trophy watch: open sud de france, pbz zagreb indoors, vtr open



This past week week, the women and the men swapped spots for world team play; with the ladies competing in their first Fed Cup ties of the season and the men duking it out for titles at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, and at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Marin Cilic - PBZ Zagreb Indoors 2013

Top seed and local Marin Cilic won his third PBZ Zagreb Indoors title after defeating Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Cilic also won this title in 2009 and 2010. Melzer is looking for an uptick on his win-loss record for 2013 so far, which has seen upsets to lower-ranked players and upsets against Tomas Berdych in Melbourne and Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane.

Melzer, on his loss to Cilic:

“He was the better player today. I needed it to be close at 4-all, 5-all in the first set to give me confidence. That didn’t happen and he ran away with it. I felt like I was hitting the ball really well at the beginning, but he hit the ball even better. What made the difference in the first few games is that he had free points on serve, whereas I had to work for them: hit a winner or play well so he missed. He deserved the victory.”

More: Trophies from France (our pick of the week!) and Chile, plus the Fed Cup ties — after the cut…

cilic: one of the u.s. open's best dressed



Li Ning‘s been given the tall task of dressing Marin Cilic at this year’s U.S. Open. They made good use of vibrant, contrasting colors (royal blue, yellow, and white) in blocks, lines, and swirls to break up the real estate on the 6′ 6″ Croat. Plus brownie points for the sleek footwear colors — socks included. It’s refreshing to see tennis (almost-)whites in an era when everyone’s trying to infuse their gear with color.

Marin, the tournament’s 27th seed, beat Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) in the opening round and dropped only three games against Tomic in the second before falling to Federer. He can take solace in having taken a set off Fed, for anchoring the Croatian Davis Cup team for their tie vs. South Africa later this month, and for being one of the U.S. Open’s best dressed gents.

More: Two other pics of Cilic after the cut…

18 crumbs from taste of tennis



And by “crumbs,” we mean people, of course. Thursday night, TSF made its way to Taste of Tennis, the yearly event that combines food, the chefs that make it and a line-up of US Open tennis players for an evening that’s quite delectable. It was our first time there, and we were lucky enough to be joined by the talented photographer Billie Weiss, who snapped all 13 of these images in this post. But while Billie took in the visuals, we worked the green carpet and nabbed a few folks for a word or two before they headed in to snarf and socialize.

Our leading man, Gilles Simon, above, worked the green carpet longer than anyone else, happily obliging to speak with every single reporter and blogger (and there were plenty of us!) along his way.

TSF: What’s been the most surprising thing about year one of fatherhood? Hardest?
Gilles Simon: Well, it’s not surprising because I wanted it. [Smiling.] The mother, she is fabulous. When I have a match and the baby is crying in the night, I don’t wake up, she will always do that. For me, I just have the good things during a tournament: I get to enjoy him and when I don’t win a match he makes me smile because he is always happy to see [me]. I tend to forget about tennis around him.

TSF: Are you guys always traveling as a unit?
GS: We are not always together. But when we are, the mother helps me a lot — she is very patient. I try to have them with me as much as possible, of course.

TSF: What’s one thing you love about coming to New York?
GS: I am from Paris so shopping is not a big deal here. [Smiling.] It’s just being here. You cannot see this city anywhere else in the world. Nothing is the same. At night, sometimes it is too much for me, but it’s only two weeks. I can do that. I really enjoy traveling in different parts of the world. New York? You can’t find it anywhere else.

TSF: Tell us what you’re doing here tonight.
Gigi Fernandez: I’m here as an ambassador for the event. I’m delighted that I get to combine my two passions: tennis and drinking. [Laughs.] No, no. Tennis and food. Rums of Puerto Rico [one of the sponsors] asked me to come tonight and I’ve done stuff with them before. I did an event with them in Washington DC that was an Iron Chef-style competition where the chefs had to prepare food using different rums. And I was one of the judges… we got to drink and eat. It was great! It’s always fun for me to represent anything Puerto Rican.

TSF: OK, you’ve made two drink reference so far. What’s your favorite drink?
GF: Mojitos. They’re my favorite.

TSF: What else are you up to these days?
GF: Being a full-time mom is a full-time job. I do a lot of corporate clinics and several events during the Open. I play in the Senior event at the Open and I did so at Wimbledon and the French Open, too.

TSF: Do you care to weigh in on the women’s side this year?
GF: I think if Serena can stay fit then she’s clearly heads above the rest. When she’s 100% she’s the best player in the world.

TSF: Have any of the younger American girls caught your eye at all?
GF: Yeah, actually. Monica Puig is a Puerto Rican player. She’s the highest-ranked American junior coming up and she’ll have a similar dilemma to the one that I had in trying to figure out who she will represent. She’s definitely the one with the most potential.

TSF: What is on the iPod these days?
Vera Zvonareva: Well, I like Rihanna a lot. I like Nickelback right now and Linkin Park. There are a couple new songs from Bruno Mars out there, too.

TSF: Do you ever try to see anyone live when you’re traveling?
VZ: That’s something that I would love to do one day. Unfortunately, it never really works out with the tournaments. When you listen to music live it’s a great feeling. It’s something that I really want to do eventually.

TSF: What about when you have an afternoon or evening to yourself? What is me-time for Vera?
VZ: I lock myself in the hotel room and put a movie on and I can watch three or four movies at a time.

TSF: And your fave?
VZ: Bodyguard.

TSF: Touché V!

TSF: Pilates or yoga? What would you go for?
Janko Tipsarevic:
I would go for yoga. I tried it once on P90X and I only made it to two days because of my schedule. I was imagining that it was going to be really easy but it really is not. It’s all about focus.

TSF: What about starting a line of your own roller-bags at some point?
JT: I would, but the company — Technifibre — they were not really a big fan of that bag. But I always say, “Why wear it over your shoulder when you can roll it on the ground?” I know I look like I’m going to the airport but it’s so much easier.

TSF: Do you think that Djokovic’s run has motivated the rest of you Serbians to play better as well?
VZ: With winning the Davis Cup, it really inspired all of us to play better. With Novak, I’m really happy to have him as a friend. I have a front row seat to see what he is doing. I’m not afraid to talk to him and see what he is doing and what he is thinking. It’s only helped me improve.

TSF: What if you could make one meal? Where would it be? What would it include?
Tamira Paszek: One meal? That I cook? I love risotto, especially before the beginning of a tournament. Like a mushroom risotto with truffle oil. I cook sometimes … it’s relaxing. At Wimbledon we rented a house and we cooked then.

Tommy Haas chatted with a few folks on the line, then made a dash for the food. Leftovers? Loved the just-showered wet-hair look.

Rafael Nadal MUST have had a change-of-shirts after sporting the same outfit at Macy’s earlier in the day. He looked surprisingly fresh-faced after the mob on 34th. Leftovers? Benito responded to a question in Spanish with Italian.

Fernando Verdasco is really looking his best we’ve seen in a long while. Love the hair, love the (lack-of) facial hair. Leftovers? Has he lost weight?!

Click for more crumbs from TOT — and Billie Weiss’ photos. [Read more...]

trophy watch: watching the trophies



Back to the basics: It took this week on TSF for us to remember that Trophy Watch is just that: watching the trophies. The tour trots the globe and the globe is a creative, eccentric place. And where better does it come out than the trophies we get to see every weekend?! Sure, the clothes are great. The tournament sites are entertaining. But these trophies? There is nothing better.

Mountain mayhem: Spanish man Marcel Granollers climbed a big one this weekend, downing Fernando Verdasco in the Swiss Open at Gstaad, 6-4 3-6 6-3 to win his second career title and first since 2008.

Include us next time, please. On the creative process to come up with this gem. Alexandr Dolgopolov (and his head band) ruined the chances of hometown hero Marin Cilic in Umag, Croatia. Dolgopolov won 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Smile, Mr. Bear. Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli were smiling just fine for the camera, though that brown bear on the right looks rather bummed out that he, too, wasn’t awarded a crystal bowl. Next time, fuzzy buddy! Serena tore through the field at Stanford, beating Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

Earnestly Ernests: He ernested that one, right? OK, we’ll stop. But is there a more fun name to say than Ernests Gulbis on the tour right now? The hard-hitting Latvian upstaged hometown boy Mardy Fish in the final, winning the Farmers Classic with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 win on Sunday at UCLA. | More: TSF’s LA coverage
[Read more...]

davis cup: mostly quiet on the eastern front



The boisterous crowd who came to cheer the Croatian Davis Cuppers at the Spaladium Arena in Split could not boost their home team past the more experienced Serbian posse at this weekend’s Davis Cup quarterfinal tie. The decisive 4-1 rout puts the team of Djokovic, Tipsarevic, Troicki, and Zimonjic in the semifinals — a first for their country in Davis Cup history. (Scoreline: Tie details)

Still, props to Marin Cilic for wearing his checkered Fila tee and notching the one “W” for Croatia (the second singles rubber, against Troicki). The lanky 21-year-old was gracious in his post-match presser, picking Nole and his team to the take the Cup this year.

The Serbs — pampered in their digs — showed up in a variety of kits all showcasing their country’s colors. Nole picked a solid red polo from Sergio Tacchini while Nenad opted for a more playful version in Lacoste. Troicki sprinkled some blue in his Los tee while Janko and his bangs stayed safe with Fila. On the Croatian side, Ljubicic and Dodig‘s Li Ning kits were both as uninspired as their play.

(images via Getty Images)