short balls: pippa does paris

The royal box. Everyone’s favorite Middleton was in attendance at the French Open yesterday as Pippa attended matches on Philippe Chatrier with a gentleman that Busted Racquet hilariously ID’d as Parks and Recreation‘s Jean Ralphio. OK, we’re going to guess that’s not him. But that is Pippa. And in case you forgot, this was Pippa’s dress that stole the show (or at least borrowed it for a few minutes) at her big sis’s wedding.

British (tennis) royalty. While it’s rumored that Kate Middleton (that’s Duchess of Cambridge, to you!) is supposedly being asked to present trophies at Wimbledon this year, no one had to ask the storied folks of Birmingham if they wanted two tennis photo galleries to descend upon their historic community, which helped co-found lawn tennis way back in 1859.

Go fetch. We’re obsessed with this image that the Wall Street Journal ran last week of a pooch nabbing a flying tennis ball in the city. Perhaps our heart really got stolen by the two lookers-on, both of whom are decidedly jealous and couldn’t care less at the same time. | Blue’s blue on FO fashion: But don’t ask Blue Carreon of the Journal what he thinks of the fashion at this year’s RG. He’s. Not. Having. It.

Wheel of Tennis. While Blue isn’t loving the tennis threads of this year’s FO, Wheel of Fortune is giving the sport a whole week of love. The game show is promoting “Tennis Week” this week with tennis-themed prizes, appearances by well-known tennis faces and the best mixed doubles pair you’ve ever known: Alex Trebek and Vanna White, of course.

(Pippa image via Getty Images; Tennis Week image via WOF web site)

short balls: tennis goes cross-country

By Benjamin Snyder

Bottom’s on top: It’s official! The classy poster of a woman scratching her derriere in flattering tennis whites has been posted as one of the all-time best-selling posters, according to a recent article in the Guardian. Model and poster will soon be reunited after 35 years for an upcoming event celebrating tennis art, writes Patrick Kingsley. Pictured above, Fiona Walker, now 52, tells all in a piece from the Telegraph. (ed. note: Meanwhile, how cute is Patrick?? TSF is always looking for more freelancers… )

Feeling bi(coastal): Indian Wells is over, and it’s time to move on to Miami for some more fun-in-the-sun at the Sony Ericsson Open. But, before we leave Cali behind, how about news on the Serb we’ve been loving lately, Novak Djokovic? Not only did he thrash Rafa in the final set to take the title, word on the interwebs is Caro has been pining for him, at least symbolically. Move over, Ana – and longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic – this lovely lady has the ranking and the sense of humor Nole just might be looking for these days. Or do you think he’d go for more of a Fiona Walker-type?

Ballin': Tonight several top players – Nole and Rafa among them – were taking to the soccer pitch for a fundraiser for the victims of the Japan tsunami disaster. If it looks anything like the boys playing a little soccer tennis last summer, we’re sad we missed it.

World order, struck down: So while Novak’s getting the girls, the titles and playing some soccer for a good cause to boot, Roger‘s just plain losing – a lot. Ousted by the Djoker in a three-set semifinal showdown for the world no. 2 spot, Rog also succumbed in doubles with partner Stanislas Wawrinka. Fed suffered a “triple tennis blow” in Cali, says one piece. Now that’s one way to put it – and no, it doesn’t mean what you were hoping it did.

The Devil Watches Tennis: At least Roger has one Anna Wintour to comfort him. The Vogue editor is the subject of a much-talked-about Wall Street Journal magazine piece released online today. What is Anna doing in the lead image of the profile? Watching Rog – on TV.

As if they needed an excuse: Boasting like it’s some sort of change of pace, Miami is getting ready for the SEO with music, parties and … well, tennis. Is that any different than any other time of the year? Our pick: Funkshion Fashion Week. Shows happen all week long, including the Masquerade Motel on Saturday night, a beach-front show that’s already been sold out.

Little lady on the small screen: Dominika Cibulkova is being noticed for more than her small size (she’s just 5’3). For the entirety of the SEO, she’ll be a star on the online reality show Xperia Hot Shots, which is set to “follow the lives of six aspiring stars of the WTA as they try to build their Facebook fan base.” Says Domi: “It is so exciting to be part of this unique campaign … it’s a privilege to be just one of only a few girls selected for this.” While Cibulkova has 4,652 “likes” on FB, we’re curious: is that really her in the profile pic? Coulda fooled us.

(poster photo by paul grover/the daily telegraph; fed and anna by getty images)

short balls: superfantastic saturday

Kiss me, it’s Saturday.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played one of the more memorable matches in recent history late this afternoon at the US Open. The Djoker prevailed 7-5 in the fifth set, in a match that saw him save two match points at 4-5 down in the fifth. What a fight, no? Next up? Rafael Nadal.

D-Listed got into the tennis spirit this past week, putting up a few pictures of celebs at the USO. While we like seeing the images, the writing on D-Listed never fails to amuse in one way or another, or at least raise an eyebrow or two? USOpen.org got into the spirit, too, posting their own gallery and making sure we kept up on the whereabouts of Joba Chamberlain. Ohhhhhhhhh, he’s a baseball player. We thought maybe that was Kathie Lee Gifford’s co-host on the Today Show. Our bad.

While the New York Times had behemoth coverage on the Open again this year, (full disclosure: I was apart of that team), the Wall Street Journal pushed their own tennis agenda on the grounds of the USTABJKNTC over the last two weeks. In the last year, the WSJ has amped up its coverage of the greater New York area to compete directly with the Times. Making sure to cover all angles, the paper got in on the culinary action of the grounds, while also getting their stopwatches out and putting together a healthy amount of data on how long players were taking to serve (they’re allotted 20 seconds after the previous point had ended). Most entertaining, though, was Ralph Gardner‘s piece on spending a day with Tennis magazine legend writer Peter Bodo and feeling a part of the inner, ‘frat-boy’ tennis culture. A great read. Plus, if you want a great watch/listen, there’s a video on – surprise! – the grunting women of the WTA Tour.

There’s plenty of grunting (and yelling and screaming) in the collection of videos that CNNSI.com put together known as “Fifteen Famous Tennis Tantrums.” Our favorite is probably the Roddick video from the 2008 Aussie, where he argues (wrongly) about a point awarded to Kohlschrieber. Seems as though Mr. Roddick has a habit of arguing points/ causes/ issues that just don’t fit and are just plain incorrect. It was also plain incorrect for this goalie to celebrate so quickly. Oops.

And while some of this video left us scratching our heads, we definitely love some play on words now and then, especially when they involve -ovas and -vitches from the comedy duo The Stone Bros. “Whateva Slevtova”? (Read: Whatever’s left-over.) Brilliant. Click the image to watch the clip.

(djokovic photo by stan honda via getty images; youtube screengrab)