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).
[Read more...]

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...]

short balls: wednesday

Does Dubai have a shortage of Nadal mimics?: Gator Jesse Levine got a call from Roger Federer, who flew the lefty out to the Middle East for some hitting sessions. (Times Leader)

Because Roger could be in trouble: A blogger points out that Nadal is nipping at the heels of R-Fed. The Swiss’ number one spot could be in danger.

Grasping at straws: The USTA wants to toughen up their juniors so they signed ‘em up for boot camp. It’s not quite like hitting sessions in a drained out swimming pool, but… (SFSS)

We all have a type, don’t we?: Some hardcore journalism from the Daily Mail, who’s discovered that Boris Becker and ex-wife Barbara Feltus were destined for a romance of some sort; “no fewer than five of (his) lovers have borne a striking similarity” to Barbara, and her current boyfriend is also a scandal-plagued redhead.

Young and out on the field: A great story in the L.A. Times about the current climate for LGB athletes in high school sports programs. For some, it’s good; for some, it’s bad. My one criticism: it would’ve been nice to see how transgender folk are being received…

Stanford through 2012: Unlike its San Diego counterpart (RIP), the Bank of the West Classic in Palo Alto will be around through 2012. (Palo Alto Daily News)

The LTA tries to quantify tennis potential: Tennis mom Judy Murray and the rest of the British gang are really serious about finding future pros. And so they’re having kids go up against a metronome. Let’s hope it works. (Zoo Tennis)

Asia on the fashion map: Much like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka embraces its contribution tennis fashion — i.e., Reebok‘s hot pants look for Venus Williams. MAS Active received the order for the whole outfit (layered top, skirt, and short shorts) four months before Wimbledon. (The Sunday Times)

FYI: Coach Nick Bollettieri charges $900 an hour for his tennis services at his academy in Western Florida. And that’s on top of the $41,100 annual boarding fee. (Times)

WTA and Beijing Olympics hammer out a deal: Countries can send up to six players to the Beijing Olympics. Like in Athens, ITF hammered out a deal to award rankings points for the women’s competition. (IHT)

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.

RELATED POSTS
>> Tennis Served Fresh’s Wimbledon coverage
>> short balls archive

short balls, wimbledon edition

BETTING WIMBLEDON: Curious to know what the bookies are thinking? At Readabet.com, Henin gets crowned the women’s fave, and Federer (surprise!) rules the roost.

ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WIMBLEDON: The folks at Off The Baseline are real pros. Check out this scrumptious, trivia-filled post.

A FASHION HISTORY: Here’s a nice summary of Wimbledon fashions through the years. (Sporting Life)

ONE LAST TIME: 36-year-old Australian Wayne Arthurs, who considered retiring after this year’s Aussie Open, will give Wimbledon one last chance. He qualified for the main draw after a 5-set win over a Rochus brother. (Herald Sun)

NO ROOF: Centre Court at Wimbledon won’t have a roof at all this year; they’re in the middle of constructing that retractable roof with a completion date of 2009. (Reuters)

short balls: a SECOND federer/sampras exhibition, a russian tennis flick, and more french open

Pete Sampras booked through the fall: Pistol Pete has already announced his second date with Roger Federer, this one at the Malaysian Open. (As we mentioned yesterday, the other exhibition will be in Macao.) (via The Star)

Hewitt’s chances at the French: The weight of an Australian Roland Garros title sits squarely on the shoulders of “Little Lleyton” Hewitt. (via The Age)

Some baguettes in the oven: The French Tennis Federation (FFT) hopes to crank out some Grand Slam champs in the near future. They’ve already got an amazing coaching infrastructure. They’re hoping that new facilities in Cannes and Aix-en-Provence will help the cause. (via Bloomberg.com)

Another tennis movie: The latest attempt at big screen success — From Russia With Racquet. Clips galore here. (via Talk Tennis)

Ready yourself for the water cooler: (or the Flavia machine?) Bone up on the French Open with SI.com’s quick preview.

short balls: serena talks, federer hits heavy, IMG makes a move, vietnam falls flat

Hey, all: I’ve been having lots of fun writing this thing. I hope you’re having fun reading it! Also, we’re on MySpace, so feel free to friend us if you have one.

Now onto the good stuff…

Federer hits a heavy ball: The Advanced Tennis Research Project developed a way to quantify the “heaviness” of a tennis ball. The record holder? By the study’s end, it was one R-Fed hit at Indian Wells in 2004. Bonus: another Men’s Vogue article on Roger, this one from Fall ’05. (via SportsFilter)

Serena shoots off: The Guardian‘s Gaby Wood does a two-part profile on Serena Williams. Serena talks about her sister’s death, her injury layoff, her faith (Jehovah’s Witness), etc. On comparing herself to other tennis greats: “If I thought, ‘Oh, I’m historic,’ my head would be crazy. Honestly, at the end of the day I come home to my dogs and my sister. I have friends, and I cry when I see movies, and I watch reality TV… I’m Serena and that’s all I am. I’ve never considered history.”

(photo of Serena at a party launching Louis Vuitton‘s Spring LOVE collection, and benefitting for Oxfam America)

Tennis from around the world: We’ve told you about tennis in South Africa, tennis in the Middle East, and now we bring you tennis in Vietnam: they’re not doing so hot over there.

Meanwhile, the UAE Tennis Association in Dubai is chugging along; they’re holding a tournament at the gorgeous Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

IMG, always on the move: The sports management firm recently acquired Collegiate Licensing Co., a college trademark licensing agency whose brands includes the Final Four, the Bowl Championships Series, and logos of universities such as Notre Dame and UT. (via Oligopoly Watch)

Tennis Mailbag: Lots of good questions answered by Jon Wertheim in his column this week.