Maria Sharapova doing some pre-Thanksgiving shopping in Los Angeles. Look at those black and gold boots!
(photos via Hollywood Rag)
Could he look more bored? He saw this pic and realized that it was time to quit…
More coaching news: Michael Chang has stepped down as the tennis coach to Chinese player Shuai Peng, citing disagreements with Peng and the China Tennis Association (CTA) about how much time Chang would devote to coaching. “They wanted me to travel with her to all the events and I just don’t have the time to do that,” he said. “Obviously we would always keep our door open if she ever needs anything.”
He made this blunt announcement at a press conference for his 50-court Mission Hills Michael Chang Tennis Academy, set to open next year in southern China.
Chang is giving plenty of details on what was not working with Peng. (Basically, he wanted Peng to train harder than she wanted to.) Chang also continued to express his interest in helping CTA develop some Olympic hopefuls, especially in light of Beijing hosting the Summer Olympics next year. So far, his requests have been rebuffed.
FYI: Peng is China’s top-ranked doubles player (No. 20) and second-ranked singles player (No. 45). The WTA lists her as an amateur (can someone help me out with that one?). She plays two-handed off both wings.
(via Reuters and AP; photo via Yahoo!)
Add to the recent round-robin in tennis coaching the partnership of hot pants queen Tatiana Golovin and Mats Wilander. The 19-year-old told l’Equipe on Thursday that she has replaced Mats with reputed no-nonsense Dutchman Glen Schaap, former coach of Dinara Safina and Airness-sponsored Nadia Petrova. Wilander was coaching the teenager since July 2007 and worked through a few tournaments including Los Angeles (Carson), Toronto, and the U.S. Open.
Golovin on Schaap: “I know how he is. [...] He works a lot with the ball cart, I like that.” Her new coach has the reputation of being severe. “When I have [Schaap] on the phone, I take a small voice to appear the nicest possible! [...] I told him that he could be strict, but that if he was to yell at me all the time, that would not work.”
But why end the relationship with Wilander? “The problem with Mats is that he has no desire to work with me in Paris, or in Florida, or to follow me in tournaments,” she explains to l’Equipe. (Their summer hardcourt collaboration was arranged by Christian Bîmes, president of the FFT.) FYI, Golovin could still end up with Wilander after the 2008 Australian Open, which is when Golovin will reevaluate her coaching situation.
In an earlier interview with l’Equipe, Tatiana learned of Brad Gilbert‘s alleged availability (post-Andy Murray): “Really? Since when? Brad is almost too big of a personality to have him besides you. I love to go and see him work because he really knows tennis, but to have him every day, that’s a bit stressful.” Doesn’t matter, since Brad still has a commitment with the LTA.
On what she sees as an ideal coach: “He needs to have experience. I need a coach that knows all that goes around on tour and that knows the other players. Today, to beat players in the top 10, it’s not just a matter of playing well, but of making them play bad. We would need to get along well, and to be on the same wavelength about the manner in which I want to work. He would need to be… perfect.”
FYI: At the moment Tatiana is training in the French alps (Alpe-d’Huez) with the French Federation. She’ll then travel to Miami for a charity event. Afer that, she’ll go back to Roland Garros for more training.
More on Schaap: Here’s an interview with Schaap from 2005 when he was training Petrova. He shares strategy on how to beat Justine Henin. He obviously knows tennis.
Over the years, Schaap has trained Brenda Schultz, Jennifer Capriati, Mirjana Lucic, and Magdalena Maleeva. By 2005 he had been Petrova’s coach for seven years (and they split a year later). In 2006 he was with Dinara.
I can’t find a picture of Schaap anywhere. In other recent news about Schaap: in the last week it was announced that he’ll coach Dutch player Martin Verkerk (674th) for a year beginning in January.
(via l’Equipe and Golovin Attitude; photos via Getty Images)
Thanks to Patricia for her help on this post.
The season might be over, but we’re still seeing trophies here and there…
Dutchman Paul Haarhuis took out tennis impresario Jim Courier 6-1, 6-4 in the finals of the The Legends Rock Dubai Championships on Saturday. This is the final stop of the year for Courier’s seniors tour, the Outback Champions Series.
A pic of Haarhuis (and details of the Dubai tourney) after the cut…
Hey all –
I’m taking it easy this weekend — clearing my head to make way for all the food I’ll be eating…
To those celebrating Thanksgiving: have a nice and safe holiday.
To that guy I ran into at The Factory last night: it’s weird talking about YouTube/Nikolay Davydenko in a club, sorry. E-mail me, and we’ll have a more proper conversation.
To everyone else: we’ll be back on Sunday!
xoxo – e
From left to right: a loose-fitting polyester hoodie (£90), a rollneck dress with tipped sleeves and hemlines (£115), a amazing scoop neck polo (£80), and a sixties style mini-dress with a drawstring hem (£100). In the first three, the signature Fred Perry laurel appears on the neckline. Love it. This women’s collection is a good complement to the most recent men’s Limited Collection with Alastair McKimm.
Others Free Kolya: Here’s the adorable Dave wearing our Free Kolya shirt. (Thanks for sending us the pic!)
80s revival: Reissues keep coming from the folks at Reebok. They follow up a glow-in-the-dark Court Victory Pump (the CVP being the shoe worn by Michael Chang during his days as a pro) with this neon version above. Per Sneaker Freaker, there’s no word yet on price or release date.
>> TSF’s shoes archive
“Murray is working with Louis Cayer, a well-known coach in Canada. Anybody who has done anything involving tennis in Quebec has met with Louis Cayer at one time or another. Cayer was captain of the Davis Cup team [1994-2000] and of the Olympic team , but he also had an impact on all kinds of players and coaches at all levels. The public will have seen him commenting matches on TV.
“Cayer is now working for the LTA and coaching [Andy's brother, Jamie,] in doubles. Everybody in the Murray family was impressed by Cayer’s work. Shortly after the US Open, Andy requested the services of Cayer for himself. Apparently, the two of them were working together when Gilbert was out of town [i.e., back in Florida].
“Since the breakup with Gilbert, the temporary arrangment is that Murray will work with Cayer for the next three weeks (from Monday Nov 19), and he will accompany Murray at his first tournament in Qatar. Cayer told the press that he already has a full-time job with the LTA, and that he already promised to accompany [Jamie] at 14 doubles tournaments. So, it doesn’t appear that Cayer will be able to coach Murray full time. But he will help him periodically to work on specific strokes.”
Bio: There’s also a brief bio of Cayer on this ITF page.
(photo by Getty Images)
Williams sisters to play doubles: The pair will participate in the Australian Open draw. Does this mean they’ll be able to play Beijing?
The Gilbert/LTA saga: Esteemed tennis coach Brad Gilbert will stay with the LTA even after his split with Andy Murray (that’s his second “Andy”… the first being Andy Roddick… and his third “And”… the other being Andre Agassi). The Scot will replace Gilbert with a team of experts. Meanwhile, LTA chief exec Roger Draper announced that Gilbert, whose contract has been renegotiated (just its duration — NOT his £750,000 in guaranteed earnings), will focus on getting British No. 2 Alex Bogdanovich to move up in the rankings (he’s currently at No. 161) and training other coaches. Of this move by Draper, critics are speaking out.
Wow: So. Many. Air Quotes.
Sometimes, it’s better after a break-up: A falling-out between Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in May didn’t stop the duo from success. In fact, after losing their first 13 tourneys in 2007, they went on to win three — Roland Garros, Queen’s Club, and Tennis Masters Cup — of their last seven. (Nestor, who broke off the partnership, will play with Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic; Knowles will play with Mahesh Bhupathi. (The Globe and Mail)
(OT) Live from New York: Just because TV writers have struck doesn’t mean their creative juices have stopped flowing. SNLers performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Saturday night (with Michael Cera hosting), while a live version of 30 Rock played on Monday night. (NYT)
(OT) Child Matadors: Good read. (NYT)
(OT) Choking on growth: For those who want to get depressed, follow NYT‘s series on China’s growing pains.
>> TSF’s short balls archive
Roger, having survived a scare at the TMC Shanghai, is now relaxed and looking forward to breaking more records (and perhaps nabbing gold at the Beijing Olympics) in 2008.
Scoreline: Federer was understandably nervous going up against his idol — and Pete put up a fight — but Roger got over it and won 6-4, 6-3. (A write-up of the match appears here.)
On the boob tube: Tennis Channel (I miss you, “The“!!) will air the Seoul exo on time delay at 7pm ET tonight. The broadcast will also appear on Tennis Channel’s website on Dec. 5.
For as much as these two were getting paid, couldn’t they have worn more appropriate shoes? Perhaps, like Venus Williams and Maria Kirilenko, all they needed to help the ensemble are elaborate headdresses.
(photo by Getty Images)
>> sup pete, how r u?: another excerpt from r-fed’s new biography
That diamond-encrusted tennis ball, designed by Gitanjali Gems to help launch Wimbledon’s jewelry line, was presented to Venus Williams by Jewelery Marketing Company CEO Nehal Modi last Wednesday, Nov. 14, in New York City.
In case you’re keeping count, there are 4,300 diamonds on that thing!
What a difference a year makes. Here’s a photo of Nikolay Davydenko at the end of 2006 without a care in the world: he’d just gotten married to Irina, he finished the year at number three, and added four singles titles to his trophy case.
Whodathunk that a year later he’d be embroiled in a nasty match-fixing scandal and get unfairly slapped with a fine for tanking? None of this helped Kolya as he compiled a dismal 1-2 record at the 2007 Tennis Masters Cup (losing to Roddick and Federer). But with one of the tanking fines reversed — and a win over Fernando Gonzalez (involving some fine net play) — the Russian seemed to end his 2007 on a high note. Happy, tired, relieved, and not at all disappointed with his Shanghai play.
Here are some other things Kolya shed light on during the interview after his match with Gonzo:
On his commitment to play the Beijing Olympics –happening in the middle of the U.S. Open Series — in light of his announcement of a lighter tourney schedule in 2008. (Even though Kolya’s style of play is easy on his body, his 2007 playing schedule wasn’t):
“You know, tough questions. Yes, because normally you play for the country, for the Russia. Doesn’t matter where is it Olympic Games in Shanghai, Australia. You need to fly. We fly from America, Cincinnati. Try to prepare, try to play very good in China, and then come back to America. It’s pretty tough. Pretty tough flight. But we try the best.”
And on his post-TMC break in the Maldives:
“For me it’s important I try mentally to recovery and, you know, to be a little bit brown. My color changing (smiling). And then, you know, it’s my happy face coming to Davis Cup final.”
We can’t wait to see your tan, Nikolay. And love it while it lasts — something tells me that Portland’s gloom will suck all the color right back out!
FYI: The Davis Cup World Group Final between Russia and the United States will take place in Portland, Ore. from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2007.
(photo by Getty Images)
A few of you have asked about Lotto‘s latest kits on David Ferrer — the ones he wore all the way through the finals of this week’s Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. I haven’t seen it on any of online shops, but from the timing of release, this seems like a spring ’08 number.
Reminiscent of adidas‘ Powerweb Short Sleeve top (that’s the one Juan Monaco was rockin’ in ’07), the shirt — both in Magma (that’s dark orange) and Black — is decorated with a few metallic graphics including a crest/fleur-de-lis on the left shoulder and the right torso.
And in case you’re curious, there’s a shirtless photo of David Ferrer after the cut…
…isn’t it funny to think about the ATP’s brief dalliance with round-robin draws in earlier this year? The tour hoped “increase the consumption” of the sport by moving away from single-elimination. We bought it: who wouldn’t want to see a player’s head-to-head record against multiple opponents change in a single week?
Unfortunately, a high-profile flub by the Tour chief Etienne de Villiers himself (involving James Blake and Evgeny Korolev at February’s Las Vegas Open) — followed by strong criticism from Roger Federer — kept the round-robin from spreading beyond the men’s year-end tournament (Tennis Masters Cup).
Humility at the top
For as many perks allowed by reaching the year-end top eight of men’s tennis — the glory, the attention, the serious cash, not to mention those crazy year-ending suits — participating in the Tennis Masters Cup (Shanghai) also has a potential downside: losing multiple matches in a week.
In fact, the round-robin draw makes it so a few players have to lose two matches in the week. There’s even a chance that at least one formerly-confident fellow will take an ego beat-down and lose three. I recall Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003 walking off the court humbled and frustrated after losing his third (and final) match. More recently, Guillermo Coria racked up consecutive 0-3 TMC records — in ’04 and ’05.
This year, thanks to Kolya squeaking out a round-robin win over the spent Gonzo, the 0-fer honor went to Nole Djokovic. If it weren’t for the signs of burnout that Novak had coming into the Masters Cup, he’s about the last player of the octet you’d expect to get served a big slice of that humbling pie.
Novak put up a good fight in each performance — and he had his overzealous stage parents cheering him on — so I’m pretty sure the showman and athlete we got to know this year hasn’t disappeared. Something tells us that after some rest in a place “far, far away from everybody”, he’ll come out alright in ’08.
Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times, and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.
Another record: Roger collected $1.2 million and a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for the win, putting his 2007 prize money pot at $10 million plus — an ATP record.
Earlier in the week, Federer also picked up another trophy by clinching the year-end No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row.
See a photo of Ferrer (plus doubles winners) after the cut…
Here’s a photo of her playing the Quebec City Bell Challenge last month. We’re all about stirring the fashion pot, but it looked like Olga’s glittery top wasn’t built for tennis: “She clearly looks pretty uncomfortable with the ensemble, always tugging and pulling it down and adjusting the ties,” says Stephanie Myles.
It’s hard to say if the fashion will get in the way of her play (fyi, she’s ranked about 50 spots above Mattek); while she may have lost to eventual finalist Julia Vakulenko in the quarters of Quebec, she can also be proud of her one Top 20 scalp in 2007 (Shahar Peer at Stanford).
Kudos: By the way, for those of you who griped that coverage of the Quebec tournament was almost non-existent, Myles did a mighty fine job keeping us abreast of happenings above the 49th parallel. Check out the blogging here.
Venus Williams hosted a party for the launch of EleVen at Tenjune (located under yummy steakhouse STK). While she may be all about her short shorts on court, she sticks with conservative skinny denim and a long silver leg-of-mutton-sleeved jacket.
Serena, now done with her SEWTA Year-End Championships obligations, joins her sister in celebrating the line. She poses with Starr Jones on the right. Le sigh, silk is so hard to wear.
(photos by Wireimage)
Btw, I went to check out the EleVen goods at my local Steve & Barry’s (that’s Beverly Connection, in case you’re interested)… I thought there’d be lines out the door, but there were only 5 customers in the store. Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Bitten section looked cleaned out, but everything else was pretty stocked.
Most of the EleVen goods I’d been eyeing on the site weren’t in this branch. I ended up helping this girl choose between hoop earrings and some dangly stars (we went with hoops). I walked out with some cute green sneakers from their Starbury line, though. and p.s. Venus will do a signing there on Nov. 25, 3:30 p.m.
Venus Williams, one of the few people who manage to NOT make Andre Leon Talley look gigantic, traded her Zac Ephron look for a beautiful black and white ensemble. This on the same day she launched her EleVen line with retailer Steve & Barry’s.
Browse: The charity will have NYC “shopping days” alongside an an eBay store where “a worldwide audience can bid online for celebrity-worn gowns, magazine-worthy home goods, brilliant jewelry, and more” (the inventory’s updated daily, folks!). The auction goes through Dec. 6, 2007.
Read up: 100% of the money raised goes to services and housing for those living with HIV and AIDS. More about 7th on Sale here.
(photos by Getty Images)