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MARTINA HINGIS BREAKS OFF ENGAGEMENT WITH ANDREAS BIERI

A few weeks ago we were happy to report that Martina Hingis engaged herself to Zurich lawyer Andreas Bieri.  Today I have to report that according to Swiss newspaper A-Z.ch the engagement is off.

According to insiders Martina Hingis broke off the engagement but nobody would say why. She is not available for comments.

Andreas Bieri is not available for comments either.

Martina Hingis has a reputation when it comes to guys. It’s the 11th relationship she has broken off.

Fans on the unofficial forums of Hingis are confused and devestated.

One fan named Lois has the following to say about the break up:

Certainly it would be nice to read some English explanation of the break-up, I’m just guessing that if I were in Andy’s shoes and my girlfriend accepted a marriage proposal then turned around and gave me a long list of “things” she was going to be engaged in (pardon the pun) for the rest of the year…I’d be very disappointed…Martina you can’t have it both ways…either you commit to a marriage or not…and her long standing reputation of “opting out” must have won over. Sad!

And I agree with Lois. Either commit to marriage or not.

40 Years Ago Tuesday – Rod Laver Wins Historic Second Grand Slam

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Tuesday, September 8, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver winning his historic second Grand Slam by defeating Tony Roche 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the 1969 U.S. Open. The final was played on a rain-soaked grass tennis court at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills in Queens, New York.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this significant moment in tennis history, New Chapter Press has re-published Laver’s memoir THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER that details the 1969 tennis season as well as the life and times of the Australian tennis legend. Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is now available in a limited capacity via tennis retailer TennisWarehouse (www.TennisWarehouse.com or [email protected]), directly from New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com or [email protected]) or at the U.S. Tennis Association Bookstore during the 2009 U.S. Open through September 13. The book will be available via traditional book retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia by early 2010. Special limited edition hard-cover editions of the book are available for $29.95, while paperback copies are for sale for $19.95.

Originally published in 1971, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER was updated by Laver and Collins in 2009 with new content including his recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998. The memoir features descriptions of Laver’s most suspenseful matches and memorable portraits of his biggest rivals Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Tony Roche and Pancho Gonzalez. Writes Laver in the updated version of the book of the prospects of the next member of the Grand Slam club, “I wonder when another Grand Slammer will appear and join me. I look forward to it, and will welcome whoever it is just as Don Budge welcomed me in 1962. I was glad to see Steffi Graf as the latest in 1988. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seem to have the best chance, along with Serena Williams. I wish them success.”

Of the 1969 U.S. Open final against Roche, Laver writes the following;

“The court was greasy, but somehow slow, which favored me because Tony’s slice didn’t take. Movement was tough, and this was a break for me because Tony decided not to put on spikes. He figured his strained thigh muscles would be jarred by the quick stops you make in spikes, possibly bringing on a cramp.

“That first set was one of the strangest I’ve ever played. I should have won it and deserved to lose it. I got what I deserved and Tony took it 9-7, just took it right away from me after I’d been serving for the set at 5-3. He did it with beautiful backhands. I was sloshing and slipping around, and a couple of times I had asked referee Mike Gibson for permission to put on my spiked shoes. I’d wanted to begin the match in them, but he’d refused. After that game, Mike said all right. It meant all the difference to me.

“Tony immediately won his serve in four points, but I felt surer on my feet and I knew I’d get going. Especially when I stopped him two points short of the set to keep even at 6-6. But I wasn’t so sure when I lost that first set anyway. I’d had a lot of luck during the year, and I wondered if it had run out at last. Although I’d worn spikes here and there throughout my career, the occasions were so rare during my professional days that they took some getting used to. You consciously changed your movements at first. Picked up your feet. No sliding. It was a new sensation until you were re-accustomed to them.

“The slight uncertainty of moving in spikes was gone for good in the first game of the second set when I came through with a big serve at the crucial point of the match. With the first set his, and the pressure on me, Tony got me down 30-40 on my serve. One more point and he’d be up a set and a break, a pretty good edge in that mush.

“We both knew this was a huge point. He took his time getting ready to return, and I did the same lining up—not overly so, maybe not even noticeable to the crowd, but we had to be right for this one. I was righter. I threw myself into the serve, and sliced it wide to his forehand. It didn’t come back. He barely touched it, and I could tell it pained him to miss the opportunity. You don’t get too many break-point chances on grass—and he didn’t have another.

“It wouldn’t be apparent for a while, but the match turned upside down right there. I won the game and began hitting harder and harder as I got surer of my footing. Then I won the next and the next—five straight. From that break-point chance in the first game, Tony managed to win only five of the last 23 games. He came all apart as I wrapped him up, 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Not even a rain delay of a half-hour at the beginning of the third set could rust my concentration or help him pull his together.

“Unlike 1962, I had control of myself all through the final match of the Grand Slam. I was never dazed as I had been against Emmo seven years before during a brief case of nerves down the stretch.

“Serving match game, I opened with an ace. I knew what I was about, and wasn’t going to let Tony breathe. It was 40-0 when I did try to end with a grand-slamming flourish on a forehand volley. I blew it. A minor disappointment not to be able to score with a put-away as I had on the championship point at Wimbledon.

“It fell to Tony to lose it with a forehand that he hit long. Both of us were glad it was over. Afraid to use spikes, he’d been victimized in sneakers, unable to counteract my better shots, including a number of very good lobs. It was one of my best days with the lob, always a useful shot, but even more damaging that day when running was tough.

“Not enough ordinary players realize the value of the lob, and I guess I didn’t until I became a seasoned pro. It’s much more than a desperation measure. As an amateur, even if the odds were against my making a shot, I’d usually let fly anyway. When I became a pro, I couldn’t risk throwing away points like that because the opposition was equal or better.

”This meant I had to be realistic. If my chances of making a shot from a difficult position were doubtful, I found you seldom get hurt with a lob.

“But there were no more lobs to be hit. Not one more stroke on a chase that began God knows how many strokes ago in Brisbane when I hit the first serve to a fellow I wouldn’t know if he walked into the room, Massimo di Domenico. The others I knew pretty well . . . Andres . . . Arthur . . Emmo . . . Tony . . . Newc . . . Dennis . . . Kenny . . . Okker . . . Smith.

“There were 1,005 games in 26 Grand Slam matches, and now it was all over.”

Laver captured 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969. After joining Don Budge as the only man to win a Grand Slam by sweeping all four majors in 1962, Laver turned professional where he, along with fellow pros Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez, were banned from playing the “amateur-only” major tournaments. When the “Open Era” of tennis began in 1968, Laver netted another five major singles titles, including his Grand Slam sweep of all four in 1969. Laver won nearly 200 singles titles during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis of Fame in 1981.

“I am delighted that THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”

Collins, himself a 1994 inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, first met Laver in 1956 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston during the U.S. National Doubles Championships. Thirteen years later, the two collaborated on the book that was only to be published if Laver won the Grand Slam. Collins is best known for his colorful television commentary – and his colorful wardrobe – as well as his columns in the Boston Globe. Collins currently works as a commentator with ESPN2 and Tennis Channel.

“Rod Laver is one of the greatest treasures we have in tennis and THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is one of our sports most important literary works,” said Collins. “Rod was always so humble and gracious, but he could play tennis like a hurricane. He was as a great a champion as we have ever had in tennis and one of the all-time nicest guys.”

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS by Bud Collins, THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION by Rene Stauffer and BOYCOTT: STOLEN DREAMS OF THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli among others. More information on New Chapter Press can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

Wimbledon champ Serena Williams visits Obama

WASHINGTON – It was tennis before baseball for President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Before heading off to St. Louis to throw the first pitch at the All-Star game, the president welcomed Wimbledon champion Serena Williams to the White House.

“It was amazing,” Williams said before her World Team Tennis match with the Washington Kastles. “I love President Obama; he has such an unbelievable presence, and he seems to be so normal — and he noticed my shoes. I think that was the highlight of the whole day, was he liked my shoes.”

Williams said she was wearing 5-inch heels for the presidential visit.

“He asked me, ‘Should I be wearing high heels?’ So I thought that was kind of funny because he may have been right,” Williams said. “Because it is a job hazard for me, but I insist on wearing them.”

Williams got to meet Michelle Obama and the rest of the first family.

“I didn’t know she had such an amazing personality,” Williams said. “She had me cracking up and laughing. I knew she was a great person, but now I really understand how important this first family is to the United States. And the kids were just so cute and sweet, and the dog was nice.”

A fashionable Rafa subbed for Roger

It’s almost as if Roger didn’t happen.

The loss of Roger Federer to Andy Roddick at last week’s Sony Ericsson Open created a vacuum in fashionable men’s tennis gear, but Rafael Nadal quickly stepped up to the plate. Fortunately for TSF, some good screencaps by the folks at VamosBrigade.com (plus photojournalists at the tourney) have given us a good luck at Rafa’s Nike kit for the week.

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

First, the murse. Actually, let’s talk about the word murse for a second. I am over it. Call a bag “a bag”; a purse “a purse”. No need to qualify it it’s a men’s bag or a women’s bag. The style (and who carries it) should speak for itself.

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It looks to me like Rafa was using the Nike Vault Track Bag, on sale for $58.99, originally $85.

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

And let’s talk about this gross misuse of his bandana. He wore it pirate style with a white Global Power Tank from earlier this spring (that “tire tread” look). Thankfully, this only made an appearance in his doubles matches with Tommy Robredo, and they didn’t last too long in the draw.

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

And even his shoes get a little personalization. His Air Max Breathe Cages (also from Nike) have his name inscribed on the back.

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

And finally, a fun windbreaker for those offcourt appearances.

Rafael Nadal - Miami 2008

(Click on each photo to view photo sources)

Kolya as Cinderella: racquet and shoes fit

Nikolay Davydenko - Miami 2008

If the shoes and the racquet fit… In case you missed it, Nikolay Davydenko made a racquet switch between Indian Wells and Miami. Prior to the Sony Ericsson Open, he had been using the Prince Ozone Tour.

Racquet switches are usually done during the off-season to give the player a chance to acclimate to the difference. (Remember James Blake‘s unsuccessful affair with Prince?) At the beginning of last week’s tournament, Davydenko switched to the Ozone Pro Tour, a racquet with the same frame (“cosmetically”) but with a denser string pattern. Instead of 16 rows of strings, it has 18. This means more control.

During the trophy ceremony, in an interview with Mary Joe Fernandez, Kolya talked about his stick. “I have only one [racquet]. Surprising I didn’t break a string. Warm up and play match, warm up and play match, every match, and I finish with the racket… I’m going to keep forever this racket.”

My question is: how come he only had one? Can someone from Prince answer this question?

Nikolay Davydenko - Miami 2008

It should also be noted that this is the first tournament that Kolya’s worn the Prince OV1 shoes. He’s very particular about his shoes (but really, what top ATP player isn’t?), and has played extremely well in his new kicks.

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One last time: Guga Kuerten as an ATP pro in Miami

Guga Kuerten lost his first round match against Sebastien Grosjean in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open. The scoreline: 6-1, 7-5.

While his game might not have held up, his fashion sense sure did. He wore a bright orange/red kit (with red hat, red shoes) from Diadora Guga Kuerten. Le sigh, we’ll sure miss his flair when he retires.

In doubles, he wore white and won one match with Nicolas Lapentti against Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. They lost in the next round to Aspelin and Knowles.

Gustavo Kuerten - award - Miami 2008

Lapentti also presented Kuerten with an award at an ATP banquet during the tournament.

Looking forward: Kuerten’s next stop on his farewell tour is a Challenger-level tournament in Florianopolis, Brazil. That event begins on April 14.

Gustavo Kuerten - Miami 2008

Gustavo Kuerten - Miami 2008

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Gustavo Kuerten - Miami 2008

(photos by Getty Images)

The Rooster Crows: Le Coq Sportif’s Spring 2008 line

The rest of the line: We showed you Le Coq Sportif‘s Myth Shoe last week, and now here’s the rest of the Spring 2008 line, aka the first collection into the brand’s American relaunch.

The new brigade is headed by former adidas exec Tim McCool (CEO), Kip Meyer (CFO), and Patrick Ouyi (Marketing & Communications).

The arsenal: Clothing and footwear for the spring will come in three lines: Sport Chic, Retro Chic and Tennis…

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The Sport Chic line has a few fun details — silk, cashmere, linen, and cotton enhanced with pleats, wood buttons, etc.

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Retro Chic was Inspired by the 80’s — patch embroidery: an oversized rooster logo, and a bright palette.

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The Yannick Noah polos came from the Frenchman’s historic achievements in the 80s. Clockwise, from top left: the 1986 Roll Polo, $59.99; the 1982 Porquerolles Polo, $59.99; another retro shirt; and a Tie-Dye version of the Roll Polo, $59.99.

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There are some other tennis looks.

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Accessories: The “Noah Club 1983” gets a reissue — half cup sole, expanded rubber midsole, and classic leather tennis shoe. Also for sale is a modern interpretation of the “Noah Club Prestige”. And a tennis accessories collection these days couldn’t be complete without a racquet bag.

Fashion Focus: Le Coq Sportif’s Myth is all true

le coq sportif myth

The rooster crows: French brand Le Coq Sportif has a busy spring this year. They plan to release a new line of performance shoes called Myth and they’re also relaunching their sports and lifestyle collections in North America (more deets on that later). All this ado is perfectly timed with the 25th anniversary of Yannick Noah‘s 1983 French Open singles title — a big deal since it was the last time a Frenchman has won a Grand Slam (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came pretty close last month).

Italian Potito Starace, who contributed to the shoe’s design, had this to say about the new kicks:

“It is a privilege to be one of the few players wearing Le Coq Sportif apparel and footwear. I almost feel like I have a unique style when I walk on the court. Comfort is key for me but I also appreciate the ‘elegance’ of the tennis line.”

Details: Myths have two innovative features: the “ERGO +” flexibility system in the instep, supporting the foot; and the “DS2” patented inside sole which keeps the foot dry — no stink! And as far as colorways, a black version is available for men while pink and lime are for the women. (Le sigh… sometimes, a guy just wants to wear lime. Or pink.) What do you think of the shoes? Tell us!

Take a closer look: See the black/white and pink/white versions of the Myth after the cut

Monica has dancing shoes, Steffi hawks Louis Vuitton pumps

A tale of two legends: Recent retiree Monica Seles will join Marlee Matlin, Adam Carolla, Priscilla Presley and Kristi Yamaguchi in the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. Wow, that’s a “Who’s Who” if I ever saw one.

The sixth season of DWTS will premiere March 17 on ABC. On joining the show, the 34-year-old Seles says “I’m a tennis player. I don’t know a tango from a mango.”

Seles’ recent return to the limelight is likely a big push to move her away from “tennis star” to “celebrity”. If you remember, she followed an appearance on the CBS Morning Show earlier this week with the announcement of her retirement. And now, the dancing. She’s well on her way, but has to play catch up to her biggest rival on the court…

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Steffi Graf‘s PR machine continues to churn. Graf will have a guest stint on Oprah’s Big Give, a “pay it forward” reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey. (Remember when hubby Andre Agassi whacked her in the face? They were taping a segment for it.)

And page five of this week’s New York magazine has an ad from Louis Vuitton featuring the Narcisse Pump. The uppers on this two-tone three-inch heel are hand-stitched. Below the picture is this copy:

Walk with me. By Steffi Graf”

I look at my schedule and I just have to laugh. I’d need to be six people to get through it all. It seems I’m still running all over the place – only my footwear has changed.”

That’s deep. Do you think she wrote it herself?

Buy: Narcisse Pump, two-tone hand-stitched calf leather with three-inch heel, $1,120, louisvuitton.com.

(USA Today via Marie; photo from New York)