tattoo watch: andreas haider-maurer



Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer lost the first rubber against Israel’s Dudi Sela at this weekend’s Davis Cup World Group Play-offs (in Tel Aviv). The scoreline: 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Last month, Haider qualified for the 2010 US Open Main Draw on his first try; he lost to Robin Soderling in the first round. Not sure what that tattoo is… possibly a bible verse?

Even: Jurgen Melzer beat Harel Levy to put the tie at 1-1. See all the stats here.

Update: That tattoo isn’t a bible verse… Andreas’ camp tells us that this (6:55) is the exact time of his birth.

(image via Getty Images)

sightings in the stands: who needs samurai when you’ve got dudies?



Last night’s eye-candy-filled doubles match between Tipsarevic/Lopez and Blake/Querrey (will I get a cavity in my cornea??) had no visible Sam-urai contingent, possibly contributing to the Americans’ 6-3, 6-3 loss in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Dudi Sela, now clad in Lacoste, took out shotmaker Xavier Malisse 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in their first round singles match. He’ll next face the fourth-seeded Lopez.

Draw: See who’s left playing singles and doubles at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles.

(image via Getty Images)

fans a few



It’s Davis Cup weekend on the men’s side and the tie that most of the world is paying attention to has the fewest fans watching it from the inside: Israel versus Sweden. Controversy has been swirling around this bout since it was announced last week that no spectators would be allowed due to “security reasons.”

levey-israelsweden-daviscup09

The sad thing is that no one is allowed to watch these guys battle it out, and the sadder thing is that both rubbers have gone five sets plus so far. Thomas Johansson outgunned Harel Levey (above) 8-6 in the fifth to open, while Dudi Sela pulled the Israelis even with a riveting 11-9 five-set win over Andreas Vinciguerra.

Over 1,000 police officers have been dispatched for the tie, held in Malmo, Sweden. Protesters were kept at bay outside the arena, many of them toting Palestinian flags in protest of Israel’s participation in the tie following Israeli bombings in Gaza earlier this year.

More chilling pics after the cut.

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trophy watch: the post-Open asian swing



Trophy watch: The men and the women stopped by Asia this week to contest titles in Beijing, Bangkok, Korea. We saw rematches and familiar faces from last week and last year. A roundup of the winners, their trophies, and what they wore — all after the cut…

eight men, five rubbers, one weekend…



Bulging biceps, tag teams, marathon sessions, tattoos, bears, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians…

Yes, my friends, it must be Davis Cup!

World Group 2008 – Semifinal
Argentina v Russia, 3 – 2
Tarpischev’s doubles trick couldn’t shake off del Potro.

Spain v USA, 4 – 1
America’s rich Davis Cup history gets blown to bits when a tie is contested on clay. Against Spain.

World Group, Play-offs 2008
Chile v Australia, 3 – 2
Gonzo distracted the Aussies with his chest.

Great Britain v Austria, 2-3
For British newbie Bogdanovic, playing in front of the home crowd at AELTC caused some performance anxiety against Peya.

Switzerland v Belgium, 4 – 1
The dream team of R-Fed and S-Waw cleaned up.

Croatia v Brazil, 4 – 1
Save for a clutch doubles match by Melo and Sa, Croatia takes all the matches.

Israel v Peru, 4 – 1
Harel Levy, Andy Ram, Noam Okun, and the Smurf-esque Dudi Sela all did the home crowd proud.

Netherlands v South Korea, 3 – 2
Hyung-Taik Lee swept his singles matches, but it wasn’t enough.

Romania v India, 4 – 1
As expected, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi win their doubles match.

Slovak Republic v Serbia, 1 – 4
Novak Djokovic kept his clothes on.