short balls: tears of joy

Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

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short balls tuesday

Woodforde’s back: Novak Djokovic‘s not quite done paying Aussie doubles specialist Mark Woodforde to help with the Serb’s serve-and-volley game. (SMH)

adidas will sponsor the 2012 Olympics: Now that Kim Clijsters and her Fila kit are off the map (or are they?), the Belgian Team won’t have to worry about clothing conflicts arising from adidassponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics. (SGB)

Serra Zanetti retires: Adriana Serra Zanetti announced her retirement from pro tennis, citing a foot injury from October 2005 that never healed. Career highlights include the round of 16 at the 1995 French Open and the quarters of the 2002 Australian. You’ll be missed! (AGI)

Heaven on earth: At the Thailand Open, Carlos Moya dons an apron (over us Nike U.S. Open t-shirt) and whips up some pad thai. Can he bring some to me? Oh yeah, Feliciano Lopez was there, too. (Bangkok Post, Getty Images)

Babolat’s dumb luck: See this story in NYT‘s Play magazine about how Babolat captured its share of the racquet market by being at the right place at the right time.

On the Federer brand: Roger Federer is a cash cow. And IMG knows it. Tony Godsick‘s his agent over there, but his primary manager is still Mirka. FYI. (IWtbaSA)

Sharapova gets crafty: See what Maria Sharapova considers her favorite restaurants all over the world. Included on the list is one of my personal loves, Craft Los Angeles, in Century City. (foodea.com)

Sloppy seconds: AmEx drops its partnership with Tiger Woods but the golfer shed nary a tear, I’m sure. And for good reason: he picked up a 5-year deal with Gatorade that’ll net him $100 mil. This arrangement is for selling at least three products, including a new proposed drink that’ll be named after him. (via The Austin American-Statesman)

Deuce questions for Federer: See this light Q&A.

On the last time he played a match that no one watched: “For a tournament match you’d probably have to go back to the juniors. It was only a practice set, but when I played Pete Sampras [at his house, before the Pacific Life Open in March] there were probably only three people watching.”

The last time he showed his badge at a tournament: “It happens all the time because they want to scan your badge. They go after plastic, not faces.”

And the last time he flew coach: “[Long pause] Yeah, it’s been a few years now.” Bless.

short balls: rafa seeks DC change, wade on british tennis, USTA job opening, etc.

When he speaks, Davis Cup should listen: Spaniard Rafael Nadal, a dedicated Davis Cup participant, calls for a change in the event’s schedule. Other players may have hemmed and hawed, but if a high-profile player like Rafa offers this advice, the ITF should seriously consider a schedule switch. (Reuters)

The USTA tries a new approach to ‘saving’ tennis: See this post from Zoo Tennis on breeding tennis phenoms. We’re too soft on our kids, they say. I agree.

Djokovic under the influence: Enlisting the help of Australian Mark Woodforde hasn’t quite paid off yet for Nole Djokovic; he crashed in the early rounds of the Artois last week. I hope they cash in during Wimbledon. (The Age)

Tim Henman’s advice: If you choose not to smell the s*&%t, it’s less likely to stink. (Telegraph)

Virginia Wades in: The last British winner of a Wimbledon singles title (1977) says, among other things, that she would not have chosen tennis as a career had there been more opportunities for women in the ’70s. (Guardian)

USTA has an opening: Director of Online Content. (via psfk.com)