short balls: (surprise!) tennis gets dramatic



As Sania’s World Turns: There’s no better soap opera on tennis tour right now than Sania Mirza. She was married on Monday to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in an affair that has been showered in controversy.

One Story, One Match: The One Story series, which publishes out of Brooklyn, has its latest publication singing game, set and match. The story is set in the Federer-Sampras battle of Wimbledon circa 2001, with a fictional twist involving three ball kids. After reading it, I give Cheston Knapp two thumbs up for his crafting of the epic changing-of-the-guard match and the story he entwines within Centre Court.

Second to Sania and Shoaib, there’s Todd and Novak: For some reason, the player-coach break-up between Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic seems to be the tennis story of the century. While the break-up doesn’t have quite the political ramifications that Sania and Shoaib carry into their marriage, this story has gotten an absorbent of attention. For Novak, something had to change if he wants to be considered for another Slam. For Todd, well… for Todd, any press is good press.

[Read more...]

short balls: thoughts from miami



Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now we are seeing where Jada gets that hair. We were starting to wonder a little… (WTA photo via web site)

The past couple weeks were full of tennis glamour in Miami, and Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters came away from the beaches of Florida with smiles on their faces as they won big-time titles in impressive fashion. We’ve got to hand it to Roddick for continuing to change his game and try to break the top crop of the ATP Tour. Wimbledon 2009 may not have been his final stand in a Major. We’ll stay tuned.

Measuring Beauty: A New York Times article out yesterday touched on feminine beauty taking on a new role as Baylor star basketball player Brittney Griner becomes a household name. Griner stands 6 feet, 8 inches, and has had her sexuality – and gender identity – questioned. But even Stella McCartney insiders recognized her unique look as gorgeous, the article says.

Oh-des-don’t! Things are looking rather bleak for Wayne Odesnik’s tennis future after news broke that vials of human growth hormones were found in his luggage in Australia. Want the full story? Bonnie D. Ford has a tremendous summary here, complete with quotes from other American players. Wondering why Odes is still playing in Houston this week? The charges against him are being investigated and no formal ATP rulings have been made.

Robson, Mississippi: A few hundred miles away from Wayne-mania in Houston, Britain’s Laura Robson is playing in her first event since making the junior final at the Australian Open. Robson joins top-seeded American Lindsay Lee-Waters and second seed Julia Cohen in Jackson, Mississippi for the 25K ITF circuit event.

An unexpected Miami trio and more after the cut. [Read more...]

short balls: keeping up with the joneses



I’ve felt a little out of touch with tennis these last few weeks so I’ve been resorting to some picture-packed posts (some of you aren’t complaining, though…). So for this round of short balls I thought I’d check back in with some real issues.

Better days ahead: Tom Perrotta shrugs off Maria Sharapova‘s shoulder woes as a mere hiccup in what has been (and could still be) a great career. and FYI: to help with her shoulder troubles, former coach Robert Lansdorp had suggested that Masha take her racquet up immediately during her service motion (i.e., no more loop). Let’s hope it helps. (The New York Sun)

Six degrees with Steve Jobs: The challenge? Connect Masha with tech god Steve Jobs. Give it a shot. (macenstein)

Pam Shriver speaks: Pundit Pam Shriver wants match-fixers banned for life. I agree! (Baltimore Sun via On The Baseline)

Race to the Chase: I know it’s not called that anymore (and yes, yes — it’s not Lipton anymore, either), but it just sounds so fun. Serena Williams is the latest to qualify, joining Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ana Ivanovic. Whodathunk that Sveta would be the first Russian to make it? (The Canadian Press)

Zurich: This week, the women are flocking to Zurich for the last Tier I of the year. And for many, the last chance they’ll have to make the cut for the Year-End Championships. (On The Baseline) The folks next on the list are Chakvetadze, Venus, Masha, Dani Hantuchova, and a Beijing-focused Elena Dementieva. Masha might run into trouble, since she’s the defending champ at Zurich and has pulled out with her shoulder injury. FYI, Martina Hingis has also pulled out because of her nagging hip injury.

The mens: The top two men (that’s Roger and Rafa) return to the courts for the first time since the U.S. Open at the Madrid Masters. R-Fed ponders his 2008 schedule while all eyes are on whether Nadal’s knees have recovered enough to let him vie for this hardcourt title. A look at their year-end tourney — The Masters Cup — will be for another post.

The Hewitt gene: While the tenacity of the Hewitts made Lleyton a top tennis player (hmm, will he make it into the Hall of Fame with two titles, I wonder?), his sister Jaslyn is making her mark in the bodybuilding world. Enjoy. (amaz0ns.com)

Speaking of Hewitt, he’s pushing for Tennis Australia to help fellow Aussie Mark Philippoussis with a wildcard lifeline for the 2008 Australian Open.

Meanwhile, he won’t be playing Madrid doubles with Nadal since he’s withdrawn — along with Andy Roddick — due to injury. (IHT)

Karlovic’s new(er) record: Another for the whodathunk files is Ivo Karlovic‘s latest feat — winning a title on three surfaces in 2007 (carpet in Stockholm, clay at the U.S. Clay Courts, and grass in Nottingham) — is shared only by Roger Federer. (Fox Sports)

On up-and-comers: American Wayne Odesnik looks like Guillermo Canas. (sacbee.com — annoyingly, reg. req’d)

More mushy Davenport stories: We can’t get enough! ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford writes about Lindsay and Jagger at a WTT event in Villanova, Penn.

(OT) This week’s amazing building: As you can probably tell, I have a little thing for good architecture. My latest pick is the Quinta Real Zacatecas (in Zacatecas, Mexico). Once the Plaza de Toros San Pedro, North America’s largest bullring — it has now been turned into a gorgeous five-star hotel. Check out their website. (UrbanDaddy)

(OT) With mixed feelings, the runner-up: The Green Mountain project in Libya will try to preserve one of the last undeveloped areas of the Mediterranean Coast. It’s ambitious, so I hope they pull it off. Otherwise, they just effed up one of the last undeveloped areas of the Mediterranean Coast. (NYT)