short balls: maria is bootylicious, mamiit wins medals, and wedding announcements galore!

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Nole has some homework: Now that Masha has a bootylicious serve (to accomodate a right shoulder injury), funnyman Novak Djokovic will have to adjust his impersonation of the Russian. Get to work, Nole. (WTB)

Dear Harold: In the latest column by Harold Solomon for ZooTennis, he answers a question about choking.

Chris Evert engaged: Golfer Greg Norman and Chris Evert are now engaged. If you haven’t been following the drama surrounding these two sports icons, read up. (DTL)

Keeping it in Czech: Almost a year after getting engaged to Martina Hingis (and four months after calling it off), Casanova Radek Stepanek has applied for a marriage license with 18-year old compatriot Nicole Vaidisova. May-December, much? We’re waiting to get the “April Fool’s!” follow-up in our inbox. (BH via WTB)

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Sorry, Yonex: While this dress from Yonex might be a welcome surprise to some, I think it’s safe to say that loud prints shouldn’t have a place on the court. Too distracting, no? (WATR)

Mammiit’s medals: Cecil Mammiit cleaned up in the tennis events at the SEA games. He won gold in singles (beating a well-dressed Danai Udomchoke) and came up 2nd in both men’s and mixed doubles. Congratulations! (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Sharapova on Ellen: Ellen Degeneres, who’s been taking some heat for crossing the WGA picket line, will have Masha on her show this Friday.

Year-end thoughts: Chris Clarey offers his own, with the most memorable event being the five-set Wimbledon final between Roger and Rafa. (IHT)

Mathieu made whole: Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who had coach Thierry Champion taken away from him by the French Tennis Federation, is now working with Mats Wilander. Wilander’s most recent project was Tatiana Golovin.

venus' party at miami's hotel victor

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The party and mini-fashion show put on by Venus Williams (to celebrate her graduation from fashion school) happened at Hotel Victor in South Beach. This gorgeous Art Deco hotel, like many of the other structures on Ocean Drive, has a well-designed interior and a raised infinity pool, among other cool designs.

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And who can say “no” to a hotel with a jellyfish swimming across its home page. Impractical? Perhaps. Beautiful? Definitely.

More photos of the hotel and Venus’ party after the cut…

more on ellesse + their women’s lines

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We talked to a US rep for Ellesse via e-mail and he told us what’s up with the company. Their tennis performance line is available in 250 retail outlets (and sites like Tennis Warehouse), but how come there’s no sign of a casual line? And why is their website barren save for a short video?

Ellesse rode the sports retro wave for five years, mining their archives of 70s and 80s fashion to sell items to Urban Outfitters, Saks, and Bloomingdales, among others. As demand for the styles waned, so did sales. This led Ellesse to discontinue the line 18 months ago. (Puma and adidas fell prey to the same phenomenon.)

Next year: But as with Puma and adidas, who have quietly returned to reissues (with French77 and Originals, respectively), expect Ellesse to jump back in the fray for their 50th anniversary in 2009.

In the meantime, you can check out the Ellesse (Japan) women’s holiday ’07 collection* after the cut…

venus graduates, celebrates in malandrino

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Venus Williams graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale yesterday with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design. (She even received an award for Best Sportswear Collection.) There to support her were her parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price, along with sister Serena.

More photos: Her post-graduation party (looking fabulous in Catherine Malandrino, and with boyfriend Hank Kuehne at her side) after the cut…

short balls: your top five, serena's toilet paper, 2008 'players to watch', etc.

Who’s in your Top Five? If you yet to chime in on your favorite ATP players (tennis talent aside), you can do so here.

Just like the rest of us…: You can sleep better at night knowing that Serena Williams runs out of toilet paper, just like the rest of us. (Oprah)

And then, like proof of being an adult, my first electric bill arrived—$1,500! I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly I understood why Daddy was always telling me to turn out the lights. Another time I came home from a tournament and—click! No lights. Our power had been turned off because I hadn’t paid the bill on time. There I was, the 1999 U.S. Open champ, sitting alone in my big house in the dark. I was constantly running out of groceries, toiletries, and little things I needed. That’s when you realize what it means to be an adult: when you’re on your own and you run out of toilet paper.

Serena in Omaha: On her way back from Florida (after celebrating sister Venus‘s graduation and the launch of EleVen), Serena will join Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey, and Ashley Harkleroad for the Rock-n-Rackets exhibition in Andy’s hometown of Omaha.

2008 Players to Watch: I’ve been enjoying OnTheBaseline as Aaress fleshes out her list of players to watch next season. (Marija‘s been helping her out, too.)

Jankovic stars in Reebok show: Jelena Jankovic (and her new nose) will try to up their Q rating to that of fellow superstars Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic. Jelena is the subject of an episode of Framed, a show produced by Reebok Entertainment and which features a look into the lives of the sports company’s sponsored athletes. The program (airing on IFC) debuts tonight. (via WTB)

US AO WC: Congrats to Madison Brengle for nabbing the female US wildcard for the 2008 Aussie Open. The men — giant John Isner, Canas lookalike Wayne Odesnik, lefty Jesse Levine, and Alex Kuznetsov — will participate in a round-robin tourney that will determine the winner of the men’s wild card. (USTA via ZooTennis)

Crazy year for sports: I don’t know about you, but I feel a little better about tennis’ name being tarnished by cocaine and match-fixing this year, if only because it’s not anomalous: with Michael Vick‘s dog fighting, Tim Donaghy‘s scheming, and George J. Mitchell‘s steroid report, tennis is just like one of the gang! Screw Roger Federer‘s accomplishments — this is how we’re breaking into American pop culture.

sea games update: udomchoke in dunlop

For those unfamiliar, the 24th South East Asian (SEA) Games is unfolding in Thailand.

In men’s singles tennis, Danai Udomchoke of Thailand will meet Cecil Mamiit of the Philippines to vie for the gold.

Congratulations to the host country for breaking the mark of 100 gold medals in a single games. They currently have 116 (with more events to be contested).

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Dunlop does well: I’ve always relegated Dunlop‘s clothing to the same group as Prince and Babolat — utilitarian but never designed with aesthetics in mind (see: anything worn by Ai Sugiyama). But we did a double-take when we saw Udomchoke’s all-Dunlop ensemble on the hard courts of Korat. See the whole shebang after the cut…

another reebok court victory pump reissue

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Reebok keeps at the reissues with “Pump Bring Back” — a collection of its most remembered shoe models from the late 80s/early 90s. Of course, it includes another version of Michael Chang‘s Court Victory Pump. Available at XLarge, Undefeated, and Atmos.

(image via Hypebeast)

RELATED POSTS
>> reebok x alife court victory reissues
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short balls: gavin the club pro, dressing jocks, etc.

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Gavin the club pro: Video of Gavin Rossdale and son Kingston giving Extra‘s Brooke Mueller a quick tennis lesson. Apparently, she has a really nice finish.

Dressing the jocks: Italian fashion house Cerruti has partnered with the AS Monaco soccer team to dress players and staff. They’ll get a grey suit and white poplin shirt for formal occasions, and a black silk polo and a black trench coat for more informal affairs. Let’s hope they’ll join fellow Italians Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana in dabbling with the tennis world. (DNR)

Dressing the jocks, pt. 2: The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has begun fitting its potential players for the Beijing Olympics. Outfitting manager Shane Redenbach: “the Australian team will have about 150,000 garments [...] The formal uniform will be launched in March, the competition and training wear in April, and then of course the opening ceremony uniform is always kept under wraps until the night.” (The Age)

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Shoes on shirts: If you’re still in the market for t-shirts, consider this simple homage to the adidas Barricade shoe. ($16, down from $20, via Midwest Sports)

Hushing Haas: No incriminating evidence might have turned up in Tommy Haas‘ post-poisoning blood tests, but this guy thinks the investigation should continue.

It shouldn’t be over: Kolya‘s match-fixing scandal aside, a site like Betfair is a still better gambling model than going black market. (Slate via ESPN)

To the pseudo-max: A quick how-to on overcoming mental blocks to better physical performance. I wonder this can be adapted to tennis matches? (NYT)

‘Tis the season: SI.com’s Justin Gimelstob lists the numerous pros who are time during their off-season to give back.

(off-topic): A little bit of everything in the latest (off-topic).

fashion focus: for australia, roger and nike stick to what they know

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Tennis Week‘s Richard Pagliaro confirmed what TSF had culled from the tennis boards as Roger Federer‘s Aussie Open gear for 2008. (Hmm, does anyone else think it weird that these preview pics have Roger playing on clay?)

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The “down home” tourney is never one for flair; players are coming back from their short breaks, taking it slow as they amp up for a full season. This same sentiment translates to Federer’s clothes. According to Pagliaro, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield wanted to “combine the simplicity and elegance of Federer’s playing style with a strong athletic feel and design aesthetic”. Uhh PR quotes can be so awkward sometimes. Translate: they’re going back to basics.

Roger’s shirt will come in shades of blue and black (much like his 2006 U.S. Open day and evening shirts). Same construction rules apply: the button placket has a no-sew seam and the “RF” logo running down the back will double as ventilation.

Shoes and bandana: A look at his Vapor IVs after the cut…