Tennis-X: News, Notes, Quotes and Barbs

Posted on August 28, 2004

Chile's President Ricardo Lagos Escobar has promised a reception at the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago for Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez upon their return to the country after the US Open...Evidence that the ATP is working on raising the awareness level of Roger Federer in the U.S.: Federer started Tuesday this week at CNN, where he did a live interview for CNN Live Today, before sitting down to film a segment for CNN Insights. Club Fed then went to Central Park for an interview with USA Network and a photo shoot with USA Today. He finished the day with one-on-one interviews with writers from The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. During an appearance at watchmaker Maurice Lacroix on Wednesday, Federer was interviewed by James Lipton, the host of the Inside the Actors' Studio on the A&E cable channel (why we're not quite yet sure, maybe because he happened to be standing next to him?). Vogue Magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour invited Federer and his girlfriend Mirka out for lunch in Manhattan on Thursday. Props to the ATP communications people, working the non-American angle in the U.S., that's a lot of pub...Steffi Graf will face former Argentine rival Gabriela Sabatini in an all-smoking-hot charity match in Berlin on Sept. 25, that surpasses anything on court today for the all-beauty factor...Speaking of such things, Maria Sharapova lost in the second round at the US Open last year in her first appearance...Qualifiers of note into the main draw on the women's and men's sides at the US Open on Friday were 15-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, Canuck Maureen Drake, Bulgarian Sesil "The Mouth" Karatantcheva, not-another-Russian Anna Chakvetadze, Brazil's Ricardo "They Call Me" Mello, Brit Alex "Bad Boy" Bogdanovic, "You Say" Potito Starace, and Ivo "I Dated Hingis" Heuberger...Al Costa, who is drawn to face Roger Federer in the first round at the US Open, withdrew from the Strong Island doubles this week with a knee injury. Head to your nearest internet betting site and lay down the house mortgage if he doesn't pull, you heard it here first. Tennis-X, better than your financial advisor...Murphy Jensen babbling to ESPN on Andy Roddick needing an American rival: "The problem with the Agassi-Sampras rivalry was that it wasn't a rivalry, considering that you have two guys that are counting their money on the jet on their way back to the private golf course after a match. A rivalry is when you got McEnroe calling Lendl a communist and Lendl calling McEnroe an idiot. You need the guts, you need the blood, you need some American guy to come up the ranks and say, 'Andy, you know I got all you want and them some.' And Andy would promote that kind of rivalry, because he really hates to lose."...Reebok is launching a line of retro t-shirts with places that Andy Roddick has lived: "We believe he can sell product as a lifestyle icon," said Dianne Hays, Reebok's senior director of global tennis, flakking hard to ESPN. "There just aren't that many athletes that companies want to invest dollars behind. Andy appeals to young women and men of all ages." Line up for the already-almost-passed fake retro-t and fake trucker hat look, Lord we hope that is out by the end of the year...Serena says she is ready for the US Open: "I've been able to prepare a lot. Once I realized I wasn't going to the Olympics, I've just been in the gym every day, twice a day. And then, finally, I've been spending some time on the court. It was a lot of work that I didn't necessarily want to do, but I had to do it because I wanted to be here. So I did it. And I'm here." Thanks for the sacrifice Serena, we are all in debted...More evidence of the lack of depth on the WTA Tour in the cake draws many of the top seeds received? Discuss...American 18-year-old Brendan Evans seems a little obsessed with world junior No. 1 Gael Monfils, the French teenager who can become only the second player, along with Stefan Edberg, to win all four junior Slams in the same year with a win at the jr. US Open. "I want Monfils. I want him real bad," Evans told Charlie "The Brick" Bricker of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He's not going to get the (junior) Slam. All the Americans have vowed he's not going to get it. So, hopefully, one of us will take him out."...Former ATP player Marcus Ondruska is attempting to make the transition into coaching, bopping between players...Robby "Baby Courier" Ginepri, reaching for some personality, talking to USA Today on his first-round meeting with Andre Agassi at the US Open: "Agassi is a US Open fan favorite but hopefully they'll be cheering for me too. The crowd loves to see long points and great tennis and people playing all-out on the courts. We like to perform and give our best so usually it's a great combination. There could be some surprises, just like last week at the Olympics when the top two seeds were upset in the early rounds."...Roger Federer, talking to USA Today, on his rivalry with Andy Roddick: "I'm not going to let him win. He's not far away from beating me anyway. He does probably need to win a couple to get the rivalry really going. But I hope that doesn't come too soon. Rivalries are good for sports -- and with me from Europe and him from the States, it would be good to push tennis." That's some good almost-smack talk from the Swiss, you can hear it coming -- that needs to reach Hingis-like "What rivalry?" proportions, then things will really take off. Just try it in the mirror a couple times Fed, practice it. And Fed on crafting a personality for American fans: "In America, people don't know me well enough yet to have any misconceptions. They know the tennis player, but not the person. I am seldom in America, so when I'm here I'll try to do more interviews than in the past. I hope they see me as relaxed, cool. We'll have to see." Don't worry Fed, the casual U.S. tennis fan sees you as so cool they wonder if you have a pulse, good thing you're working the media blitz before the Open...Here's The Brick again, digging deep, making it happen: "With her father, Mahesh, frequently calling out from behind the sideline fence, "Come on, Tiger," Shikha Uberoi, 21, of Boca Raton, qualified for her first Grand Slam by defeating Vilmarie Castellvi 6-4, 6-2. It's the first time since 1996 that a woman of Indian heritage (Laxmi Poruri) has been in the main draw of the Open and no Indian woman has won a round here since Poruri in 1989. Shikha and her 18-year-old sister, Neha, both were in qualifying, but Neha lost in the first round. Only three Americans qualified -- (Paul) Goldstein, Uberoi and Abigail Spears, 23, of Valley Center, Calif. It is also her first Grand Slam main draw. Two American men, Brendan Evans of Key Biscayne and Michael Russell of Weston, the former UM No. 1 player, were beaten in the final round of qualifying." Laxmi Poruri? Damn Brick, just leaving a trail of stats wherever you walk -- that's some good-media guide-perusing, wow-it's-dull-here-on-site-during-qualifying digging.

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