Archive for the ‘rafael nadal’ Category

shirtless: when in rome

May 16, 2011

Suddenly second best: Can you caption this better than us? We kinda dare you to… Here’s our Mollly-Shannon inspired effort: “Sometimes, when I get really nervous, I grab a towel and pretend to pinch my nipples during a change over. It helps with holding serve.” 

TSF Vault: The shirtless diaries really never fail us

(Getty Images photo) 

trophy watch: roman warriors

May 16, 2011


A (now) familiar picture:
Who could have guessed that this is how the men’s pro tennis book would have been written so far this year? Novak Djokovic is an unprecedented 37-0 going into Roland Garros, now having beaten Rafael Nadal in four straight Masters Series finals, two of them on Rafa’s beloved clay. Djokovic’s 6-4 6-4 win in Rome on Sunday sent out another warning cry to the rest of the tour: watch out, boys.

Doubles drama: Roddick, Fish pull out of dubs final against Querrey, Isner

More Nole: The Djoker is ‘Uncovered’ by ATP video crew

It’s beginning to feel good to be Maria: Could the Russian be headed for the Sharapova Slam? Maria won her 23rd career title on Sunday, capping a big week in Rome with a 6-2 6-4 win over Sam Stosur. Next up for Maria: a title in Paris? She holds three majors and now has a legit shot to nab a fourth in three week’s time at Roland Garros. Two more shots of the title-winners after the cut. 

(more…)

trophy watch: untouchable nole

May 9, 2011

A notch for each win? How cool is the Ion Tiriac trophy at the Mutua Madrid Masters in Spain? Sure, the home crowd wanted their boy Rafael Nadal to pull through in this one, but Novak is hot right now. H-O-T hot. 32 straight matches? No prob. The world no. 2 now takes his unblemished 2011 record to Rome after beating Rafa 7-5, 6-4. Look: Rome draw

Before we step away from the men, this between-the-legs lob winner from Rafa might be one of the best shots you’ve ever seen. We’re serious. Click. Play.

Bracing for a win. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a big winner sporting some metal on her teeth on the WTA. Great to see Petra Kvitova, the Czech who had a phenomenal 2010, rise above the rest in Madrid. Will she be the Aravane Rezai of 2010 and slump for the rest of the season? We hope not. Here, she smiles after a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Victoria Azarenka.

It’s no Rome for the new member of the top ten. Kvitova will forego the top tier WTA event for a smaller ITF event in Prague. No, we’re not kidding. Draws: Ladies in Rome | Prague (… ?)

After the cut? Nole cuddles with the ballkids after his Madrid W. (more…)

madrid masters master a new domain

April 29, 2011

By Lindsay Sakraida, on Twitter

Hangin’ above the crowd: This week, the tennis tour hits the Madrid Open, the most controversial stop on the clay-court schedule. And while much focus has been on Rafael Nadal‘s disapproval of playing in the high altitude before Roland Garros, there’s more to the Madrid cache than a public disagreement with its most famous compatriot. At every opportunity, the Madrid Open creatively and strategically aims to differentiate itself in a very modern way — and the tennis tour is all the better for it.

Mastered differences: Madrid has always been unconventional. It changed from hard courts to clay in 2009, at which point the tournament director announced that he was considering forgoing the iconic rust-colored dirt for a thoroughly modern blue. (It never came to fruition, to Nadal and Federer’s approval.) Long before the surface change, the tournament began using models as ball kids during the later stages of the draw, and the fetching — in more ways than one — “kids” continue to raise eyebrows nearly a decade later. (But just to be clear: these are no “kids.”) And just this year, the event was publicized by dangling racket-wielding acrobats off the side of a court-covered building. In all manners, Madrid aims to get people talking with arresting visuals.

But the most telling distinction between Madrid and the rest of the tour lies in its most accessible marketing device: their website. It combines vibrant graphics and Flash-based design to convey a unique energy and atmosphere, and there’s even a custom animation at the top that pays tribute to the distinct form of the Caja Magica. It’s fairly obvious that the site isn’t your typical tournament’s digital home, but the most significant deviation from the norm is quite subtle; Madrid doesn’t use the ATP template (nor the WTA template, for that matter) in its design. Take a look at the Rome, Monte Carlo, or Indian Wells sites. Each uses the same architecture and rotating carousel of top stories and images. Madrid isn’t the only tournament to shun the standard — both Cincinnati and Paris are moderately different, for example — but it’s one of the few locations, especially among the big nine Masters Series, to forgo the status quo in favor of something truly unique. And with continuous debate about what tour stop should be bequeathed the “Fifth Slam”, Madrid’s deliberate branding seems like a move for the title.

TSF Vault: Our love for the webby Madrid

Along with its home page, the tournament also has a vibrant YouTube channel. It’s not unusual for a tournament to post press conferences, daily recaps, and occasional behind-the-scenes content, but — despite YouTube’s history of creating viral phenomenons — few use the video service to genuinely engage the audience. But in the lead up to the main draw, Madrid has done just that. It challenged its Spanish-speaking audience to submit videos proving why they are the ultimate “Super Fan,” which resulted in a plethora of charming tournament tributes. It remains to be seen what sort of content they will provide during the tournament proper, but if this promo video (which features Feliciano Lopez) is any indication, it’ll be just as vibrant and lively as its carefully-cultivated image.

More: Springtime teal in Madrid | Rafa’s distaste for colorful clay

Above all, Madrid serves as an example of what the sport can become in this new age — a Europeanized (and better version) of a US Open Series event. Tennis has always stood on the shoulders of the many cities that host it, but quite often, standardized tournament branding fails to effectively represent each location’s diverse nature. Hopefully, with its constant attempts to break the mold, Madrid will inspire its fellow tournaments to modernize and engage the global audience. After the jump: More high-flying pics from Madrid’s on-the-wall acro-tizing. (more…)

trophy watch: trophy-less shots of trophy winners

April 26, 2011

Their prizes come in faces: Don’t worry, we have shots of last week’s winners — Rafael Nadal and Julia Goerges — with their trophies after the cut, but how about those celebratory faces? I know, I’ve said this before with Rafa, but these two really look like they enjoy winning. Two very different storylines accompanied their respective wins: for Nadal, he is the man who no one can beat (or touch) and for Julia, she was the hometown hero who took out the world no. 1. Congrats, folks.

Oh right, and their trophies after the cut. (more…)

trophy watch: smiling, party of one

April 18, 2011

Grinning, giddily: It’s hard to imagine a bigger smile from Rafa. Are we noticing a pattern? The year starts, we doubt Nadal a little, and then he hits his stride and, well, smiles. His seventh straight title in Monte Carlo inspired this toothy grin, a 6-4, 7-5 victory over countryman David Ferrer the final notch in his flawless belt.

One more shot of Rafa, his grin and (seemingly) heart-shaped trophy after the cut. More: Weigh in on Rafa’s clay dominance.

(more…)

sunday survey: will it ever end?

April 17, 2011

We think he’s … excited. (AP photo)

Streakin’ seven: Rafael Nadal won his seventh consecutive title at the Monte Carlo Masters event today, downing fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4, 7-5. It was a big W for Nadal after losing three final appearances in the last five month (World Tour Finals, Indian Wells and Miami) and his first title since October. Will Rafa’s dominance on clay end anytime soon? Weigh in below.

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

trophy watch: two-time charmers in nole & vika

April 4, 2011

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)

short balls: an ailing andy (and rafa drinks rum!)

March 30, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Flip flop: As the Sony Ericsson Open winds down, two very different players are working their way up in the rankings. For the men, it’s Mardy Fish, who overtook Andy Roddick as the top American man with a win over David Ferrer in the quarterfinals. A sick Roddick succumbed to Pablo Cuevas in the second round of the huge hard court Miami event and was bounced out of the top ten for the first time in some years.

Maria’s back in the habit: While the Williams sisters fall outside of the top ten with illness and injury, Maria Sharapova is rising back to the top tier with decent showings at Indian Wells and this week in Miami. Masha has Andrea Petkovic in the semis, a player who flattened her when the two met Down Under in Melbourne. (More Maria: Those earrings!)

… but no royal wedding, yet: Apparently, the 23-year-old Maria is in “no rush to get married,” according to Show Biz Spy. And why should she be? We’d like to see Maria win two or three more Majors – she’s got them in her, we think – before strolling down to take Sasha’s hand. Meanwhile: No playoffs for his Nets.

But seriously, is Maria just getting cold feet? “In the beginning I was really, really excited, and all my friends were giving me like wedding magazines and wedding books. But I was quite overwhelmed with it, and then I just put them down and said, ‘Okay, I have plenty of time.’ We’re still very young.”

TSF Exclusive: Rumors say Djokovic has strolled down the aisle

Swan song for Petko’s dance? While Petkovic even has the ever-awkward Ana Ivanovic shaking her tail feather on the tennis court, the German – who is matching her play to her popularity this week – is retiring her famous jig following this week. She told the press that it’s time to move on from the ditty, which became an underground hit in tennis realms. Is she lending her dance skills to B-Spears? We sure hope so. But notice: She said “move on.” We’re sensing another dance number folks, just something new and, well, so Petko.

Rum like Rafa: Rafael Nadal recently signed a deal with Bacardi, receiving some backlash in the process. Says Nadal, “I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no?” No Rafa, it’s nothing new to us. And we appreciate your push for responsibility. More: YouTube channel | Facebook

‘Round the world: Then there are the two Missoula, Montana, teens who just broke the Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match, ever. Isner-Mahut looks like a Roehampton side court to this Centre Court effort. The two high school seniors clocked in nearly 61 hours of tennis over three days before collapsing, raising $7,000 for charity in the process. Snaps for those court warriors.

(Image by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

shirtless: behind the scenes at nadal’s armani shoot

March 28, 2011

Shirtless: Some footage from behind the scenes during Rafael Nadal‘s photo shoot for Armani (you know, this one). View: Click on the image above to watch the video from Vogue Spain’s website.

(screengrab from vogue.es; tip via Kat)

it’s a gas!: put some neon in your spring

March 28, 2011

Rafa‘s back in graphic print at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. The design’s nothing to write home about — another nod to that rebel/youth market that Nike‘s had since Agassi — but we paid attention to the green and yellow meshy overlay on the Courtballistecs. Still, there are some who want tenis a la Nadal, so here you go: Nike Rafa Tennis Crew, $85; Courtballistec 3.3, $125; Rafa Tennis Jacket, $90.

Spanish brawl: Rafa took care of Kei Nishikori and will next face fellow Spaniard Feli Lopez for a spot in the Round of 16. (See the SEO draws.)

Browse: That green and yellow has us thinking about how to spruce up our spring with colors of the Hi-liter rainbow — read on!

flashback: rafa and roger take miami

March 28, 2011

Remember these fellas? This was Roger and Rafa‘s second meeting ever, a year after Rafa had beaten Rog 3 and 3 in the third round at Miami. Nadal led this final two sets to love only to fall 2-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-1. Nadal would win their next five encounters before falling to Federer in the 2006 Wimbledon final.

TSF Vault: First-ever Roger post (Feb. 2007)

(Image by Sports Illustrated via Getty)

short balls: tennis goes cross-country

March 23, 2011

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)

strokin’: when tennis met music

March 23, 2011

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…)

stay, don’t go

March 9, 2011

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.

(more…)

nike’s ‘clash of champs’ exo

January 30, 2011

Nike is pulling out all the stops for its just-announced March 8 exhibition featuring four superstars: Serena, Rafa, Maria and Roger. The exo itself is being held in Eugene, Oregon, traditionally known as a running town and mecca for all things University of Oregon related (including an almost national football title). Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 AM.

(screengrab via matthewknightarena.com)

rafa ripped, in armani jeans (+ undies)

January 22, 2011

Yes, lady and gents, we get it. This last week – as we’ve covered week one of the Aussie Open – we’ve lacked in one important (very, very important) arena: men. Sure, there was Milos Raonic, but all Milo has going for him is that Lacoste kit he’s sporting. Oh, and his six-match winning streak. But what’s winning if you can’t take your shirt off?!

Enter Rafael Nadal and Armani’s well-timed launch of their use of their latest athlete-turned-model. First there was Beckham and Ronaldo, but now we have Rafa. And aren’t we oh so happy? And there is an underwear shot, too. After the cut. More: Armani on TSF | Our shirtless vault

(more…)

aussie preview: the power list

January 15, 2011

Since we’re done with our fashion coverage for the year (we only kid!), we decided to look a little bit closer at the tennis that will be played at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins Sunday night on American television.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO | Follow us on Twitter @TSFtennis

The Power List – How the top men (and women) stack up

1. No one can come into the AO feeling better than Roger Federer. The Swiss Mister won his season-opening foray in Doha without dropping a set, beating Nicolay Davydenko in the final. Along with his win at the World Tour Finals, Federer has notched 10 straight matches. Federer played three exhibitions during the off season – all against Rafael Nadal – and looks primed to defend his title in Melbourne.

2. Serena Williams. It might be strange to see Serena’s name second on this list, but the current world no. 4 will be the biggest female force in this year’s draw - absent force, that is. The defending champion hasn’t played a match since winning Wimbledon, and the ladies look lost without her. Serena beat Justine Henin in the most memorable Slam final of last year here, and the sticky courts of Australia won’t have the same female ferocity without her.

3. Rafael Nadal is appropriately third on our list – especially seeing that he has won three straight Slams. And there are three factors that play into Rafa winning an illustrious, fourth straight Major: his health (most namely his knees); his focus against lurking dark-horses (there are plenty – check back tomorrow); and his ability to rise against the Roger challenge. He failed in two of those in losing soundly to Federer in London in November, but will look to build his confidence one match at a time at the AO.

4. There is hard to find a more like-able – or more important, match-savvy – player on the WTA right now than Kim Clijsters. Clijsters captured the US Open for the second straight year in 2010, and then went on to dominate the women’s season-ending event. Her loss in Sydney’s final on Saturday to Li Na? We say that’s a good thing: A more-focused Kimmie won’t produce any 6-0, 6-1 third-round catastrophes this year.

5. Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, it’s a little unfair that we bunched these four gents together, but at this point, it’s hard not to. Soderling had a hot start to 2011, winning Brisbane and once again proving that he is no flash in the pan. As for Roddick – who lost to Sod in the Brisbane final – the American is said to be in some of the best shape of his life had seems as hungry as ever. And it’s hard to believe that Murray and Djokovic have just one Slam between the two of them. How is that possible? (See Nos. 1 & 3 for answer.) Any of these fellas could walk away from Melbourne the champ, and few would be surprised…

6. Is there more of a mystery than Justine Henin on the women’s side? She is the female version of Juan Martin del Potro, hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but might be playing second fiddle to Kim’s current reign. Justine shocked us all by making the finals last year. It was in 2010 when she toughed through a straight-set win over now-retired Elena Dementieva, and again has a Russian seed (that’d be Kuzy) in the Round of 32. | Full women’s draw

7. While Tomas Berdych continues to be a mystery since his French-Wimbledon brilliance (he’s 12-13 since July), Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have made their own noise to start 2011: Davydenko took out Nadal in Doha and Tsonga fell to Roger at the same tourney. Tsonga is a former finalist here (downing Fed in the semis in ’08), while Davydenko has (shockingly) still not been to the last two of a major. Any of these three could fit in with our group at No. 5, but do they have what it takes to run seven matches straight?

8. Here’s a new trio for you folks: Jelena JankovicAna Ivanovic and … Bojana Jovanovski. While we could have included Janko Tipsarevic in this line-up, but this new ladies three-some is sure to have the eyes of some WTA followers over the next two weeks. Our guess: the three gals will chalk up 7 total wins (AI 4, BJ 1 and JJ 2) over the two weeks. The ultimate question? Who will have the best year of the bunch? Jelena is a dismal 9-13 since a French open semis run and Jovanovski beat Kanepi, Pannetta and Rezai last week alone. And another new coach for Ana… | Ana just wants to have fun?

9. Venus Williams didn’t win a set in two round-robin matches last weekend in Hong Kong. She hasn’t played a WTA match since the US Open. And before that? Wimbledon. It’s anybody’s guess for Family Williams in Melbourne this year.

10. Three ladies who have a solid shot at a week-two run and a decent chance of a first-round crash out include Caroline WozniackiVera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki won just one game in an exo with Zvonareva last weekend, and both had bizarre early losses in Sydney. Sharapova’s ’11 debut? A second-round crash against Greta Arn. Just another (four) reasons that this might be Kim Clijsters’ Aussie to win.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO

(federer photo future capetown; soderling photo via getty)

sunday survey: water warriors

January 2, 2011

Move over, Jesus! Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal prove that they are superhuman, too, by playing some on-water tennis to preview the upcoming event in Doha.

We’re wondering: who is going to have the bigger and better year? Roger or Rafa?

(atp photo)


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