blake plays in, talks about tr

james-blake-tr

James Blake was in New York at the City View Racquet Club last month and hit around with a NY news anchor. The American, who debuted his Fila Thomas Reynolds line earlier this fall, will not appear in next week’s season-ending tournament in London, but will bring tennis (and Andy Roddick) to NYC for an exhibition on December 1st. 

We can’t decide who was better dressed: James or Sara. What do you think?

(screen grab via nbc new york)

sunday survey

djokovic-paris

With another incredible run this week, Novak Djokovic has upped his title count to five for the year. But here at TSF, we can’t help but wonder if the Serb has it all wrong. Is he peaking too soon? What’s wrong with his training regimen? Sure, it’s great to collect a few ATP trophies for the case, but will Nole simply be remembered as the guy with the big sense of humor who won all the small tourneys? He’s 18-1 in a part of the season that many players dismiss as pointless…

What do you think? Will Djoko win in London? Melbourne? Or is this in-between sort of success going to hurt him in the long wrong. Tell us.

(photo by getty via yahoo! sports)

golovin a goner?

golovin-08

TSF has learned that former French star and Lacoste-wearer Tatiana Golovin‘s career might be on the outs — for good. Golovin struggled with injury throughout her short career, but a bad back has seemingly put her on the sideline indefinitely. 

Two weeks ago she spoke with the French pub L’Equipe: “Learning my condition was a big shock, but now I know what I have and what I have, you can’t cure. Do I have any chance to play again? It’s not advised, but I’m still young. The pain may suddenly disappear.”

Her injury is spondylitis of the back,  a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones and the joints between the spine and the pelvis.

TSF spoke with an acquittance of Golovin’s coach, who said that she was practicing for a bit in the recent past, but still experiencing heavy pain in her back.

Golovin was ranked as high as number 12 in the world in 2008, but stopped playing in May of that year due to her injury. She owns two WTA Tour titles.

Another Frenchwoman, Alize Cornet, will carry on the Lacoste tradition.

(some golovin info via tennis-x; photo by passionleica via flickr)

short balls wednesday

Wickmayer waaaaaah?!: One of the best finishes of the year went to Yanina Wickmayer, the US Open semifinalist who closed her season 23-6, including eight victories over Top 50 players. But news popped out last week that Wickmayer – along with fellow Belgian Xavier Malisse – were banned by the ITF for one year for failing to report their whereabouts to anti-doping officials this season. Both players are appealing the ban, but the news comes at an awfully awful time for Wickmayer, who had been ranked as low as number 79 this year and finished the season at 16th in the world.

KDK’s Comeback: Wickmayer beat comeback queen Kimiko Date Krumm last week in Bali in round robin play before pulling out of the tourney. But the big story of the week was Date Krumm herself, who qualified for the semifinals. Date Krumm, who made a comeback after 12 years away from the tour, finished the year at number 82 in the world and is the subject of a fascinating feature by Kamakshi Tandon.

Agassi Exhaustion: Andre Agassi is making the media rounds this week to promote his new book “Open”, though such promotion seems far from necessary. This morning he appeared on the Today Show, and will be interviewed by New York Times columnist George Vecsey. If you missed his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday you can find the full episode here. And if you watched the interview but thought it was ridiculous you might enjoy this. Golly gee, all this Andre talk is making us tired – just like Andre!!

New Haven News: One of TSF’s favorite tour stops, the Pilot Pen, will be in search of a new sponsor following the 2010 event. Pilot Pen is pulling the sponsorship, which had lasted 15 years (a long-ass time, in tennis speak), from the New Haven event. This news comes after Mercedes Benz threw its weight behind the US Open instead of the ATP. Steve Tignor weighs in on what that might mean for the tours.

Recruit me, Coach!: If you’ve ever wondered what a recruitment video looks like, here’s your peek. Will Drougas, a 16-year-old high school player from Salem, Virginia, demonstrates his groundstrokes, volleys and serves for the tape in hopes of landing a college scholarship. This is a basic video, capturing Drougas’s skill and – most prominently – heavy forehand. The next Andy Roddick? Probably not. But the kid can play. We’ll keep an eye on him.

Recruit me, too!: The Arizona Republic has a fun column today chronicling the recruitment process of high school tennis star Kelsey Lawson. She’s due to sign a letter of intent to play at DePaul next season.

No Double Takes: One thing we’ll also be keeping an eye out for is a Maria Sharapova look alike somewhere in this world. She (or he… ?) certainly wasn’t found this past week at a competition to find “Maria’s Look Alike” at a T-Mobile Halloween event. Really, these gals “look like” Maria?! It sort of looks like the PR people just nabbed some shoppers from the mall for a quick photo op. If anything, this fella is sporting some Maria sunglasses on top his head. 

Serena Snub: Liza Horan of TennisWire.org reported this week that Serena Williamswrote a screenplay about Althea Gibson‘s life. Directors are said to have turned down the opportunity to produce it on the basis that Williams insists on playing the role of Gibson.” Wait. We’re confused. They turned it down BECAUSE Serena wants to PLAY THE ROLE of Gibson? Who else are they going to pick?! What other black actress (yes, we just called Serena an “actress”) can play tennis, look good on the big screen, act and has a well-developed knowledge of Gibson and her historic achievements?! We’re not residents of Camp Serena, but we’ll back her on this one…

Gal Study: If you want a quick study of American females ranked outside the Top 100 (read: not Venus, Serena or Melanie) then take a look at the draw for the USTA pro circuit tourney happening this week in Phoenix. Alexandra Stevenson won her first match, and a host of other players (Brengle, Perry, Granville, Haynes) are trying to join the big leagues of the WTA Tour.

short balls wednesday

Tennis players are human, too: Some need hookers, some need meth. Others need a better immune system. It was revealed earlier this week that touring pro Tommy Haas is recovering from swine flu and is out of Basel and Paris to finish the season. See ya next year, TomTom.

B-listed in Bali: It’s strange that the women’s tour, which had its season-ending tournament last week, has another tour stop in Bali this week, don’t you think? We think so. The girls looked a little overworked in this photo gallery put together by the WTA. Ready for holiday and rest time, ladies? You deserve it. And shouldn’t it be called the “Tournament of Almost Champions“? Just seems a little more appropriate… 

Inside peek, hold the cheese: The ATP has put together a solid video package for it’s “Uncovered” series, and this week features Novak Djokovic. The videos come with sit-down interviews and a look at the players’ off-court lives. While lots of stuff the tours put together can sometimes seem forced and overdone, we’re liking the professionalism and simplicity of these vids. James Blake was last week’s star. Now let’s talk about re-working that intro…

Talking heads: Two gals – Jennifer Williams and Brittany Umar – have been talking up tennis the past couple of weeks on the web. Williams is a regular reporter for ESPN.com’s Digital Serve, while Umar was a fill-in for TennisWeek.com‘s regular host, Carrie Milbank. While we respect these ladies for chatting up the tour online, we’re wondering if this is the future of tennis media online? Williams has her wits about her, but Umar seems to mostly be entrenched as a business reporter.

Painful good-bye: Stephanie Myles writes in the the Vancouver Sun that the WTA season has limped to a close this year. Good thing the girls are done battling. But the men? They still have three weeks left.

Au revoir, Roland?: A delayed stadium project in Paris could end up moving the French Open completely. Officials are trying to work with city council members to avoid having to move the beloved clay major, but it might be inevitable, one official said. So where to, we wonder?