men dress down for the atp calendar

TSF was lucky enough to drop by the launch party for the ATP World Tour 2009 Calendar at the W Times Square. The tour enlisted the help of a few good men — Dmitry Tursunov, Juan Monaco, Ivan Ljubicic, Paradorn Srichaphan, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Haas, Marcos Bagdhatis, Tomas Berdych, Mike and Bob Bryan, Fernando Gonzalez, and Tommy Robredo (who isn’t so green about disrobing for the camera) — to pose for the 13-month skin-baring pin-up. We were joined for champagne by Dima, Juan, and Juan’s doubles partner Maximo Gonzalez.

Too bad French photographer Corinne Dubreuil, who shot these guys in Paris last year, wasn’t around for the event; you bet we wanted to ask her about shooting these shower pics of Arnaud Clement and these of Kolya Davydenko.

ATP jokester Tursunov (above, right) felt confident in his decision to pose shirtless for the calendar, and is ready for any locker room pranks pulled by his fellow athletes. “Bring ‘em on,” he said. “We tennis players work hard for our bodies, and it’s definitely not in vain. So it’s nice to do something like this.” He added, “I’d rather people make fun of me for being fit than for being out of shape.”

And what did the scruffy Mr. Monaco, through a translator — sorry, my Spanish can’t cut it — think of his experience? “It was very important for me to develop my image outside the sport and have people outside the sport get to know me.” And showing skin didn’t faze him: “I just had fun with it.”

The ATP’s Chris O’Neill came up with the idea for the calendar while roaming the grounds of the Countrywide Classic. He watched Dima get mobbed by women (“who wanted to have his baby, who wanted to marry him” — all these crazy things) and realized that there was a side of the sport that wasn’t getting showcased. And we’re grateful for his idea.

Buy: Pick up the calendar for $13 at TW.

More pics: See some more pages from the calendar after the cut…

ATP lawsuit could remake non-team sports

Daniel Kaplan at SportsBusiness Journal is all over the lawsuit filed the organizers of the Hamburg tournament against the ATP. At the core of this debate is whether the ATP is seen as a professional league (which, under U.S. law, is allowed to collude and pool television rights, set schedules, and set terms for athlete participation) or if it’s just a loose group of businesses who all happen to run tennis tournaments. A loss for the ATP could spell trouble for the WTA and other individual sport orgs like the PGA and LPGA tours. Here’s what Kaplan wrote up two weeks ago (on July 7). Subsequent articles to follow.

In 14 days, the ATP World Tour will square off against one of its tournaments in a Delaware courtroom. At stake: Not just the future of men’s tennis, but perhaps the governance of all non-team sports.

Barring a settlement, the antitrust case could determine just how far a rules-making body can go in setting tournament schedules, compelling players to compete in certain events, establishing a ranking system and awarding sanctions. These functions are claimed not only by the ATP, which is being sued to undo a series of schedule changes, but also by other entities ranging from the PGA Tour to Olympic federations.

“An ATP loss would set a dangerous precedent for professional sports governing bodies … that make all sorts of decisions that primarily affect the players regarding format of play, where they are going to play their tournaments, the number of events in which they will participate [and] how the players are going to be ranked,” said Rick Karcher, director of the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law. He also has written about the case as a contributor to the Web site sportslawblog.com.

“If any third party can challenge these decisions on antitrust grounds,’ Karcher said, “it puts these organizations at risk.” (Read on…)

short balls: santoro wants to shine, the fall of cruella de villiers, and centre court’s ready to go!

Ask and hope you receive? Since the clock’s a-tickin’ for Fabrice Santoro, he has asked Wimbledon organizers to schedule him a match on Centre Court — an honor that’s never been bestowed on this veteran in the 13 times he’s played this grass Grand Slam (espn.com)

Cruella de Villiers: It’s awesome to see the ATP’s top three — Roger, Rafa, and Nole — take charge and hope for spots in the Players’ Council. If they succeed in getting their hands in these dealings, it looks like CEO Etienne de Villiers will get the boot. (NYT)

Centre Court is ready to go: The fixed roof is back, along with the two main trusses for the retractable roof (which’ll debut in 2009). And a continued thumbs up for their increase in equal prize money for the men and the women.

Maria’s meek side: The Telegraph recently published an interview with the world No. 2. A few bits:

– She turned down a cameo role on Desperate Housewives.

– On her celebrity: “I still find my celebrity weird – it’s always weird, you know, when I see my image on the cover of a magazine. That’s very, very strange. I remember for a while I had been getting a lot of praise from people, but I never felt as though I deserved it until I had won grand slams and held the world No 1 ranking. And then I thought, ‘OK, all that talk, I understand it now’. But before then it was just random.” I hope she’s ready to possibly accept a Teen Choice Award for Female Athlete of the Year in early August.

– On the rigorous WTA travel schedule: “The worst thing about my life is not being able to see my friends and family for a long period. Living from hotel to hotel, it’s sometimes a nightmare. There have been numerous times when I’ve woken up in a hotel room and I’ve forgotten which city I’m in. So I’ll be phoning people at 2am to ask which city I’m in.”

Nole’s blogs: The Times‘s interview with Nole touches on his blog. “Well I like to have fun with it,” he says. “Most of my fans are younger people and I don’t think they want to read stuff like ‘I played a good match today. My forehand was going well. My backhand was not so good’. These things are not interesting. What is interesting is what the players are doing in the locker rooms. Are they good guys? Bad guys? How are they off court? Of course, I never go too far with these things but always to the limit, just to make them laugh. I get a lot of positive feedback.” Awesome.

Why America is fat: Read about EaterLA’s post on the birth of the Starbucks Frappucino.

Beautiful acne: The oft-bowtied Alber Elbaz has jumped into bed with Acne, the Swedish denim brand who is also behind the reissue of Bjorn Borg‘s iconic Tretorn shoes. This collaboration will drop at Barney’s and Bergdorf in November with jeans, dresses, tuxedo jackets, belted trenches, and a few accessories.

davydenko keeps his pants on

The ATP tapped our favorite albino Nikolay Davydenko to blog from this week’s tour stop in Portschach. Things we learned: his mom is an Energizer bunny, his dad is more chill, and he doesn’t like getting naked in the crazy, coed, clothing-eschewing spas of Austria. (The Russian baths, apparently, welcome the demure.)

The snapshot above is Kolya trying on his dad’s red spectacles. Long live geek chic!

(photo via ATP)

short balls: seles is done, srichaphan is back, bricker is hopeful, the shirt is not for sale

Monica Seles - Dancing with the Stars elimination

Nick called it: Monica Seles and magician Penn Jillette were the first two to be eliminated on Dancing with the Stars this season.

Merger mania: The Sun-Sentinel‘s Charles Bricker keeps his fingers crossed for a merger between the ATP and the SEWTA.

Srichaphan’s last attempt? The powers that be have called on Paradorn Srichaphan to represent his country in the upcoming Davis Cup tie, and he’s said yes. The former world No. 9 is finally ready to play after a 14-month wrist injury layoff (and honeymoon). Srichaphan will make one more attempt at staying healthy. If he’s injured again, he’ll likely retire. (Xinhua)

The shirt is not for sale: Those of you jonesing for that grey adidas (“A. Dassler, State”) tee that the pros have been training in won’t be able to find it in stores (adidas made a very limited run for their VIPs).

Cry some more: Watch this animated and moving video about founder Adi Dassler.

And when you’re done… To lift your spirits, check out the latest adidas Originals pieces. Some of those windbreaker/track jackets are effin gorgeous!

props to the PBZ zagreb indoors website

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In case you missed it, the tourney website for the PBZ Zagreb Indoors is simple, pretty, easy to use, and innovative. It might not have all the bells and whistles of a major tourney website (e.g., video streaming, live scoreboards, etc.), but it has some gems — like suggesting visitors to look for the tournament venues on Google Earth. And it’s not disastrous like Doha‘s. At this point, anything is better than Doha‘s.

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But most fun is the use of the ATP’s “Feel It” campaign into the website. The animal paired with Mario Ancic — some great whites — feature prominently in the landing page.

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More: See the tigers after the cut…

trophy watch: i call him “melo yellow”; a japanese phenom; mama murray must be happy, etc.

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This one’s for you, Mikey: Our Sa Watch 2008 begins with the duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa — locals — winning the Brazil Open doubles trophy over Albert Montanez and Santiago Ventura. Leave it to Andre to wear yellow socks on the court. Cute.

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Meanwhile, it was a battle of the lankies as British fourth seed Andy Murray took out Croatian Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, at the ATP Open 13 in Marseille, France.

In Delray Beach, Kei Nishikori surprised everyone (including finalist James Blake) with this impressive 6-3, 1-6 and 4-6 upset. Our buddy Ichizo took this video of Kei while playing against Zack Fleishman in Japan last October.

By the way, look out for Ichizo to launch his japanese language tennis blog sometime soon. This is one of the few times I’m sad that I don’t know Japanese. That, and everytime I can’t read anything in Men’s Non-No aka the best magazine in the world.

And we are sure that Mama Murray is proud of her other son, Jamie, who teamed with Max Mirnyi to upset the top seeded Bryan Brothers. (Watch: See Jamie use finger code to communicate with Max.)

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A beaut! The Proximus Diamond Games tops itself with a racquet encrusted with 2008 diamonds (get it?) totalling more than $1.5 million. 1,611 of those diamonds are on the ball itself. Unfortunately for Justine Henin, who beat Italy’s Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-3 in the final match, she has to win the tournament three times in five years before she takes home that puppy. It’s not an impossible feat, though; Amelie Mauresmo did the same last year and took home the first diamond trophy.

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Singles: Sorry, guys. I was too crushed by the early loss of Guga Kuerten in singles (and doubles, actually) at the Brasil Open to care about who won. Props to Nicolas Almagro for besting mainstay Carlos Moya 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5.

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Lastly, Flavia Pennetta wore her multi-collared Sergio Tacchini all the way to a title at the Vina del Mar tourney in Vina del Mar, Chile. Her opponent: Klara Zakopalova.

(Mirnyi/Murray video via ATP; photos by Getty Images)

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'merry christmas!' from the atp, part deux

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The ATP got a bunch of the guys to sing ‘Jingle Bells’ on camera. They’re such good sports… Many of them didn’t even know the lyrics to the American Christmas song, but they played along anyway.

Jarkko Nieminen has trouble with the word “dashing”, Marcos Baghdatis discovers a discrepancy in the song’s rhyming scheme; and Mardy Fish feels a little lost singing a version of it without the word “Batmobile”.

But they all work through it. Ivo Karlovic carries a lot of the song, as do the Bryans and Tommy Robredo (can he visit me on Christmas morning?). Andy Murray and his shag make a brief appearance, too.

And of course what ATP bit would be complete without prom queen Roger Federer, who swoops in all suave at the end, greeting the viewers “a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”

Hmmmmm, where was Nole during all this? He would’ve given us a shirtless carol, no doubt.

Watch it: ‘Jingle Bells’, by the ATP Tour.

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andy feels roddicked around by the atp

(pardon the pun — it’s been a long day…)

Lest you think the WTA is the only tour being criticized by its own members for how they treat injuries, here’s crush ng bayan Andy Roddick‘s blog post on being fined for pulling out of last month’s Paris Masters Series tournament. His reason for withdrawing: prepping for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai and Davis Cup, plus nursing a tweaked ankle (sustained a week prior in Lyon).

“anyways, I got fined 20 grand for not going to Paris. In order to avoid the fine I would have had to stay in France for 4 or 5 days to fulfill media obligations for the tourney. To stay there for an extra 4 days when I only had a ten day window to train/recover did not seem like the right thing to do before Shanghai.. I thought it was a smarter play to be at home with my doctors and trainers preparing to make sure I was healthy for masters which by the way is an ATP run event….. so I get fined 20 large which is a flawed system but I have gotten used to it….. fine…put it on my tab…..I read 3 days later that Nikolay Davydenko has been fined 2 grand for not trying in a match… I AM NOT here to say he did or did not try in that match…. I didn’t see it .. just heard about it… the thing that got me was the 2 grand fine…. in essence they are setting the precedent that preparing and getting healthy for their year end event is worth a 20 grand fine, but tanking (again I have no opinion on guilt or innocence here) only warrants 2 grand….taking care of injuries and health to be prepared for their event= 20 grand……….. not trying= 2 grand…anyone else see a problem with this?? [bold emphasis added]

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