spotted in the city: nyc water and the next v&s combo

Summer sightings: A couple weeks ago I happened through Union Square in Manhattan and loved the sight of this: an NYC Water trough of sorts. The multi-faucet fountain is part of the city’s Water-On-the-Go program, which offers any NYC public event that lasts over four hours and has an estimated attendance of 500 people. Hydrated urban folks during a summer of sweltering heat? We dig that.

Below: We were also digging these two ball girls at a recent WTT event that must have been on a break cycle. The two gals were smacking the ball with quite oomph, and there were a couple rather savvy net plays that had us thinking: Are these the next Venus and Serena?

(TSF photos)

bellucci: feelin’ shapely

Tri, tri again? With this look, more is less. We actually love adidas’ over-use of the triangle on this adiZero Feather top seen on Thomaz Bellucci at the Farmers Classic in LA. Yes, there are plenty of triangles on the shirt itself, but the design is broken up by the white background and highlighted by the bright yellow/green triangles that dot the shirt. Furthermore, on Bellucci’s chest, adidas does good to melt the triangles into one another before the blue covers the shoulders.

Buy: adiZero Feather tee, $55 | TSF Vault: adidas

What about Thomaz? Bellucci, the 4th seed in LA, breezed through his second round match (0 and 1 over Alejandro Falla) after a first-round bye. He now takes on Alex Bogolomov Jr., the American, in the quarters. Juan Martin del Potro should be lurking in the semifinals for whoever gets through today. | LA: Draw

(Image via Getty)

past&e: after-school success in pdx

By Benjamin Snyder

Tennis Served Fresh is always trying to bring you fresh angles of the game. Here, we’ve had contributor Benjamin Snyder pen a repot on a Portland, Ore.-based after-school tennis program that shows how tennis can really shape just a community — not just an online community board. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these things.


It’s summer now, but picture the end of a mild-weathered school day in Portland, Oregon. A group of children of varying ages gather together. They’re getting picked up to take part in an afterschool program. Instead of stepping inside the vehicle that arrives, some kids start running. A coach prompts them to give it their all on the impromptu run. The kids’ destination? The tennis courts.

According to Portland After School Tennis & Education (PAST&E) Executive Director Danice Brown, it’s all about participating and rewards. Those who accept the challenge to run to the local racquet club where the program occurs get the chance to start hitting right away, she explains. The goal? To raise the bar and to “create the student-athlete mentality.”

Offering over nearly 60 at-risk kids the chance to improve their form in the classroom and on the tennis court, PAST&E serves children kindergarten all the way up to high schoolers. The program attempts to develop its students by promoting literacy, an understanding of math and science, nutritional and fitness values, life skills, tennis and friendship. Achieving this goal includes a number of initiatives, including summer programming, tournament play, a tennis academy for high school students, one for younger students and more.

Helping to continue the success these initiatives, however, isn’t always easy. In fact, Brown considers it a battle to secure the funding necessary to keep the at-risk kids her program serves off the streets and on court.

Many times, she’ll get a quick answer from local pros or from the USTA suggesting that she stop worrying about getting together the money required for the child to play competitive junior tennis, which requires paying membership fees, having the money for transportation costs and other miscellaneous payments. What would otherwise be a “drop in the bucket” for some families, can be quite difficult for those that make around $15,000 to $20,000 of annual income, especially as some try to raise six children, explains Brown.

Instead of securing the money required to allow that child to participate in tennis in an organized fashion, some have told her to simply give the kid a racquet and send the young player to the public courts to hit.

Brown, however, has other thoughts. “In North Portland [one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland], you can’t send children to the park; it’s not safe there, and it’s not organized,” she told TSF. “Our center is located in North Portland [at the St. John’s Racquet Center] which is in one of the more socio-economically challenged neighborhoods. It’s the ‘hood.’ There’s a lot of diversity, there’s a lot of gang activity, and there are a lot of elements that work against families and kids.”

Tennis Director Fitz Paccione states that PAST&E blends tennis and education with careful concern for the students involved. “Our main priority is to create a safe environment for children who are from at risk families, families that have high independency on crime, poverty rates very low, live in areas with a lot of gang activity,” he says.Although he and Brown noted that theirs is not the only program to combine tennis and education together — in fact, there are as many as 200 nationwide — PAST&E looks to be taking steps since its reorganization in 2008 to make it stand out from the rest.“I think the difference between PAST&E [and other programs] is that ours is really based on taking into account the entire child in that family,” says Paccione. For instance, getting into the program is completely scholarship based, with each child going through a selection process based on income, need and the confirmation of parental involvement going forward.

“We interview the parents to see if they’re willing to attend the family meeting, turn in report cards, progress reports, go to tennis matches, learn to be the best possible parent they can be, it’s real training for parents who have not had that in their background,” explains Brown.

“Parents really have to sign their name on the bottom line,” she continues. The committee works to determine the children with the most academic and emotional need. “We want that child because we feel that with the extra punch we can give…,we can make a difference in that child’s life.”

Originally, when PAST&E began in 1996 under the leadership of Ernest Hartzog, now one of eight on the program’s board, its goal was “just trying to introduce disadvantaged kids to the game of tennis,” says Brown.

Now, it’s much more.

Read (and see) more on the PAST&E program after the cut.

[Read more...]

trophy watch: he who stands taller

Two straight for Fishy: Mardy Fish denied John Isner from pulling a Mardy Fish yesterday in Atlanta. Last year, Fish had won Newport and Atlanta to kick off a hot summer, and with Isner taking the North American grass court tourney this year, he was trying to pull a Fish and double dip to start his own US Open campaign. But Fish, the no. 9-ranked player in the world, fended off Isner in Atlanta at the Atlanta Tennis Championships, beating his countryman 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-2. John doesn’t look too happy now, does he? The reason? It was the second straight year Fish had beaten Isner in the final here, saving match points this time around to take a cup over a platter (better to drink out of!). There’s still a few weeks before the big show in NYC! Cheer up, Johnny boy!

Vera, unplugged. It was the turnaround that Vera Zvonareva was in desperate need of. The Russian had struggled through Europe, whimpering out of Wimbledon where she so forcefully made the final last year, losing out to Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round, 6-3 6-2. But Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Vera’s countrywoman, made the biggest Baku headlines for the week for her 25-double fault match that she WON. More importantly? Vera was the week’s winner. Zvonareva took down the tough Anna Tatishvili, 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-2.

Gilles, too. Meanwhile, on clay, Gilles Simon took Nicolas Almagro to task, winning in Hamburg, 6-4 4-6 6-4.

(Isner and Fish via Getty; Vera via the Baku Cup/WTA; Simon via the AP)

sabine gets the giggles (and throws a frisbee)

Creative juices, please. The WTA is doing something different with new-found star Sabine Lisicki. And we sort of love it. Sure, Sabine isn’t new to most insider tennis fans, but her semifinal appearance at Wimbledon has vaulted her into quite the public eye in tennis terms, and also has inched her ahead of the blossoming talents of Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges, who — among the three of them — are trying to bring somewhat of a women’s tennis renaissance to Germany post the Steffi Graf (and Anke Huber?!) era.

So, what are they doing exactly? The tour has teamed up with Lisicki this week in the beautiful Bay Area at the Bank of the West Classic, asking tennis fans to submit creative, quirky, fun, off-beat ideas for a tennis video that features none other than Miss Lisicki herself.  Have an idea? Post it on the WTA’s YouTube page and watch to see if they take you up on your creative juices…

Here at TSF we’re still brainstorming. But something involving Lisicki, a frisbee, the Stanford swim team and a Gladiators-like course just won’t leave our thinking space…

More: Lisicki on TSF | Stanford draw

sunday survey: fashion follow: girls or boys?

Either or: Here’s something that just popped into our head: Who do you follow more, fashion-wise? The men or the women? Sure, the ladies naturally gravitate toward the stuff because it’s (mostly) their side of the table, but the guys hold their own. From Serena to Maria to Caroline Wozniacki and Venus — the girls have their hands in what they wear. But do you find yourself checking out the guys’ threads just to check in and see how the clothing companies get creative with the good ol’ shorts and tee number? Rafa, Roger and Novak have undoubtedly brought along a certain amount attention to Euro chic with their rise to the top, no? Your votes below.

(Getty images/TSF illustration) 

 

 

k-swiss’ kenny powers takes on jt

KP or JT? If you paid any attention to the ESPYs last week, Justin Timberlake (what isn’t he doing these days?!) did a comedic short for the show titled “I Love Sports,” put on by Capital One. But K-Swiss has a good series featuring a character named Kenny Powers that takes on the similar tone of Timbo’s vid, which Ad Age recommends checking out. While Justin’s spot logged in 2.7 million views, one of Kenny’s new spot had 1.6 million hits. Also on their vid chart for the week? Those classy Old Spice spots. We can’t quit em.

ryan harrison on the rise?

Ryan’s rise? This might be Ryan Harrison‘s moment. One of the rather promising up-and-coming American youngsters, Harrison is a name that has been thrown around for a couple years and really impressed in a five-set loss in the second round of the US Open last summer to Sergiy Stakhovsky. The 19-year-old has stayed consistent on the tour, and had somewhat of a breakthrough at Wimbledon, reaching the second round after getting into the draw as a lucky loser and playing brilliantly at times against David Ferrer, losing in five sets.

Yesterday Harrison, ranked no. 120, continued his trek on American soil. The Louisiana native took down Xavier Malisse 6-7 (3) 6-4 6-4 in a match that had a few testy moments, which Harrison talks about in the video above. Harrison also talked of his confidence that has been on the rise this year, which he pins to the Open: “I have more belief in myself this year … The US Open was big for me because I played back-to-back matches against guys in the top 30 in the world. I won one of them and had three match points in the other one. That was kind of like a light bulb for me: that I don’t  need to overplay to beat these guys. I can play my game, play within myself.”

Is he the real deal? Guess we’ll find out in the next 24 months — and at least get a better idea of over the next two months. | Draw: Hotlanta

(Video via TalkAboutTennis)

short balls: a ‘dead’ week in tennis

Summer sorrow? The three weeks between Wimbledon ending and the US Open Series beginning (Note: we understand that the USOS already began in Atlanta, but surely you can understand that it really feels like summer when Stanford and Los Angeles start, no?) can always be a bit awkward. Sure, there is the beautiful thing that is World TeamTennis, and yes, there are those random events in Europe and the historic after-Wimbledon beacon known as Newport. But this is the time of year that tennis usually takes a breather. Or, at least, tennis news. In 2011, however, not so much. Don’t believe us? Read your way through this week’s short balls – there’s plenty to be had!

Up in arms: Folks in Canada (and beyond) were up in arms over a Rogers Cup poster being used to advertise the women’s tournament as a lead in for a senior’s event that featured Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. The tag line? “[C]ome for the ladies, stay for the legends.” Wait, really? Yes, really. Busted Racquet has a good shot of the poster, which Chris Chase says isn’t really that big of a deal — arguing that the tag line just sort of sucks. And while we partly agree, it was a double slap in the face from the TSF POV: sexually charged (“come for the ladies”) and wait … you want folks to stick around for two retired legends? To us, it should be the other way around. But the Rogers folks changed it up after the outcry, instead using: “[M]aking history, re-living history.” Done and done.

Wozy’s new boo? Always a flirt on Twitter, Caroline Wozniacki might actually have a boy following through on all those winky faces and nudge, nudge LOLs. Who’s the new fella? That’d be Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the 22-year old who stormed through the golf world earlier this summer to win the US Open — you know, just around the time that Caro was crashing out of Wimbledon. But Rory has a complicated (and catty?!) ex GF (Holly Sweeney — they were childhood boos!) and when trying to make an international relationship work in the 21st century, there are only so many #missubabe hash tags that will suffice. Stay tuned.

Dulko, Lena tie the knot (but (k)not to one another): Both Gisela Dulko and Elena Dementieva were married recently, Lena’s nuptials being quite the gathering of Russian tennis royalty. WomensTennisNow.com has a bevy of pictures, and Jon Scott wrote in the Daily Spin on Tennis.com that Safina, Kirilenko, Kuzentsova, Dushevina, Vesnina Zvonareva, Kudryavtseva and Igor Andreez (Kirilenko’s beau) were all in attendance. Dementieva married Maxim Afinoginov, a Russian hockey palyer, at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.

Johnny be good. Seems as though John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg can still bring in the big bucks — and crowd. Their well-documented encounter on the World TeamTennis court last week in NYC helped raise more than $300,000 thanks to a sell out crowd. Where does the money go? To the youth, of course! “The funds raised will benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which provides scholarships, coaching, tournament travel and introductory programs for area youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the Academy or to participate in recreational tennis programs,” a Sportimes release said. Dunlop and Nike are corporate sponsors of the academy, which starts its second school year this coming September.

Do you think she did it herself? Pakastani doubles expert Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi announced his engagement to Faha Akmal Makhdoom. The two, above, celebrated over the weekend. Quite the tattoo, right?! But seriously, Erwin, that should make our tattoo watch list, right?!

Time-lapse goodness. Before short(er) balls, a bit of other thread (ot) delight: the video below shows the NYTimes.com homepage in time-lapse from September of last year until this month. Be amazed.

Short(er) balls: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have signed up to play an exhibition match in Oklahoma City — near where Andy’s bro John Roddick is the University of Oklahoma coach — on Steptember 25. John will join the gents for a doubles exo, as well. Ticket info here. | Things are shaping up well in Cincy. The Mason, Ohio-based stops gets the men and women at the same time this year (Aug. 13-21) and has six new courts, including a 4,000-seat show court. | Remember Robby Ginepri? The oft-injured American is on somewhat of a mini-comeback. The 2005 USO semifinalist beat former world no. 2 Tommy Haas in Atlanta this week and remains in the draw. Oh, and he’s engaged, too. | Ice cream sandwiches are all the rage in NYC right now. And for good reason. | The Museum at FIT in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibit that focuses on sports wear and its (huge) influence on the rest of the fashion and clothing industry. | A 17-year-old Lexington, Ky., tennis stand out is the new face of Hollister. The teen — Chad Buchanan — has no relation to American upstart Chase. Though, his mom was runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1984.

(Serena-Hingis image via the AP; Elena image via Sports.ru; and Qureshi image via Getty)