ljubicic gains some traction in monte carlo

Ivan Ljubicic gets past the second round of an ATP event for the first time since early February with his upset of 12th-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Up next for the Croat is fifth seed Tomas Berdych; they’re both in Nadal‘s quarter.

That Li Ning green makes him blend in with the background. Maybe ninja stealth is the way to success? FYI, Ljubicic is now ranked 40th in the world. Yikes.

(images via Getty Images)

the all-england hair club for men

By Troy Venechanos

A few months ago, Andy Roddick hit what he called one of the best shots of his career. It was a diving save, one in which Roddick smacked a forehand down the line on match point to win a third set tie-breaker against up-and-comer Milos Raonic and capture the Memphis title. And while the web went abuzz with the video of the shot, many viewers weren’t actually watching Roddick’s shot. Instead, they were paying attention to a cap-less Andy, his hat having fallen off in his exertion of effort. And what was there to see? Not much, actually. An almost-bald Andy.Hair loss and tennis go hand and hand. Male pros often play into their mid or late 30s, meaning as they start to lose their hair, it’s left for all the public to see. Andre Agassi freaked out about it so much that he donned a fake hairpiece that had the world fooled. Pete Sampras has been so nonchalant about his after-career hair thinning that he doesn’t even seem to notice.

But we notice – we always notice. TSF has collected the hairdos (and don’ts) from around the tour in what we’re calling “The All-England Club for Men’s Hair Loss,” where styles differ from member to member, but everyone has one thing in common: they’re going – or already are – bald.

TSF GALLERY: The All-England Hair Club for Men

Troy Venechanos has conquered the worlds of junior varsity tennis, tennis internships and tennis photo-blogging. The New York native and TSF contributor hopes to next master “that cool way players can pick up tennis balls using the sides of their feet.” He is a graduate of Northeastern University. TSF vault: Troy Venechanos

ljubicic upsets murray in beijing

The same color-blocking that appeared during Davis Cup (on the Colombians) has made its way to Beijing this week as Li Ning mascot Ivan Ljubicic vies for the China Open title. He upset Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2 and will next face David Ferrer (who took out Soderling). The other semi will feature Isner — who beat Kolya — and Djokovic (d. Simon). See the scorelines here.

(images via Getty Images)

ljubicic’s sputter continues in metz

That Li Ning stallion — the brand associated with Ivan Ljubicic‘s kits from the Chinese company — isn’t helping him ride back up the ATP rankings. At this week’s Open de Moselle in Metz, the Croat, seeded third, was upset by Xavier Malisse 7-5, 6-2. And at the 2010 US Open, Ljubicic went out in the first round to Ryan Harrison. Uhm, what happened to the dude who won Indian Wells this year? (Info: Metz on the ATP site.)

More: Two other pictures of Ivan’s orange and brown kit (note that horse on the sleeve, and the orange shoes) after the cut…

davis cup: mostly quiet on the eastern front

The boisterous crowd who came to cheer the Croatian Davis Cuppers at the Spaladium Arena in Split could not boost their home team past the more experienced Serbian posse at this weekend’s Davis Cup quarterfinal tie. The decisive 4-1 rout puts the team of Djokovic, Tipsarevic, Troicki, and Zimonjic in the semifinals — a first for their country in Davis Cup history. (Scoreline: Tie details)

Still, props to Marin Cilic for wearing his checkered Fila tee and notching the one “W” for Croatia (the second singles rubber, against Troicki). The lanky 21-year-old was gracious in his post-match presser, picking Nole and his team to the take the Cup this year.

The Serbs — pampered in their digs — showed up in a variety of kits all showcasing their country’s colors. Nole picked a solid red polo from Sergio Tacchini while Nenad opted for a more playful version in Lacoste. Troicki sprinkled some blue in his Los tee while Janko and his bangs stayed safe with Fila. On the Croatian side, Ljubicic and Dodig‘s Li Ning kits were both as uninspired as their play.

(images via Getty Images)

we ran out of ljub

Hard-serving Ivo Karlovic upset veteran Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the third round of the 2010 Australian Open. Up next is Rafa Nadal, who lost the third set in his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber. (Draw: Men’s singles.)

Li Ning put him in the same multi-patterned mishmash polo (this time in a light seafoam green) to start out 2010. With all the sartorial switcheroos so far, it’s refreshing to see that Ivan and Li Ning have stuck together.

TSF spoke to Ljubicic back at the 2009 U.S. Open, and he told us all about how he’s worked closely with Li Ning to tweak and develop their tennis sneaks; he was their guinea pig. We look forward to what’s in store for Ljubicic in 2010. (Further reading: Ad Age named Li Ning their Marketer of the Year for 2009.)

More: See more pics of Ivan after the cut…

li ning posterboy ljubicic is first to scalp a seed

Ivan Ljubicic was the first to scalp a seed at this year’s Mutua Madrilena Madrid Masters. The Croatian wild card broke Jo-Wilfried Tsonga three times, with two of those coming in the second set when Ljubicic rallied from 5-2 down. The final score: 6-4, 7-5.

Props to his clothing sponsor, Li Ning, for continually surprising us with novel designs for his on-court kit. This go-’round combines a bright yellow polo with a silver print overlay.

More where that came from: Above are some athletic and casual looks from the current Li Ning line. They were showcased as part of the ATP launch of its Chinese-language site.

fashion focus: checking in on li ning

That hazmat orange on Jelena Jankovic‘s dress spilled over from Ivan Ljubicic‘s kit from Li Ning. The former top-fiver has had a slow 2009 so far, losing in the second round of the Australian Open (to Tsonga) and in the first rounds of Zagreb, Rotterdam, and Marseille.

We love the Guga-esque orange/blue/gold colorway of his kit. The pictures above, from Zagreb, show the gold piping on his shirt and the scale texture on the side panels.

And in Marseille, where he lost to Feliciano Lopez, we get a peek at his blue warmup top.

On the women’s side, Li Ning works with Zi Yan, who lost to Vera Dushevina in the first round at Dubai.

(Zagreb images via MTF; images via Getty Images)

ivan’s flash of blue

Ivan Ljubicic‘s scalp of Nikolay Davydenko at the French Open (boo) hasn’t turned the tide for this former No. 3. He lost to Gael Monfils in the round after and followed that up with first and second round exits at Halle and the Ordina Open.

But at least he and clothing sponsor Li Ning show us some color with this blue kit (solid at the French; with white and green at Ordina). He’ll exchange it for an all-white outfit during Wimbledon’s two weeks.

I can’t wait to see what Li Ning has in store for Ivan at the Beijing Olympics, with the clothing company being from there and all.

(photos by Getty Images)