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!

i want to wrestle andy murray…



…to the ground and give him a proper haircut.

Scoreline: As the second seed at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Murray beat Arnaud Clement 6-2, 6-3 and will face Richard Gasquet in the quarters.

(image via Getty Images)

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)