li ning posterboy ljubicic is first to scalp a seed



Ivan Ljubicic was the first to scalp a seed at this year’s Mutua Madrilena Madrid Masters. The Croatian wild card broke Jo-Wilfried Tsonga three times, with two of those coming in the second set when Ljubicic rallied from 5-2 down. The final score: 6-4, 7-5.

Props to his clothing sponsor, Li Ning, for continually surprising us with novel designs for his on-court kit. This go-’round combines a bright yellow polo with a silver print overlay.

More where that came from: Above are some athletic and casual looks from the current Li Ning line. They were showcased as part of the ATP launch of its Chinese-language site.

atp’s players page



atp-players-page09a

Kudos to whomever dreamed up this graphic for the landing page of the players section on the ATP website.

From left to right, that’s Davydenko, Roddick, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal. Murray, Blake, and del Potro.

See it: Click on that link above to see it enlarged. Pretty cool stuff.

(image grab from the ATP site)

baby, it’s cold outside



From Los Angeles, with love: We can’t share our (relatively) mild weather with the rest of the country, so we’ll do our best to distract you from that nasty nor’easter, nor’easterners! Enjoy these outtakes from Dmitry Tursunov‘s December pin-up shoot with photographer Corinne Dubreuil for the 2009 ATP Calendar.

Clearly, all of Dmitry’s hard work pays off.

More: See all after the cut…

hewitt’s dirty laundry



Lleyton Hewitt‘s former management, Octagon, has taken him to court for breach of contracts, and he’s fighting back with a countersuit, citing incompetence and deception on the part of the agency.

And while we feel bad that Lleyton can’t catch a break (he received a wildcard to play at Delray Beach this week. and lost. on his birthday.), it’s always interesting to get a look at what happens to the $60 I fork over for nosebleed seats.

In 2005 and 2006, Hewitt earned $6.75 million net in endorsements and appearance guarantees — including $3.5 mil from Nike and $2.3 mil from Yonex. He also received $340,000 in appearance fees for Sydney, Adelaide, and Queen’s Club.

Octagon wants a piece of this pie in the sky, but whether the agency was still representing Hewitt for those two years is in question.

Meanwhile, Hewitt’s smarting because of a 2002 legal scuffle with the ATP that could’ve been smoothed over by Octagon. After declining a on-camera interview as part of promoting the 2002 U.S. Open, Lleyton got slapped with a $100k+ fine. The ATP considered the interview compulsory; Hewitt thought he’d already fulfilled all his obligations. He spent another $100,000 only to have the ATP decision upheld, albeit with a much smaller ($20,000) fine.

Let’s hope he doesn’t bleed too much more money settling all these matters — he doesn’t have a lot of tennis-playing years left!

it’s raining mail



orchard-street-reebok09

Our normally testy UPS delivery man must have been having a good day because we received a package on the first attempt! We are now the proud owners of a pair of Re-Up Lux sneakers, a collaboration between Orchard Street and Reebok.

This is one of two recently released “teaser” pairs for an expanded collab line, images of which can be seen here.

Buy: Re-Up Lux, $90, orchardstreet.com

And we also received packages from both the SEWTA and ATP World Tour that contained each group’s media guide, which includes pronunciation tips for players’ surnames. Hopefully, this’ll make us less of a tool at Indian Wells, where we spent most of the 2008 repeatedly sounding like a total gringo (“Gilles Simon“, “Camille Pin“, and “Alize Cornet” come to mind).

Dork out: The SEWTA has its own book, while the ATP provides an edition that combines the men’s and the ladies’ info. Get a copy of the latter here.

(shoe image via nytimes.com; media guide image via atp)