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)

ticked off slavs are hot

spectators-aussie09d

Rowdy nationalistic tennis fans became the talk of the Australian Open after today’s second-round matches. Paul-Henri Mathieu facedoff against Amer Delic (an American of Bosnian descent), Croat Marin Cilic defeated Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, and Delic is slated to face off against Serbian Nole Djokovic in the succeeding round. The tension today was enough to spur Delic to post a message on his website urging his fans to keep politics out of the the tournament.

In the Cilic/Tipsarevic match, spectators “were a little bit incorrect,” said Janko, “singing songs that had nothing to do with tennis because of the history [both countries] have with each other. I think two or three times I even said to the Serbian crowd, don’t call [Marin] names. It’s OK to cheer for me but don’t say bad things about him.”

“What I liked and was surprised about was there was no clapping between the first and second serve or no mobile phones ringing at an important part.” Good point, Janko. I’d take aggro-but-considerate douchebags over inconsiderate WASPs any day of the week.

By the way, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring for Melbourne ground security next year. I’m prepared to rough some of these guys up if things get out of hand.

(photos by Getty Images)

serbia’s greatest export

Who knew that Victor Troicki could be as animated as his fellow Serbian, Novak Djokovic?

It’s hard to contain his excitement, perhaps, of finally making some noise in these past few weeks; he’s reached back-to-back quarterfinals, first losing to Andy Roddick at the Japan Open 6-3, 6-4 and then to German Mischa Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Now that he’s shown us a full range of facial expressions, we can’t wait to see him battle Nole in the striptease competition.

Rest o’ the draw: The semis — Santoro‘s through after Mathieu retired, and will face either Kunitysn or the gorgeous Chardy. Meanwhile, Kolya and Marat (de facto final?) are duking it out to see who’ll take on Zverev.

More: See more of Troicki’s fun faces after the cut…

men dress down for the atp calendar

TSF was lucky enough to drop by the launch party for the ATP World Tour 2009 Calendar at the W Times Square. The tour enlisted the help of a few good men — Dmitry Tursunov, Juan Monaco, Ivan Ljubicic, Paradorn Srichaphan, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Haas, Marcos Bagdhatis, Tomas Berdych, Mike and Bob Bryan, Fernando Gonzalez, and Tommy Robredo (who isn’t so green about disrobing for the camera) — to pose for the 13-month skin-baring pin-up. We were joined for champagne by Dima, Juan, and Juan’s doubles partner Maximo Gonzalez.

Too bad French photographer Corinne Dubreuil, who shot these guys in Paris last year, wasn’t around for the event; you bet we wanted to ask her about shooting these shower pics of Arnaud Clement and these of Kolya Davydenko.

ATP jokester Tursunov (above, right) felt confident in his decision to pose shirtless for the calendar, and is ready for any locker room pranks pulled by his fellow athletes. “Bring ‘em on,” he said. “We tennis players work hard for our bodies, and it’s definitely not in vain. So it’s nice to do something like this.” He added, “I’d rather people make fun of me for being fit than for being out of shape.”

And what did the scruffy Mr. Monaco, through a translator — sorry, my Spanish can’t cut it — think of his experience? “It was very important for me to develop my image outside the sport and have people outside the sport get to know me.” And showing skin didn’t faze him: “I just had fun with it.”

The ATP’s Chris O’Neill came up with the idea for the calendar while roaming the grounds of the Countrywide Classic. He watched Dima get mobbed by women (“who wanted to have his baby, who wanted to marry him” — all these crazy things) and realized that there was a side of the sport that wasn’t getting showcased. And we’re grateful for his idea.

Buy: Pick up the calendar for $13 at TW.

More pics: See some more pages from the calendar after the cut…

Trophy Watch: Guga’s final splash on Court Philippe Chatrier

Trophy watch: Three-time French Open champion (and TSF fave) Guga Kuerten bid adieu to the red clay of Roland Garros for the final time, accepting a wild card that his body couldn’t back up. He lost to Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. And when it was all over, they awarded Guga with a cross-section of the court that propelled him to the upper echelons of tennis.

As a good luck charm, Guga wore the same Diadora kit as when he won his first French Open title in 1997. That title was the first of 20 that he would eventually rack up in his 13-year career.

Take that, Roger Federer!

Here are a few more pictures, plus a link to Chris Clarey‘s NYT write-up of the match — all after the cut…

v-necks!

I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out the je ne sais quoi (well, je sais quoi, now) behind the adidas quarter-zipped Edge Theme Polo that I love seeing on Paul-Henri Mathieu, Juan Monaco (both here), and Marat Safin (here).

In essence, all I really want are more v-neck shirts on the guys. Show off the collarbones, the chest, or (in some cases) the hair. You can even consider that Roger Federer photo we have on the TSF banner if you need another example. It’s a good way to mix things up, don’t you agree?

short balls: maria is bootylicious, mamiit wins medals, and wedding announcements galore!

masha-roddick-exo.jpg

Nole has some homework: Now that Masha has a bootylicious serve (to accomodate a right shoulder injury), funnyman Novak Djokovic will have to adjust his impersonation of the Russian. Get to work, Nole. (WTB)

Dear Harold: In the latest column by Harold Solomon for ZooTennis, he answers a question about choking.

Chris Evert engaged: Golfer Greg Norman and Chris Evert are now engaged. If you haven’t been following the drama surrounding these two sports icons, read up. (DTL)

Keeping it in Czech: Almost a year after getting engaged to Martina Hingis (and four months after calling it off), Casanova Radek Stepanek has applied for a marriage license with 18-year old compatriot Nicole Vaidisova. May-December, much? We’re waiting to get the “April Fool’s!” follow-up in our inbox. (BH via WTB)

yonex-fall07-dress.jpg

Sorry, Yonex: While this dress from Yonex might be a welcome surprise to some, I think it’s safe to say that loud prints shouldn’t have a place on the court. Too distracting, no? (WATR)

Mammiit’s medals: Cecil Mammiit cleaned up in the tennis events at the SEA games. He won gold in singles (beating a well-dressed Danai Udomchoke) and came up 2nd in both men’s and mixed doubles. Congratulations! (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Sharapova on Ellen: Ellen Degeneres, who’s been taking some heat for crossing the WGA picket line, will have Masha on her show this Friday.

Year-end thoughts: Chris Clarey offers his own, with the most memorable event being the five-set Wimbledon final between Roger and Rafa. (IHT)

Mathieu made whole: Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who had coach Thierry Champion taken away from him by the French Tennis Federation, is now working with Mats Wilander. Wilander’s most recent project was Tatiana Golovin.

we're feeling torn about the atp's newest campaign

(A tad late, but there’s too much other stuff to cover. So if you’ve seen your share of the ATP’s new blitz, my apologies…)

The ATP’s latest marketing campaign, the multi-million dollar — “Feel It” — was launched at the BNP Paribas Masters Series (Paris) a few weeks ago. With it, the tour will “showcase the sport’s core values as a one-on-one gladiatorial battle, full of intensity and passion” by bringing in themes of wild animals and natural phenomena such as fire and water.

The beauty of ‘Feel It’, created by Canadian ad shop Taxi 2, lies in its flexibility: the wide array of TV spots, billboards, online banners, virals, merchandise, fan giveaways, and PR stunts can be adapted for any ATP tournament and can feature any ATP player. (If you remember, they issued one for Tomas Berdych to help raise the Czech’s profile at the U.S. Open.) The Rogers Cup aka Masters Series Toronto has already expressed interest in using this to promote their event. This template can make it easier for tournaments to focus on other ways to beef up their event (perhaps better TROPHIES?) while keeping true to their participation in the tour.

Let’s hope that they can use this to deflect some attention away from all the scandals (Match-fixing! Gambling! Poisoning! Doping!) plaguing the game.

Now, onto the images, moving and not…

This is one of two video spots making the rounds. I get the idea behind the ad, but putting that girl in the line of danger is a little scary. Looked like a terrorist attack before I knew what was going on.

And there’s another video (here) of a guy walking away from a park bench right before it gets crushed by a gigantic tennis racquet. The stick, of course, came from a nearby billboard of David Nalbandian in racquet-thrashing pose. I’m not feeling intensity and passion (caused by competition); I’m feeling collateral damage. Sorry guys. (What do you think of this new campaign? Tell us!)

Why not ressurect “New Balls, Please”? (Was that not a hit?) That was more gladiator-like in feel.

The photos are pretty good, though…

atp feel it - rafael nadal

Paying homage to Nadal‘s Spanish roots.

See more of the cards after the cut…

before you say anything…

nikolay davydenko kremlin cup

…about this drop-to-the-knees thing being Federer-esque (it’s true), we’ll cut Nikolay Davydenko some slack. This is a very appropriate response from the Russian after he beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 7-6 (9) to win this week’s Kremlin Cup. He’s had a so-so 2007 so far (this is his first title of the year), plus he’s mired in this match-fixing mess that isn’t quite ready to go away just yet.

Congrats, Kolya. But if you keep winning titles, you should get a different post-victory schtick. For now, we won’t mind.

p.s. We’ve got new winners for the ATP stops in Vienna, Stockholm and Moscow; and the women’s stops in Bangkok and Moscow. This week’s trophy watch will be up later today.

RELATED POSTS
>> federer to fish: a trickle down theory

courtside: grosjean at kremlin cup

A quick look at Sebastien Grosjean‘s racquet bag from Lacoste during his 2-6, 2-6 performance in the first round of the 2007 Kremlin Cup.

This loss to fellow frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu is on par with Sebastien’s year thus far; he’s title-less — with only 13 wins out of 29 matches played.

Buy: So don’t ape his game, but you can ape his style. Sporty bags with the brand’s signature crocodile logo are available at at Lacoste.com (look under Leather Goods/Men/Sport) or through amazon.