TSF wants to wish a very merry (and happy!) birthday to our lovely illustrator (and King of Pop), Troy Venechanos.
(photo via facebook)
TSF wants to wish a very merry (and happy!) birthday to our lovely illustrator (and King of Pop), Troy Venechanos.
(photo via facebook)
Remember, you know, when Jennifer Capriati, you know, did press, you know, conferences? We do. The transcripts were littered with ‘You know’s’ all over the place. Though she’s one of the darlings of American tennis, J-Cap never really got, you know, fluid speaking down just right.
In a new PSA for the American Tinnitus Association, Jennifer and her mother, Denise, square off in The Battle of You Know’s. The elder Capriati proved no match for her daughter Jenny. In just three and a half minutes, Jennifer logged in 11 ‘You know’s’ to Denise’s two. We hope this is a sign that her shoulder is healed and, you know, she’s ready to make a comeback.
After the cut: Re-live the cute and refreshing Capriati American Express commercial, circa 2002. (more…)
No, that’s not Andrew Feldman you see, but don’t you dig the dude? I like the wallpaper myself. (Photo by Ulrich Kruener via flickr.)
Today I got the chance to chat with Andrew Feldman, the USTA’s National Volunteer Development Manager and a presenter at Adult Ed’s series on this coming Tuesday night at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Feldman, a self-proclaimed “non-expert” on tennis fashion, will be speaking on the “Evolution of Tennis Costumes: From Bill Tilden to Serena Williams”. Adult Ed, which bills its event as “a monthly lecture series devoted to making useless knowledge somewhat less useless,” is a perfect fit for Feldman’s presentation: “I’m a lifelong tennis player and lifelong sarcastic observer of life.” Sounds like the perfect doubles combo! -NM
TSF: First off Andrew, tell us what you do.
Andrew Feldman: I’m the National Volunteer Development Manager for the USTA. I’ve been here for seven years. Not a lot of people realize this, but the USTA is a non-profit organization, so I help work with our volunteers throughout the country. We do a ton of stuff throughout the country at the grassroots level and I help organize events and provide resources for our volunteers.
TSF: Awesome, sounds like a cool job. So let’s get right to your talk on this coming Tuesday at Union Hall. What’s up with using the word ‘costumes’ in the title over ‘attire’ or ‘outfits’? Was that intentional?
AF: I guess I’m not completely sure why I used ‘costumes’, but I do think there’s an element of showmanship of what the players wear on the court. Partially, that has to do with the sponsors, but when you look at players like Venus and Serena Williams, they want to show off on court, especially Venus with [Eleven]. This isn’t necessarily new, though. We saw this 20 years ago with Andre Agassi and his crazy get-ups and refusing to play Wimbledon because it was a white-attire only event.
TSF: Tell us about your tennis background.
AF: I grew up playing tennis; my whole family plays tennis. I grew up in the sort of Long Island/North Shore tennis world. We had matching outfits and polo shirts and tennis instructors … that’s how I got interested. This idea just kind of popped up recently. I think it’s amusing to see what the players come up with, especially at the Slams, and so why not talk about it, too?
The theme of [Tuesday] evening is “Success Stories”. I’m going to show examples of what I think are successful fashions and a few – in my humbled opinion – that are not.
TSF: It seems like tennis today has a bit of a double standard: the women are criticized for their off court involvement with fashion and modeling while it seems to be encouraged of the men, Roger Federer and all. What do you think about that?
AF: I think there’s somewhat of a double standard. Tennis has crossed over into the celebrity and entertainment business. Coming to an event like the U.S. Open, you’re not just going to a tennis tournament, it’s a celebrity entertainment event. The whole fashion thing is a part of that. I don’t think it distracts the players really. It’s their livelihood, so they make it work on and off the court.
Read on to find out who Andrew thinks are tennis’s best and worst dressed players and his opinion on the worst tennis fashion disaster. (more…)
British politician Nick Clegg, second from left, is pictured back in the day playing some prep school tennis in Westminster. He’s almost as pissed as Liezel Huber. Almost. (Photo via the AP.)
Is the Fed Cup Broken? There was plenty of debate early this week about how much attention was paid to the Fed Cup ties this past weekend. I’ve got to say I was a little surprised that overall coverage wasn’t happening a little more consistently across the board. Even on the Birmingham News‘s web site you had to seek out links for the U.S.-Russia tie, which was happening right there in town! The most complete coverage? That came on the Fed Cup web site itself. Which, as an international event, is not a good sign. Bruce Jenkins pointed out some major flaws in the system (playing for next year’s groups in April; a six month gap between the semis and finals) in a piece on CNNSI.com.
Fashion in Action. We showed you last week that Vince Spadea is designing his own tees, so you gotta love this number inspired by Rihanna‘s pop-tastic hit, “Rude Boy“. If that doesn’t do it for you, head over to Brooklyn’s Union Hall next week to hear USTA employee and fashion buff Andrew Feldman talk about “how (and why) professional tennis players attire themselves for competition at the US Open and other major tennis events” as part of the Adult Ed series. You know we’ll be there. But if you can’t make it to NYC, the NYT has this confusing (and low budget) shoot to give you your fashion fix for the day.
Serena Honored, Still Missing. The WTA is celebrating Serena Williams‘s 100th week at the helm of the rankings. She becomes just the seventh woman in tour history to complete such a feat. It doesn’t seem like Serena has played in 99 weeks, but I guess we should celebrate he Slam success instead of harping on a Hingis-Ivanovic-Safina #1 sitchu, right?
Liezel, The Angry. We’re not sure if Jon Wertheim finds all these gems on the web himself or if he gets a little help from his Mailbag faithful, but he posted this video of Liezel Huber freaking out at Wimbledon a few years back after being hit by a ball struck by Nadia Petrova. The ironic thing, Wertheim notes, is that Huber and Petrova have now partnered together on the dubs circuit.
The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off this last week in New York. There are plenty of feature films, documentaries, shorts and animations to go around. But don’t forget about those artists who get all sweaty — athletes. This year’s festival has put together a healthy selection of sports-related films, including the much-anticipated The Two Escobars, an ESPN film that chronicles the fanatical soccer-loving culture in the country of Colombia by intertwining two (unrelated) Escobar men.
A full film guide can be found here. Oh, and of course there’s a couple of fashion docus to check out, too. Hoping for a new tennis film? Not so much. Looks like we’re still stuck with Unstrung for now…
(photo via tribecafilm.com)
Roger Federer is on the cover of ESPN The Magazine with tagline: Who’s the World’s Greatest Athlete? Roger Federer Looks the Part.
Click the image above to see a quality video of the photo shoot Fed did with the sports mag.
After the cut: Spadea shows us his t-shirt design skills and The Birmingham News captures some Fed Cup draw images you don’t want to miss. (more…)
Thanks to media man Pete Holtermann for posting this updated picture of the construction happening in Cincinnati for this summer’s play there. Check out a full roll of pictures on the Western & Southern’s facebook page.
After the cut: who’s out of Fed Cup (other than Venus!) and what the (completed) construction looks like at the Italian Open. (more…)
While Roger Federer – as usual – shows us what is great to wear on the tennis court, our friends over at the Smashing blog provide a tremendous collection of what just isn’t great to wear on the tennis court through the years. Enjoy!
(photo via roger federer facebook page)
The Comfortable Changeover: You gotta love the peeps at the Family Circle Cup for keeping those couches on court every year. Whether you think the things are plain hideous or completely awesome, you can’t really deny that they add a little bit of home to the court. Was this year the best couch ever? At least maybe the cleanest couch ever. After Patty Schnyder sweated all over this one, an attendant makes sure things are fresh and clean for the next gal.
Record Breakers: Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are doing their best to undue a 37-year-old tennis record: the most folks to ever watch a match. That record was set back during “The Battle of the Sexes” at the Astordome in ’73, but the two Belgian gals are set to compete for a charitable exhibition in a 40,000-seat stadium in Brussels. If you thought Arthur Ashe had bad sightlines, we’re guessing Baudoin Stadium can rival that, especially if they can pack the place.
20 Wins to a Slam Title: The U.S. Open playoffs kicked off this weekend to much fanfare throughout the country. We’ve gotta hand it to the USTA for this one: they’re giving people the opportunity to be a part of the nation’s biggest tennis event directly, and by doing so allowing grassroots tennis to grow in the meantime. The New York Times told the story of two men of different generations battling with a similar dream, while CNN-SI.com’s Bryan Graham took good survey of the quirky field and noticed that in just 21 wins, one of these Joe Schmoes could be a Major title holder.
This Time, is it Bad News? We’re wondering if winnings going up starts to be bad news at some point? Should pro tennis players really be making that much?! Wimbledon announced their new figures for the year. Ay yi yi!
Diversifying the Ladies? Peter Bodo‘s writing showed up on NBC Sports’s web site this week (anyone have inside details about this??) and he was all a-chatter about the Stosur-Zvonareva final in Charleston. Is it a game-changing moment? Perhaps the WTA is on the cusp of a more diversified, unique tour, Bodo suggests. If anything, it will be interesting to see who of the Stosur-Zvonareva-Azarenka-Jankovic-Wozniacki-Peer-Radwanksa-Cirstea crowd actually steps up their game in the not-too-distant future.
(photo by chris smith via the wta web site)
The first professional tennis tournament I ever went to – or professional sporting event of any kind – was the 2002 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University in Palo Alto. My dad and I drove from my Grandma’s house in nearby San Jose for an evening session featuring Lindsay Davenport and Anna Kournikova, and my giddy 16-year-old self mistook all the well dressed 20-something guys in the crowd to be Bay Area gays. It wasn’t until later on in life that I realized they were all just metro straight guys there to watch Kournikova. A boy can dream.
The following night, I ventured to Stanford on my own, scoring a second-row ticket for the evening session that featured Monica Seles and Kim Clijsters on two separate courts. But before I went into the stadium, I took to the grounds, milling about and taking in the sights and the sounds of the tour that I had long dreamed of in my back alley as a kid.
While walking along the corridor of sponsor booths, I felt someone’s hand press against my side gently, and as I turned to see who it was, a large man pushed his way past be. I turned back around to try to understand why he had put his hand on my side, and realized he was escorting a well-known tennis gal through the crowd: Kournikova.
In the time that I realized what had happened, the moment was gone, and Kournikova – cap pulled tightly over her face – made her way through the crowd with little notice, thanks to the shadow the large bodyguard was casting over her.
My run-in with Marat Safin this week reminded me of my first tennis bump-in eight years ago. It also got me wondering: Which tennis player would you like to bump into in a casual setting the most? The least? Let us know in the comments section.
Looking like he was having a tough day of shopping, I bumped into Marat Safin in Soho this afternoon. Safin was joined by a blonde (Russian?!) shopping partner, but he was the one playing the mule, carrying a Ted Baker of London shopping bag and another from Uniqlo.
Safin was casual in jeans and adidas sneaks (of course). Though, I was a little surprised (or was I?!) to see him smoking a cig on their stroll.
… was that Victoria Azarenka isn’t scared to drop the F-bomb. (And she doesn’t tank matches.) Azarenka pulled out with an injury today in her second round match against American Christina McHale at the clay tournament in Charleston.
(screengrab via twitter)
As Sania’s World Turns: There’s no better soap opera on tennis tour right now than Sania Mirza. She was married on Monday to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in an affair that has been showered in controversy.
One Story, One Match: The One Story series, which publishes out of Brooklyn, has its latest publication singing game, set and match. The story is set in the Federer-Sampras battle of Wimbledon circa 2001, with a fictional twist involving three ball kids. After reading it, I give Cheston Knapp two thumbs up for his crafting of the epic changing-of-the-guard match and the story he entwines within Centre Court.
Second to Sania and Shoaib, there’s Todd and Novak: For some reason, the player-coach break-up between Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic seems to be the tennis story of the century. While the break-up doesn’t have quite the political ramifications that Sania and Shoaib carry into their marriage, this story has gotten an absorbent of attention. For Novak, something had to change if he wants to be considered for another Slam. For Todd, well… for Todd, any press is good press.
TSF’s latest installment of our podcast is here! Click on the link to upload it to your iTunes (it only takes a minute) and listen here… TSF Podcast April 12, 2010
Included inside: Our take on Martina Navratilova‘s new battle; a discovery of a Tweeting Lindsay Davenport; talking about the girls of 1999; the epic break-up of Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic; what’s on the horizon for the new-and-improved Andy Roddick; chatting about the Odesnik-Querrey feud; what should tennis do in doping situations; and our predictions for the 2010 clay season.
(photo by .Longshanks via flickr)
Troy and I are returning to the TSF audio board this week for our third podcast. We’re re-capping what’s happened the last few weeks on tour, as well as looking ahead to what the clay season will/can bring. As usual, we’ll make sure to include some TSF-inspired talk, like just when exactly Alexandra Stevenson should retire officially and much, much more.
But wait! We want to hear from you! In the comment section, include a question or prompt you’d like for us to touch on. You’ve got all day today (Monday) to do so, so get to it, kiddies! We’ll make sure to touch on a couple of things you wise souls bring up.
Catch up on our two first podcasts after the cut.
2010 has been a good season for Andy Roddick. Scratch that, a great season. Writes CNN-SI.com‘s Jon Wertheim:
[Roddick] is someone who has spent almost an entire decade residing in the top 10. He is a limited player who has done everything in his power to improve. He is a fighter. He is a professional who takes his career seriously and ambitiously. He is a mensch — the most recent evidence being his participation in the Champions for Chile fundraiser on the eve of the Key Biscayne final. He is also a 27-year-old playing perhaps the best ball of his career. After reaching the Indian Wells final, he went one better in Key Biscayne, taking the title and beating both Nadal and the surgingTomas Berdych along the way. Roddick may or may not ever win that elusive second Major. But it’s worth remembering that players with a lot more native talent have achieved a lot less.
Well said, if I say so myself. So here’s our question this week:
Will Roddick win ‘that elusive second Major’? Does he have it in him? Or will he, as Wertheim writes, be remembered as the guy who worked hard and did the best that he could have? And if he does have a shot at that second Major, where will it be? When will it be?! Let us know in the comments section.
(photo via flickr account prokiller)
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now we are seeing where Jada gets that hair. We were starting to wonder a little… (WTA photo via web site)
The past couple weeks were full of tennis glamour in Miami, and Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters came away from the beaches of Florida with smiles on their faces as they won big-time titles in impressive fashion. We’ve got to hand it to Roddick for continuing to change his game and try to break the top crop of the ATP Tour. Wimbledon 2009 may not have been his final stand in a Major. We’ll stay tuned.
Measuring Beauty: A New York Times article out yesterday touched on feminine beauty taking on a new role as Baylor star basketball player Brittney Griner becomes a household name. Griner stands 6 feet, 8 inches, and has had her sexuality – and gender identity – questioned. But even Stella McCartney insiders recognized her unique look as gorgeous, the article says.
Oh-des-don’t! Things are looking rather bleak for Wayne Odesnik’s tennis future after news broke that vials of human growth hormones were found in his luggage in Australia. Want the full story? Bonnie D. Ford has a tremendous summary here, complete with quotes from other American players. Wondering why Odes is still playing in Houston this week? The charges against him are being investigated and no formal ATP rulings have been made.
Robson, Mississippi: A few hundred miles away from Wayne-mania in Houston, Britain’s Laura Robson is playing in her first event since making the junior final at the Australian Open. Robson joins top-seeded American Lindsay Lee-Waters and second seed Julia Cohen in Jackson, Mississippi for the 25K ITF circuit event.
An unexpected Miami trio and more after the cut. (more…)
Kim Clijsters beat Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 to take the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
She cleans up well, doesn’t she?
Serena Williams hasn’t played a competitive tennis match since winning the Australian Open in January – two whole months. The Queen of Comebacks, Serena said this week that she will not commit to a date of return to the WTA as she nurses injuries. Above, she plays some dirt ball with kids during a trip to Africa last month.
When do you think Serena will return? In time for the French? Wimbledon? Ever?! Can she pull a Clijsters and win a Slam again with little prep? Or is Serena entering the stage of her career where she has to be a little more careful about thinking she can strut in and win? Tell us what you think in the comments section.
(photo via the swf foundation)