legends go ballin’

Legends-Ball-Legends
(Legends Dick Savitt, Stan Smith, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova, Buch Buchholz, Pam Shriver and Tony Trabert)

Last Friday night, while rain was wreaking havoc on the U.S. Open‘s schedule and a dramatic weekend of tennis had yet to be played out, the legends of the sport descended on the International Tennis Hall of Fame‘s Legends Ball in Midtown Manhattan for a night of celebration.

The event was held at Cipriani, across the street from Grand Central Station, a beautiful space with “towering marble columns and soaring ceilings” as its web site says. 

While there were plenty of celebs at such an event, the tennis legends themselves were really the ones who guests had their eyes on. TSF stole the ear of a few of the former tennis greats to ask a few questions and find out just what they were thinking about the current state of the sport of tennis.

Tracy Austin
TSF: What do you think of Melanie Oudin’s run to the quarterfinals?
TA:
What a fairy tale run for Melanie, a sweet girl that’s so spunky. She’s got a lot of speed and heart. If she continues to play like this for the rest of the year she can establish herself. It’s refreshing to see someone like her make such a run.

Martina Navratilova
TSF: Will a player as young as 14 or 15 ever make a big splash in tennis again? We saw it up through the beginning of this decade, but are those days over?
MN:
I don’t think it’ll ever happen again. There is too much power in the game right now for someone that young to come up and play with these women. I hope a girl like Hingis will come along again who has creativity variety in her game. 

Monica Seles
TSF: What is one thing you can NEVER leave home without while traveling?
MS:
My dog. Definitely my dog. It was the same when I was playing, I can never the poor thing at home. 

We weren’t too surprised Monica answered like that, and the recent Hall of Fame inductee was by far the most popular gal of the evening, having her shoulder tapped at every turn. She palled around with good friend Mary Joe Fernandez, sipped on Diet Coke and greeted everyone with a sincere “It’s so good to see you!”

Check out more of the legends’ attire after the cut. [Read more…]

wimbledon, on the d list

TSF note: Tennis Chatter’s Nick McCarvel is in London this week, doing his time as a Wimbledon fan by queueing up for tickets. He’s graciously offered report back through TSF even though he’s also writing for the New York Times’ Straight Sets blog (Mazel tov!). Read on…

The tennis was in full force yesterday at the All England Club for day one of the 2009 Championships. As play was called to start over the loud speakers just before noon, there were bright blue skies above head – an unusual sight. Maybe that roof wasn’t necessary, after all?

If you’ve never been to a professional tennis event, one of the funnest things about them is how close you can get to the players. “Oh! There’s James Blake practicing on Court 5″ and “Whoops! Sorry Maria, didn’t mean to bump into you on the way to the bathroom.” It’s like a little town and you’re all just chum-chum with each other.

But, my favorite part of being at big tourneys like this is the D-List sightings. You know what I mean. Not the Andy, Roger, Rafa and Serena sightings… more like the “Isn’t that Sesil’s mom?!” and “OMG I think that’s Jill Craybas’ hitting partner!” Here’s a few of my Monday bump-ins:

Tracy Austin in a hideous, leprechaun green get-up courtside during Michelle Larcher de Brito’s first round encounter on Court 17. Austin appeared to be doing some sideline commentating off-and-on during the match (fact check, anyone?!). But Austin was most definitely not happy when Ms. Grunty herself walked past her after the match without so much as a head nod. Inter-generational bitch fight? I sure hope so. Divas got ‘tude!

Paradorn Schrichapan and Miss Universe wife (Natalie Glebova) hanging out outside of Centre Court while wifey tried to argue her way in without a pass. Paradorn looked sexy in street clothes (a black tee and jeans), while Natalie must’ve been saying: “Look, my name totally sounds like one of these tennis phenom names. I’m an OVA! Just let me in and I’ll let you see my Miss Universe crown.”

[Read more…]

short balls: connors, berdych, tracy austin is a smurf, etc.

Jimmy does Vogue: As if to remind the tennis public of the generation who first made tennis glam, this month’s Men’s Vogue does a piece on Jimmy Connors (now back in the fray as Andy Roddick‘s coach). Check it out. (more at MV‘s tennis hub)

If we lived in New York, we’d do the same: The NYT profiles some folks who play hookey to see matches at the Open.

Reality check: Tennis superstars Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams have been mainstays in Forbes‘s lists this year (of richest female athletes, and richest celebrities). In Forbes‘ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, though, these ladies don’t make the cut.

Andy and Pong, Lacoste style: TSF loves the Andy Roddick-inspired Pong over at the Lacoste website better than the Amex version from a few years ago.

Berdych gets ATP love: To help raise the Top 10er’s Q rating, the ATP made him his own card. Putting a face to a name is a great idea. (Newsday)

Tracy Austin is a smurf?: AIPT thinks that Tracy Austin needs a new stylist.

Graf sells her Miami house: Retired tennis great Steffi Graf is no stranger to real estate dealings — her investments in Idaho with hubby Andre Agassi are a hit — and she makes another move by putting her Miami digs up for sale for $3.5 million. (WSJ via Big Time Listings)