outside winter, inside spring



Serena Williams captured the inaugural BNP Paribas Billie Jean King Cup on Monday night at the Madison Square Garden, beating her sister Venus in the final 6-4, 6-3.

While it may have been winter outside in the middle of Manhattan, spring was in full bloom inside the arena. Even President Bill Clinton and Billie Jean joined in the color brigade, sporting patterned purple and soft mint, respectively, on a snowy night.

The color wheel keeps spinning after the cut…

powder park views



City digs: The women competing in tonight’s Billie Jean King Cup are staying warm and cozy during New York City’s March blizzard at the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South. The Essex House, which overlooks Central Park, is an iconic New York landmark, and has rooms from $299 and up per night.

essex-house-bjkcup09
At the press conference this morning at the Jumeirah, Ana Ivanovic was giddy to see snow, saying the warm weather gets a little old. “Everywhere we travel is always so hot, it’s fun to wake up to snow!” 

Coming from a pratice session, Ivanovic was dressed most casually of the four women, wearing a gray wide-shouldered tee and bright-pink adidas warm-ups. Serena, Venus and Jelena all wore more business-y attire, as did Billie Jean King, who will be honored tonight by President Bill Clinton along with a host of former great athletes, including my personal fav Nancy Kerrigan.

Comedian Dave Hill even got his shoe in the door, shooting a hilarious promotional video with the gals of the cup. 

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attack of the 500-foot women



bjkcup-advert-timessquare09

We’re not quite done with NYC phone photos: Nick McCarvel snapped this pic of a billboard that just went up in Times Square to promote the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup.

Venus, Serena, Ana, and Jelena will compete for $1.2 million in prize money in one-set single-elimination semis before a three-set final.

Oops: Let’s hope ANTA is okay with Jelena still wearing her U.S. Open ’08 Reebok dress for the promo…

More: Get more info about the exo here.

sightings in the stands: sampras and federer’s netjets showdown



A few celebrities spent their Monday night at the NetJets Showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Robert, Lynettee, Mirka

Roger Federer‘s parents, Robert and Lynettee, sit next to longtime girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec.

Tiger Woods and Elin

Roger’s besty Tiger Woods watches the match with Elin Nordegren.

Rupert Murdoch, Anna Wintour

Heavyweights: Rupert Murdoch and Anna Wintour.

Not shown: Barry Diller, Donald Trump, Ivan Lendl, Stan Smith, John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe, Chloe Sevigny, etc.

sampras and federer duke it out at the garden



Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Billie Jean King

Mano a mono: It’s already in the running for Most Overanalyzed Meaningless Tennis Match in History, but Bonnie D. Ford makes no apologies for chiming in. Roger Federer beat Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6).

Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, both in Nike

Fashion: We enjoyed the revival of Roger’s tuxedo look (from last year’s U.S. Open), and we were ecstatic that Pete finally came out with a new look. As of Saturday, while playing an exo against Todd Martin in Columbus, he was still wearing a style from 10 months ago.

Tick tock: How appropriate that Roger came out wearing a Rolex (which he has endorsed since 2006). Is he counting down his time at the top?

In case you missed it: Roger’s lackluster play in 2008 (no titles for him so far) was attributed to some food poisoning before Kooyong, and also to mono. He keeps himself relatively injury-free, but you can’t really escape the microscopic things, I guess. (Read a letter from Roger to his fans addressing his illness.)

And perhaps we’re all just suffering from a little too much Roger. (Even fan club prez Anna Wintour was seen with another athlete — gasp! — LeBron James.)

The rest push back: He wasn’t even doing so well with the media, who’ve tried to bait his peers to comment on his observation of Andy Murray‘s game after losing to the Scot in Dubai.

Murray wouldn’t get into it. Nole: “Murray has a great style and talent and knows how to play at any one moment… Roger doesn’t like it when you get a lot of balls back against him.” Nadal:: Murray “is getting very good results with his style and if you are doing well why do you have to change?”

Junior Ore, Dennis Kudla

Warm-up: Jordan and I had a talk the other day about who would be picked to play the warm-up match before the NetJets Showdown. Jordan was hoping Donald Young or someone like that. Instead, the audience got treated to Denis Kudla and Junior Ore. Ore says Marcelo Rios is his idol. That’s pretty awesome; you don’t hear Rios mentioned that much anymore. (Tennis Week via Zoo Tennis)

Pete Sampras - Roger Federer - Press Conference

Another: Here’s a photo from the press conference for the exhibition.