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Nov 8, 2008

Juan Martin Del Potro dressed up as John Travolta at Tennis Masters Cup Opening Ceremony

They are turning Juan Martin Del Potro into John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever! I mean the hair and suit (collar outside the jacket) are so 70s!

But I'm totally happy seeing him strutting down the catwalk for the first time at Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Good looking, huh?

And for the first time we can see Andy Roddick in Shanghai. Here are the rest of the photos at the opening ceremony, for both singles and doubles players.



(Via Osport.cn)

Andy Roddick is still missing from Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai

Where the heck is Andy Roddick?

The rest of the guys are not waiting for him. They have already taken the official Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai players photo.


Roddick is also not seen mingling with the guys at practice. Perhaps he wants to practice alone and strategize to succeed here. Or maybe he's not in Shanghai yet, I guess.

Andy Murray is begging Roger Federer not to beat him this time around.

Awww.. lovely couple, they have so much to talk about.

Gilles Simon has been practicing diligently.

So does Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Jo-Willy

This song is dedicated to Mirka. She's not exactly lonely but bored.



(Images via Tennis Masters Cup official site, Osports.cn)

Novak Djokovic at tennis clinic for kids in Shanghai

For a player who is well-known for his 'over-inflated ego', it's very heartwarming to see Novak Djokovic conducting a tennis clinic surrounded by kids in Shanghai in these pictures.

This event is sponsored by Wilson.


(Images via Osports.cn)

What is going on with Kings of Tennis / Big Bang Penang? Arianna Teoh, Penang Government, please answer.

For those who are regulars at HCFoo's Tennis Blog, they know I don't post rumours.

I only post facts which are cited from credible and relevant source such as the media person directly. Well, except for Anando's case which is solely based on a photo, which turns out to be true.

I don't post the cancellation of the Kings of Tennis for nothing.

I'm doing my bits to provide the latest development in tennis. If do not care about this event, I wouldn't have contacted the media team and management at Kings of Tennis based in Sweden for media accreditation from day one.

And I wouldn't have written to Arianna Teoh, the organizer too for the latest development and press releases which she never get back to me with those info although she promised to do so.

One thing for sure, I always appreciate media team and publicists especially those I've been in contact with in the US, UK and recently in Tashkent who are usually very professional and always furnish me with the latest info about the players they work for as well as tournament events.

So when Johan P. at Kings of Tennis (also work for TENNIS.SE) wrote back to me informing me that Kings of Tennis has been cancelled for the very last minute, I was shocked too.

Even SK Boey, whom I get to know about this event, doubt me at the beginning... until he called up Roy Emerson, supposedly the Captain for Team America.

Emerson is still in LA right now and has already unpacked his suitcase, as quoted from SK Boey's website. And in the latest post, SK Boey mentioned that Emerson personally wrote him an email confirming the cancellation again.

So now, the questions is why Arianna and Penang Lawn Tennis still insist the event is still ON?

Why Arianna has not reply to my email saying that this is all rumour and confirm that there is a plan B after all?

Are there actually changes in the players list? If Emerson is not coming, who's going to replace him?

I know this is a bad news looking at all the efforts put in to make this event a successful one. I wish the media team at Kings of Tennis will come back to me and tell me it's on again. Or Emerson tells SK Boey that he'll be flying to Malaysia now.

I'm not sure if you have been to the construction site where the stadium is being built in these few days. Perhaps you can do so this weekend.

In a forum discussion at lonelyplanet, Melissa1234 expressed her worry:
The venue is very slowly getting into shape. Looks like a rush job and they better hurry with 11 more days to go before the Big Bang . I was there yesterday and looks like it will not be ready. I really hope my judgement is wrong ~ Nov 3, 2008
You know what, searching for info about Kings of Tennis is not easy. There are almost no reports on this event in the newspapers (online or offline, national or international). Try google Kings of Tennis or Big Bang Penang under news and see.

If
this event is so huge, participated by former world no.1 players in the world, why the international media almost don't give a damn about this event? And why the Swedish entreprenuers want to have it in Penang in the first place? Why not in Sweden itself?

Also, why suddenly Kings of Tennis a supposedly an international event want to localize themselves and use a government domain (.gov.my) for their website?

Can someone explain what is going on here?


Without proper explanation regarding the current issue or worse the failure of this event, the opposition party (which is the Barisan Nasional here) will have an opportunity to question the Penang government (who is the main sponsor) on the money spent in this project.

Read here and here for why I think Penang government try not to get involved in the confusion between the local organiser and the owner of this event.


I've just checked that Kings of Tennis has been removed from the Visit Penang website. Click on images to enlarge.

Seems like the Penang government has turned their back on this event and delete it from the official programme.




Updates:
Click here to read about the event which is now officially cancelled.

Rafael Nadal slams Argentinean media on false political comment

Rafael Nadal is setting the record straight. He's not interested to get involved in anything political be it locals, national or international.

Here's what he has posted in his website today:
I don’t usually like to get involved in anything tabloid related, but given the seriousness of the matter I would like to straighten things out a bit.

It appears that some Argentinean media publishers have released a statement directed to me in regards to a ‘comment’ that apparently I made about their politics.

Well, I would like to say that those comments are completely false and my team is now going to get involved to try to track the source of these lies. We are going to take the necessary steps to stop this from happening again.

I am the kind of person that doesn’t like to get involved in politics, not local, nor national, and specially not international. That’s the way it is, and the way it will remain.

I really hope that all the Argentinean people that read the article know that it wasn’t me who said those things but instead it was someone else who just wanted to take advantage of my name.

Thank you everyone!

Rafa
I'm not sure what kind of comment falsely reported by the media publishers in Argentina.

But one thing for sure, the heat of Davis Cup final has begun!

(Via Rafael Nadal's official website, Image via zimbio.com)

WTA Championships: Ana Ivanovic gets her cake then pulls out; Serena Williams withdraws too

We don't get to see Fernando Verdasco celebrating Ana Ivanovic's 21st birthday.

Instead WTA boss Larry Scott and tournament director Karim Alami were the guys celebrating Ivanovic's birthday
at the VIP Village of the Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

They presented her with a cake, shaped like a tennis racquet, made by Le Notre Paris.

The bad news is Ivanovic announced today that she has withdrawn from the Sony Ericsson Championships due to a virus.

The 20-year-old beauty has felt unwell throughout her stay in Doha and was affected by illness in her opening two round-robin matches.

Good for Agniezka Radwanska though as she will take on Svetlana Kuznetsova in Ivanovic's place.
"It's obviously, very, very hard for me," said Ivanovic.

"After the other night's match, it was a very intense and long match. I actually started to feel worse. Yesterday I didn't feel good, and today even worse."

"I tried to hit yesterday actually. I was on the court for about ten minutes, and as long as I didn't move it was okay. But if I tried to hit a little bit harder or to move to the side, it was impossible to do."

"Even if I were to step on the court [tonight], I wouldn't even be able to go through a few games."
The withdrawal is obviously a disappointing and sad ending to an otherwise glorious season.

But 2008 isn't all bad as Ivanovic won her first ever Grand Slam title and reached No.1 in the world (plus she also pocketed $100,000 at Doha despite the disappointing result).
She said: "Even though I had a tough few months, I still think this was the best year of my career so far. I won a Grand Slam, and I reached the position of No. 1. So there's lots of positive things to take from this year."
In another shocking withdrawal, Serena Williams cited a stomach injury when she pulled out of her match at the Sony Ericsson Championships against Elena Dementieva, who advanced to the semifinals.
“I did feel pain last night,” the U.S. Open champion said.

“I was still in pain just getting out of bed.”

Williams lost to her sister, Venus, 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 on Thursday.

Serena said she might have tweaked a muscle and that doctors had told her to rest.

(Via AP, Ana Ivanovic website, Images via zimbio.com, Yahoo! Sport)

Nov 7, 2008

Roger Federer shaves for Gillette at Shanghai

While in Shanghai for Tennis Masters Cup, Roger Federer makes some money by squeezing in a Gillette promotional campaign in between his training.

This event named Boys To Men were attended by a thousand of university students. Check out the youtube posted by The Star Online at the end of this post.

Roger Federer competes in a shaving competition.

"What was that?"

Couldn't be bothered, Mirka finds something to do to kill her time.

I guess Federer lost in the competition. He haven't finish the other half of his face.

A token of appreciation for Federer.



(Images via sina.com)

Random pictures at the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai

Everyone already know why Rafael Nadal is not in Shanghai for Tennis Masters Cup.

But I don't see Andy Roddick and Nikolay Davydenko either. I've been surfing some of the popular Chinese websites trying to dig some photos of the two but to no avail.

However here are the rest of the guys. But before that look at the robin group allocations below (numeric prefix denotes seeding)

Red group
1. Roger Federer (SUI)
3. Andy Murray (GBR)
5. Andy Roddick (USA)
8. Gilles Simon (FRA)

Gold group
2. Novak Djokovic (SER)
4. Nikolay Dawydenko (RUS)
6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
7. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)


The lovely Mirka and Roger Federer. You know what? I'm actually rooting Federer to win here.

Novak Djokovic has not been his usual self lately. Either the US Open impacted his
confidence or he has been partying really hard.

Andy Murray is a hot favourite but let's rewind back to the recent Olympic Games, he was beaten
by Rendy Lu in the first round. China has been quite tough on Murray, so he's not really my pick to win here.


Murray took part in the Tennis Masters Cup draw ceremony at the Hilton Shanghai on
Wednesday. The names of the players were inside traditional Chinese fortune cookies.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, fresh from winning the Paris Masters looks confident and ready
to win again.


The Chinese people believe that number 8 is a lucky number. Gilles Simon believes it too.

Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga practice together.

Juan Martin del Potro looks yummilicious here.

Thanks to anon, now we can finally see Nikolay Davydenko in Shanghai!

(Via sina.com, fft.fr)

Nov 6, 2008

Kings of Tennis is cancelled; Showdown of Champions draw near

Unfortunately, the first ever team event featuring former world no. 1 players, Kings of Tennis, will not be realized in Penang.

The event dubbed as Big Bang Penang is confirmed canceled today.


In their e-mail, the press officer at Kings of Tennis explained that the event has to be canceled due to the current financial crisis and the uncertainty of the world economics which resulted in the pulling out of some of their key sponsors.

As what SK Boey has predicted, Big Bang Penang has blown up.

P/S Anyone who wants to comment about this part of the post can try answer my doubts in this post too: What is going on with Kings of Tennis / Big Bang Penang? Arianna Teoh, Penang Government, please answer.



However the good news is, Showdown of Champions which is going to be held on the 18th in Stadium Putra KL is going strong!

In the past few days, there are quite a lot of visitors dropping by this blog searching for news regarding this exho.

I was informed that James Blake will be conducting a tennis clinic for LTAM junior players on Nov 18.

There will also be an autograph-signing session at KLCC, which I'll let you know the time, date and place in the next few days.


Drop me an email if you are interested to meet Roger Federer, James Blake, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

If you still haven't get your tickets to the showdown, which is priced between RM108 and RM498, go to Ticket Axcess outlets or call +603 7711 5000 for enquiries. The official Showdown of Champions website is at www.showdownkl2008.com.

Updates:
Click here to read about the event which is now officially cancelled.

Boris Becker, fiancée call off engagement

Boris Becker, 40, called off the engagement to 25-year-old Sandy Meyer-Wolden after just three months.

Everyone knows this engagement is a joke in the first place.
Becker told German newspaper Bild:
"Sandy and I split up at the weekend. We really tried and we wanted to get married next year, but sadly it just wasn't working."

"There was no third person involved, we just couldn't both get on on a day-to-day basis. Maybe the 15-year age difference was actually too much."
Rumours of a break-up began at the weekend when the German sports star turned up alone to a ball in Frankfurt, where he was accepting a lifetime achievement award.

The couple were last seen out together 10 days ago at an Alicia Keys concert in Munich.


Meyer-Wolden was the daughter of Becker's late manager, Axel, who died in 1997.

She was still a baby when Becker clinched his first Wimbledon final in 1985.


Becker proposed during a holiday in Sardinia in August, proclaiming:
"I am unbelievably happy and in love."
So, who's the next Mrs Becker-to-be?

(Via telegraph.co.uk, Image via sina.com)


Venus Williams & Billie Jean King pose nude in support of the Elton John Aids Foundation

Starting from October 30, 2008 to January 18, 2009, you might want to drop by at the National Portrait Gallery in UK to see a new display of over 30 previously unseen nude portraits of leading international sportsmen and women by acclaimed photographers Anderson & Low.

Venus Williams and Billie Jean King are among the sportswomen participated in this project to support the Elton John Aids Foundation in raising awareness of the global issue of HIV/AIDS.

Other sportsmen include Thierry Henry and Matt Dawson (pictures in sequence).

Sir Elton John, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, says "I am delighted that the National Portrait Gallery is hosting this exhibition of wonderful photographs of internationally renowned male and female athletes."

"Anderson & Low have caught in these heroic images of the human body at peak physical condition just how frail, vulnerable and defenceless we all are in the face of such a pernicious virus as HIV."
National Portrait Gallery opening hours: Saturday-Wednesday: 10am - 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Fridays:10am - 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information: 020 7306 0055 Website: www.npg.org.uk

(Via npg.org.uk)

Nov 5, 2008

Finally, Fernando Verdasco spotted in Doha; Anando confirmed couple!

Someone please tell me why Fernando Verdasco is not training for his Davis Cup final?

Instead he is spotted (looking deliciously handsome) watching the match between girlfriend Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic at the
Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha.

Fans no longer have to guess whether something is going on between Verdasco and Ivanovic. He is spotted sitting side by side with Ivanovic's parents Dragana and Miroslav.

However, sadly even the support from her parents and boyfriend couldn't help Ivanovic from stopping world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

Jankovic wins the round-robin play 6-3, 6-4.

In other results, Venus Williams defeated world no. 2 Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-3, while no. 9 Vera Zvonareva defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

(1st image by hcfoo.com, 2nd & 3rd image via Down the Line!, 4th image by Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Nov 4, 2008

Who's Hot, Who's Not In Tennis This Week?

I've done this some time back in September.

Since I have nothing much to blog about (while waiting for the results at Doha), I'll just put up some fascinating photos here.

Don't you think Svetlana Kuznetsova looks like Feliciano Lopez here? :D Sorry Kuzy, thumbs down for you for the bad make-up (again!). And as for Feli, of course it's thumbs up for him as he's officially single again!

You know I'm a Rafatard, but it doesn't mean that I can't criticize Rafael Nadal.

Rafa is not drunk in the picture but annoyed by the paparazzi in Paris. Well, bad week and a bad picture, that already make Rafa deserves a thumbs down.

Roger Federer is already in Shanghai now. Unlike previous years, he's no longer invincible anymore. But one thing never change, fans still think he is a major dork and this picture proves it :D

Don't you just love Ana Ivanovic? I'm sure you wouldn't mind end up stranded on a desert island with Ana, am I right? She looks stunning here, so thumbs up for her.

Jelena Jankovic deserves a thumbs down simply because she looks as if she's in a bathrobe. Period.


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