name that brand: peter luczak

Can anyone out there help me identify the brand behind this mobius strip logo on Peter Luczak?

The Aussie lost his first singles rubber against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez at this weekend’s Davis Cup tie. The score: 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. He’ll face Nicolas Massu in reverse singles on Sunday. (More scores.)

We’re all about the use of Australian national sports colors (green and yellow) as accents to Pete’s white shirt — instead of letting the bright shades dominate, ala Hewitt and Chris Guccione. The green wristbands are good, too.

(photos by Getty Images)

pat and his ponytail praised; philippoussis ponders life post-tennis

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Patrick Rafter got some more icing on his already sweet career cake with an induction to the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which included an unveiling of a Rafter bust, happened before the 2008 Australian Open women’s final between Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic. Those are some mad crow’s feet. Remember to wear your eye cream, people!

Though we were bigger fans of Pat with his buzz-short hair (circa 2001), it’s only appropriate that they immortalize him in the ponytail he sported while tearing through the North American hardcourts in the late 90s.

Rafter won back-to-back U.S. Open titles (’97, ’98), reached the finals of Wimbledon twice (’00, ’01), and the semis of Roland Garros (’97) and the Australian (’01). See a list of his 11 career titles here.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Mark Philippoussis suffered what could possibly be his last tennis-related injury in December while attempting to qualify for this home Grand Slam. “I won’t lie – but at the moment I’m just enjoying spending time with my family and friends,” he told The Age last week — which means he hasn’t given ATP Tour play any thought. Flip doesn’t even have a tentative schedule planned out. Le sigh, it all went downhill after being up a set and 2-1 (but on serve) against Sampras in the 1999 Wimbledon semis.

(Photos by Getty Images)

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short balls: australian open edition

Aussie Open in trouble?: A report published by Tennis Australia recommends much-needed upgrades to Melbourne Park. TA is asking for $300 million in funding for capital improvements so they can stay competitive with other tournaments that could soon vie for major status. As you may know, there have been grumbligs about a Grand Slam in Asia, the Middle East or Central/Eastern Europe. (Herald Sun)

Flipping out: It’s a story all-too familiar in the life of Mark Philippoussis: he is making his way through the Aussie Open qualies but could have his journey ended by his nagging knee injury. And it’s probably not helping his psyche that some juniors are writing him off. (ABC, The Age)

Prodigal Aussie: And the once-estranged Jelena Dokic, who earlier this year decided to accept help from Tennis Australia, is on track to nab the women’s wild card for the Australian Open (The Age)

With a little help from my friends: Hotlantan Robby Ginepri is none closer to the Aussie Open wild card, even after his Davis Cup buddies (Andy Roddick, James Blake, et al.) sent a letter to the USTA asking for them to grant Ginepri the spot. Unfortunately, the governing body’s age-limit rule — wild cards can’t go to guys over 22 years of age — took him out of the running. He’ll make his way down to Melbourne for qualifying, with coach Jose Higueras in tow. (Florida Sun-Sentinel)

R.I.P. Fellow Socal blogger Kat, aka Lady Hooligan, will take down her 18-month-old webzine at the end of the year (you can browse it ’til then.) Thankfully, she hasn’t given up on publishing completely. She’ll continue to blog here.

Andy and Serena: A write-up on Andy Roddick‘s homecoming exhibition in Omaha. (via Craig)

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More tattered jeans: Andy really loves his beat-up denim. He wore it out taking Brooklyn Decker to Manhattan. (JustJared via DTL)

Judy Murray at the LTA: The Evening Standard checks in with super tennis parent Judy Murray and how she’s slowly revamping the LTA’s junior program.

short balls: aussie edition

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Flip the Fungible: If Mark Philippoussis decides to disappear into tennis oblivion, then I’ll be content replacing him with the similar-looking ATP-er, Spaniard Paul Andujar. (Here he is in Le Coq Sportif while losing to Nole at the Croatian Open.)

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The Scud at an Age of Love viewing party in the Planet Hollywood Casino surrounded by his girls: Jayanna, Adelaide, Lauren, Tessa, Lynn, Angela, Jodi, Mary, and Kelli Brook. (photos via Getty Images)

Flip the TV Star: Mark takes another step into firming up his tennis prospects — FYI, he’s working out of his Vegas base camp with former Agassi trainer Gil Reyes — by considering another reality TV series. (Herald Sun via DT)

Rafter the Wise: Two-time U.S. Open titleist Pat Rafter, who gave some great advice to James Blake early in the American’s career, speaks out in favor of the newly-formed union between Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche (who is also Pat’s former coach). I wonder if he has opinions about his former doubles partner Philippoussis?

Courier the Impresario: American Jim Courier has joined Darren Cahill and Roger Rasheed as investors in a new three-day exhibition that leads up to the 2009 Australian Open. The tournament will pair retired ATP players with current ones of the same nationality. McEnroe and Roddick vs. Pat Cash and Hewitt? I like it!

Tourney trivia: the last Adelaide tourney will be played in 2008, after which it will fold with the women’s Gold Coast event. This new exhibition will have the same plexi-cushion courts (Rebound Ace, R.I.P.) as the Aussie Open. The promoters will face competition for players from Kooyong, the Sydney International, and the Auckland tournament.

Dokic (not yet) the Prodigal Daughter: The reunion of Tennis Australia with troubled and hard-headed former prodigy Jelena Dokic hit another snag when she rejected the governing body’s latest offer to help out. (Herald Sun)

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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.

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Jamie Murray is no Haylie Duff, and other stories

I didn’t mean for today’s short balls to be such a downer post, but here it is. Ya gotta take the good with the bad. Enjoy.

Jamie Murray - The GuardianJamie Murray is no Haylie Duff: Scottish tennis player Jamie Murray — the older brother of phenom Andy Murray — is making a name for himself in doubles. The Guardian published a good profile today, in conjunction with the news that Jamie’s been tapped to play Davis Cup next month, when Great Britain plays the Netherlands.

Junior tennis in the UK, pt. 2: Here’s another story from The Guardian about another player getting lost in the fray. Good luck to her, and good luck to the LTA as they try to get their operations in order.

Tennis down under, going under?: A little dated, but still relevant. The Times reports on the state of Australian Tennis: how it’s getting overshadowed by more “exciting” sports such as rugby, cricket, and swimming; how only now is Tennis Australia beefing up its player development fund; and how a whole generation of great coaches aren’t getting the support they need. Hopefully, they’ll fix this and fix it soon.

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no more tennis on youtube?

Gah. The YouTube/Viacom saga affects the tennis world, too. Here’s a story about Erich, who got his YouTube account cancelled after both the USTA (post-U.S. Open) and Tennis Australia lodged complaints about the videos. He’d started posting clips on YouTube last year:


Most of his clips, he says, even from smaller tournaments, would make it into the day’s top 20 most-viewed sports list. High-profile matches, such as those from the major events or those contested by star players such as Roger Federer (http://www.rogerfederer.com), Andy Roddick, or Rafael Nadal (http://www.vamosrafael.com) would often reach the top ten and remain there for a week. His highlights of the retirement at last year’s US Open of American great Andre Agassi not only reached number one in sports but the top ten most viewed videos across every category on YouTube.

Wendy Grossman (the story’s author) hit the nail on the head: instead of shutting this guy up, all the tennis orgs should be encouraging the viral spread of tennis clips. I don’t think it hurts their brand at all. The tours don’t compete with each other. They’re all just trying to milk the same players for all they’ve got. And especially if interest in tennis is waning in the U.S., why get rid of the videos that could pique someone’s interest?

At the same time, we should give credit for the ATP, the Sony Ericsson WTA, and the tournament websites, all for getting into blogs, vid clips, etc. But really, I think the USTA and Tennis Australia should reconsider their actions. At the very least, they can lick their wounds (but not for too long) and figure out how to use YouTube to their advantage.