robin: gladiator warrior?

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In two month’s time, Robin Soderling has gone from a nobody to a Grand Slam finalist to a… gladiator?! The 24-year-old Swede donned a full gladiator get-up in Hamburg just a few days after winning his first clay-court crown in Bastad last week. His reasoning? The Sod is a big fan of Gladiator, the movie.

Well, we here at TSF are big fans of The Notebook, but you don’t see us paddling through bevies of swans while curiously ogling at our past lovers with a furrowed brow, now do you?!

But give props to the big Swede, who was in full costume for photographers and fans, and even took out his racquet (and sword!) for the photo op. Is being on tour that boring?! We sure hope not. But maybe a love interest between Robsies and Jelena Jankovic might spring up here in the near future. We’re pretty sure Janky would love this stuff.

More shots after the cut. [Read more...]

it must be… uso series time

The US Open Series has launched its commercials for the 2009 season, and we’re not so sure we love the babies produced by this year’s campaign. The theme, “It Must Be Love”, is a catchy one and certainly has potential, but most of the players seem to come off flat and, well, boring in their takes. What do you think? 

The commercials were shot in a single studio, with each player feeding off a prop or anecdote of some sort. For Andy Roddick, it was tricky shots. Serena Williams? Barbies. The thesis statement was obviously there, but for some reason, it just doesn’t transfer well on the small screen.

Here’s a peek at Venus‘ commercial, one of the ones TSF actually gave a giggle and a second watch to. Click here to see all the commercials…

tsf: this stuff’s fresh

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Shh! I’m online: 
In less than one month, the US Open qualifying tournament will be underway, meaning that the official “US Open fortnight” will be underway. There won’t be any queuing at this major championships, but fans will flock to Flushing, Queens, to get a glimpse of tennis elite at the end of New York’s hot summer. Can’t you feel the excitement already?

For noise-weary fans and players alike, there’s a new place to get their internet on in New York City during the open: the library. The New York Public Library introduced a wi-fi reading room this week (above), a space the LA Times calls the “grandest wi-fi spot in the country.” We’re definitely staking out to see Rajeev Ram Tweeting on his Dell!

Where’s the chapstick?: Laura Robson has been busy Tweeting over the last three weeks after a somewhat disappointing performance at Wimbledon, where she made a good showing against Daniela Hantuchova in the first round before falling in women’s doubles and girl’s singles, eventually succumbing to injury. Laura has been a social butterfly in July, going out and staying in alike. Her current internet fave? This little ditty.

Maybe it was just her chapstick: The whole cocaine controversy with Richard Gasquet has just gotten more and more bizarre. Supposedly this news article – which we can’t read, (it’s in French!) – reveals new details of Richard’s frenching at a Miami club with “Pamela”, Gasquet’s latest beard. And Paul Newman of London’s The Independent is fuming over the whole thing. Maybe he just drank too much Red Bull, no? 

Mama Natty: French player Nathalie Dechy made more positive headlines today, retiring from tennis while announcing her pregnancy. The 30-year-old was a tour veteran and 2005 Australian Open semifinalist. We’ll miss you, Natty! (PS: See you in 18 months when you come back!)

A sad site of affairs: While the US Open is creeping up as the final major of the year, the tournament’s web site remains to be major-ly disappointing. Poor design, frustrating to navigate and just plain blah. The Aussie, French and Wimbledon all have impeccable sites, but seems like the folks in White Plains are content to keep things so 2001.

(photo by Getty Images via CBS880.com)

seles gets glammy

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Monica Seles got all glammed up for the cover of TENNIS Magazine’s August issue, which is on newsstands. TENNIS.com took readers inside the shoot today on its site, and we have several images for your perusing.

While TSF isn’t too big of a fan of the cover shot chosen of Seles (She’s looking very Michelle-Larcher-de-Brito SIMsy, right? Which in other words would be plainly: photoshopped.), the glamorous Seles was no doubt looking gorgeous and graceful. She recently was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, an honor that didn’t get quite the press coverage it deserved.

The cover was shot by New York photographer Erin Patrice O’Brien, who has done covers for NewsweekU.S. News & World Report and Bust, among others.

For many modern tennis fans, Seles was the first power player off both wings, and the Yugoslavian-born American ushered in an era of grunting, grit and guile that would spawn tennis champions and divas from Mary Pierce to the Williams sisters and Victoria Azarenka.

Seles is proving that her popularity post-stabbing was well deserved, as she continues to do good work through her charities, public appearances and recent book release. But TSF is really curious: what’s up with this whole dating thing? A little confusing, no?

More of Monica’s shoot after the cut. [Read more...]

indybits: cards to meet

Rajeev Ram, the surprise winner at last week’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, has received a wild card to Indianapolis this week. Ram will meet fellow American and wild card Devin Britton, the up-and-coming teenager who has been tapped by many as the next great star in the American tennis sky.

Of course, both boys have Tweeted about their prospects this week in the Midwest:

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(screengrabs via twitter.com)

wta headshots: part 1

If you’ve ever paid a visit to the WTA Tour’s web site, you were sure to notice the vast array of headshots used in player profiles. Unlike the theatre world, the business world or even the APT’s site – where there’s a standard for what a headshot might look like – the WTA seems to have allowed the players to submit any picture they choose. ANY PICTURE! So, TSF introduces the WTA Headshots series. Here we’ll present headshots and predict where these pictures might have shown up otherwise, giving bios and pseudo news reports solely based on the images themselves… your guesses are welcome, too!

Picture 1Dinara Safina | Dinara has been selected Miss Pensacola Valley Mall 2009 by the Beautification Realization Team after a dazzling performance on the mall’s catwalk last weekend. Dressed in a ’70s-inspired purple blouse with floral pattern criss-crossing her top, Dinara danced to “Unwritten”, the Natasha Bedingfield hit for the talent portion. Her subtle purple eye shadow and well-put-together, straightened hair was a hit with Beautification Team member Cindy Sorwell. “I thought Dinara brought a presence to the pageant that no other girl had,” Sowell said. “And that smile… THAT SMILE! Simply sensational.” Local pageant officials are looking forward to Dinara’s appearance in the Greater Peach County’s Beauty Bonanza in August.

 

[Read more...]

courting red

The Williams sisters have gone from the great green courts of Wimbledon to the bright red carpets of the Nokia Theatre in L.A. for the ESPY Awards tonight. Both dazzled in drastically different dresses; a full-run on the evening’s wears tomorrow on TSF.

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More pictures after the cut. [Read more...]

fred perry 100th anniversary: gargyle

Those of you jonesing for that 100th anniversary Fred Perry stuff that Andy Murray demo’ed at Wimbledon can get the next best thing via gargyle. A black-and-white version of Andy’s PVC all-white barrel bag is available for $75, while white/green, red/white, and black/champagne versions of the brand’s signature polo (embroidered with “100” under the FP sixteen-leaf laurel) can be picked up for $95.

Enjoysies!

(screengrabs via gargyle)