short balls: tears of joy

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Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

(OT) Kudos to the folks over at The Gawker for some creative genius in re-imagining Mel Gibson’s frightening rants in illustration form (below). Kind of reminds us of the Robyn Body Talk album cover.

(OT) The YMCA is ditching ‘M’, ‘C’ and ‘A’ and will be known from now on as The Y. We kinda love that the abrevolution has reached this far, even taking down four-letter acronyms in its way. Rightfully so, the Village People are pissed. But don’t be too surprised if the hit pop song of the fall is a remake to their classic. We only hope it’s a tennis-themed video.

short(er) balls: Supposedly Andy Roddick and Chad Ochocinco (the NFL player/reality star) have taken to Twitter to set up an on-court battle. Roddick claims he could win with a frying pan. We’re not so sure. | The newly-created Mercury Insurance Open continues its preparations for later this summer with court construction. Not to be outdone, the folks at the Farmers Classic in LA are getting ready, too. But in their case, a giant concert stage is being erected on stadium court for Keith Urban (yes, you read that right) to play before the tourney kicks off on Aug. 2nd. | Former Playboy cover model (and decent tennis player) Ashley Harkleroad was interviewed on the Daily News’ “Moms and the City” blog. Her comeback? We’re skeptical to say the least. | (OT) To finish it out… pop-up eateries go green (and make us hungry), a fascinating read (from the WSJ mag) on J. Crew’s ‘merchant prince’, Dakota Fanning was supposedly destined to be a tennis star and, after 15 years, the MC of the women’s Championships at Wimbledon is calling it quits.

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