rios and agassi: bad boys no longer

As you may have already heard, Marcelo “Chinito” Rios beat Andre Agassi 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, at their exhibition match in Santiago yesterday.

The Chilean media did their part to get buzz going for this match. Newspapers Tercera and El Mercurio, among others, published stories and interviews of a fit Agassi and an ailing Rios, both far cries from the tennis rebels they once were.

(all the links lead to spanish-language pages, and i didn’t have time to translate. sorry.)

The U.S. Embassy in Chile held a reception in Agassi’s honor, and we’re told that Andre — content in his post-pro tour life complete with wife, kids, a charity, and an absence from the Masters tour — trained hard in anticipation of this match (marking the 9-year anniversary of Rios beating Agassi at the 1998 Key Biscayne final, giving him the #1 ranking — the first for a South American).

Rios, restless in the retirement forced upon him by a back injury, tried to enter the Vina del Mar tournament earlier this year in Santiago, but had to withdraw because of a flare-up. While not a 100%, he deemed himself fit enough to play this exhibition.

And he seemed really grateful for having the opportunity to play, saying, “Creo que ha sido una de las exhibiciones que más he disfrutado en mi carrera.”

How sweet; he’s turned over a new leaf. I’ll put my money down that he won’t be pissing away any more matches like he used to.

RELATED POSTS
>> agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.
>> agassi’s nike shoes — the air tech challenges — reissued and for sale

fashion: lacoste quickies

A few quick items on Lacoste:

1) The folks at SNKRFRKR shows us photos of the new Dot and Dash shoes. Hypebeast has tied the theme to squash (dot) and tennis (dash). Not clear on it myself. I’ll get back to you with more info…

2) Here’s a preview of the S/S/ 2007 Stealth collection, as seen at the Zzubo. My picks:

(via highsnobiety)

3) Andy Roddick will be on hand for the opening of the Lacoste store at Domain Austin on April 23. More details here.

RELATED POSTS
>> short balls: andy roddick
>> fashion mishit: roddick at the players party
>> at least it’s not a spybag

short balls: a prodigy, a renaissance, and tennis on film

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

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

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

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

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

LTA nat’l tennis centre: bat- and badger-friendly

The LTA National Tennis Centre opened today in Roehampton. Greg Rusedski and Judy Murray, among others, were on hand to greet the Queen Mum, who paid visit to the Centre. She looked absolutely cute in her purple skirt suit (photos here).

This hopefully will be a boon to UK tennis. They seem to be in the process of righting some wrongs, at least with their juniors program — problems that have resulted in having only a handful of men (two, and no women) briefly occupy the top 10 in the last 30 years. And by visiting the Centre on Thursday, perhaps the Queen is reaching out. She still has a way to go, though: she has met neither the former (Tim Henman) nor current (Andy Murray) hopes of UK tennis. And both have been playing tennis for a very long time. WTF? Get your handlers on it. Now.

But back to this wonderful complex designed by Hopkins Architects. Give them thumbs up for taking steps to ensure the safety of animal habitat (bats, badgers) and to minimize the effects of rainwater drainage on nearby Beverley Brook.

And kudos, too, to the Centre’s Deuce Cafe, which prepares food using fair trade, organic, and local ingredients. They also recycle, and choose biodegradable products when possible.

(photos from the LTA website)

RELATED POSTS
>> jamie murray is no ‘haylie duff’, and other stories
>> makeover at wimbledon

fashion: men's necklaces + puma prints a catalog

puma catalog

Puma wrote me yesterday asking for a mailing address. They’re sending me printed catalog! It looks like it’ll have all the French 77 goodies that we’re all dying to see. I’ll let you know when I get it….

from the New York Times At Stylezilla!, they’re talking about a recent New York Times article on the latest trend for guys:

“All kinds of men — from the designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce to the tennis player Marat Safin — feel comfortable flaunting jewelry.”

(Here’s a photo of Safin’s necklaces.)

The best part of the article? The caption that goes with this photo on the left. It reads and flows like a prayer, to be recited nightly to the fashion gods. Take a deep breath and read aloud with me…

agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.

This post was going to be all about Andre Agassi, but it feels weird writing about present-day Agassi without mentioning Steffi Graf. It’s funny how quickly she disappeared from the limelight after retirement. (Kim Clijsters needs to take a page from her book on how to gracefully move from tennis to motherhood.)

Anyway, it’s been a good month for Agassi: he turned around his real estate woes by having his Agassi Graf Development’s Idaho project — named Tamarack Resort — sell out in seven hours.

And yesterday everyone was abuzz about his unwritten, untitled memoir, which — after bidding that reached the madness usually reserved for retired heads of state (i.e., $5 million plus) — was sold to publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Agassi’s camp didn’t receive the highest bid from Knopf, but a good word from Bill Clinton, whose memoir was published by Knopf, sealed the deal. There is currently no timetable for the book’s release.

From the New York Post:

The book is expected to cover Agassi’s stormy marriage to Brooke Shields, his current one to tennis great Steffi Graf, as well as his work with underpriveleged youths at the Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.

That’s all fine and good, but Andre you have to answer the meaty questions, like what made you pick on Karol Kucera, and… hmm, I’ll let this picture ask the other question:

short balls: billie jean king for HRC, sharapova on chernobyl, jon wertheim, etc.

Billie Jean KingBillie Jean King’s men are hustling, too: Not to be outdone by all the recent activity of the other out gay retired tennis player, Billie Jean is making the rounds, earlier this month accepting the Alan King Passion Award at the Pacific Life Open, and today announcing her endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton as president. Clinton, on King: “[She is] an inspiration to women everywhere [who] spent her life breaking down barriers, and I’m honored to have her support.” (via The San Francisco Examiner)

Sharapova, the ambassador: The Telegraph published a story about what motivated Maria Sharapova to become a U.N. ambassador. (It was Chernobyl.) Here’s her take on philanthropy:

“The coolest thing about making money is that you are able to give back,” Sharapova said. “You have the opportunity to help people. You can only buy so many cars, so many houses, so many dresses and so many pairs of shoes, but it’s not going to make you happy. But helping to save lives is incredible. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing that is.”

(via Tennis News)

It’s Wednesday: So it’s time to read — on your break — Sports Illustrated columnist Jon Wertheim’s mailbag. You should read it every week.

Laureus Awards Presenters: Oscar winner Morgan Freeman and Desperate Housewives stars Eva Longoria and Kyle MacLachlan, along with Argentinian supermodel Valeria Mazza and Spanish flamenco dancer Joaquin Cortes, are all scheduled to present at the Laureus World Sports Awards. Tennis players nominated include: Federer, Henin, Mauresmo, Sharapova, and Serena. (via the Southern Daily Echo)

You get a treat for reading all the way through the post! Click here to learn how to wrap a burrito.

tattoo watch continues: marat safin

Marat Safin‘s official website turned up these photos:

safin - tattoo - left shoulder safin - tattoo - back

The tat on his shoulder is the chinese character for monkey, maybe because he thought that’s what his zodiac sign is? If so, then he made a mistake, because — oops! — he really is a ram (having been born in January, 1980).

RELATED POSTS
>> tattoo watch continues…
>> battle of the band(ana)s
>> tattoo watch: saretta and starace