Archive for March, 2007

rios and agassi: bad boys no longer

March 31, 2007

As you may have already heard, Marcelo “Chinito” Rios beat Andre Agassi 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, at their exhibition match in Santiago yesterday.

The Chilean media did their part to get buzz going for this match. Newspapers Tercera and El Mercurio, among others, published stories and interviews of a fit Agassi and an ailing Rios, both far cries from the tennis rebels they once were.

(all the links lead to spanish-language pages, and i didn’t have time to translate. sorry.)

The U.S. Embassy in Chile held a reception in Agassi’s honor, and we’re told that Andre — content in his post-pro tour life complete with wife, kids, a charity, and an absence from the Masters tour — trained hard in anticipation of this match (marking the 9-year anniversary of Rios beating Agassi at the 1998 Key Biscayne final, giving him the #1 ranking — the first for a South American).

Rios, restless in the retirement forced upon him by a back injury, tried to enter the Vina del Mar tournament earlier this year in Santiago, but had to withdraw because of a flare-up. While not a 100%, he deemed himself fit enough to play this exhibition.

And he seemed really grateful for having the opportunity to play, saying, “Creo que ha sido una de las exhibiciones que más he disfrutado en mi carrera.”

How sweet; he’s turned over a new leaf. I’ll put my money down that he won’t be pissing away any more matches like he used to.

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>> agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.
>> agassi’s nike shoes — the air tech challenges — reissued and for sale

tattoo watch: marcelo rios

March 31, 2007

Marcelo Rios and Andre Agassi played an exhibition in Santiago, Chile today (March 30).

See another photo of the tattoo — and a word on Rios’ Nike shirt — after the cut…

florida orange 2.0 aka more tennis fashion

March 31, 2007

The orange doesn’t stop. We caught more players wearing it at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami this week, including Serena Williams, Tommy Robredo, and Shahar Peer. More photos after the cut…

fashion: lacoste quickies

March 31, 2007

A few quick items on Lacoste:

1) The folks at SNKRFRKR shows us photos of the new Dot and Dash shoes. Hypebeast has tied the theme to squash (dot) and tennis (dash). Not clear on it myself. I’ll get back to you with more info…

2) Here’s a preview of the S/S/ 2007 Stealth collection, as seen at the Zzubo. My picks:

(via highsnobiety)

3) Andy Roddick will be on hand for the opening of the Lacoste store at Domain Austin on April 23. More details here.

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>> short balls: andy roddick
>> fashion mishit: roddick at the players party
>> at least it’s not a spybag

short balls: a prodigy, a renaissance, and tennis on film

March 30, 2007

The guys in charge of the scoreboard LOVE her: ESPN’s Bonnie DeSimone profiles one of the players who made noise at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open. The 14-yr-old (and Portuguese) Michelle Larcher de Brito won a third set tiebreak against journeywoman Meghan Shaughnessy in the first round and lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the second.

He has Federer’s number: In case you’re new to the scene and/or know little about giant slayer Guillermo Canas — he’s beaten Federer twice in two weeks — you should read this short column by Justin Gimelstob.

Tennis in Tribeca: American filmmaker Rob Klug premieres his documentary Unstrung at next month’s Tribeca Film Festival. From the TFF website: “Much as Spellbound did for spelling bees, Unstrung exposes the surprising dramas of the amateur tennis world, hitting the road with a handful of high school competitors as they head for the national championship.” (via All These Wonderful Things)

What happens in Vegas…: From Robin Leach’s guest blog post on Luxe Life: Murphy Jensen‘s Tennis Channel show Open Access did a segment out of Las Vegas, coinciding with last month’s Tennis Channel Open. Jensen, along with player Jaroslav Levinsky, visited magician Lance Burton backstage “for an impromptu interview and some more magic tricks. Lance Burton made Murphy disappear upon a request from Levinsky.”

RELATED POSTS
>> short balls: billie jean king for HRC, sharapova on chernobyl, jon wertheim, etc.
>> short balls: molik, philippoussis, IMG, etc.
>> short balls: andy roddick

LTA nat’l tennis centre: bat- and badger-friendly

March 30, 2007

The LTA National Tennis Centre opened today in Roehampton. Greg Rusedski and Judy Murray, among others, were on hand to greet the Queen Mum, who paid visit to the Centre. She looked absolutely cute in her purple skirt suit (photos here).

This hopefully will be a boon to UK tennis. They seem to be in the process of righting some wrongs, at least with their juniors program — problems that have resulted in having only a handful of men (two, and no women) briefly occupy the top 10 in the last 30 years. And by visiting the Centre on Thursday, perhaps the Queen is reaching out. She still has a way to go, though: she has met neither the former (Tim Henman) nor current (Andy Murray) hopes of UK tennis. And both have been playing tennis for a very long time. WTF? Get your handlers on it. Now.

But back to this wonderful complex designed by Hopkins Architects. Give them thumbs up for taking steps to ensure the safety of animal habitat (bats, badgers) and to minimize the effects of rainwater drainage on nearby Beverley Brook.

And kudos, too, to the Centre’s Deuce Cafe, which prepares food using fair trade, organic, and local ingredients. They also recycle, and choose biodegradable products when possible.

(photos from the LTA website)

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fashion: men’s necklaces + puma prints a catalog

March 29, 2007

puma catalog

Puma wrote me yesterday asking for a mailing address. They’re sending me printed catalog! It looks like it’ll have all the French 77 goodies that we’re all dying to see. I’ll let you know when I get it….

from the New York Times At Stylezilla!, they’re talking about a recent New York Times article on the latest trend for guys:

“All kinds of men — from the designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce to the tennis player Marat Safin — feel comfortable flaunting jewelry.”

(Here’s a photo of Safin’s necklaces.)

The best part of the article? The caption that goes with this photo on the left. It reads and flows like a prayer, to be recited nightly to the fashion gods. Take a deep breath and read aloud with me…

agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.

March 29, 2007

This post was going to be all about Andre Agassi, but it feels weird writing about present-day Agassi without mentioning Steffi Graf. It’s funny how quickly she disappeared from the limelight after retirement. (Kim Clijsters needs to take a page from her book on how to gracefully move from tennis to motherhood.)

Anyway, it’s been a good month for Agassi: he turned around his real estate woes by having his Agassi Graf Development’s Idaho project — named Tamarack Resort — sell out in seven hours.

And yesterday everyone was abuzz about his unwritten, untitled memoir, which — after bidding that reached the madness usually reserved for retired heads of state (i.e., $5 million plus) — was sold to publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Agassi’s camp didn’t receive the highest bid from Knopf, but a good word from Bill Clinton, whose memoir was published by Knopf, sealed the deal. There is currently no timetable for the book’s release.

From the New York Post:

The book is expected to cover Agassi’s stormy marriage to Brooke Shields, his current one to tennis great Steffi Graf, as well as his work with underpriveleged youths at the Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.

That’s all fine and good, but Andre you have to answer the meaty questions, like what made you pick on Karol Kucera, and… hmm, I’ll let this picture ask the other question:

short balls: billie jean king for HRC, sharapova on chernobyl, jon wertheim, etc.

March 28, 2007

Billie Jean KingBillie Jean King’s men are hustling, too: Not to be outdone by all the recent activity of the other out gay retired tennis player, Billie Jean is making the rounds, earlier this month accepting the Alan King Passion Award at the Pacific Life Open, and today announcing her endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton as president. Clinton, on King: “[She is] an inspiration to women everywhere [who] spent her life breaking down barriers, and I’m honored to have her support.” (via The San Francisco Examiner)

Sharapova, the ambassador: The Telegraph published a story about what motivated Maria Sharapova to become a U.N. ambassador. (It was Chernobyl.) Here’s her take on philanthropy:

“The coolest thing about making money is that you are able to give back,” Sharapova said. “You have the opportunity to help people. You can only buy so many cars, so many houses, so many dresses and so many pairs of shoes, but it’s not going to make you happy. But helping to save lives is incredible. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing that is.”

(via Tennis News)

It’s Wednesday: So it’s time to read — on your break — Sports Illustrated columnist Jon Wertheim’s mailbag. You should read it every week.

Laureus Awards Presenters: Oscar winner Morgan Freeman and Desperate Housewives stars Eva Longoria and Kyle MacLachlan, along with Argentinian supermodel Valeria Mazza and Spanish flamenco dancer Joaquin Cortes, are all scheduled to present at the Laureus World Sports Awards. Tennis players nominated include: Federer, Henin, Mauresmo, Sharapova, and Serena. (via the Southern Daily Echo)

You get a treat for reading all the way through the post! Click here to learn how to wrap a burrito.

tattoo watch continues: marat safin

March 28, 2007

Marat Safin‘s official website turned up these photos:

safin - tattoo - left shoulder safin - tattoo - back

The tat on his shoulder is the chinese character for monkey, maybe because he thought that’s what his zodiac sign is? If so, then he made a mistake, because — oops! — he really is a ram (having been born in January, 1980).

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>> tattoo watch continues…
>> battle of the band(ana)s
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short balls: molik, philippoussis, IMG, etc.

March 28, 2007

Queen of Nice trumps King: The HBO documentary Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, but lost out to Rosie O’Donnell’s gay cruise documentary. Rosie acknowledged BJK in her acceptance: “If it hadn’t been for Billie Jean King, there wouldn’t have been a gay movement.” For once, Rosie says something nice. (via pinknews.co.uk)

molik-dancing with the starsFlashback: A year ago this month, Alicia Molik (left) was booted off the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars. (via The Age)

The Scud’s return: Mark Philippoussis will be playing a Challenger tournament next month after successfully undergoing yet another knee surgery. He’s also changed management; he has dropped IMG and now turns to his dear friend and Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. (via The Age)

Speaking of IMG, Philippoussis isn’t the only one they’ve dropped from their roster. A few higih-profile agents have jumped ship, taking their clients with them. Casey Wasserman of Wasserman Media Group is taking advantage of this fallout. (via BusinessWeek)

peter bodo on davis cup uniforms

March 27, 2007

The ITF today announced the official nominations for the World Group Quarterfinal ties next month.

After the last Davis Cup round in February, Tennis.com’s Peter Bodo chimed in — like all columnists did — about how to resuscitate interest in this event in the U.S. His ideas? (1) Install Hawk-Eye cameras in all courts used (which should be easy, since all 5 matches are played on the same court) and (2) create team uniforms:

National teams have uniforms, period. Yet there was Roddick in black-and-white, and Berdych in red-and-blue yesterday in Ostrava… Davis Cup is about tradition, pageantry and playing for your country. Why have the guys dressed like two hackers at the local park?”

Yesssssssss. Bodo’s on the right track. In case he didn’t know, I should point out that every team has warm-ups that already play on flag colors. But when the players are on the court, everyone wears their own gear, likely because they still have to adhere to sponsorship contracts (remember that Kim Clijsters Olympics disaster?).

So an on-court uniform will take some effort to figure out. And as Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin (and Yonex and adidas) showed us, you can still sport your country’s colors — or at least slap your country name on the back — while keeping allegiance to your sponsor.

Hewitt in two shirts silkscreened with ‘Australia':

hewitt - davis cup - yellow
hewitt, playing doubles, in white

and Safin’s team did a slapdash job putting ‘Russia’ on the back of this adidas shirt. You know someone got sent to the gulag after the match:

safin in white - davis cup

Perhaps Bodo is onto something. If each country designed uniforms from scratch — uniforms in the palette of a country flag, and would jump off from there to include stripes, coats of arms, and any other element that would evoke national pride — the ITF could use this to keep the Davis Cup brand afloat throughout the year. After each tie, put the shirts up online and sell, sell, SELL.

I might offer you some suggestions for designs in the coming weeks.

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guga watch 2007

March 27, 2007

Gustavo Kuerten is currently preparing to compete in next month’s Davis Cup. His 2007 ATP record isn’t too hot (his current record is 2-6), and he’s getting beef from naysayers breathing down his back.

Leave him alone and let him play on the tour as long as he wants. He’s enjoying himself, and has used his celebrity into founding a non-profit and starting a clothing line. He’ll quit when he’s ready.

short balls: for tomorrow’s water cooler

March 27, 2007

pony logo Kevin wants a Pony: Former WTA head Kevin Wulff was announced as the CEO of Pony International, LLC. I can only hope this will lead to a renaissance in Pony’s relationship with the sport of tennis; they once sponsored Tracy Austin.
(via PR Newswire)

Ana Ivanovic is on the cover of Inside Tennis‘ April issue. A paragraph excerpt available here.
(via The Ana Ivanovic Official Website)

Photomosaics are so over…: But I have a soft spot for the Japanese, so here’s an Onitsuka Tiger shoe made of photos of Japan. Every photo “links to something Japanese on the internet today…Onitsuka Tiger cannot be responsible for what you find.”

When I told you they were hot, I wasn’t kidding: Some more tidbits on Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — Nole now has retired Australian doubles player Mark Woodforde in his camp, and Andy is learning lots about exploiting his opponents’ weaknesses from his coach, Brad Gilbert.

fashion: florida oranges

March 26, 2007

venus venus radek stepanek sharapova hantuchova

How fitting that orange showed up everywhere in Miami this week, with Venus Williams, Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Sharapova, and (oddly enough) Radek Stepanek all sporting cute outfits with the bright color. It even appeared on visors, headbands, earrings, and tennis rackets.

Click here to see all the photos.

nole and andy: the young guns

March 26, 2007

So the buzz machines are all over Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic lately, the two teen players who have risen to the top of their games (leaving the rest of the under-21 set — Richard Gasquet, Marcos Baghdatis and Gael Monfils, among others — to wallow, distracted, in their wake).

I’m excited to see how this all plays out. If injuries (or dreams of making it in Hollywood, perhaps) don’t get the best of them, we’re likely in for a rivalry that will actually be, instead of the “maybe” rivalries of Federer-Nadal, Federer-Roddick, or Federer-[insert hot ATP player of the moment here].

You can read up on what Djokovic and Murray have been up to in the last two years.

Tidbits: Both are in the top 15, are a week apart in age, and actually hang out with each other. “Murray is a versatile and cagey counterpuncher who mixes his shots well and plays superior defense. Djokovic also is agile around the court but packs more firepower off the ground and has a bigger serve.”

Another difference: Djokovic has his way with words, guest blogging on his friend Ana Ivanovic‘s website for one of her matches at Indian Wells. He jotted his notes on a wide-ruled notebook, though it could’ve been wrung through a ghostwriter. Ana’s reaction to the blog post: “It’s very impressive to see that Novak can write so well in English, because it’s not even his first language.”

And Andy? Le sigh. The man doesn’t like to read.

short balls: andy roddick

March 26, 2007

roddick - aussie open 2007Roddick builds his endorsement roster: Andy Roddick joins the beverage industry fray by partnering up with AriZona Beverage Company for a new beverage that will launch later this year.
(from QSRMagazine.com)

Coca-Cola tries to spruce up: For today’s supplemental (OT) reading, here’s an article on Coke’s recently unveiled strategy to call their “carbonated” drinks “sparkling”. Jesus effin christ, what is the world coming to?
(from AdAge, via Guesswork)

Crazy fan art: Actually, not so crazy. In fact, I’m really in love with it.
(from thatjra’s flickr)

It’s not just Rafa who has the problem: Andy seems to struggle with keeping his skivvies (or his junk) in check. You can see for yourself here.
(via Towleroad’s Andy Roddick Hub)

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>>
a tip for mauresmo

supermodel in the tennis stands

March 25, 2007

Which fashion celebrity, deserving of a much needed break after spending a few days with New York City’s sanitation department, spent some time enjoying tennis at the Sony Ericsson Open?

Click here to find out.

short balls: navratilova kicks, stretches, and kicks

March 25, 2007

Navratilova's Art Grand SlamMartina Navratilova‘s people are clearly hard at work. First, the fifty-year-old opened a tennis-themed art exhibit, Art Grand Slam, at Roland-Garros (home of the French Open). She teamed up with artist Juraj Kralik, and spawned artwork whose concept lies somewhere between Jackson Pollock and Stephen Murmer.

This and this are two of my favorite pieces.

Martina also just announced plans for a tennis academy in the Czech Republic. She inadvertently criticized the current power hitters — and even the sport’s current magicians — by saying that she wants “to concentrate on a more varied form of tennis, more subtle than the style displayed by Martina Hingis, Justine Henin or Roger Federer.” Wow. Bold statement. Let’s see if she can deliver.

She’s also slated to receive a special award from GLAAD at next month’s Media Awards in Los Angeles.

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miami heats up: more players party photos

March 24, 2007

As I was falling asleep from looking at Andy Roddick at the Sony Ericsson players party, I mustered enough energy to gather everyone else’s pics. They showed up manicured, primped, and ready to kick off their week in Miami.

(If you are interested in joining a discussion about the photos from the party, you can do so at this WTA World page.)

Let’s start off with Venus and Serena Williams, looking elegant in their black (and white) dresses.

venus and serena - sony ericsson players party

More photos: Hantuchova, Jankovic, etc.


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