davis cup: swiss take on italy, czech take on france while usa fights slovakia for next year

It’s Davis Cup weekend and the USA is taking on Slovakia to ensure a spot in the 2015 Davis Cup tournament. Captain Jim Courier has selected John Isner, the top ranked US player who was the last player to exit the US Open 2014.  Sam Querrey, who recently defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to reach the semi’s at  Winston-Salem for the third year in a row only to be defeated by Jerzy Janowicz and they are both joined by tennis twins  Mike and Bob Bryan, who are widely considered to be the best men’s doubles team of all time. The Bryans bros won the US Open 2014 which marked their 16th Grand Slam win and 100th title.

The USA hopes to uphold their unbeaten record versus Slovakia but their last victories already dated from the 2002 and 2003 season.  The 2014 US Davis Cup team shows parallels with the 2003 when the team took on Slovakia at the same stage in Bratislava and beat the Slovaks with an epic 3-2 victory. In order for the USA to compete in the Davis Cup 2015 they must beat Slovakia this coming weekend.

If Slovakia wins then they will be the ones who will compete in the 2015 Davis Cup.  The Slovakia Davis Cup team is captained by Miloslav Mecir and features Martin Klizan, Lukas Lacko, Norbert Gombos and Michal Mertinak.

Meanwhile Roger Federer leads Swiss’ Davis Cup challenge as they take on Italy in the semi’s of the tournament. Swiss is captained by Severin Luthi and the team consists of Roger Federer, winner of 17 Grand Slam tournaments, Stanislas Wawrinka, winner of the Australian Open 2014 and is completed by Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer.  The Italian team consists of Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini.

Federer considers Swiss to be the favorite in this encounter.

“We obviously are favorites,” the third-ranked Federer said. “We have a formidable team. We are playing at home and we chose the surface. We can do it.”

Swiss captain told the press that having Federer and Wawrinka with the team has greatly improved the preparation for the upcoming weekend.

“We could train together as soon as Tuesday, which was not the case in our opening two rounds,” Luthi said, referring to the tight 3-2 wins over Serbia and Kazakhstan.

If the Swiss win they will take on the winner of the match between France and the Czech Republic.

France takes on the Czech Republic who have proved themselves to be great cupfighters as they have won the Davis Cup twice in a row.  France’ team consists of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, both players who are currently in top form. Tsonga recently won the Rogers Cup in Toronto while Gael Monfils reached the fourth round of the US Open 2014 where he lost to Federer in an epic five set match where he failed to convert two match points.

France coach Arnaud Clement called the Czech team “the best team in the world” and is looking try to stop the impressive winning streak of the Czechs.

“This is the best team in the world,” France captain Arnaud Clement said of the Czechs. “One can’t win the Davis Cup twice in a row by chance. We’ll be trying to put their amazing run to an end.”

The Czech team consists of Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and is completed by Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely.

Stepanek is looking forward to playing at Roland Garros and even more so when he found out that Roland Garros was originally built to host Davis Cup matches.

“It’s special when you come here for a Grand Slam tournament and it’s definitely even more special for us to play here and play for our country. It’s even more special to play here in the semifinals.”

Make your predictions for the upcoming Davis Cup weekend matches and check if it is a good bet with the best tennis betting online sites.

IMG signs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

IMG announced  the signing of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France to a worldwide marketing and management representation. Tsonga, currently ranked World No.15 (as of Week of July 28, 2014), has a career high ranking of World No.5, achieved week of February 27, 2012.

The Le Mans native finished 2013 in the Top 10 for the third year in a row. Tsonga has 10 career ATP titles and has been the finalist at the 2008 Australian Open and the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals in London. He has reached the semifinals of the 2013 Roland Garros and the 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon.

‘’We are thrilled that Jo-Wilfried chose IMG to represent him. He is a terrific player and a great person, and we look forward to strengthening and growing his global brand on and off the tennis court,’’ said Fernando Soler, Managing Director of IMG Tennis.

Tsonga will be managed by Carlos Fleming whose athlete management portfolio includes seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, NFL stars Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) and Victor Cruz (New York Giants), and reigning US Open Women’s Golf Champion, Michelle Wie.

Tsonga joins IMG Tennis’s roster of stars which includes Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, David Ferrer, Kei Nishikori, and John McEnroe, among many others.

trophy watch: go big, go bulky or go home

Go big, go bulky. The designers of tennis trophies must have not heard the news of bleachers breaking during a show at Paris Fashion Week. As fall approaches, trophies are keeping themselves warm with big, bulky and rounded frames. At least they don’t have fur, right? Above, a deserving Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hoists an egg-shaped award at the Moselle Open in Metz, France. The French crowd was happy to cheer on its countryman, who beat Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-7 (4) 6-3 in the final. | TSF Vault: Trophy Watch

Florian Mayer got what he could fashion into a fruit bowl as a prize for his first ATP title as he beat Pablo Andujar in the Bucharest final. It was Mayer’s first ATP win in five final appearances. He beat the Spaniard 6-3, 6-1.

Another first timer, Chanelle Scheepers, was victorious in Guangzhou, beating Magdalena Rybarikova in the final, 6-2 6-2.

We’re really loving this classy number from the tourney in Seoul, even if the trophy does feel one size too big. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez got past Galina Voskoboeva in the final, running away with two tie-breakers, 7-6 (0) 7-6 (2).

(tsonga and mayer by Getty Images; scheepers via guangzhou and sanchez martina via korea tennis association)

tsonga goes bare in uk cosmo


You go, Jo: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
is getting our nod of approval for his decision to pose nude in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan in the UK. The reason? His posing supports the Everyman Campaign, which raises awareness of and funds research for testicular and prostate cancer. What does Jo like best about his bod? “[M]y buttocks,” he says. (We can’t argue with that.) Meanwhile, JWT is loving a good pair of eyes on the ladies and “could never choose between tennis and sex.” Now there’s a smart man.

More posing: Robredo (2007) | Verdaso (2008)

(Image via UK Cosmo)

fashion focus: adidas adiace (roland garros)

Stanislas Wawrinka needed to remind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga about who was seeded higher at this year’s French Open, and it wasn’t easy: it took Stan about four hours to log the 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 victory. And it doesn’t get any easier: up next is a Swiss-fest against Roger Federer. (Read up: Roger and Stan’s career head-to-head; Pt. 2: French Open Men’s Singles Draw)

Tsonga was the only ATPer clad in the Roland Garros-branded adidas adiAce line. On the men, they produced a slim-fit polo with flattering color-blocking (not that Tsonga needs help in that department). And you know how we love a popped collar, so the quarter-zipped stand-up collar on the polo is a nice touch. The colorways: Intense Green with white and Medium Lead; Medium Lead with Intense Green and Ice Grey.

On the women, they’ve used a maroon colorway on a scoop-neck dress with a pleated skirt. The accompanying wristband and warm-up jacket — accented with a neon (“Aero”) red — round out the collection. Also of note: a few graphic tees and a white, ruffled top for the ladies. See our picks below; browse (and buy!) everything here. What do you think of the adiAce goods?

(Tsonga photos by AP Photo/Michel Euler and Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

she said, he said: petko & j-willy

On Monday, the folks of the WTA asked players in Dubai what a good Valentine’s Day date would be. Leave it to one Andrea Petkovic to have the best answer. By light years. “Well first of all I have to say I hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why… but, it’s too pink-y girly for me. My perfect date would go to a concert and jump around a little bit. And then go and have a beer.”

We grabbed this image from Petko’s rockin’ web site, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already. The photo was taken by famed German photog Markus Hintzen for Der Spiegel.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga really doesn’t have to say anything. Just shake those hips, brother.

(tsonga photo via atp by yohan brandt)

aussie preview: the power list

Since we’re done with our fashion coverage for the year (we only kid!), we decided to look a little bit closer at the tennis that will be played at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins Sunday night on American television.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO | Follow us on Twitter @TSFtennis

The Power List – How the top men (and women) stack up

 

1. No one can come into the AO feeling better than Roger Federer. The Swiss Mister won his season-opening foray in Doha without dropping a set, beating Nicolay Davydenko in the final. Along with his win at the World Tour Finals, Federer has notched 10 straight matches. Federer played three exhibitions during the off season – all against Rafael Nadal – and looks primed to defend his title in Melbourne.

2. Serena Williams. It might be strange to see Serena’s name second on this list, but the current world no. 4 will be the biggest female force in this year’s draw – absent force, that is. The defending champion hasn’t played a match since winning Wimbledon, and the ladies look lost without her. Serena beat Justine Henin in the most memorable Slam final of last year here, and the sticky courts of Australia won’t have the same female ferocity without her.

3. Rafael Nadal is appropriately third on our list – especially seeing that he has won three straight Slams. And there are three factors that play into Rafa winning an illustrious, fourth straight Major: his health (most namely his knees); his focus against lurking dark-horses (there are plenty – check back tomorrow); and his ability to rise against the Roger challenge. He failed in two of those in losing soundly to Federer in London in November, but will look to build his confidence one match at a time at the AO.

4. There is hard to find a more like-able – or more important, match-savvy – player on the WTA right now than Kim Clijsters. Clijsters captured the US Open for the second straight year in 2010, and then went on to dominate the women’s season-ending event. Her loss in Sydney’s final on Saturday to Li Na? We say that’s a good thing: A more-focused Kimmie won’t produce any 6-0, 6-1 third-round catastrophes this year.

5. Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, it’s a little unfair that we bunched these four gents together, but at this point, it’s hard not to. Soderling had a hot start to 2011, winning Brisbane and once again proving that he is no flash in the pan. As for Roddick – who lost to Sod in the Brisbane final – the American is said to be in some of the best shape of his life had seems as hungry as ever. And it’s hard to believe that Murray and Djokovic have just one Slam between the two of them. How is that possible? (See Nos. 1 & 3 for answer.) Any of these fellas could walk away from Melbourne the champ, and few would be surprised…

6. Is there more of a mystery than Justine Henin on the women’s side? She is the female version of Juan Martin del Potro, hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but might be playing second fiddle to Kim’s current reign. Justine shocked us all by making the finals last year. It was in 2010 when she toughed through a straight-set win over now-retired Elena Dementieva, and again has a Russian seed (that’d be Kuzy) in the Round of 32. | Full women’s draw

7. While Tomas Berdych continues to be a mystery since his French-Wimbledon brilliance (he’s 12-13 since July), Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have made their own noise to start 2011: Davydenko took out Nadal in Doha and Tsonga fell to Roger at the same tourney. Tsonga is a former finalist here (downing Fed in the semis in ’08), while Davydenko has (shockingly) still not been to the last two of a major. Any of these three could fit in with our group at No. 5, but do they have what it takes to run seven matches straight?

8. Here’s a new trio for you folks: Jelena JankovicAna Ivanovic and … Bojana Jovanovski. While we could have included Janko Tipsarevic in this line-up, but this new ladies three-some is sure to have the eyes of some WTA followers over the next two weeks. Our guess: the three gals will chalk up 7 total wins (AI 4, BJ 1 and JJ 2) over the two weeks. The ultimate question? Who will have the best year of the bunch? Jelena is a dismal 9-13 since a French open semis run and Jovanovski beat Kanepi, Pannetta and Rezai last week alone. And another new coach for Ana… | Ana just wants to have fun?

9. Venus Williams didn’t win a set in two round-robin matches last weekend in Hong Kong. She hasn’t played a WTA match since the US Open. And before that? Wimbledon. It’s anybody’s guess for Family Williams in Melbourne this year.

10. Three ladies who have a solid shot at a week-two run and a decent chance of a first-round crash out include Caroline WozniackiVera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki won just one game in an exo with Zvonareva last weekend, and both had bizarre early losses in Sydney. Sharapova’s ’11 debut? A second-round crash against Greta Arn. Just another (four) reasons that this might be Kim Clijsters’ Aussie to win.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO

(federer photo future capetown; soderling photo via getty)

players manage balancing act while prepping for nyc’s big show

Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch after meeting the Mets team in Queens on Friday in New York. A day earlier, she was the USTA’s guest of honor at the draw ceremony (AP photo via Yahoo! Sports).

RalphLauren.com pulled out all the stops on Thursday afternoon for an event featuring Venus Williams, in which Venus took questions from online submissions from around the world in a live clinic. At the Sportime Randall’s Island tennis center in New York, Venus was on court for the first time in a public setting since her eyebrow-raising loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But instead of thwacking errors and a look of confusion, Venus was all smiles and tennis knowledge in the clinic, which was hosted by the British TV personality (and former player) Annabel Croft.

Venus, who is the no. 3 seed at the US Open and one of the favorites though she hasn’t been on tour in two months, talked fitness, forehands and gave plenty of tennis tips from her 26 years of experience on the court. The event was hosted by Ralph Lauren and Mercedes Benz, based on RL’s homepage for viewers to log in and watch live while Venus answered questions relayed by Croft. (Watch a full replay of the clinic here or click on the image after the jump.)

“It’s good for me to remember the basics when I’m about to play a big tournament,” Venus said, referring to the Open. Venus partnered with Ralph Lauren in the design of the dress she wore, a white number emblazoned with the logo of Eleven, Venus’s clothing line.

Guests were greeted with sweet mint tea, pistachio ice cream sandwiches and caramelized popcorn on the upper deck at Randall’s Island, which hosts the New York Sportimes during the World Team Tennis seasons. Male models clad in red Ralph Lauren polos dished out the goods as Venus strode through the crowd on her way to hair and make up (this was a live, online clinic, after all).

The clinic was a part of a myriad of events happening in New York this week, which all lead up to the big show at Flushing Meadows starting on Monday.

[Read more…]

caro has stella, but ana keeps the corner

Caroline Wozniacki might be adidas‘ choice to sport the much-coveted Stella McCartney line on the court, but her predecessor, Ana Ivanovic, still books the corner spot when it comes to ad space.

The adidas Soho store in New York has a bank of windows full of tennis players and gear (Wozniacki, Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray) in anticipation for the US Open, but while Wozy might have the most square footage of any subject with her McCartney display, it’s Ivanovic and Murray who get one of Manhattan’s busiest street corners (Broadway and Houston) to peer over all day long.

There’s no Maria Kirilenko (the former Stella gal) in sight in the window display (full photos after the jump), nor does 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin make an appearance.

Full window display shots of all four players after the cut. [Read more…]