Archive for November 19th, 2007

venus receives diamond-encrusted tennis ball

November 19, 2007

Venus Williams - Wimbledon jewellery

That diamond-encrusted tennis ball, designed by Gitanjali Gems to help launch Wimbledon’s jewelry line, was presented to Venus Williams by Jewelery Marketing Company CEO Nehal Modi last Wednesday, Nov. 14, in New York City.

In case you’re keeping count, there are 4,300 diamonds on that thing!

(And in case you’re keeping track, Venus was also in town to launch her Steve & Barry’s clothing line, EleVen, with a party and a press conference.)


kolya wants a tan!!

November 19, 2007

nikolay davydenko

What a difference a year makes. Here’s a photo of Nikolay Davydenko at the end of 2006 without a care in the world: he’d just gotten married to Irina, he finished the year at number three, and added four singles titles to his trophy case.

Whodathunk that a year later he’d be embroiled in a nasty match-fixing scandal and get unfairly slapped with a fine for tanking? None of this helped Kolya as he compiled a dismal 1-2 record at the 2007 Tennis Masters Cup (losing to Roddick and Federer). But with one of the tanking fines reversed — and a win over Fernando Gonzalez (involving some fine net play) — the Russian seemed to end his 2007 on a high note. Happy, tired, relieved, and not at all disappointed with his Shanghai play.

Here are some other things Kolya shed light on during the interview after his match with Gonzo:

On his commitment to play the Beijing Olympics –happening in the middle of the U.S. Open Series — in light of his announcement of a lighter tourney schedule in 2008. (Even though Kolya’s style of play is easy on his body, his 2007 playing schedule wasn’t):

“You know, tough questions. Yes, because normally you play for the country, for the Russia. Doesn’t matter where is it Olympic Games in Shanghai, Australia. You need to fly. We fly from America, Cincinnati. Try to prepare, try to play very good in China, and then come back to America. It’s pretty tough. Pretty tough flight. But we try the best.”

And on his post-TMC break in the Maldives:

“For me it’s important I try mentally to recovery and, you know, to be a little bit brown. My color changing (smiling). And then, you know, it’s my happy face coming to Davis Cup final.”

We can’t wait to see your tan, Nikolay. And love it while it lasts — something tells me that Portland’s gloom will suck all the color right back out!

FYI: The Davis Cup World Group Final between Russia and the United States will take place in Portland, Ore. from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2007.

(photo by Getty Images)

focus: lotto’s late run

November 19, 2007

ferrer - federer - shanghai - 2007

A few of you have asked about Lotto‘s latest kits on David Ferrer — the ones he wore all the way through the finals of this week’s Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. I haven’t seen it on any of online shops, but from the timing of release, this seems like a spring ’08 number.

david ferrer - lotto - shanghai

Reminiscent of adidas‘ Powerweb Short Sleeve top (that’s the one Juan Monaco was rockin’ in ’07), the shirt — both in Magma (that’s dark orange) and Black — is decorated with a few metallic graphics including a crest/fleur-de-lis on the left shoulder and the right torso.

And in case you’re curious, there’s a shirtless photo of David Ferrer after the cut…

speaking of round-robin…

November 19, 2007

…isn’t it funny to think about the ATP’s brief dalliance with round-robin draws in earlier this year? The tour hoped “increase the consumption” of the sport by moving away from single-elimination. We bought it: who wouldn’t want to see a player’s head-to-head record against multiple opponents change in a single week?

Unfortunately, a high-profile flub by the Tour chief Etienne de Villiers himself (involving James Blake and Evgeny Korolev at February’s Las Vegas Open) — followed by strong criticism from Roger Federer — kept the round-robin from spreading beyond the men’s year-end tournament (Tennis Masters Cup).

Heh, if only de Villiers knew that this would be the least of his problems in 2007…

the perils of round robin

November 19, 2007

Humility at the top

For as many perks allowed by reaching the year-end top eight of men’s tennis — the glory, the attention, the serious cash, not to mention those crazy year-ending suits — participating in the Tennis Masters Cup (Shanghai) also has a potential downside: losing multiple matches in a week.

In fact, the round-robin draw makes it so a few players have to lose two matches in the week. There’s even a chance that at least one formerly-confident fellow will take an ego beat-down and lose three. I recall Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003 walking off the court humbled and frustrated after losing his third (and final) match. More recently, Guillermo Coria racked up consecutive 0-3 TMC records — in ’04 and ’05.

This year, thanks to Kolya squeaking out a round-robin win over the spent Gonzo, the 0-fer honor went to Nole Djokovic. If it weren’t for the signs of burnout that Novak had coming into the Masters Cup, he’s about the last player of the octet you’d expect to get served a big slice of that humbling pie.

Novak put up a good fight in each performance — and he had his overzealous stage parents cheering him on — so I’m pretty sure the showman and athlete we got to know this year hasn’t disappeared. Something tells us that after some rest in a place “far, far away from everybody”, he’ll come out alright in ’08.

Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the
Los Angeles Times, and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.

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