short balls: skipping the tennis

This is the first photo that matches the search term “short balls” on Flickr. Igor Andreev putting away a short one at Wimbledon, 2008. (Photo by Mark Brocklehurst via Flickr.)

While we’re plenty impressed by all the Davis Cupping that happened this past weekend, the tennis season is in a bit of a lull 10 days after the completion of the US Open and before the big-time fall tournaments get under way. The women are in Seoul and Tashkent this week, while the men are swinging their way through Bucharest and Metz. While we’ve been doing a little bit of swinging of our own, we’ve been making the non-tennis rounds of the internet and finding plenty of good, juicy bits to fill the short balls plate for this week. Nibble up, djya’ll!

Before we get to the non-tennis stuff there is a few tennis items to make mention of. David Rosenberg has an item on Tennis.com about Ana Ivanovic‘s strange relationship with the U.S. Backgammon Federation. The Federation has presented Ivanovic (a first-round loser in Seoul) with a lifetime honorary membership. Game, Set, Backgammon? | Kenneth in the 212 is giving us a peek of Gilles Simon‘s … well, just click the link. Meanwhile, Kenneth gives thumbs-up to the Chrissie & Martina documentary, Unmatched, that debuted last week. | Anna Kournikova is gracing the cover of the current issue of Maxim. The Russian is feeling rather American in the spread, no? | Amelia Island, which hosts a USTA event and used to be home to a much-loved WTA stop, has been sold to Omni, which has 45 luxury destinations throughout North American. (via TennisWire.org). | The ladies of Spain are boycotting the Fed Cup team in their country. Or, as Courtney put it, Ladycotting. Well chosen. | The USTA has donated 21,000 pounds of food left over from the USO to NYC agency City Harvest. | The Bryan Brothers are hosting a tennis-fun weekend near their hometown of Camarillo, northwest of LA this Saturday. Partnering with K-Swiss, the boys will be joined by Davis Cuppers Sam Querrey (another local talent) and Mardy Fish for an exhibition and wine tasting at Spanish Hills Country Club. Tickets here. | And no surprise here: Serena walks the catwalk at Fashion Week.

And some number crunching before we abandon our tennis roots for the rest of the web: at last week’s Bell Challenge in Quebec City, American women notched 12 match wins among 10 players (nearly one third the draw). Anchored mostly by Bethanie Mattek-Sands‘s final run and helped out by a semifinal appearance by our favorite Jersey girl Christina McHale and a quarterfinal result from Melanie Oudin. At the USO, there were also 10 American women in the draw, winning a total of 9 matches, three less than in Canada. All hail the Maple Leaf, we guess.

Now, the non-tennis-ing begins. We’re loving this children’s book Dad Dad Mom Mom that promotes same-sex couples as parents. It’s even got a video up on YouTube. Storks get us every time. | TSF contributer and everything-extraordinaire Tobin Addington has his re-vamped web site up, which features musings on his blog and links to his writing, which is downright fantastic. His stuff is available here on Amazon. Check it. | The New York Times has a fantastic slideshow up of the good stuff at Burlington Toys in New York. Toy geeks rejoice! | While the DADT fail was disappointing yesterday, it’s encouraging to see a pop star take such a stance, isn’t it? | The New Yorker Festival kicks off next weekend (Oct. 1-3). The event features a sit-down with famed sports writer Bill Simmons. Too bad said talk is already sold out, but nice to see the intellects of the world wanting to hear/ see Bill in action. | We’ll just steal Gawker‘s headline on this one: “Bristol’s Grody DWTS Debut“. | It’s NYC Climate Week. That is all.

And if you’re ever wondering who to turn to for all your tennis and sporting business news, it’s tough to beat this guy. [Read more...]

short balls: tears of joy

Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

[Read more...]