new balance tee: tennis playahs

Sightings in the stands: We always forget that New Balance is in the tennis business. Their novelty tee for the season is this one, worn by a fan watching yesterday’s Fish/Harrison semi at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. Props to the layout and color choices — it’s white/blue for the summer and red/white/black for the fall — but a play on “playahs” (having “game”)? Give us something fresher and wittier next year, ok?

Buy: New Balance Summer Playah Tee, $16.99. Browse the rest of the NB line (including threads for Fall ’11) here.

(photo by TSF)

sunday survey: ryan's on the rise

Ryan’s rise: We noted last week that Ryan Harrison‘s run in Atlanta might mean something in the bigger picture and the Louisiana native continued his impressive streak by making his second straight ATP semifinal in Los Angeles this week. Mardy Fish stopped the 19-year-old both times, winning at the Farmers Classic yesterday in a tight 6-0 4-6 7-6 (3) semi. Fish noted both on court and in his press conference that is he could, he’d “buy stock” in Harrison. Which makes us curious: How high can this kid’s stock climb? Weigh in below.

(TSF photo)

we give our love to men's doubles

And by doubles, we mean a two-for-one: shirtless AND tattooed.

Farmers Classic semifinalist Alex Bogomolov, Jr. showed TSF some love before his match-up against Ernests Gulbis yesterday. Alex was on the Grandstand court playing points with a decent-hittin’ tween. BTW: Gulbis won that match 6-2, 7-6 (4).

We already logged his right shoulder tat, and this is our first the Chinese characters on his left shoulder.

More: Two more images after the cut…

flashback: chang's l.a. double

Remember when? Way back when it was called the Infinity Open (and then the Mercedes Benz Cup), an American named Michael Chang snatched the Los Angeles title twice — in 1996 and 2000. 1996 was quite the summer for Chang, who shrugged off a first-round loss to Albert Costa at Wimbledon and take titles in both DC and LA before making a run to the US Open final where he lost to Pete Sampras. Including Flushing Meadows, Chang would rack up a 22-3 record that summer, helping boost him to his career-high no. 2 in September. 2000 was somewhat of a different story for the 1989 French Open winner, taking the LA title with a surprise run that saw him beat Jan-Michael Gambill in the final (remember him?!). Chang also downed Justin Gimelstob in the semis to win what would be the last of 34 career titles.

TSF Vault: Michael Chang | More Flashbacks

Off-topic: The “other” Michael Chang

(Getty Images photo)

practice makes perfect: ernests gulbis

Facing Fish: Ernie Gulbis hits with Canas a few hours before his final match against Mardy Fish at the Farmers Classic, being contested this week at UCLA. This is Gulbis’ second appearance in an ATP World Tour final; his first was at Delray Beach last year, where he won his first career title. Bracket: See how the men fared in Los Angeles.

What a trooper: Browse the goods from the Fall/Winter 2011 adidas Originals x Star Wars collaboration here (and grab the goods here. Our fave? The Flight Jacket and the AT-AT sweatshirt.

(photo by TSF)

the boys of summer

It’s summatime. You know, that part of the year that LFO loves when the girls stop by … and when they wear Abercrombie & Fitch. But what about the boys of summer? For the Americans, it’s so far been a rather decent one: John Isner won in Newport before Mardy Fish took him down in Atlanta. This week in Los Angeles three of the four semifinalists — Fish, Ryan Harrison and Alex Bogolomov Jr. — were Yanks themselves. Sure, there was that whole Davis Cup thing, but as Mardy himself says, we don’t like to even think about it.

But Fish, who is set to expand his lead in the US Open Series standings this week regardless of how he plays tomorrow, isn’t take much time off: he’ll play the Legg Mason Classic next week in D.C. (where, Fish noted, he has been guaranteed a Wednesday start) before going to both Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati. If you include Davis Cup, that will mean Fish six weeks of solid tennis between Wimbledon and the US Open. A rather heavy sched, isn’t it, Mardy?

TSF Vault: Ryan Harrison | Mardy Fish

“It doesn’t feel like I’m on the road,” Fish said at the Farmers Classic, sighting sleeping in his own LA-area home with his wife Stacey and their dog, Charlie. “I’m hoping this week is going to feel like an off week … but I guess you can ask me about it again at the US Open.”

Fish isn’t the only one who has had success in his home country during the last few weeks. The aforementioned efforts of Isner haven’t gone unnoticed, though the North Carolina native did blow a match point in his final appearance at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Harrison, too, has been loving the sun: his first two ATP semis have come in the last two weeks, both against Fish.

“I want to be in another semifinal,” Harrison said. “There are a lot of good players out there.”

Andy Roddick isn’t one of them — at least not in DC. The American has pulled out of the Legg Mason, siting an abdominal injury. After skipping the French, a lackluster performance in London and a devastating Davis Cup effort, Roddick is the one American that the question marks are really revolving around. Ah, how the stars have re-aligned themselves.

Bogolomov Jr. reached his first ATP semi with his effort in LA, and James Blake looked pretty good in his second-round loss to Juan Martin del Potro. Robby Ginepri‘s making a go at a return. Reason to celebrate? We’ll take it.

Fish (unsurprisingly) still tips his hat to Roddick as America’s top player, but might the other fellas be making their own cases this summer? You betchya.

(Getty Images photo)

short balls: robert’s over and out

Next time, just grab a cup of Joe, Robert. American Robert Kendrick was banned by the ITF yesterday for one year’s time for testing positive at the French Open for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. Kendrick said the substance was in a capsule that he had taken to combat jet lag. Guess one day of energy equals one year off the tour for the world no. 105. The 31-year-old Kendrick will not be able to play any sanctioned matches until May 22, 2012.

From the Farmers: Tennis.com‘s Steve Tignor is of the belief that the new American-in-residence in the top ten — that’d be Mardy Fish – should set his expectations a little higher. The dude is sort of on a hot streak.

222 of ‘em. TSF contributor Jon Scott brought this vid to our attention on his Daily Spin column on Tennis.com. Yep. 222 winners at Wimbledon for Petra Kvitova. Captured in a almost-seven-minute vid. (Who has such time?!)


short(er) balls: Carmelo Anthony is added to a rather fierce US Open Kids’ Day line-up. Joining Melo is his wife La La, Kim Clijsters, Rafael Nadal and Bradley Cooper. Suffice to say we’re as excited as we’ve ever been for a day meant for the kiddies. | Tignor says that the tennis players are in need of a union. Agree? Might make for better bargaining in the future, eh? | Who is bringing the Tacchini brand back from the brink? That’d be Novak Djokovic, says Marketwatch. And fun fact: Sampras wore the brand early on in his career. | Blake Strode has deferred again from Harvard Law School. He remains in the hunt for a second straight birth into the US Open qualifying tourney via the National Playoffs competition. | Milos Raonic is recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to be ready in time for the Open. Too bad Canada’s new no. 1 can’t make it to their always-fun Masters event. | We can’t get enough: more reasons to love Heather Watson. | USTA doles out $1.3 million in community tennis grants. It’s called grassroots, y’all. We dig it. | The World TeamTennis season wraps up with the Washington Kastles team ending a perfect season in Charleston, downing the St. Louis finals in the final. | Maria Kirilenko fails to catch the bouquet at Elena Dementieva‘s wedding. No one ever said she was good with her (catching) hands, OK?

(Getty images photo)

shirtless: guillermo canas

So are we the only ones seeing more and more men wear their long hair in buns these days? Kinda loving it as a summer look…

Speaking of bun (and buns) Guillermo Canas has been popping in and out of our line of sight at this week’s Farmer’s Classic, where he’s been working with semifinalist Ernests Gulbis. The lanky Latvian booked his spot in the final four with that upset of second seed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 7-6 (3), making this his first semi appearance since January in Sydney. Gulbis will play Alex Bogomolov, who staged his own upset in the Grandstand court in his quarterfinal against Thomaz Bellucci.

Stacking up: See the draws here.

(photo by TSF)

flashback: man in black — novak djokovic

We will never tire of men in black — espesh if they’re toting little furry poochies. Here’s Novak Djokovic on the cover of the July/August issue of L’Uomo Vogue; the double issue had another cover, with Beyonce. (No matter what that squirrel says, Pierre, you’re still top dog around here!) See some scans from the mag here.

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