Stanislas Wawrinka and Gael Monfils Pose for Twitter Picture Prior to Match

Less than an hour before facing off for their match at the Australian Open, Stanislas Wawrinka tweeted this locker room picture of himself with opponent Gael Monfils:

Monfils and Wawrinka are twitter buddies, have practiced together, and have done charity work together. They’ve faced each other three times with Monfils leading 2-1 after winning the two most recent matches, and unfortunately the two highly-seeded players were forced to meet in the third round.

There is little doubt that the two men are fond of each other, and little doubt that they were working their butts off to win the match. But I’m sorry, there’s still something about posing for such a friendly picture in the locker room so close to match time that leaves me feeling uncomfortable. After all, being that close to go time turns a friend into an enemy. Maybe for them the feeling doesn’t change until they’re officially on the court. One thing we do know for certain is that Roger Goodell would not approve of tweeting so close to match-time.

Australian Open Muscles: Samantha Stosur or Rafael Nadal

I love the Australian Open, and not because of its rich tradition as the first Grand Slam of the year. The Aussie Open works for me because it’s played halfway across the Earth and is televised in the middle of the night when my vampire a$$ is still stirring. The only problem with the tourney down in Melbourne is that there’s too much coverage of the hometown players like Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur, but that’s to be expected.

Now, I must admit that the excess coverage of Stosur made me realize she’s more jacked than half the guys on my fantasy football team. She’s easily the buffest dude chick on tour since Amelie Mauresmo. The question is, who’s the more ripped player between her and Spanish stud Rafael Nadal? Let’s take a look:

Rafa recently moved away from the cutoff shirts because he was clearly having self-esteem issues. The guy is absolutely jacked, but so is Stosur. Pound-for-pound, I’d have to say Stosur wins this one, but Rafa will compete with any set of muscles. Plus, he’ll likely be taking home an even better honor — the title. He’s been rolling.

Ana Ivanovic Was Right, She Is in Excellent Shape for Australian Open

Ana Ivanovic has gone from French Open champion to wild card qualifier, and now she’s trying to work her way back up the tennis rankings. The 23-year-old Serbian is seeded 19th in this year’s Australian Open and said prior to the tournament “I’m in really good shape compared to previous years.” She wasn’t joking.

Ivanovic, who was 20 and 21 years old when she was at the peak of her game between 2007 and 2008, has dropped a little over 10 pounds recently. Watching her first-round match against Ekaterina Makarova, Ana was moving about the court with ease and reaching balls she never used to. She was extending rallies with her footwork, and making her opponent earn every point.

Ana won’t be confused for Michael Chang anytime soon, but she managed plenty of winners and few unforced errors. Best part of all, she seems to have fixed one of the biggest weaknesses in her game — her toss. Instead of hitting erratic serves off bad tosses, she’s now catching her tosses to avoid the bad shot.

Ivanovic’s draw isn’t the easiest — she should win her first three matches before facing Kim Clijsters in the 4th round, but the good news is she appears to be in the kind of shape to get back in the Top 10.

UPDATE: After taking the first set 6-3, Ivanovic lost the next two sets 6-4 and 10-8. She fought back from down 0-40 in two service games in the final set, and fought off five match points altogether. Though she’s in shape, Ivanovic still needs to work on the mental part of her game so she can finish off opponents.

Maria Sharapova Complains About Reporter James McOnie Stalking Her

A goofball TV show host from New Zealand has been hijacking Maria Sharapova press conferences lately with off-beat questions, and apparently the tennis star has had enough. Sharapova was in New Zealand for the ASB Classic as a tuneup for the Australian Open. While at the tournament, she kept getting annoyed by host James McOnie who did the “late night TV thing at the Super Bowl” to her all week. The video below is an example of what went on:

Fast forward to Sunday where Sharapova won her opening round match of the Australian Open. After her match, McOnie was there to interrupt the press conference once again, but this time Maria made her uncomfortable feelings known. When asked, Sharapova said she considered him a stalker.

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Andy Murray Hurt His Hand on PlayStation

Here I was thinking that baseball players were the only ones who sustained weird injuries in sports, but now I’m starting to find out that tennis players are right up there. Now tennis players are underrated as far as toughness goes, and because it doesn’t involve contact people don’t realize how physically taxing the sport is. It’s a one-man game and players have to be in peak physical condition to compete for five sets. Take a play off and you’re bounced in the first round of a tourney (not traded to Minnesota). But if tennis players train hard enough to go five sets, then why are we seeing Robby Ginepri get taken out by a squirrel and Andy Murray get knocked out by PlayStation?

SI Hot Clicks tipped us off to the story about Murray’s injury that occurred before he was supposed to serve as the best man in his brother’s wedding. A British paper informs us that Murray “was playing Pro Evolution Soccer against doubles partner Dani Vallverdu when he was felt a twinge in his hand.” The twinge was nothing wimpy either — he strained a tendon and had to wrap his hand in ice. You can’t make this stuff up.

Look, I’ve had a bad case of Nintendo thumb just like everybody else (and I’m pretty sure I’m starting to develop carpal tunnel from all the blogging), but tough it out Andy! You really telling me you had to go get an ice pack for it? Be a man next time and just rub some dirt on it!

Roger Federer Pulls Off Yet Another Between-the-Legs Shot (Video)

If you see it once, you can feel free to call it lucky.  When you see it for a second time, you’d have to be a real skeptic to think Roger Federer hasn’t practiced and perfected the between-the-legs shot.  Federer pulled off a between-the-legs shot at the U.S. Open this summer and in case you thought that was a one time thing, he went with it again on Wednesday at the Shanghai Masters.  Here’s another Roger Federer between the legs shot video, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks:

I love how he completely took the guy by surprise.  Did you not watch the film?  Maybe the next opponent will expect this to happen when he sees Federer chasing down a ball.

Video Credit: YouTube user RFmeastro

Robby Ginepri Taken Out by a Squirrel

Robby Ginepri is a tennis player of whom you’ve probably never heard. He’s ranked 75th in the world and his best showing this year was reaching the 4th round of the French Open before losing to Novak Djokovic. Now that you’ve heard of him, you’ll remember him for a distinct reason.

Ginepri is out 4-6 weeks because he broke his left elbow falling off a mountain bike. How did he fall off the bike? Was he going too fast through a dangerous downhill curve? Was he on his 99th mile out of 100 when he collapsed because of exhaustion? Did he black out because of dehydration? How about d) none of the above.

From FOX Sports who got the story from the ATP Tour’s site, “Ginepri was riding near his Georgia hometown when a squirrel ran into his path. He swerved to avoid the critter and rolled about 50 yards, breaking his ulna.”

We’re big fans of weird sports injuries on the site, but I think that may be the first one attributed to a rodent. I’m guessing Ginepri would have preferred if most people only knew him for his tennis at this point. At the least maybe PETA can hook him up with an endorsement deal to ease the pain.