itf: zahlavova strycova suspended for 6 months for doping violation

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - 2013 Doping Violation

The ITF announced today that Czech player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova commited a doping violation after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine in a sample submitted at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open in the fall of 2012. Zahlavova Strycova says that she had unknowingly ingested it as part of taking ACAI Berry Thin (for which she did not have a therapeutic use exemption). While the ITF does not dispute BZS’ claims, they’ve doled out a six-month suspension backdated to October 16, 2012 and will be in effect until midnight of April 15, 2013. This suspension will include forfeiture of ranking points and prize money earned  in Luxembourg and at her participation in the ITF Bueschl Open. (RELATED: Other tennis doping incidents)

(Photo Credit: BZS at a U.S. Open event in 2011 by Getty Images)

More: Full Release after the cut…

save a tree: fed cup and davis cup media guides go digital

Digital versions of Fed Cup & Davis Cup Media Guides released by ITF
The ITF today launched digital editions of its 2013 Davis Cup and Fed Cup media guides.

The publications will be updated after each round of the competitions to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for the media. The guides can be downloaded as a PDF and printed in hard copy; the digital version will replace the printed editions distributed to media in prior years.

Browse: Davis Cup Media Guide | Fed Cup Media Guide

(screengrab via ITF)

tennis’ journey to beijing

The ITF has published Journey to Beijing: Tennis celebrates the Olympics on the heels of the sport’s participation in its sixth Olympics (since returning to the roster in 1988). Over 40 of the world’s leading tennis players took part in the ITF project to help promote the 2008 Beijing Olympic Tennis Event.

The 140-page publication features a series of specially commissioned photographs of the game’s top names dressed as athletes from other summer or winter Olympic sports. The players also give an insight into the part the Olympics has played in their lives, with a series of exclusive interviews looking at their childhood memories, previous Olympic appearances and ambitions for this summer’s Games.

Among the 44 players represented in the book are Roger Federer as a fencer and Ana Ivanovic playing beach volleyball (both shot in Miami). Rafa posed as a soccer player in Shanghai, while Nole‘s indoor ski adventures in Dubai also got some print space.

Maria Sharapova (figure skater), Serena (rythmic gymnast), Massu/Gonzo (marathoners) also posed for the book.

Browse: The e-version of the book can be seen here.

More pics: And in case you just want to see some highlights, click here…

how tacky!: the ITF tests the viscosity of court surfaces

After reading about the latest Congress on Tennis Science and Technology held by the ITF Science & Technical Department, I thought I’d track down one of the guys who published a paper in conjunction with the event. Matt Downing, a student at the University of Bath, conducted studies that led to “The effect of temperature on the court pace rating of tennis surfaces” and “The effect of climatic changes on the properties of tennis balls”, both included in Tennis Science and Technology 3 (edited by Miller, S. and Capel-Davies, J. ITF: London). In plain English, he basically did a study on how tennis courts and tennis balls are affected by variations in temperature.

Over e-mail, we chatted with Matt about how he fell into working with the ITF, what his research was like, and what his plans are for future tennis-related studies. Read on.

Fed Cup's pink fuzzy tennis heart

At the beginning of last year’s Fed Cup season, BNP Paribas asked the players to help choose a new brand identity for the event (to mark the beginning of the bank’s role as title sponsor). The players decided on pink. (I would have gone with the black and purple motif, but the TMS tourneys already claimed the purple.)

And they were serious about the pink. This year, they’re launching an ad campaign with these scary fuzzy mutant tennis hearts:

Here’s a photo of the Fed Cup. Now that’s something you’ll want to put in a trophy case.

Photo from BNP Paribas

And if you’d like to know which players are representing their countries this weekend, the team nominations are here.

>> amelia island: pretty in pink
>> Davis Cup coverage
>> Tennis tournament trophies
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