in rotterdam, roger federer gets youzhed

Mikhail Youzhny poses with Roger Federer in Rotterdam

Roger, unflustered: Leave it to World No. 2 Roger Federer — or at least his digital replica — to keep his cool as folks attending the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, stand next to him for a greenscreened photo opp. The Ricoh booth also gives fans a chance to pose next to Robin Haase. See all the photos on the ABN AMRO WTT Facebook.

Draw: Russian (and 2007 Rotterdam champ) Mikhail Youzhny retired in his opening round match against wildcard Thiemo de Bakker due to a hip injury. De Bakker will likely face Federer, who’s had a busy Monday at the tournament so far.

(Photo Credit: ABN AMRO WTT Facebook)

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: in asia, the week of three-setters

Malaysian Open: Fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny bagged his second title of the year by taking out Andrey Golubev 6-7 (7), 6-2, 7-6 (3) in Kuala Lumpur. “I cannot say I showed by best tennis here,” shared Youzhny, “but, although it’s good when you show your best tennis and win the tournament, it’s probably better sometimes when you don’t show your really best game but you have a really good result.” The Russian also won the BMW Open, on clay, back in May.

PTT Thailand Open: All the big players bit the dust — including Rafael Nadal and the rusty Juan Martin Del Potro, Verdasco, Melzer — leaving Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to square off against Jarkko Nieminen in the finals. The scoreline, in Gigi’s favor: 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. This was the Spaniard’s second final of 2010 and the first title. “It has been an unbelievable week for me, from the first round to the final. Every match is different. I think I played relaxed, enjoyed my game and everything was perfect. It’s hard to express what it means, I’m really happy inside.”

Toray Pan-Pacific Open: Over in Tokyo, top seed Caroline Wozniacki fended off an upset by Elena Dementieva with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Exo: And Nole won an exo over Andy Roddick in Seoul. The blooper reel’s here.

(images via Getty Images)

flashback: youzhny, like ginepri, remembers a tragedy

Russian Mikhail Youzhny, seeded 12th at the 2010 US Open, joined fellow ATPer Robby Ginepri in remembering the 9/11 tragedy from ten years earlier. Unlike Gineps’ specially made Under Armour kit, Mikhail chose a somber ribbon to (awkwardly) pin on the left shoulder of his blue adidas Barricade crew.

In Flushing Meadows, he swatted off upset attempts by John Isner, Tommy Robredo, and Stan Wawrinka — two four-setters; one five- — and eventually ran out of steam as he went up against top seed Rafa Nadal. Still, props to Mikhail for equaling his best result at a major (he also reached the Open semis in 2006, beating Nadal in the quarters and losing to Roddick).

Buy: adidas Barricade Crew, in Blue Beauty/Red, at Midwest Sports.

More: A few other pics of Youzhny’s US Open after the cut…

davis cup: nalbandian moves argentina into the semis

Two clutch performances by David Nalbandian at this past weekend’s Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals in Moscow moves Argentina into the next round. Even though he’s been sidelined by injury for the past few months, the former World No. 3 won the opening singles rubber (vs. Davydenko) and the decisive fifth rubber (upsetting the unflappable Mikhail Youzhny), both of which contributed to their 3-2 victory against the Russians. (Read up: Tie Details)

Top clothing marks go to Leonardo Mayer in Lotto. Everyone else came predictably dressed (Eduardo Schwank in Topper‘s standard issue; Nalbandian in Yonex; Davydenko — with costume changes — in Dunlop; Kunitsyn and Youzhny in Fila and adidas whites, respectively).

Click on the pics below to see more.

(images via Getty Images)

sightings in the stands: mathieu vs. youzhny, wimby 2nd round

Layman’s Runway: We love the makeshift hat of this fan watching Paul-Henri Mathieu upset 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny in the second round of Wimbledon. The score: 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

This is only Mathieu’s first time past the first round since his 2010 season opener (at Indian Wells). He next faces Thiemo De Bakker, who had a cakewalk of a match against John Isner. The American, who was embroiled in that three-day first-round match that lasted just over 11 hours, could only muster winning five games before bowing out in 74 minutes. (Draw: Men’s Bottom Half)

(image via Getty Images)

trophy watch: acronym edition

SAP: At the SAP Open in San Jose, Fernando Verdasco beat a top-ten player for the first time in 15 tries with his 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset of Andy Roddick. Andy was none too happy about a few line calls that didn’t go his way.

GDF: Top seed Elena Dementieva needed three sets to overcome a nagging Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4. This is Dementieva’s second title of 2010; she also won the Sydney tournament before the Australian Open.

PTT: Vera Zvonareva successfully defended her title at the PTT Pattaya Open title in Thailand by taking down hometown fave Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-4.

ABN AMRO: Swede Robin Soderling was the last man standing in Rotterdam after Mikhail Youzhny retired while trailing 0-2 in the second set. Youzhny sustained the injury after he stunned top seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-6, (6). Soderling also upset a seed, Nikolay Davydenko, in the semis.

JCF: In Costa do Sauipe, the Joma-wearing Juan Carlos Ferrero steamrolled Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-0 at the Brasil Open for his 13th career title.

(images via Getty Images)

trophy watch: kerchiefs, gang signs, pearl studs, and gold crosses

Moscow, represent: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova bagged her first title since tearing it up on the clay courts in early 2009 (with titles in Stuttgart and Roland Garros) by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the China Open. Not sure if it’s this new positive aura of hers, but she was lookin’ damn good in the cap-sleeve top from Fila‘s fall Heritage collection. (Buy: $38.99 at TW)

Nole, unveiled: Were we really surprised that there was a Serbian striptease after Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles title at the China Open? He took out Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a rain-addled final. Nole now has three titles (Dubai and Serbia Open); he heads Shanghai to take part in the Shanghai Masters tourney (this week).

If you know what’s going on with the bandana wrapped around their wrists, hit me up.

Stud, studded: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and his pearl studs were no match for Mikhail Youzhny in the Japan Open. The Frenchman won 6-3, 6-3. Props to Youzhny, though, who beat Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych, and Lleyton Hewitt on his way to the final. That one-handed backhand was smokin’!

Seal of approval: That chinese name stamp the China Open tourney organizers gave to Marat Safin after his swan song in Beijing was a cool concept.

trophy watch: estoril, serbia, and roma

One less salute: Fourth seed Tomas Berdych topped Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the final of the BMW Open in Munich. Tomas took home a Z4 Roadster along with two business class tickets from South African Airways and €71,700.

Blake falls down the Montanes: Spaniard Albert Montanes won the Portuguese bullfight against American James Blake 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-0. Didn’t help that James was wearing red Fila during the week-long event in Estoril. On the women’s side, Yanina Wickmayer took the title by beating Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-2.

Safina makes it real: In Rome, Dinara Safina proved to the world that her No. 1 ranking is legit by defeating former No. 1 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

He kinda had to: Over in Belgrade, Novak Djokovic‘s inaugural Serbian Open (formerly the ABN AMRO) turned out to be quite a success. Over 70,000 spectators saw him beat lucky loser Lukasz Kubot; the Polish player took out seeds Igor Andreev and Ivo Karlovic en route to the final.