short balls: wimbledon goes mainstream on week 1

There’s no doubt that the British press has a heyday when Wimbledon comes around. From the Monica Seles-inspired Grunt-0-Meter to headlines screaming (desperately) for a British champ. It really is the people’s Slam. But Stateside, it’s always nice to see the mainstream folks picking up on the secret we’re all privy to: tennis is damn cool. Below a collection of week one’s rumblings across the non-tennis media.

The grunting! Doesn’t this happen every year? Sure, this was a British-inspired headline. But The Daily Beast kept with it for a solid morning on Wednesday, even putting together a gallery of grunters themselves. We think they left off a key founding mother: Monica Seles.

More: The Daily Beast‘s “perfect matches” tennis couples


The return of the Sisters Williamses: With Venus and Serena back, The Huffington Post saw the perfect opening to do a gallery of the sisters from through the years — Wimbledon and beyond. | ESPN takes on V’s fashion

The BMS side show? Just when we thought Bethanie Mattek-Sands had cemented herself as a legit third- and fourth-rounder at the slams she unveils this (see below) which prompts headlines from Britain to the U.S. to Australia and crashes out in the first round. So long, Bethy. | More: BMS inks deal for eye black flare
(AFP image)

More headlines to come…

sightings in the stands: nadal vs. berdych

The girlfriends were out in force today, with Xisca Perello and Lucie Safarova cheering on Rafa Nadal and Tomas Berdych at the 2010 Wimbledon Men’s Singles final.

Safarova lost in the first round of this year’s singles draw, upset by Dominika Cibulkova. In doubles, she and Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak lost in the second round to the fifth-seeded team of Huber/Mattek-Sands.

(images via Getty Images and Hola)

oh, mirka!

Tennis wives …and girlfriend: As we move into the second week, the roster of glam wives and gfs are still intact, with Mirka Vavrinec, Kim Sears, Bec Hewitt, and Brooklyn Decker rooting for their respective men.

Hewitt still in it: We were convinced that the grueling match between Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils resulted in an upset (yes, we are that cynical), but the 15th-seed (and former champ) won in three sets and will face Nole Djokovic in the fourth round.

Mirka recycles: On Mirka’s an old-school shoulder bag from Louis Vuitton‘s Antigua collection. Husband Federer barely broke a sweat against Nono Clement. He next plays 2010 French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer.

Brooklyn relaxes: Mrs. Roddick already has her major title of 2010 in the bag, so now it’s Andy’s turn to produce. He’s up against the sleeper Taiwanese player Yen-Hsun Lu in the round of 16.

Kim steps up: With all eyes on her boyfriend (even the Queen!), Sears has done a good job of mixing up her outfits worn to watch Murray play: off-the-shoulder black for the warm-up against Jan Hajek; a floral print dress for the second round against Nieminen; a big colorful necklace for the third-rounder with Gilles Simon.

Draw: See the 2010 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Draw here.

(images via Getty Images)

tour of duty: irina davydenko

It wasn’t Bec Cartwright, Xisca Perello, Jelena Ristic, Mirka Federer, or Kim Sears cheering in the players’ box this week in Shanghai. Instead, it was Irina Davydenko‘s turn to fill airtime between points at the Shanghai ATP Masters tournament. The cameras would normally focus on the fans in the stands, but no one’s been showing up to the fill the cavernous, 15,000-seat Qizhong Stadium. Thankfully, the bejeweled Irina was up to the task, even occasionally staring up at the jumbotron and smiling when her mug’s been enlarged for the entire arena’s viewing consumption.

One last shift: her husband, Nikolay Davydenko, will be playing for the Shanghai singles title tomorrow against Rafael Nadal.

(image via Getty)

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…]

tennis’ George Clooney

Butter is back to weigh in on Marat’s current affairs

Where is my favorite Russian? Hmmm… His body is not into tennis (shoulder injury forced a withdrawal from Madrid, replaced by lucky loser Simone Bolelli), and, as everyone has found out recently, his head isn’t there either:

Instead, he’s been knockin back brewskies with some pretty ruskies, specifically pop singer Nastya Osipova.

What do you think? I almost fell off my chair when I watched this! haha… Is it just me, or do we all miss the Dasha-Marat era? I do! I know Tony Kornheiser does! What about the Silvia-Marat love story? Well, like Marat said before:

“If you date blondes for a long time, you would want a brunette. You have to have variety in life! (laughs). Besides, it really doesn’t matter, it needs to be interesting and not boring.” (Marie Claire Russia, 2007)

So don’t worry, Rich, we might not have to stare at Ms. Osipova’s dresses for too much longer. Who’ll be Marat’s next brunette? Ana Ivanovic?

bec hewitt stands by her man

I root for Lleyton Hewitt during the grass court season because he’s pretty darn good on that surface. Another reason is that his wife, Bec Hewitt, looks pretty darn good sitting in the stands!

Lleyton’s Yonex kit, though, needs a makeover, stat. Those mini-rays of color bursting from the torso has had its run…

Now that the Australian has dropped out of the draw (a noble effort against Roger Federer), let’s review Bec’s ensembles from the grass season.

Bec watching Lleyton play at The Artois Championships in the Queen’s Club in London, where her husband is a four-time champion. (That “L” necklace is deelish!)

She wears a baby doll dress (with keyhole) during Lleyton’s marathon first-round match against Robin Haase: 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-2.

She switches to a jumper dress for the second round win against Albert Montanes: 7-6 (4), 6-0, 6-2.

And horizontal texture makes a showing in Lleyton’s 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over Bolelli in the third round.

And finally, Bec wears red during Lleyton’s final match of Wimbledon 2008 — the fourth round loss to R-Fed: 6-7 (7), 2-6, 4-6.

(photos by Getty Images)

taking a break: youzhny and nieminen as australian tourists

Jarkko Nieminen and Mikhail Youzhny, two of the men’s quarterfinalists at the Australian Open, took time off Monday to enjoy the sights of Melbourne.

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Mikhail and his girlfriend, Julia Thomas, enjoy a water taxi ride. Youzhny will play against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga for a place in the final four.

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And the Asics-sponsored Nieminen visits the Melbourne Aquarium. [Insert pun about Finns here.] He’ll need all the distractions he can get before facing second seed Rafael Nadal.

One more photo of Jarkko after the cut…