russians, russian women, women, doping, tiger woods — everyone's getting dissed!



Is Age of Love really still on? My fault for staying home on a Monday night…

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Much ado about nothing: The Russian Roulette, aka Nikolay Davydenko, got an awful losing streak rubbed in his face after $7 million — ten times the average — was wagered in favor of World No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello beating him in a second round match at the Orange Prokom Open (Sopot, Poland). And not only that: the sitch has since turned into a big match-fixing scandal that has everyone from ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers to Kolya supporter Roger Federer chiming in. Fortunately, the ATP follows due process and will allow the top-fiver to play at this week’s Rogers Cup while an investigation is conducted. Bonus round: Click here to read more on the different kinds of tennis sports betting.

From Russia, without love: La Russophobe calls the Soviet success at La Costa a bunch of hogwash.

Rafter d. Roddick: In the hypothetical head-to-head, the more athletic Rafter wins out. (411mania.com)

Unstrung screens at Kalamazoo: The Disney-owned documentary screens at the boys’ tournament. The film follows Tim Neilly, Marcus Fugate, Holden Seguso, Clancy Shields, Gregory Hirshman, Donald Young, and Sam Querrey from the 2004 Orange Bowl in December through the 2005 U.S. Open. (via ZooTennis)

Ok, we’ll bite: A “He said, She said” at North County Times questions what celebrity riff raff is doing to women’s tennis. Of course “he” backs up the glam; aside from the anomaly that is Anna Kournikova (and yes, we’re talking just about singles titles here), all the other model-quality players have proven their match-tough mettle: the always-fashionable Williams sisters have 14 Grand Slam singles trophies between them. Masha has two, and Serbian Ana Ivanovic has two Tier I titles (Berlin, Montreal) under her belt.

“She” calls the endorsements and red carpet appearances distractions. But these cross-promotions are a necessary evil if we want to keep tennis financially viable. Sorry to break it to you, dear. Money is a waaaaaaay bigger factor in professional tennis than what your ideals are letting you believe.

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(OT) Doping laws aren’t dope: Sports law expert Mark Hardie writes about the inadequacies of today’s anti-doping policies in a recent op-ed published in The Times. Those falling through the cracks include tennis players Mariano Puerta and Guillermo Coria.

(OT) Amex drops Tiger: I Want to Be a Sports Agent scratches its head over this latest marketing move.

short balls: aussie edition



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Flip the Fungible: If Mark Philippoussis decides to disappear into tennis oblivion, then I’ll be content replacing him with the similar-looking ATP-er, Spaniard Paul Andujar. (Here he is in Le Coq Sportif while losing to Nole at the Croatian Open.)

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The Scud at an Age of Love viewing party in the Planet Hollywood Casino surrounded by his girls: Jayanna, Adelaide, Lauren, Tessa, Lynn, Angela, Jodi, Mary, and Kelli Brook. (photos via Getty Images)

Flip the TV Star: Mark takes another step into firming up his tennis prospects — FYI, he’s working out of his Vegas base camp with former Agassi trainer Gil Reyes — by considering another reality TV series. (Herald Sun via DT)

Rafter the Wise: Two-time U.S. Open titleist Pat Rafter, who gave some great advice to James Blake early in the American’s career, speaks out in favor of the newly-formed union between Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche (who is also Pat’s former coach). I wonder if he has opinions about his former doubles partner Philippoussis?

Courier the Impresario: American Jim Courier has joined Darren Cahill and Roger Rasheed as investors in a new three-day exhibition that leads up to the 2009 Australian Open. The tournament will pair retired ATP players with current ones of the same nationality. McEnroe and Roddick vs. Pat Cash and Hewitt? I like it!

Tourney trivia: the last Adelaide tourney will be played in 2008, after which it will fold with the women’s Gold Coast event. This new exhibition will have the same plexi-cushion courts (Rebound Ace, R.I.P.) as the Aussie Open. The promoters will face competition for players from Kooyong, the Sydney International, and the Auckland tournament.

Dokic (not yet) the Prodigal Daughter: The reunion of Tennis Australia with troubled and hard-headed former prodigy Jelena Dokic hit another snag when she rejected the governing body’s latest offer to help out. (Herald Sun)

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>> short balls: the aussie edition

the aussie edition



Patrick Rafter at the Salem Open in Hong Kong
As you may already know, Mark Philippoussis aka the Scud gave up surfing — along with his digs in Carlsbad — to concentrate on his tennis. (His base is now Las Vegas).

So Patrick Rafter yesterday took the steps to fill the void as the country’s tennis player/surfer. He entered a competition at the Noosa Festival of Surfing. You can see a photo of Rafter hanging ten on the Sunshine Coast Daily website.

He placed third, and attributed his lack of poise to decades of playing tennis:

“I’ve got to stick my arse back in – I sort of stick it out too far when I surf – sort of a balance thing you know. It’s like I’m returning serve,” the Eumundi-raised Davis Cup hero said with his usual candour.

We’ll keep you posted of his future surfing activities.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this:

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Yeah experience the height of visual gluttony with this photo taken from the ITF website. That’s what Australia made their athletes wear to the Olympic ceremonies in ATHENS?