short balls: tie goes to the winner

In this case, that winner was The West Side Tennis Club stadium at Forest Hills, which survived a club members’ vote to destroy the stadium and use the site to build luxury condos. A two-thirds majority was needed for the condo deal to go through, but members instead voted in a 123-123 tie. The future of the club, which hosted the US Open until its move to Flushing Meadows in 1978, is now unknown.

Potty Problem: In case you missed it, Ana Ivanovic had a little bathroom trouble in Linz while working her way to her first career title in two years. FortyDeuce has the video (second from the top). Ivanovic was docked a game for taking too long a break in her second round match against Barbora Strycova.

You betchya: Depending on which way you see it, Roger Federer‘s name was (or is?!) swirling in a betting controversy that claimed Fed provided insider info to IMG agent Ted Forstmann during the 2007 French Open. Federer claims to have no part in the scandal, but a few days after the story broke, Forstmann admitted to betting, but said he received no insider info.

Austrian alliance: Thomas Muster continues his comeback attempt in Vienna this week, where he lucked out by not only receiving a wildcard into the main draw, but then getting a lucky loser in the opening round after Ernests Gulbis pulled out for “personal reasons”. Our fave Austrian, Jurgen Melzer, is the tourney’s top seed.

More short balls including a survey of surveys, short(er) balls and another look at The West Side Tennis Club after the cut. [Read more…]

louboutins and lamborghinis in australia

Both Prince and IMG threw parties on the eve of this year’s Australian Open.

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Prince had everyone’s engines revving at their party, held at a Lamborghini shop in South Yarra. The main attraction was the sexy Jelena Jankovic, who showed up in a little black dress paired with electric blue Decolzep pumps from Christian Louboutin (we’re talking a steel heel and sole here, folks). Nikolay Davdenko, the Bryan Brothers, and David Ferrer were also there.

Le sigh: Of course the Decolzep, part of Louboutin’s f/w ’07 collection, is sold out. But at one point it was listed with a price of £325. Browse the rest of the shoes here.

Meanwhile, IMG held a cocktail party for its players at Crown, and the guest list included Nicole Vaidisova, Masha, Rafael Nadal, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, and the adorable Michael Vartan (Big Shots).

Take a peek: The pictures from the parties are after the cut…

trophy watch, aussie open juniors

Madness going on in Melbourne, I know. But madness is also going on in my world. Good madness. One of my siblings is getting married tomorrow, so all eyes are on that for now.

I’ll check in with all the Aussie Open finals either Sunday night or Monday. But one last one before I head out — the juniors (with some help from contributor JNP)…

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Girls: Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands has started off 2008 with some huge leaps in her career; she reached the finals of a tune-up to the Aussie Open Junior Championships, defeating hot prospect Simona Halep in a classic 3-set battle. Unfortunately Halep lost her semi-final in the juniors draw to local Jessica Moore, erasing her chance to get Rus back. Rus, clad in adidas Edge separates, beat Moore with ease 6-3, 6-4 in the Championship match.

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Boys: For those tennis fans who don’t know about Bernard Tomic, he’s 15 and he just won the Aussie Opena Jr Boys championship — yup, only 15. After this notable result, expect him to start getting some Freddy Adu/LeBron-esque phenom buzz soon; the U.S. Open juniors is surely one of the most important dates on his calendar this summer. Oh, and if you were wondering, IMG has already signed him to a multi-year deal.

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Scoreline: Tomic beat Yang Tsung-Hua of Taiwan 4-6, 7-6, 6-0. Does anyone else think Tomic looks like the lovechild of Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero?

tennisweek.com relaunches

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Tennis Week relaunched its website (www.TennisWeek.com) today. The site will serve up “24/7 breaking news, inside scoops, exclusive features, hundreds of photos of on-court and off-court action, plus continuously updated video” in a layout much more in line with other IMG properties like Fashion Week Daily. Its recently relaunched print counterpart will produce eight issues in 2008.

Read the full press release after the cut…

short balls tuesday

Woodforde’s back: Novak Djokovic‘s not quite done paying Aussie doubles specialist Mark Woodforde to help with the Serb’s serve-and-volley game. (SMH)

adidas will sponsor the 2012 Olympics: Now that Kim Clijsters and her Fila kit are off the map (or are they?), the Belgian Team won’t have to worry about clothing conflicts arising from adidassponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics. (SGB)

Serra Zanetti retires: Adriana Serra Zanetti announced her retirement from pro tennis, citing a foot injury from October 2005 that never healed. Career highlights include the round of 16 at the 1995 French Open and the quarters of the 2002 Australian. You’ll be missed! (AGI)

Heaven on earth: At the Thailand Open, Carlos Moya dons an apron (over us Nike U.S. Open t-shirt) and whips up some pad thai. Can he bring some to me? Oh yeah, Feliciano Lopez was there, too. (Bangkok Post, Getty Images)

Babolat’s dumb luck: See this story in NYT‘s Play magazine about how Babolat captured its share of the racquet market by being at the right place at the right time.

On the Federer brand: Roger Federer is a cash cow. And IMG knows it. Tony Godsick‘s his agent over there, but his primary manager is still Mirka. FYI. (IWtbaSA)

Sharapova gets crafty: See what Maria Sharapova considers her favorite restaurants all over the world. Included on the list is one of my personal loves, Craft Los Angeles, in Century City. (foodea.com)

Sloppy seconds: AmEx drops its partnership with Tiger Woods but the golfer shed nary a tear, I’m sure. And for good reason: he picked up a 5-year deal with Gatorade that’ll net him $100 mil. This arrangement is for selling at least three products, including a new proposed drink that’ll be named after him. (via The Austin American-Statesman)

Deuce questions for Federer: See this light Q&A.

On the last time he played a match that no one watched: “For a tournament match you’d probably have to go back to the juniors. It was only a practice set, but when I played Pete Sampras [at his house, before the Pacific Life Open in March] there were probably only three people watching.”

The last time he showed his badge at a tournament: “It happens all the time because they want to scan your badge. They go after plastic, not faces.”

And the last time he flew coach: “[Long pause] Yeah, it’s been a few years now.” Bless.

style short balls: tennis week magazine, sunfeast fashion, hingis' gear, agassi's sandals, etc.

Back in the fray: IMG-backed Tennis Week Magazine furthers its makeover plans by announcing an eight-issue publication schedule for 2008 and a relaunch of its website (tennisweek.com) in November. The publication will be headed by Randy Master. TSF can’t wait to see the goods! (via marketwire)

Speaking of IMG: LAT reports that ex-HBO Chief Executive Chris Albrecht has been brought in to IMG to beef up domestic distribution of programming surrounding the agency-owned events (such as fashion weeks, sporting events, etc.).

[Insert slicing pun here]: This cute chopping board via hopehope.

Hingis decides on racquet: TSF doesn’t usually talk racquets, but it piqued our interest that Martina Hingis did not have a racquet sponsor for most of the summer — she played with an all-black demo (with a white grip) — but that has now changed. Per Stephanie Myles, Hingis is now playing with the Yonex RQiS 2.

PETA, Can You Hear Me?: Hingis owns up to owning a fancy chinchilla shawl. It’s cold in Switzerland, she says. (via Tennis Week)

(OT) Patrolling London: The Times‘ London Fashion Week coverage has this great bit on the eccentric men darting around at the shows.

Agassi flips out: Andre Agassi slapped Target with a lawsuit for continuing to market flip-flops with the Agassi name even after his reps had told the retailer to stop. The sandals, once sold under “Mossimo Agassi”, are now just Mossimo. (Buy the sandals.) (via sportsonesource.com)

Rebound Ace RIP: It makes sense (timing-wise) that the Australian Open’s courts are already being torn up in time for 2008’s first Grand Slam.

Speaking of effed up courts: Unlike the entire Serbian team, the clay courts used for the Davis Cup tie between Australia and Serbia (hosted in Belgrade) aren’t so hot.

Calcutta serves up a fashion ‘Feast: The Sunfeast Open in Calcutta rode into town a week after the latest India Fashion Week. And so to open this week’s tournament, the ladies participated in the Miss Players Fashion show on Sunday night. Maria Kirilenko, wore an evening dress from Wills Lifestyle. Other players who walked down the runway: Marion Bartoli, also in a black dress; Yaroslova Shvedova and Hana Smorova, both in capris and t-shirts; Sunitha Rao, dressed in red and white; Tara Iyer; Alexandra Wosniak; and Vania King.

Kirilenko’s photo: See a photo of Kirilenko in her black dress after the cut…

hawking players: behind the scenes

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Do you ever wonder how Maria Sharapova ends up endorsing products such as TAG Heuer, Motorola, Canon? The process seems pretty simple. Companies seek out celebrities who they think best represent their brand.

But how do they know who to consider? That’s where players’ agents come in. Here’s an ad by IMG selling Masha’s star power.

(Sports Business Journal)

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short balls: serena talks, federer hits heavy, IMG makes a move, vietnam falls flat

Hey, all: I’ve been having lots of fun writing this thing. I hope you’re having fun reading it! Also, we’re on MySpace, so feel free to friend us if you have one.

Now onto the good stuff…

Federer hits a heavy ball: The Advanced Tennis Research Project developed a way to quantify the “heaviness” of a tennis ball. The record holder? By the study’s end, it was one R-Fed hit at Indian Wells in 2004. Bonus: another Men’s Vogue article on Roger, this one from Fall ’05. (via SportsFilter)

Serena shoots off: The Guardian‘s Gaby Wood does a two-part profile on Serena Williams. Serena talks about her sister’s death, her injury layoff, her faith (Jehovah’s Witness), etc. On comparing herself to other tennis greats: “If I thought, ‘Oh, I’m historic,’ my head would be crazy. Honestly, at the end of the day I come home to my dogs and my sister. I have friends, and I cry when I see movies, and I watch reality TV… I’m Serena and that’s all I am. I’ve never considered history.”

(photo of Serena at a party launching Louis Vuitton‘s Spring LOVE collection, and benefitting for Oxfam America)

Tennis from around the world: We’ve told you about tennis in South Africa, tennis in the Middle East, and now we bring you tennis in Vietnam: they’re not doing so hot over there.

Meanwhile, the UAE Tennis Association in Dubai is chugging along; they’re holding a tournament at the gorgeous Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

IMG, always on the move: The sports management firm recently acquired Collegiate Licensing Co., a college trademark licensing agency whose brands includes the Final Four, the Bowl Championships Series, and logos of universities such as Notre Dame and UT. (via Oligopoly Watch)

Tennis Mailbag: Lots of good questions answered by Jon Wertheim in his column this week.

short balls: molik, philippoussis, IMG, etc.

Queen of Nice trumps King: The HBO documentary Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, but lost out to Rosie O’Donnell’s gay cruise documentary. Rosie acknowledged BJK in her acceptance: “If it hadn’t been for Billie Jean King, there wouldn’t have been a gay movement.” For once, Rosie says something nice. (via pinknews.co.uk)

molik-dancing with the starsFlashback: A year ago this month, Alicia Molik (left) was booted off the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars. (via The Age)

The Scud’s return: Mark Philippoussis will be playing a Challenger tournament next month after successfully undergoing yet another knee surgery. He’s also changed management; he has dropped IMG and now turns to his dear friend and Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. (via The Age)

Speaking of IMG, Philippoussis isn’t the only one they’ve dropped from their roster. A few higih-profile agents have jumped ship, taking their clients with them. Casey Wasserman of Wasserman Media Group is taking advantage of this fallout. (via BusinessWeek)