short balls: open coverage explodes, around the parties and irene

Here we go! The all-out media blitz for the 2011 US Open has begun, the New York Times seemingly sounding the starting gun this morning when Novak Djokovic lived on its homepage for much of the morning with a piece written by Greg Bishop about the all-out transformation of Djoko over the last year: the diet, the game, the ranking and the media appeal. It doesn’t stop there with the Times, which has stories about Irene, finding tennis courts in NYC and qualies of course. But those are just the meat-and-potatoes posts. More? Andy Samburg dresses up (and celebrates like) the best champs from tennis’ past, though he didn’t pull a Djoko and sport a Maria-inspired wig. Check out the hilarious video here.

TSF Vault: Short balls | US Open

Time out: But don’t think the Times is the only one who has it going on. New York magazine has an entire US Open guide section while Time took the time to follow Djokovic around, too. Tennis.com is unsurprisingly all blinged-out, currently with a Richard Pagliaro Q&A with Andrea Petkovic. Their USO-specific page is a looking a little bit like it’s stuck in 1999, though we’re positive that Tignor, Bodo and the rest of the crew will be on the grounds and covering as they always do. TennisNow.com is looking more and more like Tennis.com these days, which isn’t necessarily a horrible thing. But we do enjoy their easy-to-read breeze through the fashion of the men and women at Flushin this year, which is heavily linked to outside sources. CNN/SI gives little/no cover play to the Open on this Friday, but we expect them to beef up coverage as the tourney actually gets underway. No doubt they have frontman L. Jon Wertheim‘s piece on the seeds (he’s all Serena on the women’s side) featured on the tennis page. Tennis Channel wants folks to play in its Racquet Bracket challenge – and we would — if only that meant a date with James LaRosa of Sweet Spot fame. His latest Spot? A drinking game, of course! Oh James! You keep us sober (in life)! ESPN.com doesn’t have any USO coverage on its homepage, either, and hasn’t even pulled the “Tennis” section from out underneath the “More Sports” bar. But the .com side always adds to what TV has going on — which is bigger than ever. ESPN3 went as far as sending out a release to tout their individual coverage that supplements TV. What can we say? We sort of love it.

And the little guys? On the blogosphere, it’s business as usual around the horn. The blogging has been slow for C Note, but the tweeting? Outta control. So much so that Merriam-Webster finally appeased and made “tweeting” an actual, real world. Way to go, C! 52,346 tweets and counting. Down the Line has this hilarious cartoon via Women’s Tennis Blog. Tennis Panorama braved the epic crowds at Macy’s yesterday for the Rafa unveiling of a (shirtless) billboard. Did we expect anything else? Number of Rafa billboards? One. Number of words he spoke on stage? One. (“Hel-lo.”) The-Slice has tasty crumbs from Taste of Tennis last night. And Adjusting the Net is all about Winston-Salem. Someone had to be, right?

short(er) balls: The Post calls Serena’s path (she has Vika in the third round) “easy” for title. | TSF contributor Lindsay Sakraida has NYMag.com’s official preview of the men and women. | We didn’t see this coming: the USTA cancelled Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day because of Irene. Won’t reschedule. | Richard Evans writes on FoxSports.com that this is Mardy Fish‘s big opp. | More 3D tennis from Panasonic and CBS. Should we care? | Pete Sampras and other fellas part of an “Old School” tennis event last night in Murray Hill, Manhattan. | New Haven got all shaken up (and evacuated) after Tuesday’s earthquake. | Lleyton Hewitt? Out of the Open. | Tennis Channel is still battling with Cablevision. #overit | But really, NYT? Who is eating around the grounds. People are just eating in the grounds. | The next great gay film? We sort of think this is it. | Shameless plug: Housing Works has plenty of good sales this fall. In the city for the Open? Live there? Have the ability to shop online? Do. It.

(nytimes.com screengrab; hw photo provided)

 

WANT: tickets and (jessica's) hair

Don’t you want tickets to the BNP Paribas Showdown at the Madison Square Garden in less than 10 days’ time. We sure do. I mean, come on: John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi? There is going to be more drama and cat fighting on this night in New York than even Jelena Jankovic could handle. | Buy here | Watch on ESPN

Jessica Simpson looks way to cool on the cover of New York Magazine right now. Seriously? We want that hair. At least to see it on… say, Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Let’s see if BMS is into such a suggestion, k? And if you’re wondering how JSimp got her hair so big, just read the article. It’s where she keeps all her money.

(bnpps msg screengrab; simpson photo by ruven afanador via nymag)

the rags want tennis riches: a media round-up

The mags and papers are finally picking up the scent of the 2010, which starts in less than a week. For the media nerds out there, here’s a quick look at what’s going on…

Bad boy goes good: At New York, writer Larry Platt profiles the homegrown John McEnroe, who’s currently entering a new phase in his tennis career with the opening of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at Randall’s Island.

If you can’t beat them… Bloggers get a lot of love over at the New York Daily News website, where the newspaper’s coverage of the tournament will be supplemented with RSS feeds from the blogs. Thanks for the love, NYDN!

September is the January of Tennis: The September/October 2010 issue of Tennis is the largest in two years, buoyed by a new cross-platform focus for advertising. (via MinOnline)

It’s worth a shot: We’re excited to see if the re-imagined ESPN The Magazine — which’ll devote each issue to a sport or theme — can successefully sell a tennis-focused edition. (via FOLIO:)

Etc.: Nothing from The New Yorker‘s Sporting Scene yet, but we can’t wait!

(Mcenroe image via nymag.com)

short balls: nearly french

Is that Mary we see?! Upon closer inspection, no… no, it isn’t. Does this mean Troy can tell the future?? (TSF illustration by Troy Venechanos)

We wonder if Aravane Rezai could become this decade’s Mary Pierce at the French Open? It’s been a decade since Pierce, the on-again, off-again French citizen (according to tennis enthusiasts), won the title at Roland Garros much to her fans’ pleasure. Rezai has already allowed controversy to swirl around her young career, and her Iranian heritage runs parallel to Mary’s history with Canada. Both are bigger-built girls who belt off the baseline and use their hard, flat strokes to make up for less-than-best movement.

It will be interesting to see if this really could develop. Rezai has been steadily rising in the WTA ranks for the last three years, and might use 2010 as her breakthrough year after winning in Madrid last week. In what has mostly been a lackluster year, Rezai beat Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams to win the tournament. Rezai is a respectable 9-6 at Roland Garros, and this year is a guaranteed seed now that she is in the top 20. Could she be a week two contender? Guess we’ll see which Mary… we mean Aravane, shows up.

Looks like the USTA will have plenty of choices when it comes to this year’s Fed Cup final between the U.S. squad and the Italian team. 11 cities have entered bids to hold the November tie. Among the bidders are three cities in Texas (San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth) and two in California (Pacific Palisades and San Diego). Looks like Montgomery, Ala. decided to sit this one out (surprise!). Our guess: one of the Texas sites. No WTA event is held within a solid 1,000 miles of said state.

[Read more...]

new york calendar: l. jon, james and melanie

For tennis fans in New York, this week is going to be a grand one. The time of year that used to ring in the WTA’s Season Ending Championships has been frighteningly dead since the tour left early in the decade, leaving fans reeling after the excitement of the US Open.

On Monday, tennis journalist L. Jon Wertheim, author of Venus Envy and the more-recent Strokes of Genius, will be a part of a sports writers’ panel at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo. The night will also feature author Jesse Katz and New York mag’s Will Leitch. The three writers will each read a selection from their respective books and then take questions from the audience at the event, which starts at 7 PM at the Bookstore Cafe. Check it out for free.

Also on this week, on Tuesday, James Blake will host a tennis exhibition at Pier 94 downtown. The night will feature Andy Roddick and is rumored to also include upstart Melanie Oudin. Tickets can still be found here, along with a full list of events for the evening. 

(photo by Arancia Project via Flickr.)

Rafa can’t fill all of Roger’s Prada shoes

By now everyone has seen New York‘s fall fashion issue with a shirtless Rafael Nadal on the cover. Well, he’s on the back cover, so it’s difficult to randomly encounter. I’ve had to actively scan all the rags at my newsstand for Christie Brinkley‘s mug (she’s this week’s cover girl) and then flip the magazine over to see Rafa (so much work in the name of men’s fashion!), but it didn’t matter to me. And then I saw the pictures, and read the article, and then it all made sense: judging by Nadal’s influence in the world of fashion, the back-of-book placement is just right.

The Rafa article, penned by Ben Williams, notes that only a man of Nadal’s body type — big, bulging muscles — could pull off wearing his signature (and subjectively feminine) tank-top-and-Capris ensemble in such a way that we would never feel compelled to qualify his look the word “men’s” — i.e., “sleeveless man shirt” or “men’s Capri pants” — and he can thank his muscles for that. He gets brownie points for effortlessly and indifferently sporting his personal style.

But while this nonchalance might be why he’s worth a cover story (I’m sure Borg was equally as casual about putting together his “look”), Nadal is too disconnected from his fashion image; he has admitted to not knowing anything about the design of his clothes, nor does he seem interested in this world. For the NY photo shoot the editors couldn’t even use Rafa’s body to its full potential, only including three pictures of him wearing the exact. same. polo. And not even the most exciting piece from the Nike‘s fall collection. A chance to advance the realm of men’s (tennis) fashion instead goes down the drain.

After all this, things are the same as where we were pre-publication: men’s clothes as an afterthought, a formality, a rote exercise. With this cover, I had hoped that NY could make a case for us to rally around Rafa as a style icon. Alas, it didn’t quite work. While the search for Roger‘s replacement atop the rankings is over, the search for his fashion heir isn’t.

Read:The Beefcake in the Backcourt“, by Ben Williams, New York; also includes a 7-pic slideshow.

More: Two pics after the cut…

(off-topic) more photos: ryan mcginley and annie leibovitz shoot hollywood, julian schnabel’s pink giant, polaroid shutters, etc.

Shake it while you can: The higher-ups at Polaroid have decided to get out of the instant camera business. They are shuttering their operations in Massachusetts, making enough film to last only through next year. You can keep your fingers crossed, though — there’s a likelihood of the technology being licensed for third-party production. But until that happens, you might as well stock up!

palazzo-chupi.jpg

Vanity Fare: The pictures shot by Annie Leibovits for VF‘s March Hollywood issue are impressive as always (one here). But our reason for snapping up the pub are images of Julian Schnabel‘s pink WeVil monstrosity, the Palazzo Chupi.

Everyone was up in arms about how tacky the pink would look. I haven’t seen it in person, but it’s at least better than a Paul Smith store on Melrose or that obnoxious Pink Taco storefront in Century City. (What they lack in subtlety they make up for with a good happy hour.)

Hollywood, pt. 2: The New York Times got in on the Hollywood (aka Oscar) buzz with last Sunday’s NYT Magazine. Ryan McGinley shot the cover story. They’ve posted a behind-the-scenes video, also directed by McGinley, online. And I’ve posted the mag’s cover here.

(photos via Vanity Fair Goes to the Schneighborhood”, New York Magazine)