trophy watch: hello to rafa, goodbye to san jose, and the ladies switch it up

Juan Martin del Potro defeats Julien Benneteau in 2013 Rotterdam tennis event

ABN AMRO: Juan Martin del Potro was last man standing at the ABN AMRO WTT, the stacked ATP 500-series event in Rotterdam led by tournament director Richard Krajicek which saw Roger Federer ousted by finalist Julien Benneteau and had semifinal runs by Gilles Simon and Grigor Dimitrov. Delpo earned his 14th career title by downing Benneteau 7-6(2), 6-3.

Qatar Total Open 2013 trophies: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka

Vika wins two: The plot thickens in the battle at the top of the women’s game between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. At this past week’s Qatar Total Open, contested in Doha, Serena regained the No. 1 ranking but Azarenka notched her second career win over Williams (in 13 tries) and defended her Doha title. The scoreline: 7-6(6) 2-6, 6-3. Azarenka is taking the week off to heal a foot injury, while Serena is playing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena praised Victoria for her work in the final:

“I always respect Victoria. I think she’s a really good player. Obviously she’s so consistent and she plays well. She’s such a solid player. It’s nice to always play someone and go home and you’re like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do great, but let me work harder.’ I think that she inspires a lot of people to work harder, and definitely me.”

2013 SAP Open - San Jose - Trophy - Milos Raonic defeats Tommy Haas

Bon voyage: The final edition of the 125-year-old SAP Open, held in San Jose, Calif., featured a three-peat for top seed, and two-time defending champ Milos Raonic. He defeated fourth seed Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3. Raonic won all three titles without dropping a set.

Raonic, from Canada, wore a New Balance tee with a black-and-green print. “Today, I’m more of a complete player,” he said after winning the title. “I was able to put pressure on [Haas] in most of his service games. I was able to hold quite handily, which I’ve shown I can do in the past. I was able to create pressure every game. It wasn’t just one game. I was getting to a lot of deuce games.”

Rafael Nadal wins the 2013 Brasil Open

Chippin’ off the old block: The story of Rafael Nadal has finally come full circle. After disappearing from the circuit for about eight months after losing to Lukas Rosol in the early rounds of Wimbledon 2012, the Spaniard took home the Brasil Open (Sao Paolo) title last week. The 6-2, 6-3 victory over David Nalbandian was Nadal’s first since beating Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 French Open.

It’s all about the titles: “It’s very nice and important because at the end of your career what’s left are the titles,” Rafa reflected after his win, “and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much. This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.”

(Photo Credit: Rotterdam photo via ABN AMRO WTT Facebook; Nadal photo via Brasil Open; San Jose photo via SAP Open website; Vika/Serena photo via Qatar Tennis Federation)

are you ‘team serena’?

Serena Williams receives jersey from Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi awarded Serena Williams with a customized PSG jersey after she locked down the No. 1 ranking while playing the Qatar Total Open in Doha last week.

Les Plus Dores x VFILES fashion celeb team jerseys

Merch, please: We’re still waiting for the ATP/WTA to come up with jerseys like how Les Plus Dorés and VFILES did it with fashion designer celebrities. Someone step up already!

(Photo Credit: Serena pic via Qatar Tennis Federation)

victoria azarenka wins the Qatar Total Open, gets serenaded by boyfriend

Victoria Azarenka has lost her top spot on the WTA Tour despite a hard fought tournament victory at the Qatar Total Open over Serena Williams. She lost the top spot to none other than: Serena Williams.

Serena had the advantage of having no points to defend during this stop in the Middle East, while Azarenka was defending points from last year’s tournament victory. And Azarenka managed to hold her own but was ultimately not able to keep that top spot; the Belarusian succesfully defended her Dubai title beating Williams with a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 victory.

Now lots of things have been happening to Victoria Azarenka. Most notably the entourage that travels with her has now expanded with a plus one: LMFAO frontman Redfoo and Azarenka are reportedly dating and on Valentines day Redfoo even made Azarenka a Valentines video. He wouldn’t just set it to private but really shared the whole thing with the world.



And it’s not just that, Redfoo also dedicated a song to Victoria Azarenka after her win over Serena Williams called “I’ll Award You With My Body.”



As cute as the song is, I’d rather take home that $426,000 check of the Qatar Total Open.

rankings: while in doha, serena williams becomes the oldest no. 1

Serena Williams - Oldest No. 1 - Qatar Total Open 2013

Breaking Records: American Serena Williams beat Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open, being contested in Doha this week, and with that returns to the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings. When the list is released on Monday, February 18, Williams will become the oldest woman to hold the top spot since the computer rankings came into being in November 1975. This is the sixth time that Serena’ll hold the No. 1 spot, and nearly 11 years since she first reached the top, in July 2002.

“I never thought I would be here again,” said Williams following her win over Kvitova. “I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to No.1. It has been a long road back and it’s a great feeling. It has been a lot of hard work but I don’t want to stop here.”

Serena’s Dress: Serena’s still wearing the same colorblocked Nike Grand Pleated Knit Dress that she wore during the Australian Open; the colorway is grand purple with electro orange and ultraviolet. Note the zigzag stitching in the upper portion of the dress. (Buy: Nike Grand Pleated Dress, $90)

Doha: The other three Qatar quarterfinals were Azarenka defeating Errani, Sharapova downing Stosur, and Aga Radwanska beating Caroline Wozniacki — all in straight sets. Serena’s was the only match that went to three sets. Tomorrow’s semifinals pit Vika against Radwanska and Sharapova against Serena. (Draw: Qatar Total Open 2013 Singles)

More stats: At 31 years, 4 months, 24 days, Williams becomes the oldest woman to hold the world No.1 ranking since the introduction of computer rankings in 1975. Previously, Chris Evert was 30 years, 11 months, 3 days when she last held the No.1 ranking the week ending Sunday, November 24, 1985.

SERENA’S WEEKS AT NO.1:
July 8, 2002 – August 10, 2003 – 57 weeks
September 8, 2008 – October 5, 2008 – 4 weeks
February 2, 2009 – April 19, 2009 – 11 weeks
October 12, 2009 – October 25, 2009 – 2 weeks
November 2, 2009 – October 10, 2010 – 49 weeks
February 18, 2013 – current No.1 – 1 week

OLDEST PLAYERS TO HOLD WORLD NO.1 SINCE 1975:
Serena Williams 31 years, 4 months, 24 days
Chris Evert 30 years, 11 months, 3 days (Nov 24, 1985)
Martina Navratilova 30 years, 9 months, 29 days (Aug 16, 1987)
Lindsay Davenport 29 years, 7 months, 8 days (Jan 29, 2006)
Serena Williams 29 years, 0 months, 14 days (Oct 10, 2010)
Steffi Graf 27 years, 9 months, 16 days (Mar 30, 1997)

WTA Rankings - Weeks at World No. 1 - February 18, 2013

(Photo Credit: Qatar Total Open 2013)

going home: rotterdam, sao paolo, doha, san jose

Brasil Open 2013 (Sao Paolo) website

Sao Paolo: My, what a big banner you have! That stuff poking out at the bottom of our screengrab — that’s the slider for their content, pretty much below the fold. Again, we get the point of showcasing your star attractions (including Rafael Nadal in his second tourney back!), but the rest of the event is also giving you newsworthy bits, including Ricardo Mello‘s retirement from professional tennis and, you know, actual matches. (Along with Rafa, the top four seeds are AlmagroMonaco, and Chardy.) Props: Their photo gallery is pretty varied, navigable, and has good pictures. Bonus: The tournament has a smartphone app (for Google, Windows, and iPhones).

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament 2013 - Rotterdam

Rotterdam: This is how you tell your fans who’s showing up to a tournament. It might even be downplaying the event’s ATP Tour 500 level cache; along with Roger FedererJuan Martin del Potro, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, you have players like MonfilsDimitrovTomicKlizanJanowicz, and Davydenko — all of whom can produce some great matches this week. Feedback: could you keep the seeding/wildcard/qualifier notations in the draw sheets?

ABN AMRO homepage

The other thing to note about Rotterdam is how hard they push the business/hospitality end of their tournament. The event’s main page, www.abnamrowtt.com, gives much real estate to wooing sponsors and getting businesses to scoop up packages and suites for the tournament. We know these deals are what grease the wheels, but we’d prefer the solicitations for event sponsorship to get toned down the week of the tournament, if only to give their current clients a chance to enjoy their investment and letting the fans experience the tennis.

Qatar Total Open 2013 (WTA Tournament)

Doha (WTA): The Qatar Total Open 2013‘s pages live within the Qatar Tennis Federation website. Everything’s housed in the same place, but it probably couldn’t hurt to get a separate URL for the tournament. Fingers crossed: No action yet, but we’re hoping to see lots of images come through via Instagram.

SAP Open 2013 - San Jose tennis tournament

 

San Jose: Nothing much to note re: the final installment of this Bay Area ATP stop. The SAP Open website is pretty straightforward, and includes video content and a daily blog featuring different players entered in the tournament. (Monday’s blog entry was by Tim Smyczek.)

 

 

 

dressing up doha

Fila expands its apparel/footwear sponsorships (Wimbledon, Indian Wells, Miami) by adding the SEWTA’s Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha to its roster.

The event’ll feature the top eight singles players and the top four doubles players, all competing over six days for prize money totaling $4.55 million. Five ladies have qualified for singles so far: Safina, Serena, Wozniacki, Dementieva, and Kuznetsova. Get more info about the tournament here.

Fila created a bespoke range for Doha that draws inspiration from the event’s purple and green theme as well as Fila’s 70’s and 80’s archive. The clothes will be seen on court officials, ball crew, and on-site staff.

TSF gives top marks to the women’s line official jacket (pictured above). What do you think of the clothes? Tell us!

More: See more pics — of the men’s line judge jacket, ballboy and ball girl tops, staff jacket, and the Doha-specific Alfa shoe — all after the cut…

practice makes perfect: roger federer’s 2009 so far

First off, a shout-out to Mikey, whose Timber Palace blog is back in business… If you’re into architecture (or you live in the Pacific Northwest), you should take a peek

roger-federer-kooyong09a

Nike and Roger Federer are at it again, starting slow in 2009 before slamming us with his day/night outfits for the Australian Open.

More pics: See what he wore in Doha, Kooyong, and for practice sessions and pressers — all after the cut…

prince’s spring lookbook + women’s skivvies get their due

ai-sugiyama-doha-spr08.jpg

I don’t know what’s in the desalinated water this week, but there are waaaaaaaaaay more than the usual number of crotch shots coming out of the wires from last week’s tourney in Doha. First, there was the unfortunate flesh-colored underwear worn by Li Na.

And now here’s Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama, layering in Prince.

Flip through it: The company’s spring/summer lookbook might not be anything to look at, but it’s at least fun to look through. There are even realistic sound effects for when you flip the pages! Check it out.

(photos by Getty Images)