the grass while spewing fist pumps and other Italian HAWTNESS would almost have been too much to handle. So, in other words, I FEEL CHEATED.

More images of Beautiful after the jump.

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day 2

Q. You've been here a long time now. At one point you were the bad guy upsetting Tim Henman.

ANDY RODDICK: Actually, I never played Tim Henman here. But I'm still the bad guy. Point taken, but... (Laughter.)

Q. Do you feel you're a popular guy with the locals now?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, I think a lot changes over the course of 10 or 11 years. You almost look and say nothing's really the same, as it was.

There's a lot of stuff that changes. It's tough for me to kind of look at my relationship with the fans here objectively.

I know from my end I certainly enjoy it. I'm not going to speak for them, for sure.

Q. You got good support today.

ANDY RODDICK: It felt great. They've always been great to me, even when I was fake beating Tim Henman (smiling).

Q. This is the first match you've won since your fiancee passed away. You've played three. Did it seem easier on the court? How were you feeling?

VIRGINIE RAZZANO: No, it's not easy for me. Every day I have some up and down in my life. Today I feeling a little bit more emotion for the starting the first set. I lost 3 0 for starting, and I tried to focus only on my tennis, on my balls.

It was not easy. I have some delay starting for the first set. It was the same in Birmingham two weeks ago. I was lost 4 0 and I come back 4 All and I lost 6 4 against Rodionova.

And today it was the same problem, 3 Love, and I say, Okay, now you must to be aggressive. You are here for to play, for you, and for Stéphane, for your husband.

If you on the court, it's for to have a reaction and to play your tennis. It's not easy, but I say, Okay, no, you must be to be aggressive and to play your tennis.
I come back at 3 All, and it was better to win the first set. Good reaction on me.

Q. Do you think it's better for you that you have the distraction of playing tennis right now?

VIRGINIE RAZZANO: It's good to win today. I don't know (translated from French) if it's relief for me, because when I go on the courts it's not easy for me. I play because it's my job and my passion and I must to continue.

It was good to win today because I have a lot of emotion on me when I go on the court to start the match. I try to, you know, think only positive and what I must do to play good and win today.

And it's okay. (Smiling.) I do my best, and it was good because I win. 

Q. You talked in Paris about having less pressure. I'm wondering if you feel differently now that you're on this surface, at this tournament, and also your performance in Paris? Do you feel like some of that has shifted back over to you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think everybody was talking about less pressure just because of Novak and Rafa. That honestly had nothing to do with me. I think what gave me less pressure in Paris was for years I was always trying to win the French Open, and then finally I did make it, so then I came back as defending champion. Then you have more pressure. That was sort of the second year after I won it.

So I wasn't the defending champion. I wasn't chasing the French Open for the first time. I think that just made it that I had less pressure.

I definitely think also here it's somewhat similar. I can play with a bit less pressure, but at the same time I want to do so well here at Wimbledon because it's some of the big highlights for me during the season, and I've won the tournament six times.

So it feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here; whereas at the French Open I feel it's a bit more on other opponents' racquets. But here I feel it's a bit more on mine. That's why I'll always play with some pressure here at Wimbledon just because of the occasion and what it means to me really. I was nervous going out in today's match really.

Q. Obviously your father is an incredible man. Comes to America, puts you on a bicycle taking you to the tennis lessons. How does he express the Russian culture with that determination?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just think he never really believed that he didn't have much. I think coming from a place where that amount of money didn't exactly mean that you were poor. We were living as a normal family. They could have had a normal job and I could have gone to school and they would have supplied my school and everything around that. But they sacrificed their lives because they saw a talent in my game and they got recommendations from outer people, because it certainly wasn't my parents' expertise, the sort of tennis.

It was just a fun activity for my dad, and my mom couldn't really care less about it. They made that big decision to go to a country where tennis was a lot bigger, more facilities. It's tough. But I think his drive came from the fact that he never really thought that he didn't have much. Even though it was really tough, I think he kept believing that one day he would have more, even if it was one trophy, even if it was one more dollar, one victory over another, yeah.

Q. A little while ago you were the focus of all the talk in tennis. Today there's plenty of room to stretch out, not that much focus on you. Talk about this new stage. Do you enjoy having a breather, that not everyone is concentrating on you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it's been a best winning streak, the longest that I've had in my career. And it's incredible, the amount of matches I have won in a row. It was definitely surprising for myself, as well. And, obviously, with the seven titles that I've won in a row, you know, I got more attention.

You know, it was easier this year for me to handle things on and off the court because I have gained the necessary experience in past couple years playing on the top level and knowing how to handle myself on the court, how to, you know, be dedicated every single day, and how to handle the attention that you have. It's kind of normal. It comes with the success.

So when this streak ended, you know, in Paris, it was kind of a relief as well because, you know, it's been a very, very successful five, six months for me, but very long as well and exhausting. I've played so many matches. So I needed some time to relax and I'm happy to see that I'm playing well again, you know, that I'm mentally really fresh to have more success.

Q. Congratulations on the win. How did you feel the game went today?

NA LI: It's tough, of course. I mean, opponent, beginning match she has huge, big serve, and also in grass she was playing more flat, you know. So I have to rally every second. And of course I never know what happens, which shot she'll hit next one.

Q. She seemed to run you back and forth a little bit.

NA LI: Yeah, I know. I hate that, you know. (Smiling.) I like it standing.

Q. Were you able to talk to Nicolas after the match?

JOHN ISNER: Just at the net.

Q. What did you say to him?

JOHN ISNER: I just said, Good match. He said, Hey, Buddy. I want to see you in the second week of this event. I said, Thank you.

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It means that much

It was the second day of action at Wimbledon and there was some notable news including Jelena Jankovic + Sam Stosur getting ousted in their opening round matches and John Isner + Nicolas Mahut playing their much-anticipated and rematch from last year's Championships, won by Tree.

But the day belonged to Serena Williams.

Not because she looked smashing in her Nike Fall Smash Lawn Dress and warm up cardigan, but because she actually let us in. Granted, it wasn't completely by choice but we got to see how much this moment, this return to Centre Court meant to her after being away for almost a year while dealing with a number of serious health issues. After defeating Aravane Rezai 6-3, 3-6 6-1 in the first round she broke down in tears, covering her face with a towel as she sat courtside.

She was asked about her emotional reaction after this win in her post match presser:
Q. Of all the times you've gotten emotional after a match in your whole career, how would you compare today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think my first time, maybe when I won the US Open way back in '99. I think I got a little emotional then, but not really.

So this was probably the most emotional I've gotten after a match, after a win. You know, and to be a first round, I never really get super, super excited. But for me it wasn't about winning the match. It was about being out there. Everyone that has had some troubles, whether it be health, whether it be something else, to realize that you can do it.

You know, you just have faith. If you believe in yourself, you just continue to fight and never give up. I always preach, you know, Never give up, never give up. I finally was in a position that I could have gave up, I couldn't have came here, I could have sat home and said, I've had a fabulous career. I don't have to work extra, extra hard now.

But it just really goes to show if you don't give up, you still have a chance.

Q. What did you prove to yourself today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know what I proved to myself today. Well, I guess I proved that I could, that I could. I think that sums it up: I could. If I could get through that, I could. 
It was pretty startling to see someone who usually conveys toughness and strength become so vulnerable and overcome with emotion. But if her reaction to the win was any indication, it was long, tough road back. And I, for one, am happy to have her back and healthy.

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day 1

HE SAID/SHE SAID is officially back! Apparently, the Wimbledon officials have more sense than the Roland Garros officials and have allowed transcripts to be posted a day later. See? Now everyone's happy (at least I am)...

Q. Given how long you've been playing now, is it fair to call you an 'old school player'?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, 'old school' has a lot of good connotations, you know what I mean? But, uhm, I'm not sure like in the style of my game I'd be old school. I still think I come out with a lot of new moves, so...

Q. How nice was it for you to see your mother and father sitting in the Royal Box in the front row?

RAFAEL NADAL: Too many beautiful things to saw my mom and my dad in the Royal Box. For sure can just say thanks to Wimbledon, to the people who organize this fantastic tournament to invite my mother and father to the Royal Box. I think for them was a great experience. So, yeah, everything in general was very, very nice today.

Q. How did the break play out, the break for rain? What effect do you think it had on the game?

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: For me it was fantastic because really I start the third set and I couldn't understand why she was playing so aggressive and I couldn't move her. So at the end I say, Something is not working. Of course, when they put the roof, I went back to the locker room and I spoke with Barazzutti. He say something to me, something that was really important. So I came back and I was playing better.

Q. He told you to work more on moving her around?


Q. Did you make them a cup of tea when [the drug testers] arrived?

ANDY MURRAY: My Mum did, yeah, which we shouldn't make them cups of tea. You know, it's just very intrusive when you get someone sort of in your house in the morning. When you're going to the toilet and they're staring at you, it's a bit... you know, in your own home, it's just quite strange feeling. (Laughter.)

Q. Are you sure they're drug testers?

ANDY MURRAY: You hope so. I've actually spoken with a few of the players about that in the past that, you know, they could easily... because it's not like we ever check. I don't really check, you know, whatever they're saying.

Q. They don't have a card saying...

ANDY MURRAY: They do, yeah. They do have the card, but I don't know. I mean, you're not going to know if it's real or not, are you?

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

Monday, June 20, 2011

FASHION FIX: Venus ousts Akgul, debuts EleVen jumper

A quick note before we talk about Venus Williams and THE OUTFIT: I've recently started a new gig. And while I'm obviously excited to be starting this new adventure it means I won't be able to post as regularly as I have in the past and it might be at odd times (no, I'm not working the pole - TRUST). I wish I could've timed it a bit better, like after Wimbledon, but it is what it is. Just thought I'd let you guys know in case you started wondering why posting has a slowed down a bit. And, as always, thanks for reading.

Now back to V. She played well in her first round match, crushing Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-1. But, really, what we need to discuss is the new EleVen creation. I suppose I should just let the 5-time champ explain in her own words:
"It was a jumper. Jumpers are very now, as is lace. The shoulders have a lot of draping, which is also in the moment. It's just a trendy dress. It's fun. I'm really into zippers, so it has a focal point of a zipper in the front. And the back is a cut-out, or a peek-a-boo. It's just fun.

Right now I'm really trending towards simplicity. I'm not sure why. It's just how I feel right now. Everything is getting more simple."
LMAO. You gotta love V's idea of simplicity. In any case, it's SO much better than what she busted out at the Oz Open back in January. There was nothing 'now' about that outfit. More like 'never'. Please.

[Photo(s) credit: Getty Images]

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