dinara is going through old boxes

What else is there to do? Dinara Safina, who fell from No. 1 in the WTA rankings in an ugly crash and announced earlier this year that she would be taking the rest of 2011 off to re-assess her career, is using some of her free time to go through some old household items, it seems.

The 25-year-old Russian posted this photo, along with others, to her Twitter account today, writing about this one: “Marat and Mama !!!”

(photo via yfrog/dinara safina)

wta headshots: part 3 (ladies of east coast)

Matt Trollope began covering tennis in 2008, a natural extension of his childhood obsession for the game that included hitting for countless hours against his bedroom wall and self-producing and editing a fictitious tennis magazine. Based in Melbourne, he has covered four Australian Opens and one Wimbledon championship, and his tennis writing has featured in Australian Tennis Magazine, the Australian Open Official Program, and Alpha Magazine.

In this latest instalment of TSF’s WTA Headshots series, we take a look at some players who have posted solid results this past fortnight in New York. Given some of them have since been dumped from the women’s draw, they might have time to source new photographs. And remember, folks, this is just pure, unadulterated fun and fiction. We lack all seriousness in below post. Enjoy!

Sabine Lisicki | When Lisicki missed most of 2010 with a severe ankle injury, instead of lying around feeling sorry for herself, she went out and scored a role as an extra in the film Just Go With It. “I figured if Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick could be in it, why couldn’t I?” She explained to TSF. “I asked them to put in a good word for me, and the director said I could be involved in scenes set in Hawaii.” This photo shows that Lisicki pulled off the Pacific Island look brilliantly, and like every good extra, you don’t even notice her when you watch the film. Yet ever the ambitious young lady on court, Lisicki struggled to quash her competitive instincts in the acting arena, with an insider quoting her as saying: “Seriously, Brooklyn’s acting was such crap, as if I wouldn’t totally own that character! All she had to do was get a massage for half the movie and look pretty in front of the camera. I already do that as a professional tennis player!” After watching the film –- which copped a resounding thumbs-down from critics –- we have to agree.

Jelena Jankovic | It’s always been about the drama and the performance for Jelena. Forget the tennis –- JJ’s performances have been largely forgettable for three years anyway. Instead, Jelena’s current focus is on shoring up her post-tennis career options. We at TSF have dug up her submission –- a resume complete with a suitable headshot –- to take part in Celine Dion’s show-in-residence at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Jankovic notes parallels between herself and the Canadian diva: “My application shows that I clearly rock the wind-machine look, I’ve got my fist-pump down pat and I’m very comfortable being in the spotlight,” she says. “She’s always using back-up dancers, and with my body, I could easily fit in with them. And who cares if I can’t sing? It’s all about lip-synching these days.” Further investigation by TSF confirms that Dion’s management has yet to respond to Jankovic’s application.

TSF Vault: More WTA headshots

Vania King | Ever watched Glee and thought the Asian-American character was an unconvincing actress, a dud singer, and generally pretty annoying? Well, it seems the WTA does, and it’s propping up one of its own as a viable replacement. Proud of the fact that King can sing, but keen to strip her of her prissy choir-girl image –- certainly not aligned with the tour’s sweat-soaked, pheromone-charged Strong Is Beautiful campaign –- CEO Stacey Allaster told TSF about the inspiration behind the push to “vote Vania” for Glee. “What better way for the WTA to position one of our players than in such a sassy, sexy and culturally-relevant program? We’re taking it up a level from Xperia Hotshots. Glee is totally where it’s at now.” So far, the Vote Vania campaign features a poster –- with Vania’s coquettish pose serving as the foundation –- but no slogan as yet.

Andrea Petkovic | Petko will continue to make her presence felt on the East Coast following her deep run at the US Open, lending her face to a tourism campaign promoting The Hamptons as an idyllic year-round escape from the frenetic pace of New York City life. This photo –- a still from the television advertisement –- shows Petkovic leaning luxuriously against the wall of a rustic timber home, her amber eyes glinting as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. “Maybe your body is weary from lots of dancing,” she says dreamily in the voiceover. “Perhaps you want to disconnect from technology after tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and vlogging. You might want to rest your mind after tackling the works of Goethe and Wilde, or brushing up on your four languages. Whatever your reason, you’ll find your sanctuary in The Hamptons.” Given the German is an increasingly dominant force on the women’s tour, many of her opponents may be hoping for an escape themselves.

(Photos via the WTA; Humor via TSF)

18 crumbs from taste of tennis

And by “crumbs,” we mean people, of course. Thursday night, TSF made its way to Taste of Tennis, the yearly event that combines food, the chefs that make it and a line-up of US Open tennis players for an evening that’s quite delectable. It was our first time there, and we were lucky enough to be joined by the talented photographer Billie Weiss, who snapped all 13 of these images in this post. But while Billie took in the visuals, we worked the green carpet and nabbed a few folks for a word or two before they headed in to snarf and socialize.

Our leading man, Gilles Simon, above, worked the green carpet longer than anyone else, happily obliging to speak with every single reporter and blogger (and there were plenty of us!) along his way.

TSF: What’s been the most surprising thing about year one of fatherhood? Hardest?
Gilles Simon: Well, it’s not surprising because I wanted it. [Smiling.] The mother, she is fabulous. When I have a match and the baby is crying in the night, I don’t wake up, she will always do that. For me, I just have the good things during a tournament: I get to enjoy him and when I don’t win a match he makes me smile because he is always happy to see [me]. I tend to forget about tennis around him.

TSF: Are you guys always traveling as a unit?
GS: We are not always together. But when we are, the mother helps me a lot — she is very patient. I try to have them with me as much as possible, of course.

TSF: What’s one thing you love about coming to New York?
GS: I am from Paris so shopping is not a big deal here. [Smiling.] It’s just being here. You cannot see this city anywhere else in the world. Nothing is the same. At night, sometimes it is too much for me, but it’s only two weeks. I can do that. I really enjoy traveling in different parts of the world. New York? You can’t find it anywhere else.

TSF: Tell us what you’re doing here tonight.
Gigi Fernandez: I’m here as an ambassador for the event. I’m delighted that I get to combine my two passions: tennis and drinking. [Laughs.] No, no. Tennis and food. Rums of Puerto Rico [one of the sponsors] asked me to come tonight and I’ve done stuff with them before. I did an event with them in Washington DC that was an Iron Chef-style competition where the chefs had to prepare food using different rums. And I was one of the judges… we got to drink and eat. It was great! It’s always fun for me to represent anything Puerto Rican.

TSF: OK, you’ve made two drink reference so far. What’s your favorite drink?
GF: Mojitos. They’re my favorite.

TSF: What else are you up to these days?
GF: Being a full-time mom is a full-time job. I do a lot of corporate clinics and several events during the Open. I play in the Senior event at the Open and I did so at Wimbledon and the French Open, too.

TSF: Do you care to weigh in on the women’s side this year?
GF: I think if Serena can stay fit then she’s clearly heads above the rest. When she’s 100% she’s the best player in the world.

TSF: Have any of the younger American girls caught your eye at all?
GF: Yeah, actually. Monica Puig is a Puerto Rican player. She’s the highest-ranked American junior coming up and she’ll have a similar dilemma to the one that I had in trying to figure out who she will represent. She’s definitely the one with the most potential.

TSF: What is on the iPod these days?
Vera Zvonareva: Well, I like Rihanna a lot. I like Nickelback right now and Linkin Park. There are a couple new songs from Bruno Mars out there, too.

TSF: Do you ever try to see anyone live when you’re traveling?
VZ: That’s something that I would love to do one day. Unfortunately, it never really works out with the tournaments. When you listen to music live it’s a great feeling. It’s something that I really want to do eventually.

TSF: What about when you have an afternoon or evening to yourself? What is me-time for Vera?
VZ: I lock myself in the hotel room and put a movie on and I can watch three or four movies at a time.

TSF: And your fave?
VZ: Bodyguard.

TSF: Touché V!

TSF: Pilates or yoga? What would you go for?
Janko Tipsarevic:
I would go for yoga. I tried it once on P90X and I only made it to two days because of my schedule. I was imagining that it was going to be really easy but it really is not. It’s all about focus.

TSF: What about starting a line of your own roller-bags at some point?
JT: I would, but the company — Technifibre — they were not really a big fan of that bag. But I always say, “Why wear it over your shoulder when you can roll it on the ground?” I know I look like I’m going to the airport but it’s so much easier.

TSF: Do you think that Djokovic’s run has motivated the rest of you Serbians to play better as well?
VZ: With winning the Davis Cup, it really inspired all of us to play better. With Novak, I’m really happy to have him as a friend. I have a front row seat to see what he is doing. I’m not afraid to talk to him and see what he is doing and what he is thinking. It’s only helped me improve.

TSF: What if you could make one meal? Where would it be? What would it include?
Tamira Paszek: One meal? That I cook? I love risotto, especially before the beginning of a tournament. Like a mushroom risotto with truffle oil. I cook sometimes … it’s relaxing. At Wimbledon we rented a house and we cooked then.

Tommy Haas chatted with a few folks on the line, then made a dash for the food. Leftovers? Loved the just-showered wet-hair look.

Rafael Nadal MUST have had a change-of-shirts after sporting the same outfit at Macy’s earlier in the day. He looked surprisingly fresh-faced after the mob on 34th. Leftovers? Benito responded to a question in Spanish with Italian.

Fernando Verdasco is really looking his best we’ve seen in a long while. Love the hair, love the (lack-of) facial hair. Leftovers? Has he lost weight?!

Click for more crumbs from TOT — and Billie Weiss’ photos. [Read more...]

spotted in the city: summer streets

Plastic makes perfect (and colorful) poles: A nice diversion on my way to yoga today were these incredibly colorful poles, wrapped for the second of three Saturday’s of New York City’s “Summer Streets.” The health and wellness program is being put on by the City of NYC with partnerships — today’s including Women’s Health magazine. The initiative gets New Yorkers out on the streets for running, walking and biking the first three August Saturdays this summer. For specific routes and schedules, check here.

Urban wellness? We dig it.

TSF Vault: Spotted in the city

For the program’s equally impressive (and colorful) logo, check it out after the jump. [Read more...]

venus and serena get the tia and tamara treatment

Let’s do some double-checking, shall we? The online photo hub Zimbio had quite the oops this week as it posted a series of seven pictures of Venus Williams and titled the post “Serena Williams Leaves a Rug Store.” We love that: A. The title of the gallery is what it is; B. It’s NOT Serena; and C. Venus is carrying a pooch — maybe they were rug shopping together?!

In any case,  it’s sort of difficult — at least from the TSF POV — to mix up V and S, isn’t it? One is a tall and lanky gal while the other is compact and built. But… we’re not in the business of pushing out thousands of photos everyday. So, no judgment.

Double take: Sort of a Tia and Tamara moment, isn’t it? BTW, your (and our!) favorite former WB stars are back on TV with their reality show on the Style Network, called Tia and Tamara Take 2. We still have no idea which is which, BTW. Click the image to find out more on the ladies’ new show.

(Screengrabs via Zimbio and MyStyle.com, respectively)

summer blockparty: christina mchale in new haven

The future Christina? How cute is this little aspiring tennis-playing gal? She joined some 200 kids from the New Haven area for a USTA 10 & Under tennis clinic, where American Christina McHale helped the youngsters with their form. Swinging Head racquets donated by First Niagra, the kids were treated to an afternoon of tennis and face painting (see below) at the “First Niagra Block Party.” The block party was held to help, in part, promote the New Haven Open at Yale, formerly the Pilot Pen. Set for the week before the U.S. Open, this final lead-up tournament will go from a men’s and women’s event to solely a WTA event as the men’s event has headed south to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The 19-year-old McHale, ranked no. 67, received a wild card into New Haven. The tournament already has commitments from world no. 1 and defending champ Caroline Wozniacki, along with former French Open champs Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Check out the full player list here.

More great images from the New Haven Open’s Block Party after the cut.

[Read more...]

no djoke: novak goes shirtless in vogue


Consider it the ultimate tennis bitch slap. Sure, Novak Djokovic is by far the hottest thing on the tennis circuit right now, but for Anna Wintour to go as far and shoot the world no. 2 for a spread on the mag’s website and a bikini shot worth two (three if you want to study hard) glances, is so … un-Federer.

Is Mirka seething? Well, we can’t quite know. But Djoko looks fantastic in the black swim trunks, seen above on the entrance of Vogue.com today and below in the image, which was taken by Norman Jean Roy. Roy has plenty of high-quality fashion accolades to his name, including Vanity Fair and Details alongside Vogue, of course. He took this well-known image of Lindsay Lohan for the cover of Vanity Fair.

So is Anna over Rog? Naw. We doubt it. But would he ever pose in a tiny black swimsuit like that? We sort of doubt. Below, another look at the bikini and after the cut, Djoko wears … clothes. The shoot took place in Miami during the Sony Ericsson Open.

[Read more...]

short balls: the sunday pull-out edition

Third is charming, at least for Rog: While he may be the world’s no. 3 tennis player now, Roger Federer is still living the high life. Credit Suisse, one of his sponsors, has a whole page dedicated to the Rog. A Mario Testino photo shoot? Doesn’t mind if he does. But more importantly: is that David Ferrer holding the reflector? Geez, Rog really does live it good.

Oh, how the weekend gets away from us: We certainly wish that we could spend our time wasting away in a coffee shop all weekend, but that never actually seems to be the case. A lovely lament from a real-life barista on Thought Catalog on why hipster barista give you an eye roll when you chirp out your order.

Simon, singing: If you are still in love with the trashy brilliance that is Bravo‘s “Real Housewife” series, then you’re probably soaking up the first few glorious (hideous?!) episodes of the New York installment over the last few weeks. But here’s something for everyone … er, NO ONE. Simon, hubby to one Alex McCord, has a single. Yep, it’s called “I Am Real” and as far as we can tell, none of it is real. Or really him. Or really good, whatsoever.

Click the image below to listen. More: Tennis-inspired music on TSF

Donald’s middle finger gets tweet-happy: Good Friday has never been better for Donald Young. The American journeyman, once a hot commodity for the “future of American tennis” has always had a rocky relationship with the USTA because of reportedly over-zealous parents and a poor work ethic. Now we’re guessing his aforementioned relationship is plainly non-existant after this tweet on Friday, which was followed by an apology and then — deletion of his account. “Fuck USTA!! Their full of shit! They have screwed me for the last time! #enoughsaid” – Donald Young at 5:01:14 pm ET Apr 22nd

Patrick McEnroe‘s supposed response? Not. Happy.

Tina Fey? Is, well, brilliant.

Draw(n) conclusions: A few musings from the draw of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Alabama. (1) Stephanie Foretz Gacon, once ranked as high as no. 63 in the world (now no. 145) reaches the final. (2) Michelle Larcher de Brito, once of grunting infamy, wins five games in a first-round loss. She’s still Portugal’s no. 1 gal at no. 174. No reports on how loud she is now that she’s outta the top 100. (3) Alexandra Stevenson, 12 years after her run to the Wimby SFs, wins two matches before bowing out in straights to eventual winner, Melinda Czink. Stevenson is now ranked no. 250 and has won one WTA-sanctioned match this year (compared to zero last year). (4) Americans were 8-9 overall, mostly thanks to Stevenson and a run to the semis by Allison Riske.

Big props for DFW: The Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008, is getting rave reviews for his piece of work released posthumously, an unfinished manuscript called The Pale King.

Read: DFW’s NYT piece on Federer — a ‘religious experience’

Melzer’s tour BBF? That’d be Philly Petzscher: Following his jaw-dropping win over Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, the ATP had Jurgen Melzer take FB Qs from fans. Our fave exchange is here: Question: Since you stopped wearing your White Adidas hat, you’ve gone on some great runs. Any coincidence? -Nick Leone, United States Melzer: Well… maybe! I thought I was practising really well without the hat so I was a little superstitious in Monte-Carlo, so I stopped wearing it and it went well. Until I start to have a losing streak, I will take the hat away.

The many freaked-out faces of Klaus Goerges: We’re loving this video that Stephanie Myles of the Montreal Gazette put together of Julia Goerges father, using screen grabs from the TennisTV.com livestream. Click Klaus’ frowning face below to watch the whole hilarious thing.

Swinging out: On OutSports.com Cyd Ziegler writes about Bowdoin College’s openly gay tennis coach Colin Joyner and his push for the acceptance of LGBTQ athletes at the collegiate level. Prompting this was the story of openly gay Bowdoin lacrosse player Ben Chadwick. A tough tale: “When Joyner heard about Chadwick, he harkened back to his time as the only openly gay male athlete on campus. It was a lonely time for Joyner in many respects, and he didn’t want Chadwick to be the only one anymore.” Therefore, Joyner started Anything But Straight in Athletics (ABSA) “to help closeted athletes come out by dismantling homophobia in Bowdoin athletics.”

Contributing from Benjamin Snyder

(Federer screengrab via Credit Suisse website; Simon screengrab via NYMag.com; Goerges screengrab via the Open Court blog on MontrealGazette.com)

spotted in the city: vintage does 2010

TSF is introducing a new series of posts that we’re calling “spotted in the city”. These posts will be full of the random stuff that your TSF editors come across in the daily world of New York and Los Angeles. From shoe sightings on the street to storefronts to a tennis celeb on the pavement, we’re ready with our low-quality cell phone cameras to capture tennis fashion off the courts. See something you think might work for the series? Snap a pic and send us a note! The best part is you don’t have to be in NYC or LA… or any city for that matter! Tennis fashion is happening all over the place, and  we always love to hear from our readers. -NM

We spotted this vintage HEAD tennis racquet and cover at a Housing Works Thrift Shop in SoHo a few weeks ago. The thing was going for $6. The strings were intact and the grip felt good. We’re a little disappointed we didn’t swipe it for leisure play with friends this fall! Remember: another HEAD sighting in SoHo, earlier this year. (Full disclosure: I work for Housing Works, Inc.)

The back wall at the Boast party this past week in NoHo was covered in stylish, old-school photos aplenty. The re-launch party – cleverly tagged “Back in play” – was at the art space 40 Great Jones.

A model holds court (or street) outside the Boast party in NoHo. She was sipping on a Southside cocktail – oh so delicious!

(tsf photos)

photoblog: the trophy ceremony

We understand the photos might be low-quality, but we loved NBC‘s coverage of the trophy ceremony (the whole thing) and took advantage with some cell-phone camera action… let the comic commentary begin.

In case you missed it, Franny grabbed the mike a second time to make sure that she gave props to Mary, the Queen Mother of All Tennis.

Alicia Molik was in Stosur‘s box for the match. She displayed the sort of emotion that Sam had on court during the ceremony: sad and near-tears. Chin up, Mollie.

Remember that suggestion from the live blog about a spin-off Jersey Shore reality show starring Franny and The Fanatics?! Here’s your perfect promo poster…

Kiss that clay, Francesca. It’s all yours.

One more awkward group shot. Oh, how graceful Mother Mary is.

(crappy photos by tsf)