Monday, December 30, 2013

Here's to the 2013 Champions!

The 2014 tennis season is already underway with players playing a mix of exhibitions and live matches across the world. 

Here's a final look back at the 6 players who came, saw, and conquered the 2013 Grand Slams. 


Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka & Novak Djokovic

Roland Garros
 Serena Williams & Rafael Nadal


Wimbledon

Andy Murray & Marion Bartoli


US Open
 Serena Williams & Rafael Nadal 


As an aside - the players look so much better when they accept their trophies in their playing outfits instead of their warm-up jackets. 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and hearty 2014!!!

2014 Preview - 10 ATP Storylines, Questions, and Predictions

We still have a couple hours to go in 2013, but the 2014 tennis season is already underway. 

Here are the top ATP storylines that GlamSpinTennis will be following throughout 2014.

10. Will certified head-case Bernard Tomic finally be able to play to his potential? And, will he kick his abusive father out of his camp? GlamSpinTennis really feels for Bernie and his fraught familial and coaching situation. 

9. Is Juan Martin del Potro going to be a force to be reckoned with at the majors? DelPo's tomahawk forehand was readily on display as 2013 came to a close. However, 2014 will mark the 5-year anniversary of DelPo's lone major win at the 2009 US Open. 

8. Has American men's tennis bottomed out? Should we expect a resurgence from John Isner and Sam Querrey, the two best American males or will the duo continue to bring USA tennis to new lows?

7. Will the French-men continue to disappoint? Richard Gasquet's career showed some signs of life during his semifinal run to the 2013 US Open. However, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continue to be gripped by injuries. Allez les bleus! Each of these guys has the power and skill to bag a major, but the mental fortitude seems to be lacking.  

6. Does Tomas Berdych have what it takes to win a title in 2014? The twitter favorite played well consistently throughout the 2013 season, but failed to make it to the winner's circle in 2013. In fact, Berdych was the lone player at the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals to not have won a title. 

5. Bob and Mike Bryan came up short in their quest for the 2013 Grand Slam. They won the first 3 majors of the year but fell in the semi-final round at the US Open. Bob Bryan welcomed a second child during the off-season and who knows what family planning may lay ahead for Mike, so what will their upcoming year look like? Bonus - Will Fernando Verdasco continue to show his doubles prowess? Verdasco partnered with David Marrero to capture the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals Championship away from he Bryans. 

4. How will Andy Murray recover from back surgery and will he be able to defend his Wimbledon crown? The first quarter of the year is likely to be a wash for the Scot due to his recovery. However, big things will be expected of him when he returns to grass. GlamSpinTennis predicts that Andy won't be the 2014 Wimbledon champ.

3. Will Novak be able to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the 2014 Roland Garros title? He'll surely have to wrestle the Coupe des Mousquetaires from Rafael Nadal's cold, dead, hands. However, everything about his off-season moves suggests that this is the goal. GlamSpinTennis predicts that Novak may be able to get the job done this year. 

2. Did Rafael Nadal find a cure for his knee ailments and will he make it through the 2014 tennis season without and extended absence? Rafa disappeared for 7 (torturous) months between the 2012 and 2013 seasons and hasn't played a full season since 2011. 

1. Will baby number 3 herald the end of Roger Federer's tennis career? Is 2014 the year Roger calls it quits? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 Preview - 10 WTA Storylines, Questions, and Predictions

The 2014 season is days away from kicking off and GlamSpinTennis can't wait. 

Here are 10 potential storylines, questions and a dash of GlamSpinTennis predictions.

10. Will Patrick continue coaching Serena? She's not in Mauritius at his coaching camp. 

9.  Does Sloane Stephens have what it takes to win a title and/or advance to the semis of  a non-major tournament?

8.  Will Petra Kvitova's career suffer now that she's dating the Worm? Radek Stepanek's ex-wife, Nicole Vaidisova, was poised to be a top player until she ended her career to marry Radek.  Bonus - will we see Nicole attempt a comeback?

7. Will Li Na's work with Carlos Rodriguez pay off with another major? The Chinese player appears to be peaking in her early thirties. GlamSpinTennis predicts that Li Na will be in the winner's circle in Australia. 

6. Will Vika Azarenka win a major outside Australia? GlamSpinTennis predicts she won't make it a three-peat in Australia, but that she will bag the US Open title at which she's been
the runner-up twice. 

5. Will there be an unknown major champ a la Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon 2013? GlamSpinTennis predicts that Genie Bouchard, Sloane Stephens or Laura Robson will play a major final in 2014. 

4.  Will former No. 1 players Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic be able to close the gap on their resumes and win a major title? BonusWill former No. 1 players Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams make themselves relevant in 2014? Will former major champion Sveta Kuznetsova be a contender again?

3. Is Simona Halep ready to contend for a major? She won the most WTA titles after Serena in 2013. 

2.  Has Maria Sharapova's shoulder healed? Will she contend for majors in 2014? Will she win a set against Serena? 2 sets?

1.  How many major titles will Serena Williams  win in 2014? Anywhere from 0 to 4 could   be in the works.  GlamSpinTennis predicts Serena will be the 2014 Wimbledon champion.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Serena Williams Deserved Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year Honor

Serena Williams ended 2013 with 17 major titles. Her marquee 2013 included winning Roland Garros and the US Open. 




Serena accomplished this feat and earned $14 million in prize money along the way as she neared 32 years in age. (Also take a look at GlamSpinTennis's By the Numbers profile of Serena Williams' 2013 campaign.)

Serena was arguably the most dominant player in all of men's or women's tennis in 2013. Her rival to the crown, Rafael Nadal, similarly won 2 major titles, but failed to prevail in the championship match in the ATP World Finals. 

Sports Illustrated ("SI"), the US-based weekly sportsmagazine, annually awards a Sportsman of the Year title to a deserving athlete. Ultimately, the Sportsman designation, like TIME's Person of the Year and Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year (both Sports Illustrated sister-publications), is a marketing gimmick which was developed to generate advertising revenue and to spur consumer interest.  

However, the award is also an honor that celebrates athletic achievements. According to SI

"The Sportsman award debuted in 1954, and in describing the feats of the first Sportsman, Roger Bannister, the editors introduced the award’s guiding principle: “While the victory may have been his, it is not for the victory alone that he is honored. Rather, it is for the quality of his effort and manner of his striving."

In recent years, there have been many unanswered calls from tennis fans to select a tennis star as Sportsman of the Year.  Chris Evert, SI's 1976 Sportsman of the Year, wrote an impassioned essay advocating on behalf of selecting Serena for this year's honor. 



Serena was not selected as Peyton Manning received the honor for his brilliant NFL plays.  Some have indicated that a tennis star doesn't stand a chance in light of football or baseball or basketball's popularity in the US. 



A pick for Peyton over Serena according to this logic sure would have been short-sighted. From a marketing standpoint - these editors made the wrong choice. 

SI missed the opportunity to celebrate the athletic achievements of a woman who's been throughout a lot (death scare, family turmoil, new coaching, etc...) and managed to persevere and thrive. Moreover, as we approach an Olympic year in 2014, the opportunity to showcase women in sports was an overlooked opportunity. 

Hopefully, Serena will have a dominant 2014 season that gives SI editors the opportunity to make the right choice in choosing next year's Sportsman of the Year

Monday, December 23, 2013

GlamBiz: Caro Wozniacki Returns to Babolat

The 2014 tennis season is rapidly approaching and we are beginning to new sponsorship deals are beginning to leak. 

Caroline Wozniacki, the former No. 1 women's player and current No. 10, has returned to Babolat. The 23 year-old Danish player will be playing with a yet-to-be determined Babolat frame in 2014. 

Caroline previously had a Babolat contract which expired at the end of the 2010 season. Yonex subsequently signed the Dane to a lucrative equipment deal in 2011 while she was the No. 1 player. 


However, in July 2013, Yonex summarily dropped Caro from its roster.  Caroline had secretly played a couple tournaments with a blacked-out frame (see picture below). 

 This breached the terms of her Yonex deal and enraged Yonex's marketing staff.  Pundits presumed that Caro had ditched her Yonex racquet to play with one of her old Babolat frames. 















Caroline and Yonex were said to have reached a settlement during the 2013 US Open. The settlement required Caro's US Open marketing to include images of her with her Yonex racquet. 

The terms of Caro's new Babolat deal are currently unknown. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Australian Open 2014: Style Preview

The 2014 Tennis season is days away from kicking off and we are a few weeks away from 
the 2014 Australian Open.  

Here's a look at some of the verified and unverified kits that the tennis pros will be sporting down under. 

Adidas has released official promo pics of its kits for a number of players: 

Ana Ivanovic in adidas:




Maria Kirilenko in adidas by Stella McCartnery (Maria will not be playing the AO in 2014 due to an ankle injury)



Caro Wozniacki in adidas by Stella McCartney: 

Andy Murray in adidas:

Andy Murray


 Now on to the rumored kits: 

 Novak Djokovic (seemingly confirmed by Uniqlo's Twitter):

Roger Federer in Nike:


Maria Sharapova in Nike:





Serena Williams in Nike:



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Updated: Hopman Cup 2014 Superlatives

This tennis off-season has been interminable. It seems like its been a 4 whole weeks since the ladies wrapped up in Istanbul and men said adios from London. 

Thankfully, the Hopman Cup begins on December 28, 2013. 

The Hopman Cup used to have the best trophy in all of tennis,  doling out diamond encrusted gold/silver tennis balls to the winning teams. 













In 2014,  the tournament will be debuting a new trophy created by Solid Gold Diamonds. The trophy contains just under an ounce of 18-carat white, yellow and rose gold and is set with over 180 sparkling diamonds including half a carat of West Australia's world-renowned Argyle Pink Diamonds. Read more about the new design, here

Hopman Trophy

2014 Hopman Cup Superlatives

Most likely to get cited for a PDA Violation
Team Czech Republic - Radek Stepanek & Petra Kvitova



Most attractive
Team France - Jo-Willy Tsonga & Alize Cornet



Best personality: 
Team USA - Sloane Stephens & John Isner



Most stylish: 
Team Italy - Flavia Pennetta & Andreas Seppi
Also in the running for the Aged like a Fine Wine category. 



Winningest team players Most difficult to come up with a superlative:  
Team Spain - Tommy Robredo & Anabel Medina Garrigues 

Tommy has 2 Hopman Cup Titles - 2002 (w/Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario) and 2010 (w/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez)


Anabel is the reigning Hopman Cup Titlist - 2013 (w/Fernando Verdasco)














Runners-up: Team Czech Republic - Petra in 2012 (w/Tomas Berdych) and Team USA - John Isner in 2011 (w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands)



Most likely to win a major in 2015
(and runners-up to in the most attractive category)
Team Canada - Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic



Most likely to win the Hopman Cup (Updated due to Jerzy's withdrawal) : 
Most likely to be on the receiving end of a bagel:
Team Poland - Aga Radwanska & Jerzy Janowicz no. 287 Grzegorz Panfil (Jerzy withdrew from the tournament on December 17, 2013 citing a foot injury.




















Updated - Most likely to win the Hopman Cup
Team Czech Republic - Assuming on-court PDA is kept to a minimum




Most likely to have a disappointing Australian Open 2014 campaign:
Team Australia - Sam Stosur & Bernard Tomic

Monday, December 16, 2013

GlamBiz: Rafa Nadal Inc.

Reports recently circulated indicating that Rafael Nadal earned $10 million in fees for participating in exhibitions throughout South America during to the 2013 off-season. 



While the dollar figure hasn't been confirmed, the Nadal camp hasn't denied or corroborated the story.  This story seemingly flies in the face of the swash-buckling, pirate pant wearing, narrative that was spun when Nadal first emerged as a future No.1 in the mid-aughts. Nadal was the island boy who enjoyed staying home and going fishing with his amigos. 

Times sure have changed! According to Forbes magazine, Rafa has earned $25 million from his off-court deals and activities. 

Let's take a look at Rafa Nadal Inc.:

Agent & Agency

Rafa is repped by Carlos Costa, a former ATP player who earned 6 singles titles while on the tour.  Carlos and Rafa initially joined forces around 2002 under the super-agency, IMG. Carlos also managed David Ferrer, but now concentrates solely on Nadal, "David Ferrer is still with IMG, but he is not with me any more, because if you are managing Rafa Nadal, you don't have any time to manage another top player," said Costa. 

Carols Costa departed from IMG at the end of 2012 and partnered with Rafa and his Rafa's father Sebastian to found HIS7ORY SPORTS MANAGEMENT. The agency doesn't have a website yet, but here's a link to some of their prototype stationery





 After winning his record-7th Roland Garros Title in 2012, Rafa tweeted #HIS7STORY to his millions of followers. Costa reportedly signed Christian Garin, a junior Chilean tennis player, to the new agency. 

Logo
Around 2009, Rafa debuted the bull logo on his Nike apparel. The logo is now prominently featured on his Nike kits and on his website.


Sponsors:
Tennis sponsorship deals are usually broken down by category. A good agent is always looking for new, innovative deals to strike to expand a player's marketing portfolio. 

Apparel:
Nike

Tennis Equipment: 
Babolat

Automobile:
Kia Cars

Timepiece:
Richard Mille

Wine & Spirits:
Bacardi

Food:
Quely Biscuits

Financial Services
Banesto/Santander - (deal may be expired)

Insurance:
Mapfre

Intimate Apparel
Armani - (deal may be expired)

Entertainment: 
PokerStars

iPhone App:
VStrator - Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy App


Philanthropy:
La Fundacion Rafael Nadal 

What sponsorship deals do you think are coming up next for Rafa? 

Friday, December 6, 2013

James Blake has Raised over $1 Million to Support Cancer Research

On December 5, 2013 the James Blake Foundation hosted, Serving For A Cure, a charity tennis exhibition that raised money and awareness for cancer research. 

Photos from the event and an exclusive interview with James Blake are posted below:

James Blake and his family established the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2005 to support early detection cancer research.  Thomas Blake Sr., James' father, passed away in 2004 after battling gastric cancer. 
 
James spoke exclusively to GlamSpinTennis and was excited to report that his foundation has surpassed $1 Million in donations to the 
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

After a year off, Serving For A Cure, returned to NYC where James Blake was joined on the tennis court by former ATP World No. 1 Andy Roddick, current No. 14 John Isner, and actor Boris Kodjoe. Brooklyn Decker, Andy's wife, and former ATP pros Justin Gimelstob and Mario Ancic were also in attendance. 




The glam evening featured a series of entertaining tennis matches and a live auction which benefited the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

Boris Kodjoe proved to be an adept tennis player, partnering with James Blake to prevail 7-5 in a one-set match versus Andy Roddick and John Isner. 

Andy Roddick went on to get his revenge by beating both James Blake and John Isner in one-set singles matches. 

James told GlamSpinTennis that he hopes to make Serving for a Cure, the James Blake Foundation's flagship, annual event.  The Foundation also hosted a poker fundraiser earlier in 2013 and sponsored runners at the New York City Marathon which raised additional funds. 

James may even run the marathon, "next year, there is talk and threats from all my friends that they might make me run it," he said, "I might be out there a long time... but, we'll see."

James also spoke to GlamSpinTennis about retired life:

"Retirement is great; a lot of fun. I've been a lot busier than I thought I was going to be because I've been working on this event and chasing my daughter around. [Also] just figuring out what I want to do with the next part of my life. I've been so single-minded and so focused on tennis for the last 20 years of my life that to get away from it a little bit and find what else really inspires me is a great thing. Right now the number one thing is my family."

You can donate to the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, here.

Here are some pictures from the event; photo credit  aguyandagirlphotography.com:  





Thank you to Jody and DeDe.



Monday, December 2, 2013

Dancing with the WTA & ATP Stars

In celebration of the off-season, lets take a look at the dance moves of some of our favorite tennis pros. As you can see below, dancing skills vary immensely by player. Thankfully, everyone looks like they are having a good time!

Dancing with the Tennis Stars in Italy featuring Flavia Pennetta and Francesca SchiavoneBaillandon Con le Stelle. 



Venus and Serena - is this Salsa dancing?






Blast from the past - Novak and Rafa in Colombia. Rafa seems a bit shy. 




Retired ATP tennis star - Andy Roddick - showing off his moves. Why didn't we ever get to see these moves while he was playing? Guess it would have undermined his locker-room cred. 






Bonus - Andy faces off with his wife Brooklyn Decker in a dance-off. I think Andy won handily.