li ning posterboy ljubicic is first to scalp a seed



Ivan Ljubicic was the first to scalp a seed at this year’s Mutua Madrilena Madrid Masters. The Croatian wild card broke Jo-Wilfried Tsonga three times, with two of those coming in the second set when Ljubicic rallied from 5-2 down. The final score: 6-4, 7-5.

Props to his clothing sponsor, Li Ning, for continually surprising us with novel designs for his on-court kit. This go-’round combines a bright yellow polo with a silver print overlay.

More where that came from: Above are some athletic and casual looks from the current Li Ning line. They were showcased as part of the ATP launch of its Chinese-language site.

it’s raining mail



orchard-street-reebok09

Our normally testy UPS delivery man must have been having a good day because we received a package on the first attempt! We are now the proud owners of a pair of Re-Up Lux sneakers, a collaboration between Orchard Street and Reebok.

This is one of two recently released “teaser” pairs for an expanded collab line, images of which can be seen here.

Buy: Re-Up Lux, $90, orchardstreet.com

And we also received packages from both the SEWTA and ATP World Tour that contained each group’s media guide, which includes pronunciation tips for players’ surnames. Hopefully, this’ll make us less of a tool at Indian Wells, where we spent most of the 2008 repeatedly sounding like a total gringo (“Gilles Simon“, “Camille Pin“, and “Alize Cornet” come to mind).

Dork out: The SEWTA has its own book, while the ATP provides an edition that combines the men’s and the ladies’ info. Get a copy of the latter here.

(shoe image via nytimes.com; media guide image via atp)

ATP lawsuit could remake non-team sports



Daniel Kaplan at SportsBusiness Journal is all over the lawsuit filed the organizers of the Hamburg tournament against the ATP. At the core of this debate is whether the ATP is seen as a professional league (which, under U.S. law, is allowed to collude and pool television rights, set schedules, and set terms for athlete participation) or if it’s just a loose group of businesses who all happen to run tennis tournaments. A loss for the ATP could spell trouble for the WTA and other individual sport orgs like the PGA and LPGA tours. Here’s what Kaplan wrote up two weeks ago (on July 7). Subsequent articles to follow.

In 14 days, the ATP World Tour will square off against one of its tournaments in a Delaware courtroom. At stake: Not just the future of men’s tennis, but perhaps the governance of all non-team sports.

Barring a settlement, the antitrust case could determine just how far a rules-making body can go in setting tournament schedules, compelling players to compete in certain events, establishing a ranking system and awarding sanctions. These functions are claimed not only by the ATP, which is being sued to undo a series of schedule changes, but also by other entities ranging from the PGA Tour to Olympic federations.

“An ATP loss would set a dangerous precedent for professional sports governing bodies … that make all sorts of decisions that primarily affect the players regarding format of play, where they are going to play their tournaments, the number of events in which they will participate [and] how the players are going to be ranked,” said Rick Karcher, director of the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law. He also has written about the case as a contributor to the Web site sportslawblog.com.

“If any third party can challenge these decisions on antitrust grounds,’ Karcher said, “it puts these organizations at risk.” (Read on…)