practice makes perfect: two weeks into grass

Jelena Jankovic in Reebok practicing at AELTC. The second seed is now the best woman never to have won a slam, according to Jon Wertheim.

Maria Sharapova is ready for another Wimbledon. Serena Williams has to contend with injury and sister Venus before getting back on the podium at this Grand Slam. Both are wearing super-casual Nike.

The defending (and four-time) champion wears EleVen to practice. Will we see her wearing hot pants when she raises her fifth Venus Rosewater Dish in two weeks?

Speaking of five-time winners, Roger Federer displays yet another cute Nike graphic tee for his hitting session.

Second seed Rafa Nadal, seen here working at Queen’s Club, will make the biggest dent against the Federer “Greatest of All Time” argument if the Spaniard wins the Wimbledon title (which he’s capable of doing).

Wimby sixth seed Andy Roddick wore this bright solid red Lacoste tee during practice at Queen’s Club.

Andy Murray steps up with some Fred Perry tees to go along with the buzz surrounding yet another quest for a Wimbledon title. Judging the field, this isn’t going to be Andy’s year.

Oh, Janko. You’re looking cute even in a plain Fila practice tee (which you wore at The Artois Championships). You’ll show off your tattoo, make someone swoon, and quietly go out during Wimbledon’s first week. That’s what you’re meant to do this coming fornight, and you’ll do it well.

More: Another Roger practice outfit after the cut…

ivan’s flash of blue

Ivan Ljubicic‘s scalp of Nikolay Davydenko at the French Open (boo) hasn’t turned the tide for this former No. 3. He lost to Gael Monfils in the round after and followed that up with first and second round exits at Halle and the Ordina Open.

But at least he and clothing sponsor Li Ning show us some color with this blue kit (solid at the French; with white and green at Ordina). He’ll exchange it for an all-white outfit during Wimbledon’s two weeks.

I can’t wait to see what Li Ning has in store for Ivan at the Beijing Olympics, with the clothing company being from there and all.

(photos by Getty Images)

the sewta players’ party: wimbledon edition

Richard Branson hosted a pre-Wimbledon event for the ladies of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour on Thursday night at his Roof Gardens in West London.

Serena Williams keeps her pets secure in a Matthew Williamson gown while wearing 2.5 million Euros in Duttson diamonds.

Venus Williams looking glam in black.

Dani Hantuchova poses in off-the-shoulder brown.

Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic (no cell phones died in the making of her dress), and Sania Mirza.

(photos by Getty Images, Wireimage, Belga Picture)

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>> TSF’s wimbledon coverage continues

sharapova designs accessories for her sony ericsson Z555i phone

Maria Sharapova and Sony Ericsson gathered an international group of journalists Thursday for the unveiling of the Maria Sharapova Design Collection in London.

The four main pieces: the IDC-34 Travel Wallet, the IDC-33 Party Bag, the IDC-31 Courtside Case (all above), and the IDC-32 Exercise case below.

The showed the accessories used in three different settings: sporty, casual, and evening. They used a grey, pink, and brown color palette for the collection. The logo is a combination of a heart and an “S” (for Sharapova — get it?). Trying to get an image of that logo for you guys.

More: See a few more pictures afer the cut…

the whore of babylon

So you know how I’ve been drooling over that perma-popped polo from K-Swiss?

I’m hanging out at Trunks (watering hole of choice) and guess who walks in wearing a polo like it? My friend Travis, of course.

He does this because he hates me.

things you didn’t know about Rafa

In his last Q&A for the Times, we find out that Rafa Nadal wears a fragrance by Lanvin (which one, I wonder?) and he is fascinated by fish and aquariums. His hometown of Mallorca has a decent one.

Speaking of scents, here are my favorites:

Gucci Nobile (1988). Discontinued. It’s now at $150 an ounce or some absurd amount. But the combo of bergamot, lemon, lavender, rosemary, tarragon, mace, etc — it really does it for me.

Chanel Chance (2002). My sister gave me a bottle because it wasn’t quite working with her skin. Give it a chance (hyuk) — it’s more man-friendly than you’d expect. I haven’t tried the more summery Eau Fraiche version.

Chanel Egoiste (1990).

Vera Wang for Men (2004). My friend Jym wears this one (and I really like how it smells). In a perfect world I’d be able to use it, too. Sadly, the scent disappears 10 minutes after I spray it on myself.

What fragrance do you wear?

from chris: grass updates

From Chris:

“…Davenport, Mauresmo, and Stepanek in doubt. Amelie and Radek will probably pull out with muscle tears; Lindsay withdrew from eastbourne with knee injury.

Dmitry Tursunov, in line with crazy Russian on-court antics, walks off the court in a doubles match in Nottingham in disagreement with a line call. (He and partner Chris Haggard were down a set against Andreas Seppi and Simone Bolleli.) As a result, tourney officials booted him from the singles draw.

“Borg picks Andy Murray to win at Wimbledon … someday, but not this year (and that’s only if he stays injury-free). Borg’s safe picks for this year: first Rafa, then Nole, and third on the list is Roger.

“And in we-never-saw-it-coming news, Marion “Sweet Teeth” Bartoli continues to coast into semis at Eastbourne…”

como se dice “blimey” en espanol?

Oddschecker.com has Roger Federer 6/5, and Nadal at 44/17 (what?!). SportsBetting.com has Fed at even odds, Nadal at 2-1, Nole Djokovic at 3-1, and Andrew Roddick at 15/1. (More odds here.) BetBrain.com has Fed at 6/5; Nadal at 11/4; Djokovic at 5/1.

Only one of 5 espn.com tennis writers, for what it’s worth, is picking Fed. And amongst the UK tennis press, 7 of 9 are going with Nadal.

This week I started a class in broadcasting, and the teacher, from the first day on, talks about “fact” vs. “opinion”. When it comes to picking this year’s Wimbledon winner, no one’s fact is better than the other’s opinion.

For 2008 Wimbledon I’m going with BBC’s Sue Barker: I see it 50-50 between Federer and Nadal — aka “Pick ‘em,” as the immortal commentator Jim Courier puts it. Based on all the evidence at hand, you really can’t pick Federer, despite five consecutive Wimbledon wins and his five titles at Halle. And you can’t pick Nadal because there’s Federer. And Djokovic lurking behind the well-manicured planters. Should he and Nadal meet in the semis again, you almost have to give Djokovic even odds. Which would be one explanation why Fed has better odds than Nadal.

But how interesting is all of that, really, when compared with justice? If Nadal manages to add the ultimate grass crown to his resume, he will have avenged last year’s tight loss. And if Fed defends, let’s face it: he’ll reciprocate on the embarrassing loss at Roland Garros. Meanwhile, Nadal still has all the humility in the world for a champion, as we saw at the close of the French. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say Fed beats Nadal while losing only a handful of games. Do you think he would tone down his on-court celebration?

Well all right then. Whether it’s Nadal over Fed, Fed over Nadal, Nadal over Djokovic, or Roddick over Andy Murray, the winner will have earned it. And the guy who wins with the most class is still Nadal.

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.

t-shirts speak louder than chair umps

K-Swiss gets back into the style fray with more goods, following up their casual collection with this black-and-white 80s-inspired “Quiet Please” shirt, produced just in time for Wimbledon.

So far there isn’t a plan to go mass-market with the design, so keep yer fingers crossed. They will simply hand these out to fans at Wimbledon, so if you’re going to be there (lucky!) make sure to look out for the folks giving away the tee.

(photo courtesy of K-Swiss)