Archive for July, 2011

new balance tee: tennis playahs

July 31, 2011

Sightings in the stands: We always forget that New Balance is in the tennis business. Their novelty tee for the season is this one, worn by a fan watching yesterday’s Fish/Harrison semi at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. Props to the layout and color choices — it’s white/blue for the summer and red/white/black for the fall — but a play on “playahs” (having “game”)? Give us something fresher and wittier next year, ok?

Buy: New Balance Summer Playah Tee, $16.99. Browse the rest of the NB line (including threads for Fall ’11) here.

(photo by TSF)

sunday survey: ryan’s on the rise

July 31, 2011

Ryan’s rise: We noted last week that Ryan Harrison‘s run in Atlanta might mean something in the bigger picture and the Louisiana native continued his impressive streak by making his second straight ATP semifinal in Los Angeles this week. Mardy Fish stopped the 19-year-old both times, winning at the Farmers Classic yesterday in a tight 6-0 4-6 7-6 (3) semi. Fish noted both on court and in his press conference that is he could, he’d “buy stock” in Harrison. Which makes us curious: How high can this kid’s stock climb? Weigh in below.

(TSF photo)

we give our love to men’s doubles

July 31, 2011

And by doubles, we mean a two-for-one: shirtless AND tattooed.

Farmers Classic semifinalist Alex Bogomolov, Jr. showed TSF some love before his match-up against Ernests Gulbis yesterday. Alex was on the Grandstand court playing points with a decent-hittin’ tween. BTW: Gulbis won that match 6-2, 7-6 (4).

We already logged his right shoulder tat, and this is our first the Chinese characters on his left shoulder.

More: Two more images after the cut…

flashback: chang’s l.a. double

July 31, 2011

Remember when? Way back when it was called the Infinity Open (and then the Mercedes Benz Cup), an American named Michael Chang snatched the Los Angeles title twice — in 1996 and 2000. 1996 was quite the summer for Chang, who shrugged off a first-round loss to Albert Costa at Wimbledon and take titles in both DC and LA before making a run to the US Open final where he lost to Pete Sampras. Including Flushing Meadows, Chang would rack up a 22-3 record that summer, helping boost him to his career-high no. 2 in September. 2000 was somewhat of a different story for the 1989 French Open winner, taking the LA title with a surprise run that saw him beat Jan-Michael Gambill in the final (remember him?!). Chang also downed Justin Gimelstob in the semis to win what would be the last of 34 career titles.

TSF Vault: Michael Chang | More Flashbacks

Off-topic: The “other” Michael Chang

(Getty Images photo)

fish and chipper

July 31, 2011

Spreading cheer and love, that one. I guess that’s what you do when you’re having a great start to your summer.

Buy: K-Swiss MS Awesome Day Tee; in black, heather grey, and white; $25; kswiss.com.

(photo by TSF)

practice makes perfect: ernests gulbis

July 31, 2011

Facing Fish: Ernie Gulbis hits with Canas a few hours before his final match against Mardy Fish at the Farmers Classic, being contested this week at UCLA. This is Gulbis’ second appearance in an ATP World Tour final; his first was at Delray Beach last year, where he won his first career title. Bracket: See how the men fared in Los Angeles.

What a trooper: Browse the goods from the Fall/Winter 2011 adidas Originals x Star Wars collaboration here (and grab the goods here. Our fave? The Flight Jacket and the AT-AT sweatshirt.

(photo by TSF)

the boys of summer

July 31, 2011

It’s summatime. You know, that part of the year that LFO loves when the girls stop by … and when they wear Abercrombie & Fitch. But what about the boys of summer? For the Americans, it’s so far been a rather decent one: John Isner won in Newport before Mardy Fish took him down in Atlanta. This week in Los Angeles three of the four semifinalists — Fish, Ryan Harrison and Alex Bogolomov Jr. — were Yanks themselves. Sure, there was that whole Davis Cup thing, but as Mardy himself says, we don’t like to even think about it.

But Fish, who is set to expand his lead in the US Open Series standings this week regardless of how he plays tomorrow, isn’t take much time off: he’ll play the Legg Mason Classic next week in D.C. (where, Fish noted, he has been guaranteed a Wednesday start) before going to both Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati. If you include Davis Cup, that will mean Fish six weeks of solid tennis between Wimbledon and the US Open. A rather heavy sched, isn’t it, Mardy?

TSF Vault: Ryan Harrison | Mardy Fish

“It doesn’t feel like I’m on the road,” Fish said at the Farmers Classic, sighting sleeping in his own LA-area home with his wife Stacey and their dog, Charlie. “I’m hoping this week is going to feel like an off week … but I guess you can ask me about it again at the US Open.”

Fish isn’t the only one who has had success in his home country during the last few weeks. The aforementioned efforts of Isner haven’t gone unnoticed, though the North Carolina native did blow a match point in his final appearance at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Harrison, too, has been loving the sun: his first two ATP semis have come in the last two weeks, both against Fish.

“I want to be in another semifinal,” Harrison said. “There are a lot of good players out there.”

Andy Roddick isn’t one of them — at least not in DC. The American has pulled out of the Legg Mason, siting an abdominal injury. After skipping the French, a lackluster performance in London and a devastating Davis Cup effort, Roddick is the one American that the question marks are really revolving around. Ah, how the stars have re-aligned themselves.

Bogolomov Jr. reached his first ATP semi with his effort in LA, and James Blake looked pretty good in his second-round loss to Juan Martin del Potro. Robby Ginepri‘s making a go at a return. Reason to celebrate? We’ll take it.

Fish (unsurprisingly) still tips his hat to Roddick as America’s top player, but might the other fellas be making their own cases this summer? You betchya.

(Getty Images photo)

short balls: robert’s over and out

July 30, 2011

Next time, just grab a cup of Joe, Robert. American Robert Kendrick was banned by the ITF yesterday for one year’s time for testing positive at the French Open for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. Kendrick said the substance was in a capsule that he had taken to combat jet lag. Guess one day of energy equals one year off the tour for the world no. 105. The 31-year-old Kendrick will not be able to play any sanctioned matches until May 22, 2012.

From the Farmers: Tennis.com‘s Steve Tignor is of the belief that the new American-in-residence in the top ten — that’d be Mardy Fish – should set his expectations a little higher. The dude is sort of on a hot streak.

222 of ‘em. TSF contributor Jon Scott brought this vid to our attention on his Daily Spin column on Tennis.com. Yep. 222 winners at Wimbledon for Petra Kvitova. Captured in a almost-seven-minute vid. (Who has such time?!)


short(er) balls: Carmelo Anthony is added to a rather fierce US Open Kids’ Day line-up. Joining Melo is his wife La La, Kim Clijsters, Rafael Nadal and Bradley Cooper. Suffice to say we’re as excited as we’ve ever been for a day meant for the kiddies. | Tignor says that the tennis players are in need of a union. Agree? Might make for better bargaining in the future, eh? | Who is bringing the Tacchini brand back from the brink? That’d be Novak Djokovic, says Marketwatch. And fun fact: Sampras wore the brand early on in his career. | Blake Strode has deferred again from Harvard Law School. He remains in the hunt for a second straight birth into the US Open qualifying tourney via the National Playoffs competition. | Milos Raonic is recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to be ready in time for the Open. Too bad Canada’s new no. 1 can’t make it to their always-fun Masters event. | We can’t get enough: more reasons to love Heather Watson. | USTA doles out $1.3 million in community tennis grants. It’s called grassroots, y’all. We dig it. | The World TeamTennis season wraps up with the Washington Kastles team ending a perfect season in Charleston, downing the St. Louis finals in the final. | Maria Kirilenko fails to catch the bouquet at Elena Dementieva‘s wedding. No one ever said she was good with her (catching) hands, OK?

(Getty images photo)

shirtless: guillermo canas

July 30, 2011

So are we the only ones seeing more and more men wear their long hair in buns these days? Kinda loving it as a summer look…

Speaking of bun (and buns) Guillermo Canas has been popping in and out of our line of sight at this week’s Farmer’s Classic, where he’s been working with semifinalist Ernests Gulbis. The lanky Latvian booked his spot in the final four with that upset of second seed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 7-6 (3), making this his first semi appearance since January in Sydney. Gulbis will play Alex Bogomolov, who staged his own upset in the Grandstand court in his quarterfinal against Thomaz Bellucci.

Stacking up: See the draws here.

(photo by TSF)

flashback: man in black — novak djokovic

July 30, 2011

We will never tire of men in black — espesh if they’re toting little furry poochies. Here’s Novak Djokovic on the cover of the July/August issue of L’Uomo Vogue; the double issue had another cover, with Beyonce. (No matter what that squirrel says, Pierre, you’re still top dog around here!) See some scans from the mag here.

(src)

spotted in the city: nyc water and the next v&s combo

July 29, 2011

Summer sightings: A couple weeks ago I happened through Union Square in Manhattan and loved the sight of this: an NYC Water trough of sorts. The multi-faucet fountain is part of the city’s Water-On-the-Go program, which offers any NYC public event that lasts over four hours and has an estimated attendance of 500 people. Hydrated urban folks during a summer of sweltering heat? We dig that.

Below: We were also digging these two ball girls at a recent WTT event that must have been on a break cycle. The two gals were smacking the ball with quite oomph, and there were a couple rather savvy net plays that had us thinking: Are these the next Venus and Serena?

(TSF photos)

bellucci: feelin’ shapely

July 29, 2011

Tri, tri again? With this look, more is less. We actually love adidas’ over-use of the triangle on this adiZero Feather top seen on Thomaz Bellucci at the Farmers Classic in LA. Yes, there are plenty of triangles on the shirt itself, but the design is broken up by the white background and highlighted by the bright yellow/green triangles that dot the shirt. Furthermore, on Bellucci’s chest, adidas does good to melt the triangles into one another before the blue covers the shoulders.

Buy: adiZero Feather tee, $55 | TSF Vault: adidas

What about Thomaz? Bellucci, the 4th seed in LA, breezed through his second round match (0 and 1 over Alejandro Falla) after a first-round bye. He now takes on Alex Bogolomov Jr., the American, in the quarters. Juan Martin del Potro should be lurking in the semifinals for whoever gets through today. | LA: Draw

(Image via Getty)

past&e: after-school success in pdx

July 27, 2011
By Benjamin Snyder

Tennis Served Fresh is always trying to bring you fresh angles of the game. Here, we’ve had contributor Benjamin Snyder pen a repot on a Portland, Ore.-based after-school tennis program that shows how tennis can really shape just a community — not just an online community board. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these things.


It’s summer now, but picture the end of a mild-weathered school day in Portland, Oregon. A group of children of varying ages gather together. They’re getting picked up to take part in an afterschool program. Instead of stepping inside the vehicle that arrives, some kids start running. A coach prompts them to give it their all on the impromptu run. The kids’ destination? The tennis courts.

According to Portland After School Tennis & Education (PAST&E) Executive Director Danice Brown, it’s all about participating and rewards. Those who accept the challenge to run to the local racquet club where the program occurs get the chance to start hitting right away, she explains. The goal? To raise the bar and to “create the student-athlete mentality.”

Offering over nearly 60 at-risk kids the chance to improve their form in the classroom and on the tennis court, PAST&E serves children kindergarten all the way up to high schoolers. The program attempts to develop its students by promoting literacy, an understanding of math and science, nutritional and fitness values, life skills, tennis and friendship. Achieving this goal includes a number of initiatives, including summer programming, tournament play, a tennis academy for high school students, one for younger students and more.

Helping to continue the success these initiatives, however, isn’t always easy. In fact, Brown considers it a battle to secure the funding necessary to keep the at-risk kids her program serves off the streets and on court.

Many times, she’ll get a quick answer from local pros or from the USTA suggesting that she stop worrying about getting together the money required for the child to play competitive junior tennis, which requires paying membership fees, having the money for transportation costs and other miscellaneous payments. What would otherwise be a “drop in the bucket” for some families, can be quite difficult for those that make around $15,000 to $20,000 of annual income, especially as some try to raise six children, explains Brown.

Instead of securing the money required to allow that child to participate in tennis in an organized fashion, some have told her to simply give the kid a racquet and send the young player to the public courts to hit.

Brown, however, has other thoughts. “In North Portland [one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland], you can’t send children to the park; it’s not safe there, and it’s not organized,” she told TSF. “Our center is located in North Portland [at the St. John’s Racquet Center] which is in one of the more socio-economically challenged neighborhoods. It’s the ‘hood.’ There’s a lot of diversity, there’s a lot of gang activity, and there are a lot of elements that work against families and kids.”


Tennis Director Fitz Paccione states that PAST&E blends tennis and education with careful concern for the students involved. “Our main priority is to create a safe environment for children who are from at risk families, families that have high independency on crime, poverty rates very low, live in areas with a lot of gang activity,” he says.Although he and Brown noted that theirs is not the only program to combine tennis and education together — in fact, there are as many as 200 nationwide — PAST&E looks to be taking steps since its reorganization in 2008 to make it stand out from the rest.“I think the difference between PAST&E [and other programs] is that ours is really based on taking into account the entire child in that family,” says Paccione. For instance, getting into the program is completely scholarship based, with each child going through a selection process based on income, need and the confirmation of parental involvement going forward.

“We interview the parents to see if they’re willing to attend the family meeting, turn in report cards, progress reports, go to tennis matches, learn to be the best possible parent they can be, it’s real training for parents who have not had that in their background,” explains Brown.

“Parents really have to sign their name on the bottom line,” she continues. The committee works to determine the children with the most academic and emotional need. “We want that child because we feel that with the extra punch we can give…,we can make a difference in that child’s life.”

Originally, when PAST&E began in 1996 under the leadership of Ernest Hartzog, now one of eight on the program’s board, its goal was “just trying to introduce disadvantaged kids to the game of tennis,” says Brown.

Now, it’s much more.

Read (and see) more on the PAST&E program after the cut.

(more…)

gilles’ fashion face

July 27, 2011

Check no. We’re not quite sure of this checker-on-checker look that Gilles Simon was sporting last week. Thoughts? But lucky for the Frenchman, he walked away from the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg a (tennis) winner, beating Nicolas Almagro in the final. | TSF Vault: Gilles Simon


(Gilles images via the AP)

trophy watch: he who stands taller

July 26, 2011

Two straight for Fishy: Mardy Fish denied John Isner from pulling a Mardy Fish yesterday in Atlanta. Last year, Fish had won Newport and Atlanta to kick off a hot summer, and with Isner taking the North American grass court tourney this year, he was trying to pull a Fish and double dip to start his own US Open campaign. But Fish, the no. 9-ranked player in the world, fended off Isner in Atlanta at the Atlanta Tennis Championships, beating his countryman 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-2. John doesn’t look too happy now, does he? The reason? It was the second straight year Fish had beaten Isner in the final here, saving match points this time around to take a cup over a platter (better to drink out of!). There’s still a few weeks before the big show in NYC! Cheer up, Johnny boy!

Vera, unplugged. It was the turnaround that Vera Zvonareva was in desperate need of. The Russian had struggled through Europe, whimpering out of Wimbledon where she so forcefully made the final last year, losing out to Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round, 6-3 6-2. But Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Vera’s countrywoman, made the biggest Baku headlines for the week for her 25-double fault match that she WON. More importantly? Vera was the week’s winner. Zvonareva took down the tough Anna Tatishvili, 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-2.

Gilles, too. Meanwhile, on clay, Gilles Simon took Nicolas Almagro to task, winning in Hamburg, 6-4 4-6 6-4.

(Isner and Fish via Getty; Vera via the Baku Cup/WTA; Simon via the AP)

sabine gets the giggles (and throws a frisbee)

July 25, 2011

Creative juices, please. The WTA is doing something different with new-found star Sabine Lisicki. And we sort of love it. Sure, Sabine isn’t new to most insider tennis fans, but her semifinal appearance at Wimbledon has vaulted her into quite the public eye in tennis terms, and also has inched her ahead of the blossoming talents of Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges, who — among the three of them — are trying to bring somewhat of a women’s tennis renaissance to Germany post the Steffi Graf (and Anke Huber?!) era.

So, what are they doing exactly? The tour has teamed up with Lisicki this week in the beautiful Bay Area at the Bank of the West Classic, asking tennis fans to submit creative, quirky, fun, off-beat ideas for a tennis video that features none other than Miss Lisicki herself.  Have an idea? Post it on the WTA’s YouTube page and watch to see if they take you up on your creative juices…

Here at TSF we’re still brainstorming. But something involving Lisicki, a frisbee, the Stanford swim team and a Gladiators-like course just won’t leave our thinking space…

More: Lisicki on TSF | Stanford draw

sunday survey: fashion follow: girls or boys?

July 23, 2011

Either or: Here’s something that just popped into our head: Who do you follow more, fashion-wise? The men or the women? Sure, the ladies naturally gravitate toward the stuff because it’s (mostly) their side of the table, but the guys hold their own. From Serena to Maria to Caroline Wozniacki and Venus — the girls have their hands in what they wear. But do you find yourself checking out the guys’ threads just to check in and see how the clothing companies get creative with the good ol’ shorts and tee number? Rafa, Roger and Novak have undoubtedly brought along a certain amount attention to Euro chic with their rise to the top, no? Your votes below.

(Getty images/TSF illustration) 

 

 

k-swiss’ kenny powers takes on jt

July 23, 2011

KP or JT? If you paid any attention to the ESPYs last week, Justin Timberlake (what isn’t he doing these days?!) did a comedic short for the show titled “I Love Sports,” put on by Capital One. But K-Swiss has a good series featuring a character named Kenny Powers that takes on the similar tone of Timbo’s vid, which Ad Age recommends checking out. While Justin’s spot logged in 2.7 million views, one of Kenny’s new spot had 1.6 million hits. Also on their vid chart for the week? Those classy Old Spice spots. We can’t quit em.

ryan harrison on the rise?

July 22, 2011

Ryan’s rise? This might be Ryan Harrison‘s moment. One of the rather promising up-and-coming American youngsters, Harrison is a name that has been thrown around for a couple years and really impressed in a five-set loss in the second round of the US Open last summer to Sergiy Stakhovsky. The 19-year-old has stayed consistent on the tour, and had somewhat of a breakthrough at Wimbledon, reaching the second round after getting into the draw as a lucky loser and playing brilliantly at times against David Ferrer, losing in five sets.

Yesterday Harrison, ranked no. 120, continued his trek on American soil. The Louisiana native took down Xavier Malisse 6-7 (3) 6-4 6-4 in a match that had a few testy moments, which Harrison talks about in the video above. Harrison also talked of his confidence that has been on the rise this year, which he pins to the Open: “I have more belief in myself this year … The US Open was big for me because I played back-to-back matches against guys in the top 30 in the world. I won one of them and had three match points in the other one. That was kind of like a light bulb for me: that I don’t  need to overplay to beat these guys. I can play my game, play within myself.”

Is he the real deal? Guess we’ll find out in the next 24 months — and at least get a better idea of over the next two months. | Draw: Hotlanta

(Video via TalkAboutTennis)

short balls: a ‘dead’ week in tennis

July 20, 2011

Summer sorrow? The three weeks between Wimbledon ending and the US Open Series beginning (Note: we understand that the USOS already began in Atlanta, but surely you can understand that it really feels like summer when Stanford and Los Angeles start, no?) can always be a bit awkward. Sure, there is the beautiful thing that is World TeamTennis, and yes, there are those random events in Europe and the historic after-Wimbledon beacon known as Newport. But this is the time of year that tennis usually takes a breather. Or, at least, tennis news. In 2011, however, not so much. Don’t believe us? Read your way through this week’s short balls – there’s plenty to be had!

Up in arms: Folks in Canada (and beyond) were up in arms over a Rogers Cup poster being used to advertise the women’s tournament as a lead in for a senior’s event that featured Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. The tag line? “[C]ome for the ladies, stay for the legends.” Wait, really? Yes, really. Busted Racquet has a good shot of the poster, which Chris Chase says isn’t really that big of a deal — arguing that the tag line just sort of sucks. And while we partly agree, it was a double slap in the face from the TSF POV: sexually charged (“come for the ladies”) and wait … you want folks to stick around for two retired legends? To us, it should be the other way around. But the Rogers folks changed it up after the outcry, instead using: “[M]aking history, re-living history.” Done and done.

Wozy’s new boo? Always a flirt on Twitter, Caroline Wozniacki might actually have a boy following through on all those winky faces and nudge, nudge LOLs. Who’s the new fella? That’d be Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the 22-year old who stormed through the golf world earlier this summer to win the US Open — you know, just around the time that Caro was crashing out of Wimbledon. But Rory has a complicated (and catty?!) ex GF (Holly Sweeney — they were childhood boos!) and when trying to make an international relationship work in the 21st century, there are only so many #missubabe hash tags that will suffice. Stay tuned.

Dulko, Lena tie the knot (but (k)not to one another): Both Gisela Dulko and Elena Dementieva were married recently, Lena’s nuptials being quite the gathering of Russian tennis royalty. WomensTennisNow.com has a bevy of pictures, and Jon Scott wrote in the Daily Spin on Tennis.com that Safina, Kirilenko, Kuzentsova, Dushevina, Vesnina Zvonareva, Kudryavtseva and Igor Andreez (Kirilenko’s beau) were all in attendance. Dementieva married Maxim Afinoginov, a Russian hockey palyer, at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.

Johnny be good. Seems as though John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg can still bring in the big bucks — and crowd. Their well-documented encounter on the World TeamTennis court last week in NYC helped raise more than $300,000 thanks to a sell out crowd. Where does the money go? To the youth, of course! “The funds raised will benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which provides scholarships, coaching, tournament travel and introductory programs for area youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the Academy or to participate in recreational tennis programs,” a Sportimes release said. Dunlop and Nike are corporate sponsors of the academy, which starts its second school year this coming September.

Do you think she did it herself? Pakastani doubles expert Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi announced his engagement to Faha Akmal Makhdoom. The two, above, celebrated over the weekend. Quite the tattoo, right?! But seriously, Erwin, that should make our tattoo watch list, right?!

Time-lapse goodness. Before short(er) balls, a bit of other thread (ot) delight: the video below shows the NYTimes.com homepage in time-lapse from September of last year until this month. Be amazed.

Short(er) balls: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have signed up to play an exhibition match in Oklahoma City — near where Andy’s bro John Roddick is the University of Oklahoma coach — on Steptember 25. John will join the gents for a doubles exo, as well. Ticket info here. | Things are shaping up well in Cincy. The Mason, Ohio-based stops gets the men and women at the same time this year (Aug. 13-21) and has six new courts, including a 4,000-seat show court. | Remember Robby Ginepri? The oft-injured American is on somewhat of a mini-comeback. The 2005 USO semifinalist beat former world no. 2 Tommy Haas in Atlanta this week and remains in the draw. Oh, and he’s engaged, too. | Ice cream sandwiches are all the rage in NYC right now. And for good reason. | The Museum at FIT in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibit that focuses on sports wear and its (huge) influence on the rest of the fashion and clothing industry. | A 17-year-old Lexington, Ky., tennis stand out is the new face of Hollister. The teen — Chad Buchanan — has no relation to American upstart Chase. Though, his mom was runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1984.

(Serena-Hingis image via the AP; Elena image via Sports.ru; and Qureshi image via Getty)


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