Archive for November, 2009

look-alike watch: andre goes to the dark side?

November 29, 2009

We knew that Andre Agassi was the driving force behind his new autobiography, Open, but who knew that the former Grand Slam champ had made the full transition to tennis journalist?! Guess he was jealous of Justin Gimelstob, no?

Above, at far left, Andre – or his evil twin - interviews JMdP at this week’s Championships. 

And if you don’t buy our assertion, at least give us an idea of who the guy on the right might be. Donald Trump?!

(photo via yahoo! sports)

sunday survey: who’s it gunna be?!

November 28, 2009

Nikolay Davydenko or Juan Martin del Potro? Your call in the comments section… Oh, and if you can provide a caption for the above picture, we’d love that, too…

(photo via yahoo! sports)

new york calendar: l. jon, james and melanie

November 28, 2009

For tennis fans in New York, this week is going to be a grand one. The time of year that used to ring in the WTA’s Season Ending Championships has been frighteningly dead since the tour left early in the decade, leaving fans reeling after the excitement of the US Open.

On Monday, tennis journalist L. Jon Wertheim, author of Venus Envy and the more-recent Strokes of Genius, will be a part of a sports writers’ panel at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo. The night will also feature author Jesse Katz and New York mag’s Will Leitch. The three writers will each read a selection from their respective books and then take questions from the audience at the event, which starts at 7 PM at the Bookstore Cafe. Check it out for free.

Also on this week, on Tuesday, James Blake will host a tennis exhibition at Pier 94 downtown. The night will feature Andy Roddick and is rumored to also include upstart Melanie Oudin. Tickets can still be found here, along with a full list of events for the evening. 

(photo by Arancia Project via Flickr.)

short balls friday

November 27, 2009

If you’re like me, you’re still full from yesterday, but nonetheless able to chow down on some left over for breakfast and lunch… and dinner, too. In any case, Happy (Late) Thanksgiving from your TSF crew.

A few short notes from a short week in the States…

Name Game: Didn’t know that Whitney Houston and Brittany Spears play college basketball? Well, they do, at University of Colorado. And no, that isn’t the correct spelling of thee Britney Spears, but hey, pretty funny, right? Speaking of famous names, the headline Federer to Return to Broadway caught my eye today but a little investigation proved Roger won’t be dialing in his singing skills for New York crowds this winter.

Tennislarity: The number of people who are now actively playing tennis in the country rose in the recent past, according to a new study out last week. We’ll take credit for that one. Everyone wants a body like Kolya’s… or Nole’s. Or maybe it’s that Arlen Kantarian just went out and paid people to play? Guess he could have afforded it.

Playing for Pride: Two American journeymen – Michael Russell and Taylor Dent – battled it out in the heartland last week for a satellite title. Who’s going to have a big 2010? Either of these guys… we’d like to see it. Russell won this encounter in two tight sets.

Ridiculously… Funny? We’re not sure. You tell us.

tuesday tease (sans tees)

November 23, 2009

Is that tongue?! Has the ATP joined forces with MAP for our London Balls idea?! We mean, it is the end of the season, so you can’t really blame us for wishful thinking, right?

Novak Djokovic took down Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 in the third set in their round robin encounter on Tuesday in London. The two have now met five times, with Djoko holding a 3-2 edge in the series. 

OK, yes, we agree, more pictures. After the jump. Go! (more…)

who wore it best?

November 22, 2009

(Click on image for a closer, clearer look.)

The boys do London, in suits. So… Who wore it best? And we’re sorry for saying this, but we can’t help but think this might be the opening shot of Men at Play‘s London Balls feature. You know you thought it too.

One more shot after the jump. (more…)

sunday survey part two: andy’s moment?

November 22, 2009

Is this Andy’s moment in London?! The real chance for the Scot to breakthrough in front of his home fans? He’s still wearing Fred Perry (before he goes to adidas) and he is still in the rainy, groggy city where he hasn’t been able to capture a Wimbledon title. So is this the first step? Is this the time for Andy Murray?

(getty images)

sunday survey: dig the new digs?

November 22, 2009

Novak Djokovic may be one of the hottest players on court headed into the season-ending championships this week in London, but the big news splash the Serb made over the last few days was his switch from clothing company adidas to Italian line Sergio Tacchini.

Current Tacchiniers include Flavia Pennetta, Tommy Robredo, Sara Errani, Ivo Karlovic, Steve Darcis and Victor Hanescu. Djokovic is by far the highest profile player to wear the line since John McEnroe and Pete Sampras sported the threads early in their careers. Martina Hingis wore Tacchini shoes and then sued the company for foot problems during her first “retirement”.

So what do you think? Are you excited to see Nole in ST?! Will you miss the snazzy colors of adidas on tennis’ brightest male personality? What do you think this means for Nole’s career? Let us know below.

“and then, in 1997…”

November 19, 2009

 

Andre breaks the news.

(tsf illustration by troy venechanos)

short balls wednesday

November 17, 2009

Vera Gets Glittery: We’re a little confused with that background, Vera. The Russian most famous for her on-court meltdowns is trying to outdo her real self with a virtual self that is bright, sparkly and downright frightening. We do give Vera the credit for having her site available in three languages (English, Russian and Chinese), but these colors… Oh, these colors! They’re enough to make us want to rip tape off our knees and hit ourselves in the face repeatedly.

Career, Interrupted: We have to agree with Yanina Wickmayer that the timing of her ban from tennis couldn’t be worse. The Belgian star who made the US Open semifinals and had a successful end of the year is now facing a year away from the tour after having a fantastic fall. Don’t feel bad for the girl? Just read this article

On a Roll: He may be Slam-less in nearly two years, but we do have to agree, Novak Djokovic is on a roll. What’s next for Nole? A London title? He won’t have Andy Roddick to contend with

Shortest Balls: Sam Querrey is working on returning from his freak accident just seven weeks after it happened. Venus Williams was named “Sports Woman of the Year” by the March of Dimes in New York. And two teens in North Carolina played the longest (amateur) tennis match ever. Foofta.

(photo via the wta web site)

blake plays in, talks about tr

November 16, 2009

james-blake-tr

James Blake was in New York at the City View Racquet Club last month and hit around with a NY news anchor. The American, who debuted his Fila Thomas Reynolds line earlier this fall, will not appear in next week’s season-ending tournament in London, but will bring tennis (and Andy Roddick) to NYC for an exhibition on December 1st. 

We can’t decide who was better dressed: James or Sara. What do you think?

(screen grab via nbc new york)

sunday survey

November 16, 2009

djokovic-paris

With another incredible run this week, Novak Djokovic has upped his title count to five for the year. But here at TSF, we can’t help but wonder if the Serb has it all wrong. Is he peaking too soon? What’s wrong with his training regimen? Sure, it’s great to collect a few ATP trophies for the case, but will Nole simply be remembered as the guy with the big sense of humor who won all the small tourneys? He’s 18-1 in a part of the season that many players dismiss as pointless…

What do you think? Will Djoko win in London? Melbourne? Or is this in-between sort of success going to hurt him in the long wrong. Tell us.

(photo by getty via yahoo! sports)

who wore it best: highway edition

November 14, 2009

kirilenko-police

Thanks to Twitter, and player web sites (we love modern media!!!), we came across this photo of Maria Kirilenko roadside in the States. We’re not sure what or when it’s from, but the picture is both frightening and hilarious all in one.

So we’re wondering, who wore it best?

(photo via MariaKirilenko.com)

golovin a goner?

November 12, 2009

golovin-08

TSF has learned that former French star and Lacoste-wearer Tatiana Golovin‘s career might be on the outs — for good. Golovin struggled with injury throughout her short career, but a bad back has seemingly put her on the sideline indefinitely. 

Two weeks ago she spoke with the French pub L’Equipe: “Learning my condition was a big shock, but now I know what I have and what I have, you can’t cure. Do I have any chance to play again? It’s not advised, but I’m still young. The pain may suddenly disappear.”

Her injury is spondylitis of the back,  a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones and the joints between the spine and the pelvis.

TSF spoke with an acquittance of Golovin’s coach, who said that she was practicing for a bit in the recent past, but still experiencing heavy pain in her back.

Golovin was ranked as high as number 12 in the world in 2008, but stopped playing in May of that year due to her injury. She owns two WTA Tour titles.

Another Frenchwoman, Alize Cornet, will carry on the Lacoste tradition.

(some golovin info via tennis-x; photo by passionleica via flickr)

au revoir, marat

November 11, 2009

Safin-Paris-Aurevoir

Marat Safin waved good bye to the world of tennis today at the Paris Masters Series, losing in a hard-fought battle to Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4 in the third. Will the King of Moods be back? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

(photo by Alison Haltenhof via flickr)

short balls wednesday

November 11, 2009

Wickmayer waaaaaah?!: One of the best finishes of the year went to Yanina Wickmayer, the US Open semifinalist who closed her season 23-6, including eight victories over Top 50 players. But news popped out last week that Wickmayer – along with fellow Belgian Xavier Malisse – were banned by the ITF for one year for failing to report their whereabouts to anti-doping officials this season. Both players are appealing the ban, but the news comes at an awfully awful time for Wickmayer, who had been ranked as low as number 79 this year and finished the season at 16th in the world.

KDK’s Comeback: Wickmayer beat comeback queen Kimiko Date Krumm last week in Bali in round robin play before pulling out of the tourney. But the big story of the week was Date Krumm herself, who qualified for the semifinals. Date Krumm, who made a comeback after 12 years away from the tour, finished the year at number 82 in the world and is the subject of a fascinating feature by Kamakshi Tandon.

Agassi Exhaustion: Andre Agassi is making the media rounds this week to promote his new book “Open”, though such promotion seems far from necessary. This morning he appeared on the Today Show, and will be interviewed by New York Times columnist George Vecsey. If you missed his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday you can find the full episode here. And if you watched the interview but thought it was ridiculous you might enjoy this. Golly gee, all this Andre talk is making us tired – just like Andre!!

New Haven News: One of TSF’s favorite tour stops, the Pilot Pen, will be in search of a new sponsor following the 2010 event. Pilot Pen is pulling the sponsorship, which had lasted 15 years (a long-ass time, in tennis speak), from the New Haven event. This news comes after Mercedes Benz threw its weight behind the US Open instead of the ATP. Steve Tignor weighs in on what that might mean for the tours.

Recruit me, Coach!: If you’ve ever wondered what a recruitment video looks like, here’s your peek. Will Drougas, a 16-year-old high school player from Salem, Virginia, demonstrates his groundstrokes, volleys and serves for the tape in hopes of landing a college scholarship. This is a basic video, capturing Drougas’s skill and – most prominently – heavy forehand. The next Andy Roddick? Probably not. But the kid can play. We’ll keep an eye on him.

Recruit me, too!: The Arizona Republic has a fun column today chronicling the recruitment process of high school tennis star Kelsey Lawson. She’s due to sign a letter of intent to play at DePaul next season.

No Double Takes: One thing we’ll also be keeping an eye out for is a Maria Sharapova look alike somewhere in this world. She (or he… ?) certainly wasn’t found this past week at a competition to find “Maria’s Look Alike” at a T-Mobile Halloween event. Really, these gals “look like” Maria?! It sort of looks like the PR people just nabbed some shoppers from the mall for a quick photo op. If anything, this fella is sporting some Maria sunglasses on top his head. 

Serena Snub: Liza Horan of TennisWire.org reported this week that Serena Williamswrote a screenplay about Althea Gibson‘s life. Directors are said to have turned down the opportunity to produce it on the basis that Williams insists on playing the role of Gibson.” Wait. We’re confused. They turned it down BECAUSE Serena wants to PLAY THE ROLE of Gibson? Who else are they going to pick?! What other black actress (yes, we just called Serena an “actress”) can play tennis, look good on the big screen, act and has a well-developed knowledge of Gibson and her historic achievements?! We’re not residents of Camp Serena, but we’ll back her on this one…

Gal Study: If you want a quick study of American females ranked outside the Top 100 (read: not Venus, Serena or Melanie) then take a look at the draw for the USTA pro circuit tourney happening this week in Phoenix. Alexandra Stevenson won her first match, and a host of other players (Brengle, Perry, Granville, Haynes) are trying to join the big leagues of the WTA Tour.

short balls wednesday

November 4, 2009

Tennis players are human, too: Some need hookers, some need meth. Others need a better immune system. It was revealed earlier this week that touring pro Tommy Haas is recovering from swine flu and is out of Basel and Paris to finish the season. See ya next year, TomTom.

B-listed in Bali: It’s strange that the women’s tour, which had its season-ending tournament last week, has another tour stop in Bali this week, don’t you think? We think so. The girls looked a little overworked in this photo gallery put together by the WTA. Ready for holiday and rest time, ladies? You deserve it. And shouldn’t it be called the “Tournament of Almost Champions“? Just seems a little more appropriate… 

Inside peek, hold the cheese: The ATP has put together a solid video package for it’s “Uncovered” series, and this week features Novak Djokovic. The videos come with sit-down interviews and a look at the players’ off-court lives. While lots of stuff the tours put together can sometimes seem forced and overdone, we’re liking the professionalism and simplicity of these vids. James Blake was last week’s star. Now let’s talk about re-working that intro…

Talking heads: Two gals – Jennifer Williams and Brittany Umar – have been talking up tennis the past couple of weeks on the web. Williams is a regular reporter for ESPN.com’s Digital Serve, while Umar was a fill-in for TennisWeek.com‘s regular host, Carrie Milbank. While we respect these ladies for chatting up the tour online, we’re wondering if this is the future of tennis media online? Williams has her wits about her, but Umar seems to mostly be entrenched as a business reporter.

Painful good-bye: Stephanie Myles writes in the the Vancouver Sun that the WTA season has limped to a close this year. Good thing the girls are done battling. But the men? They still have three weeks left.

Au revoir, Roland?: A delayed stadium project in Paris could end up moving the French Open completely. Officials are trying to work with city council members to avoid having to move the beloved clay major, but it might be inevitable, one official said. So where to, we wonder?


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