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

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agassi interview in the april issue of tennis



Almost two years after leaving the sport, tennis icon Andre Agassi has found new challenges as a father and businessman, and admits while he still loves the game, “I don’t feel like a tennis player anymore.” He tells Peter Bodo in an exclusive interview in the April issue of TENNIS Magazine, “When I dig out my racquets because I’ve donated a lesson for charity or something, I’ll look at them and say, ‘Wow, this is what I used to do for a living.’”

Although he did say he still watches a lot of tennis. “We don’t have the television on in the house unless we’re watching something specific, but during the Australian Open, I had it on all the time, tuned to Tennis Channel.”

Interviewed in an empty classroom of the eponymous College Preparatory Academy, the school he founded in Las Vegas to help disadvantaged children, Agassi talks in depth about his life after retirement, his children (with wife Steffi Graf), Roger Federer, drug testing and gambling in tennis as well as his latest sporting adventure — snowboarding.

Read more: Highlights from the article after the cut…

short balls: mcenroe and bryan brothers get davis cup spotlight, etc.



Coming into his own: It’s been a few years now that Patrick McEnroe has etched his way into tennis history (and not as John McEnroe‘s younger brother). As the U.S. gets ready to face Russia in the 2007 Davis Cup finals (this weekend, in Portland), bone up with this quick profile in USA Today.

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Bryan Brothers blogging: Speaking of Davis Cup, the ATP passes the blogging baton to Mike and Bob Bryan for new insight into this weekend’s Davis Cup tie. Bob wrote the inaugural post. What you need to know: the twins went to a Blazers game with James Blake, Mike spent too much money at Whole Foods, Bob is impressed with what he’s seen as of late from the likes of Donald Young and Robbie Ginepri, and can’t wait to pull some pranks on giant (and rookie) John Isner. (ATP)

Pete backs Pete: Year-long touring pro he ain’t, but Pete Sampras‘ serve-and-volley game — played on fast indoor carpet — can still match up with today’s best. (ESPN.com)

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Poker? I hardly knew her!: Newly-single Boris Becker will join Pokerstars as one of their sponsored pros. He’ll participate in the European leg of the Poker Tour at the end of January. (Poker News)

Exhibition ecstasy: The folks at Tennis Channel will air a bunch of exhibitions in their entirety (and for free) through the end of 2007. The schedule is as follows: Monday, Dec. 3, Rafael Nadal vs. Richard Gasquet (first U.S. showing); Tue., Dec. 4, Sampras vs. Federer No. 1; Wed., Dec. 5, Sampras vs. Federer No. 2; Thurs., Dec. 6, Sampras vs. Federer No. 3. In the meantime, you can watch clips (with German commentary) here.

(OT) Opening Ceremony: Quick write-ups in Refinery29 and NYT about Opening Ceremony co-owner Humberto Leon, who, aside from running one of the best boutiques in Los Angeles, is busy ressurecting 90s surf label Maui & Sons.

(Davis Cup photo via ATP; Becker photo via Poker News)

davenport returns



TSF is happy to see Lindsay Davenport back on the court after giving birth to son Jagger (and Peter Bodo‘s on the same boat).

FYI: Lindsay made her doubles return with Lisa Raymond in last month’s Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven (but lost in the first round the top-seeded team of Huber and Black).

This time around — in her first singles tourney back from maternity leave — she opened with an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Eleni Daniilidou at the Commonwealth Bank Classic in Bali. She’s also partnered with Slovakian Dani Hantuchova for the doubles draw.

She’s wearing the Nike Women’s Fall ’07 Power Tank in black. Die cut holes (backed with Dri-FIT fabric) accent the cute empire waist on this top.

What do you think of Lindsay’s tank? Are you glad to see her back on tour? Tell us!

Buy: $50 at Midwest Sports.

(photos via Getty Images)

short balls: serbian or croatian?, nadal's pants fit just fine



Nike sighs relief: You know the folks at Nike won’t have their panties in a wad after Rafa Nadal owns up to his butt-picking ways. He blames the bad habit on just that — a habit — and not Nike’s inability to tailor clothes:

“It’s not the fault of the clothes. It’s a habit that I picked up when I was competing when I was young. I am trying to break the habit, but it’s not easy.” (Time)

Get it right: The announcer at Rogers Cup trophy ceremony said that Nole was from Croatia and not Serbia, which caused an uproar and a subsequent apology from Tennis Canada. Djokovic handled the mistake with class, but there are some who want the announcer fired.

Calm down folks. I can think of at least two other people who would be in line to get fired before this guy, and I’m sure they still have their jobs. Besides, after being corrected by Nole in front of the entire tennis-watching world, I’m sure the announcer will make sure to do better research for next year’s tourney.

Novak’s record: Roger and Rafa aren’t the only one breaking tennis records. Djokovic is the first player since Boris Becker in Stockholm ’94 to beat the top three seeds in the same tournament. He’s also the first player to beat Roger and Rafa in the same tournament.

Djokovic’s sausage: The next best thing to a shirtless Nole is him cooking and consuming a huge amount of “mixed meat”. (Fagistan)

Video from the fashion show: Butter provides us video from the ATP Fashion Show in Montreal. Alas, it doesn’t include this.

“College is overrated:” Some guy waiting with me at the bus stop had that written on his shirt (how appropriate). Peter Bodo, fortch, thinks otherwise. Because of the successes of John Isner and James Blake, he’s pushing to make college tennis a viable segue into pro tennis, and ZooTennis agrees.

How Courier plays on the green stuff: Jim Courier reveals his secret to playing on grass: “I don’t transition for (it). I try to make grass bend to my will… I have no intention of becoming a serve and volleyer; I’m going to dance with the date I brought, as the saying goes, and look for my forehand and follow it to net when appropriate.” Note to the USTA: don’t let Jim coach any of our kids during the grass season! (Outback Series)

Kalamazoo winner: Michael McClune wins the Boys’ 18 singles title and Tennys Sandgren wins the Boys’ 16 at Kalamazoo. Congrats. McClune also makes it into the main draw of the Open with a wild card. (Zoo Tennis)

Kids’ Day: The USTA has announced the line-up for this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.