davis cup: Nike and del Potro combine powers

Juan Martin del Potro nudged Argentina into a 2-0 lead against Russia by beating top 10er Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 (this, after Igor Andreev lost to Nalbandian). Del Potro has now won 23 out of his last 24 matches, picking up four titles along the way.

We give props to Nike for using a deeper shade of blue on the double-wide terry wristbands (compared to the headband), and making the color pop even more with that purple swoosh.

And in line with the rest of their summer/fall ’08 gear, there’s mesh (in tribal/tattoo form) on the shirt’s back.

Into the weekend: The boys will duke it out in reverse singles a day after cheering on the doubles match between Canas/Calleri and Kunitsyn/Tursunov. At least after last year’s Portland debacle, Tarpischev knows better than to put Kolya in play on a Saturday!

Show some love: The Argentine version of the tennis pieces aren’t available for mass consumption, but consider giving your gaucho some love via this Country Split Windrunner Jacket, $100; or the Hyperdunk shoes — both released in time for the Beijing Olympics.

(photos by Getty Images)

name that brand: peter luczak

Can anyone out there help me identify the brand behind this mobius strip logo on Peter Luczak?

The Aussie lost his first singles rubber against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez at this weekend’s Davis Cup tie. The score: 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. He’ll face Nicolas Massu in reverse singles on Sunday. (More scores.)

We’re all about the use of Australian national sports colors (green and yellow) as accents to Pete’s white shirt — instead of letting the bright shades dominate, ala Hewitt and Chris Guccione. The green wristbands are good, too.

(photos by Getty Images)

adidas to re-release tennis racquets

The three stripes of adidas tennis, already seen on clothing and shoes, returns to racquets when the company revives its equipment line — last hawked by legends Ilie Nastase and Ivan Lendl in the 1980s.

If you don’t know much about these old adidas sticks, check out the amazing photo trove at 80s-tennis.com. That trefoil stencil is sick!

(By the way, I’ve been meaning to write about 80s-tennis for a while. So go check it out. I’ll do a bigger post later…)

In the current incarnation, adidas will produce three ranges to cater to all play levels, and will be named after their signature tennis shoes: the Barricade, Response, and Feather. As far as colors, the Barricades and Response have black/white/red colorways and the Feather — the lightest of the three — will be in white/silver/yellow.

So which of the pros are going to use this for match play? No agreements yet (it’s “a work in progress”, says an insider), but like all other equipment, they’ll probably introduce it to promising juniors with the hopes of getting exposure when the player succeeds on the tour.

Buy: adidas Barricade racquets, $185;Feather range, $165, and Response, $145. Available in the U.S. beginning February 2009.

davis cup: is janko ready?

I want to put him in my tote and feed him carrots all day.

Janko Tipsarevic will play reverse singles as part of the Serbian team in this weekend’s Davis Cup playoff tie against Team Slovakia (in Bratislava). After that ankle injury forced him to retire at the Olympics and the U.S. Open, let’s hope he doesn’t run into any trouble.

Here he is at a reception with Slovakian singer Sisa Sklovska. As expected, Nole is hamming it up.

(photos by Getty Images)

davis cup: I’m craving a sandwich

Juan Martin del Potro and the scot-free Nikolay Davydenko will meet in the second rubber of this weekend’s Argentina vs. Russia Davis Cup semifinal tie in Buenos Aires. As much as I’d like Kolya to win, this is the en fuego JM. Playing on his home turf. Sorry, Russia!

By the way, can someone give Nikolay a smaller jacket so it doesn’t look like he’s wearing a dress?

(photo by Getty Images)

more tennis stadiums should look like this

The Spanish tennis federation has converted the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid into a clay court that’ll host this weekend’s semifinal Davis Cup tie against the U.S. (See how the teams stack up.)

The bullring, designed by architect Jose Espeliu, took nine years to realize. Note the Mozarabic style, defined by the horseshoe-shaped arches among other things. The structure has five gates from which bulls can enter, the most revered of which is the Puerto Grande (“Big Door”), an exit door used by matadors who have won their fight.

That relief behind Rafa is pretty awesome.

(Indoor and Nadal photos via Getty Images; facade photo via dk)

where the t-shirt ends…

There is a place where the t-shirt ends and before Gonzo‘s hair begins…

…but I haven’t quite figured out where that is.

Davis Cup: Fernando Gonzalez and there rest of the Chileans — Nicolas Massu, Carillo lookalike Paul Capdeville, and Guillermo Hormazabal — play in Antofagasta (their home turf) against the Aussies: Guccione, Peter Luczak, the cute Carsten Bell, and Robert Smeets. More info on the tie here.

This tie is a World Group playoff, which means that they are vying for a spot in the 2009 draw. The Davis Cup 2008 semifinal ties are Spain vs. USA and Russia vs. Argentina. I don’t want to hear anymore op-ed pieces on how confusing this tournament is, okay?

(photo via Getty Images)