wimbledon jewelry collection debuts



Somewhere out there Serena Williams is breathing a sigh of relief. When she’s ready to dress up her Nike whites with some diamonds, she won’t need to look farther than the AELTC club shop for her bling.

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The Wimbledon Jewelry Collection finally makes its debut. According to the Chic Report, it will consist of necklaces, cufflinks, earrings, and of course, tennis bracelets. A portion of the proceeds will go to notable charities. It’s about time the most glamorous Grand Slam steps up to the Tiffany & Co. line exclusive to the U.S. Open.

As you may remember, the Wimbledon collection was announced in August and publicized last month by giving Venus Williams a diamond-encrusted tennis ball.

Browse: Another photo -after the cut…

(ot) pumpkin carving



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I’m so happy about the pumpkins my friends and I carved for Halloween. My friend James took this photo. More gourds after the cut…

tennisweek.com relaunches



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Tennis Week relaunched its website (www.TennisWeek.com) today. The site will serve up “24/7 breaking news, inside scoops, exclusive features, hundreds of photos of on-court and off-court action, plus continuously updated video” in a layout much more in line with other IMG properties like Fashion Week Daily. Its recently relaunched print counterpart will produce eight issues in 2008.

Read the full press release after the cut…

What happened to the "us" in USA?



Does anyone else feel shut out of tennis’ most nationalistic event?

I’m no expert on Portland, but I’ve read, and heard, that it’s a great place to live: beautiful surroundings; un-congested and easily commutable; and a down-to-earth and eco-conscious vibe. But it doesn’t come cheap. And the job market is apparently quite small and cramped.

If you were to read economist-cum-socialist Michael D. Yates‘ account of Portland in his recent travel memoir, Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate, you would likely be discouraged from moving to Portland without a good job in hand. Particularly challenging, says Yates, is the world of high-end restaurant work, in which talented workers were making $7 an hour in ’04, and where it “wasn’t uncommon for restaurants to replace sous chefs when their pay got into the upper $20,000s.” (Read more on a Portland from an excerpt on Yates’ blog).

It’s not surprising, nor inappropriate, in this light, that the U.S. is hosting this weekend’s Davis Cup tie final in Portland. Three-day passes ranged from $90-$600 in price, so the event will be filled with wealthy locals, even wealthier out-of-towners jetting in on “tennis tours,” plus a couple dozen nouveau riche Russians who are even wealthier still.

Isn’t it at least somewhat ironic, in a country where tennis has gradually, in fits and starts, become less of an elitist sport, that when it comes to its nationalist forum — the Davis Cup — its spectators will be made up mostly of retired and semi-retired WASPs (Patrick McEnroe, who’s Irish Catholic, excepted)?

When it comes to media coverage, meanwhile, tennis is clearly on the downswing: Not only is ESPN — in the past a standby for U.S. Davis Cup action — out of the picture, even Tennis Channel has been relegated to carrying the Tie only in its delayed form. To watch it live, you’ll have to have a thick cable/dish package that contains the scrappy little sports channel known as VERSUS, which would require an additional order to my current dish package.

I guess this fine little bottleneck for us devoted fans is due to the “waning interest in tennis for many Americans” that NPR’s Tom Goldman cites on today’s Morning Edition. Okay, American media conglomerate, I’ll take your hint. I’ve had my fill for now, and I’m fine with resting up for a good six weeks until the Aussie Open gets going, anyway.

As far as the Tie itself, thanks to the doubles lineup, you have to give the Americans the edge. As much as I respect Blake and would feel bad if he takes another tough Tie loss, Youzhny is my favorite player, and has a lot of Cup confidence, so sorry James, but you’re going down.

Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times, and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here. And TSF’s Davis Cup coverage is here.

davis cup final: russia vs. usa



Davis Cup quickies:

The Oregonian‘s Davis Cup blog gave TSF a shout-out yesterday. We laughed out loud when our blogging was described as an “SI swimsuit-issue fantasy.” Le sigh. If only their swimsuit issue looked like this.

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– Hitting partners for the American team of Andy Roddick, Mike Bryan, James Blake, and Bob Bryan include an excited John Isner, Donald Young, Mardy Fish, and Robby Ginepri.

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– The much more evenly-built Russian team consists of Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny, Igor Andreev, and Dmitry Tursunov.

– The draw is now set, with notable absence of Kolya in the singles rubbers. (He’s still dealing with the match-fixing investigation, this week turning over phone records.) This obviously quiets all the speculation that Marat Safin would be a late replacement by coach Shamil Tarpischev. But the Americans won’t be surprised if the Russian line-up changes after the opening day.

– Tarpischev, on the likelihood of his team defending their title: “So I rate our chances 40-60 in favour of the U.S. but you never know.” And Patrick McEnroe dubbed him a “tennis genius” at a press conference earlier this week. (Reuters)

– The event starts at 1pm with live coverage on Versus.

– When asked about the cultural similarities (and differences) between his home country and the U.S., Tursunov responds: “Both owned Alaska at one point. [...] We don’t have bears running in the streets, you don’t have Indians camping by the fire in the streets either.” (AFP)

(Thanks to Patricia for helping with this post.)