short balls: the privacy game

The area between “leave me alone” and “look at me!” has grown even smaller this week in the tennis community, as Twitter continues its all-out take-over of the social media scene and a former tennis star goes from (totally) broke to (almost) married.

Twitterology: Twitter.com has gone from just another social media site to the site of major studies, analyses and controversy. You all remember the controversy at the US Open, when the governing bodies of tennis told players not to Tweet during matches due to match-fixing and online betting. Recently, a study was released from Rutgers University that said “1 of 5 Twitter users are ‘informers,’ and post info such as links to news articles. The other 80% are ‘meformers.’ The latter posts updates mostly about them.” Gail Sideman of Publiside relayed that info to TSF, and when we dug further we found that Rutgers isn’t the only one diving into the world of Twitterology (the study of Twitter, duh!). Tennis.com‘s James Martin had this to say about players personalities after reviewing their Tweets. So, are Andy and Serena informers or meformers?! You tell us.

“I do” (Accept Money from You): Seems as though former star Mark Philippoussis just can’t catch a break. A few days after it was announced that the former Top 10 player was engaged to “Law and Order” actress Jennifer Esposito, there are now reports that the Scud has begun accepting bids from news outlets for the exclusive rights to photograph his wedding. Philippoussis has run into lots of financial trouble (and romantic trouble — remember “Age of Love”?!) in the past, but looks like he’s cleaned up both those problems in the matter of days! So much for that intimate setting, huh? Game, Set, Class!

DohaTix

Step Down, Please: Looks as though the ever-futuristic Doha is taking a page out of Wimbledon’s playbook. Tickets went on sale for the Season Ending Championships and people actually stood in line for them! Who wudda thunk it?! 

Wanna see who fell victim to the Bryan Bump? Check it out after the jump. [Read more...]

pat and his ponytail praised; philippoussis ponders life post-tennis

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Patrick Rafter got some more icing on his already sweet career cake with an induction to the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which included an unveiling of a Rafter bust, happened before the 2008 Australian Open women’s final between Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic. Those are some mad crow’s feet. Remember to wear your eye cream, people!

Though we were bigger fans of Pat with his buzz-short hair (circa 2001), it’s only appropriate that they immortalize him in the ponytail he sported while tearing through the North American hardcourts in the late 90s.

Rafter won back-to-back U.S. Open titles (’97, ’98), reached the finals of Wimbledon twice (’00, ’01), and the semis of Roland Garros (’97) and the Australian (’01). See a list of his 11 career titles here.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Mark Philippoussis suffered what could possibly be his last tennis-related injury in December while attempting to qualify for this home Grand Slam. “I won’t lie – but at the moment I’m just enjoying spending time with my family and friends,” he told The Age last week — which means he hasn’t given ATP Tour play any thought. Flip doesn’t even have a tentative schedule planned out. Le sigh, it all went downhill after being up a set and 2-1 (but on serve) against Sampras in the 1999 Wimbledon semis.

(Photos by Getty Images)

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short balls: australian open edition

Aussie Open in trouble?: A report published by Tennis Australia recommends much-needed upgrades to Melbourne Park. TA is asking for $300 million in funding for capital improvements so they can stay competitive with other tournaments that could soon vie for major status. As you may know, there have been grumbligs about a Grand Slam in Asia, the Middle East or Central/Eastern Europe. (Herald Sun)

Flipping out: It’s a story all-too familiar in the life of Mark Philippoussis: he is making his way through the Aussie Open qualies but could have his journey ended by his nagging knee injury. And it’s probably not helping his psyche that some juniors are writing him off. (ABC, The Age)

Prodigal Aussie: And the once-estranged Jelena Dokic, who earlier this year decided to accept help from Tennis Australia, is on track to nab the women’s wild card for the Australian Open (The Age)

With a little help from my friends: Hotlantan Robby Ginepri is none closer to the Aussie Open wild card, even after his Davis Cup buddies (Andy Roddick, James Blake, et al.) sent a letter to the USTA asking for them to grant Ginepri the spot. Unfortunately, the governing body’s age-limit rule — wild cards can’t go to guys over 22 years of age — took him out of the running. He’ll make his way down to Melbourne for qualifying, with coach Jose Higueras in tow. (Florida Sun-Sentinel)

R.I.P. Fellow Socal blogger Kat, aka Lady Hooligan, will take down her 18-month-old webzine at the end of the year (you can browse it ’til then.) Thankfully, she hasn’t given up on publishing completely. She’ll continue to blog here.

Andy and Serena: A write-up on Andy Roddick‘s homecoming exhibition in Omaha. (via Craig)

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More tattered jeans: Andy really loves his beat-up denim. He wore it out taking Brooklyn Decker to Manhattan. (JustJared via DTL)

Judy Murray at the LTA: The Evening Standard checks in with super tennis parent Judy Murray and how she’s slowly revamping the LTA’s junior program.

fashion and tattoos in tennis week’s best of ’07

The new issue of Tennis Week (“The Best of 2007″) includes these two fun spreads on fashion… and tattoos!

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Tattoo watch: A mix of our usual suspects (the armband on Carlos Moya, Mark Philippoussis, Marat Safin‘s monkey) plus ones we hadn’t seen before, like the tattoos on Mara Santangelo and bad boy John McEnroe.

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Best fashion statements: Kudos for including Marat’s necklaces (Butter: are you paying attention?), Arnaud Clement‘s buffs, and the great style of Maria Kirilenko in adidas. But really, did we need to see Roger Federer‘s white Wimbledon get-up again? My choice would’ve been the U.S. Open tuxedo.

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more trophies: ferreira beats courier in dallas

wayne ferreira - stanford championships 2007

McEnroe Declares “The Age of Love Is Over” In Third-Place Win Over Philippoussis That He Dedicates To “The Old Girls”

DALLAS, TEXAS -– Wayne Ferreira of South Africa defeated Jim Courier of the United States 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 (Champions Tie-Break) Sunday to win the $142,000 Stanford Championships, his second title of 2007 on the Outback Champions Series and his third career title on global circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

Ferreira collected a paycheck of $46,000 for winning two round-robin matches and the championship match. He also (Continue reading after the cut…)

short balls: keeping up with the joneses

I’ve felt a little out of touch with tennis these last few weeks so I’ve been resorting to some picture-packed posts (some of you aren’t complaining, though…). So for this round of short balls I thought I’d check back in with some real issues.

Better days ahead: Tom Perrotta shrugs off Maria Sharapova‘s shoulder woes as a mere hiccup in what has been (and could still be) a great career. and FYI: to help with her shoulder troubles, former coach Robert Lansdorp had suggested that Masha take her racquet up immediately during her service motion (i.e., no more loop). Let’s hope it helps. (The New York Sun)

Six degrees with Steve Jobs: The challenge? Connect Masha with tech god Steve Jobs. Give it a shot. (macenstein)

Pam Shriver speaks: Pundit Pam Shriver wants match-fixers banned for life. I agree! (Baltimore Sun via On The Baseline)

Race to the Chase: I know it’s not called that anymore (and yes, yes — it’s not Lipton anymore, either), but it just sounds so fun. Serena Williams is the latest to qualify, joining Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ana Ivanovic. Whodathunk that Sveta would be the first Russian to make it? (The Canadian Press)

Zurich: This week, the women are flocking to Zurich for the last Tier I of the year. And for many, the last chance they’ll have to make the cut for the Year-End Championships. (On The Baseline) The folks next on the list are Chakvetadze, Venus, Masha, Dani Hantuchova, and a Beijing-focused Elena Dementieva. Masha might run into trouble, since she’s the defending champ at Zurich and has pulled out with her shoulder injury. FYI, Martina Hingis has also pulled out because of her nagging hip injury.

The mens: The top two men (that’s Roger and Rafa) return to the courts for the first time since the U.S. Open at the Madrid Masters. R-Fed ponders his 2008 schedule while all eyes are on whether Nadal’s knees have recovered enough to let him vie for this hardcourt title. A look at their year-end tourney — The Masters Cup — will be for another post.

The Hewitt gene: While the tenacity of the Hewitts made Lleyton a top tennis player (hmm, will he make it into the Hall of Fame with two titles, I wonder?), his sister Jaslyn is making her mark in the bodybuilding world. Enjoy. (amaz0ns.com)

Speaking of Hewitt, he’s pushing for Tennis Australia to help fellow Aussie Mark Philippoussis with a wildcard lifeline for the 2008 Australian Open.

Meanwhile, he won’t be playing Madrid doubles with Nadal since he’s withdrawn — along with Andy Roddick — due to injury. (IHT)

Karlovic’s new(er) record: Another for the whodathunk files is Ivo Karlovic‘s latest feat — winning a title on three surfaces in 2007 (carpet in Stockholm, clay at the U.S. Clay Courts, and grass in Nottingham) — is shared only by Roger Federer. (Fox Sports)

On up-and-comers: American Wayne Odesnik looks like Guillermo Canas. (sacbee.com — annoyingly, reg. req’d)

More mushy Davenport stories: We can’t get enough! ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford writes about Lindsay and Jagger at a WTT event in Villanova, Penn.

(OT) This week’s amazing building: As you can probably tell, I have a little thing for good architecture. My latest pick is the Quinta Real Zacatecas (in Zacatecas, Mexico). Once the Plaza de Toros San Pedro, North America’s largest bullring — it has now been turned into a gorgeous five-star hotel. Check out their website. (UrbanDaddy)

(OT) With mixed feelings, the runner-up: The Green Mountain project in Libya will try to preserve one of the last undeveloped areas of the Mediterranean Coast. It’s ambitious, so I hope they pull it off. Otherwise, they just effed up one of the last undeveloped areas of the Mediterranean Coast. (NYT)

short balls thursday:

I decorated an heirloom pumpkin last night. God bless having friends who own craft kits. I got burned by a glue gun, though :( Not fun. Anyway, here we go with some short balls…

Robert Waltz won’t answer my e-mails: My friend Chris passed along this article co-written by him (and Tennis.com editor Kamakshi Tandon) about the race to the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. This is why I love the statistician extraodinaire. (Tennis.com)

The Scud hits the skids: As a true testament to his focus on the sport (or perhaps conveniently hiding behind it), Aussie Mark Philippoussis — via IMG rep Carlos Fleming — has rubbed out Age of Love flame Amanda Salinas from his life. His focus is now the upcoming Stanford Championships in Dallas.

(OT) Romanticizing rail travel: It’s good to know that train stations this gorgeous are still being built. (Gabion)

Swiss Miss to miss rest of 2007: Sad end to Martina Hingis‘ revived career? (ESPN via women’s tennis blog)

More short balls…

Philippoussis will play Stanford Championships in Dallas

The Stanford Championships has announced that Australian Mark Philippoussis has entered this year’s draw. The event, held in Dallas, is the sixth of seven exhibition events featuring male players over the age of 30.

Philippoussis has not played a main draw event since retiring from the Hopman Cup in January of 2007 due to a hyperextended knee, forcing him to miss the Australian Open, his home Grand Slam.

Knee injuries have been haunting the Australian since 1998, when a cartilage tear forced him to retire while he was leading in a Wimbledon quarterfinal match against grass great Pete Sampras. Many say he was never the same since that injury.

And as Philippoussis has aged, other injuries have set in.

“My knee is feeling great, but the reason I haven’t been playing is that my lower back has been hurting.” He plans to be 100% recovered in time to play in Dallas.

Others confirmed for the eight-man field are Jim Courier, John McEnroe, and Mats Wilander — an esteemed group whose achievements Philippoussis respects and talents he still considers dangerous. “There is going to be some pressure on me. I don’t want to lose to these guys.”

The 30-year-old, of Greek and Italian descent, had planned to make Outback Champions debut earlier this year in a highly anticipated match-up against Pete Sampras (also Greek) in Athens. Unfortunately, he did not recovery from injuries in time to play.

Philippoussis continues to work hard at his Las Vegas base camp, where he hits with Andre Agassi and trains with Gil Reyes.

At the same time, he’s also involved with entertainment projects.

The Australians have done their fair share of dabbling in reality television. Players Alicia Molik and Todd Woodbridge, and tennis wife Bec Cartwright (married to Lleyton Hewitt, though a celeb in her own right) have all appeared in that country’s version of Dancing with the Stars.

And Stateside, Serena Williams had a short-lived appearance in ABC’s Fast Cars and Superstars. But it was Philippoussis who made the biggest mark, getting his own dating show. Age of Love pitted 20-something and 40-something women in a contest to see if, in love, age matters. (Rumor has it that he’s already broken up with winner — and 26-year-old Amanda Salinas.)

The series was considered a ratings disaster when it first aired, but gathered enough steam that NBC decided to broadcast the season’s full run. There has been talk of the Australian starring in another series, this time documenting his return to professional tennis.

Like the Williams sisters, who have been criticized for not paying enough attention to their tennis careers (while dabbling in fashion, acting, and attending Hollywood parties), Philippoussis has been feeling the heat. But he brushes off the critics. “I know what I’d love to do is in my heart, in my mind… Tennis is my life.”

“I’m always watching [tennis] on TV,” he says. “And taping matches — I haven’t done that before.”

And this continued interest and passion for the sport pushes him back towards rejoining the ATP circuit. “What I’d love to do is start playing a couple of small events” — which ones, he hasn’t decided yet — “and concentrate on getting back next year, hopefully at the Australian (Open).”

Along with Lleyton Hewitt, Philippoussis will try to become the first Australian to win that Grand Slam since Mark Edmondson achieved that feat in 1976.

Tennis Australia gone as far as ripping out the Rebound Ace courts in favor of a surface similar to the U.S. Open‘s. While that may favor the game of Hewitt (who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and was a finalist in 2004), the latest ATP standings has pushed him out of the Top 20, making it likely that he will have to face the game’s top players in the earlier rounds of that tournament.

And Philippoussis, who will enter the draw probably as a wildcard, will face the same uphill battle — one that he’s ready to face: “It’s a long way to talk about something like that but, in my heart, for myself, I do believe, but in order to make that happen or anything close to making that happen, I need to work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. It’s going to be a long, long, long road back.”

Notes: Stanford Championships, October 18-21, 2007, Dallas. An eight-man round-robin tournament including Mark Philippoussis, Jim Courier, John McEnroe, and Mats Wilander. For more info (inc. ticket sales), visit www.championsseriestennis.com/dallas2007 or call (214) 467-8277.

the scud's not a playboy, lleyton fails to prove he can beat roger, roger still doesn't like hawk-eye

Isner-mania continues: The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati awarded giant(-killer) John Isner a wildcard for this year’s tourney. (The Cincy Post)

The Scud’s not a playboy?: Age of Love runner-up Jennifer Braff, a 48-year-old executive assistant to Lakers owner Jerry Buss, talks about Mark:

“(The producers) kept saying he was a little dense and kept trying to get me to say it. I think in a lot of ways he’s not as socially conditioned to be out there dating. He’s been playing tennis since he was 8 years old, and was trained by his father.

“It seemed as though he’d been more sheltered. NBA players seem to kind of get thrown out there when they’re young. The girls approach them and are always around. That’s a big difference, socially.” (LAT)

Lleyton got his chance: The new and improved Lleyton Hewitt has been dying to prove his worth by playing Roger Federer. He got his chance at this week’s Rogers Cup. Yep, he has a lot more work left before the U.S. Open. (Tennis News)

R-Fed and Hawk-Eye not a match: The World No. 1 continues to speak about not trusting the line-calling system. And he copes with close calls like a true champion. “Well, what other choice do you have? Can’t go drink coffee with the guy and say, ‘Let’s discuss this line call.'” (transcript via Tennis News)

Shaking it off: Czech Radek Stepanek leaves behind injury and wedding engagement to play his best tennis in a long time. The results: he makes the semis at Gstaad, wins L.A., and loses to Federer in the Montreal semis.

short balls: aussie edition

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Flip the Fungible: If Mark Philippoussis decides to disappear into tennis oblivion, then I’ll be content replacing him with the similar-looking ATP-er, Spaniard Paul Andujar. (Here he is in Le Coq Sportif while losing to Nole at the Croatian Open.)

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The Scud at an Age of Love viewing party in the Planet Hollywood Casino surrounded by his girls: Jayanna, Adelaide, Lauren, Tessa, Lynn, Angela, Jodi, Mary, and Kelli Brook. (photos via Getty Images)

Flip the TV Star: Mark takes another step into firming up his tennis prospects — FYI, he’s working out of his Vegas base camp with former Agassi trainer Gil Reyes — by considering another reality TV series. (Herald Sun via DT)

Rafter the Wise: Two-time U.S. Open titleist Pat Rafter, who gave some great advice to James Blake early in the American’s career, speaks out in favor of the newly-formed union between Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche (who is also Pat’s former coach). I wonder if he has opinions about his former doubles partner Philippoussis?

Courier the Impresario: American Jim Courier has joined Darren Cahill and Roger Rasheed as investors in a new three-day exhibition that leads up to the 2009 Australian Open. The tournament will pair retired ATP players with current ones of the same nationality. McEnroe and Roddick vs. Pat Cash and Hewitt? I like it!

Tourney trivia: the last Adelaide tourney will be played in 2008, after which it will fold with the women’s Gold Coast event. This new exhibition will have the same plexi-cushion courts (Rebound Ace, R.I.P.) as the Aussie Open. The promoters will face competition for players from Kooyong, the Sydney International, and the Auckland tournament.

Dokic (not yet) the Prodigal Daughter: The reunion of Tennis Australia with troubled and hard-headed former prodigy Jelena Dokic hit another snag when she rejected the governing body’s latest offer to help out. (Herald Sun)

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