short balls: santoro wants to shine, the fall of cruella de villiers, and centre court’s ready to go!



Ask and hope you receive? Since the clock’s a-tickin’ for Fabrice Santoro, he has asked Wimbledon organizers to schedule him a match on Centre Court — an honor that’s never been bestowed on this veteran in the 13 times he’s played this grass Grand Slam (espn.com)

Cruella de Villiers: It’s awesome to see the ATP’s top three — Roger, Rafa, and Nole — take charge and hope for spots in the Players’ Council. If they succeed in getting their hands in these dealings, it looks like CEO Etienne de Villiers will get the boot. (NYT)

Centre Court is ready to go: The fixed roof is back, along with the two main trusses for the retractable roof (which’ll debut in 2009). And a continued thumbs up for their increase in equal prize money for the men and the women.

Maria’s meek side: The Telegraph recently published an interview with the world No. 2. A few bits:

– She turned down a cameo role on Desperate Housewives.

– On her celebrity: “I still find my celebrity weird – it’s always weird, you know, when I see my image on the cover of a magazine. That’s very, very strange. I remember for a while I had been getting a lot of praise from people, but I never felt as though I deserved it until I had won grand slams and held the world No 1 ranking. And then I thought, ‘OK, all that talk, I understand it now’. But before then it was just random.” I hope she’s ready to possibly accept a Teen Choice Award for Female Athlete of the Year in early August.

– On the rigorous WTA travel schedule: “The worst thing about my life is not being able to see my friends and family for a long period. Living from hotel to hotel, it’s sometimes a nightmare. There have been numerous times when I’ve woken up in a hotel room and I’ve forgotten which city I’m in. So I’ll be phoning people at 2am to ask which city I’m in.”

Nole’s blogs: The Times‘s interview with Nole touches on his blog. “Well I like to have fun with it,” he says. “Most of my fans are younger people and I don’t think they want to read stuff like ‘I played a good match today. My forehand was going well. My backhand was not so good’. These things are not interesting. What is interesting is what the players are doing in the locker rooms. Are they good guys? Bad guys? How are they off court? Of course, I never go too far with these things but always to the limit, just to make them laugh. I get a lot of positive feedback.” Awesome.

Why America is fat: Read about EaterLA’s post on the birth of the Starbucks Frappucino.

Beautiful acne: The oft-bowtied Alber Elbaz has jumped into bed with Acne, the Swedish denim brand who is also behind the reissue of Bjorn Borg‘s iconic Tretorn shoes. This collaboration will drop at Barney’s and Bergdorf in November with jeans, dresses, tuxedo jackets, belted trenches, and a few accessories.

speaking of round-robin…



…isn’t it funny to think about the ATP’s brief dalliance with round-robin draws in earlier this year? The tour hoped “increase the consumption” of the sport by moving away from single-elimination. We bought it: who wouldn’t want to see a player’s head-to-head record against multiple opponents change in a single week?

Unfortunately, a high-profile flub by the Tour chief Etienne de Villiers himself (involving James Blake and Evgeny Korolev at February’s Las Vegas Open) — followed by strong criticism from Roger Federer — kept the round-robin from spreading beyond the men’s year-end tournament (Tennis Masters Cup).

Heh, if only de Villiers knew that this would be the least of his problems in 2007…

russians, russian women, women, doping, tiger woods — everyone's getting dissed!



Is Age of Love really still on? My fault for staying home on a Monday night…

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Much ado about nothing: The Russian Roulette, aka Nikolay Davydenko, got an awful losing streak rubbed in his face after $7 million — ten times the average — was wagered in favor of World No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello beating him in a second round match at the Orange Prokom Open (Sopot, Poland). And not only that: the sitch has since turned into a big match-fixing scandal that has everyone from ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers to Kolya supporter Roger Federer chiming in. Fortunately, the ATP follows due process and will allow the top-fiver to play at this week’s Rogers Cup while an investigation is conducted. Bonus round: Click here to read more on the different kinds of tennis sports betting.

From Russia, without love: La Russophobe calls the Soviet success at La Costa a bunch of hogwash.

Rafter d. Roddick: In the hypothetical head-to-head, the more athletic Rafter wins out. (411mania.com)

Unstrung screens at Kalamazoo: The Disney-owned documentary screens at the boys’ tournament. The film follows Tim Neilly, Marcus Fugate, Holden Seguso, Clancy Shields, Gregory Hirshman, Donald Young, and Sam Querrey from the 2004 Orange Bowl in December through the 2005 U.S. Open. (via ZooTennis)

Ok, we’ll bite: A “He said, She said” at North County Times questions what celebrity riff raff is doing to women’s tennis. Of course “he” backs up the glam; aside from the anomaly that is Anna Kournikova (and yes, we’re talking just about singles titles here), all the other model-quality players have proven their match-tough mettle: the always-fashionable Williams sisters have 14 Grand Slam singles trophies between them. Masha has two, and Serbian Ana Ivanovic has two Tier I titles (Berlin, Montreal) under her belt.

“She” calls the endorsements and red carpet appearances distractions. But these cross-promotions are a necessary evil if we want to keep tennis financially viable. Sorry to break it to you, dear. Money is a waaaaaaay bigger factor in professional tennis than what your ideals are letting you believe.

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(OT) Doping laws aren’t dope: Sports law expert Mark Hardie writes about the inadequacies of today’s anti-doping policies in a recent op-ed published in The Times. Those falling through the cracks include tennis players Mariano Puerta and Guillermo Coria.

(OT) Amex drops Tiger: I Want to Be a Sports Agent scratches its head over this latest marketing move.