trophy watch: i call him “melo yellow”; a japanese phenom; mama murray must be happy, etc.



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This one’s for you, Mikey: Our Sa Watch 2008 begins with the duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa — locals — winning the Brazil Open doubles trophy over Albert Montanez and Santiago Ventura. Leave it to Andre to wear yellow socks on the court. Cute.

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Meanwhile, it was a battle of the lankies as British fourth seed Andy Murray took out Croatian Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, at the ATP Open 13 in Marseille, France.

In Delray Beach, Kei Nishikori surprised everyone (including finalist James Blake) with this impressive 6-3, 1-6 and 4-6 upset. Our buddy Ichizo took this video of Kei while playing against Zack Fleishman in Japan last October.

By the way, look out for Ichizo to launch his japanese language tennis blog sometime soon. This is one of the few times I’m sad that I don’t know Japanese. That, and everytime I can’t read anything in Men’s Non-No aka the best magazine in the world.

And we are sure that Mama Murray is proud of her other son, Jamie, who teamed with Max Mirnyi to upset the top seeded Bryan Brothers. (Watch: See Jamie use finger code to communicate with Max.)

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A beaut! The Proximus Diamond Games tops itself with a racquet encrusted with 2008 diamonds (get it?) totalling more than $1.5 million. 1,611 of those diamonds are on the ball itself. Unfortunately for Justine Henin, who beat Italy’s Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-3 in the final match, she has to win the tournament three times in five years before she takes home that puppy. It’s not an impossible feat, though; Amelie Mauresmo did the same last year and took home the first diamond trophy.

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Singles: Sorry, guys. I was too crushed by the early loss of Guga Kuerten in singles (and doubles, actually) at the Brasil Open to care about who won. Props to Nicolas Almagro for besting mainstay Carlos Moya 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5.

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Lastly, Flavia Pennetta wore her multi-collared Sergio Tacchini all the way to a title at the Vina del Mar tourney in Vina del Mar, Chile. Her opponent: Klara Zakopalova.

(Mirnyi/Murray video via ATP; photos by Getty Images)

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'stretch' and mirnyi play doubles + more coaching news: monfils, mathieu, peer, murray



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French No. 2 (and world No. 25) Paul-Henri Mathieu is suddenly coachless one month before the Australian Open — and he’s not happy about it. Mathieu told l’Equipe that he feels like the “turkey being joked upon” (“dindon de la farce“) by being forced to share his coach, Thierry Champion, with the lower-ranked Gael Monfils, who recently returned to Team Lagardère after a 14-month absence. According to l’Equipe Monfils got hooked up with Champion to recreate the partnership that saw Monfils reach No. 23 back in June 2006.

Since Mathieu didn’t want to share (and rightfully so), Lagardère head Rémi Barbarin is actively searching a solution for “Paulo”, who in the meantime’s training with Patrice Hagelauer.

Speaking of: The striped Fabrice Santoro is also joining Lagardère with coach Lionel Zimbler in tow. Santoro turns 35 on Dec 9. His goal for next year is to set a new record for most Grand Slam tourneys played (he’s currently tied with Agassi at 61), and to compete at the Olympics for the fourth time.

Coach Conchita: Now free from military obligation, Shahar Peer can look forward to instruction from Gabriel Urpi and Conchita Martinez in 2008.

Murray’s next move: The currently-coachless Andy Murray will be doing off-season training with Miles Maclagan for the next three weeks, reports the Times. Murray is currently without a full-time coach since partly ways with Brad Gilbert earlier this month.

Stretch and… more strech: There’s gonna be a whole lot of lankiness in the 2008 doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Max Mirnyi.

(Thanks to Chris and Patricia for their help on this post.)

photo: max mirnyi



Our favorite Belarusian Max Mirnyi, in Nike, losing to Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Artois Championships.

speaking of Ralph Lauren…



While I was trying to figure out if Polo Ralph Lauren already released their U.S. Open 2007 goods (they haven’t), I stumbled across their current collections. Though it’s a “Cricket” collection, I can see some of these things courtside:

Roger Federer can wear this to a non-Wimbledon “classy” (i.e., one where he doesn’t need to wear white) tournament:

ralph lauren - regatta cricket sweater jacket

a tall lanky type — Max Mirnyi, perhaps — should ask for this to be on their list of goodies:

ralph lauren - cricket sweater

And this sweater can go on anyone, even a Radek Stepanek, and I’d be in love:

ralph lauren - shawl collar sweater

See the sweater up close, and other picks from the collection: