practice makes perfect: roger in cincinnati

Roger Federer has his work cut out for him at this week’s Masters Series Cincinnati tournament. He’s looking to bounce back (still) after back-to-back losses to Nadal (Wimby) and Gilles Simon (Toronto). He beat Gineps 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-0 in the first round. Yikes.

On to lighter fare: let’s take a look at his practice tees from this week.

momma’s got a brand new bag

Prince plans to release new lines of racquet bags in conjunction with this year’s U.S. Open.

Inspired by Maria Sharapova herself, the new Sharapova Collection will showcase the Russian’s classic elegance through a striking, clean, all-white bag with black Prince logo and accents. Available in a triple and six-pack, both bags in the collection will also feature the iconic Sharapova seal embroidered into the side of the bag.

“The U.S Open is tennis’ biggest stage. The City comes even more alive for those two weeks, with all eyes fixated on Flushing Meadows so it is the perfect place for us to introduce the world to the new collection,” said Maria. “It is always fun to sit with the expert team at Prince and put our heads together to plan, develop and execute new products.”

“Of course my new racquet bag is coordinated with what I will wear on court at the Open, but because of its classic color scheme and clean, simple lines, it looks amazing with nearly every tennis outfit — giving female players a chic looking bag with incredible function.”

The rest of the Prince stable also gets some attention with a new Pro Team 100 line being produced for the Open. Each bag in the line will be made available in two distinct color options — black and green and black and white. While both will have a sleek, classic black base color, one version will feature — for the first time ever — the Prince logo in its updated green colorway accented by silver paneling.

The other version will feature a classic white Prince logo with white accents on the straps and underside. The Pro Team 100 collection comes in a triple, six, and twelve-pack racquet bag; plus a locker bag, wheeled duffle, and a backpack. Both the six and twelve-pack contain a thermal foil lining crucial for increased protection and temperature control.

Who gets what: The racquet each Prince player uses will dictate which version of the bag he or she carries. Those playing the O3 Speedport Black, O3 Speedport White, O3 Speedport Pro White or O3 White will carry the black/white version, while those playing the Ozone Tour, Ozone Pro Tour, O3 Hybrid Tour, and all other O3 models will carry the green/black version.

Players like Nikolay Davydenko, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sam Querrey, Mike and Bob Bryan, and Jelena Jankovic will all carry their Pro Team 100 bags in events prior to New York.

Jankovic, who plays with the O3 Speedport Pro White, and currently sits at the doorstep of the world’s #1 ranking, will be the first woman on tour to sport the black/white bag.

“My life is pretty much packed into my racquet bag — it is my most valuable piece of luggage,” said Jankovic. “Whether in my hotel room, heading to an early morning workout or in the middle of a night match at the U.S Open, wherever I am, my racquet bag is usually with me so it has to be able to withstand what tennis players put it through, but also look great on court. I love the look and design of this bag line — and am proud and excited to be one of the first to carry the black/white version on tour.”

Buy: Pro Team 100 line and the new Sharapova Collection bags will be in stores starting September 15, 2008; black and white Pro Team version will drop on November 15, 2008. More info about pricing here.

checking in with fred perry

Fred Perry continues to rack up its amazing list of collaborations with a 12-piece men’s line to be produced in conjunction with Raf Simons, who himself is busy as creative director of Jil Sander. The all-black collection is inspired by Perry’s 1960s skiwear and will include a short-sleeve mohair turtleneck sweater (!!); a patterned, knit polo shirt; a full button-down long-sleeve pique polo; and sleek trousers. Dropping in the fall.

On the tennis front, their brand got decent exposure this last month because of Andy Murray‘s decent showing at Wimbledon (quarters) and at Toronto, where he made it all the way to the semis, losing to Nadal but not before taking down Nole 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the round prior.

Fall goods: The Fred Perry e-shop doesn’t have much to offer right now. That landing page is pretty cute, though.

(raf simon image via hypebeast; andy murray images by Getty Images; website screencap from fredperry.com)

how our mind works…

Now that I’ve successfully calmed myself down from that tiny (but long) earthquake that struck just outside L.A. earlier today, I thought I’d point out that our buddy Nick, the man behind Tennis Chatter, has now taken to doing video posts. He’s pretty insightful and speaks with good tempo and volume. Check it out!

Of course the first thing that pops into my mind is that Nick could totally be wearing different tennis clothes each week. I would have so much fun styling his vlog! He already started down that way by wearing the Marat Safin shirt from Stick it Wear?! in that video above…

…and a headband for this Wimbledon post.

For the rest, he’s gone mostly with solid screen-printed tees. See more below.

Varsity tees.

He likes green!

(images via Tennis Chatter)

ATP lawsuit could remake non-team sports

Daniel Kaplan at SportsBusiness Journal is all over the lawsuit filed the organizers of the Hamburg tournament against the ATP. At the core of this debate is whether the ATP is seen as a professional league (which, under U.S. law, is allowed to collude and pool television rights, set schedules, and set terms for athlete participation) or if it’s just a loose group of businesses who all happen to run tennis tournaments. A loss for the ATP could spell trouble for the WTA and other individual sport orgs like the PGA and LPGA tours. Here’s what Kaplan wrote up two weeks ago (on July 7). Subsequent articles to follow.

In 14 days, the ATP World Tour will square off against one of its tournaments in a Delaware courtroom. At stake: Not just the future of men’s tennis, but perhaps the governance of all non-team sports.

Barring a settlement, the antitrust case could determine just how far a rules-making body can go in setting tournament schedules, compelling players to compete in certain events, establishing a ranking system and awarding sanctions. These functions are claimed not only by the ATP, which is being sued to undo a series of schedule changes, but also by other entities ranging from the PGA Tour to Olympic federations.

“An ATP loss would set a dangerous precedent for professional sports governing bodies … that make all sorts of decisions that primarily affect the players regarding format of play, where they are going to play their tournaments, the number of events in which they will participate [and] how the players are going to be ranked,” said Rick Karcher, director of the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law. He also has written about the case as a contributor to the Web site sportslawblog.com.

“If any third party can challenge these decisions on antitrust grounds,’ Karcher said, “it puts these organizations at risk.” (Read on…)

when in montreal, do as the french do

Nadia Petrova has switched from being a form for Venus‘ EleVen line to wearing a mustard top from Babolat at the 2008 Rogers Cup. She beat local Marie-Eve Pelletier 6-0, 6-1 in the first round.

Babs isn’t exactly known for its clothes, so we’ll take what we can get — piping detail, graphic on the lower front — from this French gearmaker.

(photo by Getty Images)

Latin American Players give back

Prominent Latin American tennis players such as Argentina’s David Nalbandian and Carlos Berlocq, Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez, Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten and Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti, have taken on the role of part-time philanthropists by investing part of their earnings and time in charity work for their native countries. In addition to these Latin American players, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal also partakes in these efforts.

Nalbandian, who is currently ranked number seven in the world, and has earned $8.8 million in the course of his career, recently launched the David Nalbandian Foundation, a non-profit organization which strives for the social integration of people with disabilities through programs and projects geared towards health and sports.

“I have long supported causes in my native town, Unquillo, and always wanted to start a foundation of my own. Today I can say it’s a dream come true. I want to help special people, that most need it,” stated the Argentine during the launch of his foundation.

Meanwhile, Chile’s Gonzalez, who is ranked number 14 in the world and has earned $6.6 million throughout his career, supported for the second consecutive “Copa de Tenis por los Ninos del Hogar de Cristo,” (Tennis Cup for the Children of the Home of Christ) by playing an exhibition match against Argentina’s Agustin Calleri last December in the center court of the National Stadium.

Proceeds from ticket sales were earmarked for the construction of a Residential Home in Tocopilla, capital of the Chilean province of the same name, for children at social risk and those affected by the most recent earthquake. Gonzalez also makes a donation to the foundation each time he wins a tennis match.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to help others by doing what I like best. It’s a blessing to be able to entertain people and, at the same time, benefit the children of my country,” commented Gonzalez regarding the Cup.

On his part, Brazil’s Kuerten, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world and a three-time winner of the French Open who has earned $14.8 million during his career, has the Gustavo Kuerten Institute, which develops educational and sports-related projects for people with disabilities.

“The task we have undertaken at IGK seeks to offer real opportunities for the development and social integration to those in need. At the same time, we want to strengthen a culture of solidarity among the members of our society,” said Kuerten about his institute.

Nicolas Lapentti, ranked 74th in the world and with a total of $5.8 million earned to date, decided to create the Nicolas Lapentti Foundation (F.N.L.), with the goal of helping children with cancer and athletes with the potential to compete internationally.

Among the highlights of the events held by the F.N.L. is the Guayaquil Fashion Concert; the funds raised at this event go to a different foundation each year. Another event is the F.N.L. circuit, which allows children of different provinces to compete for scholarships to train abroad, and win a trip with Nicolas to one of his tournaments.

Likewise, Berlocq, who currently holds the 90th ranking in the world and has earned $712,000 in his career, holds tennis clinics and donates the money to the Chascomus Athletic Club, where he started playing, and to municipal schools in the area.

“I always do some fundraising, because as little as it may seem, for the municipal schools every little bit helps. I would like to give more, but for that you have to win, to be in the top 40 or 50 in the world. And maybe it can be done,” said Berlocq, who was born in the municipality of Chascomus, in the province of Buenos Aires.

On the other hand, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, ranked number two in the world by the ATP, has earned more than $17 million in his career and has started the Rafa Nadal Foundation. The purpose of this foundation is to provide social assistance and cooperation for the development and promotion of sports as an integration tool for the members of society who are most in need, with special attention to children.

“I feel privileged and fortunate to work in what I like to do. This situation has given me unique experiences, traveling throughout the world and seeing many people in need of help. I think this is the first step towards putting my desire to help into practice,” said Nadal during the inauguration of his foundation.

Nalbandian, Gonzalez, Kuerten, Lapentti, Berlocq, Nadal not only are tennis stars who have remember those in need, but have become pillars of their communities, examples of what can be called Personal Social Responsibility — role models to be followed.