short balls: it’s not over until the (small) lady sings

Justine Henin made her return to Belgian television earlier this week by singing and dancing on a variety TV show. Singing the song “Now It’s Time” on the show Cap 48. Was that lip synching we saw there, JuJu? Might have to refer to this video to figure it out. Hopefully Lady Henin didn’t re-injure her elbow in said dance routine, in which she wore a bright white pant suit, black dance shoes and had her hair put up. Now we get why she wants her phone on a desert island: she has the Autotune app.

Justine is scheduled to take on Kim Clijsters in an exhibition in December, though she hasn’t made her 2011 schedule public yet. Guga Kuerten is due to play an exhibition in his home country of Brazil in December as well, flying down former rival Andre Agassi for a little hit and giggle. Fame bound? Meanwhile, Andre headlines the 2011 ballot for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The last time Andre was in Newport? To help honor his wife Steffi during her own induction in 2007.

With the tennis season winding down, the exo season is picking up. The Belgians will do battle in their home country and Guga has Andre going south. Roger has invited Rafa up to Switzerland for a duel of their own, which, if the trailer runs true, will be mostly giggling and not much hitting. Stateside, no less than four exo’s will take place in November and December, with players like Anna Kournikova, Martina Navratilova, Mark Philippoussis, Mardy Fish and the Bryan Brothers participating in one event or another. (Line up: Surprise, Ariz. | Delray Beach | DC | Vero Beach, Fla.) (Exhibition info from tenniswire.org)

The season is prematurely over for a myriad of WTA ladies, including Venus, Serena and Maria Sharapova. The Williams sisters will not only miss the Season Ending Championships but also the Fed Cup finals, which they had expressed interest in playing after controversy swirled in their lack of participation in the team’s ties earlier in the year.

More of short balls – featuring short(er) balls – after the cut. [Read more…]

it’s a wrap: adidas’ women’s competition line, s/s ’09

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Not a surprise, but the spring/summer 2009 adidas women’s competition line keeps low-key, staying with that bumblebee shade that we’ve been trying to expunge from the tennis palette for two years (Yonex is keeping adidas company during this sit-in).

The bright yellow is broken up by black lines around the back of both the tank and the cap sleeve top, while the standard three-stripe detail makes an appearance on the sleeve of the latter.

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There’s a diamond in the rough, though: continuing with the Asian-inspired Australian Open top, adidas has produced this red mock wrap cap sleeve tee to kick of its players’ 2009 campaign. (With Anna Chakvetadze defecting to Fila, Dinara Safina and Patty Schnyder will be the highest-ranked women playing in these pieces.)

Buy: adidas Competition Tank and Cap Sleeve Top, neon yellow/black, starting at $45; Competition Skort, white, $45; all items available at shopadidas.com in January 2009.

trophy watch: three-set finals all around

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Aww. Look at these two. I would make the same faces if I took out the Bryan Brothers 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 in the finals of the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas. Michael Llodra teamed up with fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau because Llodra’s regular partner, Arnaud Clement, has been nursing a left ankle injury (among other things).

The rest: See the rest of the week’s trophies — including the ones from Dubai and Bangalore — after the cut…

trophy watch: basel, linz, lyon, st. petersburg

This past week the men played in three tournaments (Basel, Lyon, St. Petersburg) while the women made a showing in Linz, Austria. Lots of shiny things were handed out, save for a purple oddity in Lyon…

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At the Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Sebastien Grosjean defeated fellow Frenchman Marc Gicquel 7-6 (5), 6-4 to capture his fourth career title (and first since Nottingham 2002). His trophy looks like it’s stuffed with tennis balls. What do you think?

In St. Petersburg, Andy Murray hoists a cup after winning his second title of the year. The runner-up in this 6-2, 6-3 match was Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. This title will keep Murray in the running for the final two spots in this year’s Masters Cup (Shanghai). FYI, St. Pete top seed Nikolay Davydenko got fined $2,000 for allegedly tanking in his 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Marin Cilic. Poor guy can’t catch a break! On the bright side, the Russian has already qualified for the Masters Cup. But on the other hand (call me a pessmist?), he likely won’t be able to defend his title at this week’s Paris Masters.

In Linz, Slovak Dani Hantuchova (still in Nike black) came out the winner in the final against Patty Schnyder at the Generali Ladies Open. The 6-4, 6-2 victory gave Hantuchova a spot at the WTA Championships in Madrid (starting Nov. 6). This is her second title of the year in four finals. Her other title this year is from Indian Wells.

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And in Basel, Roger Federer took out Jarkko Nieminen at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, thus defending his title (this one’s No. 52) and securing the year-end No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row. By the way, the runner-ups were awarded with watches. Classy.

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s trophy watch

i love umlauts!

serena zurich 2007 vs. patty schnyder
Serena Williams in her first round match against Patty Schnyder. Williams retired at 0-6, 0-3 with a sore thigh.

I get really giddy when I see branded courts. For instance, this week’s hardcourts at the Zurich Open were painted with the Tier I tourney’s location (that’s Zurich). And the men are playing on green hardcourts at the Madrilena Masters. Those courts are painted with “MADRID”.

trophy watch: sopot, san diego, legg mason

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Andy Roddick ends the run of John Isner at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Click here to see Isner tower over Roddick.

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Maria Sharapova wins over scrappy lefty Patty Schnyder in the final Acura Classic at the La Costa Resort and Spa. Sharapova beat Schnyder 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, but couldn’t figure out how to fix her opponent’s flyaway hair.

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Tommy Robredo (still in Sergio Tacchini, le sigh) wins the Sopot title over Jose Acasuso.

RELATED POSTS
>> Tennis Served Fresh’s trophy watch

women's purses getting smaller?

Normally, it would need to fit a couple of tennis rackets. Perhaps a change of clothing. Maybe a banana.

But all functionality flew out the window at this week’s Family Circle Cup. Take a look at what Venus and Serena brought off the court.

What to make of this Har-Tru trend? Are these women getting valet service for their gym bags? If so, it was clearly a perk not provided for everyone; even Charleston darling Patty Schnyder had to schlep her own bags to the locker room.

RELATED POSTS
>> the cyan-tists
>> best of davis cup fashion (quarterfinal ties)
>> davis cup fashion: learn from the germans
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HEAD swimming in orange

HEAD got on the orange express when they rebranded earlier this year.

The company wants to move away from its “technology-driven” image and more towards an athletic one: “outrageous, spontaneous and adventurous”. The new logo is thicker and orange. Here are the tennis-related ads … Read the rest of this entry…