Posts Tagged ‘benjamin snyder’

short balls: the sunday pull-out edition

April 24, 2011

Third is charming, at least for Rog: While he may be the world’s no. 3 tennis player now, Roger Federer is still living the high life. Credit Suisse, one of his sponsors, has a whole page dedicated to the Rog. A Mario Testino photo shoot? Doesn’t mind if he does. But more importantly: is that David Ferrer holding the reflector? Geez, Rog really does live it good.

Oh, how the weekend gets away from us: We certainly wish that we could spend our time wasting away in a coffee shop all weekend, but that never actually seems to be the case. A lovely lament from a real-life barista on Thought Catalog on why hipster barista give you an eye roll when you chirp out your order.

Simon, singing: If you are still in love with the trashy brilliance that is Bravo‘s “Real Housewife” series, then you’re probably soaking up the first few glorious (hideous?!) episodes of the New York installment over the last few weeks. But here’s something for everyone … er, NO ONE. Simon, hubby to one Alex McCord, has a single. Yep, it’s called “I Am Real” and as far as we can tell, none of it is real. Or really him. Or really good, whatsoever.

Click the image below to listen. More: Tennis-inspired music on TSF

Donald’s middle finger gets tweet-happy: Good Friday has never been better for Donald Young. The American journeyman, once a hot commodity for the “future of American tennis” has always had a rocky relationship with the USTA because of reportedly over-zealous parents and a poor work ethic. Now we’re guessing his aforementioned relationship is plainly non-existant after this tweet on Friday, which was followed by an apology and then — deletion of his account. “Fuck USTA!! Their full of shit! They have screwed me for the last time! #enoughsaid” – Donald Young at 5:01:14 pm ET Apr 22nd

Patrick McEnroe‘s supposed response? Not. Happy.

Tina Fey? Is, well, brilliant.

Draw(n) conclusions: A few musings from the draw of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Alabama. (1) Stephanie Foretz Gacon, once ranked as high as no. 63 in the world (now no. 145) reaches the final. (2) Michelle Larcher de Brito, once of grunting infamy, wins five games in a first-round loss. She’s still Portugal’s no. 1 gal at no. 174. No reports on how loud she is now that she’s outta the top 100. (3) Alexandra Stevenson, 12 years after her run to the Wimby SFs, wins two matches before bowing out in straights to eventual winner, Melinda Czink. Stevenson is now ranked no. 250 and has won one WTA-sanctioned match this year (compared to zero last year). (4) Americans were 8-9 overall, mostly thanks to Stevenson and a run to the semis by Allison Riske.

Big props for DFW: The Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008, is getting rave reviews for his piece of work released posthumously, an unfinished manuscript called The Pale King.

Read: DFW’s NYT piece on Federer — a ‘religious experience’

Melzer’s tour BBF? That’d be Philly Petzscher: Following his jaw-dropping win over Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, the ATP had Jurgen Melzer take FB Qs from fans. Our fave exchange is here: Question: Since you stopped wearing your White Adidas hat, you’ve gone on some great runs. Any coincidence? -Nick Leone, United States Melzer: Well… maybe! I thought I was practising really well without the hat so I was a little superstitious in Monte-Carlo, so I stopped wearing it and it went well. Until I start to have a losing streak, I will take the hat away.

The many freaked-out faces of Klaus Goerges: We’re loving this video that Stephanie Myles of the Montreal Gazette put together of Julia Goerges father, using screen grabs from the TennisTV.com livestream. Click Klaus’ frowning face below to watch the whole hilarious thing.

Swinging out: On OutSports.com Cyd Ziegler writes about Bowdoin College’s openly gay tennis coach Colin Joyner and his push for the acceptance of LGBTQ athletes at the collegiate level. Prompting this was the story of openly gay Bowdoin lacrosse player Ben Chadwick. A tough tale: “When Joyner heard about Chadwick, he harkened back to his time as the only openly gay male athlete on campus. It was a lonely time for Joyner in many respects, and he didn’t want Chadwick to be the only one anymore.” Therefore, Joyner started Anything But Straight in Athletics (ABSA) “to help closeted athletes come out by dismantling homophobia in Bowdoin athletics.”

Contributing from Benjamin Snyder

(Federer screengrab via Credit Suisse website; Simon screengrab via NYMag.com; Goerges screengrab via the Open Court blog on MontrealGazette.com)

serena goes … sexy? … in game ad

March 25, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Let’s just call this Serena Williams’ version of a sex tape. While Serena can’t get dirty on the court these days, she’s doing her best to emulate BBF (Best Booty Friend) Kim Kardashian and get steamy – off it. As reported by the New York Daily News, Serena’s commercial for Top Spin 4 may be “too hot for TV.” Dubbed the “world’s sexiest tennis player,” the ad pits her against Rileah Vanderbilt, named the “world’s sexiest tennis gamer” (guess we missed that press release). The two tennis hotties (or drag queens in disguise – as some have commented) wear revealing black leotards, serenaded by a kind of grunting that probably should never be uttered on a tennis court. If that’s not enough, flames spurt around Vanderbilt as she hits an awkward backhand and golden confetti rains around Serena’s purple strands of hair.

Did we really just write that? Yes, read on oh weary one. There’s more.

Serenagate? When Serena is in the picture, there’s always gotta be drama. 2K Sports claims the video was never meant to be released, as reported by Joystiq. The company had this to say about the ad: “As part of the process for creating marketing campaigns to support our titles, we pursue a variety of creative avenues. This video is not part of the title’s final marketing campaign and its distribution was unauthorized.”

Vanderbilt didn’t seem to mind. She released the video herself via YouTube (before “distancing herself from it” by Wednesday), according to the Daily News. Now, however, if you try and search her YouTube for the sexy 57-second segment, you find the words “this video is private.” But really, after this, is anything private, Rileah?

Then, there’s Serena’s own misstep. She posted the following on Monday:

But never actually tweeted the link.

It all seems a little strange, right? Hey, don’t try to think too hard. Just try and “enjoy” this fab, flesh-filled ad while it’s still going viral online.

(photo by 2k Sports via the Daily News)

short balls: tennis goes cross-country

March 23, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Bottom’s on top: It’s official! The classy poster of a woman scratching her derriere in flattering tennis whites has been posted as one of the all-time best-selling posters, according to a recent article in the Guardian. Model and poster will soon be reunited after 35 years for an upcoming event celebrating tennis art, writes Patrick Kingsley. Pictured above, Fiona Walker, now 52, tells all in a piece from the Telegraph. (ed. note: Meanwhile, how cute is Patrick?? TSF is always looking for more freelancers… )

Feeling bi(coastal): Indian Wells is over, and it’s time to move on to Miami for some more fun-in-the-sun at the Sony Ericsson Open. But, before we leave Cali behind, how about news on the Serb we’ve been loving lately, Novak Djokovic? Not only did he thrash Rafa in the final set to take the title, word on the interwebs is Caro has been pining for him, at least symbolically. Move over, Ana – and longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic – this lovely lady has the ranking and the sense of humor Nole just might be looking for these days. Or do you think he’d go for more of a Fiona Walker-type?

Ballin’: Tonight several top players – Nole and Rafa among them – were taking to the soccer pitch for a fundraiser for the victims of the Japan tsunami disaster. If it looks anything like the boys playing a little soccer tennis last summer, we’re sad we missed it.

World order, struck down: So while Novak’s getting the girls, the titles and playing some soccer for a good cause to boot, Roger‘s just plain losing – a lot. Ousted by the Djoker in a three-set semifinal showdown for the world no. 2 spot, Rog also succumbed in doubles with partner Stanislas Wawrinka. Fed suffered a “triple tennis blow” in Cali, says one piece. Now that’s one way to put it – and no, it doesn’t mean what you were hoping it did.

The Devil Watches Tennis: At least Roger has one Anna Wintour to comfort him. The Vogue editor is the subject of a much-talked-about Wall Street Journal magazine piece released online today. What is Anna doing in the lead image of the profile? Watching Rog – on TV.

As if they needed an excuse: Boasting like it’s some sort of change of pace, Miami is getting ready for the SEO with music, parties and … well, tennis. Is that any different than any other time of the year? Our pick: Funkshion Fashion Week. Shows happen all week long, including the Masquerade Motel on Saturday night, a beach-front show that’s already been sold out.

Little lady on the small screen: Dominika Cibulkova is being noticed for more than her small size (she’s just 5’3). For the entirety of the SEO, she’ll be a star on the online reality show Xperia Hot Shots, which is set to “follow the lives of six aspiring stars of the WTA as they try to build their Facebook fan base.” Says Domi: “It is so exciting to be part of this unique campaign … it’s a privilege to be just one of only a few girls selected for this.” While Cibulkova has 4,652 “likes” on FB, we’re curious: is that really her in the profile pic? Coulda fooled us.

(poster photo by paul grover/the daily telegraph; fed and anna by getty images)

short balls: march madness

March 18, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

Maria got an eight seed and Caro a nine. Serena? Nowhere to be found. (Screengrab via Esquire.com)

Is tennis (and the world) suddenly in the palm of Maria Sharapova’s hand again? Esquire‘s battle of beauty and search for the sexiest woman alive has the web abuzz during the month of madness. In the brackets, seeded 8th, her first competition is none other than Caroline Wozniacki, the 9th seed. Step aside world no. 1 because against Masha you’re better as Miss Congeniality. Plus, it looks like Esquire’s made up its mind on which blonde to root for: “On the tennis court, we’d probably pick Wozniacki, but on whatever kind of court this competition occurs on, our hearts will always be with Sharapova.” Yeah, cuz she sells ads, y’all! Click here for Esquire’s entire bracket brilliance.

Don’t think we’re done there… a revamped Maria, a revamped website. Reports the WTA, Masha’s actually “the world’s most followed female athlete on Facebook with 3.85 million fans.” Who knew? (Serena must be pissed!) In a statement, Sharapova wrote, “One on one engagement is important to me as my fans continue to provide an honest voice for me.” How does fiancé Sasha Vujacic feel about playing second fiddle to the fans? We’ll find out as that part of Masha’s life becomes more prevalent… er, is that possible? Royal wedding, Russian edition, here we come!

Around the game: Indian Wells action continues to heat up in the California desert as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer advanced over tough opponents in qualifier Somdev Devvarman and American up-and-comer Ryan Harrison. Will they clash in a much wanted and much rarer – at least these days – battle of the titans in the final? Novak Djokovic – with a stunning 15-0 record so far this year – will do his best to prevent it.

For the women, however, we’re left without fan-favorite Kim Clijsters who retired (from her match… not the sport) with a shoulder injury against the two-handed force – on both wings! – of France’s Marion Bartoli a la Monica Seles.

Williams Watch: It’s been tough following the medical drama from the Williams camp, especially Serena’s severe blood clots.  It seems her mental game has also taken a big hit, according to a recent USA Today article. The 13-time major champ revealed just how much the injuries have affected her emotionally. She said, “I definitely have not been happy, especially when I had that second surgery (on my foot), I was definitely depressed. I cried all the time. I was miserable to be around.” | Her Twitter, however, paints a brighter (Serena-fied) picture: “I am feeling Much better Guys thanks again for all the support. I hope to be working out soon. Very soon….  about 14 hours ago via web”

LOVE: We love ESPN the Magazine’s newest plot to distance itself from competitor Sports Illustrated: an annual fashion issue. Need tennis experts? We’re here, ETM.

(maria/sasha images via getty)

davis cup: feeling the heat in chile

March 4, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

”The Rock” takes on clay: Jim Courier’s now in charge of the US Davis Cup team since Patrick McEnroe’s resignation late last year. While McEnroe did a great job in his decade at the top (including a title win in 2007), we’re looking forward to what Courier brings to the table. Aside from holding the top spot in the ATP rankings, Courier also helped his Davis Cup team to victory in 1992 and 1995. This could be key to getting the US guys winning again. That is, if they’re all still standing. (Get well, Sam!) Oh wells, at least we have Andy.

But save those sighs for his torso, my friends; Roddick’s mere presence doesn’t guarantee relief (nor a win). Since that ’07 title win, it’s been a rocky road for the US Davis Cup squad. While many reasons point to a Chilean shutout by the red, white, and blue in the first round — we’re the heavy favorites with a 4-0 head-to-head –, don’t be quick to discount the host team. Check out these reasons below:

First, the obvious. The match takes place in Chile and that means the play’s on clay. Sure, The Rock understands the stuff — he won two consecutive French Opens –, but the all-star team of Roddick, John Isner, and the Bryan brothers? Not so much.

Second, the pressure’s on. With the Americans favored to win, that underdog mentality could boost Chile onto the second round. Don’t get distracted by the numbers, boys. It shouldn’t matter that they have no one ranked inside the top 150, nor that Fernando Gonzalez is still recovering from his hip surgery. Eyes on the prize!

(By the way, USA Today’s Doug Robson tweeted today about running into Gonzo at the DC presser in Santiago, where the he shared that he plans on returning to the tour before Roland Garros.)

And third, we’ll share this snippet from Chilean captain Hans Gildemeister:”I think the pressure is on America, and I hope tomorrow they are going to feel the pressure on the court…The Americans need to beat us. They have the better rankings, they have a great team, and we are the underdog. I like that.”

And of course an intangible. The Chileans are rockin’ the tall, dark and handsome South American-style to the Americans, well, tall. The US need to step-up more than just their physical game to claim a holistic victory. They need to look good, too, if they want our vote. (Apparently, captain Courier is doing great setting the sartorial tone for the team; even the normally unfazed Roddick chimed in positively.)

So take these reasons with a grain of salt if you must, but it’s going to be a compelling match-up regardless. Bone up: See all the tie details here.

short balls: bad blood — old and new

March 3, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

When it rains… After a gay Sunday night spent feteing the Oscars — both at the Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party and at the beautifully lit Vanity Fair party at the Sunset Tower hotel — Serena’s week has turned sour. The 13-time major champion, who’s been sidelined with a foot injury since last June (her last match was the 2010 Wimbledon final), will likely be out for at least six months because of a pulmonary embolism, as reported by People.com. Williams’ representative, Nicole Chabot: “Monday Serena Williams underwent emergency treatment at Cedars [-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles] for a hematoma she suffered as a result of treatment for a more critical situation. Last week, Serena suffered from a pulmonary embolism [a blood clot in the lungs] which was discovered upon her return to L.A. She had been in New York for doctor appointments for the ongoing issues with her foot.”

If it’s any consolation, Serena, you looked fabulous on those red carpets. We want that brown clutch!

Tour breakdown: The clot raises a slew of questions for the form of the WTA tour, writes ESPN analyst Greg Garber. It looks like Serena’s feeling it, too, according to a recent tweet. We wish you a speedy recovery, Serena!

Well, not all are broken: On a lighter note, former top WTAer Dinara Safina got some buzz by actually winning a match. In her 6-2, 6-0 beatdown of China’s Han Xinyun at this week’s Malaysian Open, Dinara collected her first victory since September. The question is: can she capitalize on the confidence and knock out perennial darkhorse Lucie Safarova?

Presidential treatment: In the second installment of First Lady Michelle Obama‘s “Let’s Move” campaign, tennis is touted as a way to prevent and reduce the rates of obesity in American children. The clip also features the acting chops of Andre Agassi (as ball boy) and Steffi Graf (as Shimizo). Further reading: TSF’s Nick McCarvel writes it up for Straight Sets.

In case you’re not convinced… If you prefer that microsuede La-Z-Boy to DecoTurf, check out Top Spin 4, which drops on March 15 for Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. We’re getting our hands on a review copy and will tell you what we think. Until then, all we know is that it’s more of the same (hey, if it ain’t broke…). Coolest are the “bonus features”, aka additional trailers, developer diaries, and all that fun back-end stuff that warm our cockles, available here: topspinassets.com. (Bonus: one of the trailers.)

Who wears short shorts? In a night of exhibition woes and old rivalries renewed, John McEnroe was leading Ivan Lendl 6-3 in their first-to-eight set match at the BNP Paribas Showdown before retiring with an ankle injury. In retro style, he sported his trademark “circa 1985” short shorts, as he told Patrick McEnroe in an on-court interview after the match. Andre and Pete also played… a better showing than their Hit for Haiti exo, don’t you think?

(images via Getty Images; serena tweet screengrab from Twitter)

short balls: good bye, counselor

February 23, 2011

by Benjamin Snyder

Serena is outta the Nike exo, but staying on as a ref. Think Shino will be there to join her? (Reuters)

Forget becoming an esthetician, Serena Williams is taking on a new career as a lineswoman. The sidelined former no. 1 won’t be playing in a much-anticipated return at the Nike exhibition on March 8. Instead, she’ll be a referee. That’s tough luck for the 12,000 fans expecting to see the 13-time major champion’s form alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Citing the foot injury that’s been kept her out since after Wimbledon, Serena released the following statement: “I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play … as I had anticipated. I’m thrilled, however, to still be able to participate … in the exhibition as a referee during the mixed doubles.”

Is something sketchy going on here? Columnist Greg Crouch thinks so. Taking her place on court is Victoria Azarenka. With Masha and Vika both on court, make sure to bring the ear plugs, Eugene.

Pakistani dubs expert Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi is flashing his pearly whites (and wavy locks) in a recent ad with CloseUp toothpaste. Seriously, Rafa and Fernando, this dude is nipping at your modeling heels. He’s just going for a – er – cleaner approach.

He’s not just a hot head, he’s also an art aficionado. Getting a custom-made sculpture in the process, tennis legend and New York City art collector John McEnroe took to the streets of Delray Beach against Mats Wilander in a game of street tennis as part of the “On the Ave” exo. Although Mayor Woodie McDuffie served as the chair umpire, it didn’t make Johnny Mac bite his tongue or keep the snide remarks at bay. He called Mayor McDuffie’s math “fuzzy” on his way to winning the TB 13-11. “I was down 2-1, and now I’m up 3-1; I like that. Is that how they count in Florida?” McEnroe quipped.

After being honored with work from artists of the Milagro Youth Center, McEnroe said, “This is definitely unique. Anybody that knows about me knows that I’m a big fan of the arts. I’ve been a collector for 30 years since I first made money playing the sport I love… The greatest compliment I’ve received as a player was that I was an artist on the court.” But seriously, what is hanging over his headboard? Oh the things we wonder.

Caroline Wozniacki has reclaimed the world’s no. 1 ranking after winning in Dubai over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kim Clijsters nabbed the distinction from Caro for just one week ago. Kamakshi Tandon and Steve Stignor volleyed back and forth on their thoughts of the flip flop. Whether the system’s flawed or not, expect much more of the Caro-Kim ranking fight in the coming months, especially with Serena playing referee.

Splitsville: “Super Mario” Ancic has called it quits on his ten-year career due to a severe back injury. According to the 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist and former world no. 7, “It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make. I’m only 26 but my body said I would not be able to continue on a high level.” Although he’ll be missed on the tennis courts, expect him to put his energy into a different type of court. The University of Split law grad now plans on pursuing a career as a lawyer. So long, counselor. | TSF Vault: Mario Ancic

(serena and ancic photos by reuters)

a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment

January 26, 2011

Benjamin Snyder contributes to Fortune.com and writes for his blog, TenaciouslyTennis.com. He serves as an editor for Goucher [Md.] College’s newspaper, The Quindecim, and plays for the college’s varsity tennis team. Benjamin swears that he is distantly related to WTA veteran Patty Schnyder. Today he pens a letter to Justine Henin. From the tennis establishment.

Dear Justine,
What happened? You’re retiring, again? After everything you’ve been through, you’re letting an elbow injury prevent you from playing for good? Fine. It’s not like any other big name players are sidelined right now. Oh, wait. Sorry, Serena and Venus….

But let’s get this straight: Kim wins the US Open as a mom, and you decide it’s time to hit the courts again. You seem jealous that she’s getting all the attention. You’ve never been best friends with Kim, especially with such an intense rivalry since childhood. Plus, there’s that time her father accused you of taking drugs in 2003. Things improved between you both, the Belgian Sisters were back, but Clijsters prevailed in the end.

It’s 2010. You play a tournament for the first time, losing to Kim. But it was the match of the year. You shock the world by clawing through to the Australian Open final. There, you face Serena, make it to the third set, and lose again. You take two titles during the year, lose to Kim some more, and hurt your elbow against her at Wimbledon. Ouch. But – fine – it makes sense that you lay low for the rest of the year.

In 2011, you’re not feeling 100 percent, but decide to play. Why? Apparently, winning again means more than anything. You tell the press that another major would be “a bigger achievement than what I did in the past.” | More from the TSF Vault: Justine Henin

Apparently, that’s not enough anymore. You tweak the elbow against Svetlana Kuznetsova in Melbourne and completely call it quits?

Happier (and healthier) times: Justine once held the tennis world in her hand. (Philippe Buisson)

That doesn’t sound like the Justine I know. The Justine who overcame so, so many challenges. A mother who died when you were young. A divorce. An estrangement from her family. Big babe tennis. Being vertically challenged. An obsession with pudding.

You say that you came back with “a lot of questions and a lot of doubts,” but you’re leaving us with even more by retiring so quickly. You’re in shock, according to your farewell letter – and we are, too. Remember the first time after getting owned by Dinara Safina as the world number one? These retirements come pretty quickly after losses. Don’t you want to take some time to think it through?

Well, I’m sure Kim will be fine that you’re taking the spotlight away from her again. It’s not like she’s about to win the Australian Open, or anything. Oh, and how about teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics? Good luck with keeping that friendship.

We’re left with another burning question before you tune us out: Who is going to make a comeback to inspire you to play again? Elena Dementieva? Not likely. Guess you better call Belgian Idol, they’ve got a microphone ready for you.

Sincerely,

The Tennis Establishment

(justine ao photo via getty images)


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