jet-setting venus gives kelly first ticket

In the past month, Venus Williams has been all over the world. From Melbourne, she spent time in Miami before heading off to Dubai (where she won the title) and Mexico City (another week, another trophy). She arrived in New York today to do some promotion for the Billie Jean King Cup, which happens tomorrow night at the Madison Square Garden.

We couldn’t be more jealous of Kelly Bensimon, the non-tennis-playing housewife (of The Real Housewives of New York City) for getting the first ticket to this year’s event. Let’s just hope our press pass puts us close to ya, Kelkel!

After the cut: Kim and Sveta take in the Knicks game at MSG. [Read more...]

mary the olympian

If you’ve watched more Olympics than me (and I only got to the most important three hours of it, the women’s free skate), then you were sure to have had the pleasure of watching my favorite tennis commentator — and esteemed journalist — Mary Carillo in one of NBC’s delightful featurettes.

Carillo’s sports knowledge is obvious, and her word-choice is always that of a well-educated, thoughtful commentator. She’s a natural — even in nature!

Enter our Mary The Olympian photo gallery, where we chronicle the many trials and tribulations of the great Carillo in her coverage for NBC’s peek into life as a Canadian as an Olympic contest all of its own. They were, after all, Mary’s Olympics…

Things looked suspicious at first — and so did Mary — but her training for the Olympics were about to hit full stride. [Read more...]

sunday survey: who’s your queen of the bjk?

The Billie Jean King Cup happens tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden, an event that features Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic. While this is an exhibition that might not mean much on paper, there is some pride on the line (Ivanovic’s plummet; Kuzy’s ability to play with the top gals; Clijsters’s redemption for her fizzle at the AO; Venus’s continued success from Dubai and Mexico City). Don’t doubt these gals will giving it their all in the world’s most famous arena.

(photo by deleteyourself via flickr)

dry goods

While the ladies of the Billie Jean King Cup will descend on New York this weekend to prepare for Monday’s exhibition, they might want to stock up on one thing they almost never need on their global tennis tour: snow boots.

Much of New York flocked to one shoe outlet or the other on Thursday and Friday as an onslaught of big, sticky and wet snow blanketed Manhattan. Not only was this a genuine winter storm, but the kind of storm that left the sidewalks and streets of the city slush haven. Enter, snow boots.

I made my way to Tretorn boutique in SoHo, where I found a pair of reasonably-priced boots in bright yellow. To my pleasant surprise, Tretorn has display cases up throughout the store chalk full of custom tennis balls. The balls are stamped with a large “Z” and in small writing say “Tretorn Trainer” below. Small glass cases line the shelves and display racks with the balls, which added a nice glow on a particularly dark winter day.

See the (tennis) balls up close and a couple of Tretorn selections after the cut. [Read more...]

in music video, rafa needs no butt double

No Doubles: Rafael Nadal makes a surprising appearance as the male lead in Shakira‘s new music video, Gypsy. As usual, Shakira is awkward and practicing strange dance moves throughout the video (we wouldn’t expect anything else), but we’ve gotta give Rafa credit for his charm and ah-shucks-I’m-still-a-boy-at-heart attitude. It shines through even in this setting.

And for the record, he looks great shirtless off the court too and no, that’s not a butt double.

(image via Yahoo! Music)

short balls: evgeni makes friends with richard’s fantasy world

It’s Platinum, Baby: The tennis world has long enjoyed the wacky one-liners of Richard Williams, and it seems as though Olympic figure skating silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko is trying to join Williams in the creative-story realm. Plushenko’s web site had its entry image (seen above) stating “Platinum of Vancouver”, taking a jab at his second-place finish last week. Though the site now looks differently upon entry, Yahoo! Sports and other outlets nabbed the image before it was taken down. Now the site reads “What’s Next?” while scrolling over the medals, which links to the 2014 Sochi Olympics web site. Does that mean Evgeni will stick with skating until then? Guess you can never be sure with him.

Sticking to the ice, American speedskater Ryan Bedford was supposedly convinced by older teammates to shave and dye his hair to resemble the American flag. See his ‘do after the jump.

Rights Fighting: University of Maryland wrestler, Hudson Taylor, is a top-ranked grappler in the NCAA. The straight 23-year-old and his wife-to-be are also avid supporters of LGBT issues and support gay marriage. In an interview with OutSports.com, Taylor calls himself a “feminist”. You go, boy.

Candied Britney: Britney Spears, in case you didn’t know from her music video for “Radar”, is a spokeswoman for Candies products.  She offered fans a behind-the-scenes peek at her latest photo shoot for the brand. What do you think? We’re not sure this one is gunna be a winner, y’all…

Martina’s Gallery: The WTA has a great gallery up chronicling the career of Martina Navratilova. Not only do you get a good chunk of information out of the captions, but you get a wonderful view of Martina’s fashions throughout the year. Our favorite is after the cut.

Differences Aside: Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi will put their differences aside in a couple weeks to participate in a “Hit for Haiti” fundraiser at Indian Wells alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Sampras said he would like to “sit down” with Agassi after he was portrayed in poor light in Agassi’s recently-released autobiography.

[Read more...]

trinity a holy being, in squash

We still don’t understand the rules of squash, but the boys at Trinity College certainly do. For the 12th straight year, the Bantams won the NCAA title, extending its winning streak to 224 matches, the longest streak in U.S. athletics.

In a cross-state battle, Trinity, based in Hartford, Conn., took out Yale University in New Haven. If only Nicole Vaidisova could take some of Baset Chaudhry‘s confidence…

UPDATE: This is what our reader, Mark, was referring to in his comment. Shame, shame.

(photo by richard messina via hartford courant)

sunday survey: birmingham or bust?

This last week, the USTA announced that Birmingham, Ala., will host the Fed Cup semifinal tie between the U.S. and Russia in late April. While I’ve never been to Birmingham, I’m sure it’s got plenty of Southern charm and warmth – exhibited first-hand by this caboose downtown in the historic district. But does a town of 220,000 people deserve such a tie one year after hosting the Davis Cup? It seems peculiar.

What do you think of Birmingham hosting Fed Cup this spring? Is it fair to the rest of U.S. tennis? Do you have an inside scoop as to why a site like Birmingham was awarded another big U.S. tennis event? Let us know what you think.

(photo by Southernpixel via flickr.)

jake gyllenhaal + vampire weekend = tennis shout out?

Watch it to believe it. We dig. Vampire Weekend‘s “Giving Up the Gun” not only features a tennis-themed plot, but hottie Jake Gyllenhaal makes a cameo that’s worth a watch.

The outfits are happening, the art is fantastic, the white tennis ball is beyond vintage and Jake is fabulous as usual.

(video link via towleroad)