short balls: nearly french


Is that Mary we see?! Upon closer inspection, no… no, it isn’t. Does this mean Troy can tell the future?? (TSF illustration by Troy Venechanos)

We wonder if Aravane Rezai could become this decade’s Mary Pierce at the French Open? It’s been a decade since Pierce, the on-again, off-again French citizen (according to tennis enthusiasts), won the title at Roland Garros much to her fans’ pleasure. Rezai has already allowed controversy to swirl around her young career, and her Iranian heritage runs parallel to Mary’s history with Canada. Both are bigger-built girls who belt off the baseline and use their hard, flat strokes to make up for less-than-best movement.

It will be interesting to see if this really could develop. Rezai has been steadily rising in the WTA ranks for the last three years, and might use 2010 as her breakthrough year after winning in Madrid last week. In what has mostly been a lackluster year, Rezai beat Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams to win the tournament. Rezai is a respectable 9-6 at Roland Garros, and this year is a guaranteed seed now that she is in the top 20. Could she be a week two contender? Guess we’ll see which Mary… we mean Aravane, shows up.

Looks like the USTA will have plenty of choices when it comes to this year’s Fed Cup final between the U.S. squad and the Italian team. 11 cities have entered bids to hold the November tie. Among the bidders are three cities in Texas (San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth) and two in California (Pacific Palisades and San Diego). Looks like Montgomery, Ala. decided to sit this one out (surprise!). Our guess: one of the Texas sites. No WTA event is held within a solid 1,000 miles of said state.

The battle of the wimpiest sports may have officially been won by tennis. At least for now, it seems. Numbers are way down for the USGA among youth players while the same demographic has seen a steady rise for the USTA. Is Tiger to blame? Not so much, says a Wall Street Journal article about the opposing trends.

Two series caught our eye this past week. Will Leitch got plenty of ink in New York Magazine with his cover story on LeBron James‘s free agency (in the NBA, tennis lovers!). The six-part article was the first such sports cover for the weekly since Rafael Nadal graced the cover in August of 2008. And big kudos to Paula Vergara over at On the Baseline for her two-part look (part one | part two) into the mental side of tennis. We still think it would be hilarious to see a SNL skit with Kristen Wiig throwing a racket or providing thought bubbles during a way-ward, Dementieva-like ball toss. Oh, the possibilities!

Briefly | The WTA is celebrating Gabriela Sabitini‘s 40th birthday and announced that a new sponsor has been found for the much loved (and briefly lost) San Diego tour stop. | Lacoste has shades just in time for the French. | Brooklyn Decker is doing Hollywood. | The USTA has finally decided that it might want to build a few clay courts at the National Tennis Center to help foster some sort of talent. (Or just bring Chris Evert out of retirement?!) | Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij talks to Towleroad, a gay news blog, about coming out (you remember their video, right?). | And below, the USTA takes out an ad on the same blog. Curious? Or not?

(screen grab from


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One Response to “short balls: nearly french”

  1. JoshyT Says:

    Fantastic article. I’ve been following Rezai’s for some time now. Her game has improved tremendously and she now has the ability to compete (and beat) the biggest names in the women’s game. It would be wonderful for French tennis were she to carry on this rich vein of form.

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