Archive for the ‘USTA’ Category

short balls: open coverage explodes, around the parties and irene

August 26, 2011

Here we go! The all-out media blitz for the 2011 US Open has begun, the New York Times seemingly sounding the starting gun this morning when Novak Djokovic lived on its homepage for much of the morning with a piece written by Greg Bishop about the all-out transformation of Djoko over the last year: the diet, the game, the ranking and the media appeal. It doesn’t stop there with the Times, which has stories about Irene, finding tennis courts in NYC and qualies of course. But those are just the meat-and-potatoes posts. More? Andy Samburg dresses up (and celebrates like) the best champs from tennis’ past, though he didn’t pull a Djoko and sport a Maria-inspired wig. Check out the hilarious video here.

TSF Vault: Short balls | US Open

Time out: But don’t think the Times is the only one who has it going on. New York magazine has an entire US Open guide section while Time took the time to follow Djokovic around, too. Tennis.com is unsurprisingly all blinged-out, currently with a Richard Pagliaro Q&A with Andrea Petkovic. Their USO-specific page is a looking a little bit like it’s stuck in 1999, though we’re positive that Tignor, Bodo and the rest of the crew will be on the grounds and covering as they always do. TennisNow.com is looking more and more like Tennis.com these days, which isn’t necessarily a horrible thing. But we do enjoy their easy-to-read breeze through the fashion of the men and women at Flushin this year, which is heavily linked to outside sources. CNN/SI gives little/no cover play to the Open on this Friday, but we expect them to beef up coverage as the tourney actually gets underway. No doubt they have frontman L. Jon Wertheim‘s piece on the seeds (he’s all Serena on the women’s side) featured on the tennis page. Tennis Channel wants folks to play in its Racquet Bracket challenge – and we would — if only that meant a date with James LaRosa of Sweet Spot fame. His latest Spot? A drinking game, of course! Oh James! You keep us sober (in life)! ESPN.com doesn’t have any USO coverage on its homepage, either, and hasn’t even pulled the “Tennis” section from out underneath the “More Sports” bar. But the .com side always adds to what TV has going on — which is bigger than ever. ESPN3 went as far as sending out a release to tout their individual coverage that supplements TV. What can we say? We sort of love it.

And the little guys? On the blogosphere, it’s business as usual around the horn. The blogging has been slow for C Note, but the tweeting? Outta control. So much so that Merriam-Webster finally appeased and made “tweeting” an actual, real world. Way to go, C! 52,346 tweets and counting. Down the Line has this hilarious cartoon via Women’s Tennis Blog. Tennis Panorama braved the epic crowds at Macy’s yesterday for the Rafa unveiling of a (shirtless) billboard. Did we expect anything else? Number of Rafa billboards? One. Number of words he spoke on stage? One. (“Hel-lo.”) The-Slice has tasty crumbs from Taste of Tennis last night. And Adjusting the Net is all about Winston-Salem. Someone had to be, right?

short(er) balls: The Post calls Serena’s path (she has Vika in the third round) “easy” for title. | TSF contributor Lindsay Sakraida has NYMag.com’s official preview of the men and women. | We didn’t see this coming: the USTA cancelled Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day because of Irene. Won’t reschedule. | Richard Evans writes on FoxSports.com that this is Mardy Fish‘s big opp. | More 3D tennis from Panasonic and CBS. Should we care? | Pete Sampras and other fellas part of an “Old School” tennis event last night in Murray Hill, Manhattan. | New Haven got all shaken up (and evacuated) after Tuesday’s earthquake. | Lleyton Hewitt? Out of the Open. | Tennis Channel is still battling with Cablevision. #overit | But really, NYT? Who is eating around the grounds. People are just eating in the grounds. | The next great gay film? We sort of think this is it. | Shameless plug: Housing Works has plenty of good sales this fall. In the city for the Open? Live there? Have the ability to shop online? Do. It.

(nytimes.com screengrab; hw photo provided)

 

past&e: after-school success in pdx

July 27, 2011
By Benjamin Snyder

Tennis Served Fresh is always trying to bring you fresh angles of the game. Here, we’ve had contributor Benjamin Snyder pen a repot on a Portland, Ore.-based after-school tennis program that shows how tennis can really shape just a community — not just an online community board. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these things.


It’s summer now, but picture the end of a mild-weathered school day in Portland, Oregon. A group of children of varying ages gather together. They’re getting picked up to take part in an afterschool program. Instead of stepping inside the vehicle that arrives, some kids start running. A coach prompts them to give it their all on the impromptu run. The kids’ destination? The tennis courts.

According to Portland After School Tennis & Education (PAST&E) Executive Director Danice Brown, it’s all about participating and rewards. Those who accept the challenge to run to the local racquet club where the program occurs get the chance to start hitting right away, she explains. The goal? To raise the bar and to “create the student-athlete mentality.”

Offering over nearly 60 at-risk kids the chance to improve their form in the classroom and on the tennis court, PAST&E serves children kindergarten all the way up to high schoolers. The program attempts to develop its students by promoting literacy, an understanding of math and science, nutritional and fitness values, life skills, tennis and friendship. Achieving this goal includes a number of initiatives, including summer programming, tournament play, a tennis academy for high school students, one for younger students and more.

Helping to continue the success these initiatives, however, isn’t always easy. In fact, Brown considers it a battle to secure the funding necessary to keep the at-risk kids her program serves off the streets and on court.

Many times, she’ll get a quick answer from local pros or from the USTA suggesting that she stop worrying about getting together the money required for the child to play competitive junior tennis, which requires paying membership fees, having the money for transportation costs and other miscellaneous payments. What would otherwise be a “drop in the bucket” for some families, can be quite difficult for those that make around $15,000 to $20,000 of annual income, especially as some try to raise six children, explains Brown.

Instead of securing the money required to allow that child to participate in tennis in an organized fashion, some have told her to simply give the kid a racquet and send the young player to the public courts to hit.

Brown, however, has other thoughts. “In North Portland [one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland], you can’t send children to the park; it’s not safe there, and it’s not organized,” she told TSF. “Our center is located in North Portland [at the St. John’s Racquet Center] which is in one of the more socio-economically challenged neighborhoods. It’s the ‘hood.’ There’s a lot of diversity, there’s a lot of gang activity, and there are a lot of elements that work against families and kids.”


Tennis Director Fitz Paccione states that PAST&E blends tennis and education with careful concern for the students involved. “Our main priority is to create a safe environment for children who are from at risk families, families that have high independency on crime, poverty rates very low, live in areas with a lot of gang activity,” he says.Although he and Brown noted that theirs is not the only program to combine tennis and education together — in fact, there are as many as 200 nationwide — PAST&E looks to be taking steps since its reorganization in 2008 to make it stand out from the rest.“I think the difference between PAST&E [and other programs] is that ours is really based on taking into account the entire child in that family,” says Paccione. For instance, getting into the program is completely scholarship based, with each child going through a selection process based on income, need and the confirmation of parental involvement going forward.

“We interview the parents to see if they’re willing to attend the family meeting, turn in report cards, progress reports, go to tennis matches, learn to be the best possible parent they can be, it’s real training for parents who have not had that in their background,” explains Brown.

“Parents really have to sign their name on the bottom line,” she continues. The committee works to determine the children with the most academic and emotional need. “We want that child because we feel that with the extra punch we can give…,we can make a difference in that child’s life.”

Originally, when PAST&E began in 1996 under the leadership of Ernest Hartzog, now one of eight on the program’s board, its goal was “just trying to introduce disadvantaged kids to the game of tennis,” says Brown.

Now, it’s much more.

Read (and see) more on the PAST&E program after the cut.

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6 minutes with … kristin chenoweth

June 14, 2011

Really though, “it must be love.” (Photo by Benjamin Snyder)

If you’re not a New Yorker then chances are you aren’t familiar with the brilliance that is New York magazine. Yes, it has a good national presence, so perhaps you’ve at least heard of these folks. But they have a running feature in their mag that is called “Encounter.” For each “Encounter,” the interviewer documents how many minutes they spend time with their subject, which is then the lead-in to the story itself. So, it could be “86 minutes with” (Gavin Newsom). Or “59 minutes with” (Elizabeth Berkley). You get it.

Yesterday I got the chance to hop over to Times Square on one of those gorgeous, sunny, unobtrusive New York days. The sky was bluer than blue and people were just walking about, as if summer was this sort of trance that made everything else in the world OK. People didn’t to seem to know it was Monday. And — perhaps I was in a little bit of my own tennis geek world — I forgot for a minute that I was in Times Square, that godforsaken place that oozes grossness and I avoid at all costs 99 percent of my time in New York.

But, I was there to meet Kristin Chenoweth – you know, the Broadway name of Wicked slash Glee slash dating Aaron Sorkin slash Promises, Promises fame. Sure, John McEnroe would be there too, and Judah Friedlander even made a sort of surprise appearance (at least in my book). But it was Kristin I was after and I was determined to have my “__ minutes with” … Kristin Chenoweth. How many did I get? Well, six to be exact, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The USTA was putting on this event to kick off its sales of tickets for the 2011 tournament. It was a great gathering on an already-mentioned gorgeous day. There were living legend statues (that’s Francesca Schiavone, right?), as well as tennis players on stilts, the USO trophy to pose with and a 10 & Under tennis court for thrill seekers to hit as many targets in 30 seconds as possible. | Buy: US Open tickets

Johnny Mac was there first (more on that in a second, too!) and he hit for a bit before he was joined by Kristin, who was half his size (while wearing Polo Ralph Lauren heels) and the two chatted and posed and hugged and hit and chatted and posed. It was just what the tennis gods (does Don Budge hold the lightning rod these days?) ordered.

But then it was time for Q&A and I finally got my chance with KC. She’s tiny and cute and stood there in front of the “It must be love” tag line for almost an hour, going through interview after interview, weathering the tennis questions with class and sometimes absent-mindedly playing with the USO trophy lid — you know, the one that fell on Maria Sharapova’s head. But it was Sharapova that we would eventually talk about, because I had overheard that Kristin had had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on her way to Times Square (hence Mac getting there first), and it was the perfect way to open my TSF-esque line of questions in…

Six minutes with … Kristin Chenoweth

TSF: Wardrobe malfunction on your way here. Tell me about it.
Kristin Chenoweth:  
Well Ralph Lauren sent me this shirt and it was down to my knees. So I cut it off.

TSF: In the car?
KC: Actually my assistant cut it. Her name is Julie Trussell. She cut it.

TSF: You trust her with scissors?
KC: Well, not anymore because she cut it too short. [Motioning toward a sliver of exposed belly.]

TSF: No, I think it looks great.
KC:
Is it OK? And Ralph Lauren sent me these shoes [showing me her white heels], but I had to play tennis in them. That was hard.

TSF: But I think Serena would approve.
KC:
Serena would approve!

TSF: Who would you go for fashion advice from? Serena or Maria Sharapova?
KC:
I would go for Maria.

TSF: You would? Have you seen her Cole Haan ballet flats? They’re best sellers.
KC: Which, by the way, makes me want to get them. But, I only wear size four and a half or five. So…

TSF: We’ll send her a memo.
KC: Please!

TSF: If a tennis player or fan came to you for restaurant advice in NYC, where would you send them?
KC: Well there are plenty of well-known restaurants in the theatre community. And then I would want them to come and see shows.

TSF: So John’s Pizza?
KC: Yes! John’s Pizza. I like Joe Allen’s or Cafe Luxembourg on the Upper West Side. Very classy, but not overdone.

TSF: Say you get to go to the US Open for one day and do anything you want — I mean be a player or a line judge or a ball person or be selling beer. What would you want to do?
KC: Oh definitely a ball kid. First of I would never judge. I would be like: ‘Oh my god! You did good! Oh my god I love that shirt!’ [She makes flirty eyes.] I would be the worst judge ever.

TSF: But Johnny Mac would love you.
KC: Right? If I had on my cute heels. And [being a ball kid is] great cardio.

TSF: And you have the size down.
KC: You think I do?

TSF: But at the US Open they’re not ball kids, they’re ball persons.
KC: Well I’m a person of a certain age.

TSF: Who would you rather play mixed doubles with: Johnny Mac or Judah?
KC: John.

TSF: What about Judah’s beard?
KC: I don’t care. John would carry me through it. I just died a thousand deaths [playing with McEnroe]. I was like, ‘You can make a fool of yourself, A. Or you can make a fool of yourself, B.’ But he gave me great tips. I was holding my racquet too far up and he showed me how to hold it correctly. I think that [oversized racquet] is bigger than me.

TSF: Really? If you took your heels off, could you see over the net?
KC: I’d say there’s half of me that could see over the net. I’m 4 foot 11! That whole court [the 10 & Under court] was built for me. Glorified ping pong.

TSF: It’s a 10 & under court.
KC: Shut up.

TSF: OK. We’ll just call it the 4’11 and under court. If you could pick one Broadway star to play doubles with, who would it be?
KC: I’m going to go with Donna Murphy. Here’s why: she’s competitive and she’s usually really good at stuff. I’m going with a woman. We don’t whine and we get shit done.

TSF: What are your plans for the Open? Are you going to go out?
KC: I’m going to go out. I have to bring my mom. She’s a huge tennis fan. Playing with [John McEnroe] is her Barbara Streisand moment. I’m a huge fan of [Patty Smyth].

TSF: How many people can say they got to play tennis with John McEnroe?
KC: That poor man.

TSF: You let him though, right?
KC: Yes, I let him win.

TSF: I’ll see you out at the Open.
KC: I’ll be there!

(Secondary images by TSF)

short balls: the pick comes wednesday

October 26, 2010

On Wednesday afternoon, the USTA will announce at a media luncheon who has been picked to replace Patrick McEnroe as the U.S. Davis Cup coach. McEnroe, who has coached the American squad since 2002, announced at the year’s US Open that he was stepping down from his position as head coach. Jim Courier and Todd Martin, both former players for the Davis Cup red, white and blue made it known almost immediately that they were interested in the spot. Jay Berger, whohas worked as a USTA coach as well as helping out with Davis Cup duties under McEnroe, is also rumored to be in the running.

Pay to know: The career of Lleyton Hewitt might be on the downward spiral, so he and wife Bec Cartwright are making sure to take full (monetary) advantage of the arrival of their third child, a girl. The Hewitts have joined forces with “Text A Star”, a service that allows fans to text a certain number for $2, and the curious fan will be texted back with the name of the little gal. D-Listed took issue with the Hewitts decision to share the information in such a way, crowning the couple their “Dumb Bitches of the Day“. Bundle of joy? Bundle of something…

No bundles of joy: For Ana Ivanovic and golfer Adam Scott, whose split was confirmed last week. Sounds as though the two severed romantic tie in the last few months, which may have helped Ana with her recent resurgence on the WTA Tour. Maybe Ana should monetize her new-found tennis wins with a $2 text service to find out what she ate before each match? Then we could finally get to the bottom of that bathroom problem…

Not enough Muster-d: Luck ran out for Austrian wild card (and former world no. 1) Thomas Muster in the opening round at Vienna today. He was taken down in two (hard-fought) sets against countryman and lucky loser Andreas Haider-Maurer. That didn’t stop Argentinean blog FueBuena to make sure that a Muster reel (from past and present) was up on the blog today, featuring a couple of ’90s gems against Sampras and two great points from his loss today. Keep trucking, Mr. 43!

short(er) balls: The Bryan Brothers put up this video yesterday from a commercial they were supposedly shooting with ESPN. The theme: a 1970s Doublemint gum spin off. Twins abound! | Some fans are really ticked off about the Tennis Channel ticker. Who knew?! Guess they just want their tennis, old-school. | This idea certainly isn’t ‘old school’: the iBall. OnTheBaseline talks with two young minds that have an idea on how to change ball technology in the modern game. | This should be bright too: Maria Sharapova’s engagement ring. Sounds like Mr. Sharapova is well-trained when it comes to his lady’s taste for expensive ($250,000!) jewelry. | And really, we’d love to Andrea Petkovic become much more than Petkorazzi. Girl is upbeat and down to earth. Down with the JJ and up with the Petko. Guess we’ll see what happens, no?

(photo by bill kralovec via flickr)

spotted in the city: the getaway car

October 5, 2010

This is me – well, my POV – driving away from the USTA headquarters in White Plains, N.Y., last week after a morning tour of the facility and all of its office wonderfulness. We’ll have a post up in the near future about my day at the USTA, but I had to escape for lunch with TSF contributor and illustrator extraordinaire, Troy Venechanos. Where did we snack at? Well, let’s just say Janko Tipsarevic would approve…

(tsf photo)

slice me off a piece of section 310

September 9, 2010

Duff Goldman, chef and star of television show Ace of Cakes, whipped up a quick dessert item in the form of Arthur Ashe Stadium and delivered it to the USTABJKNTC on Thursday. Check out which two ladies were first in line for the pieces with the most frosting after the cut. (more…)

big changes for the little ones

September 7, 2010

The USTA put out a press release today, along with this ad (click image above to see video) detailing the changes in the youth game, particularly with kids 10 and under. Along with its new teaching system, QuickStart, the USTA is pushing a more accessible and ready-to-use kit for tennis teaches and enthusiasts to get youngsters out on the court called 10 & Under Tennis.

This ad focuses on the fact that tennis – separate from most other sports – has its young players play the game from the get-go on big-time courts, just like the ones the pros play on. Now, coupled with QuickStart, the USTA will implement that 10-and-under sanctioned tournaments (beginning in 2012) will be on smaller courts, and different teaching techniques, systems and equipment will be available to get kids on the court.

Along with the change in court size, balls will be lighter and not as bouncy (so as to develop hand-eye coordination) and racquets will be lighter and shorter (a better fit to the youngsters’ body sizes).

And if you aren’t interested in this issue whatsoever, just watch the ad… we love the cinematography. Kudos!

For artistic sake, a couple more screen grabs of the commercial after the jump, along with the full text of the press release from the USTA. (more…)

players manage balancing act while prepping for nyc’s big show

August 27, 2010

Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch after meeting the Mets team in Queens on Friday in New York. A day earlier, she was the USTA’s guest of honor at the draw ceremony (AP photo via Yahoo! Sports).

RalphLauren.com pulled out all the stops on Thursday afternoon for an event featuring Venus Williams, in which Venus took questions from online submissions from around the world in a live clinic. At the Sportime Randall’s Island tennis center in New York, Venus was on court for the first time in a public setting since her eyebrow-raising loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But instead of thwacking errors and a look of confusion, Venus was all smiles and tennis knowledge in the clinic, which was hosted by the British TV personality (and former player) Annabel Croft.

Venus, who is the no. 3 seed at the US Open and one of the favorites though she hasn’t been on tour in two months, talked fitness, forehands and gave plenty of tennis tips from her 26 years of experience on the court. The event was hosted by Ralph Lauren and Mercedes Benz, based on RL’s homepage for viewers to log in and watch live while Venus answered questions relayed by Croft. (Watch a full replay of the clinic here or click on the image after the jump.)

“It’s good for me to remember the basics when I’m about to play a big tournament,” Venus said, referring to the Open. Venus partnered with Ralph Lauren in the design of the dress she wore, a white number emblazoned with the logo of Eleven, Venus’s clothing line.

Guests were greeted with sweet mint tea, pistachio ice cream sandwiches and caramelized popcorn on the upper deck at Randall’s Island, which hosts the New York Sportimes during the World Team Tennis seasons. Male models clad in red Ralph Lauren polos dished out the goods as Venus strode through the crowd on her way to hair and make up (this was a live, online clinic, after all).

The clinic was a part of a myriad of events happening in New York this week, which all lead up to the big show at Flushing Meadows starting on Monday.

(more…)

short balls: california girls (and boys)

July 27, 2010

TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. (more…)

summer #2: sticking to (and loving) what works

July 16, 2010

The USTA has stuck with its “It Must Be Love” ad campaign for the 2010 US Open and has just released their series of commercials that will run during the US Open Series. There’s Andy Roddick and Serena Williams joking about Twitter, Roger Federer cautioning the between-the-legs shot and a host of other players in the interview chair for the 30-second spots.

We’re feeling pretty good about round two of this campaign, which was successful last year for the USTA. The humor of the players comes out, but at times you can feel it being forced a bit (ie the Bryan Brothers arguing who is who). While the campaign focused mainly on players who speak brilliant English, our favorite commercial by far is Rafa‘s in his adorable accent.

Nadal: “I love … paaaaaahsta ahn gumbaaas.” You’ve got to watch it to believe it. And of course, ever the fidgety 12-year-old boy that he is, Nadal is kneading a tennis ball in his hands the entire commercial, unable to stay still through the shoot. It’s real and endearing.

Check out all of the commercials on the US Open’s YouTube page via this link.

(screen grab via youtube)

an empty summer day at the bjkntc

June 24, 2010

Was out at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center today in Queens, New York, and snapped this phone shot of an empty grounds. Weird sight. Two months!!

(tsf photo)

short balls: the in-between edition

June 10, 2010

Ed note: We were planning on getting a podcast up for djy’all’s enjoyment this week, but real life got in the way. Check out TSF early next week for a Roland Garros wrap-up and a look-ahead to The Championships, Wimbledon. -NM

In case you missed it in our last post, there is something called the World Cup going on in South Africa. It’s the biggest athletic event of its kind on the globe, and will be happening for the next month (!) as 32 teams battle it out for the cup. The media has covered this event from every possible angle, and I wanted to share a couple of those with you faithful folk. The first is a bit historical and artsy: the history of the World Cup soccer ball (compiled by the NYT). The second is a bit of the shallow variety, but it’s worth it.

While some people might not be very impressed with Maria Sharapova‘s Birmingham warm-up frocks (and we sort of agree), the Russian lady was out in the community supporting the game of tennis for youth and unveiling a mural put together by local artists. The WTA put together a video of the scene (linked above in the image, too).

One former player who knew how to paint the court with winners, Monica Seles, was featured on the WTA’s web site last week. Can she joing the comeback train, too?! She’s our second pick behind Mary, Our Lady of Roland Garrolupe. Seeing as though there are now two Italians in the WTA’s top ten, it wouldn’t be the craziest of things to happen.

Laura Robson was in a bit of hot water over the weekend for quotes that she provided to Vogue UK for an upcoming article in the British pub. From the looks of her Twitter account, Robson got the memo from her PR team to issue some sort of response (later a full press release was issued) and since then has been a rather silent Sally while winning four matches (three in qualifying) at Birmingham. Talk about adding to the pressure for this year’s Championships.

After the cut: Shorter balls and a look at the second-ever outdoor WNBA game (along with the first!). (more…)

short balls: nearly french

May 19, 2010

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.

(more…)

short balls: the comfy version

April 21, 2010

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)

totes mcgotes: more from usta’s green campaign

August 29, 2009

tote-usopen09a

Almost there: The USTA continues in the right direction with this tote, a part of the org’s Green Initiatives program. (They also have a Venus-designed, organic cotton tee; and hats made partly from recycled plastic bottles.)

The undated bag is made of 80% post-consumer waste. Check and check. Next year, they can mine US Open poster art from previous years and print up some vintage designs on these bags. I can’t wait!

Buy: US Open Tote Bag, $5, available on-site or at usopen.org.

short balls: wednesday

August 1, 2007

Does Dubai have a shortage of Nadal mimics?: Gator Jesse Levine got a call from Roger Federer, who flew the lefty out to the Middle East for some hitting sessions. (Times Leader)

Because Roger could be in trouble: A blogger points out that Nadal is nipping at the heels of R-Fed. The Swiss’ number one spot could be in danger.

Grasping at straws: The USTA wants to toughen up their juniors so they signed ‘em up for boot camp. It’s not quite like hitting sessions in a drained out swimming pool, but… (SFSS)

We all have a type, don’t we?: Some hardcore journalism from the Daily Mail, who’s discovered that Boris Becker and ex-wife Barbara Feltus were destined for a romance of some sort; “no fewer than five of (his) lovers have borne a striking similarity” to Barbara, and her current boyfriend is also a scandal-plagued redhead.

Young and out on the field: A great story in the L.A. Times about the current climate for LGB athletes in high school sports programs. For some, it’s good; for some, it’s bad. My one criticism: it would’ve been nice to see how transgender folk are being received…

Stanford through 2012: Unlike its San Diego counterpart (RIP), the Bank of the West Classic in Palo Alto will be around through 2012. (Palo Alto Daily News)

The LTA tries to quantify tennis potential: Tennis mom Judy Murray and the rest of the British gang are really serious about finding future pros. And so they’re having kids go up against a metronome. Let’s hope it works. (Zoo Tennis)

Asia on the fashion map: Much like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka embraces its contribution tennis fashion — i.e., Reebok‘s hot pants look for Venus Williams. MAS Active received the order for the whole outfit (layered top, skirt, and short shorts) four months before Wimbledon. (The Sunday Times)

FYI: Coach Nick Bollettieri charges $900 an hour for his tennis services at his academy in Western Florida. And that’s on top of the $41,100 annual boarding fee. (Times)

WTA and Beijing Olympics hammer out a deal: Countries can send up to six players to the Beijing Olympics. Like in Athens, ITF hammered out a deal to award rankings points for the women’s competition. (IHT)

For the love of the sport (and shirtless men), don’t shut the doors!

July 23, 2007

locker-rooms.jpg

No press in the U.S. Open locker rooms: First the USTA started a campaign to systematically take down every single U.S. Open-related clip on YouTube — a bad move for a sport still struggling to gain mainstream popularity (why miss out on the chance to go viral?) — and last week they added another barrier between athlete and public by barring press from the locker rooms at this year’s tournament.

Instead, reporters will get to chat with players in their dining hall. Hopefully this won’t adversely affect the news, because coverage of tennis in mainstream media is laughable enough as it is…

But hey, at least we have Nole footage from the Roland Garros locker room. Cherish it while it lives in the internet.

(Sports Business Journal)

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>> those shirtless men we talk about
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pan-am games + tennis can be greener

July 21, 2007

The 15th Pan-American Games are currently going on in Rio (July 13-29).

Tennis team: The USTA named the tennis delegation (as was mentioned by Zoo Tennis). The four men on the U.S. team are Stephen Bass of Notre Dame, Travis Helgeson of Georgia, Todd Paul of Wake Forest and Luke Shields of Boise State. And the four women competing in Rio are Audra Cohen of Miami, Megan Falcon of LSU, Natalie Frazier of Georgia and Kristi Miller of Georgia Tech.

“Your face is the Congo!”: The Americans set an unfortunate tone with this stupid scandal last week, but they’ve since recovered to win medals and some support from the Brazilian spectators. (via IHT)

rio.jpg

Going green: What’s most interesting to me about the games is the event’s workforce uniforms: the thread used to make them are created from recycled PET bottles (250,000 bottles were used in the process). The ecologically-friendly dyeing process involved water-based products.

ITF, ATP, SETWA: are you all listening? This is something you should require (or at least incentivize) of all your tournaments. Think about all the clothing made for each ballperson, line official, umpire (not to mention event volunteers, staff, etc.); all the tchotckes, flyers, and food given away (that’s plastic, paper, and wrappers all thrown away); and the energy used to run a tournament (generators? batteries?). There are lots of aways to go green in many aspects of producing and running a tournament, so we should research and implement them.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen a “green” campaign from any major event (or even from any major player). What’s up with that?

short balls: rafa seeks DC change, wade on british tennis, USTA job opening, etc.

June 21, 2007

When he speaks, Davis Cup should listen: Spaniard Rafael Nadal, a dedicated Davis Cup participant, calls for a change in the event’s schedule. Other players may have hemmed and hawed, but if a high-profile player like Rafa offers this advice, the ITF should seriously consider a schedule switch. (Reuters)

The USTA tries a new approach to ‘saving’ tennis: See this post from Zoo Tennis on breeding tennis phenoms. We’re too soft on our kids, they say. I agree.

Djokovic under the influence: Enlisting the help of Australian Mark Woodforde hasn’t quite paid off yet for Nole Djokovic; he crashed in the early rounds of the Artois last week. I hope they cash in during Wimbledon. (The Age)

Tim Henman’s advice: If you choose not to smell the s*&%t, it’s less likely to stink. (Telegraph)

Virginia Wades in: The last British winner of a Wimbledon singles title (1977) says, among other things, that she would not have chosen tennis as a career had there been more opportunities for women in the ’70s. (Guardian)

USTA has an opening: Director of Online Content. (via psfk.com)

My dream U.S. Open Shop

March 14, 2007

In a time when every designer from Stella McCartney, to Proenza Schouler, to Luella Bartley has recognized his noblesse oblige and brought high fashion to the masses; and with retailers like H&M and Forever 21 coming out with new items once a week to feed America’s fashion attention, the USTA should get its act together if it wants to get into the branding fray properly.

While they have made a smart move with their multi-year Ralph Lauren partnership, their soft launch of the U.S. Open 2007 Shop wasn’t. (via TennisNews)

They might as well stay boarded up for a little while longer. Right now all they have are run-of-the-mill tchotchkes like this cd holder:

U.S. Open - cd holder

Eww.

and some shirts:

u.s. open tshirt - white red tshirt - us open

These can’t be the only things you sell in your shop.

I ask: Where’s all the Ralph Lauren?


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