picture this

If you’re at home, in your dorm room, at a random cafe, or in the public library, all you need to watch the US Open this year is an internet connection. USOpen.org is offering free streaming of five courts, and if you have a quality, high speed connection, then you’re set.

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Not only is the picture pretty bangin’ but there’s an option to chat with other fans, watch two courts at once, choose another court to watch (Ashe, Armstrong, Grandstand and Courts 11 and 13) or view match stats. If you weren’t sure it was the 21st century, this is it, folks.

(screen grab via usopen.org)

open reservations

New York is full of good (and expensive) places to stay. We’ve heard of players staying everywhere from a high-rise hotel room in Midtown Manhattan (Sorana Cirstea) to a quiet private home on Long Island (Nadia Petrova). Here are three hotels that have climbed out of the concrete jungle that is Manhattan to nab our attention for the 2009 Open. Check it:

Picture 3The first is the Jumeirah Essex House, the site where the 2009 Billie Jean King Cup players stayed. Situated just south of Central Park and to the east of Columbus Circle, the hotel has a prime location. The iconic building, which is operated by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, is housing a few USTA officials this Open go around.

If you’re a thirsty tennis fan, then the South Gate restaurant (attached to the Essex House) is featuring The Honey Duece Cocktail, the official drink of the US Open. The drink, made with Grey Goose vodka, raspberry liqueur and lemonade (don’t forget the honeydew lemon balls, too!) is featured throughout the tournament on the grounds of the National Tennis Center, along with at South Gate itself.

Our plan: Head to the South Gate before the night session (or after the day!) for a couple Honey Duece Cocktails and Macaroni and Cheese Fritters, our fave taster on the appetizer menu. Chef Kerry Heffernan works wonders with the square-shaped mac ‘n’ cheese, and the sleek interior design by Tony Chi brings in Upper West and East Siders along with hotel visitors.

The W Hotel also likes to get in on the action in Queens, and this year the Midtown staple hosted the always-popular “Taste of Tennis” last week. The event was attended by some of our personal faves, including Andy Roddick, Nicholas Kiefer (giving the camera some puppy dog eyes! …and looking good in that black button up, too), Chanda Rubin, Melissa Joan Hart and the Queen of All New York, Bethenny Frankel, of Real Housewives of New York fame.

But since TOT is so last week and the US Open is so the next two weeks, the hotel offers great packages for tennis fans that include a killer deal on rooms, MetroCards to ride the beloved 7 Train and a “Grand Slam Survival” kit that features all the essentials for a fan’s day at the Open. Game, set and match to the W.

Click below to see who our last (but not least) 2009 US Open hotel is.

[Read more…]

stylin’ sorana

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Sorana Cirstea is rocking the headband (we loves it!) and the plaid, too, in this shot from Wilson’s Twitter.

TSF sat down with Sorana last week to talk Romanian fame, shopping and site seeing! We’ll post pictures from that sit down – with full details – soon, but before then, check out a preview after the jump. Another Cirstea outfit that we give two thumbs up to. [Read more…]

moms love fila, too

Kim Clijsters made a surprise visit at Fila’s Thomas Reynolds launch party Thursday night in Manhattan, held on the 11th-floor terrace above Lord & Taylor in Midtown. Thomas Reynolds is the new line by Fila, in collaboration between the sports brand line and American tennis star James Blake.

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TSF nabbed Kim on the red carpet to ask her about life back on the tour, traveling with little Jada and (Shhhh!) a possible comeback by her countrywoman, Justine Henin.

TSF: What’s it like being back in New York City with a baby? Is your mindset a little different?
Kim Clijsters: This isn’t the first time we’re here [with a baby]. We live about an hour from here [in New Jersey]. We actually had some of my family visiting from Belgium and we took them to New York. I love being here. I love everything to do here. [Jada’s] very intrigued by the lights and everything that’s flashing.

TSF: Is it invigorating being back on the tour? You retired because of boredom, injuries… does it feel different?
KC: I feel like the way it was when I started playing on the tour when I was 15 or 16. That’s a really nice feeling to have. Just more balanced. I enjoy going home, being a mom and taking care of Jada. I think that balance is something I always like.

More from Kimmie, including a few photos, after the cut. [Read more…]

pennetta’s peak

Two snaps to Italian Flavia Pennetta for making the record books this week: she began play at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament as the top Italian woman — and the first one to crack the SEWTA tour’s top 10.

“I’m lucky to be [in New Haven] right now” instead of Italy, where the country has gone wild with excitement and pride over her achievement (she even got a text message from Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta).

Flavia is still in the Pilot Pen draw, facing Caro Wozniacki in the semis and then either Mauresmo or Vesnina in the finals.

And she heads immediately to New York City, where she’s entered in the 2009 US Open as the tourney’s tenth seed. She is in the same quarter of the draw as second seed Serena Williams and the same half as Venus. “If they are fit and ready to play,” referring to the sisters, “no one can beat them.” After years on the tour, though, Flavia has learned to turn her confidence into an asset; she goes into these matches thinking that she can win. (Flavia is 0-1 against Serena — they played a three-setter — and is 4-3 against Venus, winning their most recent match in Cincinnati earlier this month.)

Even with just nine ladies higher than her in the rankings, Flavia has no plans to alter her tennis. For instance, she’ll continue to play doubles — mixed with Dusan Vemic and women’s with Fed Cup partner Sara Errani. She and Sara are trying to get as much experience together as they head to the Fed Cup finals (to be played on November 7 and 8, 2009, in Italy).

(photo by Karen Flax-Jardine/Global Village Tennis News)

tattoo watch: sam warburg. shirtless.

I know that some of you are cool with keeping things anonymous when it comes to your men, but just in case you want to get to know them better: I think this is Sam Warburg.

Squint if you must: Alas, we botched saving the photo we took of a circular tattoo on his right inner forearm. But it’s there!

Draw: Sam lost in the first round of the US Open qualies to Michael Berrer.

totes mcgotes: more from usta’s green campaign

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Almost there: The USTA continues in the right direction with this tote, a part of the org’s Green Initiatives program. (They also have a Venus-designed, organic cotton tee; and hats made partly from recycled plastic bottles.)

The undated bag is made of 80% post-consumer waste. Check and check. Next year, they can mine US Open poster art from previous years and print up some vintage designs on these bags. I can’t wait!

Buy: US Open Tote Bag, $5, available on-site or at usopen.org.

ask and you shall receive: marat safin

Mila: this isn’t a picture from Thursday’s practice, but still a recent one of Marat Safin. Here he’s talking to the press after a match at last month’s Los Angeles Tennis Open.

Marat’s swan song sees him without a coach after parting ways with Hernan Gumy (an unnecessary expense for this last year). He keeps to himself and doesn’t have many good friends on the tour. “Everybody walks with five or six people nowadays… [The game] is not as much fun. It’s too professional. Everyone’s hungry for money.”

After Marat serves his last fuzzy ball into the sunset — the final tournament on the schedule is Bercy — the Russian plans to take six months off. After that break, he doesn’t know what’s in store just yet. Safin will just be relieved to be free of competitive tennis: “no more match points, no more deuces, no more second serves.”

The final episode: At the 2009 U.S. Open, Marat opens with a match against Jurgen Melzer and will face either del Potro or Monaco in the second round. If he pulls that one out (not likely, le sigh), there’s a fourth-rounder against Gilles Simon and a quarterfinal against second seed Andy Murray.

(photo by TSF)

us open qualies: a classy spaniard took the court

The 2009 US Open qualies “Best Dressed” Award goes to Eloisa Compostizo De Andres, who lost in the second round to 20th seed Mariya Koryttseva 6-2, 6-1.

We’re all about the simple and classic accessories that went with her outfit (from Domyos).

Keepin’ on: Rain washed out most of the play on Friday, so today will be a madhouse. All rain-suspended matches from Friday will resume play at 2pm, followed by postponed matches, followed by the matches actually scheduled for Saturday. Get more info here.

I’m ready for my close-up: A few more pics of Eloisa after the cut…

u.s. open tees are teases no longer

No more butterflies: The USTA is stepping up its merch for the 2009 U.S. Open, having Venus Williams design an official tournament tee (last year, it was Heidi Klum). The 100% organic cotton shirt is part of the USTA’s wide-ranging green initiatives and will be sold both on-site and online at usopen.org.

“I am really excited about this project because it combines three of my interests: tennis, fashion, and the environment,” said Williams, who’s seeded third at this year’s tournament. “I hope that my passion will be conveyed through this design and will inspire others to do their part to help preserve the environment.”

A portion of the profits from the shirt, which is part of the EleVen clothing line, will benefit Unisphere, Inc., the non-profit that maintains and preserves Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Buy: US Open 2009 Venus Williams Women’s Tee, $30.

(image courtesy of USTA)