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Archive for the 'Gossip / Non-Tour News' Category

Photos: Nadal hits the beach

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Note- follow links to X17 at your own risk - I had to pull this from an RSS feed because X17 seems to have some ads that prevent me from getting to the actual content for this article.

To see the rest of this photos, hopefully this link will work for you - links from any other sources - news sites, search engines - and refreshing the page did not work for me.

Another link with a photo - Celebrity Gossip

And TMZ jumped in on the coverage:

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Wertheim to write Federer-Nadal book

Thursday, July 10th, 2008
L. Jon Wertheim, who wrote a cover story about the match for this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, has signed to deliver Strokes of Genius for 2009. According to Wertheim’s editor, Susan Canavan, the book came out of “one of those rare moments” when you have a writer who’s very much in the right place at the right time.

The idea, hatched by Canavan, Wertheim and his agent Scott Waxman, was to examine a single match played Federer in order to get at, as Canavan put it, “the science, the art, the psychology, technology and personality” that come together on the court.

Strokes of Genius will be very similar, but with more space devoted to the Nadal-Federer rivalry and the culmination of it at the Wimbledon final. Canavan said Wertheim will “get inside” the players’ heads and examine their different styles of play. “We were always hoping [the match he covered] would be against Nadal” she said. “But this just lines up perfectly.” Publisher’s Weekly

Werheim has a collection of interesting books he’s been involved in, including authoring books about martial arts and pool hustling.

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Gimelstob loses USTA commercial spot

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

I think we’re only waiting for Sports Illustrated to make a statement now…I don’t get the feeling that will be happening.

Television commercials featuring Gimelstob promoting the U.S. Open Series are being scrapped by the U.S. Tennis Association because of what he said about Anna Kournikova and other women last month.

“Justin Gimelstob’s recent comments on a Washington, D.C., radio program were derogatory and demeaning to female tennis players and to women in general. The USTA has long championed integrity, inclusiveness, diversity, and equality, and cannot ignore such harmful remarks. More than any other sport, tennis has benefited from the pioneering role and achievements of so many women,” the USTA said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“As a result of his remarks, the USTA is discontinuing its planned use of Justin Gimelstob in the 2008 Olympus U.S. Open Series television ad campaign. The USTA has met with Justin, who has expressed deep remorse and has issued his sincere apology. We anticipate that he will learn from this experience and that he will be able to contribute to the game of tennis in the future,” the statement said. MSNBC

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Ana Ivanovic’s FHM UK Photo Shoot

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Thanks to faniq for this.


Rest of Shoot:

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All about Nadal’s girlfriend (with photos)

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Still waiting for the post-match interview with Nadal to be posted - so let’s chat about his girlfriend. Nadal mentions in his blog that he’s not exactly happy about the recent attention given to his personal life, and that the widely distibuted photos of the gf are 2 years old. Here’s the info - nothing really new about them in the past few years - plus a few pics I could find:

Twenty-year-old Maria Francisca Perello, who comes from Nadal’s home town on the holiday island of Majorca, has been dating the player for three years.

But the down-to-earth beauty, whose nickname is Xisca, keeps away from the spotlight and rarely watches her boyfriend play, partly because she does not wish to distract him.

Nadal’s uncle and trainer, Toni Nadal, revealed: ‘I guess a lot of girls will be upset to know the truth.
‘My nephew always maintained he was single. It was a well-kept secret but actually his girlfriend is waiting for him in Majorca.’

Described by friends as ‘an intelligent girl from a good local family’, Xisca is about to take her important exams in business at university in Majorca’s capital, Palma.

Her cousin Maria Perello Limones said: ‘She is a straightforward, no-nonsense girl not interested in glamour and fame.
‘You won’t see her rolling out of a nightclub or laden down with designer bags after a shopping spree.’

That is just as well, because despite his wealth and fame, Nadal is a simple home-town boy who likes relaxing on the beach, fishing and sharing long meals with his family.

He still lives with his parents and sister in their luxury apartment.

Friend Pedro Hernadez explains: ‘Raf and Xisca are both very shy and ordinary people who like to live simply.

‘They are not at all interested in a celebrity lifestyle. They get together when the tournaments are over. That’s how Raf winds down.’

When back home in Manacor, an unfashionable industrial town in the heart of Majorca, Nadal and Xisca while away the days at the beach in nearby Porto Cristo.

They also spend a lot of time with each other’s families and Xisca is very close to Nadal’s grandmother.

The player is the town’s most famous son, but Xisca has kept such a low profile many locals are unaware of the relationship.

Earlier this year it was suggested that Nadal was infatuated with Danish tennis sensation Caroline Wozniacki, 18.

But the relationship has been emphatically denied by Nadal.

Indeed, his grandfather, also Rafael, confirmed: ‘I saw him and Xisca just before he flew to London and they looked great together.’ Daily Mail

As an aside, here’s a video of Caroline Wozniacki denying that she had a relationship with Nadal (English subtitles, about halfway through):

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Gimelstob’s comments in print

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

The June 18 audio has been expired in the radio show’s archives, but I’m still looking around, as that will probably be the most honest take - until then, we have the Washington Post. UPDATE: The audio has been taken down by the show, the original link was here.

And when he went on the Junkies this morning, he talked about–what else?–the female figure.

Early on, it was Brooke Mueller, the new wife of Charlie Sheen, with whom Gimelstob said he was previously “friendly. Biblically friendly. I don’t think I was the only one,” he added.

There were vague references to other conquests, but his most interesting remarks were reserved for Anna Kournikova, whose St. Louis Aces will face the Kastles in a late July grudge match that will surely be uglier than any World Team Tennis grudge match this town has known. Seriously, if you thought DeShawn-LeBron was ugly, just wait for Gimelstob-Kournikova.

“She’s a [bleep],” Gimelstob said of Anna, using a word that rhymes with “kitsch. “We’re gonna kick her [bleep],” he added, using a word that almost rhymes with “kastle.”

Well then. Will he talk junk to her on the court?

“One hundred percent,” he said. “If she’s not crying by the time she walks off that court, then I did not do my job.”

So it’s pure hate then?

“Hate’s a very strong word,” he said. “I just despise her to the maximum level, right below hate. I think she falls into the Marcelo Rios ‘Scumbag’ category….And this whole bluff about her retiring because of her back? She had the yips on her serve, she can’t get her serve on the court. Wait until you see on July 23, she’s gonna be serving 40 miles an hour and I’m gonna be just plugging it down her throat….We do exhibitions together and I’ll mock her, and make fun of her. I’ll just make her know that she’s stupid….I’m sure she’ll rue the day that she has to come here and actually share space with me.”

The Junkies asked whether she knows that they’ll be facing each other; “probably,” Gimelstob said. “She might not even be smart enough to read the schedule.”

They asked if he would serve at her head; “No, I’m gonna just serve it right into the body, about 128, right into the midriff,” he said.

And they asked what would happen if Kournikova made a move on Gimelstob. You know, a Biblical move.

“Definitely not,” he said. “I have no attraction to her, because she’s such a douche….I really have no interest in her. I wouldn’t mind having my younger brother, who’s kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits of that.”

Later, he was asked to assess the top 20 players in the WTA rankings; he called Tatiana Golovin “a sexpot,” Nicole Vaidisova “a well-developed young lady,” and Alize Cornet “a little sexpot.”

And before signing off after an hour of Junkies talk, which, to be fair, wasn’t all of this variety, Gimelstob offered some reflection.

“I guarantee you when I get off this I’ll have three messages from my uncle who lives in Annapolis,” he said. “He will not talk to me. Now he’ll call my dad, HE won’t talk to me. This will be World War III again. So I’ll have a two-week hiatus from my family….Just so you know, to help you guys boost your already incredible ratings–which is great to hear–my family will not talk to me after this, nor probably my agent.” Washington Post

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Gimelstob, desperate for attention, insults Vaidisova and Kournikova

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I’ve been off recovering from a half-marathon I ran on Sunday and busy with work, but back now! (And of course, it is raining in Wimbledon…)

I’ll dig up the actual comments made, as I am sure they are out there…read below for the gist…

Justin Gimelstob’s disparaging comments about Anna Kournikova have created a stir at Wimbledon, where World Team Tennis teammate Serena Williams denounced the remarks as unprofessional.

Gimelstob retired from the men’s tour last year and is on the board of the ATP, which runs men’s tennis. He made sexual remarks about Kournikova and other female players on a Washington radio program “The Junkies” last week, before heading to Wimbledon.

The comments were widely published in Britain on Friday, after Gimelstob was suspended one match without pay by WTT for a violation of the player conduct code.

Gimelstob called Kournikova the “b-word” and made sexually-charged remarks about her and his brother. Gimelstob apologized on the WTT Web site Wednesday, the day of his suspension.

Serena Williams, who is on the Washington Kastles team with Gimelstob, said the comments were “totally uncalled for.”

“Being pro women’s rights, I just think we’ve come farther than to be referred to … you know, I don’t cuss,” she said Friday, during her post-match press conference. “Anna is a great girl. For anyone to say that about her is kind of … what can I say? It’s not professional.”

Gimelstob also made a suggestive comment about Czech player Nicole Vaidisova during the program. Vaidisova downplayed the remarks.

“I know Justin. He’s a very nice guy. I heard he apologized for it,” Vaidisova said. “I think it’s just you say something and you don’t really mean it. It happens.”

In his apology, Gimelstob said there was “no excuse” for his comments.

“I am extremely disappointed in myself,” Gimelstob said in the statement. “I take full responsibility for all the words that came out of my mouth … Anna Kournikova, World Team Tennis and many others deserve my deepest apologies.

“I recognize that my access to communicate to the public should be used in a positive way, and this was clearly not the case last week.”

Billie Jean King, the co-founder of WTT, met with Gimelstob and was “confident both he and WTT will move beyond this unfortunate incident,” she said in a statement on the WTT Web site.

Gimelstob, a commentator at Wimbledon for Tennis Channel, writes a regular column for Sports Illustrated’s Web site. FOX Sports

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Top Spin 3 for Wii fails to meet expectations

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

I’ll be honest here - I’m not a console gamer normally. I play a lot of Wii Fit, which is hardly a game, and some occasional Super Mario Galaxy. I own an Xbox and a PS2, so I am not on the cutting edge of anything console gaming.

When I got my Wii, I was very excited about the idea of a tennis game. Wii Tennis (packaged in Wii Sports) was okay for a concept, but had no real gameplay. When I saw that Top Spin 3 was coming out, I was probably the only person on the planet to pre-order it. Well, today it arrived, and I was excited - I had the game out of the box almost immediately. I took a quick glance through the manual, but decided to start learning by playing.

There are three possible play modes on the Wii: Exhibitions, Road to Glory, and Party Games - all require the Wiimote and Nunchuk. I stuck with Exhibitions, because it is the easiest way to start playing right away. I started selecting players (Blake versus some guy I’ve never heard of before), a venue (Paris), and got to work.

Or so I tried. The Wiimote is used to execute a serve, requiring you to raise it to get the ball in the air. My Wiimote was detected about 10% of the time, so Blake sat there dumbly until some bit of magic finally got it to work and a meter would appear to show me when the ball would go in and I could swing the Wiimote down. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to control the meter, a problem that is partly a result of the fact that I have no idea when my raised Wiimote will be detected and partly because this meter is never mentioned in the manual. I ended up only ever getting one serve in out of many, many games because the meter would swing too fast to the “out” positions and the player would serve. More double faults for me than Elena Dementieva. Luckily, the Z button on the nunchuk does an easy, automatic serve.

The gameplay itself isn’t terrible, although my playing is - I really did get into swinging, to the point of actual exertion - a big bonus for me, as I really like to immerse myself into action games. I suspect it is similar to past Top Spins, although I think some of the camera angle issues in Top Spin 2 have been addressed. The players all looked decent, but I was getting wrapped up in trying to just play so I didn’t notice them getting fatigued, one of the features of the game.

To sum up my first experiences:

Pro: I actually did get some exercise playing.

Pro: Winning points was actually fun.

Con: The manual is complete crap.

Con: There are no action based tutorials - you must learn in the game, and it is a bit much for us new folks to learn at the speed of a game.

Con: There seems to be some problems with detecting to Wii Remote being raised on my system that couldn’t be fixed by repositioning any of the hardware components.

Con: I needed to shut off the game due to frustration. I’m now staring at the manual.

My next plan is to invite some of my more game savvy friends over. Maybe they can help me figure this out.

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Does everyone hate Maria?

Friday, June 27th, 2008

This article was spawned off of the comments that Alla Kudryavtseva made in her post-Maria-match interview - Kudryavtseva stated a few times that she wasn’t a fan of Sharapova’s outfit (was anyone? really???) and wanted to beat her in part because of that outfit. Now the interpretation of those comments begins:

What Kudryavtseva probably meant, of course, is that she doesn’t like Sharapova — or at least Sharapova Inc. The Tiffany’s earrings, the talking point dresses, the endorsements, the money, the attention … Sharapova’s commercial success would make it tough for her to be one of the girls even if she wanted to be, but she shows no sign that she does. It’s not too surprising that Sharapova’s level of comfort around fellow players isn’t great, given some unfriendly experiences at Bollettieri’s and the silent resentment that greets any attractive young player on tour who receives a lot of hype.

“I don’t know her well,” said Kudryavtseva. “I’m quite sure no one on the tour knows her well, because she’s not a very talkative girl and not very outgoing. We were in the same team for Fed Cup and I was there for the finals [last year] … she was pretty nice when she was on the team.”

She gave a sly grin. “After that she started saying hello.”

This saying hello business is clearly a big deal in the locker room, with Anna Kournikova (the original unloved Russian) and the Williams sisters all infamous for a tendency not to greet players. Ahead of the French Open, Alize Cornet listed Anna Chakvetadze as her least liked player — Chakvetadze’s failure to say hello factoring heavily in the explanation.

Of course, Kudryavtseva’s little twist of the knife wouldn’t be anything more than an offbeat aside to the day’s happenings if it wasn’t that swipes have been taken at Sharapova in the past by fellow Russians Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Even Nikolay Davydenko once called her a “passport Russian” (the same Davydenko who now lives in Austria, incidentally.)

So why does everyone hate Maria?

Even among tennis fans as a whole, it’s been clear for some time that Sharapova is not a beloved champion. There’s a lot of interest in her, but not a lot of affection. She was booed off the court by the finicky French fans after losing to Dinara Safina at the French Open. It inspired an interesting discussion in the IHT’s pre-Wimbledon forum, and the range of possibilities given was wide — her entourage, her grunting, her uninspiring game, her toughness on court, her looks.

The thing is, what’s she to do? Sharapova isn’t by nature warm or sweet, nor is she pleasantly dumb, either of which would make her less threatening. She’s sharp and assertive, presenting a steely edge to the world (though perhaps a softer quality to those close to her).

Maybe it’s just a case of being philosophical and following Machiavelli’s dictum: It’s better to be feared than loved, if you can’t be both.

Trouble is, it doesn’t quite work that way in tennis. Not liking someone is always a source of motivation. MSNBC

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Sharapova not allowed to carry flag for Olympics

Friday, June 27th, 2008
Officials have rejected Maria Sharapova’s request to carry the Russian flag at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

“She wanted to be a flag-bearer (on August 8) but I advised against it,” Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev told reporters on Wednesday.

“I don’t want her to spend three or four hours in hot weather waiting to march in the opening ceremony. We want her to be fresh, not tired, during her matches.” MSNBC

But all that rest before Wimbledon didn’t do her any good…

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