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)

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...]

spotted in the city: brooklyn, "working"

Above: an advertisement in Soho. This isn’t last year’s cover. This isn’t this year’s cover. We may have no interest in the swimsuit edition, but we understand that much. (TSF photo)

OK, we’ll admit it: Brooklyn Decker is gorgeous. But what is the deal with straight guys and blondes with big breasts? We don’t try to understand, but we do understand that this is Brooklyn’s career. And she’s pretty good at her job. That would mean she’s a model, not an actress. If you would like to fight such a claim, just read the reviews (of her debut in Just Go With It).

Brooklyn graced the cover of Sports Illustrated for last year’s swimsuit edition. This year, Irina Shayk (Cristiano Ronaldo‘s GF) got the nod.

We’re wondering: What’s the deal with Brooklyn’s Conan outfit?! | Brooklyn on TSF

short balls: from melbourne and beyond

Melbourne movie makers: While the Australian Open has always been known as the “fun” Major, it can also be tapped for the way it approaches things differently than the other three in the Western Hemisphere. This year, one aspect setting the AO apart is its tennis film festival, called Changing Ends Take Two. The festival describes itself as “an independent short film event for budding filmmakers to submit a film with the theme ‘Take Two’ as part of the Tennis Film Festival to be shown during Australian Open 2011.”

There are certainly plenty of entries to sift through. If you want to take a glance, start off in the 2010 tab to take a look at what was popular in 2010, including the most-viewed vid, “When You Have Tennis:”

And we kind of agree: who needs girls? | TSF Vault: More of the off-court tennis world in video

Admirable action: Remember Hudson Taylor? We do. He’s the former Division I all-star wrestler that is straight and is taking it upon himself to be one of the loudest non-gay voices for gay rights. Someone fighting for the well being of others?! Go figure. Recently Taylor launched AthleteAlly.com, in which visitors are asked to sign a pledge to support an accepting community in their own athletic worlds. So far, Hudson has 1,000+ signatures. All hail (and visit) a good cause.

Me, too: While hubby Andy Roddick gets plenty of ink about his form at the Aussie, Brooklyn Decker is sure to get some press on her own. The model/ actress (yes, actress) reportedly told Self that Papa Decker had to have an intervention with the youngster when she began her career so as not to “wreck her body.” Guess the talk worked.

Picture this: While everyone is clad in bursts of pastels and bright colors, we’re digging Sophie Ferguson in red, white and blue Fila. | More Fila on TSF

(“changing ends” screen shot via ao.com; ferguson via getty)

short balls: the epic edition

Brooklyn gets wind-swept on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure. See more of Brooklyn, and what hubby Andy thinks of LiLo’s jailing in this week’s short balls. (screen grab via BravoTV.com)

Who said the week after Wimbledon was a dead one on the tennis news front? There is plenty of stuff going on, from the on-court happenings at Newport and beyond to plenty (and we mean plenty) of off court news. Here’s TSF‘s edition of short balls for the week.

If you are a Pam Shriver fan and still a little miffed by all the negative press the ESPN analyst got for her run-in with James Blake in the first round of Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago, we thought we would cheer you up by digging out this video clip of one of Pam’s big-time wins on the WTA singles circuit. The victim? Steffi Graf at the 1988 Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden. It was one of only three wins Shriver notched against Graf in 12 career meetings, and it’s a pretty good look at old-school, serve-and-volley tennis from PS herself.

Perhaps you miss Wimbledon mightily and have watched the many replays available on the official web site and on YouTube. Hopefully you’ve also had the chance to check out the “Off Court” section of the Wimby web site, which was sponsored by the bottled water company Evian. A trendy British gal roams the grounds in search of the good, bad and quirky in respects to fan fashion at this year’s tournament. I enjoyed every clip.

Andy Roddick’s wife, Brooklyn Decker (top) was on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure this last week and dang, girl looked good! We were digging the wind-blown hair. See a clip of the video by clicking the image above or here. Just to be clear, Brooklyn is the second girl, not the first who is, well, a little frightening. Recently, celeb Lindsay Lohan was on Double Exposure as well, though her shoot didn’t go as well as Brooklyn’s did. If you didn’t think Brooklyn’s hubby, Andy Roddick, had any opinion on Lohan’s recent court saga (she’s been sentenced for 90 days in jail for violating probation), think again:

Not to be outdone, Andy Murray also made the TV cut this week, appearing on the James Corden show in Britain. Murray chatted tennis and soccer, if a “Hawkeye” system should be used in soccer, and hit some tennis balls at fancy, over-sized cones. Not to be outdone by Brooklyn (or Lindsay!), Andy also slow danced with an adoring fan. Awkward picture after the cut.

[Read more...]

oh, mirka!

Tennis wives …and girlfriend: As we move into the second week, the roster of glam wives and gfs are still intact, with Mirka Vavrinec, Kim Sears, Bec Hewitt, and Brooklyn Decker rooting for their respective men.

Hewitt still in it: We were convinced that the grueling match between Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils resulted in an upset (yes, we are that cynical), but the 15th-seed (and former champ) won in three sets and will face Nole Djokovic in the fourth round.

Mirka recycles: On Mirka’s an old-school shoulder bag from Louis Vuitton‘s Antigua collection. Husband Federer barely broke a sweat against Nono Clement. He next plays 2010 French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer.

Brooklyn relaxes: Mrs. Roddick already has her major title of 2010 in the bag, so now it’s Andy’s turn to produce. He’s up against the sleeper Taiwanese player Yen-Hsun Lu in the round of 16.

Kim steps up: With all eyes on her boyfriend (even the Queen!), Sears has done a good job of mixing up her outfits worn to watch Murray play: off-the-shoulder black for the warm-up against Jan Hajek; a floral print dress for the second round against Nieminen; a big colorful necklace for the third-rounder with Gilles Simon.

Draw: See the 2010 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Draw here.

(images via Getty Images)

short balls: let’s get physical

Somehow the tennis news is still pumping 10 days following the completion of the Australian Open. There was plenty of action this past weekend with the first round of Fed Cup being contested around the world. The biggest story to come out of the weekend on the American front was the success of Melanie Oudin, who returned to her Fed Cup-roots to find a couple of big-time wins when she needed them the most. Oudin followed up that success in Paris this week, winning in convincing fashion over a spiraling Sorana Cirstea.

1, 2, 3: It’s no Britney holiday re-make, but ESPN360.com, which housed several courts of action during the Aussie, will change to ESPN3.com this coming spring. In the release, the company said that tennis coverage will include, “Hundreds of hours of multi-court coverage of all four “grand slam” events as well as select other events.” Kudos, ESPN. Now if only they could broaden their contract with internet providers, we can all be happy.

Swimsuits in February? The tennis-struggling Ana Ivanovic continues the way of the Other Anna, posing for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. We do love the bed of light-pink tennis balls (Wilson’s Hope balls) Ana is lying on in her main shot, but can’t help but wonder if the Serb really understands what she’s making of her career. Is it inevitable she’ll go the retirement route in the next 24 months? It’s certainly possible. But if she does, we really hope she doesn’t stick with the stylist who suggested the tennis-net-as-accessory move. Just not okay, Ana.

Another tennis beauty actually graces the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue. Andy Roddick‘s wife, Brooklyn Decker was chosen as the cover model for the mag.  Roddick Tweeted about the accomplishment, oozing excitement for his partner. We’ve got to wonder: is it weird for Andy? At least Brooklyn didn’t go the way of the NBA’s George Hill. Oops. Hey George, people save text messages and pictures! It’s a new thing in the 21st century. Get used to it.

Power brokering: While Ivanovic might be making a name for herself more with her off-court moves than her on-court ones, she did sign a lifelong deal with adidas this week, which included ambassadorship after retirement. Roger Federer, whose career and corporate appeal have stayed alive because of superior tennis, was named by Forbes Magazine as the third most powerful name in sports. #4? Mirka. Well, on our list, at least…

Ken is her trophy: This week it was unveiled that Kim Clijsters would have a Barbie doll created after her, honoring her 2009 U.S. Open win. If nothing else, we’re happy to see the doll is donning Kim’s USO outfit, that comfortable Fila look that made her look so business-like but sporty. Good thing it’s not Kim Wedding Barbie, right?

The Midwest’s Slam: I’ve been reading Jon Wertheim‘s Venus Envy this week, throwing myself into the world of the WTA circa 2000 when Vanessa Webb was a familiar name and Oklahoma City still hosted a mid-winter event. The Midwest’s slam seems to have shifted to Cincinnati, where the summer events on the WTA and ATP tours will merge in 2011 in grand fashion, stadium upgrades and all.

Big booties finish second: Find out who Serena Williams thinks would beat her out in a Booty Battle. We weren’t too surprised, either.

tennis for the style set: a breakdown

Style.com takes a look at summer sports through their glasses, breaking down how the fashionistas view the worlds of surfing, tennis, golf, riding, and diving.

For tennis, special shout-outs go to Anna Wintour, L’Wren Scott, Alexandre Herchcovitch, curator Kohle Yohannan, Tina Chai, Hilary Rhoda, Sophia Hesketh, and Poppy Delevingne. Thakoon Panichgul apparently plays on public courts (LES ones are his fave), and Tory Burch does doubles all summer in Southampton.

Of course they toast Roger as the sport’s official mascot (is this the beginning of Rafa backlash?); Brooklyn Decker gets groupie-of-the-moment (we would’ve given it to Bec Hewitt), and give love to NYC’s Mason’s Tennis Mart (on 56 E. 53rd St.).

Not least is anticipation of how the tail end of the 2009 U.S. Open will conflict with the opening of the Spring 2010 runway shows.

More: See the slideshow here.