Archive for the ‘profiles’ Category

nyt mag: rafael nadal

June 19, 2009

rafa-nyt-cover

Those aren’t tumbleweeds you’re seeing, folks. They’re crumpled up pages from this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, torn apart in by frustrated fans who wanted to see Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer duke it out for another major title in 2009.

I think Roger will have more pressure on him this year than last. If he can’t string together seven wins in the next two weeks, he doesn’t have a Rafa to blame (will Murray make his mark?). That record-breaking 15th ‘slam is just around the corner…

I haven’t finished reading the profile yet, but it seems to offer the same stuff we already know about Rafa. At this point, it’s more about enjoying the writing of Ms. Gorney. My fave quotes thus far:

Referring to Nadal v. Federer: “But let me just suggest that if there were ever a time to understand why people invoke Shakespearean tragedy and ancient gladiators and so on when they carry on about competitive tennis, now is that time.”

And about tennis in general: “‘You must remember,’ [L'Équipe writer Philippe] Bouin said gently, in his lovely accented English, ‘that in tennis you have to kill the other.’ Not just play better. Sometimes the one who plays better can lose. It’s a sport of splendid cruelty, for all its decorum and finicky trappings; every winning point comes when the other guy, in front of a whole stadium of people staring directly at him, is forced by his opponent into inadequacy. He lunges for the ball but whiffs, he whacks it long, he hits it into the net, he screws up. From the stands, you sometimes see players surrender not because they don’t know how to return the shots coming at them but because the specter of this impending inadequacy has suddenly just taken over their brains. It transpires right in front of your eyes: something sags, and they go sort of limp; you can see their faces and their posture start registering get me out of here.”

Read: Ripped. (Or Torn Up?) by Cynthia Gorney, NY Times Magazine, June 21, 2009.

(screen grab via nytimes.com)

the way of the samurai: tsf interviews sam querrey

February 4, 2009

By Krystle Russin

TSF chats with Sam Querrey about tennis, his new condo, his goals for 2009, and wanting a date with Taylor Swift.

sam-querrey-lasvegas07

Sam Querrey is driving his Range Rover en route to the Home Depot Center, an enormous athletic training facility in Carson, Calif. It’s where you might find David Beckham bending it on the soccer fields. Today, though, it’s all about Sam.

“I just got off a little while ago to get breakfast. I have to practice from 11:00 to 12:30 and then again from probably 1:30 to 3:00, and then I’m going to work out with a trainer from 3:00 to 4:00, and I’ve got to pick up some new ankle bracelets,” Querrey says, firing off a to-do list with nothing but tennis, tennis, tennis.

But this regimen is not without its rewards: Querrey is now the fourth-ranked American men’s tennis player, and in 2008 racked up some notable achievements, including his first title at the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, putting up a fight against Nadal at the US Open, and participating in the Beijing Olympics.

When he’s not focusing on his craft, the 21-year-old Southern California native stays busy adjusting to life on his own. He recently bought a condo in the coastal city of Santa Monica. “It’s cool to have my own place and accomplish that at a young age, and I feel good about myself,” he says. The best part of his pad? “The hot tub.”

(more…)

masha bits, althea gibson’s book, rip brooke astor

August 14, 2007

Chernobyl to get a visit: After getting a surprise from some Russian children at the Acura Classic (above), Maria Sharapova plans to return the favor by visiting Chernobyl — as a U.N. ambassador — sometime after next year’s Wimbledon. (IHT)

The grunting stays out of the bedroom: Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who had a brief romance with Masha after her 18th birthday, reveals why they broke up. Apparently, the “Shriekapova”, as DTL calls her, is totally silent in bed! (Fact or not, this made me chuckle…)

“She wouldn’t make any noise during sex…said. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I really thought, like a lot of guys, that she’d be the loud screaming type. But instead, she just lay there like a dead frog. She even got angry if I started to moan, said it ‘ruined her concentration.’ It was so disillusioning that I went on Paxil for a month afterwards. Really, it was much more of a shock than when I found out there’s no such thing as the Easter Bunny.” (The eXile)

Althea Gibson gets her due: While she may have gotten left out of Venus‘ acceptance speech at this year’s Wimbledon, tennis pioneer Althea Gibson gets her due with Sue Stauffacher’s Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson. The author chose to write about a great athlete with a compelling story: “Given all our American history, I would guess that most kids in the United States haven’t heard about Althea Gibson,” she said. “I’m 45 and I can talk to people my age, and they’ve never heard of her.” (Knopf, $16.99, Buy.)

RIP: New York philantropist and socialite Brooke Astor died yesterday. She was 105.

a gentler hewitt returns in a bowling shirt, plays with rafa

August 7, 2007

Doubles: It’s weird to see two baseliners — Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal — play on the same side of the net. The duo’s entered in this week’s doubles draw at the Rogers Cup.

Lleyton’s renaissance: This most recent chapter in the Aussie’s career — showing off his softer side — can be credited to his new manager, David Drysdale. (SMH)

Yonex’s Summer ’07 lookbook: Clearly someone was watching a little too much of The Big Lebowski during the idea meetings for this summer’s Yonex line. These gawdy U.S. Open Polos are available here.

(Racqonteur did better than me, managing to pry eyes away from the shirts long enough to rant about David Nalbandian‘s “samurai wrap”. While it might not look so hot on this Argentinian, his countryman Juan Monaco and the stylish Roger Federer look just fine in them.)

(photos via Getty Images)

who’s that tall guy?

August 4, 2007

We here at Tennis Served Fresh always get a little verklempt everytime we hear a breakthrough story. Yes, we felt that way even about Alexandra Stevenson before her craziness bubbled to the surface. The latest subject is 6’9″ North Carolinian John Isner, who helped University of Georgia nab the NCAA Men’s Team Championships in 2007.

johnisner-leggmason1.jpg

Just look at those bushy, Gyllenhaal-esque brows.

This week he is tearing through the draw at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, where he faces Andy Roddick in tomorrow’s final.

John was a basketball player until his sophomore year of high school (I’m sure Tim Henman and Gael Monfils are doubly sad losing to a late bloomer).

He also has a very very confident and supportive mother. God bless her cynical soul.

Click here for more photos…

checking in with stefanie and andre

July 31, 2007

The power coupling of Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf — I’ll humor her this one time — continues to make the news:

gorbachev-vuitton.jpg

Posing for Vuitton: I’m so excited that both will appear in the latest Louis Vuitton campaign where “bling is out” and the focus is on LV’s “heritage as a maker of trunks, suitcases and other travel-related items.” The Graf/Agassi ad shows them in a loose embrace in a New York hotel. Other photos show Mikhail Gorbachev riding in a Kruschev-era limousine along the Berlin Wall (photo above) and actress Catherine Deneuve with a Vuitton case in front of a steam locomotive at the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris. All were shot by Annie Leibovitz. (IHT)

Steffi steps up: I pooped my pants yesterday when I read that Steffi and Justine Henin will be playing in an exhibition match in October to benefit Graf’s charity, Children for Tomorrow. I won’t be going to Mannheim, so someone post it on YouTube, ok?

Their post-tennis business ventures: This Bloomberg story goes over all their major projects, including San Francisco restaurants, furniture lines (with Kreiss), and real estate. The latest? A Fairmont Hotel near their Tamarack Resort in Idaho.

adidas collection – SALE: OTB tips us off about a sale at adidas for its Andre Agassi collection. Check out the goods and tell us what you think.

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>> agassi’s memoir, tamarack resort, etc.
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>> the graf-agassi machine
>> the agassi-graf team conquers furniture

short balls: from both sides of the pond, juniors tennis, masha mania continues, etc.

July 18, 2007

Girls — read it and weep: Junior tennis titles do not serve as a predictor of pro success. Of the 20 champions at a Virginia Beach tourney, only two — Lindsay Davenport and Meghan Shaughnessy — cracked the Top 20 and won SEWTA titles. Two others cracked the Top 50. The rest didn’t do so hot. (The Virginian-Pilot via Zoo Tennis)

But it’s not all bad: Tennis.com’s Peter Bodo reminds us that Donald Young is a man who can back up the hype. Justin Gimelstob also chimes in about this 2007 Wimbledon juniors champ.

ESPN continues to tout Sharapova: Even though Serena Williams and Roger Federer have much better tennis credentials than Sharapova, the Russian continues to eclipse them in pop cultural significance. This time, she’s the only tennis player left standing in Page 2′s “Who’s Now” contest.

From both sides of the pond: British Prime Minister shows off his tennis guns while Britney Spears beefs up her arsenal. The pop star was spotted at a toy store picking up a racquet and some balls. Perhaps she’s made another play date with former hitting partner Howie Day?

(OT) From Pringles to Papier Maché: Rumors abound that an Olympic stadium in London could be built out of papier maché. As long as it doesn’t crumble like potato chips, we’ll be fine with it. (Sports Management magazine)

(OT, pt. 2) The new gilded age: Check out this New York Times article on how modern day robber barons deal with their wealth.

short balls friday: grass in NYC, open call for ballkids, racquet stringers, etc.

July 6, 2007

A stringer on stringers: Here’s a New York Times profile on racquet stringers Nate Ferguson and Ron Yu. Interesting tidbit: “(Roger) Federer usually requests three different tensions: high, medium and low. Each racket has three little stickers telling him which it is. He changes rackets every time the balls are replaced by a fresh batch — after the first seven games, then every nine games after that. There is an exception: Federer does not want to serve with fresh strings and fresh balls. If the ball swap is going to occur on his turn to serve, he changes rackets the game before.”

Dress like Bethanie: Tabio in London is where Bethanie Mattek picks up socks for her crazy wardrobe. (via Tennis Week)

Ballkids at the U.S. Open: The audition process is arduous, the job is taxing (throwing balls overhand across the whole court!), but unlike the folks at other Slams, they get paid. (via newsday.com)

nadal-underwater.jpg

Crazy fluff photo opp of the week: Hopeless on grass, Rafa Nadal challenges Federer to an underwater match. (via Daily Mail)

Chew on this: Writer Michael Kimmelman takes a trip to New York City’s only grass courts at the West Side Tennis Club; the site hosted the U.S. Open before it moved to Flushing Meadows in 1978. (via NYT)

short balls: no more rebound ace? what’s next — astroturf at wimbledon?

July 2, 2007

We’re into the second week of a Slam, when matches are fewer and further between, so I figured it’s time to whip out some bits I’d stored for a rainy day…

Ripping out Rebound Ace: Tennis Australia announced that they’re switching from Rebound Ace to Plexicushion courts for next year’s Aussie Open. Hometown hope Lleyton Hewitt welcomes the change (likely because it’ll play much like the U.S. Open, where he won his first GS title), but the traditionalists are up in arms for the exact same reason: the court’s X factor — i.e., how the court behaves depending on the weather, will be no longer. What’s next? Are we letting Wimbledon change to astroturf? (AFP via news24.com)

Cyclops maybe one-eyed, but still scrappy: An interview with another oldie that’s been given the boot at Wimbledon. (via the Times)

Checking in on Sania Mirza: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has recovered from knee injury in time for Wimbledon, and reunites with Israeli Shahar Peer to play women’s doubles.

In case you’re keeping track: Of the Serbians, Novak Djokovic practiced in Munich, Ana Ivanovic in Basel, Jelena Jankovic in Brandenton, Florida, and Janko Tipsarevic in Barcelona. (Roland Garros via Bob Larson)

More on a Serbian: Nole keeps tapes of all his matches. (Charles Bricker)

ATP ‘fraid of fixing: The ATP recently sent out a memo warning its members of the perils of gambling. “You could be the target of organised crime and/or professional gamblers… Gambling on your sport and/or match fixing will corrupt the sport and ruin your career…” (Telegraph)

It refuses to be the red-surfaced stepsister: Not to be outdone by the Brits, Roland Garros will also undergo its own makeover. They hope to have a retractable roof by the 2011 tournament. (Reuters)

Fashion flashback: Remember Balzac? Is that the same company that made skirts for Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario?

Janko on Marat: “Well, Marat is, in my opinion, maybe the most talented player in the world. I think for him — this might sound a little bit harsh, but for him tennis is like a toy, because when it’s interesting for him, no one in the world can beat him. But then when it’s not interesting for him, he just doesn’t, you know, show his talent or his tennis the way he can play, you know.” (Roland Garros, via Bob Larson)

A Kiwi sets us straight: As Marina Erakovic tells The New Zealand Herald, pro tennis can be a lonely venture.

RELATED POSTS
>> Tennis Served Fresh’s Wimbledon coverage
>> short balls archive

stretch and booty #1

June 12, 2007

Stretch and Booty: the nicknames given to 6′ 3″ Jamie Murray and his doubles partner Eric Butorac (can you figure out who’s who?) by Brad Gilbert, who coaches Jamie’s brother, Andy.

The duo looks to repeat the success they had earlier this year (winning back-to-back titles in San Jose and Memphis) on the European grass. They are entered in this week’s Artois Championships at Queen’s Club.

(READ UP: Here’s a profile from The Independent.)

Props to adidas for experimenting with their uniforms. More players should have nicknames emblazoned on their shirts, don’t you think?

(more…)

further reading: what separates Federer from the rest?

May 30, 2007

Roger Federer entered this week’s French Open with a 2300-point lead over world #2 Rafael Nadal. By now we all know the reasons behind this lead. We’ve seen him play. Winners from all over the court, on the defensive, from in between the legs, or around the net post. Backhand overheads. Clutch shots coming out of nowhere.

Science and our curiousity have tried to chip away at how great athletes like Roger come to be. Back in March, Daniel Coyle, via a NYT article attempted to explain the phenomena — not just that of amazing players, but of amazing players from the same geographical area: South Korean women golfers, Dominican baseball players, and seemingly endless supply of Russian tennis players (the latter an enigma that vexes U.S. Fed Cup team captain Zina Garrison everyday, I’m sure). Is it coincidence, or is there a scientific explanation?

Coyle travelled with Elena Dementieva back to her childhood training academy, Spartak (in Moscow), to get some more insight. The academy was the perfect research specimen: it spawned Dementieva, along with Anna Kournikova, Marat Safin, and Anastasia Myskina, all from the same group of kids. On one hand he attributes their talent to biology — “super-athletes” have more myelin in their nervous system — and on the other he cites intense parenting, training, and time investment. Nothing conclusive, but a well-written article.

And this week’s Wired brings up the idea of field sense, a skill “which mixes anticipation, timing, and an acute sense of spatial relations”, and a skill which the writer deems untrainable. But not if Australian Instute of Sport scientist Damian Farrow has anything to say about it. In tennis, he’s developing ways for players to anticipate a serve as early as possible (perhaps even before the ball toss), thus giving the receiver extra milliseconds to react.

The article also mentions unstructured play as a way of developing good field sense (a skill perfected by Martina Hingis during her childhood — her coach/mother Melanie Molitor would feed her balls to hit from all over the court, leaving Hingis to scramble and anticipate where each ball would land).

fashion: if you’re looking for new sneakers…

May 28, 2007

airness-2.jpg

If you’re looking for new shoes, skip the Gola craze and go straight for Airness.

Let’s add to what we already know about this French sponsor of Nikolay Davydenko and Nadia Petrova: here’s a profile from Time about the six-year-old company and the astute entrepreneur who’s behind the whole thing.

(photo via the Airness website. The mini-documentary they’ve uploaded is waay to long, so watch at your own risk.)

short balls: serena talks, federer hits heavy, IMG makes a move, vietnam falls flat

May 17, 2007

Hey, all: I’ve been having lots of fun writing this thing. I hope you’re having fun reading it! Also, we’re on MySpace, so feel free to friend us if you have one.

Now onto the good stuff…

Federer hits a heavy ball: The Advanced Tennis Research Project developed a way to quantify the “heaviness” of a tennis ball. The record holder? By the study’s end, it was one R-Fed hit at Indian Wells in 2004. Bonus: another Men’s Vogue article on Roger, this one from Fall ’05. (via SportsFilter)

Serena shoots off: The Guardian‘s Gaby Wood does a two-part profile on Serena Williams. Serena talks about her sister’s death, her injury layoff, her faith (Jehovah’s Witness), etc. On comparing herself to other tennis greats: “If I thought, ‘Oh, I’m historic,’ my head would be crazy. Honestly, at the end of the day I come home to my dogs and my sister. I have friends, and I cry when I see movies, and I watch reality TV… I’m Serena and that’s all I am. I’ve never considered history.”

(photo of Serena at a party launching Louis Vuitton‘s Spring LOVE collection, and benefitting for Oxfam America)

Tennis from around the world: We’ve told you about tennis in South Africa, tennis in the Middle East, and now we bring you tennis in Vietnam: they’re not doing so hot over there.

Meanwhile, the UAE Tennis Association in Dubai is chugging along; they’re holding a tournament at the gorgeous Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

IMG, always on the move: The sports management firm recently acquired Collegiate Licensing Co., a college trademark licensing agency whose brands includes the Final Four, the Bowl Championships Series, and logos of universities such as Notre Dame and UT. (via Oligopoly Watch)

Tennis Mailbag: Lots of good questions answered by Jon Wertheim in his column this week.

san diego tourney says goodbye to tier I status

May 2, 2007

We’ve heard a lot of hemming and hawing about Monte Carlo and Hamburg losing their Masters Series designations, so here’s a post about the little women:

As a part of the SEWTA’s Road Map 2010, the Acura Classic will lose its Tier I status. And its promoters, Raquel Giscafre and Jane Stratton, are closing up shop instead of fighting the SEWTA’s decision.

(Another unfortunate victim of this change is the USTA, whose U.S. Open Series — an excellent marketing campaign for the summer hard court North American tournaments that has gained traction in the last few years [save for the confusing points race] — will have to be retooled.)

steffi grafThe San Diego Union-Tribune did a story on the duo, who built this tournament into a must-stop for the elite female players. Steffi Graf (right) won here 4 times, Venus Williams thrice, and Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport each racked up two trophies. This tournament also has the distinction of being the last one Graf played as a pro; she retired during her second round match against Amy Frazier in 1999.

amanda coetzer On a personal note: This is the first pro event I ever attended, in 1997. I still remember making the drive to the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad (the host venue). I saw Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario play Sandrine Testud and Monica Seles beat Ai Sugiyama. I even stood in line to get Amanda Coetzer‘s autograph (left).

I’ll be sad to see it go.

RELATED POSTS
>> don’t take tennis too seriously…
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today’s further reading

April 26, 2007

Colette Lewis at Zoo Tennis points out another tennis phenom.

Donald Young was welcomed into the Davis Cup family with a hazing ritual.

– The Toyota Celebrity Classic in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, which runs through Sunday, will have a roster including Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang. Here’s a story in the North County Times about his Chang Family Foundation, coaching Shuai Peng, etc.

– This week’s edition of the Tennis Mailbag, from Jon Wertheim.

– And today’s off-topic story comes from the BBC website, a peek into the lives of Russia’s growing list of billionaires. Many have cottages in the forests outside Moscow.

Enjoy!

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RIP Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)

April 23, 2007

Tennis lost one of its great supporters. The Kremlin has confirmed that Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died of heart failure today. He was 76.

As the world celebrates his life and his significant role in world politics as the first leader of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, we should not forget that he did his part, for better or for worse, to bring tennis into the Russian limelight.

He was there when Russia defeated France in the 2004 Fed Cup final (left), and when Russia beat Argentina for the Davis Cup this past December. He was also around for other matches, like the first all-Russian Grand Slam final at the 2004 French Open.

We’ll miss you, Mr. Yeltsin.

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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)

RELATED POST
>> Sharapova in April Vogue
RELATED ARTICLE
>> Federer to appear in December 2006 Vogue
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the graf-agassi machine

April 16, 2007

graf and agassi at the Ivy

The publicists for Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are working double-time, and their work is clearly paying off.

Save for yesterday’s on-court goof — and even that had a silver lining (Agassi and Graf were in town filming a segment for The Big Give) — press coverage of the couple has generally been favorable.

First there was news of the $5 million memoir and sold-out Idaho resort development.

Then they followed that up with a sweet but totally fluffy piece on Good Morning America. (Video here, transcipt here.)

As the Q rating goes back up, the paparazzi go in for the kill. People published a photo of the whole family in their April 9 issue. (via Celebrity Baby Blog)

And Just Jared posted photos from a dinner the two had at the Ivy in London. Look at Steffi’s outfit! yowza.

RELATED POSTS
>> agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.
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short balls: an american young’un, some french politics, and a belgian study

April 11, 2007

America’s future: With all this recent buzz surrounding Sam Querrey and Vania King, let’s not forget that not too long ago, we couldn’t stop talking about Donald Young. ESPN’s Bonnie DeSimone tells us what he’s been up to.

Political endorsements de rigueur: First Martina Navratilova, then Billie Jean King. Now, it’s Yannick Noah’s turn. Fresh from celebrating his son’s team’s victory over Ohio State, Yannick Noah jumps on the endorsement bandwagon for an upcoming presidential election in France. (via BBC News)

Some French trivia: In case you were wondering, Nicolas Escude‘s brother plays professional soccer. (via UEFA.com)

For those who don’t fear statistical data: A reassuring study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sports Economics concludes that female tennis players don’t play any worse when the odds are against them to win (e.g., because of a lower ranking, or a bad head-to-head record). Makes sense. In fact, the women are likely playing better than usual, since they have nothing to lose.

And if you want even more reading: Consider today’s issue of Court Coverage, and an all-video post from Off the Baseline.

PREVIOUS POSTS
>> davis cup fashion: brazil and canada played by the rules
>> davis cup: learn from the germans
>> amelia island: pretty in pink (and purple)
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short balls: a prodigy, a renaissance, and tennis on film

March 30, 2007

The guys in charge of the scoreboard LOVE her: ESPN’s Bonnie DeSimone profiles one of the players who made noise at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open. The 14-yr-old (and Portuguese) Michelle Larcher de Brito won a third set tiebreak against journeywoman Meghan Shaughnessy in the first round and lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the second.

He has Federer’s number: In case you’re new to the scene and/or know little about giant slayer Guillermo Canas — he’s beaten Federer twice in two weeks — you should read this short column by Justin Gimelstob.

Tennis in Tribeca: American filmmaker Rob Klug premieres his documentary Unstrung at next month’s Tribeca Film Festival. From the TFF website: “Much as Spellbound did for spelling bees, Unstrung exposes the surprising dramas of the amateur tennis world, hitting the road with a handful of high school competitors as they head for the national championship.” (via All These Wonderful Things)

What happens in Vegas…: From Robin Leach’s guest blog post on Luxe Life: Murphy Jensen‘s Tennis Channel show Open Access did a segment out of Las Vegas, coinciding with last month’s Tennis Channel Open. Jensen, along with player Jaroslav Levinsky, visited magician Lance Burton backstage “for an impromptu interview and some more magic tricks. Lance Burton made Murphy disappear upon a request from Levinsky.”

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>> short balls: billie jean king for HRC, sharapova on chernobyl, jon wertheim, etc.
>> short balls: molik, philippoussis, IMG, etc.
>> short balls: andy roddick


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