Archive for February, 2008

A little bit of Italy, a little bit of France…

February 28, 2008

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Move over, Karl Lagerfeld; your Chanel stenciled tennis racquets are no longer the only ones for the glam set. French tennis company Babolat recently announced that they’ve partnered with EA7 — that’s Emporio Armani‘s performance line — to design their own gear. The oversize stick, with its 100-square-inch head, incorporates the brand’s current white/silver/black colorway (which can also be seen on Filippo Volandri, who wears EA7 on the court).

Buy: The racquet is available for $345 at all Emporio Armani stores. And FYI, there is only one grip size (“for medium-sized hands,” said the salesman at the store on Broadway). It also comes with a cover.

Another look: Take a peek at Volandri wearing the Spring 2008 EA7 wear (plus his classy accessories) at last week’s Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires after the cut…

fashion focus: nike + rafa nadal’s spring ’08

February 27, 2008

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Rafael Nadal lost early to fashionable Italian Andreas Seppi at last week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (just FYI, none of the eight seeds made it past the second round).

Fortunately for the Mallorcan, his poor performance was offset by a new outfit from Nike. Rafa wears his usual uniform from the Global Power collection: the sleeveless tank, the pirate pants, and the wristbands and headband. But instead of the Engine Orange that started out the year, he’s moved onto New Blue.

Get the look: Nike Global Power Sleeveless Top, $55; 3/4 pants, $55; Swoosh bandana, $8; and Swoosh doublewide wristbands, $8. Unfortch, the top doesn’t come in the white/new blue colorway. Nor do the wristbands.

trophy watch: a lady on a harley

February 26, 2008

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Vroom: Russian Maria Sharapova proved that her Australian Open title was no joke, backing it up with her second title of the year at the $2.5 million Qatar Total Open. The Under Armour of opponent Vera Zvonareva was no match for Masha — she took Vera out 6-1, 2-6, 6-0.

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Vera takes home a nice trophy.

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The men: Andy Roddick — who looks a little… chubby? weathered? (Does he look different to anyone else? Is it facial hair?) — continued to wow the San Jose crowd with a winning performance, besting Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 in the final. (FYI, Andy’s won this event twice before, and made the semis two other times.)

Meanwhile, David Nalbandian‘s back troubles disappeared this week during the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires. He beat compatriot Jose Acasuso 3-6,7-6 and 6-4. I’m soooo ready for the next Yonex colorway. Yellow and red are too intense for the clay. Unless you’re Guga Kuerten.

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In Rotterdam, Michael Llodra and his mouth continue to build on their early-season confidence with a second title in 2008. Llodra beat Robin Soderling 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6(4).

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And this streaker, who made a statement at the Rotterdam final, is exactly why I am not vegan. Improper nutrition would lead me to do redundant things like writing “Vegan Streaker” on myself — as if the crowd could confuse me as a linesman. When he gets out of jail, can someone get him some beef?

augustin calleri’s wristband

February 26, 2008

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Luis Horna (left) and Agustin Calleri squared off at last week’s Copa Telmex in Buenos AIres.

Horna, in Reebok, put on a simple silver necklace, while Calleri, in Diadora, had on a wristband with thick, monochrome vertical stripes.

(BTW, Calleri beat Horna 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.)

prince’s spring lookbook + women’s skivvies get their due

February 26, 2008

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I don’t know what’s in the desalinated water this week, but there are waaaaaaaaaay more than the usual number of crotch shots coming out of the wires from last week’s tourney in Doha. First, there was the unfortunate flesh-colored underwear worn by Li Na.

And now here’s Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama, layering in Prince.

Flip through it: The company’s spring/summer lookbook might not be anything to look at, but it’s at least fun to look through. There are even realistic sound effects for when you flip the pages! Check it out.

(photos by Getty Images)

brr! the desert cold brings out the long sleeves and leggings

February 26, 2008

The cold weather in Doha (in the 60s) got the ladies layering during their matches at last week’s Qatar Total Open.

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Leggings: Maria Sharapova in Nike‘s Tight Capris (available in New Blue and Logan Berry, $50); Venus Williams in EleVen. Venus lost to Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 3-6. Masha took home her second title of the year.

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Jelena wears the Reebok Pro Tradition Jacket. The third seed lost to the tattooed Li Na 3-6, 4-6 in the quarterfinals.

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Still sans sponsor: Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska, now in the Top 20, fell to Sharapova in the semis 4-6, 3-6 (the Russian got to avenge that shocking second round loss at the 2007 U.S. Open). And yes — you should not adjust your TV set; she wore those three different outfits on the court this week. A sponsorship deal has GOT to be in the works. Anyone out there with tips? E-mail me.

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Dominika Cibulkova wore purple stripes from Lacoste, and lost in the quarters to Radwanska.

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Reebok: The troubled Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo wears the Pro Vision Seamless Jacket, $59.95. She lost in the first round to Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-7 (7), 5-7.

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Shahar Peer wore a white track jacket from Reebok (likely the BOBO Full Zip, $64.99) during her historic week. She lost 1-6, 3-6 to Na in the third round.

(photos by Getty Images)

mishit: doha’s opening ceremonies

February 26, 2008

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Okay, perhaps just a slight shank… But at the opening ceremonies for last week’s Qatar Total Open, the glamorous ways of Venus Williams — her sandals matched her abaya! — redeemed the dead weight of Shahar Peer and Ana Ivanovic. (See the mishits after the cut…)

fashion focus: le coq sportif’s spring 2008 line

February 25, 2008

The rest of the line: We showed you Le Coq Sportif‘s Myth Shoe last week, and now here’s the rest of the Spring 2008 line, aka the first collection into the brand’s American relaunch.

The new brigade is headed by former adidas exec Tim McCool (CEO), Kip Meyer (CFO), and Patrick Ouyi (Marketing & Communications).

The arsenal: Clothing and footwear for the spring will come in three lines: Sport Chic, Retro Chic and Tennis…

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The Sport Chic line has a few fun details — silk, cashmere, linen, and cotton enhanced with pleats, wood buttons, etc.

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Retro Chic was Inspired by the 80’s — patch embroidery: an oversized rooster logo, and a bright palette.

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The Yannick Noah polos came from the Frenchman’s historic achievements in the 80s. Clockwise, from top left: the 1986 Roll Polo, $59.99; the 1982 Porquerolles Polo, $59.99; another retro shirt; and a Tie-Dye version of the Roll Polo, $59.99.

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There are some other tennis looks.

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Accessories: The “Noah Club 1983” gets a reissue — half cup sole, expanded rubber midsole, and classic leather tennis shoe. Also for sale is a modern interpretation of the “Noah Club Prestige”. And a tennis accessories collection these days couldn’t be complete without a racquet bag.

tattoo watch: the flower on li na’s chest

February 23, 2008

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Tattoo Watch: It’s no surprise that the Chinese athlete who was voted “most difficult to work with” is also the one who has a tattoo.

What an inspirational story from Li Na, who has recovered from a rib injury which forced her to miss half of the 2007 tennis season. So far this year, she has compiled a 14-3 record (including a title at Gold Coast).

Scoreline: At this week’s Qatar Total Open, she took out fifth seed Anna Chakvetadze, twelfth seed Shahar Peer, and third seed Jelena Jankovic in succession before falling to Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 3-6, 3-6. Not bad!

(photos by Getty Images)

short balls: sketches, socks, and stripes

February 22, 2008

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RePRINTed: Our buddy Jordan snapped this photo of Philip Burke drawings in the February issue of PRINT. The images of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic originally appeared in The New York Observer‘s coverage of the 2007 U.S. Open. God bless iPhones.

All in the family: Just FYI — Kellie Kuehne, the golfer sister of Venus Williams‘s golfer boyfriend Hank, plays the green wearing EleVen clothing. Whodathunk the clothing would be so versatile?

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Amelie inspires socks: Dear Miss Mauresmo, I know you’re a little down these days — contemplating retirement, even) — in your latest slump you should know that (a) you lost a very streaky-but-good player in Tamarine Tanasugarn at this week’s Qatar Total Open, and that you’ve (b) inspired Claire to knit some socks. That’s right: socks. In your honor. Based on the dress you wore when you won the Australian in 2006. xoxo – TSF

The higher they go… The sullied career of Martina Hingis gets dealt another blow (hee) in the wake of her testing positive for cocaine at last year’s Wimbledon. According to Tennis Week, adidas dropped its endorsement contract with the former No. 1 because of a zero-tolerance policy on substance abuse.

rhapsody for a champion

February 22, 2008

A TSF reader bids Monica Seles farewell

Well, my favorite female tennis player retired from the sport this past Valentine’s Day. Monica Seles is yet 34 but a grand dame in the increasingly physical, ever youth-centric arena that is professional tennis. She simply found that she didn’t have any more of those blistering darts in her quiver, and so she made it official, packed it up, packed it. It was expected, a footnote really to a career that saw greatness and fit all too well into the always-spiraling soap opera that is tennis, though hardly by her design.

It’s the wondrous tale of a girl born in Yugoslavia to father Karolj, an artist who drew cartoon animal faces on tennis balls and set up a chain-link “net” stretched across a parking lot on which she bashed shot after shot. Monica’s family relocated to the United States in her parents’ middle age so that she could pursue what was, for a time, one of the most dominant careers in sports. Seles won eight of twelve Grand Slam tournaments and supplanted Steffi Graf atop the world rankings. She became No. 1 thanks to an arsenal of stinging strokes that found uncanny, acute angles and painted the lines of the court. She’s the originator of those fierce, two-note grunts that all of today’s stars punctuate their shots with, and arguably the one who introduced the power game to women’s tennis. Read the rest of the entry…

it’s all true: le coq sportif’s myth will drop in spring 2008

February 22, 2008

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The rooster crows: French brand Le Coq Sportif has a busy spring this year. They plan to release a new line of performance shoes called Myth and they’re also relaunching their sports and lifestyle collections in North America (more deets on that later). All this ado is perfectly timed with the 25th anniversary of Yannick Noah‘s 1983 French Open singles title — a big deal since it was the last time a Frenchman has won a Grand Slam (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came pretty close last month).

Italian Potito Starace, who contributed to the shoe’s design, had this to say about the new kicks:

“It is a privilege to be one of the few players wearing Le Coq Sportif apparel and footwear. I almost feel like I have a unique style when I walk on the court. Comfort is key for me but I also appreciate the ‘elegance’ of the tennis line.”

Details: Myths have two innovative features: the “ERGO +” flexibility system in the instep, supporting the foot; and the “DS2″ patented inside sole which keeps the foot dry — no stink! And as far as colorways, a black version is available for men while pink and lime are for the women. (Le sigh… sometimes, a guy just wants to wear lime. Or pink.) What do you think of the shoes? Tell us!

Take a closer look: See the black/white and pink/white versions of the Myth after the cut

trophy watch: i call him “melo yellow”; a japanese phenom; mama murray must be happy, etc.

February 21, 2008

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This one’s for you, Mikey: Our Sa Watch 2008 begins with the duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa — locals — winning the Brazil Open doubles trophy over Albert Montanez and Santiago Ventura. Leave it to Andre to wear yellow socks on the court. Cute.

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Meanwhile, it was a battle of the lankies as British fourth seed Andy Murray took out Croatian Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, at the ATP Open 13 in Marseille, France.

In Delray Beach, Kei Nishikori surprised everyone (including finalist James Blake) with this impressive 6-3, 1-6 and 4-6 upset. Our buddy Ichizo took this video of Kei while playing against Zack Fleishman in Japan last October.

By the way, look out for Ichizo to launch his japanese language tennis blog sometime soon. This is one of the few times I’m sad that I don’t know Japanese. That, and everytime I can’t read anything in Men’s Non-No aka the best magazine in the world.

And we are sure that Mama Murray is proud of her other son, Jamie, who teamed with Max Mirnyi to upset the top seeded Bryan Brothers. (Watch: See Jamie use finger code to communicate with Max.)

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A beaut! The Proximus Diamond Games tops itself with a racquet encrusted with 2008 diamonds (get it?) totalling more than $1.5 million. 1,611 of those diamonds are on the ball itself. Unfortunately for Justine Henin, who beat Italy’s Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-3 in the final match, she has to win the tournament three times in five years before she takes home that puppy. It’s not an impossible feat, though; Amelie Mauresmo did the same last year and took home the first diamond trophy.

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Singles: Sorry, guys. I was too crushed by the early loss of Guga Kuerten in singles (and doubles, actually) at the Brasil Open to care about who won. Props to Nicolas Almagro for besting mainstay Carlos Moya 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5.

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Lastly, Flavia Pennetta wore her multi-collared Sergio Tacchini all the way to a title at the Vina del Mar tourney in Vina del Mar, Chile. Her opponent: Klara Zakopalova.

(Mirnyi/Murray video via ATP; photos by Getty Images)

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do racquets make for good firewood?

February 21, 2008

After watching this video of Mike and Bob Bryan practicing the “Romanian Davis Cup Team” volley drill at Delray Beach, I’m ready to hang up my racquet forever.

Do the Romanians really drill like that?

(video courtesy of the ATP)

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fashion focus: my fantasy tennis closet; shipley & halmos’ fall 2008 rtw

February 20, 2008

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Tennis magazine’s Spring Fashion editorial reads like the storeroom of a Barney’s CO-OP: Shipley & Halmos. Trovata. Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Band of Outsiders.

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The shoot’s stylist, Jessica de Ruiter, threw in some Y-3, American Apparel, and Superga shoes for good measure.

(photos by Williams + Hirakawa)

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Fall 2008: Above are the pieces from S&H’s Fall 2008 RTW collection. Refinery29 checked in with Sam and Jeff some days before their show. (Definitely worth watching, if only to see their decoder ring invitations.)

Browse: See all the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired pieces here. But if you’re just ready to buy, then know that their much-anticipated Spring 2008 goods are now available for consumption.

(photos via style.com)

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a closer look at the delray beach tennis court

February 19, 2008

The organizers of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships love to push the marketing envelope. Sometimes, us fans end up with fashion anthrax; other times, we end up with a love letter, S.W.A.K.

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We swooned after seeing photos of the tourney’s show court backdrop; the blue waves were the brainchild of ITC director John Butler. He partnered with Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Hall, who underwrote the fee of trio of artists involved with the project: Doug Hoekzema of Pompano Beach and Angel Mir and Brandon Opalka of Miami.

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The waves were digitally designed and printed on vinyl. They then beefed up the mural with airbrushing and painting by hand.

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On the court, extending out from the end zone walls from six to ten feet, the artists painted waves directly on the surface. (Take that, Zurich!) The court took three days to prep another three days to paint.

More: See more close-ups of the mural after the cut…

k-swiss in the spring: tommy haas on the court and in print, plus some great looks

February 18, 2008

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The March issue of Tennis has this two-page ad of German dreamboat Tommy Haas modeling for his new sponsor, K-Swiss. I want that headband!

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Tennis goods: There’s not much to look at in their tennis line — the graphics on these tees aren’t anything special. From left to right: Tnns Ball Prntd Crew, $45; IN Motion Slvlss Crw, $42; Ultracel Polo, $52.

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But this jacket from their casual line gets our thumbs up. Skur Track Jacket, $70.

Shoes: Yep, if there’s one thing K-Swiss is known for, it’s delicious shoes. Check out the latest offerings.

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Debut: K-Swiss Tommy made a quick debut at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships last week. Still rusty from a shoulder injury layoff, he bowed out in the first round to Diego Hartfield 6-2 3-6 6-2.

(ad from Tennis, Haas photo by Palm Beach Post)

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monica puts on some dancing shoes, steffi hawks some louis vuitton pumps

February 18, 2008

A tale of two legends: Recent retiree Monica Seles will join Marlee Matlin, Adam Carolla, Priscilla Presley and Kristi Yamaguchi in the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. Wow, that’s a “Who’s Who” if I ever saw one.

The sixth season of DWTS will premiere March 17 on ABC. On joining the show, the 34-year-old Seles says “I’m a tennis player. I don’t know a tango from a mango.”

Seles’ recent return to the limelight is likely a big push to move her away from “tennis star” to “celebrity”. If you remember, she followed an appearance on the CBS Morning Show earlier this week with the announcement of her retirement. And now, the dancing. She’s well on her way, but has to play catch up to her biggest rival on the court…

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Steffi Graf‘s PR machine continues to churn. Graf will have a guest stint on Oprah’s Big Give, a “pay it forward” reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey. (Remember when hubby Andre Agassi whacked her in the face? They were taping a segment for it.)

And page five of this week’s New York magazine has an ad from Louis Vuitton featuring the Narcisse Pump. The uppers on this two-tone three-inch heel are hand-stitched. Below the picture is this copy:

Walk with me. By Steffi Graf”

I look at my schedule and I just have to laugh. I’d need to be six people to get through it all. It seems I’m still running all over the place – only my footwear has changed.”

That’s deep. Do you think she wrote it herself?

Buy: Narcisse Pump, two-tone hand-stitched calf leather with three-inch heel, $1,120, louisvuitton.com.

(USA Today via Marie; photo from New York)

sharapova does doha and she’s in (a) penthouse

February 18, 2008

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Maria Sharapova totes Fendi on one arm, slings her gold Prince bag over the other, and cradles her Sony Ericsson phone. Oh, the burden of celebrity!

She scheduled to compete in this week’s Qatar Open as the fourth seed.

(I’m not sure if that’s the actual link to the tourney website. If it is, then FYI webmaster: there are all kinds of things wrong with it.)

New digs: Haaretz reports that Masha bought a 350-square-meter luxury penthouse for 7.5 million Israeli shekels ($2 million). With all her commitments in the Middle East, it’s about time she got a place nearby.

(via Open Court; photo via Getty Images)

shahar shines in doha — marcos baghdatis, are you listening?

February 18, 2008

Shahar Peer is letting her tennis do the talking at this week’s Qatar Open, and her racquet is quite the diplomat.

Groundbreaking: Peer, from Israel, has the spotlight on her for participating in a tournament hosted by an Arab state. The SEWTA gave Doha an event with the provision that players be allowed to participate based on merit (the Israelis are normally non grata), and the organizers complied, allowing Shahar to play. Many are wondering about the motivation behind this move; Doha is interested in bidding for the 2016 Olympics, and this is there way to make nice with the world.

So what’s Shahar’s take on all this attention? “I’m here to play tennis,” she said. “But if this opens up a window for the younger generation, with Arabs and Israelis working together for peace, I’d be happy.” (AFP)

But of course everyone’s on alert, and extra precautions are being taken to ensure Shahar’s safety.

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Fashion focus: Here’s Shahar wearing lots of silver during her first round match against Andreja Klepac, whom she beat 6-3, 6-4.

Today’s lesson: Hey Marcos Baghdatis, I hope you’re paying attention. Instead of being a turkey about Turkey, you should take your celebrity and make this world a better place. It’s not that hard to do.


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