a matador in the stands

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No matter what you think about chair-throwing, face-painting, flag-waving, appendage-swinging Australian Open tennis fans, you gotta hand it to ‘em. Where else would you see a matador in the stands? A MATADOR.

It’s going to be a long time before this sighting in the stands can be toppled as the best ever.

Scoreline: Rafael Nadal continues to bulldoze through the draw, taking out Tommy Haas-been 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the third round. The top seed will next face the hard-hitting Fernando Gonzalez. Unfortunately for Gonzo, he had to play 22 games in that fifth set before defeating Richard Gasquet. Alas, he won’t be facing Rafa with a full tank o’ gas.

(image by Getty Images)

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)

men dress down for the atp calendar

TSF was lucky enough to drop by the launch party for the ATP World Tour 2009 Calendar at the W Times Square. The tour enlisted the help of a few good men — Dmitry Tursunov, Juan Monaco, Ivan Ljubicic, Paradorn Srichaphan, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Haas, Marcos Bagdhatis, Tomas Berdych, Mike and Bob Bryan, Fernando Gonzalez, and Tommy Robredo (who isn’t so green about disrobing for the camera) — to pose for the 13-month skin-baring pin-up. We were joined for champagne by Dima, Juan, and Juan’s doubles partner Maximo Gonzalez.

Too bad French photographer Corinne Dubreuil, who shot these guys in Paris last year, wasn’t around for the event; you bet we wanted to ask her about shooting these shower pics of Arnaud Clement and these of Kolya Davydenko.

ATP jokester Tursunov (above, right) felt confident in his decision to pose shirtless for the calendar, and is ready for any locker room pranks pulled by his fellow athletes. “Bring ‘em on,” he said. “We tennis players work hard for our bodies, and it’s definitely not in vain. So it’s nice to do something like this.” He added, “I’d rather people make fun of me for being fit than for being out of shape.”

And what did the scruffy Mr. Monaco, through a translator — sorry, my Spanish can’t cut it — think of his experience? “It was very important for me to develop my image outside the sport and have people outside the sport get to know me.” And showing skin didn’t faze him: “I just had fun with it.”

The ATP’s Chris O’Neill came up with the idea for the calendar while roaming the grounds of the Countrywide Classic. He watched Dima get mobbed by women (“who wanted to have his baby, who wanted to marry him” — all these crazy things) and realized that there was a side of the sport that wasn’t getting showcased. And we’re grateful for his idea.

Buy: Pick up the calendar for $13 at TW.

More pics: See some more pages from the calendar after the cut…

I won’t turn down a facial from james blake!

First, some bits:

  • Saw Juan Martin del Potro up close and personal playing doubles with munchkin partner Fabio Fognini.
  • James Blake, who along with Frank Dancevic is a spokesguy for Evian, designed a facial spray bottle (“Brumisateur”) that’ll be sold throughout the U.S. Open Series. Pick it up at evian.com for $5.50.
  • Maria Sharapova is leaving the athlete haven that is Manhattan Beach for the much more celeb-appropriate Topanga Canyon.

Donald Young‘s white Nike Advantage Polo. See the subtle detail in the mesh backing. The 19-year-old took out Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-4 in the first night match.

Papparazi moved into the seats right behind me not during a changeover (boo) but waited until the changeover (yay) to start snapping pics of Kate Hudson, who sat next to Haas’ gf Sara Foster. Look at that bracelet!

Tommy had no less than three K-Swiss shirt changes, treating us to white/black and navy blue crewnecks plus a navy blue polo during the last game of the match.

Switcheroo: In case you didn’t notice — I didn’t until last night! — Xavier Malisse switched from K-Swiss to Lotto prior to Wimbledon. He wore the black Kontact tee with shiny screenprint against Carlos Moya. The Belgian had a shiny ring on his left middle finger to match.

andy murray’s backhand saves the day

12th seed and hometown hope Andy Murray exacted revenge over Tommy Haas for a loss at Indian Wells by beating the German 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-2 in the third round of Wimbledon. As expected (and we were entertained!), Andy’s backhand produced some wonderful winners and passing shots throughout the match.

Thanks to San Diegan (and TSF reader) Matt Coin for snapping these two early-round photos of Mr. Haas at Wimbledon. His glory days are way past him (with that nagging shoulder injury of his), but his abs are very much alive and well.

Buy: Tommy wears the K-Swiss Ultracel Polo, $52.

Andy wears the Fred Perry Wimbledon T-Shirt (£35, fredperry.com) and the Retro Bag in Rover Brown (£45, fredperry.com).

(photos by Getty Images, Matt Coin, and fredperry.com)

Photos: Monfils, Gonzalez, Marat, and Tommy all soak up the local flavor

jugglers - BMW Open 2008 Players Party

The organizers of the BMW Open hosted a players’ party on Monday night at P1 in Munich. Since you weren’t there, I will summarize the party in five words: mustachioed racquet-jugglers in short shorts.

More: Click here to see pictures of Gael Monfils and Gonzo in lederhosen, Tommy Haas playing Wii, and Marat Safin flanked by the ladies.

(photo by ATP/ATPtennis.com)

k-swiss makes tommy haas a bamboo shirt

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It seems that K-Swiss and Limited Sports get to share the hunky walking billboard that is Tommy Haas.

The German company’s monogrammed hat and wristbands are hanging around (we thought they were lost forever!) while K-Swiss outfits Tommy with the Bamboo Side Print Crew. Yep, it’s a shirt that’s 66% bamboo. Apparently, the plant’s fibers have good moisture-wicking and antibacterial qualities.

Scoreline: Haas lost to David Ferrer 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of the Dubai tournament.

Buy: K-Swiss Bamboo Shirt, $36.99.

(photos by Getty Images)

k-swiss in the spring: tommy haas on the court and in print, plus some great looks

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The March issue of Tennis has this two-page ad of German dreamboat Tommy Haas modeling for his new sponsor, K-Swiss. I want that headband!

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Tennis goods: There’s not much to look at in their tennis line — the graphics on these tees aren’t anything special. From left to right: Tnns Ball Prntd Crew, $45; IN Motion Slvlss Crw, $42; Ultracel Polo, $52.

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But this jacket from their casual line gets our thumbs up. Skur Track Jacket, $70.

Shoes: Yep, if there’s one thing K-Swiss is known for, it’s delicious shoes. Check out the latest offerings.

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Debut: K-Swiss Tommy made a quick debut at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships last week. Still rusty from a shoulder injury layoff, he bowed out in the first round to Diego Hartfield 6-2 3-6 6-2.

(ad from Tennis, Haas photo by Palm Beach Post)

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delray beach’s volley girls

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The organizers of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, being held this week in Delray Beach, Fla, decided to up the “cool” factor of their already cool tournament by looking for Volley Girls:

They’re: athletic ‘lookers’, sports-lovers (preferably tennis), enthusiastic go-getters, with a whole lot of spunk, wit, charm, and ABOVE ALL…MUST be educated in the field of “How to have an AWESOME time, ALL the time 101″

Can you break dance? Sing a capella? Run a 4-minute mile? Lick your elbow? If so, we want to know about it. No, we’re not looking for “America’s Next” anything, nor are we looking for the average pom-poming cheerleader…heck, we’re above that. We’re looking for VolleyGirls™.

Wow, this reads as if penned by Vince Spadea. But grammar aside (and I’ve been known to commit copy faux pas myself), these are the ladies who fit the bill.

Love the dress, but the shoes aren’t doing it for me…

Some props: I have to hand it to the ITC for having a URL for their tourney unrelated to the event’s name — yellowtennisball.com. This is a robust branding strategy that can survive changes in ownership, sponsorship, host venue, etc.

Scoreline: Rain has suspended some first round matches and delayed a few second round matches. Of the ones completed, second seed Tommy Haas (in his K-Swiss debut) lost to Diego Hartfield, and wild card Robby Ginepri, much to the delight of Lady Hooligan Kat, beat Mathieu Montcourt. Gineps will face fellow American (and Under Armour endorser) Michael Russell in the second round.

More: See another close-up of the ladies (plus their shoes) after the cut…

k-swiss signs tommy haas and a new ad agency

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From three-stripe to five-stripe: The pre-2008 moving and shaking continues with SoCal sports outfitter K-Swiss announcing a three-year partnership with German Tommy Haas beginning at the 2008 Australian Open.

Tommy will wear K-Swiss threads for his matches and make personal appearances on behalf of the brand. He’ll also assist in the design of future athletic collections, a task he looks forward to. “I am obviously excited about the performance tennis styles,” says Haas, “but [am] also eager to collaborate on off court opportunities as well.”

And K-Swiss, of course, is just as excited. Erik Vervloet, Director of Sports Marketing, adds, “Tommy will be an invaluable asset in showcasing our current product offerings and developing future styles. We look forward to working closely with him and are proud to have him representing K-Swiss in the upcoming Grand Slams.”

No longer Limited: This is a big jump for Tommy, who had been wallowing (at least stylistically) in his partnership with Limited Sports in recent years (he was with Nike before that); Limited had provided him with a lackluster collection only made interesting by the occasional monogrammed cap. As he told Tennis Week, he moves to the big leagues with K-Swiss and is excited to be involved with the company:

“K-Swiss is making a big jump within the last year promoting the brand with a lot of the athletes, like Anna Kournikova, appearing in magazines and television commercials. K-Swiss is known for their shoes, which are very good ones. [...] I got to look at the new K-Swiss stuff for next year, the new technology they’re using in their tennis shoes, which is all very exciting stuff so I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

And while it was he got on board too late to give feedback about the Spring 2008 line, Tommy will definitely give notes for future collections. He tells Tennis Week, “They’re interested in your ideas so if you have a favorite color or the kind of quality of material you like to wear, they try to incorporate that.”

Sleeveless scandal: This K-Swiss collection will include a sleeveless top (pictured above), a style which the German was instrumental in bringing to popular tennis consciousness. In a widely documented to-do at the 2002 U.S. Open, Tommy walked onto the court for his first round match in a sleeveless shirt. Court officials deemed the attire inappropriate per Grand Slam rules, so he was asked to change. (Mind you, this is the same year Serena played her matches in a catsuit. The outfit obtained the necessary approvals, so it was okay to wear on court.)

And at that point, for better or for worse, the sleeveless shirt began its appearance on the ATP Tour. (Read more on Tommy’s reaction to the situation.)

New ads, new agency: Also part of Tommy’s agreement will be to appear in a global K-Swiss ad campaign debuting in February. It’ll feature the company’s other sponsored athletes, and will make rounds on TV, in print, on the web, and outdoor venues. The company has tapped Toth Brand Imaging out of Cambridge, Mass., to handle the campaign.

Cross your fingers: Here’s hoping the switch works. K-Swiss suffered a third quarter earnings drop to $12.8 million on $107 million in revenue compared to earnings of $21 million on $133 million in revenue for the same quarter in 2006.

(photo via Tennis Week and Newscom; additional reporting via Adweek, Tennis Week)

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