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Around the World in 1000 Words 12/07/2010 - 1:57 PM

Sod

by Pete Bodo

Mornin'. So, are you still lobbying to create a longer off-season in tennis?

U-Turns Welcome. . .

The year's last "official" ball was struck in Belgrade on Sunday, and another season is in the history books. And what a year it was, with Andy Murray roaring out to such a great start in Melbourne (where he lost the final to Roger Federer—nothing to be ashamed of there, right?), setting in motion a year that could go into the books as the year of the U-turn.

Just think of all the players whose efforts involved a dramatic turnaround—for better or worse—at some point. By the end of 11-plus months, Murray was still without a major, while Slam queen Serena Williams made a U-turn (due to injury) and lost her No. 1 ranking to Slamless Wonder Caroline Wozniacki.

Rafael Nadal had a U-turn going the other way after injury and made history, completing a career Grand Slam. Roger Federer expired and then popped back to life, Ana Ivanovic hit rock bottom and floated, cork-like, back to the surface, Novak Djokovic started weak and finished strong and Michael Llodra played perhaps the best tennis of his life and suffered his most painful loss, all in the course of a month. Among others...

Seeking the "Special" in "Specialist."

One guy I feel for is Nenad Zimonjic, the Serbian Davis Cup doubles specialist. He's one of those guys who just brings a smile to your face if you run into him at the IMG NIck Bollettieri Tennis Academy, and he's by nature and trade a real team player. But Zimonjic has really struggled in the Davis Cup ties I've watched, and it seems to me more than a simple case of Davis Cup heebie-jeebies.

In the confines of their athletic culture, doubles specialists do just fine. They're in a comfort zone, sitting atop a food chain populated mostly by ATP pros moonlighting in the doubles to earn some extra cash and get in some more playing time. But when you plop them in the Davis Cup cauldron, or shake up their pecking order by throwing a few big singles names into the mix, it's like they feel pressured to justify their status—as if they have to prove that they aren't top doubles players merely by default, because so few players focus on doubles and most of the top singles players only dabble in it (at best).

In Belgrade, you could see Zimonjic trying to be assertive, making an effort to demonstrate his leadership, bursting to play in a way that would make him stand out, but not at the expense of his partner or team. And it just wasn't happening. Again. 

That's okay, though, Davis Cup is a team enterprise and Zimonjic was likely just as thrilled with the final result as Djokovic, or the respective semifinal and final round heroes, Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki. And he had every right to be. So I'd say forget the pressure to justify your reputation as a top doubles player and specialist—just hit the danged ball.

Did You Have to Pay Extra for the Crystals?

File this in the "This has nothing to do with ending world hunger" dossier. Serena Williams's Grand Slam feast may have ended abruptly after the second course in 2010, but we've seen over the years that this is a whimsically inclined lady (remember that bit about using her Grand Slam trophies as baskets to hold her make-up brushes?) with a wicked sense of humor, and a high and flashy sense of style. She's out of action until sometime after the 2011 Australian Open, still recuperating from surgery on her right foot, which is now encased in a cast. But that hasn't impaired her flair.

The New York Post has an item today on the way Serena has decorated the cast on her foot with Swarovski crystals for her walk-through at the "Evenings in Vogue" party in Miami on Saturday night. Check out the picture that runs with this item and tell me if I'm missing something in asking, "What crystals?" In the NYP item, it looks like Serena also got a jump on Christmas, decorating her sunglasses with a string of Christmas lights.

Hope That Thing is Loaded! 

Does it strike anyone else as weird that Robin Soderling has had so much trouble finding a new coach? He recently split with Magnus Norman, a fellow Swede and former French Open finalist who helped Soderling rise to his present high of No. 5 in the ATP rankings. It was an unexpected break-up, given that they'd only been together two years and Soderling's star is still thought to be ascending. You can read the official (and drearily familiar) parting words here.

One of these days, a player is going to fire a coach who's going to say something like, Hector was a lazy sack of crap and I'm not on this planet to make dinner reservations or midnight runs for M&Ms...

Or conversely, a player will say: I got the inkling something was wrong when, two months into our partnership, Carlos asked me if I were right or left-handed...

Since the predictably amicable split, Soderling has been linked to more names than James Blake's buddy John Mayer (although in Soderling's case they're all male). Among those Soderling, 26, has approached: Fredrik Rosengrin, Peter Lundgren, and Thomas Hogstedt, all countrymen of Soderling. Not that it's helped much. All of them begged off, for various reasons including existing coaching arrangements (Lundgren coaches Stanislas Wawrinka and Hogstedt is working with Maria Sharapova).

Now it looks like Soderling has finally settled on Claudio Pistolesi, the Italian former ATP pro who had one of the cleanest, best-looking games aorund during his heyday, even though he never learned to put it to best use. He hit his career-high ranking (No. 71) in 1987. No matter how you cut it, this seems like an odd fit. Up to now, Pistsolesi was best known for being the husband and coach of Anna Smashnova. He also briefly coached Monica Seles, Michael Berrer, Ai Sugiyama, Davide Sanguinetti and Simone Bolelli, none of whom (with the exception of Seles, in an earlier life) were in any way comparable to Soderling in style, talent, or accomplishments.

You have to wonder about the rationale behind this hire, although we all know that having has a big name or a big game doesn't automatically make you a coaching genius. And sometimes journeymen like Pistolesi pop up as first-rate coaches. But Pistolesi has been knocking around for a good long while, so the chance that he's an undiscovered genius is slim.

The one thing I will say for the move is that in his day, Pistolesi was never afraid to pull the trigger. Like Soderling, he took big cuts and played from the baseline. I suppose sticker-price may have had some affect on the hiring process, but that's just a shot in the dark.

Tina You're Killing My Jaro!

News flash: Martina Navratilova and a team of 27, including Olympic Games badminton star Gail Emms, have begun their seven-day climb of the highest mountain in Africa, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro. Although the mountain rises 19,341 feet above sea level, it isn't technically a difficult climb. Serious mountaineers think of it as a pleasant week-long hike, while you or I might die on a rocky ledge and get our eyeballs pecked out by vultures less than halfway to the top after day two.

The climb is to benefit the Laureus Sport for Good foundation, which...does good. You have to hand it to these folks, they've made a big dent in sports. Hardly a day goes by without someone or other (like Rafa) winning a Laureus award, and their annual awards show/ceremony, a cross between the Cannes Film Festival and the ESPYs, is a glamorous, celebrity-studded affair. I'm not really into that kind of thing, but whatever—the goals are laudable.

Martina plans to hit some tennis balls off the peak of Kilimanjaro, to which I can only say, "Please, Martina, don't..." There's enough garbage up there already, and the very idea is altogether too much like a dog lifting a leg on a fire hydrant. I don't know if Emms plans to whack a few shuttlecocks into the thin air above the talus slopes, but the same goes for her. Save the birdies because the birdies might try to eat them and choke on the indigestible matter.

Otherwise, good luck on the jaunt.

You got 414 words more than I had planned. No extra charge...


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Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 12:11 PM

Tic - thanks, I think, for that magazine link. Egad, who threw Roger in jail and what for? Must be punishment for all those blown MPs. Nice picture of Mirka though.

Total frustration that there is an article about Crazy Dani that I can't read.

And did anyone catch the ad with the as...er... 'hommage to Venus?? WAY TMI.

Posted by Vie 12/08/2010 at 12:23 PM

Sampras' family was moving.

""Losing this stuff," he said, "is like having the history of my tennis life taken away."

Sampras (pictured right with the 1995 Wimbledon trophy) had rented two storage units to house the memorabilia and furniture while his family was in the process of moving, and everything but some of the furniture was taken. Sampras didn't insure the items because he says there was no way to assess all of its value.

Police have no leads in the case, but an investigation is ongoing. Sampras was encouraged to go public in hopes of someone stepping forward with information.

Posted by Texastennis 12/08/2010 at 12:26 PM

Well I'm very glad Sampras had by far most of her GS trophies somewhere else but I agree the storage unit is strange for many reasons and how many of those other lesser trophies really mean much, apparently even to him, in the quantity he amassed them! Whole thing is a a bit odd - they had some "housing issues" so they put stuff in a storage unit? It's my understanding that their "housing issues" have involved moving frequently - from mansion to mansion, presumably will full service movers:-)
Whatever, the GS ones are the key, presumably for him and his family too, although any theft makes people feel vulnerable I think.

SamE - you're doing a terrific job as Serena's HSN publicity assistant. That's the most I've ever known about what she's trying to move on those appearances!

Posted by gauloises 12/08/2010 at 12:30 PM

Thanks Vie, that seems to clarify things.

Posted by beth 12/08/2010 at 12:32 PM

Vie - thanks for that information
storing the items while in the process of a move makes sense.
I remember now hearing that he had his home on the market .

Posted by Vie 12/08/2010 at 12:39 PM

beth btw, I responded to you the other day about Llodra being higher in ranking than Simon or Gasquet.

Forget's 5th player decision was a safe decision for him. The rubber being the deciding one and he needed to choose the best player for that probably became secondary. He didn't want to risk himself.

Isn't he being criticized for showing his hand early though as to Llodra being the one.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe 12/08/2010 at 12:40 PM

TT,Love her stuff, the cardigan was really cool, she needs to give me a discount because I bought two things from her and I'm a fan too.

Posted by antoinette 12/08/2010 at 12:41 PM

@Wilson 75

Thanks for the info, for some reason I thought that Doha was and exho and I thought Halle was a 500...so Fed is only playing Basel as a 500 next season, I wonder why he does not include Japan as he will be going to Shanghai anyway?, guess he has to do what is best for his old bones huh?

Posted by wilson75 12/08/2010 at 12:47 PM

antoinette: the 500 events on Roger's schedule are Basel and Dubai.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/08/2010 at 12:47 PM

"I did not realize they even allowed storage facilities in the West side of LA - it is generally a pretty posh area."

beth, I know you're kidding. Sepulveda and Olympic Blvd. have their share of storage facilities.

Knew an attorney who represented one of these large storage facility companies. At least with that company, the standard weasel language in the customer contracts ensured that, should customers' stored possessions be lost or stolen, the company was very likely to be totally off the hook.

Posted by CherryNYC 12/08/2010 at 12:48 PM

Sooooooooooooo, what's everybody up to today? This "off season" business really blows, doesn't it :).
I'm following Martina's blog though -- very bad weather on the mountain --the whole thing makes me nervous -- hiking in Aspen is not the same thing as climbing 19,000 meters.
I'm also on the lookout for TMBs pics. Anybody get a Fed family Christmas card???? There must be somebody...... I guess I'll go back to work now..

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 12:53 PM

CL,
That Tennis magazine is the Italian version of yellow tennis-press. It's not, as Tic posted, their first issue because I've seen it since at least 2008. Anyway, you get their drift when they post Federer in the cover and a big number 1 referring (in tiny letters) to Nadal.

What they write about what "The Master of Masters" aka Roger's (supposedly) idea of sensuality is, cannot be repeated and/or translated here. Some young persons are regular posters and we have to preserve their childhood innocence.

Posted by Vie 12/08/2010 at 12:55 PM

I do feel bad for the loss to Sampras; for sports too in a way, in case this trophy collection gets destroyed. Hope not. At least the GS trophies are safe, except for his first AO trophy.

Posted by wilson75 12/08/2010 at 12:56 PM

http://ozopen2011.nikemedia.com

Outfits for Rafa, Roger, Maria and co. for AO 2011.

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 01:01 PM

Glad to see that Roger has cut his schedule to 17 tournaments instead of 21 in 2010. He cannot be penalized much since he a) has played gazillion matches already and b) is older. Excellent!

Also glad to see that Djokovic, Soderling and Murray are going to play in Rotterdam in February 2011.

Posted by CherryNYC 12/08/2010 at 01:01 PM

Thanks, wilson -- a little tidbit like that makes my day -- I personally was hoping Rafa might stick with the Magenta King look -- (cause I like that color on him and I like calling him Magenta King). Typical Fed outfit....

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 01:02 PM

zenggi - well now you have me REALLY intrigued - e-mail, pls!

So the fact that they made Roger out to look like an not quite escaped prisoner is standard procedure for this mag? Even w/out being able to read it, I confess, parts of it did seem a bit 'different.' Though some of the articles seemed more de rigeur. Odd mix.

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 01:06 PM

CL,
E-mail coming.

Thanks, wilson75, for the link to AO outfits. Rafa is now in Roger's vermilion and Roger is in white and next summer fashion yellow. They both look allright to me.

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 01:07 PM

wilson -thanks for the link..according to the devoted at RF.com, Roger will also wear a solid yellow shirt. Not as 'neon-y' as what Robin wore at the WTF, more lemony, but still not sure I can 'see' Roger in yellow.

Off to brave the cold and cut some more greens for holiday decorations...

check in later...

Posted by antoinette 12/08/2010 at 01:07 PM

@ Wilson 75

Thanks I forgot about Dubai, which is essentially Fed's second home tourney after Basel. I cant wait for this "offseason" to be over, I am going to IW next year and I can't wait. I love that tourney...

Posted by Vie 12/08/2010 at 01:12 PM

CherryNYC, my 19-y.o. daughter has ambitions to climb a mountain. Think she'll do it. She has started with Half-Dome. Oh, to be young. adventurous and have dreams like this.

So why is Navratilova climbing Kili?

Posted by Vie 12/08/2010 at 01:21 PM

I'm off this site, and back in 2011.

After seeing AO2009 highlights, would want to acknowledge to Fed fans since I have not been that vocal about appreciating Federer, that I do appreciate him. He's great.

Hope everyone have happy holidays and New Year! Merry Christmas!

Posted by Fern 12/08/2010 at 01:31 PM

I much preferred the red outfit Fed wore for WTF, couldn't he have kept it for AO 11?! Not too keen on the new AO gear.

Am I the only Fed fan who's more concerned when he has extended breaks as opposed to over-playing, be it through injury/illness/can't be bothered? I'd like him to play Stockholm again, it gave him confidence and match sharpness for the last bit of the season.

Posted by wilson75 12/08/2010 at 01:37 PM

Fern: I welcome the change, how many times is Roger going to wear red and blue? As for his schedule, whether he plays less or more it doesn't matter to me. Only he knows how much tennis his body can take.

Posted by Tigress 12/08/2010 at 01:47 PM

Antoinette and Master Ace:

Thanks for directing me to Roger's 2011 schedule on rf.com. As you can see, I'm sometimes technically challenged but usually come through in the end. Sometimes with a little help from my friends.

Fed's schedule looks like his basic vanilla one. No frills like Stockholm or Estoril. Wish he decides to go to Monte Carlo, because it's such a cool setting and he may need those points to regain #1.

You know, if Federer had just gone to MC last year and garnered even QF or SF points, he would have held #1 until Wimbledon and would now have the record at 289 weeks. He had to work very hard not to get that record this year. Sigh ...

Posted by Master Ace 12/08/2010 at 01:50 PM

"Also glad to see that Djokovic, Soderling and Murray are going to play in Rotterdam in February 2011."

Zenggi,
Will Murray actually play Rotterdam after what he done the prior 2 years.

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 02:00 PM

MA,
That info is posted on their website. In november they wrote that Novak Djokovic (3), Robin Söderling (4), Andy Murray (5), Tomas Berdych (6), David Ferrer (7), Mikhail Youzhny (10), Jurgen Melzer (11), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13), Marin Cilic (14), John Isner (19), Marcos Baghdatis (20), Nikolay Davydenko (22) Ernest Gulbis (24) plus the Dutch Thiemo de Bakker and Robin Haase would play in Rotterdam from Februari 7th-14th.

Of course players can withdraw for whatever reason. Let's hope that many of them will come.

http://www.abnamrowtt.nl/main.cfm?lang=0&c_id=91&site_id=2&main_id=91&pers_id=246

Posted by Master Ace 12/08/2010 at 02:03 PM

Zenggi,
That is a nice field for Rotterdam. Wonder what Nadal schedule will be like in 2011 after AO. We know Federer will play only Dubai after AO and before IW.

Posted by Andrew 12/08/2010 at 02:23 PM

Afternoon, all.

I would guess the Federer schedule is subject to adjustment if he doesn't go deep in tournaments in the middle of the year. Estoril and Stockholm have been dropped: Mikey Seabra and Jonas Bjorkman will be a bit disappointed. I think the one adjustment I might have made would be to put Monte Carlo in, possibly at the expense of Doha, but I imagine the training block schedule helped make the decision there. If Federer goes out early in either Madrid or Rome (or both) he'll be a bit shy of clay match practice going into RG.

As for the AO kit - more of the same. Strong primary blocks, with a bit of piping (this time yellow). Since 2007, with one or two rare exceptions, Federer's kit choices have been very bland. Given his 2004-2007 choices, I think it's a pity.

Posted by Tic 12/08/2010 at 02:28 PM

Finer details of Rafa's new AO kit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtX1Gpc-h4

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 02:29 PM

"I think it's a pity"

Andrew - how Federesque of you ...the use of the 'pity' word. ;-))

And, who knew you were such a fashionito?

I do agree to an extent though... and wonder why he doesn't just do something as simple...and yet as relatively interesting.. as going back to the collarless look. He was headed that way but only got as far as mandarin.

(And let's not anyone be blaming Ms Wintour...according to the lady herself, he doesn't listen to HER either.)

As for the schedule...yeah...nothing is fixed in stone. I can see some additions depending on results.

Posted by wilson75 12/08/2010 at 02:38 PM

Considering the fact that Federer didn't play Dubai, bombed out of IW, Miami and he still didn't add MC, I think it's safe to say that he wont add it if he has poor results next year either.

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 02:44 PM

Yes, CL, I thought I was the only one allowed to use "pity" at TW anymore. And those coloured details are so Roger now. You cannot change his whole image at his advanced age.

I don't think Roger is going to play in MC. Too much frenzy and glamour for the twins. I guess Roger wants to focus in the grass season and let the chips fall where they may on clay. So many things can happen before June 20th 2011.

Posted by Andrew 12/08/2010 at 02:50 PM

CL: I prefer the term "fashionista."

ANd I've commented extensively on Federer as tennis fashion pioneer in these pages. Personalized kit; logos; day/night wear; kit style variations extending over multiple groups of tournaments - they all kicked in from late 2004.

At USO 2004, Federer was wearing straight up Nike (also worn by Agassi, and in a different color scheme, Hewitt). At 2004 YEC Houston, he wore different colors in a white/color block kit for each round: Moya had one variant on this at the same tournament, but I don't think he varied his kit on a round by round basis.

AO-IW 2005 was a variant on the YEC kit, with a white fade at the back: then, starting at Miami 2005, you had variants on a geometric shoulder flash, lasting up to Wimbledon, with red and green main colors. Wimbledon - US Open the highlight design changed.

The cycle repeated in 2006: collarless shirts with piped color (white/green, blue/white, then white collared with yellow/green accents; blue/black collared for RG, then white collarless with red piping for Wimbledon/US HC season, same design but blue/white piping for US Open. Then white collared shirt, black accents, grey/yellow and black accents for the end of season.

2007: multiblock accents at the front of the shirt (zip collar for AO/Dubai, collarless for IW): the "bowling shirt (HT Dunlop Maxply), red/green stripes for Miami-Hamburg, blue/dark blue for RG. WImbledon, the introduction of gold on white, carried through the US HC season with white/purple, black/white. And at the USO 2007, the introduction of day (blue/white collared) and night (Darth Federer) kit.

Then starting at Madrid, back to straight primary colors - which is, for the most part, the way it's been ever since. Some variations - the dreadful sailor suit of Madrid/Basel 2008, the nice dark blue collarless IW 2009, tangerine collarless in Miami 2010 - but nowhere near as adventurous, ma'aleesh.

Posted by Fern 12/08/2010 at 02:51 PM

@Wilson
I saw Fed live at WTF wearing that red shirt - he looked great and he played great - I guess I associate it with an effective return to form and I don't want him to lose it! :) The blue can stay on hold, I agree with that :)

As for the schedule, sure, Fed knows best and I don't want him to overdo it, but he appeared so energised playing a lot of tennis. More difficult for him these days to come back after a lay off.

Posted by zenggi 12/08/2010 at 02:54 PM

My favorite Roger's outfit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLhM6P_p0KE

And he wears a yellow detail :) Luckily Roger isn't an actor and he doesn't fall under Moliere's superstion.

Posted by wilson75 12/08/2010 at 02:58 PM

Fern: Red isn't always a winning colour for Roger, see Olympics 2008 and USO '09, IW '10.

Posted by Or 12/08/2010 at 03:10 PM

I think that Italian Magazine is the first one who ever managed to take a bad photo of Fed. How did they make him look 50 years old. His hair looks grey there!

I feel horrible for Pete, but public storage unit? Really? Somewhere out there, Agassi, though sympathatic, is having a giggle. That's just cheap.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/08/2010 at 03:22 PM

Or, I've got to believe that was photoshopped/altered. zenggi, enquiring minds want to know... ;-)

Now that Andrew has gone all 'fashionista', here it is, the range...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article727394.ece

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article727394.ece

Posted by Or 12/08/2010 at 03:23 PM

Funny Andrew, I thought you'd approve of the AO kit. I liked the piping, and the color combination with the grey. I like that it isn't one solid color, though I'm still waiting for the green.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:23 PM

Tic: thanks for the outfit vid. coolio.

zengii: does this mean that rafa is NOT playing Rotterdam? this pleases me no end!

Really sorry to hear about Pistol's trophies being stolen. As someone said before, these babies aren't going to pop up on Ebay. So what's gonna happen to them? will they be melted down? I doubt they're solid silver. geesh, just return them to the guy.

Posted by Or 12/08/2010 at 03:25 PM

Holds2love - OMG, what an awful story. I have no recollection of that.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/08/2010 at 03:28 PM

Just the worst, Or. Sorry for raining on the sartorial parade. :-/ An otherwise fun topic, imho.

Posted by Tic 12/08/2010 at 03:31 PM

Mmmm, fashion talk. Check out those on-court hits & misses from Nike to Rafa in 2009, when he first got sleeves and even collar (except at AO and IW):
http://tinyurl.com/34xx55q

This year it seems Nike have at least abandoned collar.

Off court, good ole jeans are Rafa's staple, never boring, always adventurous and fitting like a glove (pics from tribute to Moya in Palma de Mallorca last week):
http://tinyurl.com/2v5ovht
http://tinyurl.com/333nsa5

He was well instructed in jeans skillz since his awkward teens by an expert (pic from Armani Boutique in Milan 2004):
http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/ww165/gabine/nadal_lopez_armani.jpg

(Unconfirmed buzz in twittosphere is that Rafa had a photoshoot this weekend with Megan Fox for Armani jeans. Nice closing of jeans circle for him.)

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 03:32 PM

Andrew- I bow to your A level fashion reportage. And remain confused re a/o suffix. I do think you need to convert this info into a stat sheet. Colors/Number of times worn/primary-piping/wins-losses. I look forward to it. ;-)


Among my personal favorites was the white/purple...true, almost royal purple...none of this lavender dreck...which I though debuted at some Wimby or other.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:33 PM

Is Senor Delpo scheduled to play AO? please say yes.

I like all the AO outfits actually. 'piping' and 'roger' are perfect together, always.

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 03:34 PM

Or - according to "Open," Andre trashed many of his trophies in a fit of angst. though I think he got replacements for some.

Speaking of Andre, has anyone checked his garage? Hmmm...talk about enquiring minds.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:35 PM

Tic: they both look like babies in that 2004 pic!

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 03:39 PM

"inquiring" too. sheesh.

Posted by CherryNYC 12/08/2010 at 03:42 PM

Tic, thanks. OMG he looks good in those jeans, and the scarf. Very nice......

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:42 PM

oh dear, I just saw that cover photo of Fed. That's the most g*dawful thing I've ever seen. Why do that? to anyone?

CL: I'm thinking the various tournies will replace the stolen ones, no?

Posted by Tic 12/08/2010 at 03:43 PM

There's even a video clip of those Armani-shopping babies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8ibJHebJvs

Posted by Master Ace 12/08/2010 at 03:44 PM

Annie,
I would expect Del Potro to play AO.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:46 PM

too adorable. both of them.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/08/2010 at 03:48 PM

CL, just to be clear, my 'enquiring' was intentional, in a nod to the tacky and tasteless National Enquirer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAceJtR51sg&feature=related

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:48 PM

btw, is megan fox the skelettally (

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:50 PM

sorry about that, and no, she's not the girl from The OC.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 03:51 PM

MA: I saw delpo was on the Nike outfit banner. So glad to see he's returning!

Posted by @work 12/08/2010 at 03:52 PM

Tic
Thanks for the nics pics/vids

Wilson,
Thanks for the link to the AO kits

Annie,
Megan Fox is the one from Transformers

Posted by @work 12/08/2010 at 03:53 PM

nics = nice

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 04:04 PM

@work: mercifully, i haven't caught that one. but according to wiki she's considered one of the most beautiful/sexiest women in the world.

Posted by Or 12/08/2010 at 04:12 PM

Right. I forgot about that part of Open. I think it would be tougher to have them replaced so many years later, especially the minor ones...

Posted by Kwaku 12/08/2010 at 04:13 PM

The way in which tennis talk degenerates into something else as fast as you say "amen" is the best proof that the off season should be shorter rather than longer ;-)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 04:19 PM

Kwaku: well, what else are we supposed to talk about? There's no tennis! At least we're still talking tennis in terms of kits for AO and pete's stolen trophies. oh and rafa's photoshoot with megan fox..well that kinda counts.

Posted by Kwaku 12/08/2010 at 04:24 PM

Annie, precisely! I'm not critizising you/us, but the off season leaving us nothing more interesting to talk about ;-) (and on a light tone too)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 04:25 PM

oh okay. i thought you were unhappy with our frivolous talk. it's kind nice for a change if you ask me.

Posted by Kwaku 12/08/2010 at 04:28 PM

(In other words, I'm saying -Bring on the tennis, I can't wait for the new season!)

Posted by CL 12/08/2010 at 04:39 PM

Hold2Love - mine, alas, wasn't. lol. typos, thy name is CL.

Posted by Colette 12/08/2010 at 04:44 PM

Pete's pilferage sounds like it could be an inside job - ie, someone from/somehow connected to the storage co. discovered "Pete Sampras" was going to being storing things ... LOL Or @3:10. (I thought about that)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/08/2010 at 04:52 PM

me too, Kwaku. I think the AO is my favorite tourney for tv viewing. I can't wait.

Posted by Tic 12/08/2010 at 05:04 PM

And now of something completely tennis-related.

In addition to a short vacation interspersed with photoshoots, Rafa is now doing physical preparation for the new season.

December British GQ has some of the details from his fitness regime:
http://s2.postimage.org/b3mm1xul3/GQ_article_1.jpg
http://s2.postimage.org/b3mza8mjb/GQ_article_2.jpg
http://s2.postimage.org/b3n5we0if/GQ_article_3.jpg

Posted by Nova Villa 12/08/2010 at 05:27 PM

To Samantha Elin: You don't have to be so defensive about Caro. There was nothing wrong with Martina's comments. It was within the context of her interview. In fact, Martina was wishing that Caro wins a GS soon as she's emphatizing with the torture of a slamless number one ala Safina. Martina always spoke the truth. Caro was really lousy at the slams (having lost to lower ranked players). And for Caro to overcome the slam jitters, she has to accept that she succumbed to the pressure ang bring a new attitude to 2011 slams. Besides, Martina also commented on Serena and other players. As for others who continue to malign Martina's post tennis ventures, are you all that desperate to elevate Evert over Martina who's clearly the greater of the 2 and 2nd to Graf? Martina needs sponsors for a good cause and so of course, publicity is needed. But she's been doing generous stuff since her singles retirement. Evert on the other hand cheated on husband Andy Mill then married the older great golfer (which should make for a greater profile) and then divorced him like a hot potato. Bah! Seems to me that Evert is more vain (as always) and calculating (oh gee, look at me! a dainty, all american girl who won't opine so as to keep my endorsements and public image)

Posted by beth 12/08/2010 at 06:15 PM

Annie - you are thinking of Mischa Barton
the girl who played Marissa on the OC -

quite different from Megan Fox
at least in the body type department
although I think facially both are quite lovely

Megan has a raunchy image from her movies and sexy photo shoots but,
she is the one who is married after a long time relationship .
While Mischa B , has been in and out of rehab and dated numerous fellows from the "bad boy " category

I like the kits from the photos - but I often wonder why the companies decide to dress the players in dark / vibrant colors in that heat

Posted by werd 12/08/2010 at 06:28 PM

Not sure if it's been posted, but Serbia wasted no time in honoring their Davis Cup heros: http://tinyurl.com/2cgpleh

Posted by fedfan 12/08/2010 at 06:33 PM

Amen on the Martina thing.

Posted by David 12/08/2010 at 06:44 PM

I predict that Mr. Novak Djokovic will dominate the tennis landscape of 2011.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 12/08/2010 at 07:28 PM

Nova, would agree with you on Evert, her off court reality doesn't coincide with some of her activities off the court. That is why I had a problem with her letter to Serena. Something about people living in glass houses there. As for Caro, couldn't disagree more. How is making it to the semi finals of a GS "lousy" and losing to Vera who has played excellent this year. And yes, I'm going to continue to defend Caro because it seems the more good she has done, she had an excellent year, the more people want to criticize her. I think some people resent the fact that she is young, at the top of the game, rich and beautiful which I just don't understand because she work her assets off to get where she is at unlike some players who are given things without earning them.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 12/08/2010 at 07:30 PM

Correction, my post should read that her on court image of the clean living American sweetheart doesn't coincide with some of her activities off the court.

Posted by Antonio M. Homar 12/08/2010 at 11:38 PM

MSFan can go foul another site and find another player. We don't care for him and flatulate in his general direction.

Rafa's gearing up for a great 2011, and we know Rog is on fire and welcome it. Armor on.

See you in a month.

Posted by Nova Villa 12/09/2010 at 02:01 AM

Samantha. Perhaps, Martina should have re-phrased her statement and said, "Although Caro did well at the US Open, she could definitely improve upon her performance at the other 3 slams".

Anyway, unlike Safina, Caroline has a much better prospect to grab slam titles as her game is more well rounded and lately (as evident against Clijsters at the year end tourney), Caro has improved her aggressiveness off the forehand side (she's always had that versatile 2 hander).

2011 should be her year to win a slam. She's my pick to win Australia.

As for Martina, I become defensive of her too because I see a lot of you tube posters' nasty comments towards her and always praise Evert for her candidness which, in my observation over the years is not genuine; all for the profile. Anyway, I gotta go and try that new Federer racquet. Peace.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/09/2010 at 02:28 AM

Morning everyone. :)

Thank you, Tic, for the Rafa pictures - always nice to brighten up the morning with those. :) I don't remember that orange shirt with the yellow chest stripe at all, though.

Posted by Avec Double Cordage 12/09/2010 at 07:58 AM

I think you are underrating Pistolesi as a coach, he pretty much always got the best out of the players he coached. For instance Sanguinetti reached his best results with him, including a Wimbledon quaerterfinal and an ATP final win over (baby)Federer in Milan plus reaching the davis cup final after beating the USA in a davis cup semi, considering that Sanguinetti came from the US college circuit thats pretty decent. Pistolesi took Bolelli as a young player outside the top 300 and brought him to his best ranking of 28, although he is much slower on his feet he actually has a similar game as Soederling with powerfull strokes from the baseline, after Pistolesi ended coaching Bolelli he hardly won a match for months and fell far back around number 120 in the ATP ranking. Berrer was outside of the top 100 when Pistolesi started coaching him but only a couple of weeks later he started a winning streak on the indoor circuit that brought him insde the top 40.

Posted by sokol 12/09/2010 at 08:58 AM

have you seen new Caro's outfit from Stella for the start of 2011?
http://www.gotennis.ru/news/?p=57547

Posted by Aube,Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making...Lee Ann Womack!!! 12/09/2010 at 09:11 AM

Wilson 75,thanks for the peek on the AO outfits...
but why is Nike showing me Serena's dress knowing perfectly she's not going to wear it and kick butts?that's a real stinky joke!!!
I like Maria's dress and Federer's top,that's the kind of men shirt I like to wear at the gym!!!

Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 09:12 AM

Thanks sokol - I like the pleated skirt, very much. Nice colours for her, too.

And thanks for the perspective on Pistolesi, ADC.

Posted by sokol 12/09/2010 at 09:15 AM

"Outfits for Rafa, Roger, Maria and co. for AO 2011."

thanks, Wilson75

Posted by Aube,Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making...Lee Ann Womack!!! 12/09/2010 at 09:28 AM

If I were Dementieva, with Serena out of the equation, I will "un-retire" and come and grab the AO.I know she could do it.She did make it to the semi-final in 09...hey, people come out of retirement all the time!!!no?

Posted by Wil 12/09/2010 at 09:36 AM

Although I am a big fan of Martina I have to defend Chris Evert, never thought I would do that. Chris has her own charity tournament so she is not only cheating and marrying.

Martina plays regularly in all the charity tournaments of her tennis friends like Chris Evert Billy Jean King and Pam Shriver,in november this year she played in all three while she could have used the time to work on her hiking skills.

Some people thought it would be a luxury climb but boy on wednesday they had blizzards the whole climb and monday and tuesday rain. All the 28 climbers payed for their air tickets hotels etc.and are obliged to bring donation money in. So the money people donate goes to the good cause, Laureus has projects all over the world not only in Africa.

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 09:55 AM

WTA website has a poll question on who will win their first Slam in 2011:

Caroline at 44.5%
Vera at 21.5%
Samantha at 14.6%
Jelena at 10.6%
Victoria at 8.7%

That is at the time I voted.

Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 10:11 AM

Are you going to tell us who you voted for, MA? :)

It's interesting, because Vera and Samantha both need to get over mentally freezing in finals (especially Vera); Caroline needs to avoid a big hitter having an especially good day; while Vika needs to learn to string wins together more than once a year and JJ ... not sure what JJ needs at this point, to be honest.

Frankly, my money's on Caroline, but I'd be rooting for any of the other four.

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 10:19 AM

Gauloises,
Why are you saying not sure what Jelena needs? I think Jelena time to win a Slam has passed. Her best chances were 2008 USO F where she looked at the jumbotron during her match against Serena blowing set points to force a deciding set, 2006 USO SF where she imploded after leading Justine by a set and a break, 2008 FO against Ana where she led by a break in the final set and 2010 FO against Samantha where she did not show up at all.
Agree about Vera and Samantha. I do not see them winning a Slam in their career but their window has not closed.
Caroline and Victoria has time to win a Slam and I have already pecked Caroline to win a Slam before 2012 is over while Victoria should be motivated to win 2011 AO as Serena can not play due to foot tendon injury.

Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 10:31 AM

Because as you just excellently explained, MA, she has had her chances - I think she had a real chance against Sam this year at Roland Garros - and she just doesn't capitalise on them, so whereas with the others I would say there's one major thing they need to change/have happen before they win a Slam, I can't pin down what JJ's problem is. I hate saying it, because I am a big fan of her game and her as a person, but I think you're right that JJ's moment might have gone. It will only get more difficult from here.

Posted by Tic 12/09/2010 at 10:53 AM

"I don't remember that orange shirt with the yellow chest stripe at all, though."

It's patriotic red & yellow for Davis Cup finals against Czech Republic in Barcelona in December 2009.

The whole 2009 Rafa on-court fashion show:
http://tinyurl.com/34xx55q

Top row: Doha, AO (night), AO (day), IW, Miami
Bottom row: RG, Cincinnati, USO, Shanghai, DC

Some more pics in that head-to-toe patriotic DC outfit, a much needed immersion after failing to win a single set at London O2 just a week ago that year:
http://s4.postimage.org/1xph90-173.jpg
http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/9336/72348d8893cf2g.jpg
http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/499/1259951446extrasalbumes.jpg

Posted by Arun 12/09/2010 at 10:55 AM

Not to be a contrarian.. But after Franny won a slam, no? :D I don't think JJ's chance has passed by. A fit and motivated JJ will always get a chance to win a slam, when people least expect her to - that's been her trend. Her Cincy and IW victories were surprising ones too, no? And with so many top players having fitness/injury issues, who knows. If Caro has a chance, JJ has too. Granted Caro is younger and her defense is better than JJ's atm, but JJ's offense can be great. Remember two or three breathtaking matches she played in Rome(?) for example? She can play a totally balanced game if she stays fit and motivated; and stops her drama queening ways at times.

Posted by Arun 12/09/2010 at 10:59 AM

*after all

Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 11:09 AM

OK ... I am phrasing things badly today (not just today, chimes in half the internet). I'm not saying I think JJ will never win a Slam. I wouldn't put money on her not winning a Slam, if only because she's so wilful that she'd immediately do it just to confound expectations.

I think she's got, at her very best, the game to do it, no question. She's got the drive and competitive spirit. It's her mental steadiness that I question. Basically, I used to think JJ could come in as one of the top four seeds after a good run of form and win a Slam - you know, predictably :) Now I think that if she does it, it will be Schiavone-like and more or less come out of nowhere - and I actually think that the older JJ gets, the best shot she'll have; I can see her winning one at 30.

My point is that I don't think her form overall in 2010 justifies her being at the forefront of the 'who might win one?' in 2011. She'll always have an excellent shot as an outsider though. No-one expects the Serbian inquisition, I've found - except when everybody expects them. Then they don't turn up.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/09/2010 at 11:15 AM

I'm a fan of Vera's all-court game, but I don't believe that she "froze" in the two majors finals she has played. (I can't speak about the finals she has reached of other tournaments, cuz I've missed seeing most of them.

Both S.Williams and Clijsters, at or near their bests, are better than Vera. S.Williams played a very solid match at the last Wimbledon finals. Not much Vera could do.

Clijsters wasn't playing totally lights out at the last U.S. Open final, but she was playing solidly enough from the baseline to give Vera very few opportunities to string enough games together to win sets. Sure, if Vera had been in her personal "zone" for the entire match and Clijsters had choked a bit, maybe Vera would have won. But, just because that didn't happen doesn't mean Vera didn't play well by her standards.

Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 11:19 AM

MSF - I'm aware of the difference in class. I'm not saying Vera playing at her very best would have won necessarily, but she looked to me to be far from her best in both. I feel like she'd have lost to most opponents she might have faced on both days.

Posted by Arun 12/09/2010 at 11:21 AM

Yeah. I see what you're saying about JJ now, G.

Posted by beth 12/09/2010 at 11:36 AM

So , Pete Sampras was on the local news here in LA , pleading for the return of his memoribilia. Hope he gets his things back. According to what he said in the interview - the items were stored pending a remodel of his home ( not a move ) and while most of the Slam trophies are on display at the Tennis Hall of Fame and the USTA offices - his year end number one plaques, his Davis Cup trophies and one Slam trophy ( from the Australian ) were among the items stolen.

I know Pete always looks sort of "hang dog" - but he looked really , truly sad on the tv last night . Talking about how he had wanted to share these things with his sons when they were old enough to appreciate them. And how they were of no value to the thief , as they cannot be sold on eBay or Craig's list without being noticed.

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