2013 check-in: who are your tennis HOATs?

Hottest Tennis Players of All Time

Time Capsule: When we first shared our Hottest-of-All-Time Tennis Players list back in 2007, our list had Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy HaasMarat SafinPatrick Rafter, and Arnaud Clement (with runners-up Nikolay DavydenkoAndy Murray, and Mikhail Youzhny.)

Our tastes have evolved over the years (and there are players whose looks and tennis talent have catapulted them into the TSF orbit). And so our HOAT list, updated for 2013: Grigor Dimitrov, Tommy Haas, Janko Tipsarevic, and Juan Monaco.

Who’s on your list? Tell us!

houston: juan monaco will defend title; monfils and querrey join field

u.s. men's claycourt championships - logo

HOUSTON – Argentina’s Juan Monaco will defend his US Men’s Clay Court Championship title when the tournament returns to River Oaks Country Club April 8-14, and he will be accompanied in the field by American Sam Querrey and Frenchman Gael Monfils.

These three players join the previously announced commitments from top-ranked American John Isner and Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco in the singles field and American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in the doubles field.

These singles entries put five players from the Top 25 of the current ATP World Tour rankings into the field for the tournament at River Oaks. As of Monday, Almagro was No. 11, Monaco No. 15, Isner No. 16, Querry No. 20 and Verdasco No. 24.

“We always take pride in exposing our fans to new players, so it is with great pleasure we can have guys like Monfils, Almagro and Verdasco making their River Oaks debut this year,” said Tournament Director Van Barry. “We are also happy to welcome back familiar faces. Juan Monaco was a popular champion last year, and the group of Americans we have returning have long been fan favorites here in Houston.”

Monaco will try to be the first repeat champion of the event since the recently retired Andy Roddick won back-to-back titles in 2001-02. The win at River Oaks last year was one of his career-high four titles in 2012. He has reached at least one clay court final in seven of the past eight seasons, and six of Monaco’s seven career titles have come on clay.

Querrey teamed with James Blake to win the 2012 doubles title at River Oaks. He’s also enjoyed singles success, reaching the final in 2010. He has won seven titles while appearing in 12 finals in his career, and earlier this month helped the US reach the Davis Cup quarterfinal with a pair of singles wins against Brazil.

Monfils has finished in the Top 20 in the World in four of the past five seasons. He has reached 17 career ATP finals, winning four titles. He was a finalist twice early in 2012 before a knee injury forced him to miss nearly four months. He already has reached one semifinal and another quarterfinal early in 2013.

In last year’s final, Monaco defeated Isner, who in 2012 reached the Top 10 for the first time. Almagro has led the ATP in clay court match wins three times in the past five seasons and is one of only four players with over 200 career clay court wins. Verdasco has reached 10 career clay court finals and finished in the Top 25 in five straight seasons.

The Bryan Brothers are the World No. 1 doubles team and four-time champions at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship. They own the record for Grand Slam titles with 13 together as well as total career titles together with 84.

Individual session tickets and the very popular “Champ Pass” are on sale on now. The Champ Pass for the 2013 US Men’s Clay Court Championship includes a ticket to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions. “The Champ Pass” usually sells out before the tournament begins. A limited number of season ticket packages are still remaining. Information on tickets can be found at www.mensclaycourt.com or by calling 713-874-6294.

davis cup: are you in yet, juan monaco?

Juan Monaco practices ahead of the Feb 2013 Davis Cup tie against Germany
Practice makes perfect: Our besties at BATennis are all over the Davis Cup tie between Argentina and Germany, being contested in Buenos Aires this weekend. Top Argentine Juan Monaco, who was one of the earliest scalps at the 2013 Australian Open, leads the host team. Loving that practice tee from adidas.

Deets: See the roster for this World Group first round tie.

(Photo Credit: BATennis)

men's best at the 2011 u.s. open

Testosterone treatment: The folks at adidas have done well to integrate current streetwear trends — geometric patterns, color blocking, neons — into their men’s adiZero collection. As a whole, this was the best look for the 2011 U.S. Open, seen on Juan Monaco, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco, Alexandr Dolgopolov, among others.

More: See the individual pieces (that triangled warm-up’s our fave) — after the cut…

trophy watch: another rf tee from nike

Check out this Roger Federer tee being sold by Nike at their on-site U.S. Open booth. It wasn’t included in the preview they released, so I’m glad we ran across it!

Pop quiz: The images show Roger’s medal from the Olympics (albeit in doubles) along with 14 of his majors. He has 16 Slams in total; which ones did they leave out?

In a rush: Fed took care of things quickly against Juan Monaco in the fourth round of this year’s men’s singles event; between the late start (that Wozniacki/Kuznetsova took forever) and the threat of a rain delay, he wanted to finish ASAP. Roger only dropped three games against the Argentine and has booked a quarterfinal appointment with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man who beat him in the final 8 of this year’s Wimbledon. (Draw: Men’s Singles)

(screengrab via ESPN)

shirtless: juan monaco

Juan Monaco‘s playing at this week’s combined Mutua Madrid Open, winning his first-rounder against Andrey Golubev 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. He’ll need to step it up if he wants to upset ninth seed Gael Monfils in the next round. They both share the same quarter as Andy Murray (though we think it’s Tomas Berdych‘s to lose). Browse: Mutua Madrid Open Draws.

Taking pic(o)s: Some shots we took of Monaco earlier this year at Indian Wells.

(images by TSF)

shirtless: grigor dimitrov

Slow day over here. Thank god, otherwise I’d never’ve gotten around to linking to these pics of Grigor Dimitrov from 2010 in Bangkok, where he went on a tear and ended up with back-to-back titles. (Photos: Enjoy!)

2011: Grigor’s won a Challenger (Cherbourg) and last month reached a career-high No. 70 in the ATP rankings. He entered this week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and immediately lost 4-6, 1-6 to Juan Monaco (after being up 4-1 in that first set). Draw: Here’s how the rest of the guys are doing. (The field includes Nadal, Soderling, Ferrer, Melzer, Monfils, and Almagro.)

(image via modetopia)

sunday survey: week 1’s wackiest?

Week one of the Australian Open is over and done with: seven days of play down, seven to go. But there were seven instances out of the tennis norm that caught our eye, and we’re wondering for today’s Sunday Survey: which moment was the wackiest? Choose in the survey below. And if you’re not sure what we’re referencing, check out videos on each occurrence after the jump.

Click here for a video vault on all seven moments. [Read more...]