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9:36AM

ATP World Tour Allstars Take on Fort Lauderdale Strikers To Raise Money For Japan

THIS is why I love this sport. 

Recently there have been a number of devastating events that have happened around the world, from the earthquake in Haiti last year, to the floods in Queensland in early January; and every time something like this happens, tennis players from all over the world take notice and then collectively organize events to try and bring support to the affected areas.  Yesterday was no different when many of the top players from the ATP played a charity soccer match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers to raise money for Japan which has been devastated by an earthquake, tsunamis, and now is dealing with a nuclear crisis.  The Allstars lost 5-2, but it was a lot of fun to watch, and should also remind us that we can all make a difference, no matter how small, to help those in need. 

Here are some photos from the soccer/football match:

Kei Nishikori, Felicano Lopez and Novak Djokovic standing for the Japanese National Anthem.

Andy Murray scored one of the 2 goals for the ATP Allstars.

Whoops!

Marcos Baghdatis scored the other goal on a penalty kick.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looks a bit pained.

The Spanish Press called Feliciano Lopez the "Messi" of the team.  I was impressed.

Hot and sweaty post-match.

On Friday, March 25, the WTA, ATP World Tour, Sony Ericsson Open and global tennis family will join forces to help raise money for Japan disaster relief. Prior to the start of Friday’s evening session, players from both the WTA and ATP World Tour will participate in an on-court presentation and walk through the stands on Stadium Court collecting donations. Money collected will go to the Red Cross.

Photos:  Getty Images

9:57PM

Sony Ericsson Open Order Of Play Thursday March 24th

Photo:  Getty Images via Sony Ericsson Open

Tomorrow the men finish up first round play, and the women start the second round.  The Thursday order of play is after the jump....

Click to read more ...

9:41PM

Video: Novak Djokovic Admits He Was Scared During The Wingtennis Stunt

Real men can admit they are scared, and that's exactly what Novak Djokovic did after his Wingtennis stunt, where he played tennis on top of the wings of a plane.   It seems like he had a lot of fun, but he definitely prefers the ground to the air.   He even goes as far as kissing "Mother Earth."  Enjoy!

9:05PM

Sony Ericsson Open Bucket List

If you weren't aware, I will be credentialed this year at the Sony Ericsson Open from Friday March 25th till Tuesday March 29th.  This will mark the first time I will be "media" at a tournament which, although is extremely exciting, has also caused several hours of lost sleep.

Let me explain....

Click to read more ...

6:55PM

USTA Announces Austin As Site For Davis Cup Quarterfinal vs. Spain

The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced today that Austin, Texas has been selected as the site for the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal tie between the United States and Spain, July 8-10.  The matches will be played at the Frank Erwin Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin is the hometown of U.S. Davis Cup stalwart Andy Roddick, who is second all-time in U.S. Davis Cup singles victories with 33.
 
World No. 1 and nine-time Grand Slam singles champion Rafael Nadal said after Spain’s first round win over Belgium that he was committed to compete in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against the United States.
 
This will be the first home tie for Courier, who is in his first year as U.S. Davis Cup Captain, and the first home tie for the U.S. since it defeated Switzerland in the 2009 first round in Birmingham, Ala.  Since then the U.S. has played in four consecutive away ties.
 
“We are excited to play in Austin as we have not hosted a tie in the U.S. for quite some time,” said Courier, who made his debut as captain in the United States’ first round win over Chile earlier this month.  “We will be ready to use our crowd’s energy for what promises to be an exciting and challenging tie versus Spain.”
 
The event is being organized, staged and promoted by the USTA. Tickets will go on sale to the general public the week of April 4th.  For more information, fans can call the U.S. Davis Cup hotline at (888) 484-8782 or visit www.usta.com/daviscup

Click to read more ...

2:40AM

Rafael Nadal Knows How To Drink Responsibly

Photo:  Getty Images/Clive Brunskill 

Rafael Nadal was recently announced as the Bacardi Limited Global Social Responsibility Ambassador.  (Try saying that 3 times fast)

Per their website:

On the tennis court, Rafael Nadal uses his balance, focus, ability, strength and determination to stay in control. It’s part of what makes him a Champion.

He’s only the second male player to have won a Career Golden Slam (all four grand slams during a career). He’s won a record breaking 31 straight games at Roland Garros in the French open and he holds the record for the number of consecutive wins (81) on a single-surface.

Off court, Rafael likes to spend time socialising with friends. And that’s what makes him the right fit for our Champion’s Drink Responsibly Campaign. He has the perfect combination of professionalism, dedication and focus in all aspects of his life and above all, he values the time he spends with family and friends.

Visit the website and Facebook page to go behind the scenes of Rafa's photoshoot, as well as listen to him talk about his new role.

More photos of the press conference can be found at Nadal News. 

1:51AM

How Many Tennis Stars Does It Take to Hold Down a Dolphin?

Apparently 5. 

Yesterday Mardy Fish, Thomas Berdych, Vania Kina, Potito Starace, and Ivan Ljubicic swam with the dolphins at the Dolphin Harbor before starting the business end of their week at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Per the Sony Ericsson Open website:

The players enjoyed a 30-minute interaction with a pair of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that included a ride across the pool, a kiss and a feeding opportunity. The session ended with a group photo with the dolphins jumping in the background. "It was awesome," said King, who lives up the road in Boynton Beach. "I had such a great time." Fish's wife, Deal or No Deal suitcase model Stacey Gardner, was among several family members and coaches who also participated.

Photos:  Sony Ericsson Open