‘Banned’ Ad: Tennis, Breasts, Desperation Collide

Last week 2K Sports rolled out the latest version of its Top Spin tennis simulation video game.

Serena Williams 2K Sports Commercial

(Video game trailer or marital aid advert? You make the call.)

Right, no idea.

Yesterday, a week after the official unveiling of the game, a racy promotional trailer featuring Serena Williams and actress Rileah Vanderbilt suddenly appeared online. The cover story pushed by 2K Sports to various gaming sites was that actress Vanderbilt had deliberately leaked the video after 2K Sports decided not to distribute the ad.

From the site Joystiq.com:

An advertisement for Top Spin 4 has made its way onto the internet, but it’s not what one would call “official.” Featuring Serena Williams, the ad was definitely made with 2K Sports’ money and effort. We’ve attempted to get an official statement from 2K Sports, but the company doesn’t appear to want to talk until it’s eliminated every instance of the video from the internet.

The ad was originally posted on YouTube by the actress featured in the commercial — apparently she wasn’t satisfied with 2K Sports’ decision to cancel the public release.

Update: 2K Sports’ official statement: “As part of the process for creating marketing campaigns to support our titles, we pursue a variety of creative avenues. This video is not part of the title’s final marketing campaign and its distribution was unauthorized.”

Translation: 2K Sports deliberately created an absurdly racy ad to drum up interest in the game but didn’t have the courage to officially endorse the commercial because of possible public backlash.
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Photo: Serena Has Black Eyes After Foot Surgery?

In recent weeks, there’s been much speculation in the main media about exactly what caused Serena Williams to miss the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams amazing transformation from July 2010 to September 2010

(Does Serena’s injury pass the eye test?)

Serena claimed to Christine Brennan of USA TODAY this week that she injured both feet on July 7 in Munich, but wasn’t exactly sure how she eventually ended up needing 12 stitches in one foot and six stitches in another following a night out in the German city.

Amazingly, Serena played an exhibition match the next day against Kim Clijsters in Brussels and then apparently flew to New York to have her feet examined by a doctor. Of that examination, Serena told Brennan:

“I came back to the United States from Germany and knew something was not right. My big toe was drooping, and I thought, ‘My toe shouldn’t be hanging like this.’ I saw a specialist in New York and had an MRI, and he said I had a tendon that was torn. He said I didn’t necessarily have to fix it, but I’d have a droopy toe the rest of my life. I thought it over and decided it was better to have the surgical procedure, for my career and for my life.”

Serena was photographed nearly a week after her injury partying in heels. More from USAT’s Brennan:

Asked how she could fit her swollen, painful feet into high heels three days before surgery, Williams said, “I was bummed about wearing the Band-Aid at my party, you know me, but there were six stitches under there, so I didn’t want those to show. I love heels, I’m a sucker for heels, so if I have to get the (surgical) procedure anyway, at that point, the doctor told me I needed to do it, so I took the pictures with those shoes, then wore flats the rest of the night. I couldn’t have worn heels the whole night.”

While describing her examination, Serena first told Brennan that a doctor said surgery was elective. Then in her defense of wearing heels days after her apparent injury, Serena told Brennan that her doctor indicated that the surgery was indeed required.

Speaking of contradictions, here’s how Serena described how her feet were supposedly injured in the first place:

“We were walking out of the restaurant and, all of a sudden, I felt pain,” she said. “The pain felt like kind of a stubbed foot, like ‘Ow,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, I stubbed my foot.’ Then in 20 seconds, or a minute, I started walking again. And it hurt some more. So we looked down and there was glass all over the floor. I was standing, recovering, thinking I got a little cut and telling my nephew, who was with us, to be careful. Then my practice partner put a cellphone down to the floor so we could see, and there was a huge puddle of blood. I said, ‘OMG, I don’t think this is good.’ “

Serena’s agent Jill Smoller told Greg Couch of AOL FANHOUSE on July 22, two weeks after the unreported Munich incident, that Serena’s injury did not come from stepping on glass:

“She didn’t step on glass,” said Williams’ agent and spokesperson, Jill Smoller. “So I don’t know where that came from. Her foot was cut. There was a deep laceration. She had surgery Thursday in Los Angeles … to repair a deep laceration on top of her foot.”

A prolific Tweeter, Serena was far from silent on her Twitter account between the day of her apparent injury, July 7, and her reported July 15 surgery date. Between the 7th and the 15th, Serena Tweeted approximately 59 times, but none of those Tweets made mention of anything pertaining to an injury or surgery.

Her first Tweet regarding her condition was Saturday night, July 17:

hi guys! thanks for all the get well wishes. it really means a lot :) can’t wait to get out of bed & back on the courts & do what i do best!

On July 19, this post-op photo of Serena was Tweeted by Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa Vazquez:

Serena Has Black Eyes After Foot Surgery

A closeup of the photo reveals Serena suffering from what appears to be two black eyes:

Serena Williams Black Eyes After Surgery<br />

The photo is made more interesting by rampant speculation in just the past couple weeks that Serena recently had cosmetic surgery. That in turn has led some to question the veracity and/or severity of Serena’s foot injury. Read more…

Serena: Boycott Tourney Because I Was Charged

Why is Twitter so dangerous to professional athletes? We get to see who they really are, instead of the faux, pre-packaged personalities offered us by their sponsors.

Serena Williams tells fans to boycott tournament because it charged her for tickets

The latest example of Twitter pulling back that curtain was the indelicate display put on by Serena Williams last Saturday.

Last weekend the ATP’s Farmers Classic was being played in Los Angeles. On Saturday afternoon, Williams told her 1.7 million Twitter followers to boycott the men’s tennis tournament because she was charged for tickets to the tournament.

Two of the Tweets she sent out slamming the tournament: Read more…

Wimbledon Snubs Serena For Queen Appearance

Queen Elizabeth will be at Centre Court Wimbledon today for the first time in 33 years to, apparently, watch three matches. The featured players the All England Club is rolling out for the monarch’s amusement are Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki.

Serena Williams Booty

(AOL’s Greg Couch is incensed by the snub)

Roger Federer and Venus Williams are off today, but attractive blonde Wozniacki got the nod over Serena Williams for the coveted Centre Court spot. Serena, who did end up meeting the queen with her sister Venus today, will play her match on Court 2.

So who made the call to snub Serena, who is the defending tournament champion and current World #1? And is there an evidence to suggest that the decision was racially motivated? Read more…

Video: Serena Badmouthing Henin To Opponent

Friday, Serena Williams lost an Italian Open semifinal match to Jelena Jankovic despite what appeared to be a subtle attempt at gamesmanship by Serena.

During the match-ending, third set tiebreaker, Serena served an ace to go up 3-0. After the ace, Jankovic complained to the chair umpire that she hadn’t been ready for the point. The official disallowed the protest because Jankovic did not have her hand up to ask for a stoppage of play.

Minutes later, a Jankovic serve during the same tiebreaker was disallowed because Serena asked for a similar stoppage. Unlike Jankovic, Serena raised a hand before Jankovic’s serve. Jankovic disputed the umpire’s call but was rebuffed.

Though Jankovic did go on to win the next four points and the match. That’s when the real fun started.

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Serena: Athlete, Actor, Designer, Bunion Wrangler

Serena Williams today at GlobalGrind.com provides us some of the best guerrilla sports marketing on the web I’ve seen.

Serena Willaims nail school

In an ad masquerading as a blog post, Serena chronicles her first day as a student at a Nail Tech school:

No one likes getting their nails done more than I do. As a matter of fact I go every 4 days to get a manicure and every 7 days for a pedicure. So, I had a brilliant idea to get certified to be a nail tech.

Wait for it…

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Serena Mom Would Wally Pipp a Hag Off The View

I’m flagging this interview of the mother of the Williams sisters, Oracene, for those network execs in charge of casting The View.

Oracene Willaims


Venus and Serena’s mom, much to the delight of Richard Deitsch of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, gave a soft-tossing Aussie interviewer last week an earful during a visit at the Australian Open players party. I can now confirm she’s the happiest miserable person on earth.

Oracene Williams


Though she had virtually nothing pleasant to say, she came off as a charming truth-teller. Best tennis interview I’ve seen in, well, forever.

Excerpts and video after the jump.

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Serena Williams Topless Pic: Surf-Up, Top-Down

Serena Williams, who recently received a slap on the wrist $82,500 fine after threatening to kill a foot fault judge at the U.S. Open last summer, is current vacationing in Barbados. (Williams made $700,000 in earnings from that tournament alone.)

Serena Williams topless photo

Williams was sighted body-boarding by a long-lensed paparrazo when a wardrobe malfunction ocurred. Read more…

Serena Williams Gets ESPN The Body Issue Cover

An apparently fully nude Serena Williams is the cover athlete of ESPN’s ‘The Body’ Issue. This image was uploaded by ESPN public relations spokesperson Crystal Howard to Twitter this morning:

Serena Williams cover photo ESPN The Body Issue posted

Here’s the lineup of other athletes in the issue, including topless surfer Claire Bevilacqua and Joba Chamberlain!

And yes, I’ve confirmed that Danica Patrick is also in the issue. Read more…

Michelle Wie Blog Shows Art Skills, Leopard Skirts

Michelle Wie has her own blog where she can showcase some of her off-course talents - such as art work and wearing leopard & leather outfits.

Michelle Wie leopard skirt

• No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills - mainly because they keep putting themselves in disastrous situations.

• A Nigerian soccer player tries to earn a roster spot by smuggling heroin.

• A furious female Canadian boxer decides to beat up some British soldiers because they were “being gay” on the dance floor.

• Successful sales of a 5,000-calorie burger fills minor league team’s coffers, clogs minor league fans’ arteries.

Read more…