like we needed more reasons to love grigor dimitrov

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov has given us plenty of reasons to love him (we count six, maybe eight), but here’s the nail on the coffin: His favorite designer? Alexander McQueen. (See the Q&A here.)

BTW, congrats to Grigor for cracking the ATP Top 150 — he’s now at 136 — after winning back-to-back-to-back Challengers this year. (ATP: Grigor’s stats).

And speaking of McQueen, Sarah Burton, who’s succeeded Mr. McQueen (RIP) as creative director, presented the Spring 2011 men’s collection this past June in Milan. The women’s collection will show in Paris this week. One thing we’ll know not to expect from Burton are the fashion house’s infamous, over-the-top presentations. “That was very much [his] territory — the spectacular show,” Burton told Elle.

(photo from Wilson‘s FB)

nyt mag: rafael nadal

rafa-nyt-cover

Those aren’t tumbleweeds you’re seeing, folks. They’re crumpled up pages from this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, torn apart in by frustrated fans who wanted to see Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer duke it out for another major title in 2009.

I think Roger will have more pressure on him this year than last. If he can’t string together seven wins in the next two weeks, he doesn’t have a Rafa to blame (will Murray make his mark?). That record-breaking 15th ‘slam is just around the corner…

I haven’t finished reading the profile yet, but it seems to offer the same stuff we already know about Rafa. At this point, it’s more about enjoying the writing of Ms. Gorney. My fave quotes thus far:

Referring to Nadal v. Federer: “But let me just suggest that if there were ever a time to understand why people invoke Shakespearean tragedy and ancient gladiators and so on when they carry on about competitive tennis, now is that time.”

And about tennis in general: “‘You must remember,’ [L'Équipe writer Philippe] Bouin said gently, in his lovely accented English, ‘that in tennis you have to kill the other.’ Not just play better. Sometimes the one who plays better can lose. It’s a sport of splendid cruelty, for all its decorum and finicky trappings; every winning point comes when the other guy, in front of a whole stadium of people staring directly at him, is forced by his opponent into inadequacy. He lunges for the ball but whiffs, he whacks it long, he hits it into the net, he screws up. From the stands, you sometimes see players surrender not because they don’t know how to return the shots coming at them but because the specter of this impending inadequacy has suddenly just taken over their brains. It transpires right in front of your eyes: something sags, and they go sort of limp; you can see their faces and their posture start registering get me out of here.”

Read: Ripped. (Or Torn Up?) by Cynthia Gorney, NY Times Magazine, June 21, 2009.

(screen grab via nytimes.com)

the way of the samurai: tsf interviews sam querrey

By Krystle Russin

TSF chats with Sam Querrey about tennis, his new condo, his goals for 2009, and wanting a date with Taylor Swift.

sam-querrey-lasvegas07

Sam Querrey is driving his Range Rover en route to the Home Depot Center, an enormous athletic training facility in Carson, Calif. It’s where you might find David Beckham bending it on the soccer fields. Today, though, it’s all about Sam.

“I just got off a little while ago to get breakfast. I have to practice from 11:00 to 12:30 and then again from probably 1:30 to 3:00, and then I’m going to work out with a trainer from 3:00 to 4:00, and I’ve got to pick up some new ankle bracelets,” Querrey says, firing off a to-do list with nothing but tennis, tennis, tennis.

But this regimen is not without its rewards: Querrey is now the fourth-ranked American men’s tennis player, and in 2008 racked up some notable achievements, including his first title at the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, putting up a fight against Nadal at the US Open, and participating in the Beijing Olympics.

When he’s not focusing on his craft, the 21-year-old Southern California native stays busy adjusting to life on his own. He recently bought a condo in the coastal city of Santa Monica. “It’s cool to have my own place and accomplish that at a young age, and I feel good about myself,” he says. The best part of his pad? “The hot tub.”

[Read more...]

masha bits, althea gibson's book, rip brooke astor

Chernobyl to get a visit: After getting a surprise from some Russian children at the Acura Classic (above), Maria Sharapova plans to return the favor by visiting Chernobyl — as a U.N. ambassador — sometime after next year’s Wimbledon. (IHT)

The grunting stays out of the bedroom: Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who had a brief romance with Masha after her 18th birthday, reveals why they broke up. Apparently, the “Shriekapova”, as DTL calls her, is totally silent in bed! (Fact or not, this made me chuckle…)

“She wouldn’t make any noise during sex…said. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I really thought, like a lot of guys, that she’d be the loud screaming type. But instead, she just lay there like a dead frog. She even got angry if I started to moan, said it ‘ruined her concentration.’ It was so disillusioning that I went on Paxil for a month afterwards. Really, it was much more of a shock than when I found out there’s no such thing as the Easter Bunny.” (The eXile)

Althea Gibson gets her due: While she may have gotten left out of Venus‘ acceptance speech at this year’s Wimbledon, tennis pioneer Althea Gibson gets her due with Sue Stauffacher’s Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson. The author chose to write about a great athlete with a compelling story: “Given all our American history, I would guess that most kids in the United States haven’t heard about Althea Gibson,” she said. “I’m 45 and I can talk to people my age, and they’ve never heard of her.” (Knopf, $16.99, Buy.)

RIP: New York philantropist and socialite Brooke Astor died yesterday. She was 105.

a gentler hewitt returns in a bowling shirt, plays with rafa

Doubles: It’s weird to see two baseliners — Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal — play on the same side of the net. The duo’s entered in this week’s doubles draw at the Rogers Cup.

Lleyton’s renaissance: This most recent chapter in the Aussie’s career — showing off his softer side — can be credited to his new manager, David Drysdale. (SMH)

Yonex’s Summer ’07 lookbook: Clearly someone was watching a little too much of The Big Lebowski during the idea meetings for this summer’s Yonex line. These gawdy U.S. Open Polos are available here.

(Racqonteur did better than me, managing to pry eyes away from the shirts long enough to rant about David Nalbandian‘s “samurai wrap”. While it might not look so hot on this Argentinian, his countryman Juan Monaco and the stylish Roger Federer look just fine in them.)

(photos via Getty Images)

who's that tall guy?

We here at Tennis Served Fresh always get a little verklempt everytime we hear a breakthrough story. Yes, we felt that way even about Alexandra Stevenson before her craziness bubbled to the surface. The latest subject is 6’9″ North Carolinian John Isner, who helped University of Georgia nab the NCAA Men’s Team Championships in 2007.

johnisner-leggmason1.jpg

Just look at those bushy, Gyllenhaal-esque brows.

This week he is tearing through the draw at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, where he faces Andy Roddick in tomorrow’s final.

John was a basketball player until his sophomore year of high school (I’m sure Tim Henman and Gael Monfils are doubly sad losing to a late bloomer).

He also has a very very confident and supportive mother. God bless her cynical soul.

Click here for more photos…

checking in with stefanie and andre

The power coupling of Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf — I’ll humor her this one time — continues to make the news:

gorbachev-vuitton.jpg

Posing for Vuitton: I’m so excited that both will appear in the latest Louis Vuitton campaign where “bling is out” and the focus is on LV’s “heritage as a maker of trunks, suitcases and other travel-related items.” The Graf/Agassi ad shows them in a loose embrace in a New York hotel. Other photos show Mikhail Gorbachev riding in a Kruschev-era limousine along the Berlin Wall (photo above) and actress Catherine Deneuve with a Vuitton case in front of a steam locomotive at the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris. All were shot by Annie Leibovitz. (IHT)

Steffi steps up: I pooped my pants yesterday when I read that Steffi and Justine Henin will be playing in an exhibition match in October to benefit Graf’s charity, Children for Tomorrow. I won’t be going to Mannheim, so someone post it on YouTube, ok?

Their post-tennis business ventures: This Bloomberg story goes over all their major projects, including San Francisco restaurants, furniture lines (with Kreiss), and real estate. The latest? A Fairmont Hotel near their Tamarack Resort in Idaho.

adidas collection – SALE: OTB tips us off about a sale at adidas for its Andre Agassi collection. Check out the goods and tell us what you think.

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short balls: from both sides of the pond, juniors tennis, masha mania continues, etc.

Girls — read it and weep: Junior tennis titles do not serve as a predictor of pro success. Of the 20 champions at a Virginia Beach tourney, only two — Lindsay Davenport and Meghan Shaughnessy — cracked the Top 20 and won SEWTA titles. Two others cracked the Top 50. The rest didn’t do so hot. (The Virginian-Pilot via Zoo Tennis)

But it’s not all bad: Tennis.com’s Peter Bodo reminds us that Donald Young is a man who can back up the hype. Justin Gimelstob also chimes in about this 2007 Wimbledon juniors champ.

ESPN continues to tout Sharapova: Even though Serena Williams and Roger Federer have much better tennis credentials than Sharapova, the Russian continues to eclipse them in pop cultural significance. This time, she’s the only tennis player left standing in Page 2’s “Who’s Now” contest.

From both sides of the pond: British Prime Minister shows off his tennis guns while Britney Spears beefs up her arsenal. The pop star was spotted at a toy store picking up a racquet and some balls. Perhaps she’s made another play date with former hitting partner Howie Day?

(OT) From Pringles to Papier Maché: Rumors abound that an Olympic stadium in London could be built out of papier maché. As long as it doesn’t crumble like potato chips, we’ll be fine with it. (Sports Management magazine)

(OT, pt. 2) The new gilded age: Check out this New York Times article on how modern day robber barons deal with their wealth.

short balls friday: grass in NYC, open call for ballkids, racquet stringers, etc.

A stringer on stringers: Here’s a New York Times profile on racquet stringers Nate Ferguson and Ron Yu. Interesting tidbit: “(Roger) Federer usually requests three different tensions: high, medium and low. Each racket has three little stickers telling him which it is. He changes rackets every time the balls are replaced by a fresh batch — after the first seven games, then every nine games after that. There is an exception: Federer does not want to serve with fresh strings and fresh balls. If the ball swap is going to occur on his turn to serve, he changes rackets the game before.”

Dress like Bethanie: Tabio in London is where Bethanie Mattek picks up socks for her crazy wardrobe. (via Tennis Week)

Ballkids at the U.S. Open: The audition process is arduous, the job is taxing (throwing balls overhand across the whole court!), but unlike the folks at other Slams, they get paid. (via newsday.com)

nadal-underwater.jpg

Crazy fluff photo opp of the week: Hopeless on grass, Rafa Nadal challenges Federer to an underwater match. (via Daily Mail)

Chew on this: Writer Michael Kimmelman takes a trip to New York City’s only grass courts at the West Side Tennis Club; the site hosted the U.S. Open before it moved to Flushing Meadows in 1978. (via NYT)

short balls: no more rebound ace? what's next — astroturf at wimbledon?

We’re into the second week of a Slam, when matches are fewer and further between, so I figured it’s time to whip out some bits I’d stored for a rainy day…

Ripping out Rebound Ace: Tennis Australia announced that they’re switching from Rebound Ace to Plexicushion courts for next year’s Aussie Open. Hometown hope Lleyton Hewitt welcomes the change (likely because it’ll play much like the U.S. Open, where he won his first GS title), but the traditionalists are up in arms for the exact same reason: the court’s X factor — i.e., how the court behaves depending on the weather, will be no longer. What’s next? Are we letting Wimbledon change to astroturf? (AFP via news24.com)

Cyclops maybe one-eyed, but still scrappy: An interview with another oldie that’s been given the boot at Wimbledon. (via the Times)

Checking in on Sania Mirza: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has recovered from knee injury in time for Wimbledon, and reunites with Israeli Shahar Peer to play women’s doubles.

In case you’re keeping track: Of the Serbians, Novak Djokovic practiced in Munich, Ana Ivanovic in Basel, Jelena Jankovic in Brandenton, Florida, and Janko Tipsarevic in Barcelona. (Roland Garros via Bob Larson)

More on a Serbian: Nole keeps tapes of all his matches. (Charles Bricker)

ATP ‘fraid of fixing: The ATP recently sent out a memo warning its members of the perils of gambling. “You could be the target of organised crime and/or professional gamblers… Gambling on your sport and/or match fixing will corrupt the sport and ruin your career…” (Telegraph)

It refuses to be the red-surfaced stepsister: Not to be outdone by the Brits, Roland Garros will also undergo its own makeover. They hope to have a retractable roof by the 2011 tournament. (Reuters)

Fashion flashback: Remember Balzac? Is that the same company that made skirts for Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario?

Janko on Marat: “Well, Marat is, in my opinion, maybe the most talented player in the world. I think for him — this might sound a little bit harsh, but for him tennis is like a toy, because when it’s interesting for him, no one in the world can beat him. But then when it’s not interesting for him, he just doesn’t, you know, show his talent or his tennis the way he can play, you know.” (Roland Garros, via Bob Larson)

A Kiwi sets us straight: As Marina Erakovic tells The New Zealand Herald, pro tennis can be a lonely venture.

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