just for the record: jesse levine ao wildcard + that henderson piece on andy murray

Not entirely sure why Jesse Levine‘s Australian Open wild card was so underreported, especially since U.S. tennis darling John Isner was vying for the spot (along with Levine, Wayne Odesnik, and Alex Kuznetsov). Is it because we all in protest because the USTA couldn’t give the WC to the too-old Robby Ginepri? It worked out for the best anyway; Ginepri, who was already down south for this week’s Medibank International in Sydney, had to retire from his qualifying match against Alberto Martin.

Congrats, Jesse. We hope you’ll make some noise Down Under. (And pat on the back to his female counterpart, Madison Brengle.)

Also, I noticed that I posted the wrong link to Jon Henderson‘s blog post on Andy Murray. If you got directed to a fluff piece about Steffi Graf and Justine Henin, I’m sorry. I’ve fixed the mistake on the original post, but you can also get to Henderson’s article here.

short balls: good doubles news, bad doubles news, what brad gilbert will do after a second andy dumping

Williams sisters to play doubles: The pair will participate in the Australian Open draw. Does this mean they’ll be able to play Beijing?

The Gilbert/LTA saga: Esteemed tennis coach Brad Gilbert will stay with the LTA even after his split with Andy Murray (that’s his second “Andy”… the first being Andy Roddick… and his third “And”… the other being Andre Agassi). The Scot will replace Gilbert with a team of experts. Meanwhile, LTA chief exec Roger Draper announced that Gilbert, whose contract has been renegotiated (just its duration — NOT his £750,000 in guaranteed earnings), will focus on getting British No. 2 Alex Bogdanovich to move up in the rankings (he’s currently at No. 161) and training other coaches. Of this move by Draper, critics are speaking out.

Wow: So. Many. Air Quotes.

Chasing a Canuck: Junior Jesse Levine has a suitor in Tennis Canada. (ZooTennis)

Checking in at Chennai: Rafa Nadal gives a Q&A for the Chennai Open. (Indiatimes)

Sometimes, it’s better after a break-up: A falling-out between Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in May didn’t stop the duo from success. In fact, after losing their first 13 tourneys in 2007, they went on to win three — Roland Garros, Queen’s Club, and Tennis Masters Cup — of their last seven. (Nestor, who broke off the partnership, will play with Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic; Knowles will play with Mahesh Bhupathi. (The Globe and Mail)

(OT) Live from New York: Just because TV writers have struck doesn’t mean their creative juices have stopped flowing. SNLers performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Saturday night (with Michael Cera hosting), while a live version of 30 Rock played on Monday night. (NYT)

(OT) Child Matadors: Good read. (NYT)

(OT) Choking on growth: For those who want to get depressed, follow NYT‘s series on China’s growing pains.

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>> TSF’s short balls archive

short balls: roddick watch, ferrer is 7th best, adidas vs. nike, we love lleyton, etc.

Roddick gossip: I’m loving the Andy round-up over at Roddick Watch (the August 26 post). RW also links to a quick interview which reveals Andy’s favorite TV show (The Office) and his favorite food (of course, since he’s Texan, it’s steak).

Perhaps Kolya should be worried: Sports giant Nike has ended its relationship with football superstar Michael Vick following his guilty to charges of running a dogfighting ring. As Nike said in previous statements, the company considers any cruelty to animals inhumane, abhorrent, and unacceptable. Let’s hope they don’t sell any leather goods?

Well, if Airness decides to drop Davydenko, they should at least wait until he pleads guilty to match-fixing. If not, let him keep his clothes!

Ferrer seventh best?: A quick glance at this year’s race to the ATP Championships shows Spaniard David Ferrer as the seventh-best player. Crazy, eh? (via Chris)

adidas trumps Nike: Interesting stats based on the ATP and SEWTA data show that adidas has more (clothing) sponsored players in the U.S. Open draw than Nike. (WATR)

Bonus round: You can never go wrong with picturing Lleyton Hewitt in a suit. (photo via Order of Play)

Totally jelly: Oh you better believe I turned green when I saw the Lacoste alligator plastered all over the New York Post‘s tennis section. I can only hope TSF gets the gator one day…

Times they are a-changin’: And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. People can hem and haw about tennis going to the dogs: technology (Hawk-Eye, non-wood racquets), policy changes (on-court coaching?!), an increasing similarity to Hollywood (Masha had a press conference for her dress? and everyone BLOGGED about it?!) — but in the end, as long as the players keep showcasing amazing tennis ability and passion for the sport, we’ll continue to love it.

Where are all the Latin American women?: ESPNDeportes.com’s Gustavo Goitia wonders, and chalks it up to a downward spiral:

“There are very few sponsors willing to pour money into programs, so that makes it hard to organize certain competitions and/or help the girls with the economic costs of the trips to Europe and United States to play with the best. And as the talent pool decreases, there is less and less sponsor interest in opening their wallets.”

Juniors go pro: Teens Jesse Levine and Kevin Anderson have announced their moves to the pro circuit. Levine will be taking home his prize money from the Open’s main draw (he’s in it as a wild card). (via ZooTennis)

short balls: will & grace, quddus at kids' day, federer's birth chart, lacoste…

Will and Grace, part 2: A W&G rerun from the other night had yet another obscure reference, this time to Evonne Goolagong. Yes, yes — it’s not obscure to us gays, but you have to admit it’s obscure to the general public…

I’m no spring chicken: Which means I don’t watch TRL, which means I didn’t even know about Quddus Philippe until today. Cutie! Quddus is hosting Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the Open.

We have a lot of work to do: Did anyone else see Venus on GMA yesterday? Kate Snow, one of the show’s anchors, committed a tennis faux pas (and one of my pet peeves): she asked Venus to “volley” when she meant “rally” — grrrrr…. And, when talking about Venus’ ranking, Snow said it’s “really up there”. Uhm, an intern could have done some research to make this less vague.

A Lacoste mishit: Hardcore Lacoste (and kitsch) fans must check out this eBay auction. The belt is cute, but that’s about it.

Reading Roger: The World No. 1′s birth chart.

Federer taps another teen: For the ATP Masters Series tourney in Cincy, junior Matt Allare was chosen by Roger to be his hitting partner. Jesse Levine got the same honor a few months back when Federer flew him to Dubai. (ZooTennis)

Nole’s resume: The Age does this cute, quick feature on the clowny ways of Novak Djokovic.

short balls: wednesday

Does Dubai have a shortage of Nadal mimics?: Gator Jesse Levine got a call from Roger Federer, who flew the lefty out to the Middle East for some hitting sessions. (Times Leader)

Because Roger could be in trouble: A blogger points out that Nadal is nipping at the heels of R-Fed. The Swiss’ number one spot could be in danger.

Grasping at straws: The USTA wants to toughen up their juniors so they signed ‘em up for boot camp. It’s not quite like hitting sessions in a drained out swimming pool, but… (SFSS)

We all have a type, don’t we?: Some hardcore journalism from the Daily Mail, who’s discovered that Boris Becker and ex-wife Barbara Feltus were destined for a romance of some sort; “no fewer than five of (his) lovers have borne a striking similarity” to Barbara, and her current boyfriend is also a scandal-plagued redhead.

Young and out on the field: A great story in the L.A. Times about the current climate for LGB athletes in high school sports programs. For some, it’s good; for some, it’s bad. My one criticism: it would’ve been nice to see how transgender folk are being received…

Stanford through 2012: Unlike its San Diego counterpart (RIP), the Bank of the West Classic in Palo Alto will be around through 2012. (Palo Alto Daily News)

The LTA tries to quantify tennis potential: Tennis mom Judy Murray and the rest of the British gang are really serious about finding future pros. And so they’re having kids go up against a metronome. Let’s hope it works. (Zoo Tennis)

Asia on the fashion map: Much like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka embraces its contribution tennis fashion — i.e., Reebok‘s hot pants look for Venus Williams. MAS Active received the order for the whole outfit (layered top, skirt, and short shorts) four months before Wimbledon. (The Sunday Times)

FYI: Coach Nick Bollettieri charges $900 an hour for his tennis services at his academy in Western Florida. And that’s on top of the $41,100 annual boarding fee. (Times)

WTA and Beijing Olympics hammer out a deal: Countries can send up to six players to the Beijing Olympics. Like in Athens, ITF hammered out a deal to award rankings points for the women’s competition. (IHT)