vika, ‘encouraged’ by serena, celebrates cincy with champers

Moet & Chandon Celebrates The 2013 Western & Southern Open

World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka added another chapter to her rivalry with Serena Williams when they faced off at the 2013 Western & Southern Open this past Sunday. Azarenka edged Serena 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) to increase her head-to-head against the 16-time Grand Slam champion to… 3-12. Azarenka can take comfort in that stat, though, with 2 of those 3 wins against Serena coming in matches played this year.

In their trophy ceremony, Azarenka was awarded a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Imperial, which she asked Serena if she should open. “I was encouraging her,” said Serena in the post-match conference, being careful to point out that it was Azarenka’s idea to spray the champagne on the court.

“She did [encourage],” Vika said. “She said, ‘yeah, you should pop it.’ I was like, I know, I want to, but I need to get more practice because I felt like I’m not directing it too well.” Seems like you did just fine, Vika!

Further Reading: More on the friendly rivalry between the top two ladies.

(Photo courtesy of Moet)

serena: aneres is making a comeback

Serena Williams talks about reviving Aneres clothing brand

Serena Williams survived some strong play by defending champion Li Na at the 2013 Western & Southern Open, winning their semifinal 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday night.

This victory also catapulted Serena to the top of the Emirates U.S. Open Series; she was awarded the trophy on court after her victory. Winning the U.S. Open Series could be a financial boon for the World No. 1 should she win the U.S. Open trophy in a few weeks: she would get a $1 million bonus to go with the $2.6 million paycheck awarded to the Champion.

In her post-semi press conference, Serena talked about what she would do with her potential earnings and possibly investing in a new business.

Q. What company is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m actually starting my company Aneres, which is my clothing line. It will be Aneres.com. You can buy fashions from there. We’re going to have to find some potential investors, and I’m looking at that as well. Probably do some more stuff like that.

Q. How does that fit with your HSN stuff?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It fits well. [At} HSN, my client is a particular I have a particular client at HSN. So when I’m designing — and I’m actually designing for Aneres now — I have more freedom, and I can draw and sketch what I want to and send it to our manufacturers and go from there.

So I’ll definitely have more I can be more creative. I can definitely get more influenced from the fashion outside of just colors. I mean, I love working for HSN. We’re doing incredible there, but I wanted to expand with Aneres.

It will be really fun. I’m really excited. I’m already starting the wheels on that.

Q. Is it more high end?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s definitely more high end, but it’s also really it’s also reasonable as well.

Take, for instance, someone like me. I do make a lot of money, but I’m not going to spend I’m the type of person that’s not going to spend $10,000 or even $1,000 for a top.

The prices, we’re still working on it. It’s going to be very it’s not going to be like Forever 21, but it’s going to be more or less like BCBG prices.

When asked about her next HSN appearance, Serena said that the next collection would appear in September, but that she herself would not appear again to hawk her products until February 2014.

(image by Ian A.C. Johnson via Cincy Tennis FB)

adding a hall of fame layer to world tennis day

Tennis Hall of Fame logo

Packing It In: Since all eyes (in theory) will be on tennis on March 4 — that’s World Tennis Day — it couldn’t hurt to highlight just one more facet of our sport. At the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York City, the 2013 inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be honored in a Center Celebration on the night of the exhibition. This year’s nominees: Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova, Thelma Coyne Long, Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac.

WTD at MSG? BNP. And apart from the parade of vets will be a two-match line-up that will pit Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka (they’ve now played two three-setters in a row!) and Juan Martin del Potro against Rafael Nadal. This will be Nadal’s first American appearance since returning from his 8-month absence dating back from last year’s Wimbledon. Info: Tickets and other info on the BNP Paribas Showdown available at their website.

HOF: The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be inducted on July 13, 2013.

trophy watch: hello to rafa, goodbye to san jose, and the ladies switch it up

Juan Martin del Potro defeats Julien Benneteau in 2013 Rotterdam tennis event

ABN AMRO: Juan Martin del Potro was last man standing at the ABN AMRO WTT, the stacked ATP 500-series event in Rotterdam led by tournament director Richard Krajicek which saw Roger Federer ousted by finalist Julien Benneteau and had semifinal runs by Gilles Simon and Grigor Dimitrov. Delpo earned his 14th career title by downing Benneteau 7-6(2), 6-3.

Qatar Total Open 2013 trophies: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka

Vika wins two: The plot thickens in the battle at the top of the women’s game between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. At this past week’s Qatar Total Open, contested in Doha, Serena regained the No. 1 ranking but Azarenka notched her second career win over Williams (in 13 tries) and defended her Doha title. The scoreline: 7-6(6) 2-6, 6-3. Azarenka is taking the week off to heal a foot injury, while Serena is playing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena praised Victoria for her work in the final:

“I always respect Victoria. I think she’s a really good player. Obviously she’s so consistent and she plays well. She’s such a solid player. It’s nice to always play someone and go home and you’re like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do great, but let me work harder.’ I think that she inspires a lot of people to work harder, and definitely me.”

2013 SAP Open - San Jose - Trophy - Milos Raonic defeats Tommy Haas

Bon voyage: The final edition of the 125-year-old SAP Open, held in San Jose, Calif., featured a three-peat for top seed, and two-time defending champ Milos Raonic. He defeated fourth seed Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3. Raonic won all three titles without dropping a set.

Raonic, from Canada, wore a New Balance tee with a black-and-green print. “Today, I’m more of a complete player,” he said after winning the title. “I was able to put pressure on [Haas] in most of his service games. I was able to hold quite handily, which I’ve shown I can do in the past. I was able to create pressure every game. It wasn’t just one game. I was getting to a lot of deuce games.”

Rafael Nadal wins the 2013 Brasil Open

Chippin’ off the old block: The story of Rafael Nadal has finally come full circle. After disappearing from the circuit for about eight months after losing to Lukas Rosol in the early rounds of Wimbledon 2012, the Spaniard took home the Brasil Open (Sao Paolo) title last week. The 6-2, 6-3 victory over David Nalbandian was Nadal’s first since beating Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 French Open.

It’s all about the titles: “It’s very nice and important because at the end of your career what’s left are the titles,” Rafa reflected after his win, “and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much. This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.”

(Photo Credit: Rotterdam photo via ABN AMRO WTT Facebook; Nadal photo via Brasil Open; San Jose photo via SAP Open website; Vika/Serena photo via Qatar Tennis Federation)

are you ‘team serena’?

Serena Williams receives jersey from Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi awarded Serena Williams with a customized PSG jersey after she locked down the No. 1 ranking while playing the Qatar Total Open in Doha last week.

Les Plus Dores x VFILES fashion celeb team jerseys

Merch, please: We’re still waiting for the ATP/WTA to come up with jerseys like how Les Plus Dorés and VFILES did it with fashion designer celebrities. Someone step up already!

(Photo Credit: Serena pic via Qatar Tennis Federation)

nike tops ‘fast company’ list of most innovative companies

Nike - Most Innovative Company - 'Fast Company' March 2013

Sightings in the (news)stands: Serena Williams and Nike CEO Mark Parker are on the cover of Fast Company‘s March 2013 issue, which profiles the company’s rise to the top of its list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies with the introduction of FuelBand, an electronic bracelet used for athletic training, and the super-light Flyknit shoe.

The article also mentions that Serena will be releasing her core workout as part of the Nike Training Club app.

Serena, on the need to innovate her “brand” more:

“I’m not disrupting my brand enough. I need to do it more. Nike always tries to improve. They never say, ‘I’m No. 1, and I’m happy.’ They always say, ‘How can we get better?’ … What can I do to be better?”

Right track: Serena must be doing something right; she became the oldest No. 1 on the WTA Tour since computerized ranking system came into being in 1975.

(Photo Credit: photo by TSF)

rankings: while in doha, serena williams becomes the oldest no. 1

Serena Williams - Oldest No. 1 - Qatar Total Open 2013

Breaking Records: American Serena Williams beat Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open, being contested in Doha this week, and with that returns to the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings. When the list is released on Monday, February 18, Williams will become the oldest woman to hold the top spot since the computer rankings came into being in November 1975. This is the sixth time that Serena’ll hold the No. 1 spot, and nearly 11 years since she first reached the top, in July 2002.

“I never thought I would be here again,” said Williams following her win over Kvitova. “I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to No.1. It has been a long road back and it’s a great feeling. It has been a lot of hard work but I don’t want to stop here.”

Serena’s Dress: Serena’s still wearing the same colorblocked Nike Grand Pleated Knit Dress that she wore during the Australian Open; the colorway is grand purple with electro orange and ultraviolet. Note the zigzag stitching in the upper portion of the dress. (Buy: Nike Grand Pleated Dress, $90)

Doha: The other three Qatar quarterfinals were Azarenka defeating Errani, Sharapova downing Stosur, and Aga Radwanska beating Caroline Wozniacki — all in straight sets. Serena’s was the only match that went to three sets. Tomorrow’s semifinals pit Vika against Radwanska and Sharapova against Serena. (Draw: Qatar Total Open 2013 Singles)

More stats: At 31 years, 4 months, 24 days, Williams becomes the oldest woman to hold the world No.1 ranking since the introduction of computer rankings in 1975. Previously, Chris Evert was 30 years, 11 months, 3 days when she last held the No.1 ranking the week ending Sunday, November 24, 1985.

SERENA’S WEEKS AT NO.1:
July 8, 2002 – August 10, 2003 – 57 weeks
September 8, 2008 – October 5, 2008 – 4 weeks
February 2, 2009 – April 19, 2009 - 11 weeks
October 12, 2009 – October 25, 2009 - 2 weeks
November 2, 2009 – October 10, 2010 - 49 weeks
February 18, 2013 – current No.1 - 1 week

OLDEST PLAYERS TO HOLD WORLD NO.1 SINCE 1975:
Serena Williams 31 years, 4 months, 24 days
Chris Evert 30 years, 11 months, 3 days (Nov 24, 1985)
Martina Navratilova 30 years, 9 months, 29 days (Aug 16, 1987)
Lindsay Davenport 29 years, 7 months, 8 days (Jan 29, 2006)
Serena Williams 29 years, 0 months, 14 days (Oct 10, 2010)
Steffi Graf 27 years, 9 months, 16 days (Mar 30, 1997)

WTA Rankings - Weeks at World No. 1 - February 18, 2013

(Photo Credit: Qatar Total Open 2013)

rafael nadal’s first u.s. appearance will be in nyc

All eyes on NYC: The 2013 edition of the annual tennis exhibition at Madison Square Garden — the BNP Paribas Showdown — will feature Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka squaring off against Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro playing Rafael Nadal. This event on March 4 will headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of Tennis Night in America as well as the inaugural World Tennis Day.

Nadal will be making his first appearance in the U.S. after a long injury layoff when he takes on del Potro in the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown. Rafa is scheduled to participate in three events in the month of February including his return to the tour next week at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile followed by the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

In 2012 the former World No. 1 won a record seventh French Open title, but a knee injury prevented him from playing after Wimbledon. The start of the Spaniard’s 2013 season was delayed by a stomach virus. The 11-time Grand Slam champion joins Andre Agassi as the only players to have completed a career Golden Slam. In 2009, Argentina’s del Potro broke through to win the US Open title. After wrist surgery in 2010, he returned to his top form in 2012, winning four titles and reaching the quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams.

World Tennis Day: World Tennis Day will be held with the support of the International Tennis Federation to promote Tennis10s, which tailors the game to its youngest players with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring. The cornerstones of World Tennis Day are grassroots opportunities for young players to participate in the sport at the local level. The day is highlighted by BNP Paribas Showdown events in Hong Kong as well as the annual event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The World Tennis Day effort complements the ongoing Tennis Night in America initiative to promote 10-and-under tennis by the United States Tennis Association that has been held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown for five years.

BNP Paribas Showdown: The BNP Paribas Showdown exclusively features players who have either won Grand Slams or ranked No. 1 in the World, if not both. Entering the 2013 season, the 17 all-time participants of the event at Madison Square Garden boast a combined 101 Grand Slam singles titles, 696 titles overall and a total of 1,565 weeks ranked No. 1.

Info: The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets start at $50.00 and are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. More information about World Tennis Day events and the BNP Paribas Showdown matches in New York and Hong Kong can be found online at www.WorldTennisDay.com. The Hong Kong event will feature John McEnroe against Ivan Lendl and Caroline Wozniacki against Li Na.

kit count: australian open women’s QFs

Australian Open logo

The Women’s QF draw at the 2013 Australian Open: adidas (6), Nike (4), Lotto (2), and 1 each for Under ArmourFilaLacoste, and Qiaodan.

Breakdown: See the complete list after the cut…

yep, you read that headline right

Better safe than sorry? On Wednesday morning, Serena Williams was part of a headline on TMZ, but there were no photos of the tennis star on a red carpet or out to dinner in Hollywood. Want more details? Click here. Or the image above. And should we really be surprised that Serena has a panic room? It’s Serena! | TSF Vault: Serena Williams

(tmz.com screengrab)