wta headshots: part 3 (ladies of east coast)

Matt Trollope began covering tennis in 2008, a natural extension of his childhood obsession for the game that included hitting for countless hours against his bedroom wall and self-producing and editing a fictitious tennis magazine. Based in Melbourne, he has covered four Australian Opens and one Wimbledon championship, and his tennis writing has featured in Australian Tennis Magazine, the Australian Open Official Program, and Alpha Magazine.

In this latest instalment of TSF’s WTA Headshots series, we take a look at some players who have posted solid results this past fortnight in New York. Given some of them have since been dumped from the women’s draw, they might have time to source new photographs. And remember, folks, this is just pure, unadulterated fun and fiction. We lack all seriousness in below post. Enjoy!

Sabine Lisicki | When Lisicki missed most of 2010 with a severe ankle injury, instead of lying around feeling sorry for herself, she went out and scored a role as an extra in the film Just Go With It. “I figured if Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick could be in it, why couldn’t I?” She explained to TSF. “I asked them to put in a good word for me, and the director said I could be involved in scenes set in Hawaii.” This photo shows that Lisicki pulled off the Pacific Island look brilliantly, and like every good extra, you don’t even notice her when you watch the film. Yet ever the ambitious young lady on court, Lisicki struggled to quash her competitive instincts in the acting arena, with an insider quoting her as saying: “Seriously, Brooklyn’s acting was such crap, as if I wouldn’t totally own that character! All she had to do was get a massage for half the movie and look pretty in front of the camera. I already do that as a professional tennis player!” After watching the film –- which copped a resounding thumbs-down from critics –- we have to agree.

Jelena Jankovic | It’s always been about the drama and the performance for Jelena. Forget the tennis –- JJ’s performances have been largely forgettable for three years anyway. Instead, Jelena’s current focus is on shoring up her post-tennis career options. We at TSF have dug up her submission –- a resume complete with a suitable headshot –- to take part in Celine Dion’s show-in-residence at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Jankovic notes parallels between herself and the Canadian diva: “My application shows that I clearly rock the wind-machine look, I’ve got my fist-pump down pat and I’m very comfortable being in the spotlight,” she says. “She’s always using back-up dancers, and with my body, I could easily fit in with them. And who cares if I can’t sing? It’s all about lip-synching these days.” Further investigation by TSF confirms that Dion’s management has yet to respond to Jankovic’s application.

TSF Vault: More WTA headshots

Vania King | Ever watched Glee and thought the Asian-American character was an unconvincing actress, a dud singer, and generally pretty annoying? Well, it seems the WTA does, and it’s propping up one of its own as a viable replacement. Proud of the fact that King can sing, but keen to strip her of her prissy choir-girl image –- certainly not aligned with the tour’s sweat-soaked, pheromone-charged Strong Is Beautiful campaign –- CEO Stacey Allaster told TSF about the inspiration behind the push to “vote Vania” for Glee. “What better way for the WTA to position one of our players than in such a sassy, sexy and culturally-relevant program? We’re taking it up a level from Xperia Hotshots. Glee is totally where it’s at now.” So far, the Vote Vania campaign features a poster –- with Vania’s coquettish pose serving as the foundation –- but no slogan as yet.

Andrea Petkovic | Petko will continue to make her presence felt on the East Coast following her deep run at the US Open, lending her face to a tourism campaign promoting The Hamptons as an idyllic year-round escape from the frenetic pace of New York City life. This photo –- a still from the television advertisement –- shows Petkovic leaning luxuriously against the wall of a rustic timber home, her amber eyes glinting as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. “Maybe your body is weary from lots of dancing,” she says dreamily in the voiceover. “Perhaps you want to disconnect from technology after tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and vlogging. You might want to rest your mind after tackling the works of Goethe and Wilde, or brushing up on your four languages. Whatever your reason, you’ll find your sanctuary in The Hamptons.” Given the German is an increasingly dominant force on the women’s tour, many of her opponents may be hoping for an escape themselves.

(Photos via the WTA; Humor via TSF)

most improved hair: carla suarez navarro

It’s been around for a while now — at least since the start of 2011 — but we’re still not over how much better this boy cut is on Carla Suarez Navarro (compared to this, we mean).

The Spaniard fell to Andrea Petkovic in the fourth round of the 2011 U.S. Open 6-1, 6-4. Petko had a tough time closing out the match but eventually prevailed. She’ll play the winner of Wozniacki/Kuznetsova (which is being contested as we type).

And speaking of Petko, check out Nick’s interview with Andrea for USOpen.org.

(image via Getty Images)

trophy watch: before paris


And two weeks from now? Caroline Wozniacki
 would like to be holding a smaller — but more significantly weighted — trophy on the grounds of Roland Garros. But for now the world no. 1 will have to take solace in this oversized cup she received for winning in Brussels, beating Peng Shuai 2-6 6-3 6-3. It would be an outside shot for Andrea Petkovic to go from Strasbourg winner to the champ in Paris, but she did beat Marion Bartoli (6-4 1-0 Ret.), a former Major finalist herself and was a quarterfinalist at this year’s Aussie. For the boys, Nicolas Almagro downed Victor Hanescu 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-3. The Spaniard also has an outside chance at capturing a win at the year’s second major. | More: Read about all three of their wins

Where are they now? In Paris, duh! Almagro, the 11th seed, gets Lukasz Kubot in the first round tomorrow. Top seed Wozniacki swept through Kimiko Date Krumm in her opening match today, winning 0 and 2. Petkovic gets dangerous Serb Bojana Jovanovski tomorrow in her opener. | Look: RG photo stream


(Wozniacki image by Getty via the WTA; Petko by Chrystene Caillud via the WTA and Almago by Yohan Brandt via the ATP)

short balls: an ailing andy (and rafa drinks rum!)

By Benjamin Snyder

Flip flop: As the Sony Ericsson Open winds down, two very different players are working their way up in the rankings. For the men, it’s Mardy Fish, who overtook Andy Roddick as the top American man with a win over David Ferrer in the quarterfinals. A sick Roddick succumbed to Pablo Cuevas in the second round of the huge hard court Miami event and was bounced out of the top ten for the first time in some years.

Maria’s back in the habit: While the Williams sisters fall outside of the top ten with illness and injury, Maria Sharapova is rising back to the top tier with decent showings at Indian Wells and this week in Miami. Masha has Andrea Petkovic in the semis, a player who flattened her when the two met Down Under in Melbourne. (More Maria: Those earrings!)

… but no royal wedding, yet: Apparently, the 23-year-old Maria is in “no rush to get married,” according to Show Biz Spy. And why should she be? We’d like to see Maria win two or three more Majors – she’s got them in her, we think – before strolling down to take Sasha’s hand. Meanwhile: No playoffs for his Nets.

But seriously, is Maria just getting cold feet? “In the beginning I was really, really excited, and all my friends were giving me like wedding magazines and wedding books. But I was quite overwhelmed with it, and then I just put them down and said, ‘Okay, I have plenty of time.’ We’re still very young.”

TSF Exclusive: Rumors say Djokovic has strolled down the aisle

Swan song for Petko’s dance? While Petkovic even has the ever-awkward Ana Ivanovic shaking her tail feather on the tennis court, the German – who is matching her play to her popularity this week – is retiring her famous jig following this week. She told the press that it’s time to move on from the ditty, which became an underground hit in tennis realms. Is she lending her dance skills to B-Spears? We sure hope so. But notice: She said “move on.” We’re sensing another dance number folks, just something new and, well, so Petko.

Rum like Rafa: Rafael Nadal recently signed a deal with Bacardi, receiving some backlash in the process. Says Nadal, “I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no?” No Rafa, it’s nothing new to us. And we appreciate your push for responsibility. More: YouTube channel | Facebook

‘Round the world: Then there are the two Missoula, Montana, teens who just broke the Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match, ever. Isner-Mahut looks like a Roehampton side court to this Centre Court effort. The two high school seniors clocked in nearly 61 hours of tennis over three days before collapsing, raising $7,000 for charity in the process. Snaps for those court warriors.

(Image by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

in miami, a stroll down peekaboo street

When in Florida, do as the Miamians do — show skin! The ladies playing in this week’s Sony Ericsson Open did their part, with keyholes and other cutouts showing up in kits during match play.

From left to right: Dominika Cibulkova in Lacoste; Kim Clijsters in Fila‘s Center Court Cap Sleeve Top (Buy); Ana Ivanovic in the adiZero Dress (Buy). Not pictured: the adidas Response tank, worn by the likes of Andrea Petkovic during practice; see it here.

Brackets: Kimmie is still in the running for the SEO title after that super-close three-set fourth-round match against Ivanovic (poor Ana was up 1-5 in the third and had five match points). She now faces Vika Azarenka for a spot in the semis. (Browse: SEO Draws)

(images via Getty Images)

strokin': when tennis met music

By Jonathan Scott

It may not be tabloid fodder like every Taylor Swift dalliance, and it’s not nearly as insufferable as Brangelina, but the marriage between music and tennis is itself a storied love affair. It stretches across decades and genres, and it knows no bounds – well, none other than those pesky white lines.

Try to set aside the disappointment that the artist Sergey with the song “Tennis” on iTunes is actually not Vera Zvonareva‘s ridiculously good-looking model/coach. And, however possible, repress the memory of Justine Henin‘s song-and-dance scareoke on TV. Yes, Novak Djokovic and Ivo Karlovic have tried their tongues at rapping, as has Vince Spadea with amusingly deplorable results, but that doesn’t mean you should try it at home after perfecting your Djokovic-ian down-the-line backhand, does it?

As the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival just wrapped its annual song-a-thon in Austin, Texas – soon to be the site for a volatile USA vs. Spain Davis Cup tie in July – here’s the skinny on the latest hot shots in tennis-tinged music and an homage to some of the greats.

Best Newcomer: James Blake is a dub-step soulman and a veritable crooner. The British JB, that is. His American counterpart is a best-selling author and owner of a laser forehand whose best days are past, but Blake the Brit is taking the music world by slow-burning storm, releasing his rave-reviewed eponymous debut in February and – well before that – igniting the blogosphere with his faithful but quirky cover of Feist‘s “Limit to Your Love.” Let’s just pray that, when we hit up a James Blake concert sometime, his fans aren’t half as annoying (adorable?) as the American Blake’s J-Block can be in the tennis stands.

Dainty she is not. Our fave album cover from Blonde Readhead’s 23. (Image via band website)

Best Dressed: Sometimes it’s okay to judge a band by its cover. Oxymoronic indie rockers Blonde Redhead out of New York City put out the best, most elegant tennis-themed album art when they dropped 23 in 2007. But, no, the song “Top Ranking” has nothing to do with disputed no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Worst Dressed, but Best Sound: Yea, there is a band simply called Tennis, a married duo specializing in ’60s surf-pop for 2011. This act released its debut Cape Dory in January, and though the song “Marathon” doesn’t harbor the words “Isner,” “Mahut” or “Wimbledon” anywhere in the lyrics, it’s solid stuff. Consider it your soulful throwback soundtrack for this summer – but steer clear of wearing skintight aqua as with the album cover. It looks like leftover fabric from a hideous Nadia Petrova creation.

Best Tournament Run: This has to go to the ginger-haired heroine in the video for Vampire Weekend‘s “Giving Up the Gun.” She rips through a draw that includes Joe Jonas, a Daft Punk-helmeted doubles team, and even a flask-swilling Jake Gyllenhaal in tear-away pants. It’s a great song, and the immaculately-white indoor court is sharp – even if the choked-up strokes from the damsel look laughably bad in reality. Girl, who taught you to grip a racquet like that? Topping it off: RZA from Wu-Tang Clan serves as the chair umpire, and Lil Jon offers astute on-court coaching. Brill.

TSF Vault | The many lives of tennis-themed music vids

Best Clay-Court Match: French DJs Martin Solveig — oddly in tasteful Wimbledon whites — and Bob Sinclar, sporting some hot-magenta vintage-Agassi styles, squared off on Roland Garros‘ red dirt for the video for Solveig’s dance track “Hello” sung by Dragonette. The match and music video are both visceral, a veritable heartbreaker. Check out the cameo by that flashiest of the current French tennis stars as he comes on the scene and devastates the darling DJ.

Hello? Could Martin Solveig look any cooler? We think not. (YouTube screengrab)

Best Charity Hit: Andy Murray and Thom Yorke of Radiohead teamed up for charity single “Two Minute Silence” to benefit serving and former British troops and their families. Strangely enough, its title is no lie. “Hear” — but really just see — it here. British Prime Minister David Cameron and more also got in on this quiet riot. Truly the oddest not-quite-a-band lineup ever, but hey, can’t wait for their episode of “Behind the Music.” Finalist: Wozniacki put out a charity single called “Oxigent” (or “Oxygen”) to benefit Danish and Polish Paralympic athletes. Because, you know, she has oodles of free time.

Top Passing Shot: Meg Baird‘s lovely, lilting “Waltze of the Tennis Players.” It’s just pretty, and we do pretty.

More of Jonathan’s music musings (including “Best Grunt” and “Best Musical Ode to a Tennis Player”) after the cut. [Read more...]

she said, he said: petko & j-willy

On Monday, the folks of the WTA asked players in Dubai what a good Valentine’s Day date would be. Leave it to one Andrea Petkovic to have the best answer. By light years. “Well first of all I have to say I hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why… but, it’s too pink-y girly for me. My perfect date would go to a concert and jump around a little bit. And then go and have a beer.”

We grabbed this image from Petko’s rockin’ web site, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already. The photo was taken by famed German photog Markus Hintzen for Der Spiegel.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga really doesn’t have to say anything. Just shake those hips, brother.

(tsonga photo via atp by yohan brandt)

dancing queen

Before Andrea Petkovic, the best tie the tennis world had to dancing was Monica Selesfrightening stint on Dancing With the Stars. We all remember how that turned out, right?? Petkovic’s moves are refreshing – just like her personality. We took awhile to warm up to the German, but watching her fight her way past Maria Sharapova was enduring, and now the dancing seems a little more appropriate, eh?

More: Courtney Nguyen‘s USAToday piece on the dancing Petko | Petkorazzi on YouTube

And: Aussie ladies: Ekaterina Makarova outfit no-no gets Mariana Alves outta her chair | TSF Vault: Alves

flashback: nads, never again.

Not that we really wanted to go back to that bad place, but out of obligation to all that is right and just in this world, we figured that this 2010 US Open outfit, brought to you by Nadia Petrova and Ellesse, deserved its own blog post. Just so we never forget.

And not that we expected anything less from Ellesse as they continue to dress Nads in the wackiest s*&$ out there, but this one, so far, takes the cake. (Yep, the one-upped themselves after this — Nads’ dress from New Haven!)

And German Andrea Petkovic was clearly moved by all of it, putting the 17th seed Petrova out of her misery (Kudryavtseva-style) by winning the third set in a tiebreak. Petkovic made it all the way to the round of 16 (with the help of a walkover from Peng Shuai) before falling to eventual finalist Vera Zvonareva.

(img via @SIOpenSource)