sunday survey: the dementieva decision

Elena Dementieva announced her retirement from tennis on Friday in Doha. You think she will…

(photo via reuters)

good bye, elena


Elena Dementieva retired from tennis on Friday in Doha. She won 16 career titles.

Dementieva at Wimbledon, 2007. For much of her career Dementieva’s service yips – double faults and powder puffs included – were criticized. She was part of the New York Times’ beautifully-shot “Power Game” feature during this year’s US Open. Grass mastery: Many called Elena’s semifinal loss at the 2009 Wimbledon one of the best matches of the decade.

Elena also played two doozies at the USO in 2004. In two bizarre back-to-back matches, she would beat Amelie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati 7-6 in the third set to reach her second Grand Slam final in three Slams.

A picture really is worth 1,00 words. Elena getting ready to battle the long-forgotten Anastasia Myskina in the ’04 French final.

A few more shots of Dementieva after the cut. [Read more…]

“love” offering from across the channel

Diplomatic rally? Forget an Andy Murray-Gael Monfils rivalry bubbling up in the near future. How about a Nicolas Sarkozy-David Cameron one? The British prime minister revealed to the public today his gifts from foreign dignitaries, and Sarkozy’s topped this list: tennis rackets. Cameron has been known to be a baller himself, but we’re not so sure of Sarkozy’s skills.

Other gifts on the list included an iPad from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and ties from the Italian prime minister.

What kind of rackets did Sarkozy send? It’s hard to say. Cameron has been pictured with Wilson sticks in the past, but now that he’s a British political big wig, should he be switching weapons? He also played with a Prince racket a few years ago when doing a clinic visit with former British no. 1 Andrew Castle.

(photo via the guardian by dan chung)

quick draw: courier gets dc capt’n post

Not so slow: Doug Robson‘s piece on USAToday.com about Jim Courier being chosen for the Davis Cup captaincy. We’re excited for ya, Jimbo, but hoping you cut that mane a little before you take the bench! (screen grab via usa today)

Ladies’ choice: The American squad for the Fed Cup final has been named by captain Mary Joe Fernandez and include Bethanie Mattek Sands, Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and Coco Vandeweghe. Fernandez is hoping that home-court advantage will help her ladies conquer the mighty Italians next week.

short balls: the pick comes wednesday

On Wednesday afternoon, the USTA will announce at a media luncheon who has been picked to replace Patrick McEnroe as the U.S. Davis Cup coach. McEnroe, who has coached the American squad since 2002, announced at the year’s US Open that he was stepping down from his position as head coach. Jim Courier and Todd Martin, both former players for the Davis Cup red, white and blue made it known almost immediately that they were interested in the spot. Jay Berger, whohas worked as a USTA coach as well as helping out with Davis Cup duties under McEnroe, is also rumored to be in the running.

Pay to know: The career of Lleyton Hewitt might be on the downward spiral, so he and wife Bec Cartwright are making sure to take full (monetary) advantage of the arrival of their third child, a girl. The Hewitts have joined forces with “Text A Star”, a service that allows fans to text a certain number for $2, and the curious fan will be texted back with the name of the little gal. D-Listed took issue with the Hewitts decision to share the information in such a way, crowning the couple their “Dumb Bitches of the Day“. Bundle of joy? Bundle of something…

No bundles of joy: For Ana Ivanovic and golfer Adam Scott, whose split was confirmed last week. Sounds as though the two severed romantic tie in the last few months, which may have helped Ana with her recent resurgence on the WTA Tour. Maybe Ana should monetize her new-found tennis wins with a $2 text service to find out what she ate before each match? Then we could finally get to the bottom of that bathroom problem…

Not enough Muster-d: Luck ran out for Austrian wild card (and former world no. 1) Thomas Muster in the opening round at Vienna today. He was taken down in two (hard-fought) sets against countryman and lucky loser Andreas Haider-Maurer. That didn’t stop Argentinean blog FueBuena to make sure that a Muster reel (from past and present) was up on the blog today, featuring a couple of ’90s gems against Sampras and two great points from his loss today. Keep trucking, Mr. 43!

short(er) balls: The Bryan Brothers put up this video yesterday from a commercial they were supposedly shooting with ESPN. The theme: a 1970s Doublemint gum spin off. Twins abound! | Some fans are really ticked off about the Tennis Channel ticker. Who knew?! Guess they just want their tennis, old-school. | This idea certainly isn’t ‘old school': the iBall. OnTheBaseline talks with two young minds that have an idea on how to change ball technology in the modern game. | This should be bright too: Maria Sharapova’s engagement ring. Sounds like Mr. Sharapova is well-trained when it comes to his lady’s taste for expensive ($250,000!) jewelry. | And really, we’d love to Andrea Petkovic become much more than Petkorazzi. Girl is upbeat and down to earth. Down with the JJ and up with the Petko. Guess we’ll see what happens, no?

(photo by bill kralovec via flickr)

short balls: tie goes to the winner

In this case, that winner was The West Side Tennis Club stadium at Forest Hills, which survived a club members’ vote to destroy the stadium and use the site to build luxury condos. A two-thirds majority was needed for the condo deal to go through, but members instead voted in a 123-123 tie. The future of the club, which hosted the US Open until its move to Flushing Meadows in 1978, is now unknown.

Potty Problem: In case you missed it, Ana Ivanovic had a little bathroom trouble in Linz while working her way to her first career title in two years. FortyDeuce has the video (second from the top). Ivanovic was docked a game for taking too long a break in her second round match against Barbora Strycova.

You betchya: Depending on which way you see it, Roger Federer‘s name was (or is?!) swirling in a betting controversy that claimed Fed provided insider info to IMG agent Ted Forstmann during the 2007 French Open. Federer claims to have no part in the scandal, but a few days after the story broke, Forstmann admitted to betting, but said he received no insider info.

Austrian alliance: Thomas Muster continues his comeback attempt in Vienna this week, where he lucked out by not only receiving a wildcard into the main draw, but then getting a lucky loser in the opening round after Ernests Gulbis pulled out for “personal reasons”. Our fave Austrian, Jurgen Melzer, is the tourney’s top seed.

More short balls including a survey of surveys, short(er) balls and another look at The West Side Tennis Club after the cut. [Read more…]

sunday survey: just kiri-ous… can maria be the real deal?

Maria Kirilenko made a furious run to the Moscow final this week, bowing out to Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding match. This year alone, Kirilenko has registered wins over Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova in making her way from 58th in the world to her current spot at no. 26th.

We’re Kiri-ous: can Maria make the next step? Or will she always be the 20th to 50th ranked danger floater who has the weapons to take out the big guns but can’t be a consistent champ herself??

(photo via getty images)

and then there were four (spots)

Sweden’s Robin Soderling booked the fifth spot in the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. After his run to the quarters at this week’s If Stockholm Open, Soderling’s guaranteed his second trip to the finals (he made the semis last year). Rafa, Roger, Nole, and Andy Murray have already qualified for the year-end tournament.

His title win in Rotterdam, defending an appearance in the finals of the French, plus reaching the quarters at Wimbledon and the US Open contributed to this achievement. And as part of his qualification, the ATP’s showcasing his self-portrait, to be displayed (and then auctioned off for charity) alongside the pieces made by the other seven players. Much like Robin, his art is nothing to write home about. (Browse: Portraits by Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray.)

Tall task: “There are only eight players and you play against the world’s best so every match you play could be like a Grand Slam final,” Soderling shared with the ATP. “I will have to be ready from the first match.”

Doubles: Meanwhile, the team of Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes have also qualified for the Tour Finals’ doubles event for the third time. The draw will also feature the Bryan Brothers, Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, and Jurgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner as contenders.

(images courtesy of ATP)