short balls: let’s get physical



Somehow the tennis news is still pumping 10 days following the completion of the Australian Open. There was plenty of action this past weekend with the first round of Fed Cup being contested around the world. The biggest story to come out of the weekend on the American front was the success of Melanie Oudin, who returned to her Fed Cup-roots to find a couple of big-time wins when she needed them the most. Oudin followed up that success in Paris this week, winning in convincing fashion over a spiraling Sorana Cirstea.

1, 2, 3: It’s no Britney holiday re-make, but ESPN360.com, which housed several courts of action during the Aussie, will change to ESPN3.com this coming spring. In the release, the company said that tennis coverage will include, “Hundreds of hours of multi-court coverage of all four “grand slam” events as well as select other events.” Kudos, ESPN. Now if only they could broaden their contract with internet providers, we can all be happy.

Swimsuits in February? The tennis-struggling Ana Ivanovic continues the way of the Other Anna, posing for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. We do love the bed of light-pink tennis balls (Wilson’s Hope balls) Ana is lying on in her main shot, but can’t help but wonder if the Serb really understands what she’s making of her career. Is it inevitable she’ll go the retirement route in the next 24 months? It’s certainly possible. But if she does, we really hope she doesn’t stick with the stylist who suggested the tennis-net-as-accessory move. Just not okay, Ana.

Another tennis beauty actually graces the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue. Andy Roddick‘s wife, Brooklyn Decker was chosen as the cover model for the mag.  Roddick Tweeted about the accomplishment, oozing excitement for his partner. We’ve got to wonder: is it weird for Andy? At least Brooklyn didn’t go the way of the NBA’s George Hill. Oops. Hey George, people save text messages and pictures! It’s a new thing in the 21st century. Get used to it.

Power brokering: While Ivanovic might be making a name for herself more with her off-court moves than her on-court ones, she did sign a lifelong deal with adidas this week, which included ambassadorship after retirement. Roger Federer, whose career and corporate appeal have stayed alive because of superior tennis, was named by Forbes Magazine as the third most powerful name in sports. #4? Mirka. Well, on our list, at least…

Ken is her trophy: This week it was unveiled that Kim Clijsters would have a Barbie doll created after her, honoring her 2009 U.S. Open win. If nothing else, we’re happy to see the doll is donning Kim’s USO outfit, that comfortable Fila look that made her look so business-like but sporty. Good thing it’s not Kim Wedding Barbie, right?

The Midwest’s Slam: I’ve been reading Jon Wertheim‘s Venus Envy this week, throwing myself into the world of the WTA circa 2000 when Vanessa Webb was a familiar name and Oklahoma City still hosted a mid-winter event. The Midwest’s slam seems to have shifted to Cincinnati, where the summer events on the WTA and ATP tours will merge in 2011 in grand fashion, stadium upgrades and all.

Big booties finish second: Find out who Serena Williams thinks would beat her out in a Booty Battle. We weren’t too surprised, either.

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)