brotherly love

For just the second time in this year, Andy and Jamie Murray are joining forces this week in Valencia on the doubles court. The Murray clan took out Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco in the opening round of play 6-3, 7-6 (3). Doubles draw here.

The two were awarded a wild card into the event, marking the first time they’re playing double together outside of their home country since Madrid in October of 2008. The two paired up often early in their careers, even making a final together in Bangkok in 2006. But as Andy’s singles career exploded, he played less and less dubs, pairing every so often with big guns like Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman, Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic.

Jamie Murray has also had a variety of partners, but mostly has settled on Jonathan Marray, a fellow Brit in 2010. The Murray-Marray duo floats their ranking around no. 90 in doubles these days. None of these three gents, Andy, Jamie or Marray have taken the court for the British team in Davis Cup doubles in the last two years, though Andy and Jamie teamed up for one win at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Perhaps the brotherly love springs from the recent Murray wedding? Are these bros past their water-in-the-face days? Wedding pic after the jump. [Read more…]

british bruises

Well, once again it’s been a brutally bad fortnight for the Brits, with only Andy Murray remaining in the main draw for a chance at The Championships. Perhaps if he’s victorious his coach, Miles Maclagan, will take his shirt off in celebration? We can dream, can’t we?

Picture 1Meanwhile, home-grown future champ Laura Robson went down – and hard – yesterday, losing 8-6 in the third set of her third-round girl’s singles match. Robson made a strong showing in the first round of the women’s draw, losing to Daniela Hantuchova in three sets. She officially announced her junior career is over. Let’s hope this gal is the real deal- there sure has been lots of hoopla about her, right?

Andy’s bro, Jamie, is also carrying the nation’s flag (and the Scottish flag) in Mixed Doubles, the title which he won two years ago in 2007 with Jelena Jankovic. This time he’s paired with doubles specialist Liezel Huber, a South African who now plays for the US. Meanwhile, the entire Britsh press corps was lamenting the failure of its nation’s tennis while I was in London last week, and even the Wall Street Journal has weighed in on how little success the LTA is cranking out.

(photo by getty images)

andy murray signs with caa

Lanky boy Andy Murray has brought in a top Hollywood talent agency to help manage his Q rating as he tries to establish his place in the top five of men’s tennis.

According to the AP, Andy and brother Jamie have signed on to be represented by CAA and also 19 Entertainment. The latter is the same outfit that manages David Beckham.

We can’t wait to see what these agents’ll do for Andy when they start working with him on March 1. Perhaps Jeff Gillooly some of his naysayers? Screen his Twittering? GET HIM BETTER-FITTING CLOTHES FROM FRED PERRY?

(AP)

trophy watch: i call him “melo yellow”; a japanese phenom; mama murray must be happy, etc.

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This one’s for you, Mikey: Our Sa Watch 2008 begins with the duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa — locals — winning the Brazil Open doubles trophy over Albert Montanez and Santiago Ventura. Leave it to Andre to wear yellow socks on the court. Cute.

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Meanwhile, it was a battle of the lankies as British fourth seed Andy Murray took out Croatian Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, at the ATP Open 13 in Marseille, France.

In Delray Beach, Kei Nishikori surprised everyone (including finalist James Blake) with this impressive 6-3, 1-6 and 4-6 upset. Our buddy Ichizo took this video of Kei while playing against Zack Fleishman in Japan last October.

By the way, look out for Ichizo to launch his japanese language tennis blog sometime soon. This is one of the few times I’m sad that I don’t know Japanese. That, and everytime I can’t read anything in Men’s Non-No aka the best magazine in the world.

And we are sure that Mama Murray is proud of her other son, Jamie, who teamed with Max Mirnyi to upset the top seeded Bryan Brothers. (Watch: See Jamie use finger code to communicate with Max.)

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A beaut! The Proximus Diamond Games tops itself with a racquet encrusted with 2008 diamonds (get it?) totalling more than $1.5 million. 1,611 of those diamonds are on the ball itself. Unfortunately for Justine Henin, who beat Italy’s Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-3 in the final match, she has to win the tournament three times in five years before she takes home that puppy. It’s not an impossible feat, though; Amelie Mauresmo did the same last year and took home the first diamond trophy.

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Singles: Sorry, guys. I was too crushed by the early loss of Guga Kuerten in singles (and doubles, actually) at the Brasil Open to care about who won. Props to Nicolas Almagro for besting mainstay Carlos Moya 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5.

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Lastly, Flavia Pennetta wore her multi-collared Sergio Tacchini all the way to a title at the Vina del Mar tourney in Vina del Mar, Chile. Her opponent: Klara Zakopalova.

(Mirnyi/Murray video via ATP; photos by Getty Images)

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in the murray family feud, argentina emerges the winner

Great Britain’s chances at this year’s Davis Cup took a big hit when their strongest singles player, Andy Murray, decided to skip the tie lest he aggravate a knee injury that crept in during off-season training. This has left relations with his brother, doubles specialist Jamie Murray, on hold. “I haven’t spoken to him at all, or sent him a text message,” Jamie told the press. “There isn’t really much to say. […] I think it’s kind of up to him to clear the air.”

Meanwhile, what could have been a potentially competitive tie will now be a 5-0 blowout. You know Argentines are happy about that.

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That’s Jose Acasuso, David Nalbandian, Agustin Calleri, Sebastian Prieto (subbing for the injured Juan Monaco, and captain Alberto Mancini.

We’ve always liked the warmups from these guys, and this year is no different. A varsity font brings a youthful energy to their jacket, while the oh-so-trendy vertical stripes keep things retro. BTW, the new design is courtesy of Fila, a recent mover and shaker in the Latin American sports apparel industry.

Help! My Spanish is pathetic (that, and I am boozy right now), so I am having a hard time tracking down a site that sells official Argentina Davis Cup gear. Does anyone have info on this?

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In the meantime, enjoy these DC ads from Ole.

'stretch' and mirnyi play doubles + more coaching news: monfils, mathieu, peer, murray

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French No. 2 (and world No. 25) Paul-Henri Mathieu is suddenly coachless one month before the Australian Open — and he’s not happy about it. Mathieu told l’Equipe that he feels like the “turkey being joked upon” (“dindon de la farce“) by being forced to share his coach, Thierry Champion, with the lower-ranked Gael Monfils, who recently returned to Team Lagardère after a 14-month absence. According to l’Equipe Monfils got hooked up with Champion to recreate the partnership that saw Monfils reach No. 23 back in June 2006.

Since Mathieu didn’t want to share (and rightfully so), Lagardère head Rémi Barbarin is actively searching a solution for “Paulo”, who in the meantime’s training with Patrice Hagelauer.

Speaking of: The striped Fabrice Santoro is also joining Lagardère with coach Lionel Zimbler in tow. Santoro turns 35 on Dec 9. His goal for next year is to set a new record for most Grand Slam tourneys played (he’s currently tied with Agassi at 61), and to compete at the Olympics for the fourth time.

Coach Conchita: Now free from military obligation, Shahar Peer can look forward to instruction from Gabriel Urpi and Conchita Martinez in 2008.

Murray’s next move: The currently-coachless Andy Murray will be doing off-season training with Miles Maclagan for the next three weeks, reports the Times. Murray is currently without a full-time coach since partly ways with Brad Gilbert earlier this month.

Stretch and… more strech: There’s gonna be a whole lot of lankiness in the 2008 doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Max Mirnyi.

(Thanks to Chris and Patricia for their help on this post.)

dc: great britain vs. croatia

Tim Henman put icing on his retirement cake this weekend by helping lead Great Britain to a 4-1 win over Croatia in Davis Cup. This victory puts them in the World Group for 2008. (Results.)

Hey, at least Henman got a chance to have a glorious moment on the surface (and the venue — the All-England Club) that haunted his career the most; Tim was burdened with the pressure of being a hometown Wimbledon winner. Unfortunately, even his great serve-and-volley game crumbled under this expectation.

The threads: Henman’s never wacky with his clothes anyway, so the adidas kit (with the country name on the shirt’s back) was as expected. And Andy Murray continued the color theme with his muted black and white Fred Perry kit. (Mourning the loss of his 2007, I imagine?) The Scot won both his singles rubbers, and his brother Jamie teamed with Tim to win the doubles rubber — and clinch the tie.

The perfect accessory: Little Rosie Henman was also on hand to help celebrate her dad’s win.

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>> TSF’s davis cup coverage

short balls: karlovic's shorts, stretch without booty, tennis on the big screen

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Talk to my shorts: Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic, tired of answering questions about his height, got it emblazoned on his clothes. And yes, he’s 6’10”. (The Examiner; photo by Allen Clark for offwing.com)

Other giants: American John Isner (6’9″) tears through the draw at the Legg Mason Classic, beating Henman and Ben Becker to get to the quarters.

Yikes, I’m old: I remember talking about Hingis beating Venus at the San Diego tourney back in 1997 (it was their second WTA meeting). THAT WAS TEN YEARS AGO. Matthew Cronin catches up with both players as they return to the final Acura Classic. This time around, it’s a given — Venus will kick some Hingis butt.

Speaking of cocky players: Here’s an article by Joel Drucker about the role confidence plays in tennis matches.

Not another tennis movie: A film about country club pros is in the works (THR)

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Stretch and Booty no longer: Did winning a Wimbledon mixed doubles title get to Jamie Murray? He’s parting ways with men’s doubles partner Eric Butorac aka Booty because of lackluster results (but jftr they won three titles together). Too bad; I was just starting to like those personalized shirts of theirs…

champions dinner + venus rosewater dish

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With their Tbags (that’s “tennis boyfriends and girlfriends”) in tow, Roger Federer and Venus Williams were among those toasted at the Wimbledon Champions Dinner held in London’s Savoy Hotel. Also in attendance were runner-up Marion Bartoli and lovebirds mixed doubles champions Jelena Jankovic and Jamie Murray.

About the Savoy: See pictures of this Art Deco hotel (which opened in 1889) here.

Trophy watch: From Off the Baseline’s Wimbledon Fact File — “The Ladies’ Singles Trophy is a silver salver, 18 ¾-inches (sic) in diameter, referred to as the ‘Rosewater Dish’ or ‘Venus Rosewater Dish’. It was first won by the Champion when the challenge round was introduced in 1886.” The dish is a replica of an electrotype by German artist Caspar Enderlein of a pewter piece called The Temperantia by Frenchman Fracois Briot (did you catch all that?).

Photos from the party: Bartoli, Jankovic, Jankovic with Murray, Roger with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, Venus with boyfriend Hank Kuehne, Roger and Venus with their trophies.

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