going green: venus williams (‘s diet)



By Benjamin Snyder

Venus Williams has had to change her diet since being diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome

No more Oreos or Jamba Juice? Venus is aspiring to have a better diet in 2012. (AFP/Getty)

A tall order for the taller sister. Can the meat-and-potatoes Wimbledon-queen summon her past success as a leaner and greener player?

Older sister Venus, who’s claimed five titles at the All England Club, is having a health scare of her own after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which can lead to damage of the body’s vital organs. The illness forced her drop out of the US Open this year and has pushed meat out of her diet.

Despite the seriousness of the condition, Venus has been sporting a positive attitude and even healthier eating habits. She told reporters, “I changed my diet completely, so lots of vegetables. I [altered] my mind frame completely because I was the person who always ate their steak first and their salad second.”

Times are changing for the superstar, who said last year that she “eats to live and not lives to eat.” She continued talking foodie favorites, saying that she considered “beans and rice and blackened chicken” a top meal choice.

Venus discussed her new diet’s impact on the future. “My goal next year is to play a full schedule. It will take some work to get there, but I’m no stranger to hard work.”

TSF Vault: Venus Williams

This recalls the gourmet changes for 2011 ATP success stories Novak Djokovic, who’s claimed three major titles this year, and Andy Murray, who went on a 17-match winning spree after the US Open.

Djokovic’s decision to cut the carbohydrates to curb his Ciliac disease helped him achieve his best season ever, including the No. 1 ranking. Meanwhile, Murray discussed his own gourmet foray into becoming more fit. Before losing to Tomas Berdych in the Paris Masters, he said, “I think there’s a bit of difference in my approach to training and the diet; I feel pretty fresh.”

Not all’s well for the scrawny-looking Scot, who misses being able to pick up a menu and order what he wants. You can almost imagine his mouth watering when he said: “It can be quite frustrating when everyone else is dunking their bread in olive oil or smearing it in butter.”

Murray aside, Venus’ newfound form and fitness will no doubt have fans worldwide salivating for a dominating force in an otherwise floundering WTA. Petra Kvitova, 21, the current world No. 2 and winner of Wimbledon and the Season Ending Championships, might be the answer. She’s still, however, young and half-baked in terms of talent and poise.

It’s time for Venus to turn up the burners and bring back the motivation for which she’s known. Currently ranked No. 103, having only played a handful of tournaments this year, Venus quickly doused rumors of retirement.

“I love the game. The racket feels right in my hand and I’m planning on going right back to where I was at the top of the rankings in the singles and doubles.”

With Venus back in-shape and on form, the alarm bells should be sounding for the rest of the women’s tour. It’ll be tough to get out of the fire and back into the figurative frying pan that is professional tennis at her ripe age of 31. But if anyone can come back from adversity and succeed, it’s a Williams.

High stakes (steaks?), indeed.

short balls: tennis in cincy is a BFD, is the open draw fixed? and more


Cin-sational: If you didn’t think that the Western & Southern Open wasn’t a big deal, take a peek at Cincinnati.com. The online hub for everything Cincy can’t get enough of the ATP‘s Masters 1000 event that is now a double dip (and mini US Open) with the women joining the men for the first time this year. The .com team has littered (in a good way) their homepage with blown-out coverage for the entire week of the tourney, which goes through this weekend. Think the New York Times should take note? We’re not so sure that they can fit some 19 links on their top bar alone, as the Cincinnati site did on Thursday. #crowded

It doesn’t stop there: If a regular old news site isn’t enough for you, CincyTennis.com offers some of the best coverage of a tournament’s site outside of the four majors. We’ve been keeping an eye particularly on the writings of TSF contributor Benjamin Snyder, who is writing for CincyTennis. | Draws: Men | Women

Fixed? ESPN‘s Outside the Lines had quite the compelling report (with plenty of fancy numbers) saying that the top two players in the US Open get a fixed draw to deal with year in and year out. Watch the report for how they average out the players’ rankings that the no. 1 and no. 2 seeds must play against. You think it’s rigged too? We can’t quite buy it. | Reaction: Busted Racquet

What’s up with the Williamses? Both Venus and Serena are expected to be at America’s wedding of the year. That’s right, Kim Kardashian is finally tying the knot! Was Serena’s injury well timed? We all know Serena doesn’t like to miss a big party, and if she did well in Cincy that meant no E! red carpet for Kim’s nuptials. Just… thinking out loud. Meanwhile, Venus sat down with Tennis.com and revealed that she is, indeed, a grunter. And what else? She sees more of a future for herself in the design world than running the WTA from Stacey Allaster‘s spot. And while Venus said she wasn’t “a committer” in her interview, she and Serena committed to a December exhibition — in Italy. They will be joined by Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta.

Roddickulous: It was a manic Monday for Andy Roddick in Cincinnati, who was attempting a mini comeback of sorts prior to the US Open. A-Rod blew a set and a break lead, then was broken in the third set when a point was awarded to his opponent as Roddick was serving at break point down and smashed a ball into the crowd. Cue the arguing from Andy. | Change of plans: Roddick takes Winston-Salem wildcard

Love kills? Things didn’t go so well for love birds Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy this last week. Rory finished 64th at the PGA Championship while Wozy was stunned by American upstart Christina McHale in the second round in Cincinnati. At least they could cuddle, right? Rory visited Caroline in Cincy for the tourney. | Open Court blog: Caro’s dad/coach just dad now

short(er) balls: Commentators (and brothers) John and Pat McEnroe talk all about the US Open in ESPN call. | Trendy, chic fashion for black men? A new duo is emerging on the cutting edge. | Who is running things at J.Crew? That’d be Jenna Lyons. | Check out New York magazine’s fall fashion coverage. | A teaching professional has been arrested in the Boston area for video taping a male member in the locker room. | New York fashion makes its way to Cincinnati for runway show during W&S Open. | Are you a recreational player trying to look cool? That’s uncool, the Wall Street Journal says. | Johnny Mac knows that your body starts to break down as you get older. | US Open wildcard playoff (for a spot in the main draw) will go through Sunday. Among those playing: Beatrice Capra. | Blake Strode looks to win the National Playoffs once again, gaining entrance to the USO qualifying draw. | Headed to the Open but not sure where to eat in Queens? The NYT has got you covered. | Rafael Nadal will appear at Macy’s in New York on Thursday for an unveiling of Armani jeans.

(Caro and Rory photo by the AP)

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: the sunday pull-out edition



Third is charming, at least for Rog: While he may be the world’s no. 3 tennis player now, Roger Federer is still living the high life. Credit Suisse, one of his sponsors, has a whole page dedicated to the Rog. A Mario Testino photo shoot? Doesn’t mind if he does. But more importantly: is that David Ferrer holding the reflector? Geez, Rog really does live it good.

Oh, how the weekend gets away from us: We certainly wish that we could spend our time wasting away in a coffee shop all weekend, but that never actually seems to be the case. A lovely lament from a real-life barista on Thought Catalog on why hipster barista give you an eye roll when you chirp out your order.

Simon, singing: If you are still in love with the trashy brilliance that is Bravo‘s “Real Housewife” series, then you’re probably soaking up the first few glorious (hideous?!) episodes of the New York installment over the last few weeks. But here’s something for everyone … er, NO ONE. Simon, hubby to one Alex McCord, has a single. Yep, it’s called “I Am Real” and as far as we can tell, none of it is real. Or really him. Or really good, whatsoever.

Click the image below to listen. More: Tennis-inspired music on TSF

Donald’s middle finger gets tweet-happy: Good Friday has never been better for Donald Young. The American journeyman, once a hot commodity for the “future of American tennis” has always had a rocky relationship with the USTA because of reportedly over-zealous parents and a poor work ethic. Now we’re guessing his aforementioned relationship is plainly non-existant after this tweet on Friday, which was followed by an apology and then — deletion of his account. “Fuck USTA!! Their full of shit! They have screwed me for the last time! #enoughsaid” – Donald Young at 5:01:14 pm ET Apr 22nd

Patrick McEnroe‘s supposed response? Not. Happy.

Tina Fey? Is, well, brilliant.

Draw(n) conclusions: A few musings from the draw of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Alabama. (1) Stephanie Foretz Gacon, once ranked as high as no. 63 in the world (now no. 145) reaches the final. (2) Michelle Larcher de Brito, once of grunting infamy, wins five games in a first-round loss. She’s still Portugal’s no. 1 gal at no. 174. No reports on how loud she is now that she’s outta the top 100. (3) Alexandra Stevenson, 12 years after her run to the Wimby SFs, wins two matches before bowing out in straights to eventual winner, Melinda Czink. Stevenson is now ranked no. 250 and has won one WTA-sanctioned match this year (compared to zero last year). (4) Americans were 8-9 overall, mostly thanks to Stevenson and a run to the semis by Allison Riske.

Big props for DFW: The Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008, is getting rave reviews for his piece of work released posthumously, an unfinished manuscript called The Pale King.

Read: DFW’s NYT piece on Federer — a ‘religious experience’

Melzer’s tour BBF? That’d be Philly Petzscher: Following his jaw-dropping win over Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, the ATP had Jurgen Melzer take FB Qs from fans. Our fave exchange is here: Question: Since you stopped wearing your White Adidas hat, you’ve gone on some great runs. Any coincidence? -Nick Leone, United States Melzer: Well… maybe! I thought I was practising really well without the hat so I was a little superstitious in Monte-Carlo, so I stopped wearing it and it went well. Until I start to have a losing streak, I will take the hat away.

The many freaked-out faces of Klaus Goerges: We’re loving this video that Stephanie Myles of the Montreal Gazette put together of Julia Goerges father, using screen grabs from the TennisTV.com livestream. Click Klaus’ frowning face below to watch the whole hilarious thing.

Swinging out: On OutSports.com Cyd Ziegler writes about Bowdoin College’s openly gay tennis coach Colin Joyner and his push for the acceptance of LGBTQ athletes at the collegiate level. Prompting this was the story of openly gay Bowdoin lacrosse player Ben Chadwick. A tough tale: “When Joyner heard about Chadwick, he harkened back to his time as the only openly gay male athlete on campus. It was a lonely time for Joyner in many respects, and he didn’t want Chadwick to be the only one anymore.” Therefore, Joyner started Anything But Straight in Athletics (ABSA) “to help closeted athletes come out by dismantling homophobia in Bowdoin athletics.”

Contributing from Benjamin Snyder

(Federer screengrab via Credit Suisse website; Simon screengrab via NYMag.com; Goerges screengrab via the Open Court blog on MontrealGazette.com)

short balls: is that a jimmy in your phone or are you just… ?



By Benjamin Snyder

Basically Jimmy: Prepare for Jimmy 2.0, or rather “Jimmy Connors 109,” as the retired tennis champ’s newly released app is called, reports Tennis.com. USA Today initially broke the story, writing, “Part tutorial and part anecdotes, the video app showcases Connors to a whole new generation, while at the same time appealing to fans who watched him become one of the best and most popular players in the 1970s and ’80s.” In Connors’ own words, “I go back to basics, which is how I learned to play. I really believe simpler is better, and as I’m describing a shot or a grip, I’m showing you exactly how I did it.”

Roger Federer 007: Need a paparazzi decoy? Don’t ask Mirka, that just means she’ll wear sweat pants to dinner. Instead, Fed is your man, as he was the other night when out with BFF (Best Fashion Friend) Anna Wintour (oh yeah, and Mirka came too, yaaaaawn). According to the New York Post article, Federer helped Wintour escape from the paparazzi after the meal concluded. The article cites a spy (Mirka?!): “He and the group exited the side door carrying presents. The photographers ran to the side, but the queen of Vogue was nowhere to be found. One yelled, ‘Where’s Anna?’ Federer took his time loading the car, smiled and went on his way. Anna walked out the front door unnoticed.” As the article states, “chivalry still rules for Federer,” and it seems to be nowhere near dead. At the same time, how did Mirka feel about Federer’s kind acts for Wintour on her b-day? Can’t wait for that story line to develop!

Lisa’s lines: The wheels are turning for Lisa Raymond‘s WTA blog, “Lisa’s Spin.” In a recent post, the dubs specialist talks about country music (!??!???!), cupcakes, her doubles “break-up” and more. Let us repeat again: she talks about her doubles drama. Read it. Plus, what is a day without some life coaching from one, LaRa? Raymond says, “And like any relationship, the forming of a doubles partnership is a bit like dating – you seem interested in someone, you confirm they are single and/or on the market, ask them out, and hope you live happily ever after or something like that! ;-)” Did she really just ;-)??? We can’t with the emoticons.

Loud-mouth Johnny: As loud as John McEnroe is on court, he’s able to spit out the decibels in public places, too. Apparently, he’s just as “obnoxious” off the court, a blurb in the New York Post recounted. It says he “annoyed fellow diners at Recipe, on the Upper West Side recently by loudly recounting tales of his tennis glory days. The court legend entertained his wife and two friends with stories of “beating Bjorn Borg and other victories.”

Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports is having none of it: “It’d be bigger news if McEnroe went to a restaurant and didn’t talk loudly about Bjorn Borg. What’s most surprising is that the old tennis champ wasn’t boasting about that time he partied with The Rolling Stones.”

The next loud-mouth superstar? Speaking (yelling?) of Johnny Mac, his protege, Ingrid Neel continues to make waves in the tennis world — the boys’ tennis world. The 12-year-old from Minnesota is playing tennis with the boys – and only the boys. Her hometown coach Mike Cartwright to the Minnesota Star Tribune has this to say about the pint-sized puncher playing with the fellas: “It will be interesting. It’s going to be hard for some guys, wondering how the heck they are losing to a seventh-grade girl. But she’s just really talented.”

Time to go? David Ferrer‘s recent ad campaign for Bovet watches in Spanish Revolution magazine. He’s rocking the sepia tones and the specs. Looking good (???), David! And… sort of like an Avatar.

(Connors image by ICN via USA Today; Ferrer image via Spanish Revolution)