short balls: the post-wimbledon edition

Changing of the (screen) guard: While the victories of Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic marked somewhat of a changing of the guard on the respective tours, the biggest change at Wimbledon came in the week after the tournament was over: in its TV coverage. It was announced earlier this week that ESPN had outbid NBC for full TV rights of the tournament, meaning the peacock network was pushed out of a gig it had held for some 43 years. And for ESPN? They’ll have the whole shebang for the next 12 Championships. The network team of ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will take over from London starting next year.

That’s a wrap? Did you miss the slew of Wimbledon post ops? If so, here’s a collection: Tignor’s A-List. Tignor’s the rest of them. Wertheim’s mail bag. ESPN’s Wimbledon grades. ESPN’s power rankingsWTA’s video highlights. Forty Deuce’s hilar “pic this.” The Guardian. Oh! The list goes on and on…

Too sexy for ya?  Time ran an interesting piece from its business section on the WTA‘s ad campaign, “Strong is Beautiful.” The thrust of the article: what the ?!?#?#%% Well, not exactly. But, the article points out that sexualizing the women the way this campaign does undermines women’s sports in a sense, and their ability to compete as athletes on court. We certainly see such a point.

The Journal recommends some tennis whites — including Boast — this summer. (WSJ)

Feeling Boastful? You guys know that TSF isn’t the only place online that talks about tennis fashion. OK, but we admit it: we’re the only ones that talk about it everyday. Anyway, the Wall Street Journal got in on the tennis fashion game during Wimbledon, running a piece that examined the cultural shift of the industry as it’s moved through the decades. Nope, tennis isn’t a rock-star sport driven by John McEnroe anymore, but the clothes he wore might be making a bit of a comeback. Featured in the article were one of TSF’s faves, Boast. | TSF Vault: Boast

Doesn’t it vibrate? While most of us have learned to silence our phones or at least put them on vibrate while at work or in public, it doesn’t seem as though Alize Cornet has attained such a habit. The Frenchwoman was down match point in the first round of the Swedish Open this week against world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki when a phone started ringing. Wozy first tried to ignore the noise, but it persisted, and she stepped back from the line to see if someone would answer/silence/ignore the call. It was then that her opponent, Cornet, ran to her bag to switch off the phone that had been ringing — hers! Hilarity. Video below:

Roll the tape: Seems as though the fellas at Tennis.com — Peter Bodo, Steve Tignor and Ed McGrogan — have a new outlet for their weekly chats. The trio has teamed up with BNP Paribas for a sit down in a round-table discussion called “The World of Tennis.” This week they talk about Andre Agassi, who will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame tomorrow in Newport, R.I. | ESPN: Agassi’s top 10 moments

Short(er) balls: It ain’t “Wimble-TIN.” Sportscaster raises money for charity by fueling PSA over pronunciation of Wimble-DON. | In case you forgot, Novak Djokovic is no. 1 in the world now. HEAD hails the king. | Are you reading Jonathan Scott‘s musings on Tennis.com’s “The Spin?” If not, you should be. | Lindsay Davenport is preggers and (tastefully) pulls out of the WTT season, via doctor’s orders. | This might be a little old, but who cares? It’s Maria Sharapova talking about Cole Haan. Take note, Martina Hingis. | Shouldn’t every short(er) balls end with Djoko dancing on stage? We think so.

(Image by George Ellison via Flickr.)

short balls: wimbledon crumbs

Clean-plate club: As Wimbledon begins to wrap up, we’ve been scooping up the best little bits of the tourney yet to get big play on the TSF stage before you all run for the parks and beaches and the great outdoors post Sunday afternoon. The WTA has the above video, which we find strangely fascinating. Too bad strawberries and cream isn’t a more popular snack in the States! Just the right balance of good- and bad-for-you, right?

Draws: How Kvitova and Sharapova got there | Djokovic and Rafa, too

Wimbledon stylings, for you: Esquire has churned out a clever how-to for us regular folks on wearing Wimbledon whites. Our favorite parts of their six-step process? “Hats, not headbands. Never headbands” and “Lose the socks. Those should never be white. Unless you’re actually winning Wimbledon.”

Lego Andy: This may be one of our favorite finds of The Championships. It’s Lego Andy (Murray) who greeted fans in the queue in the early goings of the tournament. The three-foot model was built by England’s only certified professional, Duncan Titmarsh, (didn’t know there was such a thing) and was completed with 13,000 Lego pieces over six days. Oh, and that’s Fred Perry that Lego Andy is wearing, not adidas. Guess he’s a little nostalgic, no?


Gift for (hearing) grunts?
Seriously. If you haven’t tried this brilliant Slate.com test on matches the players to audios of them grunting, you must! TSF East was a nine of ten. Can you match such a score? Beat it?! Click on the image above to play.

(Lego Andy image by the Kingston Guardian; screen grab via Slate.com)

short balls: wimbledon goes mainstream on week 1

There’s no doubt that the British press has a heyday when Wimbledon comes around. From the Monica Seles-inspired Grunt-0-Meter to headlines screaming (desperately) for a British champ. It really is the people’s Slam. But Stateside, it’s always nice to see the mainstream folks picking up on the secret we’re all privy to: tennis is damn cool. Below a collection of week one’s rumblings across the non-tennis media.

The grunting! Doesn’t this happen every year? Sure, this was a British-inspired headline. But The Daily Beast kept with it for a solid morning on Wednesday, even putting together a gallery of grunters themselves. We think they left off a key founding mother: Monica Seles.

More: The Daily Beast‘s “perfect matches” tennis couples


The return of the Sisters Williamses: With Venus and Serena back, The Huffington Post saw the perfect opening to do a gallery of the sisters from through the years — Wimbledon and beyond. | ESPN takes on V’s fashion

The BMS side show? Just when we thought Bethanie Mattek-Sands had cemented herself as a legit third- and fourth-rounder at the slams she unveils this (see below) which prompts headlines from Britain to the U.S. to Australia and crashes out in the first round. So long, Bethy. | More: BMS inks deal for eye black flare
(AFP image)

More headlines to come…

short balls: just short of sw19

Ruffled around the edges. Serena is 1-1 heading into Wimbledon, 2011. She got bright colors (and losing?) out of her system before descending upon London. | More Serena: The younger Williams has promised fans some karaoke sessions while at her first Major in a year. Yep, she’s got a portable karaoke machine. And yes, she’s trying to corral Andy Murray into doing it with her.

Tennis, meet fashion. | Obviously we (and you!) know that tennis fashion is a year-round sort of gig, but the biggest events are Wimbledon and the US Open — at least from a fashion POV. So for tomorrow night’s players’ party at Richard Branson’s digs, the Telegraph in London is laying out which ladies are wearing which designers. Caroline Wozniacki is unsurprisingly rocking Stella McCartney while Serena will be sporting some Burberry. Vivienne Westwood? That honor goes to one Jelena Jankovic. Work it, ladies!

Bring it, Yao! | Li Na is certainly set up for life. Imagine if this chick wins another Slam?! China might demand that it be able to host its own Major. Experts are saying that with her win at the French, Li will surpass Yao Ming, the NBA star, in marketing prowess. We’re a little blown over by that claim, but the Nike-sponsored hard-hitter already has several offers up and running with IMG,  her reps. Li, who currently has contracts with Nike, Rolex and — get this! — Haagen-Dazs ice cream could start to clean up. An industry expert in China puts it this way: “She will bring you the ‘light bulb moment’ as an international professional athlete. She is good at her sports, and her personality combines western civilization and oriental wisdom. She is frank, sincere with a steady and relaxed style,” explained Qiang Wei, a sports marketing director.

Clijsters withdraws from Wimbledon | No, seriously. She’s out. And WTT? They’ve already gone looking for a summer replacement.

Heather Watson is 2011′s Laura Robson … just sayin’.

Wimbledon greats. Ten of them, to be exact. The best ten matches from SW 19′s history. They’re stacked up — oddly? — by BestCollegesOnline.net. This is a great selection! And the video clips are surreal to watch one after the other.

More surreality: Andy Murray hits two (two!) tweeners in win over JWS

Tennis in Times Square. If you wanted more visuals from our post about the US Open tickets sales event in Times Square, TSF contributor and Tennis.com intern Benjamin Snyder put together a pretty snappy gallery. And how about his one-on-one with Judah Friedlander in the captions? We dig.

Pimms with lemonade? On the Tennis Channel website, columnist James LaRosa has conjured up the most hilarious (and ridiculous) Wimbledon drinking game we’ve even encountered. And we love it.

Short(er) balls: Because we know Erwin (and Troy!) care, just a note to say that Mary Kate and Ashley turned 25 on Monday. OMG! | Jon Wertheim? He picks Serena to win Wimbledon. | Sure, Roger Federer is a cute dad, but we don’t think he falls into the “hot” realms of David Beckham. | ATP Executive Chairman Adam Helfant will step down at the end of 2011. | The new home of British heiress Petra Ecclestone? Don’t worry, it has a tennis court. (And cost over $100 million.) | We’ll be at the HSBC exo on Monday with Monica Seles and Jim Courier. We’ll bring the sunscreen (for Jim!) and you guys bring the Grunt-o-Meter.

(Serena image via Getty; Watson vid via WTA)

short balls: french’s franny folly


Can you give that back please? It wasn’t enough that Francesca Schiavone lost the women’s final at Roland Garros on Saturday — the tourney had one last snub for her: they gave her the wrong trophy. Schiavone was handed the small replica (which the winner is given to take home) of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen while her actual runner’s up plate (see it just behind her right hip), sat on the table behind her. Later in the ceremony officials fixed this little gaffe.

An anniversary, nonetheless. Did you miss this on Sunday? It was the 30th anniversary of the Center for Disease Control first publishing a report on a mysterious epidemic of what we would come to know as the AIDS virus. To see a good round up of what took place to ring in this grim date marker, head to Towleroad.

Tennis tube. How’s this for encouraging? The Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer final at the French Open received its highest US TV ratings in 12 years. While the women’s final tied its number from last year, Nadal-Federer were way up over Nadal-Robin Soderling last year. Who played in that 1999 final that got such high ratings? Oh right, that’d be Andre Agassi.

Bjorn a champ?
Below, American Bjorn Fratangelo (yes, he was named after Borg) sits in disbelief after winning the boys’ singles title on Sunday in Paris. The last American teen to win this junior title? John McEnroe in 1977. Seems like you’ve got some good ties, BF! Oh, and for good measure: Bjorn beat Dominic Thiem of Austria, 3-6 6-3 8-6.

(Images via Getty)

short balls: finals weekend awaits


Two to go.
Before we turn the corner to the weekend, there’s plenty happening outside of Paris that has caught our eye the last few days. The June/July issue of Tennis View has Andre Agassi on its cover (full disclosure: I wrote one of the articles in the mag), talking about the American’s upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame. Agassi made his own headlines just yesterday, announcing that he  has teamed up with investors to form a fund for independent schools to use for building new or improving old facilities. Agassi is famous for his charter school in Las Vegas, and will join forces to form the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, which has some $750 million in the bank to fund projects it pre-approves.

Summer cinema.
To our readers who are in the Northeast, perhaps you might like this social activity from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Newport-based org is hosting a preview screen of the HBO Sports documentary McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice. The screening is happening this coming Thursday, the 9th, at the Casino Theatre on the ground of the HOF. More about the movie: “Thirty-one years after the stirring Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final that earned Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg a place among history’s great sports battles, HBO Sports looks back at their unforgettable rivalry of the ’70s and ’80s.” How do you get in? The 7 PM screening is free for ITHF Members, and included with Museum admission of $11 for Non-Members. Seating is limited and reservations may be made by emailing programs@tennisfame.com. The documentary will premiere on HBO on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Boxing on Broadway.
Love the Rocky theme music? How about Rocky the musical? It’s actually in the works. The production, which went through a New York reading this spring and is in the beginning stages of production, hopes to land on Broadway by spring of 2013. Sylvester Stallone is no doubt involved in the project, which will first debut in Germany before coming to Manhattan.

Not enough Nike.
Think the Swoosh dominates the world? They don’t. Nike looks to move into sports it hasn’t penetrated much yet, like skate boarding and surfing. | TSF Vault: Nike

Inspire us.
Sometimes sports stories can just change the way you think about life, period. Strong stuff on Yahoo’s high school site, RivalsHigh.

Want.
Nothing better than a little Friday retail therapy. We’re loving these locally-made mini wallets from Seattle. These Laura Bee Designs ditties are made by hand with lace and leather (no, really) and just $14 + shipping.
(Agassi image via robtee7 on Flickr; Laura Bee Designs screen grabs)

short balls: pippa does paris

The royal box. Everyone’s favorite Middleton was in attendance at the French Open yesterday as Pippa attended matches on Philippe Chatrier with a gentleman that Busted Racquet hilariously ID’d as Parks and Recreation‘s Jean Ralphio. OK, we’re going to guess that’s not him. But that is Pippa. And in case you forgot, this was Pippa’s dress that stole the show (or at least borrowed it for a few minutes) at her big sis’s wedding.

British (tennis) royalty. While it’s rumored that Kate Middleton (that’s Duchess of Cambridge, to you!) is supposedly being asked to present trophies at Wimbledon this year, no one had to ask the storied folks of Birmingham if they wanted two tennis photo galleries to descend upon their historic community, which helped co-found lawn tennis way back in 1859.

Go fetch. We’re obsessed with this image that the Wall Street Journal ran last week of a pooch nabbing a flying tennis ball in the city. Perhaps our heart really got stolen by the two lookers-on, both of whom are decidedly jealous and couldn’t care less at the same time. | Blue’s blue on FO fashion: But don’t ask Blue Carreon of the Journal what he thinks of the fashion at this year’s RG. He’s. Not. Having. It.

Wheel of Tennis. While Blue isn’t loving the tennis threads of this year’s FO, Wheel of Fortune is giving the sport a whole week of love. The game show is promoting “Tennis Week” this week with tennis-themed prizes, appearances by well-known tennis faces and the best mixed doubles pair you’ve ever known: Alex Trebek and Vanna White, of course.

(Pippa image via Getty Images; Tennis Week image via WOF web site)

short balls: good photos, gays and serena sings (!!!)


Snuggly and warm.
One of our favorite parts of Majors is that there are photographers — everywhere. It’s like the worlds of Kim Kardashian and President Obama have combined into one, and these photogs aren’t missing a thing! While the on-court shots can be dramatic and story telling and gripping all at once, there is something about the around-the-grounds photos that you really can’t match. Check out today’s batch from Roland Garros here. | More: All RG photos

Not Herstory, Queerstory. A new book, A Queer History of the United States, looks at the last 500 years of gay Americans. Didn’t think gays stretched beyond Bill Tilden and the roaring ’20s? Not the case. Michael Bronski pens the book which documents gay Americans at every turn of history. One misstep he says the gays made/are making? A push for marriage equality.

USA takeover. No, we’re not talking about the Americans in Paris! (Though, with what we had to start the tournament, wouldn’t you say we’ve had a fine showing so far? BMS, Mardy Fish, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and others have turned in a fine performance.) We mean the fact that USA Network (you know the one — is used to run the U.S. Open!) has taken over a special issue of the New Yorker, eating up the mag’s entire advertising space. The newsstand-only issue (when was the last time you heard such terminology?!) came out on Monday.

She is. Serena Fierce.
 Sometimes you just have to sit back and let Serena do her thing. We’ll never completely understand her, but we don’t think she wants us to. That would just un-glamorize ReRe. It’s been an active month for the inactive player: To start, a man was arrested for allegedly stalking Serena. Then, a week later, Serena posted a revealing Avatar on her Twitter account, only to take it down a week later after online outcry. But Serena has saved the best for the beginning of the French, where we know she would much rather be. How to ring in the third straight Slam that is Serena-less?? By singing Beyonce‘s (OK, Destiny Child‘s) “Survivor.” At karaoke. And putting it up on YouTube. ‘Nuff said. Click the image to watch.

More power ballads:
Remember Justine’s musical musings?

Find a ladder and climb it. We’re digging the new site, TennisLadders.NET — and not just because the NET is in all caps. The site caters to recreational players per their geographical location, pairing you up with a player in your area who is willing and wanting to play. Want to climb the ladder? Work your way up. While the site has a California-heavy following right now, it will eventually be national. Says the TennisLadders team: “We are home of the ‘quick challenge’ where users can challenge each other at the click of a button and report their score back on the site.  Your ranking is automatically adjusted as you report your scores and climb the ladder.” We love good, old fashioned competition. Join up, y’all.

(Ball kids image by FFT via RG.com; Serena vid screen grab via YouTube)

short balls: paris around the bend

See the win, be the win. Rafa will go four his sixth French starting on Sunday. | Official RG website

Espresso and pastries. The French Open is around the corner? You don’t say. While qualifying is underway (Draws: Men’s | Women’s), we haven’t been much focused on the tennis court this week. The men’s tour is making a before-Roland Garros stop in Nice, while the ladies are at their usual spot in Strasbourg and the newly-added Brussels. In Brussels? That’d be Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and defending champ Francesca Schiavone. Seriously, do these girls take any time off? Marion Bartoli and Andrea Petkovic are both semifinalists in Strasbourg. Tomas Berdych remains in Nice, where the once-hot David Ferrer was cooled off by Alexandr Dolgolpolov in the quarters (French dark horse? We think so!) 4-6 6-1 5-7.

Now to the good stuff. We know, sometimes the tennis gets to be too much. But just in time for players to descend upon the city of love American-based Abercrombie & Fitch is opening their first Parisian store on the famed Champs-Elysees. How did they celebrate? By bringing out a hundred shirtless models in their why-are-there-holes-in-these jeans. But seriously, we can complain that much.

Straight shooters. How cool are Hudson Taylor and Ben Cohen? The former all-American wrestler and English rugby player, respectively, are arguably the two highest-profile athletes on the planet campaigning for gay rights — as straight dudes. The New York Times paid them both their due diligence with a feature late last week. Cohen surprisingly announced his retirement from ruby to focus on his work with the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying effort. We’ve written about Taylor on this blog before, his AthleteAlly.org gaining national attention over the last few months. Here’s the Columbia wrestling coach on MSNBC.

Roll it, map it. How cool is this map? The work — from Alienlovespredator.com — depicts Manhattan and 91 movie references. Gotta dig the illustrated genius.
Short(er) balls: Djokovic-loving Anna Wintour joins the fight for gay marriage. | Everyone’s favorite ‘RHONYC’ Bethenny Frankel is making it big — and we mean at the bank. | And Robyn is slowly taking over the world. With her music.

(rafa photo via getty images; movie illustration by alienlovespredator.com)

short balls: gilt gets big and three boys make big (and different) decisions

Hockey (player) for homos: As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo amps up his serious push for a marriage equality bill in Albany, the Human Rights Campaign scored a big win in the fight for equal rights: a major sports league male. Sean Avery of the New York Rangers is known as fashion-conscious (check out the glasses) and the 31-year-old NHL veteran isn’t shying away from being the first New York professional athlete to campaign from the cause. And this shouldn’t surprise anyone: he’s Canadian. The former Chelsea resident now lives in SoHo.

Gilty of it: One of our fave online shopping outlets, Gilt, is getting rather giant, actually. The member-based site was valued at $1 billion recently, according to a New York Times article. A new investor in the fashion-savvy site? Goldman Sachs. Guess the big boys are finally getting serious about this online shopping thing, eh? More: Venus’ EleVen on Gilt

Tattoo watch hide your eyes: We think it better to close your eyes on this one. The Utah Jazz’s Andrei Kirilenko (he’s Russian, but not related to Maria as far as we know) reveals his latest body art. And… are there any words? Nope. None at all. Just… nothing. TSF Vault: The (classier) tattoos of the tennis tours

Schockingly perfect: There really is only one word for Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock: HOT. Yep, the soon-to-be-30 Republican from the Midwest is giving you a corn-fed washboard stomach on the current cover of Men’s Health. His reasoning to go almost-shirtless on the cover of a national mag? To promote healthy living. Hey, we appreciate such things, Aaron! But we’re still waiting for Mrs. O’s abs on the cover of Shape – and that ain’t happening until January 2017 at the earliest.
Short(er) balls: While we may be a little late to the game (the event was tonight), ESPN the Mag teamed up with popular San Francisco-based Pop Up Magazine tonight on NYU’s campus in downtown Manhattan. That’s right — a live magazine. Regular This American Life-contributor Starlee Kine was going to be there, as were ESPN writers like Katie Baker and Alyssa Roenigk. The event featured artists and columnists as well, and we can’t wait to see/hear/smell/listen/touch what pieces of brilliance comes out from the evening after tonight. | In a strange story getting stranger, Nancy Kerrigan was due to testify at her brother’s trial today in the death of  her father. | And just in case you forgot about our friends at Tennishead.net, we’re loving their British-inspired tennis coverage.