Archive for the ‘John McEnroe’ Category

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)

book review: high praise for ‘high strung’

June 1, 2011

For our review of High Strung, TSF takes a rare dive into the serious, introspective world that sometimes the tennis world can inspire. Enjoy. -NM

It’s not the fault of Jimmy Connors or Vitas Gerulaitis that they were left off the cover and out of the title of High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the Untold Story of Tennis’s Fiercest Rivalry, written by Stephen Tignor of Tennis magazine. For Connors and Gerulaitis will never have the Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe rivalry to their names, and that is nothing they can change, but it doesn’t make them any less instrumental in the story of tennis’ most storied few years.

Many in tennis do pin the 1980 final — and the season that went along with it — as the best that tennis has ever seen. The Mac-Borg tiebreaker is often referred to as the gold standard for drama and quality, and that McEnroe won that breaker 18-16 only to lose the fifth set made it that much more of a legend. “This is terrible,” Tignor writes Borg said to himself after the breaker. “I’m going to lose.”

TSF Vault: John McEnroe | Bjorn Borg

But the climax of that match (Borg won, BTW: 8-6 in the fifth) was as unexpected as the twists and turns that Tignor takes the reader through in High Strung. He puts out the 1980 final as the book’s first offering, and at my initial reading, I feared that the book wouldn’t have much to build on from there. But it’s there that Tignor weaves in the stories of Connors and Gerulaitis (and eventually makes a fearsome twosome actually a foursome) along with a host of other eccentric characters.

High Strung is bold in its claims about tennis’ shifting landscape, especially from the amateur era (pre Open tennis, before 1968) and that which came after. Tignor puts as much (if not more) weight on the arrival of the oversized racquet, the technology that stole the game from the Mac-Borg era and passed it along first to Ivan Lendl and then to Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and to the baseline-bashing game we know today.

More Tignor: His Tennis.com “Concrete Elbow” blog

What Tignor does so beautifully (and makes the book so compelling) is tieing in both history in a factual sense with that of juicy detail, quotes and I-didn’t-know-that kind of research. It’s obvious he spent a good amount of time with a tape recorder sitting down with everyone he could possibly get an interview with, but that he then states that “[n]o account of [Ilie Nastase] would be complete without at least a partial list of his more memorable antics” and then goes on to list such antics (pp. 129 to 131 if you’re a thumbing in a B&N), makes the read both fascinating and snappy.

I’m no tennis historian. Actually, I’m 25, pay somewhat close attention to the goings on on tour but can better recount that Matthew Perry was in Jennifer Capriati‘s box during the 2003 U.S. Open than tell you about the career of Bill Tilden. Yet, with that said, this book not only held my attention, but I felt pretty dang enriched by it. Even (dare I say it?) entertained. From Borg’s rocky marriage to McEnroe’s family life to the upbringing of Connors to the rise of Lendl to the death of Gerulaitis, Tignor does his duty in roping in the reader.

That last note — the death of Gerulaitis — is the last inclusion in the Epilogue, in which Tignor gives a Six Feet Under sort of wrap up of the post-1981 lives of these tennis players slash rock stars. I won’t go into too much detail about how the writer unfolds such events, but I will say that on a smelly, Uptown-bound 1 train in New York, I missed my stop because I was so wrapped up in his telling of what happened — and crying.

Suffice to say, I highly recommend picking up High Strung.

Buy: High Strung on Amazon for $16.79 (used from $13.50 and up).

(Image provided by Harper Publishing)

short balls: is that a jimmy in your phone or are you just… ?

April 14, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Basically Jimmy: Prepare for Jimmy 2.0, or rather “Jimmy Connors 109,” as the retired tennis champ’s newly released app is called, reports Tennis.com. USA Today initially broke the story, writing, “Part tutorial and part anecdotes, the video app showcases Connors to a whole new generation, while at the same time appealing to fans who watched him become one of the best and most popular players in the 1970s and ’80s.” In Connors’ own words, “I go back to basics, which is how I learned to play. I really believe simpler is better, and as I’m describing a shot or a grip, I’m showing you exactly how I did it.”

Roger Federer 007: Need a paparazzi decoy? Don’t ask Mirka, that just means she’ll wear sweat pants to dinner. Instead, Fed is your man, as he was the other night when out with BFF (Best Fashion Friend) Anna Wintour (oh yeah, and Mirka came too, yaaaaawn). According to the New York Post article, Federer helped Wintour escape from the paparazzi after the meal concluded. The article cites a spy (Mirka?!): “He and the group exited the side door carrying presents. The photographers ran to the side, but the queen of Vogue was nowhere to be found. One yelled, ‘Where’s Anna?’ Federer took his time loading the car, smiled and went on his way. Anna walked out the front door unnoticed.” As the article states, “chivalry still rules for Federer,” and it seems to be nowhere near dead. At the same time, how did Mirka feel about Federer’s kind acts for Wintour on her b-day? Can’t wait for that story line to develop!

Lisa’s lines: The wheels are turning for Lisa Raymond‘s WTA blog, “Lisa’s Spin.” In a recent post, the dubs specialist talks about country music (!??!???!), cupcakes, her doubles “break-up” and more. Let us repeat again: she talks about her doubles drama. Read it. Plus, what is a day without some life coaching from one, LaRa? Raymond says, “And like any relationship, the forming of a doubles partnership is a bit like dating – you seem interested in someone, you confirm they are single and/or on the market, ask them out, and hope you live happily ever after or something like that! ;-)” Did she really just ;-)??? We can’t with the emoticons.

Loud-mouth Johnny: As loud as John McEnroe is on court, he’s able to spit out the decibels in public places, too. Apparently, he’s just as “obnoxious” off the court, a blurb in the New York Post recounted. It says he “annoyed fellow diners at Recipe, on the Upper West Side recently by loudly recounting tales of his tennis glory days. The court legend entertained his wife and two friends with stories of “beating Bjorn Borg and other victories.”

Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports is having none of it: “It’d be bigger news if McEnroe went to a restaurant and didn’t talk loudly about Bjorn Borg. What’s most surprising is that the old tennis champ wasn’t boasting about that time he partied with The Rolling Stones.”

The next loud-mouth superstar? Speaking (yelling?) of Johnny Mac, his protege, Ingrid Neel continues to make waves in the tennis world — the boys’ tennis world. The 12-year-old from Minnesota is playing tennis with the boys — and only the boys. Her hometown coach Mike Cartwright to the Minnesota Star Tribune has this to say about the pint-sized puncher playing with the fellas: “It will be interesting. It’s going to be hard for some guys, wondering how the heck they are losing to a seventh-grade girl. But she’s just really talented.”

Time to go? David Ferrer‘s recent ad campaign for Bovet watches in Spanish Revolution magazine. He’s rocking the sepia tones and the specs. Looking good (???), David! And… sort of like an Avatar.

(Connors image by ICN via USA Today; Ferrer image via Spanish Revolution)

the all-england hair club for men

April 6, 2011
By Troy Venechanos

A few months ago, Andy Roddick hit what he called one of the best shots of his career. It was a diving save, one in which Roddick smacked a forehand down the line on match point to win a third set tie-breaker against up-and-comer Milos Raonic and capture the Memphis title. And while the web went abuzz with the video of the shot, many viewers weren’t actually watching Roddick’s shot. Instead, they were paying attention to a cap-less Andy, his hat having fallen off in his exertion of effort. And what was there to see? Not much, actually. An almost-bald Andy.Hair loss and tennis go hand and hand. Male pros often play into their mid or late 30s, meaning as they start to lose their hair, it’s left for all the public to see. Andre Agassi freaked out about it so much that he donned a fake hairpiece that had the world fooled. Pete Sampras has been so nonchalant about his after-career hair thinning that he doesn’t even seem to notice.

But we notice – we always notice. TSF has collected the hairdos (and don’ts) from around the tour in what we’re calling “The All-England Club for Men’s Hair Loss,” where styles differ from member to member, but everyone has one thing in common: they’re going – or already are – bald.

TSF GALLERY: The All-England Hair Club for Men

Troy Venechanos has conquered the worlds of junior varsity tennis, tennis internships and tennis photo-blogging. The New York native and TSF contributor hopes to next master “that cool way players can pick up tennis balls using the sides of their feet.” He is a graduate of Northeastern University. TSF vault: Troy Venechanos

talk to ‘em, johnny

March 24, 2011

Can Johnny Mac schedule a fashion counseling session with BYU’s Jimmer Fredette – and the rest of college basketball, for that matter? We, too, are obsessed with the leaping ability of SI cover boy Jimmer, but could do without the past-my-knees shorts that make him (and all players) look like they’re still 13 and playing alley ball. C’mon, fellas.

(screengrab via yahoo! sports)

flashback: who wears short shorts?

March 19, 2011

It may have been just three weeks ago, but probably our favorite moment from the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden was John McEnroe dropping his pants to reveal short shorts. Who woulda thought?? (Getty images)

short balls: serena’s out, 3d’s in and mac’s prodigy

March 11, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

You know behind those smiles that they’re actually pissed on how their outfits clash.

The WTA’s number one saga continues as Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters head to the BNP Paribas Open. But, get this: The not-so-intense rivalry between the two smile-y blondes started much earlier than people imagined, reports Matt Cronin. In fact, it was Kim’s late dad who first picked up on Caro’s “sunny disposition,” reminding him of his daughter’s own. Okay, so maybe that does not a rivalry make, and it’s more corny than anything. We can still hope for some drama between the two, can’t we? We’re ready for those pink dresses to get a little dirty.

The ATP doesn’t have any dirty pink dresses (well, at least not that we know of… ) but there’s plenty of controversy swirling around the boys these days. Davis Cup sparked quite enough juicy, male drama, especially from France’s Gilles Simon. He recently called out French Captain Guy Forget‘s coaching style, saying, “Guy has a vision for action and I play more in response. Guy was an attacking player. He won the Davis Cup and Bercy with aggression. That’s how he sees the game and I respect that, but it does not stick at all to my game.”

For more, check out FootFault‘s take here. Our thoughts? Simmer down, Simon. You might want to keep your mouth shut until you actually get a W out of a big-time Davis Cup match. But otherwise, how’s your kid, Gilles? Hopefully he’s as cute as you.

Serena Williams, as we all know by now, isn’t returning to court any time soon, although she’s raring to get back to hitting. She recently thanked us, the little people, on her website. And here we were convinced Serena thought only she existed in the world… “I am overwhelmed, and teary eyed by all the love and support from everyone. I am so blessed to have caring love from everyone.” Yes, guys, feel special. It’s the first time Serena has written something over 140 characters since her failed screenplay.

In Fenville, Michicgan, the tragic death of a high school basketball player has rocked the small town. Wes Leonard, 16, passed away shortly after securing a 65-64 win and a perfect, 20-0 season for the Black Hawks. For a moving tribute, read this powerful piece from ESPN.com’s LZ Granderson on Wes’ wisdom beyond his years.

In the wake of these heartbreaking stories, some pretty cool, uplifting ones are on the radar in the tennis world, too. There’s Wimbledon‘s move to stream the finals in 3D around the world. It’s time to exchange the strawberries and cream for popcorn and soda. Then there’s the tale of an up-and-coming John McEnroe prodigy in the form of a 12-year old girl. This girl, Ingrid Neel, is the real deal – according to McEnroe.  “The way she played, the look in her eye, made me think that maybe it was the 2011 version of what I would look like now, only a girl,” he says.  We’re ready when you are, Ingrid. The juniors could certainly use some tiny, pre-teen drama.

short balls: good bye, counselor

February 23, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

Serena is outta the Nike exo, but staying on as a ref. Think Shino will be there to join her? (Reuters)

Forget becoming an esthetician, Serena Williams is taking on a new career as a lineswoman. The sidelined former no. 1 won’t be playing in a much-anticipated return at the Nike exhibition on March 8. Instead, she’ll be a referee. That’s tough luck for the 12,000 fans expecting to see the 13-time major champion’s form alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Citing the foot injury that’s been kept her out since after Wimbledon, Serena released the following statement: “I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play … as I had anticipated. I’m thrilled, however, to still be able to participate … in the exhibition as a referee during the mixed doubles.”

Is something sketchy going on here? Columnist Greg Crouch thinks so. Taking her place on court is Victoria Azarenka. With Masha and Vika both on court, make sure to bring the ear plugs, Eugene.

Pakistani dubs expert Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi is flashing his pearly whites (and wavy locks) in a recent ad with CloseUp toothpaste. Seriously, Rafa and Fernando, this dude is nipping at your modeling heels. He’s just going for a – er – cleaner approach.

He’s not just a hot head, he’s also an art aficionado. Getting a custom-made sculpture in the process, tennis legend and New York City art collector John McEnroe took to the streets of Delray Beach against Mats Wilander in a game of street tennis as part of the “On the Ave” exo. Although Mayor Woodie McDuffie served as the chair umpire, it didn’t make Johnny Mac bite his tongue or keep the snide remarks at bay. He called Mayor McDuffie’s math “fuzzy” on his way to winning the TB 13-11. “I was down 2-1, and now I’m up 3-1; I like that. Is that how they count in Florida?” McEnroe quipped.

After being honored with work from artists of the Milagro Youth Center, McEnroe said, “This is definitely unique. Anybody that knows about me knows that I’m a big fan of the arts. I’ve been a collector for 30 years since I first made money playing the sport I love… The greatest compliment I’ve received as a player was that I was an artist on the court.” But seriously, what is hanging over his headboard? Oh the things we wonder.

Caroline Wozniacki has reclaimed the world’s no. 1 ranking after winning in Dubai over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kim Clijsters nabbed the distinction from Caro for just one week ago. Kamakshi Tandon and Steve Stignor volleyed back and forth on their thoughts of the flip flop. Whether the system’s flawed or not, expect much more of the Caro-Kim ranking fight in the coming months, especially with Serena playing referee.

Splitsville: “Super Mario” Ancic has called it quits on his ten-year career due to a severe back injury. According to the 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist and former world no. 7, “It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make. I’m only 26 but my body said I would not be able to continue on a high level.” Although he’ll be missed on the tennis courts, expect him to put his energy into a different type of court. The University of Split law grad now plans on pursuing a career as a lawyer. So long, counselor. | TSF Vault: Mario Ancic

(serena and ancic photos by reuters)

johnny mac talks politics on cnn

January 28, 2011

John McEnroe was a guest on CNN’s Parker Spitzer last night, talking with former New York guv Eliot Spitzer about politics as a sport, particularly focusing on the aftermath of the Arizona shooting. Click the image to watch.

(screengrab via cnn.com)

nike (re)brands johnny mac

October 22, 2010

Nike jumps on the latest John McEnroe renaissance by dedicating a line just for this tennis veteran. We saw the pieces first pop up in time for the 2010 US Open, and here he is (pictured above) wearing the polo at this week’s seniors event in Arizona.

The on-court attire has a white/red/grey/black palette, and the tees take advantage of McEnroe’s retro (headband/hair) bad boy (expletives) past — although his temperament is still as testy as ever. Our favorite is the Ace tee — the one with just his face — in grey.

Buy: Nike John McEnroe Collection Tennis Polo, $55, in grey/red and white/red; see the rest of the John McEnroe Collection.

The fogies: French Open champ Michael Chang is back on the Champions Series tour after an achilles tendon injury sidelined him beginning in 2006. At this week’s $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex (we can breathe while we type, but still — a mouthful!), Chang won his opening round-robin match against Jimmy Arias and McEnroe won his against Wayne Ferreira. Also in the field are Mark Philippoussis, Aaron Krickstein, Jim Courier, and Jeff Tarango.

More: Event goes through this weekend. Schedule and ticket info at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise website.

(mcenroe images by Rob Loud courtesy of Champions Series Tour; product images via nike.com)

nike’s us open tees

August 29, 2010

Didn’t get a chance to take a pic of the shoes, but here’s a glimpse of the tees available at the Nike store on the grounds of the US Open.

I’m glad they kept the Delpo tees up even though the defending champion has been sidelined with that wrist injury. And thanks for playing along, random guy at register!

Picks: If I wasn’t on a clothing shopping ban, Id’ve picked up that McEnroe-inspired Ace of Clubs tee (bottom row in the picture on the right).

(photos by TSF)

and so it begins: mcenroe picks his boys

July 16, 2010

Mac assembles the army: John McEnroe took another step in setting up his eponymous Nike-sponsored tennis academy by plucking five New Yorkers for scholarships. One of the boys will receive a full ride and the other four get substantial grant assistance.

The Academy revealed the names during halftime of a sold-out WTT match between the New York Sportimes (whose roster includes McEnroe and Kim Clijsters) and the Philadephia Freedoms (Andy Roddick).

Mazel: Aleksandar Kovacevic, 11, of Manhattan, is the full scholarship winner. The others: Jameson Corsillo, 7, of White Plains, N.Y., Ethan Leon, 9, of Woodhaven, N.Y., Mitchell Ostrovsky, 12, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Lamar Remy, 14, of Roslyn, N.Y.

“I just went out and tried my best and I’m glad the coaches think I have potential, and I can’t wait to learn from the best,” said Kovacevic. “It was exciting to hit on the same court with John McEnroe and Andy Roddick, and I hope to be playing on this court as a pro one day.”

The girls will get their chance to try out on Monday, July 19, with Clijsters and Martina Hingis on hand to announce the five finalists.

(Kovacevic photo by Fred Levine/FALPhotography.com courtesy of Sportimes)

bury the hatchet or fuel the flame?

June 29, 2010

It has just been announced that this coming February’s BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden — in 2010 an event contested by Venus, Ana Ivanovic, Kim Clijsters, and Sveta Kuznetsova — will this time feature Agassi, Sampras, Lendl, and McEnroe in a renewal of their classic rivalries.

John and Ivan will play a one-set pro match (first to eight) and the Agassi/Sampras matchup will be a best-of-three. TSF’s curious to see how the latter will pan out, especially in light of Andre’s malfunction at Indian Wells this year. (Hey, if Kournikova and Hingis can kiss and make up, why can’t these two?)

But not to take away from the event’s a noble cause: to bring awareness to our sport through the “Tennis Night in America” initiative, a collaboration between BNP Paribas and the USTA.

Info: For more info about the event, to be held on February 28, 2011, visit tennisshowdown.com.

short balls: mac does the times, djoko the big screen and serena is no justine (!)

May 12, 2010

John McEnroe might not act like one any more, but he still knows how to dress like a teenager. The tennis legend got front-page billing on NYTimes.com with a story about his new New York-based academy. (Screengrab via NYTimes.com)

Action! No Djoking Around. Serbian star Novak Djokovic has struggled in the last couple of years with his on-court stamina (will this be the issue that haunts his career?). He hasn’t struggled, meanwhile, with the ability to garner big-time acting roles in his home country. Djoko is starring in a documentary about the 1923 Serbian World Cup team, and fellow tennis buff Nenad Zimonjic is putting his footwork on display, too.

I’m no Justine. There were plenty of moments in Rome last weeks (Rome-ments?!). But one of our faves was Serena making sure that Jelena Jankovic know that she wasn’t pulling a Justine on the Serb. After the match, Serena assured Jankovic that she didn’t intentionally try to distract her opponent by putting her hand up while Janky was serving in the third-set tie-break, an exchange Serena knows plenty about.

(more…)

a friday feud and, oh, that’s better! (and worse)

January 15, 2010

We’ve got a feud on our hands here folks, and for once it doesn’t involve Jelena Dokic or any of the people in her camp. Sounds as though Pete Sampras is pretty upset with Andre Agassi over the way Sampras was portrayed in Agassi’s book, “Open“.

Read this Yahoo! Sports blog entry for more juicy details.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer cleaned up his look on the practice court today, sporting shorter shorts and a bright-colored tee (we’re loving the tees, Rog!). We also love how Arnaud Clement (who is in the Auckland final against American John Isner) is starting off 2010 with a bangdana. Oops, we mean a bang. Never do you disappoint, Arnie.

More: Check out John McEnroe’s frightening top (hopefully the flashes whited it out) and see a chainless (but taped up) Serena shot from her ugly loss in Sydney.

(more…)

tennis gets commercial

October 2, 2009

We’re well aware of tennis’ re-arrival into pop culture, but who knew the ad execs would take so kindly to the sport, too?!

PeTA recently launched an ad campaign using John McEnroe as a spokesman (‘yellsman’?) in this commercial. CNNSI.com columnist L. Jon Wertheim is wondering just how much more of the “YCBS?!” our culture can take. 

Meanwhile, tennis splashed onto the pages of the Village Voice this week in the form of a foot fungus ad (ew!).

VillageVoice-FootFungus09

And, the sport was spotted in the trendy East Village nabe of NYC, where foodie movement EatFreely.org was combining the never-failing combo of breaded cheesy goodness and tennis balls. Loves it.

EatFreely-Poster09

(tsf photos)

seriously murray

June 21, 2009

Andy Murray seems to have every single fan, journalist, mother, child, son, father, tube driver and bobby counting on him to win Wimbledon this year. Just check this post over at Straight Sets. The journalists aren’t just counting on Murray, they’re telling his this is it. Do or die.

So far Andy has taken the pressure much better than Tim Henman ever did, and last week his new commercial with EA Sports came out. The spot features Andy with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a surprise cameo from John McEnroe for “Grand Slam Tennis” a new game for the Nintendo Wii.

Check it:

shoeless in san jose

February 18, 2009

By Nick McCarvel

pete-sampras-sanjose09

Pete Sampras has been going exo-crazy recently (perhaps the coffers are a little emptier around tax season?), making a brief cameo at last week’s SAP Open in San Jose, battling it out with Tommy Haas; the German won 7-6(4), 4-6, 12-10.

During the Sampras avoided any talk of coming out of retirement by talking about every relevant tennis player but himself.

On Roger Federer: “He’s young enough. He’s fresh enough. He’s not 30,” Sampras said. “Having a few years left, I see him doing it. But there are going to be a few guys that are going to push him. It’s just inevitable that he’s going to do it here in the next probably year.”

On Roddick‘s and Blake‘s not being “Rafa” or “Nole” enough to beat Roger: “Andy’s got the power but maybe doesn’t have the athletic ability, and someone like James, who has the athletic ability, but doesn’t have the power… It’s kind of a tough matchup for them, for both those guys.

“Seems like James can stay with Roger. I just think they play similar games and Roger is a little bit better than James at it. And Roddick can overpower Roger at times, but at the same time doesn’t move well enough from the back court to really get into these exchanges, that someone like Djokovic can.”

Video: See Sampras’ SAP Open here, courtesy of Doug Schwartz.

And Pete gave the San Jose crowd a little wardrobe malfunction during his match, ending with a loose shoe on the court. He gave fans one reminiscent moment when losing his shoe on court. This time the ball boy didn’t have to dig in his shorts to rescue the on-court necessity like at Wimbledon ’01.

Choo choo: Sampras went on to Boston and downed John McEnroe to take that city’s Champions Cup title, but not before participating in a mixed doubles match with Anna Kournikova, among others. And in this week’s Regions Morgan Keegan tourney in Memphis, he lost to Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 6-4.

last call for USA

September 5, 2008

If only we could get CBS to step aside…

As great a tournament the Open has been this year, when considering the event in its entirety, you’ve got to start with the coverage (the face of the event, after all). I don’t know if it’s because of the conventions, but I’ve been more conscious of how the tournament has been delivered to me this year than ever before.

In case you haven’t heard, this is USA Network’s last year covering the Open. With its bevy of weaknesses aside — I’ll get to a few in a sec — can we just say thank god for USA’s day and weeknight coverage? CBS’ work might not be different from years past, but the grating horn section of their intro and outro, the overexposed light, Mary Joe’s pre- and post-match interviews, Dick Enberg — how much of it can one take?

Thanks for the relief, USA, but here are a few things your replacement can improve upon:

– When Mueller and Davydenko were 9-10 in the fourth set tiebreak, the producer switched over to the start of the Andreev/Federer first set tiebreak, despite McEnroe’s request to stay put. (They did show the end of the tiebreak on tape, but the piss had been taken.)

– The night-match guests invited to join Ted Robinson and John in the booth really tested our patience and sanity: the Ryder Cup captain left me yawning and Boris Becker’s visit felt bloated.

– McEnroe and Jim Courier both have good and bad: Mac offers great insight and passion until he eventually devolves into his usual self-aggrandizement, occasionally revisiting earlier top form. Courier gets major points for his latest insights, my favorite being pointing out that guys ranked in the 80s in the world could be starters on an NBA team (a sentiment I’ve been aware of for a while). On the other hand, he’s still Mr. Smug.

By the way, I’m really intrigued by all the personal bits that Courier alludes to in his commentary, so I’m asking my readers for the latest info on this man: is his Manhattan apartment a duplex? penthouse? both? What kind of art does he collect? What Rosetta Stone tape is he currently working on?

Hope you enjoyed USA’s last night of coverage, and that CBS doesn’t give you too much of a hangover.

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.

CC day 4: andy and brooklyn’s puppy love, a new lacoste top, etc.

August 8, 2008

Fun times yesterday (Day 4) at the Countrywide Classic. I sat in on pressers for Carlos Moya and Amer Delic after their tough second round match, which Delic won 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5).

1) Delic had surgery in April to fix a chronic sweating problem.

2) Even John McEnroe and Jim Courier were talking about the significance of that Federer/Nadal Wimbledon final. McEnroe said that we’ll learn a lot about Federer in the coming months (will he disappear ala Borg?), and that he’ll likely get more support from fans now that he’s a little more, uhm, human.

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick notched a routine win over drop shot-obsessed Serbian Dusan Vemic in the feature night match. Andy wore a black/white version of the Super Dry Stripe Polo from Lacoste‘s latest line. Fiancee Brooklyn Decker was there to cheer him on, of course, and we learn in his post-match interview with the skinny-legged Justin Gimelstob (man, what retirement can do to muscles!) that the couple now has a puppy.

Buy: Lacoste Super Dry Stripe Polo, Steward Blue/White, $95.00.

Browse: See the other U.S. Open goods here.

(image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)


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