Nole‘s had more glamour shots pop up in the last few days, but we’re content with seeing these — the rest of the pap pics from his trip to Malibu right before the 2011 BNP Paribas Open.
(all images by X17 Online)
Denim on denim? Yesssss.
(via Nole’s tweet)
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
Bonus: Remember that vid that daredevil Novak Djokovic shot a couple of weeks ago for HEAD? Well we grabbed a couple more screen shots from the racquet co because they’re just that good. Can Nole wear that hat on the court sometime? We dig the chin strap.
(screengrabs provided by HEAD tennis)
I WANT THIS. RIGHT NOW.
(via Tennis Crack Whore)
Miami rising: Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic are four-of-five on the Miami front, winning their respective title matches over the weekend and capturing their second title, each. Nole took down Rafael Nadal in what many were calling the best match of the year so far, the Serb winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Vika had an easier time in the final, winning a shriek-fest against a resurgent Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-4.
TSF Vault: Nole kissing the cup in 2007
Four and one: Novak won this title way back in 2007, beating (remember this guy?!) Guillermo Canas. Djoko would lose in the ’08 final to Andy Murray. Oh, and BTW: Nole is now 24-0 on the year. As for Azarenka, the Belarussian scrapped together a title just in time, so it seems. After starting the year a precocious 9-5 she won six straight matches in Key Biscayne, including victories over Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva in the run up to the title. Azarenka won this tournament in 2009, beating Serena Williams in an odd final. Comebined, Djokovic and she are 4-1 in Miami title matches.
(Images via Getty Images)
Serious business: Gone are the wings and the dragon motifs that started Novak Djokovic‘s partnership with Sergio Tacchini. They’re instead relying on a combination of piping, color blocking, and textures (with matching shoes) to create a more sophisticated look for the current world No. 2.
Miami: After defeating Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1 in the semis of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Nole awaits the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In head-to-head stats, Nole’s up 3-0 against Roger (with wins in Melbourne, Dubai, and Indian Wells) and 1-0 against Rafa (Indian Wells). As we’d said before, we’re banking on Djokovic remaining undefeated at least through the rest of this tournament. (SEO Draw: See how the event has unfolded.)
(images via Getty Images)
Is that a dog on your finger? Or is your ring just really fluffy? (PacificCoastNews.com photo)
Sources tell TSF exclusively that Novak Djokovic and longtime GF Jelena Ristic tied the knot in a small, intimate ceremony in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, small islands in the Caribbean. The two were said to be staying at the Palm Island Resort in early March, which landed during Djoko’s time between Dubai and Davis Cup.
TSF was unable to confirm such rumors. So they remain just that – rumors. The Palm Island Resort would not confirm if Djokovic had stayed there in the recent past, and emails to his agent, Benito Pérez-Barbadillo, have gone unanswered this week. No mention of the trip was made on Djoko’s website. One local resident of the island confirmed Djokovic had been there, but did not want to be identified.
Nole and Ristic have been a solid couple the last few years, the two vacationing together quite often and recently pictured in Dubai over the holidays holding hands and strolling on the beach. Whether or not one of those hands has a big rock – metaphorically or not – on it now, remains to be told.
By Benjamin Snyder
Bottom’s on top: It’s official! The classy poster of a woman scratching her derriere in flattering tennis whites has been posted as one of the all-time best-selling posters, according to a recent article in the Guardian. Model and poster will soon be reunited after 35 years for an upcoming event celebrating tennis art, writes Patrick Kingsley. Pictured above, Fiona Walker, now 52, tells all in a piece from the Telegraph. (ed. note: Meanwhile, how cute is Patrick?? TSF is always looking for more freelancers… )
Feeling bi(coastal): Indian Wells is over, and it’s time to move on to Miami for some more fun-in-the-sun at the Sony Ericsson Open. But, before we leave Cali behind, how about news on the Serb we’ve been loving lately, Novak Djokovic? Not only did he thrash Rafa in the final set to take the title, word on the interwebs is Caro has been pining for him, at least symbolically. Move over, Ana – and longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic – this lovely lady has the ranking and the sense of humor Nole just might be looking for these days. Or do you think he’d go for more of a Fiona Walker-type?
Ballin’: Tonight several top players – Nole and Rafa among them – were taking to the soccer pitch for a fundraiser for the victims of the Japan tsunami disaster. If it looks anything like the boys playing a little soccer tennis last summer, we’re sad we missed it.
World order, struck down: So while Novak’s getting the girls, the titles and playing some soccer for a good cause to boot, Roger‘s just plain losing – a lot. Ousted by the Djoker in a three-set semifinal showdown for the world no. 2 spot, Rog also succumbed in doubles with partner Stanislas Wawrinka. Fed suffered a “triple tennis blow” in Cali, says one piece. Now that’s one way to put it – and no, it doesn’t mean what you were hoping it did.
The Devil Watches Tennis: At least Roger has one Anna Wintour to comfort him. The Vogue editor is the subject of a much-talked-about Wall Street Journal magazine piece released online today. What is Anna doing in the lead image of the profile? Watching Rog – on TV.
As if they needed an excuse: Boasting like it’s some sort of change of pace, Miami is getting ready for the SEO with music, parties and … well, tennis. Is that any different than any other time of the year? Our pick: Funkshion Fashion Week. Shows happen all week long, including the Masquerade Motel on Saturday night, a beach-front show that’s already been sold out.
Little lady on the small screen: Dominika Cibulkova is being noticed for more than her small size (she’s just 5’3). For the entirety of the SEO, she’ll be a star on the online reality show Xperia Hot Shots, which is set to “follow the lives of six aspiring stars of the WTA as they try to build their Facebook fan base.” Says Domi: “It is so exciting to be part of this unique campaign … it’s a privilege to be just one of only a few girls selected for this.” While Cibulkova has 4,652 “likes” on FB, we’re curious: is that really her in the profile pic? Coulda fooled us.
(poster photo by paul grover/the daily telegraph; fed and anna by getty images)
By Jonathan Scott
It may not be tabloid fodder like every Taylor Swift dalliance, and it’s not nearly as insufferable as Brangelina, but the marriage between music and tennis is itself a storied love affair. It stretches across decades and genres, and it knows no bounds – well, none other than those pesky white lines.
Try to set aside the disappointment that the artist Sergey with the song “Tennis” on iTunes is actually not Vera Zvonareva‘s ridiculously good-looking model/coach. And, however possible, repress the memory of Justine Henin‘s song-and-dance scareoke on TV. Yes, Novak Djokovic and Ivo Karlovic have tried their tongues at rapping, as has Vince Spadea with amusingly deplorable results, but that doesn’t mean you should try it at home after perfecting your Djokovic-ian down-the-line backhand, does it?
As the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival just wrapped its annual song-a-thon in Austin, Texas – soon to be the site for a volatile USA vs. Spain Davis Cup tie in July – here’s the skinny on the latest hot shots in tennis-tinged music and an homage to some of the greats.
Best Newcomer: James Blake is a dub-step soulman and a veritable crooner. The British JB, that is. His American counterpart is a best-selling author and owner of a laser forehand whose best days are past, but Blake the Brit is taking the music world by slow-burning storm, releasing his rave-reviewed eponymous debut in February and – well before that – igniting the blogosphere with his faithful but quirky cover of Feist‘s “Limit to Your Love.” Let’s just pray that, when we hit up a James Blake concert sometime, his fans aren’t half as annoying (adorable?) as the American Blake’s J-Block can be in the tennis stands.
Dainty she is not. Our fave album cover from Blonde Readhead’s 23. (Image via band website)
Best Dressed: Sometimes it’s okay to judge a band by its cover. Oxymoronic indie rockers Blonde Redhead out of New York City put out the best, most elegant tennis-themed album art when they dropped 23 in 2007. But, no, the song “Top Ranking” has nothing to do with disputed no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Worst Dressed, but Best Sound: Yea, there is a band simply called Tennis, a married duo specializing in ’60s surf-pop for 2011. This act released its debut Cape Dory in January, and though the song “Marathon” doesn’t harbor the words “Isner,” “Mahut” or “Wimbledon” anywhere in the lyrics, it’s solid stuff. Consider it your soulful throwback soundtrack for this summer – but steer clear of wearing skintight aqua as with the album cover. It looks like leftover fabric from a hideous Nadia Petrova creation.
Best Tournament Run: This has to go to the ginger-haired heroine in the video for Vampire Weekend‘s “Giving Up the Gun.” She rips through a draw that includes Joe Jonas, a Daft Punk-helmeted doubles team, and even a flask-swilling Jake Gyllenhaal in tear-away pants. It’s a great song, and the immaculately-white indoor court is sharp – even if the choked-up strokes from the damsel look laughably bad in reality. Girl, who taught you to grip a racquet like that? Topping it off: RZA from Wu-Tang Clan serves as the chair umpire, and Lil Jon offers astute on-court coaching. Brill.
TSF Vault | The many lives of tennis-themed music vids
Best Clay-Court Match: French DJs Martin Solveig — oddly in tasteful Wimbledon whites — and Bob Sinclar, sporting some hot-magenta vintage-Agassi styles, squared off on Roland Garros‘ red dirt for the video for Solveig’s dance track “Hello” sung by Dragonette. The match and music video are both visceral, a veritable heartbreaker. Check out the cameo by that flashiest of the current French tennis stars as he comes on the scene and devastates the darling DJ.
Hello? Could Martin Solveig look any cooler? We think not. (YouTube screengrab)
Best Charity Hit: Andy Murray and Thom Yorke of Radiohead teamed up for charity single “Two Minute Silence” to benefit serving and former British troops and their families. Strangely enough, its title is no lie. “Hear” — but really just see — it here. British Prime Minister David Cameron and more also got in on this quiet riot. Truly the oddest not-quite-a-band lineup ever, but hey, can’t wait for their episode of “Behind the Music.” Finalist: Wozniacki put out a charity single called “Oxigent” (or “Oxygen”) to benefit Danish and Polish Paralympic athletes. Because, you know, she has oodles of free time.
Top Passing Shot: Meg Baird‘s lovely, lilting “Waltze of the Tennis Players.” It’s just pretty, and we do pretty.
More of Jonathan’s music musings (including “Best Grunt” and “Best Musical Ode to a Tennis Player”) after the cut. (more…)
Have we sickened you with our Nole coverage yet? Well, when the boy is hot, he’s hot. Here, Novak exerts one final breath of energy to lift his hard-earned trophy.
Did she even break a sweat? Wozy fought off nerves and a semi-resurgent Marion Bartoli in the third set to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-3. More trophies from the mountains of Cali after the cut.
TSF Podcast Mar. 2011 | Nick McCarvel with David Thorpe | To download MP3 in iTunes, just click link
Do you usually fly first class, Nole? TSF Podcast March 2011
Oh let the awkward moments ring! David and I might be good friends, but don’t let that fool you into thinking we’ve got this podcast thing down pat. All the better for the listener though, no? This week, David and I were all chatty about what Nole’s recent run (flight?!) to the top means. Our opinion? Not much. Though it could, if he carries it over to the clay season. We also took turns weighing into this week’s Sunday Survey question on just what will happen to those two ladies named Williams. And doubles? Good exposure week for the game, but David smells a conspiracy brewing. (And I’m just tan.) Click above! | TSF Vault: Podcasts
(screengrab provided by HEAD tennis)
Yep, Nole‘s already soaring high after that win over Rafa Nadal at yesterday’s men’s final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. That three-setter — 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 — puts him at 18-0 so far this year; at No. 2 in the world (taking over for Roger); and puts him in that elite company of guys who’ve been both Rafa and Roger in the same tournament twice (the other two: Nalbandian and Kolya).
…Which made it the perfect time to release this video that he hinted at last week, the one of him recreating that image of two folks playing tennis on a plane. We’re still not quite sure if Nole actually got air time (while strapped in, of course), but we wouldn’t put it past him.
Watch: Click on that image above to watch the video.
(Djokovic picture courtesy of Head)
Aside from actively tweeting and coaching Ivanovic, one of Novak Djokovic‘s newest projects is rolling out a campaign with his racquet sponsor, Head, to promote a… well, we’re not sure what it is yet. Some of Head’s past videos have been pretty good, so we’ll go ahead and bite: “NOVAK WANTS TO PLAY ON THE WINGS OF A PLANE? WHAAAAT?”
The next installment drops March 21. We’re staying tuned.
(video from Head)
By Jonathan Scott
Another brand of March Madness is upon us: With the unisex goodness that is the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells tournament, the 2011 pro tennis campaign kick-starts into high gear. This 1-2 punch of Cali and Miami makes for a full month of top-notch tennis. Indeed, spring’s done sprung.
Now a curious trend seeped into tennis again in 2010: jumpy observers of the sport seeking to retire players -– good, even great stars who reaped some solid results -– before they themselves are ready to hang up their racquets. The guilty parties: too many tennis writers and other observers and “personalities” involved to various degrees. Their victims? Among them, Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, and even Roger Federer, proving that not a single star is exempt from these hasty calls to exit.
But Roddick won Memphis last month, dousing the ballyhooed, raging fire that is young Milos Raonic and coming up with possibly the best championship-point winner ever. He also ignited his fellow Americans’ effort on the Chilean clay in Davis Cup, punctuating his clinching win with a scissor kick (Video: here) that would make Sally O’Malley salivate. Too many quickly forgot that Venus seized some early 2010 titles and vaulted to no. 2 in the world before injuries in part derailed both her autumnal and 2011 Aussie exploits. (Oddly, she’s now singing 311 karaoke on a MIA-to-Turks cruiseship and showing off some fly dance moves for someone with chronic knee issues.). Fed himself ran the table at the London year-end championships in December, outdoing even Rafael Nadal in the final, and snagged an early 2011 title before a taking-all-comers Novak Djokovic rolled over him in Melbourne.
Still, retirement happens. It’s inevitable. Justine Henin’s departure has itself turned into a piece of music with multiple movements, the strings swelling and falling at different points. Henin has been like that lover who breaks it off and then loiters for attention: Mercy. And merci.
All of the brouhaha catalyzed a thought: Who or what in the sport truly needs to go?
Without further ado, a few items –- persons, peccadillos, and other pesky minutiae –- that best get gone. Now. Conversely, some other talents and trends are welcome to get comfy. So there it is: Stay, or Go.
GO: Foremost, let’s be done with the freak injuries. Some stars are making the maladies on TV hospital dramas seem realistic: Victoria Azarenka scarily passed out on court after bopping her head during a warm-up run, and then Anna Chakvetadze did her best Vika impression. Meanwhile Andy Murray strained his hand by playing video games excessively (okay, that one proved a fib). It seems a few players just need to be grounded.
Granted, Serena’s recent pulmonary embolism/hematoma scare is more than legit. Anyone who relishes compelling tennis, even if no fan of hers, whether onlooker or media, can only hope she makes it back into the mix again. Tennis needs her fight and her bite. Not every player needs to be Mama Kim Clijsters, portrait of civility.
Speaking of, GO: Can we just be done with all the talk about Clijsters’ motherhood? Cute turned to precious in a hurry there, and not in a good way.
GO: That hand-strain hoax aside, Murray might want to consider tempering his video gaming: Girlfriend Kim Sears reportedly already broke up with him once over the habit. Word to the wise, young gun: the lady has you on watch.
Judy Murray, we heart thee.
GO. STAY. Good dog: Not to pick on the Murray familia too much (see below), but what of these tweets from the family’s resident cur, this Maggie? So let it be written, so let it be done: No more Murray mutt tweets, at least not until Andy bags that virgin Major. It’s no less lame to put your pet on Twitter than it is to fashion a Facebook profile for it.
STAY: Judy Murray, British tennis coach and mom to Andy and Jamie. Yes, she advises her son. She also isn’t afraid to shoot a witty retort at a former player who yaps about her spawn’s chances at winning big with her on board.
GO: Boris Becker. Just let it be, Boorish. You were a fine player, a flame-maned, serve-and-volley stud on grass. Then you knocked Murray and his mum for his underperforming at Slams, chiding him for his closeness to Judy and (good grief!) for standing by his girl at age 23. So a former player cheats on his pregnant wife with a Russian model (in a closet), resulting in a lust child, and then doles out unsolicited relational advice? Laughable. Not content to merely stand by his statements from the fall, BB waxed on again after Murray’s mopey, one-sided loss to Nole in the Aussie final. Sigh. Everyone’s a Carillo. Click to read more, kids. You don’t want to miss these musings.
Taking a dip: Is Nole losing weight? Should we be worried?! It’s a little hard to conjure up feelings of concern when a shirtless Nole is in the picture, right? Here’s Novak in Malibu. We’re hoping for plenty of shirtless shots of the Serb from Indian Wells this week. (photos by TMZ via Towleroad)
‘Tis true: we’d never really thought about how the felt stays on those balls. Apparently, with gallons and gallons of glue.
Watch: See the video after the cut…
There was a story on msnbc.com last week about U.S. cities and their slogans. You know, like New York is the “City that Never Sleeps” and “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” Our fave? That would be Eagle Pass, Texas: “Where ‘Yee haw!’ Meets ‘Ole!’” We’re feeling as though David Ferrer is channeling such a slogan, donning a sombrero after his win in Acapulco over Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-2.
Is this a sign of the future? Oh, we were talking about the trophies. You meant the scoreline? It was 3 and 3 to Novak Djokovic over Roger Federer.
And is this growing into a rivalry? It certainly could. Vera Zvonareva won a competitive bout with Caroline Wozniacki in Doha, taking out the world no. 1, 6-4, 6-4.