Archive for January 26th, 2010

short balls: a uso trip for you? (or bode.)

January 26, 2010

Grassroots game: The USTA has taken a page out of the American Idol playbook, and Bode Miller is doing his best to be the Kelly Clarkson of the gang. The USTA announced today that a playoff-type tournament will take place across the country from April through June, then continue through the U.S. Open Series schedule, culminating with the winner of the final earning a birth in the U.S. Open qualifying draw. Sound crazy? Miller doesn’t think so. We’re going to go with Jennifer Love Hewitt on this one. All three parts of her name are already tennis-familiar…

Big screen, small screen: If you missed our plug for skater Johnny Weir (and his new documentary) on last week’s short balls, here’s another shot. And who knew the Olympian had his own TV show?! I wonder what he would say about Wimbledon’s all-white rules… ?

William (not Williams) does the AO: Prince William made quite the visit to the Australian Open last week, taking in a Roger Federer match and chatting with the likes of Oracene and Serena; Serena spilled all the beans on SerenaTV. Meanwhile, Mirka might have to worry about Rog and Willy metrosexing it all over the globe together. Who would Harry match up well with?!

Picture this: If you’re ever in search of great sports photos, look no further than the daily collection that the New York Times puts together. And we’re not just saying that because we work there sometimes. But hey, we work there sometimes.

Freeze-frame fanny: Tobin’s right. What is with Venus’s skin-tone undershorts?! So confused.

Spin me, darling: has debuted a new feature to its web site in 2010 called “Daily Spin”. We’re digging the behind-the-scenes sort of coverage, but especially love the commentary from Photo Editor David Rosenberg. If TSF hosted an online panel with Chelsea-Lately-like tennis wit, David would be our first invite.

(photo by M De Vries via


a storm from the east

January 26, 2010

Li Na is the second Chinese player through to the semis of the ladies draw at the 2010 Australian Open. She took out Venus Williams in a tight, three-set match that went 7-5 in the third. Li will play the winner of the Serena Williams/Azarenka quarterfinal.

We kinda see… a lot: We love the boob-enhancing design of the Nike Peek-A-Boo top (Serena’s wearing the dress version). Buy: Peek-A-Boo Tennis Tank in White, Sapphire (blue), Sunbeam (orange), and VIolet Pop (lavender), $60; the Love Game Skirt, $60;

(images via Getty Images)

fresh perspective: an aussie welcome

January 26, 2010

TSF is excited to welcome Tobin Addington to the 2010 blogging team. Tobin holds a masters degree in Film from Columbia University, works as a director and screenwriter, and is a professor at Ramapo College in New Jersey. His tennis love has blossomed over the last few months, and the Australian Open is the first Slam he’s followed end-to-end. Tobin will contribute with a column called fresh perspective, giving his take of the game we all know with a new lens. -NM

I’m new to tennis.  Like, really new.  Six months ago, I didn’t know the difference between a break point and a backhand.  (Okay, so I probably could’ve figured out what a backhand was, but I didn’t care.)

All that changed last September at my local gym when I caught the end of Melanie Oudin beating one of those Russians at the U.S. Open.  I ran about five extra miles on the treadmill to see the end of the match.  (Yes, I know, the Oudin phenomenon was largely a media creation, a story designed to rope suckers like me into paying attention to tennis.  But it worked!)

Now I subscribe to the Tennis Channel, I’ve read all the Jon Wertheim tennis books and Agassi’s autobiography, I check TSF and daily, and I’ve started programming my social life around big matches.  (I even watched the Federer-Del Potro U.S. Open final from my computer at work.  Shhh.  Don’t tell…)

The guys here at TSF have kindly invited me to contribute a post every couple weeks from my perspective as a new (and increasingly avid) fan.  I’m flattered and excited, but I feel more full of questions than anything else.  So I’m hoping you, dear readers, will take me under your collective wing and guide my introduction to tennis.

I’m still figuring out who’s who and what all the rules are.  (Double break points?  Lets?  Slams?)    Heck, I’m still getting the scoring straight.

But I love the personalities, the psychological intensity, the combination of finesse and brutality.  And, yes, the outfits.  (Among the things I’ve already learned from watching tennis that I really should’ve known before: wristbands are used to wipe sweat off faces.  Maybe I’m a little slow, but this never occurred to me before.)

From outside the world of tennis fans, the sport maintains a pristine, genteel image.  Anyone whose read the introduction to Agassi’s biography understands there is so much more to this sport.

It truly is, to paraphrase Wertheim, our most gladiatorial sport.  And I can’t wait for more!

And I have a lot of questions.  First: what’s up with the skin-colored undies Venus Williams wore against Francesca Schiavone? Hello, freeze-frame-fanny shots?!


having our cake… but not eating it

January 26, 2010

Not always about US: Turns out that this Nike Slam Shock tank, being worn by the likes of Gael Monfils (above) and Juan Martin Del Potro (in lime) at the 2010 Australian Open, isn’t available for sale in the U.S. Too bad, since we prefer it to the Slam Shock Crew. Perhaps grass is always greener…?

Still, if you feel the need to channel your inner gargantuan Argentine, pick up Delpo’s Zoom Breath 2K10 shoes, $100; and his Slam Shock Woven Shorts, $50; both at

from roddick, we’ll take what we can get

January 26, 2010

We were on the edge of our seats as the fifth set of that Cilic/Roddick quarterfinal went underway, not knowing whether the experience of the top-ranked American could get him out of that two-set hole he dug, or if the nothing-to-lose attitude of the Croatian newcomer would get him to his first major semi.

In the end, Roddick’s bothersome shoulder (he tweaked it near the end of his match against Gonzo) rendered two of his fingers numb, leading to a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 win for Cilic.

Subtle stripes: As you know, Andy is no Venus Williams; he’s perfectly content playing in plain, drab clothing. So you bet we were happy that he welcomed some bright stripes on the collar of his Lacoste performance polo.

No word yet on when this’ll go on sale. We’ll let you know as soon as we get info.

More pics: A few more pics of the polo (also in black) after the cut…

as dreaded, nadal’s knees give out

January 26, 2010

When we at TSF started talking about our Aussie Open men’s picks — at least from the bottom half of the men’s draw — none of us thought that Rafa Nadal would be the last man standing.

And in fact, his knees thought the same thing. The Spaniard’s grinding game, coupled with the rough courts of at Melbourne Park, ultimately led to his undoing in a quarterfinal match against fifth seed Andy Murray. The defending champion (and second seed) retired from the match while trailing 0-3, two sets down. And lest we forget that Murray actually had a chance at winning the match — Nadal with a lame knee or not — the Scot reminded us at his post-match presser:

“I didn’t know when [Nadal] hurt his knee, when he started feeling it, but from my side, I played very well… I deserved to be up when the match stopped.”

Up next for Murray is a semifinal against Marin Cilic, who scalped yet another top-ten player by beating Andy Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3.

Trojan Horse: Nike decided to dress Nadal in a bold-colored crew (with pinks and oranges) along with hombre plaid shorts. Not exactly menacing, but when your game is doing all the talking, it doesn’t really matter what you wear. Note the Nadal/Nike toro logo on the upper of Rafa’s Courtballistec 2.3s, a special make-up; the retail version has a swoosh.

Buy: Rush and Crush Tee, in white and orange blaze, $60; Rush and Crush Shorts, in white/orange and brown (sold out), $60; Rush and Crush Jacket, in orange blaze (sold out) and white, $100; Bandana, aster pink, $15; Courtballistec 2.3 Men’s Shoe, White/Orange Blaze, white, and black, $120; all at

More pics: Detail shots of Nadal in (and out of) his outfit after the cut…

jo-wilfried tsonga

January 26, 2010

The 10th seed at the 2010 Australian Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is now through to the quarterfinals after a hard-fought win over Nicolas Almagro — 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (6), 9-7. Up next is Novak Djokovic. (Draw: Men’s singles.)

Buy: adidas Competition Seamless Tee, in Acid Buzz, $52,

(image via Getty Images)

five unforced errors, people

January 26, 2010

Zheng Jie has reached her second major semifinal after beating Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Australian Open. Mazel tov.

(image from Getty Images)

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