hangin’ in xalapa

Posts are gonna be a little lighter for the next two weeks as I take a trip down south to Mexico (Xalapa, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta).

TSF’ll be doing some picture posts (god bless the forums!) while our buddy Nick McCarvel holds down the fort. He’ll be bloggin’ about the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, among other things.

serena: queen of the garden?

Chasing greatness: Seles was the last to play at the Garden.

Winter gardening: Believe it or not, Serena Williams has never played at Madison Square Garden. In fact, of the four players competing in this Monday’s Billie Jean King Cup in New York, only Venus has played at the mecca of all sports – and just once, in 1999.

The last time pro women swung tennis racquets at the Garden was in 2000, at the WTA’s Season Ending Championships. In that tournament, then-20-year-old Martina Hingis outgunned fan fave and Garden gal Monica Seles in three tight sets, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4. 

If Monica owned the Garden in the early 90s, Serena hopes to own it in 2009. Friday, during a conference call, the Australian Open champ was asked by NYT‘s George Vecsey what she felt about the MSG, and had this to say: 

“Growing up I’ve always watched tennis [being played at] Madison Square Garden. There was the WTA there [and] for as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to play there. It’s for a great event. I think women’s tennis right now is the mecca of female sports and to have an event like this put on … just shows how amazing women’s tennis is. These New Yorkers can get to see such high quality tennis for one night.”

The queen of the Garden will be crowned Monday on HBO, which is broadcasting the event live beginning at 730 EST. We’ll be there to cover it live.

(image via ALLSPORT)

lindsay davenport trims the fat for baby no. 2

Lindsay Davenport and hubby Jon Leach are making room for a companion to baby Jagger by placing two of their homes on the market, reports The Real Estalker.

Listings are below, but click over to TRE for their insight into the homes.

SELLERS: Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach
LOCATION: Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, CA
PRICE: $6,395,000
SIZE: 4,999 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

DESCRIPTION: Revel in chic California Riviera style and impressive ocean views from this very private Emerald Bay residence. An abundance of space – a luxury within Emerald Bay – is found here, amid 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and an open, flowing floor plan…Each room in this tastefully appointed home is finished with luxe materials, including artisan stone and tile, custom paint finishes, plank hardwood flooring, plantation shutters. Finished garaging for 3 cars plus golf cart and world-class Emerald Bay amenities.

SELLERS: Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach
LOCATION: Solimar Beach, Ventura, CA
PRICE: $5,500,00
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

DESCRIPTION: Beach front property located on a wide lot with 60ft of ocean frontage. Extensively remodeled, this Cape Cod style property has sweeping ocean and coastline views. 4 surf spots and access to sandy beach, this is an exclusive surfer’s paradise. Outdoor patio with BBQ area and gas fireplace.

(via The Real Estalker)

oh, mirka!

In the two weeks following the Novotnazation of Roger Federer at the Australian Open, much was said about men, sports, and crying. But little ink was spilled about Mirka, hand gestures, and screen caps.

Good thing Nick McCarvel is up to the task (if only because he knows what it’s like to get freeze-framed):

“Oh god Roger, what now?!? What’s killing you? Usually he saves the waterworks for bed. ‘It’s killing you’? It’s killing you’?! What’s killing me is that I have to sit here for another five minutes while you “compose” himself. But that’s what Twitter is for. ‘@mirka: I want a donut.’

[Read more…]

if rafa wants to go the clooney route…

If Rafa‘s trying a new “adult” look to complement his matured tennis kit, like he did at this Liverpool vs. Real Madrid soccer match yesterday, can we offer our two cents?

Buy a sports jacket that’s the right size. (I know volume is back, but, as Nick would say, those sleeves are ruffffffffffffffff). Follow that up with a trip to your tailor.

You can ask your buddy Roger for some tips. He knows how it’s done! Or perhaps your buddies at Lanvin?

(rafa image via Getty Images)

hewitt’s dirty laundry

Lleyton Hewitt‘s former management, Octagon, has taken him to court for breach of contracts, and he’s fighting back with a countersuit, citing incompetence and deception on the part of the agency.

And while we feel bad that Lleyton can’t catch a break (he received a wildcard to play at Delray Beach this week. and lost. on his birthday.), it’s always interesting to get a look at what happens to the $60 I fork over for nosebleed seats.

In 2005 and 2006, Hewitt earned $6.75 million net in endorsements and appearance guarantees — including $3.5 mil from Nike and $2.3 mil from Yonex. He also received $340,000 in appearance fees for Sydney, Adelaide, and Queen’s Club.

Octagon wants a piece of this pie in the sky, but whether the agency was still representing Hewitt for those two years is in question.

Meanwhile, Hewitt’s smarting because of a 2002 legal scuffle with the ATP that could’ve been smoothed over by Octagon. After declining a on-camera interview as part of promoting the 2002 U.S. Open, Lleyton got slapped with a $100k+ fine. The ATP considered the interview compulsory; Hewitt thought he’d already fulfilled all his obligations. He spent another $100,000 only to have the ATP decision upheld, albeit with a much smaller ($20,000) fine.

Let’s hope he doesn’t bleed too much more money settling all these matters — he doesn’t have a lot of tennis-playing years left!

all quiet on the eastern front

There’s enough to deal with: In light of all this Shahar Peer and Sweden vs. Israel Davis Cup madness, you better believe we’re glad that we’ve heard nary a peep about Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic‘s first-round match in Dubai. (Tensions ran high at Serbia-Croatia matches at the Australian Open…)

Scoreline: The Fila-clad Slavs needed to go three sets to decide a winner; Cilic took it 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 to reach the second round, where he’ll face Julien Benneteau. They’re all in the top half of the draw along with top seed Nole Djokovic.

(photos via Getty Images)

in dubai, marat continues to sputter

Writing the epilogue: The unpredictable career of Marat Safin has reached some consistency now that he’s steered himself toward retirement sunset.

At this week’s Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships, the eighth seed — bumped up by the absence of the injured Federer (back), Nadal (knee), Davydenko (ankle), Verdasco(ankle), and Roddick (Dubai slapped him in the face).

Too bad he fell in three sets — 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 — to Richard Gasquet.

“I struggled in the beginning with the serve, especially, and returns from the baseline, but I started to get used to it and I started to get better and better,” Safin said. “But unfortunately, it’s a lack of confidence and I didn’t play for a long time after Australia. I played in Marseille, and it’s my second match.”

Meanwhile, after giving his neck a little breather, Marat’s back in business with his charms. Is that the imperial crown?!

Scoreline: Djokovic and Murray are doing just fine in Dubai. We’re expecting these top two seeds to face each other at Sunday’s final.

(photo via Getty Images)