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)

short balls: jewelry gets ballsy inspiration

By Benjamin Snyder

We’d hit and wear that: Sure there’s tennis ball furniture, but how about some accessories, too? Simone Preuss of 1-800-recycling.com reveals some “creative uses” for worn-out tennis balls. Preuss writes, “Tennis balls are probably the most difficult of any kind of sports ball to recycle, as the rubber used is not biodegradable. However, about 300 million balls are produced each year, contributing to some 20,000 metric tons of rubber waste.”

Never quite imagined that more could be done than simply tossing those dead balls after an intense hitting sesh, did ya? Well, from bracelets (above) to jar holders to tripods and purses look no further than this post for ideas to glamify your world with a little more tennis love. The only problem, Simone, where’s the how-to guide to make these ballin’ beauties ourselves? Needing it.

We get hashtag fatigue sometimes, too: Looking to check up on the tweets of even more players than usual suspect Serena Williams (who BTW now has over 2 millions followers)? Check out Tennis Players on Twitter. The new website allows fans to check in on all players at all times – in real time! Links go directly to players official pages, just in case you want to further investigate on Twitter itself. Really, this is cool. Oops: #reallythisiscool.

Big game, but how about Playboy fame? Caroline Wozniacki apparently denied Playboy and Maxim, which both wanted the Dane to grace their pages naked, according to a report from Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. She told reporters, “I’m not going to take off all my clothes,” while agent John Tobias continued, “She is still only 20 years [old]. That kind of photo series we’ll keep away from right now.” For more, click here.

Take us with you, BMS?

So maybe her attire is a little outrageous, but that’s why we love you, Bethanie. Well, girl can write, too.

Top 10-er, still: Besides fashion sense, American tennis in general seems to be on a bit of a decline up top with Serena Williams being the only top-ten ranked player after the latest rankings were revealed. Somehow, Serena managed to move up a couple spots despite having not played for months. Go figure. Then again with Serena, it’s better to stop trying and just roll with whatever story she headlines next, especially when it deals with the WTA ranking system.

(Images from 1-800-recycling.com and Twitter)

short balls: aussie hangover

There is plenty to be said about this year’s Australian Open. We’ll leave most of the match breakdowns and this’s and that’s to the experts: On Tennis.com, Tom Perrotta is saying that this is a Major that the ladies should be proud of – and I quite agree. Isn’t it crazy what a quality tournament this was, even though the likes of Ivanovic, Venus, Justine and Maria couldn’t even crack deep into the second week? Kudos, gals. Now, let’s get to the good, juicy TSF stuff.

Speaking of Venus, how strange was the word-vomit Tweet barrage from her mother, Oracene Price on Friday? Oracene Tweeted around 60 times in a matter of hours, complimenting Novak DjokovicPetra Kvitova (which Oracene could never spell right) and Li Na along the way. But in the same breath, Oracene poked fun at Clijsters and said she hoped Li would “kick some butt.” That was as talkative as Oracene has been – both online or in person – ever. Here, she seems to make a strange (and confusing) claim that Clijsters is “dubious:”

Twitter-pated: More of Oracene on TSF | Follow Oracene on Twitter | Follow TSF

Hoping to catch Kimmie at the 2012 Olympics before she signs off for good? You probably will get to swig back a Heineken or two, as the London Games are supposedly close to signing a deal with the Dutch beer-producer, according to Marketing magazine: “Heineken will have pouring rights to the hospitality outlets at the 2012 Games and also have the marketing rights to the Olympics and Paralympics, reports Marketing magazine.” (via Sports City)

Close to Melbourne, but across the ocean… Ryan Harrison was victorious in an all-American final at the Honolulu challenger. He took down Alex Kuznetsov to capture the crown, $7,200 and 80 ranking points. Three American women (Julia Cohen, Irina Falconi and Madison Brengle) are doing the dirty work on the USTA Pro Circuit this week. They are the top three seeds in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

And if you haven’t seen this video of a streaker running into a bit of streaking bad luck, you must:

(ao photo by jheritage via flickr; oracene screen grab via twitter; video screen grab via youtube)

the tsf interview with laura robson

Walking up to the grounds for day one of Wimbledon in 2009, I was surprised to hear most English tennis fans weren’t really talking about Andy Murray or the Rafa-Roger rivalry, but instead about the new starlet of British tennis: Laura Robson.

The year before, Laura had won the Girl’s Singles title at Wimbledon, becoming the first home-grown champion in the singles bracket since 1984 and launching her into a kind of celebrity that garnered her an opening-day billing on Court No. 2 at the Championships in 2009. And this just wasn’t any opening-day match, but rather one that was opening the new stadium, making Robson the name to watch on the court’s first-ever match.

Since her run at Wimbledon in ’08 and her ’09 ceremonial opening, Robson has made a habit of playing a contained schedule mixed of both girlsjunior events and WTA and ITF circuit matches. The past two US Opens, the 16-year-old Brit has bowed out in the the third round of qualifying, just short of a shot at the main draw.

This week in Tokyo, however, Robson qualified for the main draw [PDF] of a WTA tournament for just the second time in her career (Birmingham, 2010). She lost in the opening round to Greta Arn, but some say the calculated approach by Team Robson to keep the young Brit on a light schedule and continue to grow her physically and mentally (she played one official tournament between Wimbledon and the Open) could pay dividends in her future.

But before we get all crystal ball on you, we were happy to get a few questions into Laura via email. She’s an active Tweeter, with a good sense of (dry, British) humor, and has professed love for Neil Patrick Harris, Chipotle, YouTube watching, Bikram yoga, fantasy football (soccer) and much, much more.

TSF: If you could meet Neil Patrick Harris in person, what would you ask him?

Laura Robson: I would ask “How did you get so cool?”.

TSF: After winning a match in the States, are you most likely headed to a Chipotle? How many times did you go there while in New York?

LR: After a match I am most likely to head anywhere that is going to be relatively quick, Chipotle is perfect for that reason. We must have gone there 5 or 6 times throughout the whole trip.

TSF: What’s your hidden talent? Like something that would make you a YouTube star?

LR: I can juggle pretty well. Really bad singers also become popular on YouTube. I could be one of those people.

TSF: Last year it was “Party in the USA.” What song are you jamming out to at this US Open?

LR: This US Open I was rocking out to Lenny Kravitz, Drake and I listen to a lot of Dubstep music (if you haven’t heard any Dubstep, YouTube ‘Four Floors (Diplo Edit) – Sunday Girl‘). Sounds amazing on massive speakers.

More with Laura Robson, BFF to FortyDeuceTwits, after the cut. [Read more…]

after beating sharapova, caro takes on the world

A day after manhandling Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the US Open, Caroline Wozniacki is on top of the tennis world. The whole world, that is. TSF noticed all the buzz today, and is here to chronicle it for you in one, easy-to-read blog post. Voila!

On the Twitter front, @carowozniacki, Caroline herself, power-tweeted all day long. First there was chatter about overtaking John Isner in followers, then she showed that she has stolen the lives of Maria and Serena Williams by being a fashionista, even in week two of a Slam.

If the prowess couldn’t be felt through Wozniacki’s tweets, surely an at reply congratulations would do the trick from the one and only Serena. And another tennis diva giving Caro props was Tennis Channel‘s James LaRosa, scolding anyone who still thought Wozniacki plays as a human backboard.

Not to be outdone, the mainstream media got on the WozniackiExpress today as well, with the USA Today churning out an article about Wozy as tennis’s new “It” girl; the New York Times featuring Caroline on its homepage for a good chunk of the afternoon (see screen grab after the cut); the WTA web site had a feature on her as long as Tweeting a year-old video of Wozniacki hanging out with soccer superstar David Beckham; the LA Times relegated its coverage to a blog post (how dare they!); the New York Daily News not only complimented Wozniacki’s play but her put-together look; and the New York Post couldn’t have been more blunt with its headline: “Wozniacki has look of future champ“.

More on the Wozniacki craze – including what was happening in the blogosphere after the cut.

[Read more…]

caro makes play for verdasco on twitter, gets no @reply

Wozy got no @reply love from Fernando Verdasco after sending out this Tweet late last night. Maybe she thought he only dates world number 1s? Caro, you’re the number one seed! And Serena would never date Fernando. We would though, especially after Kenneth in the 212 posted some GQ shots from Verdasco’s shoot with them.

While Wozy was falling asleep dreaming of having little Ferdies running around with high pony tails wearing Stella McCartney spring dresses, Verdasco was with his sisters, chowing down in Chinatown and looking beautiful.

(wozniacki screen grab via twitter; gq picture by gq via kenneth in the 212; verdasco picture via twitpic)

short balls: california girls (and boys)

TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. [Read more…]

delpo’s comeback? a twitter timeline of the question lingering over tennis

In the last 30 hours, the web has been abuzz with news that defending US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who hasn’t played a match since the Australian Open because of an injured right wrist, will make an appearance in New York a month from now to defend his title.

TSF breaks down the news and timelines of just how things panned out on Twitter and beyond.

Thursday, July 22nd, 9:17 AM – In what we see as the first evidence of JMdP’s comeback, SI writer L. Jon Wertheim Tweets:

Thursday, 9:30 AM Montreal Gazette writer Stephanie Myles responds to Wertheim’s Tweet and provides her own analysis from the news:

Thursday, 11:25 AM – The USTA releases its “provisional entry list” for the 2010 tournament on its web site.

Thursday, 11:29 AM Doug Robson, a tennis writer who regularly contributes to USA Today, Tweets that a USTA contact has confirmed that JMdP is already hitting:

Thursday, 11:50 AM – Less than a half hour later, an Associated Press story written by tennis writer Howard Fendrich appears on the web with Del Potro as the headline catch.

Thursday, 10:85 AM to early afternoon — Freelance writer Kamakshi Tandon follows the story on her account, but between her first Tweet about it (at bottom) and her last, doubt has popped in about the current status of JMdP:

Thursday, 12:04 PM – Tandon’s doubt was started by the Argentinean tennis blog, Fue Buena:

Thursday, mid afternoon Tennis Magazine writer and former Tandon colleague Tom Perrotta weighs in:

Friday, July 23rd, 11:41 AM – Esteemed tennis writer Peter Bodo posts on ESPN.com about Del Potro’s return.

Friday, mid afternoon — On Twitter, marcos_z, an Argentiean writer says that USO won’t happen for JMdP and that Bangkok is earliest return:

Friday, 2:14 PM – Fuebuena blog posts that “The Idea is Bangkok” for Del Potro’s return.

Thursday, July 15th – The last time Del Potro himself had Tweeted, saying that the doctor was happy with his progress and he would pick up a racquet soon.

The Del Potro Twitter feed is quite active throughout this timeline.

(screen grabs via twitter)

short balls: tears of joy

Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

[Read more…]