Archive for July 4th, 2008

On lucky net cords, and more than you ever wanted to know about [Derrick] Rostagno

July 4, 2008

Before being summarily dismissed by China’s Jie Zheng in the 3rd round of this year’s Wimbledon, soon-to-be-former-but-still-current No. 1 Ana Ivanovic’s claim to fame was the miraculous netcord that saved her while match point down against Natalie Dechy in the prior round.

Several ESPN pundits were all over the potentially perfect reference: the 2nd round of the 1989 US Open, when Boris Becker was down match point to Hollywood’s own Derrick Rostagno.

Up a match point in the fourth-set tiebreaker (the first of two match points), Rostagno served and volleyed; Becker’s passing shot — which Rostagno was well in place to knock off — hit the net cord and took a severely angled bounce well over Rostagno’s head. Becker went on to win the tiebreak, the match, and marched all the way to the championship over Lendl. Becker was 21 at the time, so we could give Ivanovic, at just 20, a bit longer to come into her own.

And what about Mr. Rostagno? He rode his VW bus around to tournaments in the West (an RV in the East), and wore puka-shell necklaces. Often referred to as a “free spirit,” he was perhaps lucky in that there wasn’t anywhere near as much dug up on players as there is today. But there is some additional lore with Rostagno that has lingered: in 1986, he was in Mexico City on a flight layover before returning back to the States. At the last minute, he decided to stay in Mexico and play in a satellite tournament there. The MEX to LAX leg of the flight crashed in Cerritos, Calif., killing everyone on board and then some.

Another recollection features Michael Joyce — now famed as Maria Sharapova’s coach — back when he was struggling to move up through the challenger circuit. Joyce had just taken the players’ bus to the event where he was entered, when who should pull up than none other than Mr. Rostagno, driving a Porsche no less; here’s a fellow American who’s made it, drawing Joyce’s admiration and envy.

Rostagno has since gone on to get an MBA, work in leveraged buyouts, gone to law school, and passed the California bar. The latest report mentions him following his father into litigation. No one said life after tennis is pretty.

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.

fashion focus: lotto goes back to its roots

July 4, 2008

Lotto takes advantage of the Italian flag palette for its Wimbledon men’s gear. Red and green stripes adorn the shirts, shorts, and wristbands of Simone Bolelli, David Ferrer, and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Same goes for the shoes.

Juanqui wears the crewneck version of the tee, and joins the land of the double-wide wristband with his own slapdash version…

Ferrer adds a bandana to his outfit.

Meanwhile, Simone went with the polo version. Look at his jewelry!

Browse: This Wimbledon collection isn’t available for sale yet, but you can check out the rest of Lotto’s goods (including the fleur de lis-branded Leggenda collection) here.

(images by Getty Images)

shoes: the next frontier + novak’s nike switch

July 4, 2008

Venus Williams and her less-than-$20 shoes have a place in the finals tomorrow. The four-time (and defending champ) took out the grumpy (and possibly misinterpreted) Elena Dementieva in the semis.

No chances for a mix-up over at Fila, who marked Sveta Kuznetsova and Dmitry Tursunov‘s shoes this week.

And here’s a look at those Alfas designed by Fila especially for Wimbledon court staff.

While Nike gets top honors for its design of Roger Federer‘s shoes, we have to point out these Lotto kicks customized for Simone Bolelli. Notice the “Bole” (his nickname) incorporated into the shoe. The designers at Fila need to go in this direction…

Shahar Peer and Reebok bring back the Israeli flag, seen here in her match against Dinara Safina.

Andy Murray playing in Nike against Ricky Gasquet of France.

Much ado about Nike: Our buddy Darren Rovell at CNBC wrote about Novak Djokovic‘s silent switch in tennis shoes from adidas to Nike Air Max Breathe Cage IIs at this year’s Championships. Nole did a fine job white out the swooshes on his shoe.

Here’s a photo of the grass court shoe he wore the week prior at The Artois Championships in London (he lost to Rafa Nadal in the finals). He apparently slipped and slid too much and decided to give Nike a try…


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