short balls: vogue's fashion through the years, twitter check-ins and the espys looks (and don't looks)

It’s Vogue, dahling: How did we miss this?! Just shy of Wimbledon, Vogue.com used their Vogue Daily outlet to post a 110-year history of tennis fashion, called the “Evolution of Tennis Fashion.” The 26-picture slide show scoots through the early 20th century as eventually makes it to today’s looks, punctuated by the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova. Our favorite look? Katharine Hepburn rocking high-waisted shorts in the 1940s (above, with Ana Ivanovic). | TSF Vault: Vogue

Through the (on court) years: Yahoo‘s Busted Racquet tennis blog edited by Chris Chase is also giving a through-the-years look, but they’re focusing on classic matches. Recently they’ve looked at the classic Pete Sampras-Roger Federer Wimbledon 2001 encounter, and the last Slam Chris Evert would ever win: beating Martina Navratilova at the 1986 French Open. But our fave they’ve written up so far has been from another Martina: Martina Hingis. A look back at her meltdown against Steffi Graf at Roland Garros in 1999. Does it ever get old?!

Tennis trend? 
Planking has caught on in the tennis community. Hard core.On Tennis.com‘s Daily SpinJon Scott checks in on a Laura Robson favorite that kept the US Davis Cup team (too?) busy and entertained last weekend in Austin. And if you’re not quite sure what planking is, read away, folks!

Yes, Sloane does tweet. Our friends over at Adjusting the Net have a good write-up on Sloane Stephens‘ Q&A with reporters yesterday on a call for the Citi Open later this summer. While Melanie Oudin told TSF last week on a similar call that she kept the social networking tool at an arm’s length, Stephens is known as one of tennis’ best (and funnest) tweeters. She says:

I love Twitter. I post everything myself but my uncle been emailing me since I was 10 years old and on the bottom of his emails they have these quotes and I’ve always found them really cool. So I’ve kept all my uncle’s emails and I go back re-read the quotes on there and think “That’s a good one” so I’ll post that one or whatever. Initially it was just being funny and to just throw stuff out there, but then people responded to me saying I love your tweets and can relate to what you say so I started tweeting more and I’m glad people enjoy it.

More: Follow Sloane on Twitter | And TSF, too!

SI.com’s Twitter breakdown. Before we get to chatting up the ESPYs, SI.com has their “Twitter 100″ out today, a list of 100 sports writers, personalities and athletes that the site felt were the ones writing the sports story on Twitter. While Sloane didn’t make the cut, Serbian players Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic did, as did Andrea Petkovic. TennisReporters.net writer (and Mr. Do-It-All) Matt Cronin was on the list, as was gay sports outlet, Outsports.com. Next year, TSF, next year!

Did she just wear that? And no, we’re not talking about Maria Sharapova in this one. Serena Williams was quite the sight to be seen last night at the ESPYs, where Seth Meyers hosted. Serena wore a number that gave quite a peek to her front side and her back, and we can’t quite say we were the biggest fans of such an option. Serena, along with Rafael Nadal, won awards for Best Female and Male Tennis Player, respectively. | More: Who looked better? Maria or Brooklyn Decker?

The (fashionably) tall kids:
It’s rare to see Maria Sharapova not be the tallest one in the room, but as she chatted about her eye-popping heels backstage, Amar’e Stoudemire joined her and the New York Knick had her by a couple inches — even with heels on. Watch below:

More Amar’e: He’s a pretty fashionable guy | Plus: ESPY fashion report card … in which MLB pitcher Brian Wilson — channeling Serena’s pink spandex bodysuit — got a surprising F. Shouldn’t he get a D- for accessorizing well? Erwin?!

OK, one more! The Biebs was giving us a NASCAR look. And come on, you gotta sorta appreciate it, right?!

short(er) balls: They were rocking the (more distinguished) fashion in Newport last weekend at the festivities surrounding the International Tennis Hall of Fame weekend. An Angelea Moore fashion show raised funds for the Hall. | Rihanna is replacing Megan Fox in the Armani underwear campaign, joining tennis’ Rafael Nadal. | AOL has a good gear and apparel guide for tennis fans — everything under $100. | Sybille Bammer retires from the tour after losing her final match in her home country of Austria. Remember two years ago when the mama was a tour force to be reckoned with? No comeback for her, she says. | Feel better, Miles! Miles Raonic, Canada’s new star, is out for six weeks after hip surgery. That puts his US Open in clear doubt, and definitely means he misses out on the Masters stop in Canada next month. | Caroline Wozniacki‘s dad and coach, Piotr, lashes out over criticism that she should replace him as the guide to her game. He did not join her in Bastad last week, where Wozy withdrew due to injury.

(Vogue.com screengrab; Serena/Maria, Wilson and Biever all Getty Images)

flashback: agassi wins his first, 1992

The same outfits today? Andre Agassi gets inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame today in Newport, R.I. It’s no surprise that Agassi, who won eight career Slams, was the no. 1 trending topic on Yahoo! this morning. The dude has done a lot, no? We couldn’t help ourselves from putting up this pic, which has several meanings. Our first thought? That’s really a wig?! Yep, according to Andre it was. And there he is with Steffi Graf, seven years before they would both win the French Open and kindle their romance for good. As for tennis significance? Wimbledon 1992 was Andre’s first Major, and one that he wrote in his book was most unexpected for him — he wasn’t favored to win — and he finally shook off the disbelievers when it came to his early success translating onto the big-time court. Oh right, and the next year Barbara Streisand was there, too. Who doesn’t love a Wimbledon champ?! Congrats, Andre! | TSF Vault: Flashbacks | Andre Agassi

Favorite Agassi moment? Vote on TennisFame.com

(Image via AELTC archives)

short balls: the weekender

We’re doing a weekend edition of short balls because the US Open calls for us to be a little more on top of our games, something that Jelena Jankovic couldn’t quite do in the third round on Saturday. Do you guys ever think this girl is going to win a Slam? Will she be the formidable #1 she was a few years ago or was it just a flash in the pan? I’m curious to see what sort of trajectory her career now takes on. She’s sort of hit an official slump, no?

No such slump is happening for Francesca Schiavone, at least not anymore. The French Open champ struggled since winning in Paris, going 3-6 over the summer and coming into the US Open with a giant question mark looming over her head. But earlier this week, Schiavone hits a jaw-dropping shot that matched that of Roger Federer from night one of the Open. Running down a baseline lob from Alona Bondarenko, Schiavone tagged a ball between her legs that went zooming back over the next and help her win the point. As Sports Illustrated writer Brian Armen Graham noted, Schiavone was humble as usual: “”Is nothing programmed. Is just instinct. Is art.” Artful, indeed.

More art is happening in the form of photo galleries, three of which caught my eye over the past week. Tennis.com has a gallery up of past US Open magazine covers from their 30-plus years on the newsstand, which also chronicles the price rise of magazines over the years (if your eye can catch them in small print). Meanwhile, the NYT has a (OT) slideshow up of the Oval Office through the years, just in time for the Office to get a face-lift. Pretty cool. And Prince has a great photo album up on facebook featuring week-one shots of their players at Flushing Meadows.

More short balls after the cut. [Read more...]

short balls: the epic edition

Brooklyn gets wind-swept on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure. See more of Brooklyn, and what hubby Andy thinks of LiLo’s jailing in this week’s short balls. (screen grab via BravoTV.com)

Who said the week after Wimbledon was a dead one on the tennis news front? There is plenty of stuff going on, from the on-court happenings at Newport and beyond to plenty (and we mean plenty) of off court news. Here’s TSF‘s edition of short balls for the week.

If you are a Pam Shriver fan and still a little miffed by all the negative press the ESPN analyst got for her run-in with James Blake in the first round of Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago, we thought we would cheer you up by digging out this video clip of one of Pam’s big-time wins on the WTA singles circuit. The victim? Steffi Graf at the 1988 Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden. It was one of only three wins Shriver notched against Graf in 12 career meetings, and it’s a pretty good look at old-school, serve-and-volley tennis from PS herself.

Perhaps you miss Wimbledon mightily and have watched the many replays available on the official web site and on YouTube. Hopefully you’ve also had the chance to check out the “Off Court” section of the Wimby web site, which was sponsored by the bottled water company Evian. A trendy British gal roams the grounds in search of the good, bad and quirky in respects to fan fashion at this year’s tournament. I enjoyed every clip.

Andy Roddick’s wife, Brooklyn Decker (top) was on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure this last week and dang, girl looked good! We were digging the wind-blown hair. See a clip of the video by clicking the image above or here. Just to be clear, Brooklyn is the second girl, not the first who is, well, a little frightening. Recently, celeb Lindsay Lohan was on Double Exposure as well, though her shoot didn’t go as well as Brooklyn’s did. If you didn’t think Brooklyn’s hubby, Andy Roddick, had any opinion on Lohan’s recent court saga (she’s been sentenced for 90 days in jail for violating probation), think again:

Not to be outdone, Andy Murray also made the TV cut this week, appearing on the James Corden show in Britain. Murray chatted tennis and soccer, if a “Hawkeye” system should be used in soccer, and hit some tennis balls at fancy, over-sized cones. Not to be outdone by Brooklyn (or Lindsay!), Andy also slow danced with an adoring fan. Awkward picture after the cut.

[Read more...]

trophy watch: kuznetsova clears her head (and her mantle) for a second slam title

Pretty in pink: Svetlana Kuznetsova remained subdued on Court Philippe Chatrier after Dinara Safina double-faulted and handed her the 2009 French Open singles title. It wasn’t worth it for Sveta to rub the lopsided 6-4, 6-2 match in the face of her friend, who currently holds the world No. 1 ranking.

Apart from playing a worthy opponent — Kuznetsova gave her her only loss in 21 matches from Stuttgart through the French — Safina was also battling the pressure of the top spot and her nerves. “I was a little bit desperate on the court,” said Safina, who appeared to be fighting tears late in the 74-minute match and during the on-court trophy presentation.

During Sveta’s speech, she made sure to thank her former posse in Barcelona, who’ve since been replaced by a Moscow-based team headed by coach Larisa Savchenko. And in her post-match interview with Mary Carillo, she talked (like a seasoned veteran) about how a newfound outlook on her life has made her a better player. It has pretty much taken her five years to turn this around, and it has carried her to this, her second slam title. The biggest test of this new Kuznetsova is whether she can take this momentum into New York and win a second U.S. Open title.

Bonus round: Six-time French Open singles title winner Steffi Graf was on hand to present Sveta and Safina with their wares.

(images via Getty Images)

graf (and agassi) to play at wimbledon!

The AP is reporting that Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf will participate in an exo at Wimbledon, partly to help test out the playing conditions under the new Center Court roof.

They’ll be joined by Kim Clijsters and Tim Henman at the May 17 “Centre Court Celebration” event, which will include a men’s singles, women’s singles, and mixed doubles match.

Graf was quoted by the AP: “There is no tennis venue more special to me than Centre Court at Wimbledon,” the German said. “It just doesn’t get any better. I couldn’t be more honored to play there again with my husband Andre, and tennis greats Kim and Tim. It will mean so much to return to Wimbledon and … relive so many wonderful memories.”

As you may remember, the original roof was dismantled after the ’06 tournament and returned in 2008. Construction of the moving parts began in July. (Geek out: See how the retractable roof works.)

Buy: Tickets are $50, and will go on sale March 12 via Ticketmaster.

agassi couldn’t get gwen, settles for mariah

I hung out at the Wynn Las Vegas this weekend, and as I was crossing over to do some shopping at the Palazzo I saw some signage for the Andre Agassi‘s Grand Slam for Children — his charity‘s 13th annual event. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail? Oh well, it left me time to ogle jackets and salesmen at Alexander McQueen.

Gavin and Gwen are too busy filling Roger Federer‘s players box, so Andre and Steffi had to find another musical couple to make besties with, and they settled on Mr. and Mrs. Nick Cannon.

That May-December wedding joined others no the red carpet, including the original Fergie, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson; Donny Osmond; and Emeril Lagasse. Tommy Haas, who decided that a VIP pass could double as his tie, also lent his support to the evening.

“We put on an amazing party tonight,” said Agassi. “[The party celebrates] many successful years of raising money for underserved children hand-in-hand with our generous supporters and sponsors. And at the same time, it was a party to look to the future and what can be accomplished with the Foundation’s new mission,” which involves transforming education not just in Las Vegas (through the Agassi College Preparatory Academy) but throughout the country.

The 1,900 who attended the fundraiser were entertained by the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, The Killers, Lifehouse, budding Filipina singer Charice Pampengco, Rod Stewart (who performed a duet with Sheryl Crow for the first time, singing “The First Cut is the Deepest”), and comics Ray Romano and David Spade.

There were also two live auctions: a James Rosenquist abstract painting entitled “The Hole in the Center of the Clock – Timekeeper II, A Heart for Andre Agassi, 2008″ and a second package included lunch with Oprah Winfrey and a South African adventure. No tennis players were auctioned, and no tennis player boyfriends were revealed.

(photos by Getty Images)

dream match 2008

Tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Kimiko Date came together for the “Dream Match 2008” exhibition at Tokyo’s Ariake Stadium on Saturday, March 15.

Kimiko Date - Steffi Graf - Dream Match 2008

Steffi lost to Date 6-2, 6-3. FYI: In 1996, Date beat Steffi for the first time (at a Fed Cup), and pushed her during a 2-day Wimbledon semi (that’s the match where Steffi got a wedding proposal).

Steff Graf - Dream Match 2008

Steffi wore all-white adidas during her match against Martina. Steffi won in a tiebreak. I miss that eastern forehand!

Martina Navratilova - Dream Match 2008

Martina in Under Armour.

One more: A pic of the ladies during their Friday practice session after the cut…

agassi interview in the april issue of tennis

Almost two years after leaving the sport, tennis icon Andre Agassi has found new challenges as a father and businessman, and admits while he still loves the game, “I don’t feel like a tennis player anymore.” He tells Peter Bodo in an exclusive interview in the April issue of TENNIS Magazine, “When I dig out my racquets because I’ve donated a lesson for charity or something, I’ll look at them and say, ‘Wow, this is what I used to do for a living.’”

Although he did say he still watches a lot of tennis. “We don’t have the television on in the house unless we’re watching something specific, but during the Australian Open, I had it on all the time, tuned to Tennis Channel.”

Interviewed in an empty classroom of the eponymous College Preparatory Academy, the school he founded in Las Vegas to help disadvantaged children, Agassi talks in depth about his life after retirement, his children (with wife Steffi Graf), Roger Federer, drug testing and gambling in tennis as well as his latest sporting adventure — snowboarding.

Read more: Highlights from the article after the cut…

bid on nole’s stank! + other player’s smells

djokovic-sweaty-adidas.jpg

I smell another enterprising fan: eBay is teeming with scentilicious auctions this week, including a sweat-soaked shirt worn by Nole during his win over Tsonga in the Aussie Open finals.

The shirt is going for a starting bid of A$4,990. Clearly, the ridiculously price is leaving a bad smell — as of this posting, none of the sweat fetishists have come out to sniff (there are zero bids). Still, I wish it better success than the half-eaten banana from the Davis Cup finals. (And really, if I had $5k to spend, I’d rather buy Arkel bags in every color.)

If you prefer your musk from an American, Andy Roddick‘s scent is available in a more conventional medium; a bottle of his cologne is also up for auction, with bidding starting at a more affordable $2.99.

Missed it? I didn’t even know he had a cologne. Apparently, it was launched in time for the 2006 U.S. Open. Clearly it didn’t take off. Has anyone seen it for sale recently (not on eBay)?

More scents: You can also have your smell inspired by Gabriela Sabatini (she has plenty), Roger Federer (here), or the love story of Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.

(via DTL)