shirtless: maxime teixeira

Frenchman Maxime Teixeira won the battle of local wildcards at Roland Garros, beating Vincent Millot 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 in the first round. Unfortunately, he now faces third seed Roger Federer. (Read: How TSF sees the ATP draw playing out.)

(b)Asics: See all the pieces from this Spring’s Asics line — a crew, a polo, shorts — at Tennis Express. Note: the colors are “Real White” and “Diving Blue.”

(A cause des Garçons via Down the Line!)

short balls: paris around the bend

See the win, be the win. Rafa will go four his sixth French starting on Sunday. | Official RG website

Espresso and pastries. The French Open is around the corner? You don’t say. While qualifying is underway (Draws: Men’s | Women’s), we haven’t been much focused on the tennis court this week. The men’s tour is making a before-Roland Garros stop in Nice, while the ladies are at their usual spot in Strasbourg and the newly-added Brussels. In Brussels? That’d be Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and defending champ Francesca Schiavone. Seriously, do these girls take any time off? Marion Bartoli and Andrea Petkovic are both semifinalists in Strasbourg. Tomas Berdych remains in Nice, where the once-hot David Ferrer was cooled off by Alexandr Dolgolpolov in the quarters (French dark horse? We think so!) 4-6 6-1 5-7.

Now to the good stuff. We know, sometimes the tennis gets to be too much. But just in time for players to descend upon the city of love American-based Abercrombie & Fitch is opening their first Parisian store on the famed Champs-Elysees. How did they celebrate? By bringing out a hundred shirtless models in their why-are-there-holes-in-these jeans. But seriously, we can complain that much.

Straight shooters. How cool are Hudson Taylor and Ben Cohen? The former all-American wrestler and English rugby player, respectively, are arguably the two highest-profile athletes on the planet campaigning for gay rights — as straight dudes. The New York Times paid them both their due diligence with a feature late last week. Cohen surprisingly announced his retirement from ruby to focus on his work with the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying effort. We’ve written about Taylor on this blog before, his AthleteAlly.org gaining national attention over the last few months. Here’s the Columbia wrestling coach on MSNBC.

Roll it, map it. How cool is this map? The work — from Alienlovespredator.com — depicts Manhattan and 91 movie references. Gotta dig the illustrated genius.
Short(er) balls: Djokovic-loving Anna Wintour joins the fight for gay marriage. | Everyone’s favorite ‘RHONYC’ Bethenny Frankel is making it big — and we mean at the bank. | And Robyn is slowly taking over the world. With her music.

(rafa photo via getty images; movie illustration by alienlovespredator.com)

shirtless: tim smyczek

Anyone else ready to make this Donald Young vs. P-Mac story about Tim Smyczek instead? (Aside from Forty Deuce, we mean.) After all, Tim’s the guy who beat Young 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in that USTA six-man playoff in Boca West to nab a wildcard spot into Roland Garros this year. FYI: Smyczek’s never played the French. On the women’s side, top seed Irina Falconi beat third seed Julia Boserup 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3.

More news: Dunlop announced today that they’re making Tim a part of their roster (though he’s been playing with their racquets even before the signing). His apparel and shoes are via adidas.

Shirtless: Here’s Smyczek getting sun and practice at this year’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. On the other side of the net: Ryan Sweeting. Enjoy!

(images by TSF)

trophy watch: kuznetsova clears her head (and her mantle) for a second slam title

Pretty in pink: Svetlana Kuznetsova remained subdued on Court Philippe Chatrier after Dinara Safina double-faulted and handed her the 2009 French Open singles title. It wasn’t worth it for Sveta to rub the lopsided 6-4, 6-2 match in the face of her friend, who currently holds the world No. 1 ranking.

Apart from playing a worthy opponent — Kuznetsova gave her her only loss in 21 matches from Stuttgart through the French — Safina was also battling the pressure of the top spot and her nerves. “I was a little bit desperate on the court,” said Safina, who appeared to be fighting tears late in the 74-minute match and during the on-court trophy presentation.

During Sveta’s speech, she made sure to thank her former posse in Barcelona, who’ve since been replaced by a Moscow-based team headed by coach Larisa Savchenko. And in her post-match interview with Mary Carillo, she talked (like a seasoned veteran) about how a newfound outlook on her life has made her a better player. It has pretty much taken her five years to turn this around, and it has carried her to this, her second slam title. The biggest test of this new Kuznetsova is whether she can take this momentum into New York and win a second U.S. Open title.

Bonus round: Six-time French Open singles title winner Steffi Graf was on hand to present Sveta and Safina with their wares.

(images via Getty Images)

gilles simon has us thinking…

At this year’s French, Gilles Simon was the top-10 player wearing a polo from adidas‘ spring line, and we were surprised at how nice it looked on him. It got us thinking about Simon’s chance to branch out with his own look — to be the Federer of adidas, if you will.

Think about it: Nole‘s off on his own world with that Falcon line (it has his name on it, so it’s pretty much just him); and in the jock department Monaco and Verdasco rule the crew roost; and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Safin (not for long) are taking care of the zipped v-necks. So what about Gilles? We thought spotlighting Paul-Henri Mathieu for a sec, but his Steve McQueen look is too rebellious to be be classy.

While Gilles’ look can take on a primal flare with those Wolverine-esque mutton chops of his — he can start with these shoes — he has the frame (rawr), the face, and the hair that can transcend the court and take him straight to the catwalk.

adidas: take us up on this challenge!

(match image via Getty Images; practice image by Corinne Dubreuil)

wozniak outmatched by serena, in play and style

Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak was no match for Serena Williams — both in game and in style — during a fourth-round encounter at the 2009 French Open.

Serena easily won 6-1, 6-2. And in the accessories department, Wozniak’s Chanel logo studs were no match for the jewelry worn by the No. 2 seed.

This was less controversial match for Serena, who called out her previous opponent, Maria Martinez Sanchez, as a cheat. Serena alleges that Martinez Sanchez got hit by a ball before it sailed out, which should’ve given the point to Serena. Instead, the ump awarded the point to Martinez Sanchez. Serena, who won anyway, made a stink about it in her presser. We hope Serena was right, otherwise all the fracas was just a big whiny waste of time.

Up next for Serena is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Agnieszka Radwanska.

(image via Getty Images)

jelena’s french open racquet bag

You can never have enough tassels. Case in point: Jelena Jankovic‘s racquet bag, seen here as she gets a left toe blister tended to during her 3-6, 6-0, 9-7 loss to Romanian Sorana Cristea in the fourth round of the French Open. Jelena had reached the semis of Roland Garros in the past two years.

We figured that this would be a Prince bag, but is probably supplied by ANTA now that Jelena’s contract with the racquet company has expired (we have yet to hear about a renewal). Do you know who produced this bag? Tell us!

Looking forward: In the quarters, Sorana will face the winner of the Stosur/Razzano match. TSF didn’t even know that Sam or Virginie were still in the draw.

(image via Getty Images)