bury the hatchet or fuel the flame?



It has just been announced that this coming February’s BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden — in 2010 an event contested by Venus, Ana Ivanovic, Kim Clijsters, and Sveta Kuznetsova — will this time feature Agassi, Sampras, Lendl, and McEnroe in a renewal of their classic rivalries.

John and Ivan will play a one-set pro match (first to eight) and the Agassi/Sampras matchup will be a best-of-three. TSF’s curious to see how the latter will pan out, especially in light of Andre’s malfunction at Indian Wells this year. (Hey, if Kournikova and Hingis can kiss and make up, why can’t these two?)

But not to take away from the event’s a noble cause: to bring awareness to our sport through the “Tennis Night in America” initiative, a collaboration between BNP Paribas and the USTA.

Info: For more info about the event, to be held on February 28, 2011, visit tennisshowdown.com.

short balls: thoughts from miami



Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now we are seeing where Jada gets that hair. We were starting to wonder a little… (WTA photo via web site)

The past couple weeks were full of tennis glamour in Miami, and Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters came away from the beaches of Florida with smiles on their faces as they won big-time titles in impressive fashion. We’ve got to hand it to Roddick for continuing to change his game and try to break the top crop of the ATP Tour. Wimbledon 2009 may not have been his final stand in a Major. We’ll stay tuned.

Measuring Beauty: A New York Times article out yesterday touched on feminine beauty taking on a new role as Baylor star basketball player Brittney Griner becomes a household name. Griner stands 6 feet, 8 inches, and has had her sexuality – and gender identity – questioned. But even Stella McCartney insiders recognized her unique look as gorgeous, the article says.

Oh-des-don’t! Things are looking rather bleak for Wayne Odesnik’s tennis future after news broke that vials of human growth hormones were found in his luggage in Australia. Want the full story? Bonnie D. Ford has a tremendous summary here, complete with quotes from other American players. Wondering why Odes is still playing in Houston this week? The charges against him are being investigated and no formal ATP rulings have been made.

Robson, Mississippi: A few hundred miles away from Wayne-mania in Houston, Britain’s Laura Robson is playing in her first event since making the junior final at the Australian Open. Robson joins top-seeded American Lindsay Lee-Waters and second seed Julia Cohen in Jackson, Mississippi for the 25K ITF circuit event.

An unexpected Miami trio and more after the cut. [Read more...]

adidas to re-release tennis racquets



The three stripes of adidas tennis, already seen on clothing and shoes, returns to racquets when the company revives its equipment line — last hawked by legends Ilie Nastase and Ivan Lendl in the 1980s.

If you don’t know much about these old adidas sticks, check out the amazing photo trove at 80s-tennis.com. That trefoil stencil is sick!

(By the way, I’ve been meaning to write about 80s-tennis for a while. So go check it out. I’ll do a bigger post later…)

In the current incarnation, adidas will produce three ranges to cater to all play levels, and will be named after their signature tennis shoes: the Barricade, Response, and Feather. As far as colors, the Barricades and Response have black/white/red colorways and the Feather — the lightest of the three — will be in white/silver/yellow.

So which of the pros are going to use this for match play? No agreements yet (it’s “a work in progress”, says an insider), but like all other equipment, they’ll probably introduce it to promising juniors with the hopes of getting exposure when the player succeeds on the tour.

Buy: adidas Barricade racquets, $185;Feather range, $165, and Response, $145. Available in the U.S. beginning February 2009.

today's further reading



Colette Lewis at Zoo Tennis points out another tennis phenom.

Donald Young was welcomed into the Davis Cup family with a hazing ritual.

– The Toyota Celebrity Classic in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, which runs through Sunday, will have a roster including Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang. Here’s a story in the North County Times about his Chang Family Foundation, coaching Shuai Peng, etc.

– This week’s edition of the Tennis Mailbag, from Jon Wertheim.

– And today’s off-topic story comes from the BBC website, a peek into the lives of Russia’s growing list of billionaires. Many have cottages in the forests outside Moscow.

Enjoy!

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