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No surprise here: Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova are the highest-paid tennis players in the world.
Forbes released its annual list of the 100 highest-paid athletes (based on prize money, endorsements and appearance fees earned between June 1, 2012, through June 1, 2013). Federer was No. 2 on the list (behind Tiger Woods), earning a whopping $71.5 million in the last year. Joining Federer on the list were Novak Djokovic, who came in at No. 28 ($26.9 million) and Rafael Nadal, who missed seven months of play but still ranked No. 30 ($26.4 million).
Meanwhile, only three women made the Forbes 100. They’re all tennis players. Sharapova leads them at No. 22 ($29 million), followed by Serena Williams at No. 68 ($20.5 million) and Li Na at No. 85 ($18.2 million).
A glitzy, sweaty, drama-filled television program with characters named Sloane, Jelena and Davenport? No, it’s not a show about the current Tennis Channel production of the French Open. It’s Hit the Floor, VH1′s second scripted series, which was created by former tennis writer James LaRosa. It debuts Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. (Click here for the trailer or watch it below.)
For years, LaRosa was a very popular voice in the tennis blogosphere, sharing his humorous takes on the sport for TennisChannel.com. Little did the tennis community know that his writing on the sport was just a hobby. The Boston-born, Los Angeles-based LaRosa has been working in television for almost 15 years and started on Hit the Floor while he was writing for Tennis Channel two years ago.
“I pitched it and wrote the pilot while I was writing tennis stuff,” he said. “Hence why there are all those tennis references in the script.”
Andre Agassi has re-signed with Nike, eight years after leaving the company that helped him become one of the most recognizable personalities in sports
Agassi parted ways with the Swoosh in 2005 after 17 years to join Adidas, which made a financial commitment to his foundation. His return to Nike coincides with its new “Designed to Move” campaign, which looks to end “the growing epidemic of physical inactivity.” Agassi and Nike both tweeted about the reunion on Monday.
“Nike has opened new horizons through its Designed to Move campaign, while consistently and historically championing health and fitness,” Agassi said in a news release. “Coming back together through this partnership will have a multiplying effect on this and future generations.”
According to an annual list of the 50 most marketable athletes compiled by British sports magazine SportsPro Media, ATP No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the sixth most marketable athlete in the world. In a rather surprising selection, Sloane Stephens comes in at No. 9, making her the most marketable female athlete in the world. Djokovic and Stephens come in ahead of Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal, as well as Roger Federer and Serena Williams, who didn’t even make the list.
Are you scratching your head? Me, too.
Jimmy Connors has a clear idea who he believes Jimmy Connors to be. Outsider. Rebel. Fighter. Purist. A guy who didn’t give a damn about what you thought and had no problem letting you know that with creative language and choice fingers. The thing is, Connors is selling himself short. Whether he meant to or not, Connors paints a picture of a complicated individual full of contradictions in his memoir, The Outsider.
Over the course of 401 pages, the eight-time major champion tells the tale of an undersized kid from East St. Louis, Ill., who was taught his (at the time) unorthodox baseline game by two unyieldingly strong women, went Hollywood after moving to Los Angeles at 16 to train under master tactician Pancho Segura and came to dominate in the mid-1970s. Ferraris, the Playboy mansion, rubbing elbows with Frank Sinatra and Marlene Dietrich? Not bad for a kid from the Midwest.
Rory McIlroy tells The New York Times that while Tiger Woods may have been his childhood idol, nowadays he seeks to pattern himself after Roger Federer.
McIlroy admires the Swiss star’s business acumen and actually sought his advice before signing a multimillion-dollar deal with Omega watches last month.
[B]rand-wise, he aspires to be like another Nike endorser, the tennis superstar Roger Federer, who has become a symbol of grace and good taste. McIlroy said he discussed the business side of sports with Federer over dinner in December while in Brazil to watch his girlfriend, the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Before completing the deal with Omega, McIlroy spoke for 45 minutes with Federer, a 17-time major singles champion.
“He’s a role model, someone I can pattern myself after,” McIlroy said.
When it comes to his course performance, McIlroy may be taking his Federer worship too far. The Nike mates both held the No. 1 ranking last year but are currently ranked No. 2, and neither has won a title this year.
Chris Evert said Saturday that she is “extremely disappointed” that Jimmy Connors implied in his upcoming memoir that she had an abortion shortly before the two were to wed in 1974.
“In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful,” Evert said in a statement released to Reuters on Saturday through her agent Lawrence Frankopan at StarWing Sports.
“I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public, without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment.”
Random thoughts, observations and links from the tennis world …
• This adorable picture above got me thinking: Which tennis players from this era will kids be dressing up as for future Halloweens? The answer is no one, especially after Rafael Nadal abandoned the sleeveless/pirate look. Bring back the crazy styles, tennis, even if that means acid wash and wigs.
Jimmy Connors’ autobiography, The Outsider, comes out in two weeks. Some details are beginning to leak, including an excerpt about his relationship with Chris Evert.
In the chapter on Connors’ high-profile romance, engagement and breakup with Evert, The New York Daily News reports that Connors “strongly hints” Evert was pregnant and had an abortion shortly before they were to wed, in 1974. Judge for yourself.