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.

USOpen-TV-USOpen09b

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



Cirstea-Sorana-USOpen09

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.

kim-clijsters-fila09

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)