Because this collection of fearsome kickboxers is...neither of those last two things.
You're adorable and all. Really.
But there's a reason the French have never won a war. Like...ever.
As for Halpert, he was making sexy face...
...while getting a thai foot massage. Efficient, that one.
Way adorable though.
And does Gilles shirt say "Cool Trainers Always Make Me Smile"? You're so awesome.
As if we needed further proof, an Italian interview with Flava Flav confirms that she is 100% sexy badass:
Here is a rough translation according to a Tennis Forum poster:
PENNETTA WITHOUT TABOOS
ROMA. The bigger is the amount of beautiful female players in the tour, the tighter is the connection between tennis players and sex. There were big rumors about Barbara Schett, a very beautiful player from Austria, and her habit of having sex after matches in locker rooms. Well known also the hard date fixed by Francesca Schiavone to someone who was watching her match in the stand. Follows that trend also Flavia Pennetta, who talked without taboos in a interview to the TV show “Le iene”. On a tone serious and facetious in the same time, the beautiful Italian player discusses burning issues, such as sex and doping.
A QUICKIE WITH SAFIN. She started recalling the well known love story with Carlos Moya: “During the tour, we shared the rooms and made not abstinence, we made free sex.” Currently Pennetta is single but she confesses that, in the tour, three or four male players (the latest one was a Brasilian player) tried to sexually accost her, but she refused because she didn’t like them. On the same issue, the Italian player said that Tommy Haas is the most handsome player, but she “ would make a quickie with Safin”. No chances to Federer, Nadal, Del Potro, Yannick Noah…and to Maria Sharapova. She admits that in the tour there are many lesbian tennis players, but she never had advances from female colleagues; then she jokes putting sexy poses, and she admits to have had sex in a locker room, on cement, on grass, and even in a airplane “during a long leg”
DOPING AND TENNIS. She said that Serena Williams always beats her because “she is an animal compared to me” and then said that Italian tennis players are non competitive because they are “not confident”. Then Pennetta doesn’t evade the question about doping in tennis: “I think it exists”. If some tennis player use cocaine, that’s for fun but she never used it. Finally she elects Kournikova as the most beautiful in the tour, and says that, on a aesthetic basis, it’s a big fight between her and Francesca Schiavone.
I love that she readily admits she's had sex EVERYWHERE. My vagina salutes you, Flavia.
UPDATED: AHHHHH!!!! Thanks to Maz for finding the video and to Carrie for finding the rough translation. See them both after the jump.
I mean really. What did you think was going to happen?
Sam Querrey is likely out for the rest of the season after falling through a glass-top table in Bangkok. Tough luck, dude.
And *that's* why you never sit on top of glass, kids.
I love the WTA for always marching out Nads to do stuff that other players might flinch at. Her facial expression when she's trying the mochi is the exact same one that she had when drank the Purple Hooter that Dima whipped up for her.
And for the record, the mochi with the red bean? SO GOOD.
Leave it to the WTA Bitches to stem the tide. At least for a bit. Maria destroyed Sammy No-Stones, 60 61, and has apparently gone back to her full service motion. I guess with the end of the season looming she can afford the risk.
Meanwhile JJ, in full mensal gear, withstood a solid challenge from Boom Boom to win in three sets. The red underwear is really what makes this joke work.
As for the other "top" seeds, Vika dusted Jay-Z 1 and 1, and A-Rad made sure that Dani won't be missing Ai's raging retirement party.
The hair. It hides the tears.
But let's be clear, the clusterfuck continued in Tokyo today, as K-Bond took out Lena, Caro retired against CanWoz, and Kleybs beat Bepa.
Singles - Second Round
(Q) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (3) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 62 67(3) 61
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 50 ret. (viral illness)
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 36 64 62
(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 46 62
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Zheng Jie (CHN) 61 61
(11) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 36 63
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 60 61
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (13) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 62 62
(14) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 62
(15) Li Na (CHN) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 75 60
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 76(6)
Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 63 36 64
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 46 64
While the ladies are imploding over in Tokyo, the guys aren't doing *that* much better. The only difference is that the results are surprising, in a good way.
Marat, Ernie, and EvG all notched wins. Weird. Daveed and Lleyton well in KL, the latter not being surprising except for the fact that he lost to a qualifier.
Singles - First Round
M Safin (RUS) d  P Petzschner (GER) 62 36 61
 J Melzer (AUT) d M Daniel (BRA) 63 62
E Korolev (RUS) d  F Santoro (FRA) 46 76(4) 76(7) - Saved 2 M.P.
[Q] M Ilhan (TUR) d B Becker (GER) 46 76(4) 63
A Beck (GER) d [Q] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 75 76(1)
[Q] M Chiudinelli (SUI) d [Q] F Mayer (GER) 63 63
E Gulbis (LAT) d [WC] S Devvarman (IND) 76(7) 62
R Ginepri (USA) d [WC] D Udomchoke (THA) 64 63
Singles - First Round
 T Berdych (CZE) d I Kunitsyn (RUS) 61 36 62
M Youzhny (RUS) d  D Ferrer (ESP) 76(3) 62
[WC] J Johansson (SWE) d  L Hewitt (AUS) 76(7) 63
M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 63
[Q] R Bopanna (IND) d J Acasuso (ARG) 46 63 64
K Beck (SVK) d [Q] M Kukushkin (KAZ) 16 76(4) 63
Man, it's really getting to the point where I'm starting a pro/con list on Boyfriend with a thought towards making a move on Steve Tignor.
Really great piece on Ana published in this month's Tennis Mag which asks a question that has been bouncing around in my mind for quite some time: Do we want her to be something she's not? I go back and forth on the issue quite a bit. On one hand, I just refuse to believe that someone with her talent isn't destined to win more Slams, or at least hover around the Top 5 mark for years. On the other, as someone who (I think) is hardwired somewhat similarly to her, I can totally understand the internal conflict and what's holding her back. She's a smart kid (Cahill's phrase of "innocent intelligence" is *perfect*) who can't ignore everything that's going on around her. She's forced, by her makeup, to hear it all, ruminate, and react, generally with negative consequences. The fact is, in today's game, where the ability to handle pressure and scrutiny is more important than a booming forehand, the kid just might not be built for success.
As for how she's exactly hardwired, well, Tignor does a good job of confirming what most of us already knew:
Nails has signed with IMG. I wonder how they feel about her red hair.
Marat plays Petzschner in Bangkok today. Petz beat him in the first round last year. That's really all you need to know.
Over in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Open kicks off with a solid lineup. And Kolya's short shorts.
There've already been some nice wins by Taylor Dent and Marcos in the first round. Unfortunately the "curiously pretty" factor took a hit as FeLo was upset today by Vassallo Arguello.
More tennis, less birds, honey.
The C-Listers (Pavs, Rybar, Petkovic, and Nails) got together and made some sushi rolls that are the size of your face. Seriously, I'm pretty sure those rolls are bigger than most people in Japan. They look fuckin' good though.
Hilariously, of all the promo pics coming out of Tokyo, this one actually has a collection of players who are still in the tournament.
Pic from HCFoo.
Be sure to check out his site this week (if you don't already do so) as he covers the KL tournament. He's got some great exclusive stuff so far.
The WTA kittycats put their claws away for a moment to hail the unifying power of Ai Sugiyama.
It looked like a heartwarming ceremony and I love the eclectic group of players who seemed to feel genuine sadness to see her go.
But we all know there's one player in particular who's going to have a hard time with this.
And I don't mean Banana Shorts there on the right.
Too bad she was forced to retire from her first round match against Nads with an ab injury. But she's still in doubles with Dani, which is totally rad.
Some video of the ceremony and her match with Dani.
I was in D.C. all weekend without any internet access. And let's just say I'm not entirely sad about that. Glad to see I missed the carnage:
Also, Rybarakova just beat Nads and Maria's on her way to bagel and 'sticking Sam. And we know how Sam feels about 'sticking. Not a fan, methinks.
So it's absolute Bedlam in Tokyo as the top seeds are falling left and right in the first two rounds (as of this post, JJ, A-Rad, and Caro still have to play their 2R matches).
[UPDATE: Caro retires down 05 to CanWoz. So the top 6 seeds are out after their first matches.]
I don't have much to say quite yet. I need some time to process it all. But I have a feeling Billy Shakes was a WTA fan back in the day:
She should have died hereafter ;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time ;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
This Nike shoot might be my favorite Rafa shoot ever. Love the short hair and I love how they styled him. A hoodie never looked so good.
New Ana pictures for Adidas' "Me, Myself, and I" campaign.
She looks great, yada yada, amazing tan, yada yada, she's always best without makeup, fishcakes.
But this is my favorite set of shots, and let me tell you why. Back in my pre-FD days I was a regular over at TennisWorld. Great community of people over there and if there were 10 more hours in the day I'd probably spend just as much time there as I do on my own site. But one of my early "friends" on TW was a rad guy from Philly named Sam. Sam was a big Ana fan, for all the typical dude reasons, and we bonded over defending Ana against all the haters that would come out of the woodwork every once in a while.
Anyway, Sam had a nickname for Ana: "Ankles". And as one who never asks about in-jokes I didn't ask him about it for a long time. Finally I broke and asked what was up with the nickname. His response went something like this:
"Well I was watching an Ana match and chatting on TW and bunch of us guys were talking about how hot she was. But then another female poster chimed in with a comment about Ana's fat ankles. To which I responded: "Who's looking at her ankles?" Thus, Ankles."
That story totally cracked me up. So when I saw that pic of Ana's bare ankles, well, I did a spit-take and thought of my good buddy Sam...
...who I'm sure would love to switch places with that ball right about now.
Or so some would say. James LaRosa tweeted this article this morning, which kinda makes me feel bad for Justine:
Sports editorials largely hailed the return of “the greatest Belgium athlete in history” when she announced her return after a 16-month self-imposed retirement.
But just days later the novelty of having two top level players back on the circuit has waned as newspapers ganged up en masse on Henin, comparing her unfavourably to Clijsters.
French-speaking Henin from southern Wallonia suffers from an image problem in her country while the nation has been gripped by Clijsters-mania since Dutch-speaking Kim Clijsters returned after three years off to have a baby to win the US Open.
The French language ‘Le Soir’ slammed the “incredible media circus” surrounding Henin’s return. A poll on the newspaper’s website found that 91 percent of those questioned estimated that the press had “made too much” of Henin over the past week.
It really does remind me a bit of how the Serbian media treat Ana and JJ and the need for media and fans to constantly pit them against each other.
You know, it's pretty awesome that for a small country you've produced two great players (ok, fine, "good" players in Serbia's case). And I have news for you: You *can* be fans of *both*.
No really! Try it!
Things I love about this picture. I love Ai's dress. A lot. I love that Dina is over 6'2'' and yet she's wearing platform heels. In a picture. In Asia. I love that Vee didn't even bother moisturizing her legs. I love that Ayumi Morita has a job interview lined up.
Wow. Those Czechs don't hold back, do they? Tomas air quotes Nikki V and kinda states the obvious:
TDF: A question about another Czech female tennis player, Nicole Vaidisova. Her ranking has fallen a lot recently, and she lost in the first round of qualifying this week in Stanford, winning only three games. Has there been a lot of talk among the Czechs about what’s going on with her?
Tomas Berdych: I mean, with the Czechs, because she quit the Fed Cup, and she quit the national team, she is not popular.
TDF: Not popular with the other Czech players?
Tomas Berdych: Yeah, I would say that. There are many reasons for not playing, but if you just say "I’m done, I’m not playing," well…
The people don’t like her as much. She’s living more in the States. So yeah, [quotation fingers] "she’s Czech". But she’s living so much outside, so I don’t know much about her.
But this is a sport. This is tennis. I don’t know. I just hope she can get better and…that’s it.
So Kim held a presser yesterday to announce that she's going to play a "limited" schedule next year. I didn't know these are the things pressers were made of, but whatever. I mean, are we going to have press conferences for every tooth Jada loses? I sure hope so.
She'll play all the Slams, plus the Premier mandatories (IW, Miami, Madrid, Beijing), two Premier 5s (Montreal and Cincy) and a few warm up tournaments along the way, like Brisbane. I'm sure she'll try and play Eastbourne or S'Hertogenbosch as well to warm up for Wimbly.
Because Kim's not a Top 10 player (which is determined by rankings immediately after the YEC), the Top 10 rules in the Roadmap don't apply to her. She doesn't even have to play the mandatories if she doesn't want to. So she can pretty much shape her schedule as she pleases without any penalties, unless she's deemed a "Marquee" player, in which case she has to play 2 Premier $700ks (Eastbourne, for example, counts as a $700k). And, as we discussed in the podcast, I think there's something to be said about her decision to "under-commit" and revise her schedule as she goes along, committing to additional tournaments as needed.So this is all fine and dandy now. But what happens in 2011 when, presumably, Kim is a top 10 player? I wonder if she'll increase her commitments or still tell the WTA to fuck itself.
Never has there been so much yet so little to talk about, but somehow the Forty Deuce Podcast team makes it work. In this week's podcast we talk about the Return of Justine, limited schedules, Davis Cup, and in a totally unscripted moment, we each talk about the ridiculous things we do for the love of the game.
Which leads me to ask: What are some of your ridiculous tennis superstitions?
I'm not entirely sure how our moms came up in the conversation. Just further reinforcement that this shit ain't scripted.
Oh, and to answer some questions I've received via email and Twitter, no the song choices are not random.
No words. None.
I think Serena would have been better cast in an Annuale commercial:
The 2010 Davis Cup draw came out this morning and while everyone is understandably buzzing about the 1st round tie between Spain and Switzerland, I'm way more pumped for the USA vs. Serbia tie. Why?
Because it's in Serbia.
If you think about when Nole's career started to take a weird turn, you have to look back at Sarsapalooza 08, when Andy called out Nole for being injury prone, Nole got mad, New York got mad, and as a result, Nole's brain melted. I swear it was as though Andy somehow lobotomized him. The guy has been lost ever since.
So excuse me if I look forward to Nole finally playing Andy on pro-Nole territory. When they can finally have a match where Nole should feel comfortable letting the Falcon out. Who knows what will happen, but a Nole win would go a long way for his confidence and at least get Andy out of his head.
Because seriously? Of all the players to have in your head, does it really have to be A-Rod? Come on.
Also, will 2010 finally be the year when P-Mac gets his head out of his ass and plays Sam instead of Headband and Socks?
As for the Spain/Switzerland tie in Spain, I don't know why but I'll be surprised to see Roger there. And I don't mean that as a slight to him. I just wonder if that early in the season he'll be willing to go from Australian hardcourts, to clay, and back. Though, I guess if he was willing to play last week's relegation tie, he must want to add the Davis Cup to his NetJet. What better way to do it than to beat Rafa.
Yup, she's back, and she brought her herp lip with her.
Justine did an expressive mime cryptically entitled "Jelena Jankovic's reaction to the news."
Oh, are we doing that now, too? Move over Dina.
Bianca: Umm, I think I like the white shirt better.
Joey: Yeah, it's-it's more...
Joey: Damn, I was going for thoughtful.
It's Elephant Day, folks. Celebrate your Baby Elephant in the best way you know how.
And no, boys, that does not mean whacking off to this post. Inappropriate.
As for me, here are some of my favorite Baby E moments:
Hey, remember when Ana was in the mix for actually having the best 2009? Yeah, I didn't either.
Justine says a fire has been relit (Kim!) and while Kim's success may have had a subconscious impact, it wasn't the driving force (riiiiight). Carlos will be by her side once again and he says that the main reason she's coming back is to take another shot at Wimbledon.
"These past 15 months have been enriching... but there is a flame that has been re-lit. I thought it had been put out forever."
So Justine is retiring from Manhunt (ahem) 2010 and will hit the courts. Sorry, Dina. You aren't the standard bearer for the asexual Competition line anymore. Bring back the capsleeves and mock turtlenecks, Adidas! All hail the Queen!
So first off, congrats to Shahar and Melinda Czink on their wins in Guangzhou and Quebec City last week.
Ok, now for this week's tourneys, which actually don't suck. Well, not entirely.
Dani's the top seed along with Tranny, AMG, Sorana, and Kleybs. Pavs is also playing.
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Yoo Mi vs. Meghann Shaughnessy
2. Kim So-Jung vs. Chanelle Scheepers
3. Maria Kirilenko vs. Sophie Ferguson
4. Andrea Petkovic vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
5. Francesca Schiavone vs. Yurika Sema
Court 2 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Sybille Bammer vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Anna-Lena Groenefeld vs. Sorana Cirstea
3. Urszula Radwanska vs. Vera Dushevina
4. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Angela Haynes
Court 13 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Katarina Srebotnik vs. Alisa Kleybanova
2. Anastasija Sevastova vs. Mathilde Johansson
3. Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Alberta Brianti
4. Groenefeld/Srebotnik vs. Lu/S.Sun
Court 14 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Viktoriya Kutuzova vs. Chang Kai-Chen
2. Junri Namigata vs. Chan Yung-Jan
3. Chang/Chen vs. Chuang/Yan
4. C.Chan/Xu vs. Gullickson/Kriz
JJ slayer Yaroslava Shvedova is the top seed and Guangzhou champ Shahar heads the bottom half. I won't be tracking this tourney with much regularity so here's the OOP for all you Aleksandra Kolesnichenko fans.
Ah, Metz. Home of the Butt Plug. Good times.
Court central (11.00)
Marc Gicquel (FRA) vs Roman Valent (SUI)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Thierry Ascione (FRA)
Sébastien De Chaunac (FRA) vs Ivan Ljubicic (CRO)
Janko Tipsarevic (SER) vs Arnaud Clément (FRA)
Christophe Rochus (BEL) vs Fabrice Santoro (FRA) (NB 19.00)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs Michael Berrer (LL)
Court 1 (11.00)
Denis Istomin (OUZ) vs Andrey Golubev (KAZ)
Benjamin Becker (ALL) vs Evgeny Korolev (RUS)
Kimmy returned to her hometown of Bree last week to celebrate her win.
And apparently winning a Grand Slam is all it takes to get your husband to shave his beard. They look like the hippiest of hippies to ever hippie as a couple.
And Brian's not the only one who had to shave.
I love Spain's celebrations because they run around like a bunch of little boys.
Well, four little boys and the older girl that wants to bone them.
I can't really explain it, but I just love the Belgian Boys. They're like a team of blonde hobbits.
Much love to Somdev for singlehandedly saving this tie for India.
Polish guys do it better. Cuz they have poles. Or something.
It took a really long time for me to figure out whether or not some guy attached Massu (plausible) or if Massu was just lying there and reveling in once again being a country hero (plausible, unfortunately). Still not sure.
Hug it out, you cute Ecuadorian bitches.
So it'll be those guys...
Versus these guys...
For this guy.
I love this matchup. At least I did before I realized that the final would be played in Spain, likely on clay court. So...have fun with that Czechies. But really nice win over the Croats. As for Spain, a well-deserved home final after what they pulled off last year in Argentina.