Archive for the ‘dubai’ Category

on valentine’s day weekend, some love for shahar peer

February 13, 2010

We’re glad that the folks behind the Dubai Tennis Championships made sure to get a visa for Shahar Peer for this year’s tournament. You may remember all the flack they received after carelessly letting her papers for entry into the United Arab Emirates slip, causing the top Israeli player to sit out the event.

Peer pressure: But thanks to those who rallied around Shahar last year — the Wall Street Journal withdrew its sponsorship, Tennis Channel canceled its coverage, the SEWTA slapped the event with a $300k fine, Andy Roddick backed out of the men’s tourney in Dubai, and defending champ Venus Williams made her 2010 contingent on whether Shahar would be able to play — Shahar’s facing Yanina Wickmayer in the first round.

FYI, she’s getting no special security detail for her time in Dubai. Here’s hoping it all ends well.

Draw: Shahar’s half of the draw includes top seed (and world No. 3) Caroline Wozniacki, Venus, Na Li, and Elena Dementieva. The rest of the top eight — Jankovic, Azarenka, Aggie Radwanska, and second seed Sveta Kuznetsova — are in the other half. (Draw: Women’s singles.)

trophy watch: surf, sand, and sun

March 3, 2009

In Acapulco, both Nicolas Almagro and Flavia Pennetta made it to the finals — like they did last year, but only one of them defended their title.

Almagro upset Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 — revenge from their heated third-round Australian Open match, perhaps? And Pennetta bowed out to Venus Williams in just over an hour. The 6-1, 6-2 win gives Venus her second title in as many weeks.

Fish schools Korolev: The tennis pedigree (he’s Anna Kournikova‘s cousin) didn’t quite help Evgeny Korolev maintain trend at the Delray Beach ITC: up until Mardy Fish‘s 7-5, 6-3 win on Sunday, the tournament’s top seeds had never taken the title.

Last man standing? If Nole didn’t end up bringing home this boat from Dubai, it would’ve been pretty sad. The other top guys — Roger, Rafa, Andys Murray and Roddick — all dropped out for various reasons. Thankfully, he lived up to the challenge and beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3.

i want to wrestle andy murray…

February 25, 2009

…to the ground and give him a proper haircut.

Scoreline: As the second seed at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Murray beat Arnaud Clement 6-2, 6-3 and will face Richard Gasquet in the quarters.

(image via Getty Images)

all quiet on the eastern front

February 24, 2009

There’s enough to deal with: In light of all this Shahar Peer and Sweden vs. Israel Davis Cup madness, you better believe we’re glad that we’ve heard nary a peep about Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic‘s first-round match in Dubai. (Tensions ran high at Serbia-Croatia matches at the Australian Open…)

Scoreline: The Fila-clad Slavs needed to go three sets to decide a winner; Cilic took it 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 to reach the second round, where he’ll face Julien Benneteau. They’re all in the top half of the draw along with top seed Nole Djokovic.

(photos via Getty Images)

in dubai, marat continues to sputter

February 24, 2009

Writing the epilogue: The unpredictable career of Marat Safin has reached some consistency now that he’s steered himself toward retirement sunset.

At this week’s Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships, the eighth seed — bumped up by the absence of the injured Federer (back), Nadal (knee), Davydenko (ankle), Verdasco(ankle), and Roddick (Dubai slapped him in the face).

Too bad he fell in three sets — 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 — to Richard Gasquet.

“I struggled in the beginning with the serve, especially, and returns from the baseline, but I started to get used to it and I started to get better and better,” Safin said. “But unfortunately, it’s a lack of confidence and I didn’t play for a long time after Australia. I played in Marseille, and it’s my second match.”

Meanwhile, after giving his neck a little breather, Marat’s back in business with his charms. Is that the imperial crown?!

Scoreline: Djokovic and Murray are doing just fine in Dubai. We’re expecting these top two seeds to face each other at Sunday’s final.

(photo via Getty Images)

trophy watch: llodra keeps his clothes on, venus makes her case, roddick hits back, etc.

February 23, 2009

Robredo rolls: Spaniard Tommy Robredo has been slowly compiling a successful 2009 (he’s 15-3 in match wins so far), adding to last week’s Brasil Open title a trophy from the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires. As a part of a nine-match winning streak, Tommy took out 2007 champ Juan Monaco 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

Roddick’s revenge: Early bird got The Worm this week when Andy exacted revenge on Radek Stepanek‘s title win over the American at last week’s SAP Open. This time around, at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, the top seed only needed two sets to take out Stepanek: 7-5, 7-5.

As you may have heard, Roddick is skipping this the ATP Dubai stop in support of Shahar Peer. Good for him.

Teenage triumph: And on the women’s side of this combined tournament, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka upset top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the finals of Memphis 6-1, 6-3. This is Victoria’s second title of the year (and of her career). She was merely playing catch-up to Wozniacki, whose breakout 2008 produced three titles.

Venus and Virginie: Speaking of Dubai, a gracious (and henna-free) Venus Williams addressed Shahar’s situation during her trophy ceremony after beating Virginie Razzano 6-4, 6-2.

“I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right,” Williams said. “And I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year.”

Props to Virginie and Asics for maxing out her airtime. They had her in another colorway of her separates, this one in black with pink trim.

French fracas: We’re a little sad that the French smorgasbord in Marseille has come to an end (Arnaud Clement, Youzhny, Tursunov, Dimitrov, Vliegen, Seppi, Safin, Chardy, Bolelli), and even sadder that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga denied us a post-win striptease from runner-up Michael Llodra. But thumbs-up to Tsonga for bagging his second title of the year.

Maria’s maiden title: In Bogota, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Gisela Dulko 6-2 6-3 for her first SEWTA title at the Copa Colsanitas tournament.

(images via Getty Images)

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>>archives: trophy watch

tattoo watch: venus stays noncommittal in dubai

February 19, 2009

venus-williams-dubaiparty09a

Venus Williams applied an elaborate henna tatto for this week’s Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships party. It’s not the first time Venus has flirted with tattoos — remember the disappearing act of 2007?

Scoreline: As she had wished before the beginning of this tournament, Venus will get to play against sister Serena in the Dubai semis. Venus took out Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-3 while top-seeded Serena had no problem overcoming the go-for-broke strategy employed by Ana Ivanovic (Serena won 4 and 4).

Browse: See the rest of our tattoo watch blotter here.

(image via Getty Images)

razzano upsets zvonareva

February 19, 2009

virginie-razzano-dubai09a

Virginie Razzano reaches her second semi of 2009 by upsetting fifth seed Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (7), 7-5 at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

Props to the normally utilitarian Asics for spicing up Virginie’s skort with some pleating.

Scoreline: Up next for the frenchwoman is JJ-killer Kaia Kanepi, who beat qualifier Elena Vesnina in another quarter in their half of the draw. The winner will face a Williams sister in the final.

(image via Getty Images)

kanepi peels jankovic

February 18, 2009

Kaia Kanepi, wearing Australian by L’Alpina, claimed her first top-five scalp by taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 7-5 in the third round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships; she’ll next face Elena Vesnina, who beat Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-1, 4-0 after the Slovakian retired because of the heat.

Jankovic attributed her loss to a bad performance. “This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn’t move properly, and I didn’t see the ball properly,” she said.

“[Kanepi] didn’t have to do too much. Basically, I beat myself. I don’t know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance.”

Aww. What about some praise for your Estonian opponent?

For this tourney, Jelena and ANTA switched back to their first dress silhouette, switching up the color from green to orange. And finally we got a look at her warmup jacket, with a pleated front and ruched cuffs. Does anyone have details on that red and white tote? Doesn’t look like her Bally bag to me…

Bonus round: Kanepi’s official website.

(images via Getty Images)

we’ve come a long way, but there’s a lot left to do

February 17, 2009

Le sigh. Why is this still happening in 2009?

I’m sure you’ve already heard about the madness going on in Dubai: Shahar Peer was denied a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates even though SEWTA head Larry Scott had discussed with the tournament — essentially run by the government — that any player who qualifies to play must be able to do so.

The 45th-ranked Peer did qualify, and was already set to play a first-round match against Anna Chakvetadze. After this last-minute development, lucky loser Ayumi Morita replaced her in the draw.

While there was no exact reason from the government about the visa denial, organizers cited anti-Israeli public opinion in light of the Gaza conflict, the risk of a spectator boycott, and a potential threat to the well-being of a player.

Wall Street Journal Europe, a sponsor of the event, pulled out of its sponsorship obligations. Title sponsor Barclays, though, is sticking to their guns and backing the decision to keep Peer out of the event.

Stateside, Tennis Channel has dropped its coverage of the tournament. Here’s the statement from CEO and Chairman Ken Solomon:

Tennis Channel regrets to inform our viewers and tennis fans that we are canceling our upcoming coverage of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, U.A.E, originally scheduled for this weekend. Unfortunately the event will exclude a single player who has been blocked from entering the country due to her nationality. This is despite her having qualified for the competition via her on-court performance and current ranking.

“Tennis Channel recognizes that this exclusion has been made by state authorities and neither the tour nor tournament directors themselves. However we also honor the role and proud tradition that tennis has always played as a driving force for inclusion both on and off the courts. Preventing an otherwise qualified athlete from competing on the basis of anything other than merit has no place in tennis or any other sport, and has the unfortunate result of undermining the credibility of the very nature of competition itself.”

Meanwhile, other SEWTA players are siding with Shahar even as they play the tournament (Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo). I’m not sure that the solution would have been to boycott the event completely since we don’t know why Shahar was denied a visa. But if it comes to light that the government is simply being intolerant, then the WTA and its players must be sure to skip Dubai next year.

We had such high hopes, especially since Peer got to play in Doha last year. TSF hopes that Dubai makes the right move and allows Israeli player Andy Ram to play in the ATP’s Dubai stop next week.

trophy watch: paul rocks the haarhuis

November 25, 2007

The season might be over, but we’re still seeing trophies here and there…

paul haarhuis - dubai - trophy

Dutchman Paul Haarhuis took out tennis impresario Jim Courier 6-1, 6-4 in the finals of the The Legends Rock Dubai Championships on Saturday. This is the final stop of the year for Courier’s seniors tour, the Outback Champions Series.

In the match for third place, Thomas Muster beat Michael Stich 6-4, 6-4.

Fun trophy, eh? We’ve seen Dubai do better (ships! teapots!), but this is alright for a simple transparent piece of crystal. At least we now know what the outline of UAE looks like.

A pic of Haarhuis (and details of the Dubai tourney) after the cut…

tennis on the boob tube

August 13, 2007

Move over, Mark Philippoussis: Whodathunk that the gays would be really into the sport? References have popped up in some recent reruns of Will & Grace. One joke mentioned Andy Roddick (and his then-romance with Mandy Moore), while another one included Lleyton Hewitt. “Lleyton Hewitt” is blurted out on an American sitcom. Isn’t that wild?

Speaking of boobs…: The Today Show ended their news round-up today with a mention of Tiger Woods‘ latest PGA Championship, after which host David Gregory casually mentioned the golfer’s friendship with Roger Federer. Al Roker, ever with a stick up his ass, teased Gregory by pointing to the front of their desk and sayin, “It doesn’t say SportsCenter, it says Today.” Uh, ok. That’s your reward for David giving the broadcast a personal touch? I swear, Al’s been such an ornery diva since his gastric bypass surgery.

Did you see that Emirates Airlines commercial?: Playing during the Djokovic/Federer match, it showed an old woman getting into a chopper from the Burj Al Arab helipad. The tagline: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” It was so sweet. Good job, Emirates.

Bonus round: Roger received the World Tennis Award at the Champions’ Dinner in London (post-Wimbledon). It was presented to him by Emirates Palace (out of Abu Dhabi). I guess they want a piece of the sporting events pie, too. Why should Dubai get all the attention?

short balls thursday

June 14, 2007

Nadal’s made it: A four-page spread in this month’s GQ followed by his very own article in The Onion. To Americans, Rafa Nadal is no longer just that “tennis player with the massive biceps”.

Guillermo Coria sues over suspension: Another esteemed member of the Argentina Drug Suspension Corral is back in the news. Guillermo Coria is accusing Universal Nutrition of contaminating its multivitamin, which Coria was taking, with steroids. Coria is suing for $10 million in lost prize and endorsement money. (via Sporting News)

She’s a tall drink of Russian…water?: Smirnoff’s new Smirnoff Source comes in what looks like a water bottle, but it’s still 3.5 percent alcohol by volume — a godsend to those underage celebrities, I’m sure. Anyway, Anna Kournikova heads to NYC tonight to host a fundraiser sponsored by this new drink to benefit the Nature Conservancy. (via Business Wire)

Dubai, still: Along with acquiring the season-ending Outback Champions Series event, Dubai might also add Barneys New York to its asset portfolio. (via Tennis Served Fresh and NYT)

NYC tennis, good idea: This event will coincide with Wimbledon. (There are two i’s — get it?)

NYC tennis, bad idea: Can someone explain to me how this relates to the sport at all?

If it ain’t broke, then make it better: Line-calling technology Hawkeye makes its ATP debut in the UK. This time, each player gets three line challenges, plus the extra one if the set goes to a tiebreak. (via BBC)

If the British want champions, the LTA should stop sponsoring them: Uhh, what? (via the Guardian)

roger federer: vogue magazine’s cover story

April 18, 2007

As you may already know, the latest issue of Men’s Vogue has a great profile of Roger Federer by writer Tim Adams.

Nothing out of the ordinary: Adams talks about Roger’s transformation from tempermental juniors player to zen master (yawn), him being possibly the greatest of all time (double yawn), and his friendship with Tiger Woods (zzZzzzZzz).

What’s interesting is Roger’s relationship with the emirate of Dubai, which — although boo because it perpetuates an unsustainable, lavish desert lifestyle (but really, when God gives you oil, you build islands) — is one of the more interesting and beautiful places in the world, if at least architecturally.

And the story also covers his relationship with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, the woman who acts as his personal assistant, fashion guide, companion. How sweet and refreshing to see such a strong bond, especially since womanizing was commonplace the last time tennis players were rock stars.

The photos accompanying the article are here. My favorite:


(He’s wearing Gucci, she’s wearing Dolce & Gabbana. They’re at a bar in this gorgeous hotel.)

Enjoy the article!

(via the fan forum at RogerFederer.com)

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trophies: dubai, vegas, qatar, mexico

March 7, 2007

saguaro
taken from Nikon to Infinity’s flickr

The pro tours were all over the desert this week, playing tournaments in Vegas, Dubai, and Doha. The ATP also had a stop in Acapulco. The trophies looked pretty good this week. We had birds, ships, and even an oversized tennis ball. What else can we expect from Dubai and Doha, right? All but one tournament came out with a generic glass prism with some etching on it (shame on you, Vegas).

All the trophies are after cut. (more…)

hingis conquers fear + how she views the competition

March 5, 2007

Martina, on fear, in an interview with Sue Mott in the Telegraph:

“What stopped me was one thing. Fear. A fear of coming back and losing. Disappointment. Everything was being put on the spot. My name, my reputation. Plus I had been very frustrated with injuries. I had two operations on my heels. For the first few months of retirement, it was wonderful. No stress, no hassle, no travel. I just picked things I wanted to do.

I’m glad she got over all that. She made a good decision to fill the void left by the injured Big Babes. Don’t be too courageous, though, Ms. Hingis. There are some things in life that we still need to fear. Like the outfit they made you wear to promote Dubai.

hingis playing polo in dubai

Not even the appearance fee check you cashed should have let you wear that.

And here’s her take on the lifeblood of women’s tennis:

(C)ompetition, rivalry, is the lifeblood of women’s tennis. “Oh yes, I always want to have revenge when I lose. I don’t like losing to players twice in a row. I don’t see the players as enemies. I never really hated anybody, but I just hate the idea of losing. You can’t think about how you hate the other person, because you have to concentrate on yourself, the right thing to do to win the right point. You think: ‘What do I have to do to make the other person break down’.” It is a ruthless business. Friendships are rare. “Maybe you have to be a little bit aloof. But I think there’s more to life than being bitchy.”

Is this how most of the Tour thinks? Is Miss Congeniality Kim Clijsters really the anomaly?

HawkEye under fire?

March 3, 2007

hawkeye in dubai

Did Rafael Nadal just bark up the wrong umpire chair while playing against Mikhail Youzhny in the Dubai semis? He lost 7-6 (5), 6-3, but only after questioning a call that was questioned: Nadal seemed to have gotten to 6-6 in the first set tiebreak when Youzhny’s shot was called out, but Youzhny challenged, and the HawkEye called the shot in. Nadal saw that it was out, the umpire saw that it was out, (and apparently there was a mark, but I’m not sure how there can be a mark on the “fairly fast hardcourt”) but HawkEye called it in. wtf? Nadal says that having the Hawkeye at the French will bring its ineffectiveness to the surface. Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

a mirage becomes a reality

February 28, 2007

map of dubayy
taken from GMT

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) Tennis Association today announced the launch of the UAE Tennis Ranking Circuit, the Khaleej Times reports. This is the Association’s first step in developing a generation of tennis players who can compete in the ATP and WTA tours (i.e., to continue playing past the age of 18) in both singles and doubles. The seven-tournament circuit goes from mid-April until May.

If you have a sec and you’re not already familiar with Dubai, you should read up (I’ll give you the Wikipedia link. I’d like to point you towards the Real Estate section. That shit’s crazy.)


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