short balls: digging deep on sergio (+ a visual version)


How’d they do it?
Bloomberg Businessweek posted a lengthy story last week on how Sergio Tacchini, the Italian brand that is now controlled by Chinese investors, saved itself — from itself. Their biggest move? Nabbing Novak Djokovic, of course. But our favorite part of the feature was this snippet on player-turned-fashionista Martina Hingis, who had a sour relationship with the company:

Hingis dominated the women’s tour during the second half of the ’90s. She seemed to fit well into the Tacchini firmament, appealing to wealthy, casually athletic, European-oriented fans. It didn’t work out. Three years into Hingis’s five-year deal, worth $5.6 million, Tacchini fired her, accusing Hingis of not wearing the clothes as contracted. Two years later, Hingis sued, claiming that the “defective” Tacchini shoes she wore had wrecked her feet and ruined her career. (Hingis had surgery in 2001 and 2002 to repair ligaments in her ankles.) A New York court dismissed the suit, ruling that the case should be heard in Milan, where Hingis had signed the contract and where another suit was pending. In 2006 her manager, Mario Widmer, told a German newspaper that “the Tacchini problem is resolved. We have come to a compromise and at the same time have agreed to keep silence on both sides.”

More from those financial folk: While Businessweek was focused on Sergio, The Economist‘s new “Game Theory” blog is paying plenty of attention to tennis. Who now? Andy Murray.

We’re a little biased, but… designer fashion at super marked-down pricers all in the name of a good cause?! We dig that, Housing Works. The New York-based non-profit is putting on its annual Fashion for Action sale starting Nov. 16 (which is sooner than you think!). NYers: Get your tix here.

That you, Princess B? Yes that’s Princess Beatrice. Yes, she needs to wax her mustache. Whatevs, it’s Halloween! What a fierce lady.

Look. Listen. Watch. Yes, we get the Siri craze. But a Scottish accent and a cute face. We’ll repeat anything he says, too. | TSF Vault: Short Balls

Short(er) balls: Want to have dinner with Roger Federer? Tennis Channel and Lindt, the chocolate company, are all about setting you up. You have til Tuesday, folks. | USA Today contributor Doug Robson goes searching for the best racket on the market and finds it. | Back in Newport next year? That’d be defending champ John Isner, who has committed to the grass court event. | Nike and Tennis Warehouse launch an exclusive partner shoe on Tuesday. 0:37 of anticipation! (We love this ad.)

(screengrabs via businessweek, housing works and time.com respectively. beatrice photo by getty. tennis warehouse video)

fashion focus: tacchini designs with nole's shoulder in mind

Free-swingin’: Top seed Novak Djokovic is still in the running for the 2011 U.S. Open — he faces Roger Federer in the semis — and he’s going through the draw in surprisingly plain gear from Sergio Tacchini. (Did they peak too early?)

Recycling: The orange piping from his spring hardcourt run — one of our fave looks for the year — returns along with some white stripes to decorate his navy blue evening kit; the day polo gets navy piping. Of note is the single-panel, all-mesh construction under the sleeves that continues seamlessly down the side of the shirt — a result of careful ergonomic studies into how Novak moves his shoulder. Everyone’s worried about that part of his body, eh?

Buy: ST Men’s Nax Tennis Polo, $85, tennisexpress.com.

More: Pics of his day/night kits — along with a close-up of his adidas shoes and “Nole” logo — all after the cut…

sa watch: us open 2011

Sa Watch: One of our favorite blotters makes its annual appearance as we check in on Andre Sa; he’s in this year’s U.S. Open doubles event with partner Olivier Rochus. The duo lost to Julian Knowle and Horacio Zeballos in the first round. (And in case you missed it, the Bryans were upset by the team of Karlovic and Moser. (Draw: See how the rest of the dubs bracket is stacking up.)

(image by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

practice makes perfect: novak djokovic

Nole switched to his French Open kit during the warm-up tourneys leading to the year’s second major, so no need to rehash (here it is, in case ya need a refresher). So instead, here’s a few looks at his practice gear.

BTW: Nole has dropped only one set (to del Potro) in his run to the semis, which included a retirement from Victor Hanescu and a walkover against Fognini (who injured himself in that marathon vs. Montanes). Djokovic will play Roger Federer tomorrow.

Too much red! Aside from this olive green tee, a Stepanek-esque polo/shirt ensemble after the cut…

nole's spring tacchini kit in action

Novak Djokovic switched to a new Sergio Tacchini uniform as he hit the clay in Rome earlier this month. We thought that it’d be hard for him to top that black/orange kit — we consider that the best of that season, btw — but this current Serbia-inspired design is playful but not too juniors. From what we can tell, a coat of arms appears on the front lower-left corner of the polo and of course “Nole” printed on the back. The mass-market version has his initials where the coat of arms would be.

Rolling through Roland Garros: Nole’s still undefeated this year, having beaten Thiemo de Bakker and Victor Hanescu (ret) in the opening rounds of the French. He will face 25th seed Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. Draw: RG Men’s Singles.

Browse: Polo (“Nuell”), crewnecks (“Nur”), and warm-ups (“Nettuno”) from this collection available at Tennis Express.

We also hadn’t posted a pic of the “night” colorway (in black). Here’s a few looks of both versions after the cut…

tacchini folds serbian flag into nole's rome kit

The Serbian flag served as inspiration for the latest Sergio Tacchini kit on Novak Djokovic. The red, white, blue, and yellow are reworked into a rainbow-esque version of the Tacchini stripe. It’ll also appear in a black colorway for night matches.

Keepin’ on: Djokovic’s winning streak is still alive at the kit’s debut in Rome’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia. He beat Lukasz Kubot 6-0, 6-3 in the opening round. Up next is a match against Wawrinka with a potential quarterfinal against Soderling. (Draw: Rome Men’s Singles)

(match photos by the wandering lens of Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

tattoo watch: adrian ungur

Romania’s Adrian Ungur has made it through to the second round of this week’s Serbia Open by beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round (and qualifying for a spot in the main draw). Unfortunately, that’s probably where it’ll end; he faces Novak Djokovic in the hometown hero’s opening match tonight.

Tattoo watch: Ungur told TSF (by way of the Serbia Open media folks) that the hip tat you see peeking out of his shorts means “respect” and “honor” in Chinese. Open season: And he also revealed that he has four more: a star on his hand; the initials of his wife; a bracelet on his upper right arm; and an old Georgian saying on his arm. Let the photo hunting begin!

(images via serbiaopen.rs)

fashion focus: novak and tacchini get serious

Serious business: Gone are the wings and the dragon motifs that started Novak Djokovic‘s partnership with Sergio Tacchini. They’re instead relying on a combination of piping, color blocking, and textures (with matching shoes) to create a more sophisticated look for the current world No. 2.

Buy: Tacchini Santese Polo, white/blue/red or black/orange/gray, $80. Shoes: adidas Barricade 6.0, $125; customizable version, $150, miadidas.com.

Miami: After defeating Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1 in the semis of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Nole awaits the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In head-to-head stats, Nole’s up 3-0 against Roger (with wins in Melbourne, Dubai, and Indian Wells) and 1-0 against Rafa (Indian Wells). As we’d said before, we’re banking on Djokovic remaining undefeated at least through the rest of this tournament. (SEO Draw: See how the event has unfolded.)

(images via Getty Images)

eureka: gold in miami

No Aravanes were hurt in the making of these clothes: Even with Aravane Rezai out early at the Sony Ericsson Open — the 20th seed got upset by Peng Shuai in her opener — golden fashion lived on via Maria (Nike); in that flattering Sergio Tacchini dress on Dinara Safina; in the simple details of Radek Stepanek‘s normally eccentric clothes from Alea; and on Marcel Granollers‘ crew, by Joma.

(images via Getty Images)