rafa’s dispatches from key biscayne

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It has been brought to our attention that Rafa Nadal will be blogging for TENNIS.com during this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.

He’ll talk about his matches and share personal photos that he takes and poses for during the next week-and-a-half.

“We’re thrilled to have Rafael Nadal, one of the most exciting players in the game, blogging for TENNIS.com during the Sony Ericsson Open,” said TENNIS.com and TENNIS Magazine editor-in-chief James Martin. “Rafa will take our fans behind the scenes for exclusive content that they can’t get anywhere else.”

Archives: This isn’t Rafa’s first stab at blogging. He’s done it twice for the ATP, even getting an “Editor’s Choice” distinction for his posts in June 2006. He also wrote from Roland Garros last year.

short balls: seles is done, srichaphan is back, bricker is hopeful, the shirt is not for sale

Monica Seles - Dancing with the Stars elimination

Nick called it: Monica Seles and magician Penn Jillette were the first two to be eliminated on Dancing with the Stars this season.

Merger mania: The Sun-Sentinel‘s Charles Bricker keeps his fingers crossed for a merger between the ATP and the SEWTA.

Srichaphan’s last attempt? The powers that be have called on Paradorn Srichaphan to represent his country in the upcoming Davis Cup tie, and he’s said yes. The former world No. 9 is finally ready to play after a 14-month wrist injury layoff (and honeymoon). Srichaphan will make one more attempt at staying healthy. If he’s injured again, he’ll likely retire. (Xinhua)

The shirt is not for sale: Those of you jonesing for that grey adidas (“A. Dassler, State”) tee that the pros have been training in won’t be able to find it in stores (adidas made a very limited run for their VIPs).

Cry some more: Watch this animated and moving video about founder Adi Dassler.

And when you’re done… To lift your spirits, check out the latest adidas Originals pieces. Some of those windbreaker/track jackets are effin gorgeous!

it’s lonely at the top

Hotel Gansevoort - Serena vs. Rafa 2008

While it could be said that there were times Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams walked on water — he owns three back-to-back French Opens and she has already racked up eight Grand Slam titles so far — the organizers of the Sony Ericsson Open took it a step further by staging this exhibition on Monday.

Rafael Nadal - Sony Ericsson Open - Hotel Gansevoort 2008

It took a team five days to construct invisible (acrylic) platforms at either end of the Hotel Gansevoort’s rooftop pool. It would’ve been so much cooler had they brought in people to make it seem like it was business as usual; as if tennis on water happens all the time.

By the way: Gansevoort South, the South Beach sister to the Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District, is opening quietly this month after some delays. It’ll be worth the wait, though. The hotel’s main kitchens will be helmed by the ladies of the ONE Group; they’ve even scheduled to open a branch of their STK restaurant there in November.

Duly noted: Are those the new Nike kits Rafa and Serena will be wearing later this week?

More photos: Click here for more pics.

(simplyserena.com via WTB; photos by ATP)

fashion: more loud prints from vania king

Vania King - Indian Wells 2008

American Vania King follows up her loud stripes from Indian Wells with this lighter floral pattern for this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. It’s possibly another dress from Lily’s of Beverly Hills.

Edit: Nope — a quick call to the LBH confirms that this is not their dress. So if anyone knows the answer…

Scoreline: Vania is through to the third round of qualifying. Good luck to her!

andy parties for lacoste’s 75th birthday

I hope the pro-bedhead camp didn’t lose too much sleep over this prim and proper photo of Andy Roddick posing in Lacoste‘s latest spring/summer collection, because he took it down a notch at last night’s signing at the Bloomingdale’s flagship in Manhattan.

Andy Roddick - Lacoste store signing - NYC

Andy paired the collection’s signature white sports coat with some blue jeans, and even lets his chest do a peekaboo.

More photos at omg!

(photo by Jemal Countess for WireImage.com)

fila announces five year partnership with wimbledon

Italian sportswear brand Fila is to be the new official footwear licensee to The Championships, Wimbledon. The five-year contract will see Fila provide a range of dual branded performance tennis and leisure footwear styles, until 2012.

The partnership comes as part of Fila’s global tennis strategy and investment in a stable of Elite players such as Svetlana Kuznetsova, Agnes Szavay, Dmitry Tursunov, Janko Tipsarevic, Andreas Seppi, and Marin Cilic.

The partnership will mark the launch of the new Fila Alfa tennis shoe that utilizes superior components to ensure step in comfort and lasting performance. The Alfa Wimbledon shoe will be worn and merchandised at The Championships, Wimbledon, and be available with a hard court and grass court sole unit.

Marc Travis, Fila UK Marketing Manager, said, ‘Tennis has been an essential part of the Fila heritage and this agreement with The All England Lawn Tennis Club is another key partnership that will build the future of the brand within the sport. 2008 marks 35 years of Fila’s involvement in tennis with Wimbledon being the setting for a great number of the brand’s historic memories.’

Robert McCowen, Marketing Director of The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club said, “The All England Club is delighted to be associated with Fila who have such deep historical roots here at Wimbledon and we are excited about the opportunities for marketing the dual branded Fila/Wimbledon range of shoes internationally.”

(PR Newswire via Xinhua)

on sharapova’s french open dress: the speculation continues…

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One more to throw into the fray for Maria Sharapova‘s possible French Open kit. Rich at Down the Line! scoured the Nike site and came up with this beauty.

While the dress has no athlete linked to its description, this dark blue number is definitely a candidate for Masha’s outfit (unlike the Paris Tank and Skirt, which were linked to Masha). Judging by the bow on the bust, we know it’s definitely not Serena‘s. And Maria has gone both light (pink tutu, 2006) and dark (last year’s dark blue layers) in French Opens past, so who knows which way she’ll go this year?

Buy: Nike Paris Tennis Dress, Dark Obsidian/Chalk, $100. By the way, the Doubles Dress, in a Chalk/Dark Obsidian colorway, is also a fave of mine. It has a thin belt and a ruffled hem. $75.

(nike.com via DTL)

thumbs up: roddick parts his hair for lacoste’s spring/summer ’08

Andy Roddick - Lacoste - Spring/Summer 2008

Where’s the bedhead? We didn’t think it was possible, but Andy Roddick can actually clean up (pretty well, even) wearing clothes from his sponsor, Lacoste. These classic whites are from the label’s spring/summer collection. We were in love with the white jacket back when creative designer Christopher Lemaire presented the goods back in September, and our feelings haven’t changed. Big logos are on their way out, but I’m not above squeezing one more summer out of it. (Who’s with me?)

Refresher: If you want to take a gander at the collection, click here. If you’re ready to buy, click here.

(via DTL; photo via andyroddick.com)