short balls: who’s next? PINK & football, TOMS goes Maria + more



Who’s next?
We’re sort of obsessed with the art and function-ability of Prince‘s “Who’s Next” campaign, which let’s users click through a barrage of up-and-coming Prince-racquet toters. US Open junior champ Oli Golding gets his own profile page and the youngsters are splashed across the racquet-maker’s homepage in a well-made vid. Who’s next? Whoever doing is doing Prince’s graphics, we say. One more shot of Prince’s crowning campaign after the jump.

Serena and Venus approved?
We sort of have a love/hate relationships with the whole I’m-a-sexy-chick-wearing-an-NFL-jersey thing. If you’re going to wear a jersey, just wear one, right?! But if honor of all things consumer-tastic, we don’t mind the Victoria’s Secret adventure into sports-timate wear. Just for Serena and Venus, we chose to snapshot the Miami Dolphins page above. Zip-up hoodies run for $68 and “Hipster panties” go for $10.50 or three for $25.50. See a couple more items after the jump.

TOMS, too.
Looks like TOMS, the ever-popular shoe among fashionable do-gooders, is taking a lesson from Maria Sharapova.  Following the great success of Maria’s ballet flat for Cole Haan, TOMS announced that on Feb. 15 of next year they’ll begin to sell their own version of the chic shoes (blue suede, picture above). The shoes will retail for $74 to $129. | More: And if you didn’t know already, TOMS is now taking their you-buy-one-we-give-one-away model to eyewear, which has been a popular hit already.

Hey, New Yorkers!
TSF East really wishes that we could be at this one: Gelf magazine is hosting a tennis-centric reading night this Thursday, Oct. 6, at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Who will be there? That’d be the Wall Street Journal‘s Tom Perrotta, Sports Illustrated‘s S.L. Price and L. Jon Wertheim (here’s his latest Mailbag, if you want talking points). The chatting starts at 7:30, but we advise to be there around the 7 p.m. doors-open time.

short(er) balls: Tom Ford
gets the nod from Out magazine readers as the best-dressed gay. Worst? Boy George takes that honor, according to the mag’s brethren. Who was the most versatile of the crew? TSF fave Johnny Weir was fourth in voting for both best AND worst dressed out of 50 fellas. Double axel! | Staying gay: a list of the all-time best queer TV characters. | Reebok‘s EasyTone shoes? Not so toning, says the US government. | Hope Solo is posing sans clothes for ESPN the Magazine‘s body issue. No tennis players are on the to-pose list, as far as we can see. | Need your tennis betting fix? The new site Tennis Prophet allows for interactive chatting with other fans. | Ticketmaster is giving away a free clinic with the Champions Series Tennis tour (Johnny Mac, Sampras, Agassi + more involved) and other gear. You can’t really beat a free deal anywhere, y’all.

Prince and PINK after the cut (and we don’t mean the artists).
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short balls: good photos, gays and serena sings (!!!)




Snuggly and warm.
One of our favorite parts of Majors is that there are photographers — everywhere. It’s like the worlds of Kim Kardashian and President Obama have combined into one, and these photogs aren’t missing a thing! While the on-court shots can be dramatic and story telling and gripping all at once, there is something about the around-the-grounds photos that you really can’t match. Check out today’s batch from Roland Garros here. | More: All RG photos

Not Herstory, Queerstory. A new book, A Queer History of the United States, looks at the last 500 years of gay Americans. Didn’t think gays stretched beyond Bill Tilden and the roaring ’20s? Not the case. Michael Bronski pens the book which documents gay Americans at every turn of history. One misstep he says the gays made/are making? A push for marriage equality.

USA takeover. No, we’re not talking about the Americans in Paris! (Though, with what we had to start the tournament, wouldn’t you say we’ve had a fine showing so far? BMS, Mardy Fish, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and others have turned in a fine performance.) We mean the fact that USA Network (you know the one — is used to run the U.S. Open!) has taken over a special issue of the New Yorker, eating up the mag’s entire advertising space. The newsstand-only issue (when was the last time you heard such terminology?!) came out on Monday.

She is. Serena Fierce.
 Sometimes you just have to sit back and let Serena do her thing. We’ll never completely understand her, but we don’t think she wants us to. That would just un-glamorize ReRe. It’s been an active month for the inactive player: To start, a man was arrested for allegedly stalking Serena. Then, a week later, Serena posted a revealing Avatar on her Twitter account, only to take it down a week later after online outcry. But Serena has saved the best for the beginning of the French, where we know she would much rather be. How to ring in the third straight Slam that is Serena-less?? By singing Beyonce‘s (OK, Destiny Child‘s) “Survivor.” At karaoke. And putting it up on YouTube. ‘Nuff said. Click the image to watch.

More power ballads:
Remember Justine’s musical musings?

Find a ladder and climb it. We’re digging the new site, TennisLadders.NET — and not just because the NET is in all caps. The site caters to recreational players per their geographical location, pairing you up with a player in your area who is willing and wanting to play. Want to climb the ladder? Work your way up. While the site has a California-heavy following right now, it will eventually be national. Says the TennisLadders team: “We are home of the ‘quick challenge’ where users can challenge each other at the click of a button and report their score back on the site.  Your ranking is automatically adjusted as you report your scores and climb the ladder.” We love good, old fashioned competition. Join up, y’all.

(Ball kids image by FFT via RG.com; Serena vid screen grab via YouTube)

short balls: jewelry gets ballsy inspiration



By Benjamin Snyder

We’d hit and wear that: Sure there’s tennis ball furniture, but how about some accessories, too? Simone Preuss of 1-800-recycling.com reveals some “creative uses” for worn-out tennis balls. Preuss writes, “Tennis balls are probably the most difficult of any kind of sports ball to recycle, as the rubber used is not biodegradable. However, about 300 million balls are produced each year, contributing to some 20,000 metric tons of rubber waste.”

Never quite imagined that more could be done than simply tossing those dead balls after an intense hitting sesh, did ya? Well, from bracelets (above) to jar holders to tripods and purses look no further than this post for ideas to glamify your world with a little more tennis love. The only problem, Simone, where’s the how-to guide to make these ballin’ beauties ourselves? Needing it.

We get hashtag fatigue sometimes, too: Looking to check up on the tweets of even more players than usual suspect Serena Williams (who BTW now has over 2 millions followers)? Check out Tennis Players on Twitter. The new website allows fans to check in on all players at all times – in real time! Links go directly to players official pages, just in case you want to further investigate on Twitter itself. Really, this is cool. Oops: #reallythisiscool.

Big game, but how about Playboy fame? Caroline Wozniacki apparently denied Playboy and Maxim, which both wanted the Dane to grace their pages naked, according to a report from Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. She told reporters, “I’m not going to take off all my clothes,” while agent John Tobias continued, “She is still only 20 years [old]. That kind of photo series we’ll keep away from right now.” For more, click here.

Take us with you, BMS?

So maybe her attire is a little outrageous, but that’s why we love you, Bethanie. Well, girl can write, too.

Top 10-er, still: Besides fashion sense, American tennis in general seems to be on a bit of a decline up top with Serena Williams being the only top-ten ranked player after the latest rankings were revealed. Somehow, Serena managed to move up a couple spots despite having not played for months. Go figure. Then again with Serena, it’s better to stop trying and just roll with whatever story she headlines next, especially when it deals with the WTA ranking system.

(Images from 1-800-recycling.com and Twitter)

short balls: chanda’s (ch)tragedy



A week ago, Chanda Rubin was sitting
in her Louisiana home preparing for 2011 to come rolling around. Now that home barely exists. The former top 10 player and Major semifinalist endured the worst nightmare of many homeowners: her house caught fire. The destruction (and devastation) was caught by (Lafayette, La.) The Advertiser photographer Brad Kemp. “I’m like a vagabond now. I don’t have a home,” she told the paper. | Chanda’s career 

While the 2011 has officially kicked off, we’re still loving the WTA‘s batch of off-season pics. Our favorite? That’d be Maria Kirilenko sporting a different ‘do in Las Vegas. And Maria is supposedly “training” there during the off-season? Who does she think she is… Jennifer Capriati?! | Remember: Maria’s 2010 Aussie run 

Two-time Major finalist Vera Zvonareva also had a busy off-season, booking quite the spread(s) in the Russian versions of Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. While Zvonareva – who reached the Wimby and US Open finals – looked all dolled up for the shoots, she was giving plenty of lip to the work she has done with UNESCO as a global ambassador. | Vera’s Glam shots

Print is dead? Print is recycled!
If you’re worried about all those magazines we’re not reading going to waste, Nike is here to quell your fears: they are to begin making shoes from old mags. Now runners will have more than just the weather to talk about: “Yeah, so I was reading on my shoe that in 1932 Vienna…” | Flashback: Our picks for shoes you must have in 2011

short(est) ball: This ain’t no cowby prez.
While vacationing in Hawaii, the first family reportedly took the the Kailua Racquet Club courts for a little hit and giggle. No word on weather Bo served as their balldog or not.
(rubin pic by brad kemp of the advertiser; kirilenko pic via mariakirilenko.com)

short balls: california girls (and boys)



TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. [Read more...]