on the 1st day of giftmas: tennis lit



2010 has been a pretty good year for the tennis literary community (if you can even call it a “community”). There was an as-always this-is-what-my-tennis-life was (and is!) book in Patrick McEnroe’s Hardcourt Confidential, while Venus Williams put out a best-selling business book called Come To Win. Right, we said business book. We give you a few other selections that might fit well as fit-in-your-suitcase take-home gifts this holiday season.

Hardcourt Confidential might be the only book on this list that I’ve actually completed, and after a bit of skepticism to start, I surely appreciated it. McEnroe write with Tennis‘s Peter Bodo and Bodo’s signature phrases can be found throughout the book. But it’s still McEnroe’s voice that shines through and tells some good stories. The book follows a calendar format (Jan. to Dec.) instead of a biographical one, which grew on me as I progressed. A great read from – what a tennis friend recently told me – “one of the nicest guys in tennis.” | Hardcover on Amazon.com for $10.40

Come to Win is Venus’s take – along with a host of other “visionaries” – on how to rise above the rest in whatever you choose.”Every single story in this book is very motivating. Sports give you knowledge that you can take with you and apply into other fields,” says Mihaela Hagiu in her review of Come to Win on Bookstove.com. “Many people do not realize the benefits of playing a sport. The lessons that could be learned are too valuable.” | Hardcover on Amazon.com for $17.15

Doubles Agatha Donkar’s take on the book on the Art & Literature blog: “Taking the reader along for the ride as Slow tries to crawl out from this bottom that he’s hit, Doubles explores tennis, friendship, and love, and the truly strange lengths human beings go to in pursuit of those things — the idea that we’re all just muddling along, and there’s only so much indulgence you can take before you have to do something else.” | Paperback on Amazon.com for $11.41

[Read more...]

short balls: the pick comes wednesday



On Wednesday afternoon, the USTA will announce at a media luncheon who has been picked to replace Patrick McEnroe as the U.S. Davis Cup coach. McEnroe, who has coached the American squad since 2002, announced at the year’s US Open that he was stepping down from his position as head coach. Jim Courier and Todd Martin, both former players for the Davis Cup red, white and blue made it known almost immediately that they were interested in the spot. Jay Berger, whohas worked as a USTA coach as well as helping out with Davis Cup duties under McEnroe, is also rumored to be in the running.

Pay to know: The career of Lleyton Hewitt might be on the downward spiral, so he and wife Bec Cartwright are making sure to take full (monetary) advantage of the arrival of their third child, a girl. The Hewitts have joined forces with “Text A Star”, a service that allows fans to text a certain number for $2, and the curious fan will be texted back with the name of the little gal. D-Listed took issue with the Hewitts decision to share the information in such a way, crowning the couple their “Dumb Bitches of the Day“. Bundle of joy? Bundle of something…

No bundles of joy: For Ana Ivanovic and golfer Adam Scott, whose split was confirmed last week. Sounds as though the two severed romantic tie in the last few months, which may have helped Ana with her recent resurgence on the WTA Tour. Maybe Ana should monetize her new-found tennis wins with a $2 text service to find out what she ate before each match? Then we could finally get to the bottom of that bathroom problem…

Not enough Muster-d: Luck ran out for Austrian wild card (and former world no. 1) Thomas Muster in the opening round at Vienna today. He was taken down in two (hard-fought) sets against countryman and lucky loser Andreas Haider-Maurer. That didn’t stop Argentinean blog FueBuena to make sure that a Muster reel (from past and present) was up on the blog today, featuring a couple of ’90s gems against Sampras and two great points from his loss today. Keep trucking, Mr. 43!

short(er) balls: The Bryan Brothers put up this video yesterday from a commercial they were supposedly shooting with ESPN. The theme: a 1970s Doublemint gum spin off. Twins abound! | Some fans are really ticked off about the Tennis Channel ticker. Who knew?! Guess they just want their tennis, old-school. | This idea certainly isn’t ‘old school’: the iBall. OnTheBaseline talks with two young minds that have an idea on how to change ball technology in the modern game. | This should be bright too: Maria Sharapova’s engagement ring. Sounds like Mr. Sharapova is well-trained when it comes to his lady’s taste for expensive ($250,000!) jewelry. | And really, we’d love to Andrea Petkovic become much more than Petkorazzi. Girl is upbeat and down to earth. Down with the JJ and up with the Petko. Guess we’ll see what happens, no?

(photo by bill kralovec via flickr)

davis cup daddies



Who’s on your list?

Guy Forget, for France, heading the team against Argentina for a spot in the Davis Cup finals.

Patrik Kühnen, for Germany, coaching the guys as they play on home soil (Stuttgart) against the South Africans.

Patrick McEnroe, for the US, making sure the Americans fare well against Colombia.

(images via Getty Images)

short balls: the in-between edition



Ed note: We were planning on getting a podcast up for djy’all’s enjoyment this week, but real life got in the way. Check out TSF early next week for a Roland Garros wrap-up and a look-ahead to The Championships, Wimbledon. -NM

In case you missed it in our last post, there is something called the World Cup going on in South Africa. It’s the biggest athletic event of its kind on the globe, and will be happening for the next month (!) as 32 teams battle it out for the cup. The media has covered this event from every possible angle, and I wanted to share a couple of those with you faithful folk. The first is a bit historical and artsy: the history of the World Cup soccer ball (compiled by the NYT). The second is a bit of the shallow variety, but it’s worth it.

While some people might not be very impressed with Maria Sharapova‘s Birmingham warm-up frocks (and we sort of agree), the Russian lady was out in the community supporting the game of tennis for youth and unveiling a mural put together by local artists. The WTA put together a video of the scene (linked above in the image, too).

One former player who knew how to paint the court with winners, Monica Seles, was featured on the WTA’s web site last week. Can she joing the comeback train, too?! She’s our second pick behind Mary, Our Lady of Roland Garrolupe. Seeing as though there are now two Italians in the WTA’s top ten, it wouldn’t be the craziest of things to happen.

Laura Robson was in a bit of hot water over the weekend for quotes that she provided to Vogue UK for an upcoming article in the British pub. From the looks of her Twitter account, Robson got the memo from her PR team to issue some sort of response (later a full press release was issued) and since then has been a rather silent Sally while winning four matches (three in qualifying) at Birmingham. Talk about adding to the pressure for this year’s Championships.

After the cut: Shorter balls and a look at the second-ever outdoor WNBA game (along with the first!). [Read more...]

davis cup bits



Davis Cup VIPs: So as not to have an “I don’t know who Althea Gibson is” moment, Patrick McEnroe should make this Pete Bodo post on DC legends required reading for his team. (ESPN)

Bonnie D. Ford: “If you’re an American, you’re not given a lot of room to enjoy this victory. The bubbly is barely out of the bottle before people are demanding to know whether the event is relevant.”

Ego doesn’t rule the day: I’m glad James Blake, who might not be remembered for his Grand Slam success, has found a way to carve out a very satisfying — and memorable — tennis career. (Bloomberg)

Etcetera: SPI: Andy Roddick is one up on Federer now that he has a Davis Cup title. SI: Andy’s feat should make him a Hall of Fame shoo-in. MS2: Team USA hitting partners Ginepri partied hard (see No. 7).

Chris Clarey and Harvey Araton tag team at NYT:

  • How fitting that Bob and Mike Bryan, probably the most successful American tennis players in the last few years, are the ones who clinched the Davis Cup title for Team USA.
  • Patrick McEnroe, unlike his older brother John, figured out how to work with Andy and James.
  • And the guys are carving out their own story in the wake of what Blake calls “the greatest generation probably in the history of the American game.”
  • The USTA is eager to make this win resonate globally. An uphill battle, I say.
  • Davydenko‘s in need of repair, and will spend some time in Thailand during the off-season. Plus this re: the latest round of scandals…

    The sport operates in an expanded and increasingly complex environment, new stars emerging from Eastern Europe, countries with developing economies, and where the potential for underworld growth parallels free-market expansion.

    “It’s true, we are dealing with less-sophisticated areas of the world, and in that context it makes this more difficult,” said Arlen Kantarian, the chief executive of the United States Tennis Association. “But this issue at the end of the day is not Western or Eastern, it’s about honesty and integrity, and it’s worldwide.”

    I hope you were misquoted, Mr. Kantarian, because I think you may have called Russia less sophisticated.

Willammette Week brought us local coverage:

  • They posted lots of video. (Nick, have you seen these?)
  • Portland loved being a rare USTA pit stop.
  • Live-blogging from dead rubbers.
  • How drunk can you get in 45 minutes? Very.
  • “Tennis is like NASCAR — but without asphalt and with more teeth.”
  • Portland is different from Moscow.