suddenly sabine (is popular)

Sabineblogart

It certainly wasn’t “The Bump Heard Around the World“, but when Sabine Lisicki and Caroline Wozniacki ran into each other in the Fourth Round at this year’s Wimbledon, plenty of people took notice. One of those people was 21-year-old Londoner  Brad.

Imagining (and hoping for) a long-lasting Lisicki career, Brad predicts that if the fresh-faced German has any major rivals in her career, there’s only one he’s interested in: “Oh, definitely Wozniacki, those two are totally made for each other. It’s the whole ball-basher versus counterpuncher dynamic they’ve got going on…”

After reading such an opinion, it’s not hard to believe that Brad (himself as fresh-faced as Sabine) is the author of the new, slick-looking Sabine fan blog on Blogger. Brad promises to keep fans up to date on Sabine’s on and off court happenings via his week-old blog, but what caught our eye is the unique art (above) the blog-master produces and showcases on his cyberspace.

The graphic above is an original by Brad, and below is a creation by his friend, Louisa

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Find out more about Brad from our quirky interview, check out a couple more Brad originals and see for yourself the Lisicki-Wozniacki bump after the cut.

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the sandlot

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From grass courts to hard courts to beach courts?! It may sound a little crazy to you (and to us), but Beach Tennis is alive and swinging. So much that the ITF just held the first-ever World Championships this past May in Rome.

The game is markedly different from the one you and I know, but has grown in popularity in the recent past and is anchored with enthusiasm in Italy. Played with smaller rackets that are more alike to paddles used for table tennis, beach tennis is played over an elevated net – think volleyball, badminton – and no bounces are allowed.

So much for Hawkeye, right?

The sport draws similarities with beach volleyball when it comes to its lively, party culture. The IFBT (International Federation of Beach Tennis), which operates separately from the ITF-run tour, is holding its World Championships this week in Marina di Ravenna, Italy.

And while we doubt any cross-over stars will emerge in the near future, the sport has spread to the States and even Japan. Now let’s see if the whole barefoot thing ever catches on at Wimbledon

(screengrab via itf tennis web site)

short balls: npr makeover, tennishead2

Radio gets fresh on the net: NPR.org, the news web site of National Public Radio, got an overhaul on Monday morning. Editors promise the new site to be “brighter, lighter, faster, easier to use, easier to search and more fun to surf.” While NPR rarely covers sports (especially tennis), the site is full of goodies from its national stations and links to its local stations from all over the country. Nothing like a dying medium going for a re-do, right? Maybe Andy Roddick inspired them, huh?

Tennishead takes two: Tennishead, our fave tennis ezine… and the world’s only tennis ezine launched its second issue today. Though we love the interactive features – like an introductory video from British player Anne Keothavong (the mag is based in the U.K.) – we’re a little puzzled as to why their big launch for issue number two is all about Wimbledon. Previewing Wimbledon, that is… didn’t the Championships happen a month ago? Perhaps we’re a big confused, but in any case, peruse the 30 pages of bright delight (with pop-ups and sound effects, too!) and keep up with this pub. We expect them to keep churning out good, relevant and ahead-of-the-times content.
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MLdB is a little awkward in that SIM-ulated top, no?

Corn-fed Bromance?: What two American tennis personalities got all huggy-duggy in Indianapolis last week? Check the shot after the jump.

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when balls get catty

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If you like to use your claws on the court, Sequen tennis balls might be just for you. Sequen sells luxury tennis balls in leopard, tiger, jaguar and python prints, among others, giving the standard tennis ball its best make-over since it ditched white for yellow in the modern game.

The chic balls retail for $20 a can or $480 a case (24 cans). And while you may raise an eyebrow at the design (and the price), Sequen owner Jennifer Baker assures these fuzzy creatures aren’t just good to look at- they’re top of the line quality, too.

“We use the best felt out there,” Baker said. “Our manufacturer is certified and our felt people do all the big ball brands.”

Baker started the company in 2006, but used the last three years to develop the brand and get a “solid, professional team” behind Sequen. The company is based in the Palm Springs area, a tennis-obsessed valley that’s home to the yearly pro stop at Indian Wells. Baker plans to make her big reveal at this year’s USPTA buying conference in Florida.

Check out more of the felted felines after the cut.

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headstrong franky

Frank Dancevic seems to like Indianapolis, and we seem to like that bandana he’s wearing. Sporting American colors at The Indy Tennis Championships, the Canadian won a big battle in the quarterfinals, avenging his 2007 Indy final loss to looker Dmitry Tursunov 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The Canadian drove to the tournament with his girlfriend last week, as he did in ’07 when he was a finalist. Maybe this time the headwear will spur him all the way to the top of the medal stand. We sure hope so.

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In a white, striped Fila polo looked great with bright red shorts. But how can you not love that bandana? His long locks are tucked in nicely, and Frank seems to be playing with confidence knowing he won’t be blinded by all that humidity-induced sweat.

(photo via getty images)

sticking around

One of our fave t-shirt makers, Stick It Wear?!, has launched a brand new set of tees for the fall season, full of new characters and designs for tennis-savvy, fashion forward individuals.

Joe Duricathe creator and designer of SIW, has been a tennis fan since his childhood days in Chicago, and now spends time in his Southern California studio screening shirts and creating fantastic art. 

Joe called on simpler colors for his fall line, launching Martina Navratilova and James Blake-inspired tees, along with re-vamped selections for Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick. His “from Hero to Icon” slogan is as creative as the names he gives his shirts: “Czech Defect” for the Martina selection, “Block J” for Blake and “Thy Once King” for the Sampras style, seen below.

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Durica’s line began a few years ago, and as the brand has grown, you can now find his merchandise online at Tennis Warehouse and through sporting goods retailer Midwest Sports. Not only are his creative stylings on trendy tennis tees, but due to popular demand, Joe now does car decals, which he is sure to mention go well on tennis bags, too. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $20 for a simple tee to $54.99 for a stenciled hoodie.

More of his delish designs after the cut…

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baaaaaaaaaaaaabies!!!

Yes, folks, the babies are here! Mirka Vavrinec popped out twin girls – who will no doubt rival Lauren Davenport at Wimbledon 2027 – last night in Switzerland with Roger by here side.

TSF nabbed the first EXCLUSIVE pics of the little tennis champs, who Fed announced will be called Myla Rose and Charlene Riva. We’re pretty sure that’s Myla on the left, but they REALLY are twins, right?! Looks like little CharChar takes after Daddy in the crying category…

charlene-myla-federer-1

In any case, congrats to the happy parents from all of us here at TSF!

(photo illustration by erwin ong)

sw19 fashions

While I’m usually not a big fan of mass-produced, cliched sort of fashion, I couldn’t forego the Wimbledon Shop when I was at the Championships last month. The place was jam packed with the always-recognizable Wimbledon towels, white tennis skirts, over-sized tennis balls (for autographs!) and classic tees and polos with the Wimbledon emblem etched across them.

I perused the store, inching past eager teens who most certainly had daddy’s credit card at the pretty pricey Shop, and found a couple items I liked. The first was this tee, a bright, aqua-blue number with “Wimbledon” shadowed down the chest toward the navel and a silhouette of a tennis player etched across the words. The picture here makes the shirt look wide, which most of the tees were in the Shop, so luckily, when I tried on an extra small (I’m usually a small or a medium), it fit like a glove.

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My second choice was this colorful print tee on a grayscale shirt. This one got thrown in my “workout tees” pile, as it goes well with several of my choice bandanas. But most of the shirts in the Shop were 100% cotton, meaning they’re not the best for workout-produced sweat, and shouldn’t be worn in heavy humidity (trust me – trial and error).

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Check out the best-selling Wimbledon item of the season and the shirt I would of picked up if only I had seen it after the cut…

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tina and amy do the michelle

Esteemed journalist L. Jon Wertheim seems to be of good humor this morning. The CNN-SI Mailbag columnist, who recently released Strokes of Genuis, a story of the Federer-Nadal rivalry (among other things), posted this ridiculously funny video on his Twitter this morning.

The video clips features Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both formerly of SNL fame and now peddling their own NBC comedies. The two do battle in a 2006 improv skit that features more grunting than a inter-generational match-up between Monica Seles and Michelle Larcher de Brito

Don’t be too surprised if you see either of the comedic geniuses sitting in MLdB’s box during next month’s US Open. Girls can grunt!