spotted in soho: marat, the retired

Looking like he was having a tough day of shopping, I bumped into Marat Safin in Soho this afternoon. Safin was joined by a blonde (Russian?!) shopping partner, but he was the one playing the mule, carrying a Ted Baker of London shopping bag and another from Uniqlo.

Safin was casual in jeans and adidas sneaks (of course). Though, I was a little surprised (or was I?!) to see him smoking a cig on their stroll.

(tsf photo)

short balls: (surprise!) tennis gets dramatic

As Sania’s World Turns: There’s no better soap opera on tennis tour right now than Sania Mirza. She was married on Monday to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in an affair that has been showered in controversy.

One Story, One Match: The One Story series, which publishes out of Brooklyn, has its latest publication singing game, set and match. The story is set in the Federer-Sampras battle of Wimbledon circa 2001, with a fictional twist involving three ball kids. After reading it, I give Cheston Knapp two thumbs up for his crafting of the epic changing-of-the-guard match and the story he entwines within Centre Court.

Second to Sania and Shoaib, there’s Todd and Novak: For some reason, the player-coach break-up between Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic seems to be the tennis story of the century. While the break-up doesn’t have quite the political ramifications that Sania and Shoaib carry into their marriage, this story has gotten an absorbent of attention. For Novak, something had to change if he wants to be considered for another Slam. For Todd, well… for Todd, any press is good press.

[Read more…]

tsf podcast: troy and nick talk it out

TSF’s latest installment of our podcast is here! Click on the link to upload it to your iTunes (it only takes a minute) and listen here… TSF Podcast April 12, 2010

Included inside: Our take on Martina Navratilova‘s new battle; a discovery of a Tweeting Lindsay Davenport; talking about the girls of 1999; the epic break-up of Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic; what’s on the horizon for the new-and-improved Andy Roddick; chatting about the Odesnik-Querrey feud; what should tennis do in doping situations; and our predictions for the 2010 clay season.

(photo by .Longshanks via flickr)

podcasting: your turn

Troy and I are returning to the TSF audio board this week for our third podcast. We’re re-capping what’s happened the last few weeks on tour, as well as looking ahead to what the clay season will/can bring. As usual, we’ll make sure to include some TSF-inspired talk, like just when exactly Alexandra Stevenson should retire officially and much, much more.

But wait! We want to hear from you! In the comment section, include a question or prompt you’d like for us to touch on. You’ve got all day today (Monday) to do so, so get to it, kiddies! We’ll make sure to touch on a couple of things you wise souls bring up.

Catch up on our two first podcasts after the cut.

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sunday survey: will andy win a slam again?

2010 has been a good season for Andy Roddick. Scratch that, a great season. Writes CNN-SI.com‘s Jon Wertheim:

[Roddick] is someone who has spent almost an entire decade residing in the top 10. He is a limited player who has done everything in his power to improve. He is a fighter. He is a professional who takes his career seriously and ambitiously. He is a mensch — the most recent evidence being his participation in the Champions for Chile fundraiser on the eve of the Key Biscayne final. He is also a 27-year-old playing perhaps the best ball of his career. After reaching the Indian Wells final, he went one better in Key Biscayne, taking the title and beating both Nadal and the surgingTomas Berdych along the way. Roddick may or may not ever win that elusive second Major. But it’s worth remembering that players with a lot more native talent have achieved a lot less.

Well said, if I say so myself. So here’s our question this week:

Will Roddick win ‘that elusive second Major’? Does he have it in him? Or will he, as Wertheim writes, be remembered as the guy who worked hard and did the best that he could have? And if he does have a shot at that second Major, where will it be? When will it be?! Let us know in the comments section.

(photo via flickr account prokiller)

short balls: thoughts from miami

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now we are seeing where Jada gets that hair. We were starting to wonder a little… (WTA photo via web site)

The past couple weeks were full of tennis glamour in Miami, and Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters came away from the beaches of Florida with smiles on their faces as they won big-time titles in impressive fashion. We’ve got to hand it to Roddick for continuing to change his game and try to break the top crop of the ATP Tour. Wimbledon 2009 may not have been his final stand in a Major. We’ll stay tuned.

Measuring Beauty: A New York Times article out yesterday touched on feminine beauty taking on a new role as Baylor star basketball player Brittney Griner becomes a household name. Griner stands 6 feet, 8 inches, and has had her sexuality – and gender identity – questioned. But even Stella McCartney insiders recognized her unique look as gorgeous, the article says.

Oh-des-don’t! Things are looking rather bleak for Wayne Odesnik’s tennis future after news broke that vials of human growth hormones were found in his luggage in Australia. Want the full story? Bonnie D. Ford has a tremendous summary here, complete with quotes from other American players. Wondering why Odes is still playing in Houston this week? The charges against him are being investigated and no formal ATP rulings have been made.

Robson, Mississippi: A few hundred miles away from Wayne-mania in Houston, Britain’s Laura Robson is playing in her first event since making the junior final at the Australian Open. Robson joins top-seeded American Lindsay Lee-Waters and second seed Julia Cohen in Jackson, Mississippi for the 25K ITF circuit event.

An unexpected Miami trio and more after the cut. [Read more…]

sunday survey: serena’s return

Serena Williams hasn’t played a competitive tennis match since winning the Australian Open in January – two whole months. The Queen of Comebacks, Serena said this week that she will not commit to a date of return to the WTA as she nurses injuries. Above, she plays some dirt ball with kids during a trip to Africa last month.

When do you think Serena will return? In time for the French? Wimbledon? Ever?! Can she pull a Clijsters and win a Slam again with little prep? Or is Serena entering the stage of her career where she has to be a little more careful about thinking she can strut in and win? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

(photo via the swf foundation)