Archive for the ‘racquets’ Category

short balls: who’s next? PINK & football, TOMS goes Maria + more

October 2, 2011

Who’s next?
We’re sort of obsessed with the art and function-ability of Prince‘s “Who’s Next” campaign, which let’s users click through a barrage of up-and-coming Prince-racquet toters. US Open junior champ Oli Golding gets his own profile page and the youngsters are splashed across the racquet-maker’s homepage in a well-made vid. Who’s next? Whoever doing is doing Prince’s graphics, we say. One more shot of Prince’s crowning campaign after the jump.

Serena and Venus approved?
We sort of have a love/hate relationships with the whole I’m-a-sexy-chick-wearing-an-NFL-jersey thing. If you’re going to wear a jersey, just wear one, right?! But if honor of all things consumer-tastic, we don’t mind the Victoria’s Secret adventure into sports-timate wear. Just for Serena and Venus, we chose to snapshot the Miami Dolphins page above. Zip-up hoodies run for $68 and “Hipster panties” go for $10.50 or three for $25.50. See a couple more items after the jump.

TOMS, too.
Looks like TOMS, the ever-popular shoe among fashionable do-gooders, is taking a lesson from Maria Sharapova.  Following the great success of Maria’s ballet flat for Cole Haan, TOMS announced that on Feb. 15 of next year they’ll begin to sell their own version of the chic shoes (blue suede, picture above). The shoes will retail for $74 to $129. | More: And if you didn’t know already, TOMS is now taking their you-buy-one-we-give-one-away model to eyewear, which has been a popular hit already.

Hey, New Yorkers!
TSF East really wishes that we could be at this one: Gelf magazine is hosting a tennis-centric reading night this Thursday, Oct. 6, at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Who will be there? That’d be the Wall Street Journal‘s Tom Perrotta, Sports Illustrated‘s S.L. Price and L. Jon Wertheim (here’s his latest Mailbag, if you want talking points). The chatting starts at 7:30, but we advise to be there around the 7 p.m. doors-open time.

short(er) balls: Tom Ford
gets the nod from Out magazine readers as the best-dressed gay. Worst? Boy George takes that honor, according to the mag’s brethren. Who was the most versatile of the crew? TSF fave Johnny Weir was fourth in voting for both best AND worst dressed out of 50 fellas. Double axel! | Staying gay: a list of the all-time best queer TV characters. | Reebok‘s EasyTone shoes? Not so toning, says the US government. | Hope Solo is posing sans clothes for ESPN the Magazine‘s body issue. No tennis players are on the to-pose list, as far as we can see. | Need your tennis betting fix? The new site Tennis Prophet allows for interactive chatting with other fans. | Ticketmaster is giving away a free clinic with the Champions Series Tennis tour (Johnny Mac, Sampras, Agassi + more involved) and other gear. You can’t really beat a free deal anywhere, y’all.

Prince and PINK after the cut (and we don’t mean the artists).
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on the 6th day of giftmas: racquet racket

December 17, 2010

Remember the Wilson BLX Blade that we spotted in the city back in September? It’s still been on our mind. The series of Six.One Blades that Wilson has put out have been high quality as a pack, and we’re giving thumbs up to most of the collection. The racquet has a “classic Wilson feel,” which means that you get pin-point accuracy and a good connection with the ball, especially if you want to hit consistently from the baseline. Below the Six.One Tour BLX. And how can you not dig the tan-colored grip on this baby? Classic, indeed. Buy it: on TennisWarehouse for $199.

If you want a racquet with a little bit of a different feel from the Wilson but still the same results, we’re digging Yonex’s EZONE, with a 100-inch head and a 27-inch length. Big-hitters like Monica Seles have favorited these racquets for a simple back-swing and a frame that the ball bounces off of. Buy at TennisExpress for (also) $199.

See our kids’ picks after the cut.

(more…)

“love” offering from across the channel

October 28, 2010

Diplomatic rally? Forget an Andy Murray-Gael Monfils rivalry bubbling up in the near future. How about a Nicolas Sarkozy-David Cameron one? The British prime minister revealed to the public today his gifts from foreign dignitaries, and Sarkozy’s topped this list: tennis rackets. Cameron has been known to be a baller himself, but we’re not so sure of Sarkozy’s skills.

Other gifts on the list included an iPad from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and ties from the Italian prime minister.

What kind of rackets did Sarkozy send? It’s hard to say. Cameron has been pictured with Wilson sticks in the past, but now that he’s a British political big wig, should he be switching weapons? He also played with a Prince racket a few years ago when doing a clinic visit with former British no. 1 Andrew Castle.

(photo via the guardian by dan chung)

spotted in the city: pink is the new black

September 26, 2010

Which way will the plinko chip fall? A few weeks after we were wowed by Wilson‘s Fall 2010 dress, displayed at the US Open by Mandy Minella and Anne Keothavong, we ran across this picture snapped last week of a Wilson racquet. The BLX Blade, perhaps?.

If that’s where Wilson’s headed (i.e., more shades of pink in their offerings), TSF’s on board — even for the guys. (Hey, if Roger and Rafa can pull it off, so can we!) And in case the fellas out there need more convincing, the Spring 2011 collections of Duckie Brown, Loden Dager, and Robert Geller are all spiced up with a little pink.

short balls: tears of joy

July 15, 2010

Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

(more…)

the need for speed

February 19, 2009

The folks at HEAD are wasting no time milking the newest member of their stable, Novak Djokovic, for some Q-rating padding. They have chosen Nole as the main vehicle for a new racquet technology named Speed. (Nevermind that they’ve already had Andy Murray and Marat Safin, right?)

The deets of the stick were hush-hush until Djokovic played with them at the Australian Open (pics), and HEAD moves onto the next step of their campaign with “Speed Lessons by Novak Djokovic”.

You can think of the site, found at speedlessons.com, as a cross between Teen Girl Squad and Palin as President — a mix of animated shorts and other mini-gags (including mouseovers voiced by Djokovic himself).

Look out for a total of six flash-based “tennis lessons”, released about once a week. Much like the hammy Serbian, these shorts should be taken with a grain of salt. Watch ‘em and you’ll know what we mean.

Mousing over the landing page induces a few cute sound bites (e.g., “With a two-handed backhand, you won’t have a free hand for a remote control.”). The folks we talked to at HEAD said that Nole had a good time recording the voiceovers for the site.

And finally, users can take a three-question quiz, after which they can enter to win one of ten Speed racquets autographed by Djokovic.

The global campaign, conceived by an Austrian agency, will culminate with the racquet’s retail launch in late April or May.

HEAD wanted something “new, fresh, and online based because that’s what everybody is,” said a company rep. They’ve included links for Facebook, del.icio.us, Technorati, and Google to help spread the word.

Visit: Speed Lessons.

Scoreline: Djokovic, who retired in the heat against Andy Roddick during the Aussie Open quarterfinals, bounces back after a two-week break to reach the quarters (vs. Mischa Zverev) in this week’s Open 13 in Marseille. Nole hasn’t been looking his best, but has yet to drop a set in two rounds.

La Monf switches to Prince in 2009

November 4, 2008

Gael Monfils

Breakdancer Gael Monfils might not be making as much noise as compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga these days, but he’s still being pegged as one of the sport’s future stars. Racquetmaker Prince recently signed the Frenchman to play with the company’s new line of racquets, slated for release in spring 2009.

He first picked up the new sticks prior to the ATP event stop in Vienna and has notched two top 15 scalps and a finals appearance since.

Prince has been mum about what’s behind this new technology, only saying that it “breaks the laws of physics.” Even Monfils didn’t give us much to work with. “I knew as soon as I hit the first ball with it, there was something different, something better,” he said via a press release. “It is hard to explain, but the holes and the technology made a difference. It just felt right.”

We’ll let you know as soon as we hear more about the new racquets.

(photo courtesy of Prince)

adidas to re-release tennis racquets

September 19, 2008

The three stripes of adidas tennis, already seen on clothing and shoes, returns to racquets when the company revives its equipment line — last hawked by legends Ilie Nastase and Ivan Lendl in the 1980s.

If you don’t know much about these old adidas sticks, check out the amazing photo trove at 80s-tennis.com. That trefoil stencil is sick!

(By the way, I’ve been meaning to write about 80s-tennis for a while. So go check it out. I’ll do a bigger post later…)

In the current incarnation, adidas will produce three ranges to cater to all play levels, and will be named after their signature tennis shoes: the Barricade, Response, and Feather. As far as colors, the Barricades and Response have black/white/red colorways and the Feather — the lightest of the three — will be in white/silver/yellow.

So which of the pros are going to use this for match play? No agreements yet (it’s “a work in progress”, says an insider), but like all other equipment, they’ll probably introduce it to promising juniors with the hopes of getting exposure when the player succeeds on the tour.

Buy: adidas Barricade racquets, $185;Feather range, $165, and Response, $145. Available in the U.S. beginning February 2009.

chanel’s Spring 2008 pink racquet

May 28, 2008

Karl Lagerfeld revisits tennis for his 2008 spring/summer RTW collection for Chanel. While we saw many different colors of this racquet pop up during the runway show, it seems that the bright pink stick is the only one they produced for retail.

Buy: Available for $595 at most Chanel boutiques.

(photo from chanel.com)

could this chanel racquet kill you?

May 23, 2008

If you are fat or a kid (or a fat kid), Karl Lagerfeld wants you rubbed out. For those that don’t quite offend his senses, the misanthrope offers a slower, more subtle catwalk to death in the form of Chanel‘s carbon fiber racquets. Do you want us gone, Karl? Hmmmm?

Davydenko’s legacy might not be match-fixing after all…

April 24, 2008

(By the way, this lighter green is the new color of Prince.)

Two weeks ago, Nikolay Davydenko put together a string of wins at the Sony Ericsson Open beating Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal en route to capturing the biggest title of his career. His play on court, combined with the romantic story of how he switched from the Ozone Tour to the denser string pattern of the Ozone Pro Tour prior to his first round match, and how he used the same frame to march through the draw, are becoming something of tennis lore. His results and outspoken affinity for his “new” O3 racquet, have not only led to a surge in his popularity but created a noticeable spike in demand for the racquet as well.

Read more…

Kolya as Cinderella: racquet and shoes fit

April 9, 2008

Racquet switches are usually done during the off-season to give the player a chance to acclimate to the difference. (Remember James Blake’s unsuccessful affair with Prince?) At the beginning of last week’s tournament, Nikolay Davydenko switched to the Ozone Pro Tour, a racquet with the same frame (”cosmetically”) but with a denser string pattern. Instead of 16 rows of strings, it has 18. This means more control.

(Click here to read more about his new racquet… and shoes!)

goin’ retro: aaron krickstein’s racquet in naples

March 19, 2008

Aaron Krickstein - Naples 2008

In case ya missed it: Aaron Krickstein brought out his Wilson gear (circa 1984, I’d say) at last week’s Outback tournament in Naples, Fla. Like they say, old dogs can’t learn new sticks.

Aaron Krickstein - Naples 2008

And he’s wearing a kit similar to what Pete Sampras wore at the NetJets Showdown two weeks ago.

A little bit of Italy, a little bit of France…

February 28, 2008

armani_tennis_v.jpg

Move over, Karl Lagerfeld; your Chanel stenciled tennis racquets are no longer the only ones for the glam set. French tennis company Babolat recently announced that they’ve partnered with EA7 — that’s Emporio Armani‘s performance line — to design their own gear. The oversize stick, with its 100-square-inch head, incorporates the brand’s current white/silver/black colorway (which can also be seen on Filippo Volandri, who wears EA7 on the court).

Buy: The racquet is available for $345 at all Emporio Armani stores. And FYI, there is only one grip size (“for medium-sized hands,” said the salesman at the store on Broadway). It also comes with a cover.

Another look: Take a peek at Volandri wearing the Spring 2008 EA7 wear (plus his classy accessories) at last week’s Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires after the cut…

we squinted, and we saw some funky stencil jobs

November 27, 2007

These were neither Chanel logos nor portraits of Andre Agassi, but still we were intrigued…

tommy-haas-stencil.jpg

Tommy Haas played with a barebones Dunlop stencil on his racquet at the Stockholm Open last month (right), and used a proper stencil at the Paris Masters Series the week after.

courier-stencil.jpg

Meanwhile, The Legends Rock Dubai had some fun ones, too: Jim Courier rocked the Stanford Financial logo (an silhouette of a crest) on his racquet. Stanford sponsors the rankings on Courier’s Outback Champions senior tour.

haarhuis-stencil-smiley.jpg

And winner Paul Haarhuis played with a… smiley face?

RELATED POSTS
>> racquet stencil: karl lagerfeld’s chanel
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gaming: prince takes on the wii

October 2, 2007

Prince has announced that it will release miniature tennis racquets made specifically for play with Nintendo‘s Wii Sports pack — one of the more popular games on what’s currently the most popular video game console in the world.

While the New Jersey-based sports equipment manufacturer isn’t the first in the market to feed into the Wii Tennis frenzy, this move is a great way for Prince to reach a new audience. At least that’s the hope, says Linda Glassel, their Vice President of Marketing and Brand Image. Seeing the company’s “P” stencil might compel some gamers “head to the sporting goods section… either for the first time or to get back in the game.”

I like that the racquet comes with a built-in grip, which should lessen the chances of the Wii-mote flying out of your hand and breaking something.

But the molded plastic make of the racquet wasn’t exactly jiving with me. To this, Prince’s Zach Perles responds, “It is not like these are a scaled down O3 Speedport; these are safe, fun accessories. We are excited to provide the best racquets to players whether they are top juniors, elite touring pros, or Wii gamers.”

Fair enough. This is only a minor gripe, though. In the end, swinging a stick (of whatever material) does add to the Wii tennis experience. Still, the hardcore tennis fanatic in me wanted a weighted (even life-sized) racquet that would mimic real play. A man can dream, right?

Buy: The Prince Wii Tennis racquets ($14.99) will be available beginning November 15, 2007 at all Circuit City locations as well as online.

(photos by Prince)

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short balls: mardy’s fans, prince nabs isner, and other u.s. open bits

September 4, 2007

We all don’t have our J-Blocks: Here’s fun story of how a college student became part of Mardy Fish‘s cheering section (“Mardy’s Party”?) at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Center Court muzak: Nole Djokovic enjoyed yet another perk of playing the main stage at the U.S. Open. (TNYO)

Sightings: Celebrities might have sheets with threadcounts larger in number than your weekly paycheck, but they love tennis as much as you do. In the past week, Michael Musto interviewed folks about fashion, Gavin Rossdale sat next to Mirka during the Federer-Isner match, while Collin Farrell, Martha Stewart, Newt Gingrich, and the fashionistas from night one all took in some matches.

Prince holds court: Racquet maker Prince announced its addition of John Isner to their stable of players. While this move is a boost for the company (and sales numbers this year are their highest for the decade), Darren Rovell points out that “the very top players who don’t currently use the racket are scared to switch” and they can’t fake their endorsement (i.e., by stencilling Prince’s logo on another brand’s strings) because the O3‘s structure is unique.

Party like it’s fashion week: The annual Hall of Fame Legends Ball holds its own at Cipriani on September 7 (right in the middle of fashion week). Along with toasting this year’s inductees, they’ll also honor Andre Agassi with the Eugene L. Scott Award. (Tennis Week)

(photo via Hansen Report)

wilson throws a party at marquee

September 1, 2007

Wilson did their share of pre-U.S. Open buzz by throwing a party for players, including Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, and Novak Djokovic. They did it at Marquee in Chelsea.

On the big screen they were playing this promo of Roger interviewing himself about the [K]Factor racquets. Funny in concept, but boring in execution.

And at that party, The Tennis Channel had Ivanovic do some reporting. She interviewed, among others, the World No. 1:

Q. The other night you were working as a journalist as well at the Wilson party.
ANA IVANOVIC: It was exciting. It was the first time I did something like that. Tennis Channel asked me to do a feature with me, so I accepted. Also during the night, I was going around and interviewing a few people. I got interview with Roger. That was great.

Q. What did you ask him?
ANA IVANOVIC: I asked him about New York, how much he’s enjoying party. I was actually very surprised to find out that he enjoys shopping.

Q. Is Roger Federer a good interview?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, yeah, he was a lot of fun. I felt weird asking him questions. But it was something different. He was really good actually.

Q. He’s aware of your career and your success?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes. (source)

short balls: masha’s trainer, underground tennis, gay bloggers, bottle or tap?

August 21, 2007

Behind the scenes: The folks who run Juan Carlos Ferrero‘s Equelite Tennis Academy in Spain have started a blog to show what it’s like for the folks behind the scenes. In one post, they interview physical coach Javier Capitaine, who trains with Juanqui and Maria Sharapova (above).

Gay bloggers: Ken of Kenneth in the (212) and Jim Buzinski of OutSports get their due in this funny article by Greg Hernandez (Out in Hollywood, Deuce!) on gay sports bloggers drooling about mostly straight professional athletes. (L.A. Daily News)

Straight writers, too: The Daily News surveyed the women, too. Apparently, female athletes are okay with exploiting their sexual power and the attention they get from male fans. Daniela Hantuchova‘s comment on posing for magazines: “(Female tennis players) all agree and always say we do the talking with our racquets… (but) we can take some time outside the sport to show people a different side of us. In that way, I think it’s a good thing.”

Towards even stronger racquets: Aerogel, one of the world’s lightest solids, has made its way into tennis and squash racquets developed by Dunlop The material can withstand a direct blast of 1kg of dynamite and protect against heat from a blowtorch at more than 1,300 degrees Celsius. Can it help the guys win a match against Roger? (Times)

Having a ball: The Sunday Times features London’s most lavish, with the wealthy now looking to renovate by digging down — sometimes up to four stories (!!) down — to create screening rooms, indoor tennis courts, and swimming pools (some even with diving boards). I guess at some point you just get bored by the conventional ways of spending your cash…

(OT) Ending the “bottled or tap?” question: Talking Tennis writes an ode to NYC’s tap water, and PepsiCo owns up to a smart marketing ploy. (CNN)

For posterity’s sake: A Bud Collins-less NBC Sports extends its broadcasting deal with Wimbledon to include digital media rights to the championships plus online coverage live on NBCSports.com and on mobile. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

(photos via Equelite)

short balls: tennis aprons, djokovic struts in underwear, bud at espn, gold racquets for sale, etc.

August 10, 2007

Fashion trivia: Did you know that women back in the day wore aprons on the tennis court? It was used to hold balls and to protect their dresses from grass stains.

Did you feel it? It might have felt like an earthquake, but don’t worry: it was just some folks fainting after hearing that Nole did a skivvy strut at the end of the ATP Fashion Show in Montreal. I believe a pub used the phrase “butt-hugging underwear”. It goes without saying that Tennis Served Fresh would like a copy of the photo (for achival purposes only, of course). Please send our way.

Fun with Photoshop: The lovechild of J-Cap and Harry Potter is none other than Billie Jean King. (Talking Tennis)

Bud Collins joins ESPN: Just like everyone predicted, there were no qualms with picking up NBC Sports’ sloppy seconds. Bud Collins will now be a part of ESPN (that’s ESPN, ESPN2, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio). Duties will begin with the 2007 U.S. Open and expand to other Grand Slams beginning in 2008. (source)

Ball busters: To confuse us with yet another list (along with rankings, the race to the year-end tourney, and the Lever 2000 Challenge), the WTA puts out a power index which takes into account the speed of a player’s hardest strokes (including forehands, backhands, serves, returns, volleys). The biggest hitters? Venus Williams (94.5 mph), Maria Kirilenko, Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova (90 mph). (via cnnsi.com)

Buying “bling”: If you’re looking to score one of the limited-edition 22k gold [K]Factor racquets made for the Venus and Serena, a few will be available at the Wilson booth at tonight’s East West Bank Classic.

(photo via Manchestser City Galleries)


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