Archive for the ‘serena williams’ Category

nike preview: serena’s wimbledon kit

June 18, 2011

Court prep: 2011 Wimbledon 7th seed Serena Williams will defend her singles title in the Nike Smash Lawn Dress. Note the preppy obsidian navy trim around the collar and faux low back (covered with performance-enhancing mesh) of this empire-waisted piece; and the single lines down the center of the front/back of the dress — just enough to cut up all the white and keep her out of wardrobe distractions. Also note that they opted for godets instead of pleats in the skirt. Shoes are the Air Max Mirabella 3.

Buy: Nike Smash Lawn Dress, $85, TW.

More photos: Detail shots of the dress and shoes after the cut…

short balls: just short of sw19

June 15, 2011

Ruffled around the edges. Serena is 1-1 heading into Wimbledon, 2011. She got bright colors (and losing?) out of her system before descending upon London. | More Serena: The younger Williams has promised fans some karaoke sessions while at her first Major in a year. Yep, she’s got a portable karaoke machine. And yes, she’s trying to corral Andy Murray into doing it with her.

Tennis, meet fashion. | Obviously we (and you!) know that tennis fashion is a year-round sort of gig, but the biggest events are Wimbledon and the US Open — at least from a fashion POV. So for tomorrow night’s players’ party at Richard Branson’s digs, the Telegraph in London is laying out which ladies are wearing which designers. Caroline Wozniacki is unsurprisingly rocking Stella McCartney while Serena will be sporting some Burberry. Vivienne Westwood? That honor goes to one Jelena Jankovic. Work it, ladies!

Bring it, Yao! | Li Na is certainly set up for life. Imagine if this chick wins another Slam?! China might demand that it be able to host its own Major. Experts are saying that with her win at the French, Li will surpass Yao Ming, the NBA star, in marketing prowess. We’re a little blown over by that claim, but the Nike-sponsored hard-hitter already has several offers up and running with IMG,  her reps. Li, who currently has contracts with Nike, Rolex and — get this! — Haagen-Dazs ice cream could start to clean up. An industry expert in China puts it this way: “She will bring you the ‘light bulb moment’ as an international professional athlete. She is good at her sports, and her personality combines western civilization and oriental wisdom. She is frank, sincere with a steady and relaxed style,” explained Qiang Wei, a sports marketing director.

Clijsters withdraws from Wimbledon | No, seriously. She’s out. And WTT? They’ve already gone looking for a summer replacement.

Heather Watson is 2011’s Laura Robson … just sayin’.

Wimbledon greats. Ten of them, to be exact. The best ten matches from SW 19’s history. They’re stacked up — oddly? — by BestCollegesOnline.net. This is a great selection! And the video clips are surreal to watch one after the other.

More surreality: Andy Murray hits two (two!) tweeners in win over JWS

Tennis in Times Square. If you wanted more visuals from our post about the US Open tickets sales event in Times Square, TSF contributor and Tennis.com intern Benjamin Snyder put together a pretty snappy gallery. And how about his one-on-one with Judah Friedlander in the captions? We dig.

Pimms with lemonade? On the Tennis Channel website, columnist James LaRosa has conjured up the most hilarious (and ridiculous) Wimbledon drinking game we’ve even encountered. And we love it.

Short(er) balls: Because we know Erwin (and Troy!) care, just a note to say that Mary Kate and Ashley turned 25 on Monday. OMG! | Jon Wertheim? He picks Serena to win Wimbledon. | Sure, Roger Federer is a cute dad, but we don’t think he falls into the “hot” realms of David Beckham. | ATP Executive Chairman Adam Helfant will step down at the end of 2011. | The new home of British heiress Petra Ecclestone? Don’t worry, it has a tennis court. (And cost over $100 million.) | We’ll be at the HSBC exo on Monday with Monica Seles and Jim Courier. We’ll bring the sunscreen (for Jim!) and you guys bring the Grunt-o-Meter.

(Serena image via Getty; Watson vid via WTA)

it’s on: serena makes her comeback

June 14, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Abs, Attitude and … Gatorade? Serena is back…on Twitter (again) with a fierce new outfit. She’s also finally primed for court-time this week, where she’s playing at Eastbourne, along with sister Venus, for the first time since winning Wimbledon last year. Those off-court woes? Serena is passed them. | Draw: Eastbourne

But more about this picture: No, she’s not posing behind a curtain this time and she’s not even rocking the pin-up look from that raunchy video game ad. Plus, who could forget that over-the-top hot pink bodysuit we saw her practicing in a couple months ago?

This time, Serena’s looking sleek and buff (that’s possible, right?) in a dark purple, Nike bra and skin-tight, athletic Capris. Tennis’ Queen Diva is sporting the abs, the curves, the smile of a champion, and, yes, even a Gatorade bottle featuring none other than the 13-time Grand Slam titlist herself.

As Jonathan Scott writes of Serena’s abs and return: “It likely caused a commotion among all the fellow WTA players following her on that medium, too. With all due respect to them, yes, cue the chorus of groans from Serena’s soon-to-be foes. Simply put, the woman looks positively fit.” That she does, Jonathan.

The picture’s caption reads, “Look who I spotted on the @Gatorade bottle…. me!!! That’s G! : )”

In short, it’s great to finally have Serena back, whether you hate her or not. According to her, she was on her “death bed.” Another successful Wimbedon for this G girl? We wouldn’t be surprised if Gatorade shot another promo commercial, just in case…

More from Serena at Eastbourne, below.


(Image via Twitter; Video via the WTA)

short balls: good photos, gays and serena sings (!!!)

May 25, 2011


Snuggly and warm.
One of our favorite parts of Majors is that there are photographers — everywhere. It’s like the worlds of Kim Kardashian and President Obama have combined into one, and these photogs aren’t missing a thing! While the on-court shots can be dramatic and story telling and gripping all at once, there is something about the around-the-grounds photos that you really can’t match. Check out today’s batch from Roland Garros here. | More: All RG photos

Not Herstory, Queerstory. A new book, A Queer History of the United States, looks at the last 500 years of gay Americans. Didn’t think gays stretched beyond Bill Tilden and the roaring ’20s? Not the case. Michael Bronski pens the book which documents gay Americans at every turn of history. One misstep he says the gays made/are making? A push for marriage equality.

USA takeover. No, we’re not talking about the Americans in Paris! (Though, with what we had to start the tournament, wouldn’t you say we’ve had a fine showing so far? BMS, Mardy Fish, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and others have turned in a fine performance.) We mean the fact that USA Network (you know the one — is used to run the U.S. Open!) has taken over a special issue of the New Yorker, eating up the mag’s entire advertising space. The newsstand-only issue (when was the last time you heard such terminology?!) came out on Monday.

She is. Serena Fierce.
 Sometimes you just have to sit back and let Serena do her thing. We’ll never completely understand her, but we don’t think she wants us to. That would just un-glamorize ReRe. It’s been an active month for the inactive player: To start, a man was arrested for allegedly stalking Serena. Then, a week later, Serena posted a revealing Avatar on her Twitter account, only to take it down a week later after online outcry. But Serena has saved the best for the beginning of the French, where we know she would much rather be. How to ring in the third straight Slam that is Serena-less?? By singing Beyonce‘s (OK, Destiny Child‘s) “Survivor.” At karaoke. And putting it up on YouTube. ‘Nuff said. Click the image to watch.

More power ballads:
Remember Justine’s musical musings?

Find a ladder and climb it. We’re digging the new site, TennisLadders.NET — and not just because the NET is in all caps. The site caters to recreational players per their geographical location, pairing you up with a player in your area who is willing and wanting to play. Want to climb the ladder? Work your way up. While the site has a California-heavy following right now, it will eventually be national. Says the TennisLadders team: “We are home of the ‘quick challenge’ where users can challenge each other at the click of a button and report their score back on the site.  Your ranking is automatically adjusted as you report your scores and climb the ladder.” We love good, old fashioned competition. Join up, y’all.

(Ball kids image by FFT via RG.com; Serena vid screen grab via YouTube)

sunday survey: american tears

May 8, 2011

Feels kinda awkward, right ReRe? For the first time ever, no American will be in the top ten come the release of the ATP and WTA rankings tomorrow. The sadder note? Serena Williams — who hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon last year — was the lone remaining Yank in either men’s or women’s top ten. Do you care? Tell us what you think about the lastest American tennis woe.

More: Oracene says no S or V at FO

(Image by kay ef via Flickr)

oof.

May 3, 2011

Watched a little too much coverage of the royal wedding, did we?

Serena Williams in Oscar de la Renta (with a Philip Treacy hat) at last night’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

(image by Getty Images)

bubblicious serena

April 12, 2011

Two — no three! — reasons to love Serena: She wore this. She referred to herself in the third person (see below). And she shared all of it with the world. Welcome back, Rere.

(Serena twit pic)

short balls: jewelry gets ballsy inspiration

April 7, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

We’d hit and wear that: Sure there’s tennis ball furniture, but how about some accessories, too? Simone Preuss of 1-800-recycling.com reveals some “creative uses” for worn-out tennis balls. Preuss writes, “Tennis balls are probably the most difficult of any kind of sports ball to recycle, as the rubber used is not biodegradable. However, about 300 million balls are produced each year, contributing to some 20,000 metric tons of rubber waste.”

Never quite imagined that more could be done than simply tossing those dead balls after an intense hitting sesh, did ya? Well, from bracelets (above) to jar holders to tripods and purses look no further than this post for ideas to glamify your world with a little more tennis love. The only problem, Simone, where’s the how-to guide to make these ballin’ beauties ourselves? Needing it.

We get hashtag fatigue sometimes, too: Looking to check up on the tweets of even more players than usual suspect Serena Williams (who BTW now has over 2 millions followers)? Check out Tennis Players on Twitter. The new website allows fans to check in on all players at all times – in real time! Links go directly to players official pages, just in case you want to further investigate on Twitter itself. Really, this is cool. Oops: #reallythisiscool.

Big game, but how about Playboy fame? Caroline Wozniacki apparently denied Playboy and Maxim, which both wanted the Dane to grace their pages naked, according to a report from Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. She told reporters, “I’m not going to take off all my clothes,” while agent John Tobias continued, “She is still only 20 years [old]. That kind of photo series we’ll keep away from right now.” For more, click here.

Take us with you, BMS?

So maybe her attire is a little outrageous, but that’s why we love you, Bethanie. Well, girl can write, too.

Top 10-er, still: Besides fashion sense, American tennis in general seems to be on a bit of a decline up top with Serena Williams being the only top-ten ranked player after the latest rankings were revealed. Somehow, Serena managed to move up a couple spots despite having not played for months. Go figure. Then again with Serena, it’s better to stop trying and just roll with whatever story she headlines next, especially when it deals with the WTA ranking system.

(Images from 1-800-recycling.com and Twitter)

serena goes … sexy? … in game ad

March 25, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Let’s just call this Serena Williams’ version of a sex tape. While Serena can’t get dirty on the court these days, she’s doing her best to emulate BBF (Best Booty Friend) Kim Kardashian and get steamy – off it. As reported by the New York Daily News, Serena’s commercial for Top Spin 4 may be “too hot for TV.” Dubbed the “world’s sexiest tennis player,” the ad pits her against Rileah Vanderbilt, named the “world’s sexiest tennis gamer” (guess we missed that press release). The two tennis hotties (or drag queens in disguise – as some have commented) wear revealing black leotards, serenaded by a kind of grunting that probably should never be uttered on a tennis court. If that’s not enough, flames spurt around Vanderbilt as she hits an awkward backhand and golden confetti rains around Serena’s purple strands of hair.

Did we really just write that? Yes, read on oh weary one. There’s more.

Serenagate? When Serena is in the picture, there’s always gotta be drama. 2K Sports claims the video was never meant to be released, as reported by Joystiq. The company had this to say about the ad: “As part of the process for creating marketing campaigns to support our titles, we pursue a variety of creative avenues. This video is not part of the title’s final marketing campaign and its distribution was unauthorized.”

Vanderbilt didn’t seem to mind. She released the video herself via YouTube (before “distancing herself from it” by Wednesday), according to the Daily News. Now, however, if you try and search her YouTube for the sexy 57-second segment, you find the words “this video is private.” But really, after this, is anything private, Rileah?

Then, there’s Serena’s own misstep. She posted the following on Monday:

But never actually tweeted the link.

It all seems a little strange, right? Hey, don’t try to think too hard. Just try and “enjoy” this fab, flesh-filled ad while it’s still going viral online.

(photo by 2k Sports via the Daily News)

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…)

sunday survey: the future of the sisters

March 19, 2011

Venus has pulled out of Miami. Serena will return in … October? What is to come of the Lady Williamses?


(photo by russell cheyne/the telegraph)

short balls: march madness

March 18, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

Maria got an eight seed and Caro a nine. Serena? Nowhere to be found. (Screengrab via Esquire.com)

Is tennis (and the world) suddenly in the palm of Maria Sharapova’s hand again? Esquire‘s battle of beauty and search for the sexiest woman alive has the web abuzz during the month of madness. In the brackets, seeded 8th, her first competition is none other than Caroline Wozniacki, the 9th seed. Step aside world no. 1 because against Masha you’re better as Miss Congeniality. Plus, it looks like Esquire’s made up its mind on which blonde to root for: “On the tennis court, we’d probably pick Wozniacki, but on whatever kind of court this competition occurs on, our hearts will always be with Sharapova.” Yeah, cuz she sells ads, y’all! Click here for Esquire’s entire bracket brilliance.

Don’t think we’re done there… a revamped Maria, a revamped website. Reports the WTA, Masha’s actually “the world’s most followed female athlete on Facebook with 3.85 million fans.” Who knew? (Serena must be pissed!) In a statement, Sharapova wrote, “One on one engagement is important to me as my fans continue to provide an honest voice for me.” How does fiancé Sasha Vujacic feel about playing second fiddle to the fans? We’ll find out as that part of Masha’s life becomes more prevalent… er, is that possible? Royal wedding, Russian edition, here we come!

Around the game: Indian Wells action continues to heat up in the California desert as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer advanced over tough opponents in qualifier Somdev Devvarman and American up-and-comer Ryan Harrison. Will they clash in a much wanted and much rarer – at least these days – battle of the titans in the final? Novak Djokovic – with a stunning 15-0 record so far this year – will do his best to prevent it.

For the women, however, we’re left without fan-favorite Kim Clijsters who retired (from her match… not the sport) with a shoulder injury against the two-handed force – on both wings! – of France’s Marion Bartoli a la Monica Seles.

Williams Watch: It’s been tough following the medical drama from the Williams camp, especially Serena’s severe blood clots.  It seems her mental game has also taken a big hit, according to a recent USA Today article. The 13-time major champ revealed just how much the injuries have affected her emotionally. She said, “I definitely have not been happy, especially when I had that second surgery (on my foot), I was definitely depressed. I cried all the time. I was miserable to be around.” | Her Twitter, however, paints a brighter (Serena-fied) picture: “I am feeling Much better Guys thanks again for all the support. I hope to be working out soon. Very soon….  about 14 hours ago via web”

LOVE: We love ESPN the Magazine’s newest plot to distance itself from competitor Sports Illustrated: an annual fashion issue. Need tennis experts? We’re here, ETM.

(maria/sasha images via getty)

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…)

today on TODAY: serena’s health

March 9, 2011

Serena Williams was on this morning’s TODAY Show talking about her health and the blood clot in her lungs. But on a more serious note, what’s up with those flowers? Really, ReRe? Click the image to watch.

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)

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)

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)

serena’s future, polished

October 5, 2010

While most of us tennis folks have known of Serena Williams‘ manicurist aspirations for a little while now, she gave the rest of the world a whiff of her moonlighting by giving Oprah a pedicure on national TV two weeks ago. Not missing a beat, it’s now confirmed that Serena’s inked a deal with nail giant OPI. Nope, it’s not just “major news” — it’s “mayjor.” And judging by what we’ve seen of Ms. Williams’ nail work (exhibits A, B, and C), we can’t help but agree!

(via Racked)

sunday survey: your summer story

September 26, 2010

There was lots of things happening on the pro tennis tours this summer. There were some strange storylines with confusion surrounding the injuries of Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro and a wild US Open culminated with two familiar champions winning in vastly different ways.

We asked earlier this summer what you thought would take shape for the US Open Series, now we’re curious – with the Series past and the year’s final Slam in the books: what was your summer story?

Was it the absence (and off-court activity) of Serena? Was it the mom-can-defend Slam run by one Kim Clijsters? Was it Rafa claiming his ninth major, completing the career Slam? Or did something altogether different capture your tennis eye (like, say, Nadia’s outfit)? Perhaps you were inspired by the runs of Vera or Novak, or loved the story that Sweet Caroline just may prove her #1 ranking after a title in New Haven and an impressive run to the semis. Dare we even mention the Andy Roddick debacle? Maybe that was your fave for other reasons…

Tell us in the comment section below.

(photo by kyliemm via flickr.)

andy and kim at the burberry s/s ’11 show in london

September 21, 2010

Andy Murray, with gf Kim Sears, at the Burberry Prorsum show today at London Fashion week. (Serena was there, too.) Trench coats in python, studded, etc. Dee-lish! We’ll link to the pics from the show as soon as they’re up.

(image via Daily Mail)


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