ana ivanovic shows off the jumeirah hotel in dubai

Ana Ivanovic - Dubai Duty Free Championships ambassador

Talkin Dirty: DDFTC ambassador Ana Ivanovic starred in a video highlighting the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, a sponsor for the tennis event, being held this week in Dubai. Those red sofas in that photo above, she points out, are designed by Zaha Hadid. (Nothing gets us going like a tennis star run-in with a starchitect!) Ana is also asked by the hotel to create a piece of tennis-themed art that will be displayed in the property’s gallery. It was reminiscent of the canvases painted by the ATPers who qualified for the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals in 2010. (Watch: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Feature – Ana Ivanovic)

Draw: Ivanovic beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-6(5) in the first round of the tournament and will next face sixth seed Petra Kvitova. They share that bottom half of the singles draw with Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska. The top half of the draw is up for grabs after top seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the event because of a foot injury.

(Photo Credit: image via emirates247.com)

in kazakhstan, the world’s largest tent

And we’re not talking about Evgeny Korolev‘s pants. The draw ceremony for weekend’s Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie between Kazakhstan and Switzerland was held at the Norman Foster-designed Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center in Astana. The structure, which opened this past July, is the world’s largest tent. (Read: HuffPo’s write-up.) The matches will be played in the National Tennis Center, also located in that city.

Draw: See the country line-ups here. (Marco Chiudinelli is playing!)

(photo by Sergei Kivrin via daviscup.org)

in chicago, wilson anchors duty with design

In the outskirts of Chicago, tennis – and sport – behemoth Wilson calls part of an office tower home. The space, just a stone’s throw from O’Hare Airport, is non-descript from the outside: a big, just-out-of-the-city office building, expansive parking lot, Chicago wintry winds and the red ‘Wilson’ christening the side of the top the structure, seemingly simple and corporate.

Inside, however, the space is anything but simple. And to call it corporate would only be accurate in its ability to be a functional, inspiring space. Wilson occupies five floors in the building, including the top three. The 2007 move from the building next door provided the company to make thoughtful, sustainable and modern decisions on how to utilize its new space both as a workplace and an area to encourage creative interaction by those who work there and those who visit.

Said visitors are greeted in the Wilson lobby by a vast wall that hosts black and white photos of Wilson employees, coaches, trainers, athletes and superstars. The view provides a sort of story-telling for the Wilson name over the last 100 years, since the brand launched in 1914. Images of tennis players are aplenty, their equipment and dress anchored in their era and style. There’s Lindsay Davenport rocking her mid-90s Girl Next Door look. And there’s Pete Sampras winning the Open in 2002. The expansive space beyond the wall (pictured below) displays product in a minimalist, museum-inspired way, using outside light to brighten the room and create a feeling of excitement about the possibilities of sport, and, from Wilson’s point of view, their name.

Read more about the Wilson headquarters and find out what the day in a life of a Wilsontouring team memberentails after the cut.

[Read more…]

get ‘em while they’re squishy

Dinara Safina was greeted by a big fan club of one (see background) upon arriving in Beijing this last week. Well, that’s actually just Gumby’s blue cousin, Blumby. He’s waving with fervor, and Dinara is def doing her best to ignore him. She’s obviously supes embarrassed.

With the China Open officially under the way we did some perusing on their web site to find some 中网纪念品  – or, in English, “China Open souvenirs”  Our first fave is these miniature key chains:
Mad-colorful-balls-ChinaOpen09
But they don’t top these gems below. These squishy friends are sporting tennis onesies (a skirt for the female and shorts for the male) and remind me of drawings I did as a child before I knew people had bodies and connected their legs to their heads. Loves it.Squishy-onesies-ChinaOpen09

After the cut, see the Olympic Stadium all ready for the tourney. [Read more…]

christophe lemaire’s lacoste shop-in-shop

We’re hoping to stop by the memorial service for Jack Kramer (it’s today at the UCLA Tennis Center @ 11am, for those of you in SoCal).

Lacoste and creative director Christophe Lemaire launched a store-in-store at the company’s Paris flagship store earlier this year, a space that carries rare Lacoste products for both sexes as well as one-offs created for the runway that never made it to the floor.

The details: The shop walls are covered in cork and felt; a leather punching bag hangs off to one side; a vintage tennis racquet juts out in front as the store’s sign — all “a decidedly luxurious take on sport,” says Lemaire. (See another interior pic here.)

Visit: The Lacoste in Lemaire shop is located at 28 rue de Poitou, Paris.

(screengrabs via christophelemaire.com; via vogue.co.uk)

good idea, bad idea: novak djokovic

Nick’s away for well-deserved R&R over on the left coast this weekend, so it’ll be a fashion-heavy while I’m bloggin’ by my lonesome…

Good idea: Novak Djokovic opens up another NovakCafe, the Djokovic restaurant venture. The fourth branch is located near the MGM tennis court, the site of the Djokovic-owned Serbia Open. (Pics: interior and exterior — pretty cute, no?)

View: See pics from all four outposts of Novak Cafe at the restaurant’s official website.

Marko’s looking more delicious by the minute. So is the restaurant. If only we could get Nole to stick with adidas, and not switch over to K-Swiss like he’s been rumored to?

Bad idea: Where do we sign the petition TO NOT MAKE THIS HAPPEN? Nole just began to hit his mark with his Falcon line (above) — it was one of the U.S. Open’s best outfits, along with Rafa Nadal‘s checker cab polo. (Pics: Nole’s day and night kits) He should really hang around and give it time to grow. Perhaps K-Swiss has better shoes?

On the flip side, K-Swiss will get a benefit from having a top male player on their roster. (No offense, Tommy Haas.)

Bonus round: Good Idea, Bad Idea from Animaniacs

(via HC Foo and TW; novakcafe images via HCFoo; djokovic image courtesy of adidas)

powder park views

City digs: The women competing in tonight’s Billie Jean King Cup are staying warm and cozy during New York City’s March blizzard at the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South. The Essex House, which overlooks Central Park, is an iconic New York landmark, and has rooms from $299 and up per night.

essex-house-bjkcup09
At the press conference this morning at the Jumeirah, Ana Ivanovic was giddy to see snow, saying the warm weather gets a little old. “Everywhere we travel is always so hot, it’s fun to wake up to snow!” 

Coming from a pratice session, Ivanovic was dressed most casually of the four women, wearing a gray wide-shouldered tee and bright-pink adidas warm-ups. Serena, Venus and Jelena all wore more business-y attire, as did Billie Jean King, who will be honored tonight by President Bill Clinton along with a host of former great athletes, including my personal fav Nancy Kerrigan.

Comedian Dave Hill even got his shoe in the door, shooting a hilarious promotional video with the gals of the cup. 

[Read more…]

graf (and agassi) to play at wimbledon!

The AP is reporting that Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf will participate in an exo at Wimbledon, partly to help test out the playing conditions under the new Center Court roof.

They’ll be joined by Kim Clijsters and Tim Henman at the May 17 “Centre Court Celebration” event, which will include a men’s singles, women’s singles, and mixed doubles match.

Graf was quoted by the AP: “There is no tennis venue more special to me than Centre Court at Wimbledon,” the German said. “It just doesn’t get any better. I couldn’t be more honored to play there again with my husband Andre, and tennis greats Kim and Tim. It will mean so much to return to Wimbledon and … relive so many wonderful memories.”

As you may remember, the original roof was dismantled after the ’06 tournament and returned in 2008. Construction of the moving parts began in July. (Geek out: See how the retractable roof works.)

Buy: Tickets are $50, and will go on sale March 12 via Ticketmaster.

two hotels: one reaches up, one reaches out

A tale of two cities: On one end, Shanghai, who’s ready to step out of Beijing’s architectural shadow with some record-breaking structures of its own. The showcase: the completion, after 14 (!) years, of the Shanghai World Financial Center — standing at 1,600 feet as the tallest building in China and the third tallest in the world. The Park Hyatt Shanghai has taken up shop in the 79th through 93rd floors of the 101-story skyscraper, just in time to welcome fans eager for another Roger/Rafa bout at the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup.

And down South, on Brazil’s Emerald Coast, the Ponta Dos Ganchos Resort is debuting five luxury seafront bungalows via an auction to benefit Instituto Guga Kuerten. The four new Emerald Villa Bungalows (2,455 sq. ft.) and one Special Emerald Villa Bungalow (3,210 sq. ft.), opening in the first week of December, feature dry saunas and jacuzzis with sea views, personal spa areas with massage tatamis, wine cellars, and private decks and plunge pools. The Special Emerald Villa Bungalow also includes an in-villa fitness center.

Bid: The silent auction for the PDG villas ends October 31, 2008. For more information, click here. One interesting note: “Cancellations are not accepted and are subject to total loss of payment as proceeds will be donated directly to Instituto Guga Kuerten.”

Book: See room rates (plus, on the landing page, a view from the hotel out to Shanghai) at the Park Hyatt website.

(via UD; screengrabs from each property’s website)