serena steals the show

Serena Williams in pink leopard

 

Looking fabulous in a pink leopard print dress, Serena Williams stole the show in the US Open quarter finals with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Flavia Pennetta to book her place in the final-four. In his 19th consecutive win at the tournament, Serena kept alive her hopes of winning the 18th Grand Slam title that would see her join an elite group containing Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova as the most successful players of all time. If Williams can go on to win a sixth US Open title, she would also become the first woman to win the tournament three times in a row since Evert in the late 1970s.

After an injury-hit season in which the American has maintained her place at the top of the rankings without winning a Grand Slam, there had been some betting fans writing off Williams ahead of this year’s US Open. On the evidence of her performances so far, though, it’s unsurprising to see Serena heading into the latter stages of the tournament as the stand-out favourite with the likes of Betfair, Paddy Power and others.

The 32-year old hasn’t dropped a set in her first five matches at Flushing Meadows this year, dropping just 22 games in total. But despite her impressive form, Serena had to shake off some early wobbles before coming through her quarter final against Penneta. After losing her first two service games, Williams grabbed the tie by the scruff of the neck and did it all while looking her usual sensational self.

The US Open has always given both Serena and Venus Williams the chance to push the limits of tennis fashion in the past, and this year has been no different. While Serena was sporting her leopard print outfit in her quarter-final, she had stolen the show throughout her career with a string of eye-catching dresses.

wta 40 love: martina passes $1 million in season prize money

The WTA has released the third episode in their series WTA 40 LOVE Story presented by Xerox, a 10-part video series showcasing the history and growth of the women’s tennis tour. Entitled “1982: Navratilova Passes $1 Million in Season Prize Money,” the third episode highlights Martina Navratilova‘s 1982 season when she became the first woman in tennis history to surpass the $1 million dollar prize money mark in a season.

Watch: “1982: Navratilova Passes $1 Million in Season Prize Money”, WTA 40 Love Story presented by Xerox.

sunday survey: a hitting partner for the ages

Tomorrow night the DC metro area will host arguably its biggest tennis event of the year as World Team Tennis puts on its annual Smash Hits charity event at American University. Billie Jean King will play the honorable hostess, joined by a cast of tennis (and non tennis!) greats: Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Anna Kournikova and Elton John. A good friend of TSF is DC-bound for the evening of big time tennis and big(ger) personalities.

It got us thinking: If you could play tennis with any one individual from throughout history, who would it be and why?

Don’t like our options here? Create your own in the comments section.

(photo by Patty Boh via flickr)

35,681 strong

Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams set a world record on Thursday, playing an exhbition before 35,681 fans at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.  Serena was a replacement for Justine Henin, who pulled out of the match because an elbow injury sustained at Wimbledon.

The match was originally titled the “Best of Belgium” but didn’t turn out that way as Serena replaced Justine. Martina Navratilova was honorary chair judge, while French Open champ Francesca Schiavone was also in attendance. This was the first meeting between Kim and Serena since their infamous 2009 US Open encounter.

The previous record was set when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in 1973 at the Astrodome. 30,472 people were in attendance for that brawl.

Two more shots from the record-setting exo after the cut. [Read more...]

tennis’ reception line for queen elizabeth II

…And ‘Best Dressed’ goes to: Perhaps it’s the American in us, but we were all about Andy Roddick and his wearing a white blazer to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Day 4 of the 2010 Wimbledon tournament. (The tailored Federer suit is so predictable!) QEII attended the day’s session to watch Andy Murray play his second-round match against Jarrko Nieminen.

Roddick and his jacket (we can only assume it’s Lacoste) was part of a reception line which included Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Laura Robson, Jelena Jankovic, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki Kai-Chen Chang, Roger Federer, and Serena Williams (who’d been practicing her moves in anticipation of this meeting!).

As Nick said earlier, Her Majesty wore the perfect color to complement the bright green grass of the AELTC. It’s a boost to the sport to see her around these parts.

(images via AP)

short balls: evgeni makes friends with richard’s fantasy world

It’s Platinum, Baby: The tennis world has long enjoyed the wacky one-liners of Richard Williams, and it seems as though Olympic figure skating silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko is trying to join Williams in the creative-story realm. Plushenko’s web site had its entry image (seen above) stating “Platinum of Vancouver”, taking a jab at his second-place finish last week. Though the site now looks differently upon entry, Yahoo! Sports and other outlets nabbed the image before it was taken down. Now the site reads “What’s Next?” while scrolling over the medals, which links to the 2014 Sochi Olympics web site. Does that mean Evgeni will stick with skating until then? Guess you can never be sure with him.

Sticking to the ice, American speedskater Ryan Bedford was supposedly convinced by older teammates to shave and dye his hair to resemble the American flag. See his ‘do after the jump.

Rights Fighting: University of Maryland wrestler, Hudson Taylor, is a top-ranked grappler in the NCAA. The straight 23-year-old and his wife-to-be are also avid supporters of LGBT issues and support gay marriage. In an interview with OutSports.com, Taylor calls himself a “feminist”. You go, boy.

Candied Britney: Britney Spears, in case you didn’t know from her music video for “Radar”, is a spokeswoman for Candies products.  She offered fans a behind-the-scenes peek at her latest photo shoot for the brand. What do you think? We’re not sure this one is gunna be a winner, y’all…

Martina’s Gallery: The WTA has a great gallery up chronicling the career of Martina Navratilova. Not only do you get a good chunk of information out of the captions, but you get a wonderful view of Martina’s fashions throughout the year. Our favorite is after the cut.

Differences Aside: Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi will put their differences aside in a couple weeks to participate in a “Hit for Haiti” fundraiser at Indian Wells alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Sampras said he would like to “sit down” with Agassi after he was portrayed in poor light in Agassi’s recently-released autobiography.

[Read more...]

legends go ballin’

Legends-Ball-Legends
(Legends Dick Savitt, Stan Smith, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova, Buch Buchholz, Pam Shriver and Tony Trabert)

Last Friday night, while rain was wreaking havoc on the U.S. Open‘s schedule and a dramatic weekend of tennis had yet to be played out, the legends of the sport descended on the International Tennis Hall of Fame‘s Legends Ball in Midtown Manhattan for a night of celebration.

The event was held at Cipriani, across the street from Grand Central Station, a beautiful space with “towering marble columns and soaring ceilings” as its web site says. 

While there were plenty of celebs at such an event, the tennis legends themselves were really the ones who guests had their eyes on. TSF stole the ear of a few of the former tennis greats to ask a few questions and find out just what they were thinking about the current state of the sport of tennis.

Tracy Austin
TSF: What do you think of Melanie Oudin’s run to the quarterfinals?
TA:
What a fairy tale run for Melanie, a sweet girl that’s so spunky. She’s got a lot of speed and heart. If she continues to play like this for the rest of the year she can establish herself. It’s refreshing to see someone like her make such a run.

Martina Navratilova
TSF: Will a player as young as 14 or 15 ever make a big splash in tennis again? We saw it up through the beginning of this decade, but are those days over?
MN:
I don’t think it’ll ever happen again. There is too much power in the game right now for someone that young to come up and play with these women. I hope a girl like Hingis will come along again who has creativity variety in her game. 

Monica Seles
TSF: What is one thing you can NEVER leave home without while traveling?
MS:
My dog. Definitely my dog. It was the same when I was playing, I can never the poor thing at home. 

We weren’t too surprised Monica answered like that, and the recent Hall of Fame inductee was by far the most popular gal of the evening, having her shoulder tapped at every turn. She palled around with good friend Mary Joe Fernandez, sipped on Diet Coke and greeted everyone with a sincere “It’s so good to see you!”

Check out more of the legends’ attire after the cut. [Read more...]

anyone from puma out there?

Reader Andy is jonesing for this Puma outfit worn by Martina Navratilova during her 1983 U.S. Open win. The tennis great tucked the brown and white polo into a high-waisted skirt. Does anyone out there know how Andy can get one?

Too bad the sports company is out of the tennis business; they had some good stuff, most recently with Serena. (And it’s not like Puma’s lacking in the design department: they’ve had great collabs with Alexander McQueen and kozyndan.) Off the court, the closest Puma comes to tennis are the reissues of Guillermo Vilas shoes — the GV Love — as part of their archive collection.

dream match 2008

Tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Kimiko Date came together for the “Dream Match 2008” exhibition at Tokyo’s Ariake Stadium on Saturday, March 15.

Kimiko Date - Steffi Graf - Dream Match 2008

Steffi lost to Date 6-2, 6-3. FYI: In 1996, Date beat Steffi for the first time (at a Fed Cup), and pushed her during a 2-day Wimbledon semi (that’s the match where Steffi got a wedding proposal).

Steff Graf - Dream Match 2008

Steffi wore all-white adidas during her match against Martina. Steffi won in a tiebreak. I miss that eastern forehand!

Martina Navratilova - Dream Match 2008

Martina in Under Armour.

One more: A pic of the ladies during their Friday practice session after the cut…

short balls: aussie open edition

ATP’s AO blogger: For the two weeks in Melbourne, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis will blog for the ATP website.

A tennis roundtable: IHT‘s Christopher Clarey leads a discussion with journalists Lisa Dillman (Los Angeles Times, Philippe Bouin (L’Equipe), Linda Pearce (The Age), and Tom Tebutt (The Globe and Mail). And ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford, in a separate piece, offers her Aussie Open talking points.

Star watching has begun: Kylie Minogue, Masha, and Roger were all seen dining at Nobu at Crown. (Herald Sun)

On courts and heat: Let’s hope the new courts don’t screw up too many ankles. This new court apparently gets sticky in heat (but Ana Ivanovic thinks it’s fine), so players should take extra care in this hot summer. Fortunately, Andy Murray is ready to face the heat since he’s been doing Bikram yoga in the offseason. (The Age, Guardian, IHT)

Navratilova + TC: Navratilova did such great work for Tennis Channel at last year’s French — “I’m really proud of what we accomplished,” she says — TC has signed her as a primary commentator for all the 2008 Grand Slam tournaments,.

Along with Martina, the network’s on-air team for the Australian will include Bill Macatee (with support from Leif Shiras, the recently retired Justin Gimelstob, and Renee Stubbs).

Mining the archives: Get your juices flowing with this photo blog of last year’s tourney. And TSF’s flashback is here.