don’t fret, serena’s still on TV this week!

For those of you who were disappointed that Serena Williams‘ appearance on Conan turned out to be a rerun: don’t worry. WTA World is abuzz about her segment on The Martha Stewart Show tomorrow (Wednesday). Also appearing: english floral arrangements, and savory chicken potpie.

Update: View the MSS segment — part 1, part 2. (via OTB)

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>> Gizmodo: Conan O’Brien Smashes Serena Williams in Wii Tennis
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Agassi to help announce Athletes for Hope on Good Morning America

Teasers for tomorrow’s episode of Good Morning America mention a slew of athletes — including Andre Agassi — coming together for a big announcement. Some quick Googling turned up this, from the April 22 issue of the Las Vegas Sun:

Scheduled for Tuesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Andre Agassi gives “GMA’s” Robin Roberts a tour of Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy. On Wednesday’s broadcast Agassi will join a group of famous jocks to announce the new foundation Athletes for Hope, which will focus on a variety of philanthropic causes. Agassi has long been a prince of such efforts…

Agassi and Graf continue to make their move…

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>> Andre Agassi College Prep Academy
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RIP Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)

Tennis lost one of its great supporters. The Kremlin has confirmed that Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died of heart failure today. He was 76.

As the world celebrates his life and his significant role in world politics as the first leader of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, we should not forget that he did his part, for better or for worse, to bring tennis into the Russian limelight.

He was there when Russia defeated France in the 2004 Fed Cup final (left), and when Russia beat Argentina for the Davis Cup this past December. He was also around for other matches, like the first all-Russian Grand Slam final at the 2004 French Open.

We’ll miss you, Mr. Yeltsin.

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don’t take tennis too seriously…

….but don’t take it for granted, either.

In the middle of a serious post-match interview in Monte Carlo, Roger Federer comments on the upcoming exhibition between him and Nadal, to be played on a court that’s half-grass, half-clay.

We also enjoy playing tennis for fun for a change. It doesn’t always need to be crazy serious out on the match courts… The result is not the most important thing, it’s about having fun out there. And Mallorca, it’s a place I’ve never been to. It’s [Nadal's] home city… It’s goin to be exciting and a good atmosphere.

federer-montecarlo.jpg At a time when everyone’s filing lawsuits left and right, it’s nice to be reminded of why we were even mired in this mess to begin with. The athletes enjoy playing against each other, and it gives them the opportunity to travel and see the world. There are many things to celebrate about the sport.

Let’s all take a moment and remind ourselves that, eh?

If that’s not enough, then consider yourself lucky that you can at least participate in tennis without harm, unlike in Iraq, where athletes (including three members of the Iraqi Davis Cup team) are being killed without reason; or in Sri Lanka, where Fed Cup team had to withdraw from their tie due to terrorist threats; or in Doha and Dubai, where Shahar Peer had to go it alone simply for being Israeli.

Throw out those lawsuits! We should be content that we can play without the risk of death.

(via todd and in charge; above picture of Akram Mustafa Abdulkarim via Yahoo! Sports)

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sharapova turns 20

Happy birthday to Maria Sharapova. She turns 20 today — middle-aged for a gal in professional tennis.

Sadly, she has been in a slump: she’s injured, with a shaken confidence, and armed with a once-strong serve that has become a liability.

What does this all mean for tennis’ “it” girl (and, more importantly, her fans)? Don’t write her off just quite yet, says Peter Bodo. The tenacity that led her to conquer Madison Avenue and win two Grand Slam titles can likely fuel a few more great Maria moments in the next few years.

Here’s to a nice, relaxing birthday. Let’s hope it’s as fun as last year’s TAG Heuer party at Nobu, or the small gathering Motorola threw for her at Hiro in 2005.

Oh, and speaking of things she (allegedly) did last year, Andy Roddick will be signing autographs at the Lacoste in Austin this coming Monday.

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Fed Cup's pink fuzzy tennis heart

At the beginning of last year’s Fed Cup season, BNP Paribas asked the players to help choose a new brand identity for the event (to mark the beginning of the bank’s role as title sponsor). The players decided on pink. (I would have gone with the black and purple motif, but the TMS tourneys already claimed the purple.)

And they were serious about the pink. This year, they’re launching an ad campaign with these scary fuzzy mutant tennis hearts:

Here’s a photo of the Fed Cup. Now that’s something you’ll want to put in a trophy case.


Photo from BNP Paribas

And if you’d like to know which players are representing their countries this weekend, the team nominations are here.

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>> Tennis tournament trophies
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agassi whacks steffi: the video

Here’s footage from when Andre Agassi accidentally hit Steffi Graf with his racket. They appeared at a charity event in Houston.

It’s funny how it looks so harmless on film. In the same way that the Jackass stunts seem so harmless. Make no mistake, though: Steffi ended up with three stitches.

This is the reason why I don’t play doubles.

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roger federer: vogue magazine's cover story

As you may already know, the latest issue of Men’s Vogue has a great profile of Roger Federer by writer Tim Adams.

Nothing out of the ordinary: Adams talks about Roger’s transformation from tempermental juniors player to zen master (yawn), him being possibly the greatest of all time (double yawn), and his friendship with Tiger Woods (zzZzzzZzz).

What’s interesting is Roger’s relationship with the emirate of Dubai, which — although boo because it perpetuates an unsustainable, lavish desert lifestyle (but really, when God gives you oil, you build islands) — is one of the more interesting and beautiful places in the world, if at least architecturally.

And the story also covers his relationship with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, the woman who acts as his personal assistant, fashion guide, companion. How sweet and refreshing to see such a strong bond, especially since womanizing was commonplace the last time tennis players were rock stars.

The photos accompanying the article are here. My favorite:


(He’s wearing Gucci, she’s wearing Dolce & Gabbana. They’re at a bar in this gorgeous hotel.)

Enjoy the article!

(via the fan forum at RogerFederer.com)

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tattoo watch: Kristof Vliegen

In case you missed the ATP blog Kristof Vliegen wrote while playing the Heineken Open this past January, I should point out that he mentions a newly acquired tattoo:

I got (it) in Brussels when I got back from holidays. I had been looking to get one for six years… Everyone seems to have a small tattoo in Belgium, so I’m now part of a club.

He got the nickname “Fly” from Carl Maes (Kim Clijsters‘ former coach) 12 or so years ago.

p.s. To the Americans out there: Happy Tax Day!

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