tsf interview: monica seles talks twitter, figure skating and her love of fashion

I cannot tell you how many thousands of hours I have spent hitting a tennis ball against a wall. Recently, I moved to Harlem in Manhattan and have discovered that there are hand ball walls just two blocks away from my new place. My afternoons? Now often spent hitting the ball against the wall, with curious walkers by baffled that I’m not playing hand or racquet ball.

Much of this fascination is due to the fact that when I was just 12 I read Monica SelesFrom Fear to Victory, the book that chronicled her life into tennis — including her love of hitting the tennis ball against a wall in a parking lot below her family’s apartment.

This last Monday I got the chance to talk to Monday for the third time in my short, young career as a journalist. I was visiting HSBC‘s “Wimbledon at Rockefeller Plaza,” a week-long event that the Wimbledon-partnered bank has put on for several year that allows Manhattan to boast a grass court in the city — even just for one week.

It was here that I (full disclosure: I was on a media pass both for TennisWire.org and TSF) got to talk to both Monica Seles and Jim Courier. For more on the HSBC event and it’s details, see the Courier post here (or scroll up).

TSF: Monica, what about social media? Why aren’t you tweeting up a storm?
Monica Seles: 
I don’t think anybody would care what Monica Seles is eating or what she’s doing.

TSF: [Laughing.] Monica, are you kidding?! I think you’d be surprised.
MS:
I’m an old dinosaur. [Twitter] is more all of these reality show stars that everyone watches. This is how this generation that has shifted. We didn’t have reality TV when I was growing up and now they’re the biggest stars. I really enjoy [my time away from the computer] because I’m on it a lot for work, but you kind of have to. My 10-year-old godson is tutoring me on the computer of how to navigate everything.

TSF: But you did Dancing With the Stars, so you’re sort of a reality star. What about trying Skating With the Stars?
MS:
 I couldn’t even [dance on] dry land! [Laughing.]

TSF: But you skated as a kid, right?
MS:
Yeah, I skated for about a year and a half. That’s what I wanted to be. I loved it. I loved the costumes and all the glamor stuff. But I haven’t been on ice skates since I was 8 years old. I think being on Dancing With the Stars was enough. [The show] was more about art and how you look and how you present yourself. In tennis I didn’t have to worry about where the camera was or what angle to smile at. I loved [Dancing] because it was so out of my comfort zone.

TSF: What about favorite figure skaters. Do you have any?
MS:
I always liked Kristi Yamaguchi in skating and she was on Dancing with me. And I always liked Nancy Kerrigan, too.

TSF: So you didn’t get to design figure skating costumes, but you still love fashion. Do you ever see yourself diving into it like Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova have?
MS:
[Fashion] is something I enjoy looking at, but I don’t know. Tennis is really hard because all of the big companies have kind of taken over. I love it when you see the girls come out [for the players’ parties] and you want to see what everyone is wearing. Now, it’s going to be more and more daring. At Wimbledon all the girls got all dressed up and it allows the fans to see the girls in a different light — I like that.

TSF: Did you see Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ dress?
MS:
[Laughing.] No… but I heard about it. I saw Maria’s and Ana Ivanovic‘s. Ana was very classy.

TSF: What is one thing that you must do when you’re in New York in the summer?
MS:
I love Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. It’s really nice to just sit and be outside — I love being outside. You can sit there on a nice day and just have your friends eat with you — that’s my favorite.

TSF: Do you ever think there’s going to be a young star again? WTA success seems to be coming at an older age these days.
MS:
Oh yeah. The tour has their age regulations, but there are always going to be young girls coming up who are powerful. Martina was powerful. And then Stefani. And then me. Then the Williams sisters came along. I think the sport always evolves. Maybe age mentally — how you manage success and fame and money — but otherwise, I think we’ll always have young players coming up.

(tsf photo)

dancing queen

Before Andrea Petkovic, the best tie the tennis world had to dancing was Monica Selesfrightening stint on Dancing With the Stars. We all remember how that turned out, right?? Petkovic’s moves are refreshing – just like her personality. We took awhile to warm up to the German, but watching her fight her way past Maria Sharapova was enduring, and now the dancing seems a little more appropriate, eh?

More: Courtney Nguyen‘s USAToday piece on the dancing Petko | Petkorazzi on YouTube

And: Aussie ladies: Ekaterina Makarova outfit no-no gets Mariana Alves outta her chair | TSF Vault: Alves

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!

monica seles bottoms out on dancing’s first day

Monica Seles - Dancing wIth the Stars

Monica Seles made her TV dancing debut on last night’s Dancing with the Stars. She performed a foxtrot in a pink bejeweled gown with partner Jonathan Roberts. As expected (she “can’t tell a mango from a tango,” she says), she ended the night with fives out of tens — the lowest score of all the contestants — from judges Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Anne Inaba, and Len Goodman. Go nuzzle in the bosoms of your nine Grand Slam titles, Monica, and come back better next week!

Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi — as expected — earned the night’s top score of 27 (nines from all three judges).

Watch: See Monica’s foxtrot here. And the Gooch with partner Mark Ballas here.

Uhh, what’s a foxtrot? Aside from being a fun comic strip, it also refers to a dance step created by Harry Fox and popularized by Arthur Murray. “Slow, slow, quick, quick.”

Starstruck by Seles: Tennis Channel dispatched Jamie LaRosa to the DWTS taping (he’s blogging about it) and he got a chance to interview the tennis champ. Read the exchange after the cut…

monica puts on some dancing shoes, steffi hawks some louis vuitton pumps

A tale of two legends: Recent retiree Monica Seles will join Marlee Matlin, Adam Carolla, Priscilla Presley and Kristi Yamaguchi in the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. Wow, that’s a “Who’s Who” if I ever saw one.

The sixth season of DWTS will premiere March 17 on ABC. On joining the show, the 34-year-old Seles says “I’m a tennis player. I don’t know a tango from a mango.”

Seles’ recent return to the limelight is likely a big push to move her away from “tennis star” to “celebrity”. If you remember, she followed an appearance on the CBS Morning Show earlier this week with the announcement of her retirement. And now, the dancing. She’s well on her way, but has to play catch up to her biggest rival on the court…

steff-graf-louis-vuitton.jpg

Steffi Graf‘s PR machine continues to churn. Graf will have a guest stint on Oprah’s Big Give, a “pay it forward” reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey. (Remember when hubby Andre Agassi whacked her in the face? They were taping a segment for it.)

And page five of this week’s New York magazine has an ad from Louis Vuitton featuring the Narcisse Pump. The uppers on this two-tone three-inch heel are hand-stitched. Below the picture is this copy:

Walk with me. By Steffi Graf”

I look at my schedule and I just have to laugh. I’d need to be six people to get through it all. It seems I’m still running all over the place – only my footwear has changed.”

That’s deep. Do you think she wrote it herself?

Buy: Narcisse Pump, two-tone hand-stitched calf leather with three-inch heel, $1,120, louisvuitton.com.

(USA Today via Marie; photo from New York)