Archive for July, 2009

suddenly sabine (is popular)

July 28, 2009

Sabineblogart

It certainly wasn’t “The Bump Heard Around the World“, but when Sabine Lisicki and Caroline Wozniacki ran into each other in the Fourth Round at this year’s Wimbledon, plenty of people took notice. One of those people was 21-year-old Londoner  Brad.

Imagining (and hoping for) a long-lasting Lisicki career, Brad predicts that if the fresh-faced German has any major rivals in her career, there’s only one he’s interested in: “Oh, definitely Wozniacki, those two are totally made for each other. It’s the whole ball-basher versus counterpuncher dynamic they’ve got going on…”

After reading such an opinion, it’s not hard to believe that Brad (himself as fresh-faced as Sabine) is the author of the new, slick-looking Sabine fan blog on Blogger. Brad promises to keep fans up to date on Sabine’s on and off court happenings via his week-old blog, but what caught our eye is the unique art (above) the blog-master produces and showcases on his cyberspace.

The graphic above is an original by Brad, and below is a creation by his friend, Louisa

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Find out more about Brad from our quirky interview, check out a couple more Brad originals and see for yourself the Lisicki-Wozniacki bump after the cut.

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the sandlot

July 28, 2009

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From grass courts to hard courts to beach courts?! It may sound a little crazy to you (and to us), but Beach Tennis is alive and swinging. So much that the ITF just held the first-ever World Championships this past May in Rome.

The game is markedly different from the one you and I know, but has grown in popularity in the recent past and is anchored with enthusiasm in Italy. Played with smaller rackets that are more alike to paddles used for table tennis, beach tennis is played over an elevated net – think volleyball, badminton – and no bounces are allowed.

So much for Hawkeye, right?

The sport draws similarities with beach volleyball when it comes to its lively, party culture. The IFBT (International Federation of Beach Tennis), which operates separately from the ITF-run tour, is holding its World Championships this week in Marina di Ravenna, Italy.

And while we doubt any cross-over stars will emerge in the near future, the sport has spread to the States and even Japan. Now let’s see if the whole barefoot thing ever catches on at Wimbledon

(screengrab via itf tennis web site)

short balls: npr makeover, tennishead2

July 27, 2009

Radio gets fresh on the net: NPR.org, the news web site of National Public Radio, got an overhaul on Monday morning. Editors promise the new site to be “brighter, lighter, faster, easier to use, easier to search and more fun to surf.” While NPR rarely covers sports (especially tennis), the site is full of goodies from its national stations and links to its local stations from all over the country. Nothing like a dying medium going for a re-do, right? Maybe Andy Roddick inspired them, huh?

Tennishead takes two: Tennishead, our fave tennis ezine… and the world’s only tennis ezine launched its second issue today. Though we love the interactive features – like an introductory video from British player Anne Keothavong (the mag is based in the U.K.) – we’re a little puzzled as to why their big launch for issue number two is all about Wimbledon. Previewing Wimbledon, that is… didn’t the Championships happen a month ago? Perhaps we’re a big confused, but in any case, peruse the 30 pages of bright delight (with pop-ups and sound effects, too!) and keep up with this pub. We expect them to keep churning out good, relevant and ahead-of-the-times content.
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MLdB is a little awkward in that SIM-ulated top, no?

Corn-fed Bromance?: What two American tennis personalities got all huggy-duggy in Indianapolis last week? Check the shot after the jump.

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when balls get catty

July 27, 2009

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If you like to use your claws on the court, Sequen tennis balls might be just for you. Sequen sells luxury tennis balls in leopard, tiger, jaguar and python prints, among others, giving the standard tennis ball its best make-over since it ditched white for yellow in the modern game.

The chic balls retail for $20 a can or $480 a case (24 cans). And while you may raise an eyebrow at the design (and the price), Sequen owner Jennifer Baker assures these fuzzy creatures aren’t just good to look at- they’re top of the line quality, too.

“We use the best felt out there,” Baker said. “Our manufacturer is certified and our felt people do all the big ball brands.”

Baker started the company in 2006, but used the last three years to develop the brand and get a “solid, professional team” behind Sequen. The company is based in the Palm Springs area, a tennis-obsessed valley that’s home to the yearly pro stop at Indian Wells. Baker plans to make her big reveal at this year’s USPTA buying conference in Florida.

Check out more of the felted felines after the cut.

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new yorker gets it bump on?

July 26, 2009

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Tweeting as usual, the Bryan brothers reported that a crew from The New Yorker invaded their house today for a photo shoot. What sort of article could the esteemed feature mag be planning on the brothers?! We can’t wait to see…

Two shots after the jump…

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headstrong franky

July 24, 2009

Frank Dancevic seems to like Indianapolis, and we seem to like that bandana he’s wearing. Sporting American colors at The Indy Tennis Championships, the Canadian won a big battle in the quarterfinals, avenging his 2007 Indy final loss to looker Dmitry Tursunov 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The Canadian drove to the tournament with his girlfriend last week, as he did in ’07 when he was a finalist. Maybe this time the headwear will spur him all the way to the top of the medal stand. We sure hope so.

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In a white, striped Fila polo looked great with bright red shorts. But how can you not love that bandana? His long locks are tucked in nicely, and Frank seems to be playing with confidence knowing he won’t be blinded by all that humidity-induced sweat.

(photo via getty images)

sticking around

July 24, 2009

One of our fave t-shirt makers, Stick It Wear?!, has launched a brand new set of tees for the fall season, full of new characters and designs for tennis-savvy, fashion forward individuals.

Joe Duricathe creator and designer of SIW, has been a tennis fan since his childhood days in Chicago, and now spends time in his Southern California studio screening shirts and creating fantastic art. 

Joe called on simpler colors for his fall line, launching Martina Navratilova and James Blake-inspired tees, along with re-vamped selections for Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick. His “from Hero to Icon” slogan is as creative as the names he gives his shirts: “Czech Defect” for the Martina selection, “Block J” for Blake and “Thy Once King” for the Sampras style, seen below.

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Durica’s line began a few years ago, and as the brand has grown, you can now find his merchandise online at Tennis Warehouse and through sporting goods retailer Midwest Sports. Not only are his creative stylings on trendy tennis tees, but due to popular demand, Joe now does car decals, which he is sure to mention go well on tennis bags, too. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $20 for a simple tee to $54.99 for a stenciled hoodie.

More of his delish designs after the cut…

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baaaaaaaaaaaaabies!!!

July 24, 2009

Yes, folks, the babies are here! Mirka Vavrinec popped out twin girls – who will no doubt rival Lauren Davenport at Wimbledon 2027 – last night in Switzerland with Roger by here side.

TSF nabbed the first EXCLUSIVE pics of the little tennis champs, who Fed announced will be called Myla Rose and Charlene Riva. We’re pretty sure that’s Myla on the left, but they REALLY are twins, right?! Looks like little CharChar takes after Daddy in the crying category…

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In any case, congrats to the happy parents from all of us here at TSF!

(photo illustration by erwin ong)

sw19 fashions

July 23, 2009

While I’m usually not a big fan of mass-produced, cliched sort of fashion, I couldn’t forego the Wimbledon Shop when I was at the Championships last month. The place was jam packed with the always-recognizable Wimbledon towels, white tennis skirts, over-sized tennis balls (for autographs!) and classic tees and polos with the Wimbledon emblem etched across them.

I perused the store, inching past eager teens who most certainly had daddy’s credit card at the pretty pricey Shop, and found a couple items I liked. The first was this tee, a bright, aqua-blue number with “Wimbledon” shadowed down the chest toward the navel and a silhouette of a tennis player etched across the words. The picture here makes the shirt look wide, which most of the tees were in the Shop, so luckily, when I tried on an extra small (I’m usually a small or a medium), it fit like a glove.

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My second choice was this colorful print tee on a grayscale shirt. This one got thrown in my “workout tees” pile, as it goes well with several of my choice bandanas. But most of the shirts in the Shop were 100% cotton, meaning they’re not the best for workout-produced sweat, and shouldn’t be worn in heavy humidity (trust me – trial and error).

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Check out the best-selling Wimbledon item of the season and the shirt I would of picked up if only I had seen it after the cut…

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tina and amy do the michelle

July 23, 2009

Esteemed journalist L. Jon Wertheim seems to be of good humor this morning. The CNN-SI Mailbag columnist, who recently released Strokes of Genuis, a story of the Federer-Nadal rivalry (among other things), posted this ridiculously funny video on his Twitter this morning.

The video clips features Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both formerly of SNL fame and now peddling their own NBC comedies. The two do battle in a 2006 improv skit that features more grunting than a inter-generational match-up between Monica Seles and Michelle Larcher de Brito

Don’t be too surprised if you see either of the comedic geniuses sitting in MLdB’s box during next month’s US Open. Girls can grunt!

summer lovin’

July 22, 2009

Which hard-working American tennis player(s) spent Wednesday in the lake??? Answer after the cut…

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robin: gladiator warrior?

July 22, 2009

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In two month’s time, Robin Soderling has gone from a nobody to a Grand Slam finalist to a… gladiator?! The 24-year-old Swede donned a full gladiator get-up in Hamburg just a few days after winning his first clay-court crown in Bastad last week. His reasoning? The Sod is a big fan of Gladiator, the movie.

Well, we here at TSF are big fans of The Notebook, but you don’t see us paddling through bevies of swans while curiously ogling at our past lovers with a furrowed brow, now do you?!

But give props to the big Swede, who was in full costume for photographers and fans, and even took out his racquet (and sword!) for the photo op. Is being on tour that boring?! We sure hope not. But maybe a love interest between Robsies and Jelena Jankovic might spring up here in the near future. We’re pretty sure Janky would love this stuff.

More shots after the cut. (more…)

it must be… uso series time

July 21, 2009

The US Open Series has launched its commercials for the 2009 season, and we’re not so sure we love the babies produced by this year’s campaign. The theme, “It Must Be Love”, is a catchy one and certainly has potential, but most of the players seem to come off flat and, well, boring in their takes. What do you think? 

The commercials were shot in a single studio, with each player feeding off a prop or anecdote of some sort. For Andy Roddick, it was tricky shots. Serena Williams? Barbies. The thesis statement was obviously there, but for some reason, it just doesn’t transfer well on the small screen.

Here’s a peek at Venus‘ commercial, one of the ones TSF actually gave a giggle and a second watch to. Click here to see all the commercials…

tsf: this stuff’s fresh

July 21, 2009

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Shh! I’m online: 
In less than one month, the US Open qualifying tournament will be underway, meaning that the official “US Open fortnight” will be underway. There won’t be any queuing at this major championships, but fans will flock to Flushing, Queens, to get a glimpse of tennis elite at the end of New York’s hot summer. Can’t you feel the excitement already?

For noise-weary fans and players alike, there’s a new place to get their internet on in New York City during the open: the library. The New York Public Library introduced a wi-fi reading room this week (above), a space the LA Times calls the “grandest wi-fi spot in the country.” We’re definitely staking out to see Rajeev Ram Tweeting on his Dell!

Where’s the chapstick?: Laura Robson has been busy Tweeting over the last three weeks after a somewhat disappointing performance at Wimbledon, where she made a good showing against Daniela Hantuchova in the first round before falling in women’s doubles and girl’s singles, eventually succumbing to injury. Laura has been a social butterfly in July, going out and staying in alike. Her current internet fave? This little ditty.

Maybe it was just her chapstick: The whole cocaine controversy with Richard Gasquet has just gotten more and more bizarre. Supposedly this news article – which we can’t read, (it’s in French!) – reveals new details of Richard’s frenching at a Miami club with “Pamela”, Gasquet’s latest beard. And Paul Newman of London’s The Independent is fuming over the whole thing. Maybe he just drank too much Red Bull, no? 

Mama Natty: French player Nathalie Dechy made more positive headlines today, retiring from tennis while announcing her pregnancy. The 30-year-old was a tour veteran and 2005 Australian Open semifinalist. We’ll miss you, Natty! (PS: See you in 18 months when you come back!)

A sad site of affairs: While the US Open is creeping up as the final major of the year, the tournament’s web site remains to be major-ly disappointing. Poor design, frustrating to navigate and just plain blah. The Aussie, French and Wimbledon all have impeccable sites, but seems like the folks in White Plains are content to keep things so 2001.

(photo by Getty Images via CBS880.com)

seles gets glammy

July 20, 2009

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Monica Seles got all glammed up for the cover of TENNIS Magazine’s August issue, which is on newsstands. TENNIS.com took readers inside the shoot today on its site, and we have several images for your perusing.

While TSF isn’t too big of a fan of the cover shot chosen of Seles (She’s looking very Michelle-Larcher-de-Brito SIMsy, right? Which in other words would be plainly: photoshopped.), the glamorous Seles was no doubt looking gorgeous and graceful. She recently was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, an honor that didn’t get quite the press coverage it deserved.

The cover was shot by New York photographer Erin Patrice O’Brien, who has done covers for NewsweekU.S. News & World Report and Bust, among others.

For many modern tennis fans, Seles was the first power player off both wings, and the Yugoslavian-born American ushered in an era of grunting, grit and guile that would spawn tennis champions and divas from Mary Pierce to the Williams sisters and Victoria Azarenka.

Seles is proving that her popularity post-stabbing was well deserved, as she continues to do good work through her charities, public appearances and recent book release. But TSF is really curious: what’s up with this whole dating thing? A little confusing, no?

More of Monica’s shoot after the cut. (more…)

indybits: cards to meet

July 17, 2009

Rajeev Ram, the surprise winner at last week’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, has received a wild card to Indianapolis this week. Ram will meet fellow American and wild card Devin Britton, the up-and-coming teenager who has been tapped by many as the next great star in the American tennis sky.

Of course, both boys have Tweeted about their prospects this week in the Midwest:

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(screengrabs via twitter.com)

wta headshots: part 1

July 17, 2009

If you’ve ever paid a visit to the WTA Tour’s web site, you were sure to notice the vast array of headshots used in player profiles. Unlike the theatre world, the business world or even the APT’s site – where there’s a standard for what a headshot might look like – the WTA seems to have allowed the players to submit any picture they choose. ANY PICTURE! So, TSF introduces the WTA Headshots series. Here we’ll present headshots and predict where these pictures might have shown up otherwise, giving bios and pseudo news reports solely based on the images themselves… your guesses are welcome, too!

Picture 1Dinara Safina | Dinara has been selected Miss Pensacola Valley Mall 2009 by the Beautification Realization Team after a dazzling performance on the mall’s catwalk last weekend. Dressed in a ’70s-inspired purple blouse with floral pattern criss-crossing her top, Dinara danced to “Unwritten”, the Natasha Bedingfield hit for the talent portion. Her subtle purple eye shadow and well-put-together, straightened hair was a hit with Beautification Team member Cindy Sorwell. “I thought Dinara brought a presence to the pageant that no other girl had,” Sowell said. “And that smile… THAT SMILE! Simply sensational.” Local pageant officials are looking forward to Dinara’s appearance in the Greater Peach County’s Beauty Bonanza in August.

 

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courting red

July 15, 2009

The Williams sisters have gone from the great green courts of Wimbledon to the bright red carpets of the Nokia Theatre in L.A. for the ESPY Awards tonight. Both dazzled in drastically different dresses; a full-run on the evening’s wears tomorrow on TSF.

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More pictures after the cut. (more…)

long trip home

July 15, 2009

The Bryan Brothers en route back to the States following the US’s 3-2 loss to Croatia in Davis Cup. Mike and Bob scored the only points in the tie for the American team. Le sigh, boys.

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(photo by devin britton via twitter)

fred perry 100th anniversary: gargyle

July 13, 2009

Those of you jonesing for that 100th anniversary Fred Perry stuff that Andy Murray demo’ed at Wimbledon can get the next best thing via gargyle. A black-and-white version of Andy’s PVC all-white barrel bag is available for $75, while white/green, red/white, and black/champagne versions of the brand’s signature polo (embroidered with “100” under the FP sixteen-leaf laurel) can be picked up for $95.

Enjoysies!

(screengrabs via gargyle)


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