A Look at the 2014 FedEx ATP Performance Zone Photos

While keeping up with the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at work using the live tracker on the ATP website, I came across this picture.

FedEx ATP Performance Zone

It is part of an advertisement for the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

I was struck with some thoughts on the facial expressions of all four players featured.

Andy Murray looks disinterested yet angry…and also a little sunburned.

Novak Djokovic looks hungry to reclaim the number one ranking again.

Roger Federer’s face seems to be saying. “Hey! Wait for me!” as the others surpass his greatness and leave him in the ashes of mediocrity, his flames of glory having burned out long ago.

But my favorite is Nadal. He is showing us his Rico Suave face. “Hello, ladies. My name is Rafael Nadal and I want to be your Latin lover,” it seems to say. I also have to applaud him also for managing to get his ultra muscular left arm into a headshot. Way to show off those guns, Rafa.

Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Aussie Open 2014 In Review

When the Aussie Open began two weeks ago, I don’t think anyone expected Na Li and Stanislas Wawrinka to be the champions. In becoming such, they achieved something rare. Na Li is the first Asian winner of the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific and Wawrinka became the first person outside of “The Big Four” to win a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin Del Potro won the U.S. Open in 2009.  But this tournament was also rare because it taught us so much. Here’s what we learned from the Aussie Open 2014:

1. No one is invincible Seeds fell early as upsets abounded this year. Novak Djokovic’s loss to eventual champion Wawrinka was the most notable upset on the men’s side as many had Novak tapped to win his fourth consecutive and fifth overall Aussie Open title. On the women’s side, favorite Serena Williams lost in the Round of 16 to Ana Ivanovic who was then upset by Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard. Sharapova and Radwanska lost to finalist Dominika Cibulkova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka lost to Radwanska.

2. There is beauty in simplicity The current trend among tennis clothing seems to be the busier the better, especially with Nike and their crazy shorts and tops. But Alize Cornet taught us a valuable lesson with her Lacoste dress: that more is not better.

CornetThis dress is simple yet pretty and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite outfits of the tournament. The sleeves are sheer mesh and add a little something special without being overpowering or distracting. Thank you, Lacoste for breaking from the outrageous and the neon to bring us this classy look.

Alize wants to know why Nike and Adidas have to go all crazy with their designs

Alize wants to know why Nike and Adidas have to go all crazy with their designs

3. The “hanger effect” can also happen in reverse You know the scenario. You see something on a hanger in a store and you fall in love with it. You take it to the dressing room and try it on but it just doesn’t look as good on you as it did on the hanger no matter how much tugging and readjusting you do. This is known as the “hanger effect.” But we learned at the Aussie Open this year that if it looks bad on the hanger, it might not look so bad on you. Case in point, Caroline Wozniacki’s Adidas by Stella McCartney dress.

Woz Aussie 14This didn’t look nearly as bad on Caro as I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still not a fan of it because it’s just too busy. And I’m also sad to announce that it’s now available in blue. Looks like we’ll be looking at this style until Roland Garros.

On the other hand, Flavia Pennetta’s Adidas by Stella McCartney outfit looked just as bad as I expected it to.

PennettaThis is a good look for no one.

4. Nike needs new designers The person who designed the high waisted skirt for women needs to be fired. The person who designed the multicolored striped shorts for men needs to be fired. Maria Sharapova needs to stop designing dresses that involve visible undershorts.

Strike 1

Strike 1

Strike 2

Strike 2

Strike 3

Strike 3

You're out! (Here's hoping)

You’re out! (Here’s hoping)

5. Back injuries blow Nadal was severely hampered by his second set back injury in the final and it’s a shame because it was shaping up to be a good match. But then he was out there sandbagging and Wawrinka’s play seemed to drop with Nadal’s and we had one very weird men’s final. And it wasn’t good in a weird way. Would Wawrinka have still won had Nadal been able to play at his normal level of sublime tennis? We’ll never know. Not only is the back one of the worst injuries you can sustain in tennis–I know from experience. You don’t realize how much you use your back in the sport until you injure it and every step and every swing hurts–but it made the men’s final far less exciting than it could have been and it denied Wawrinka the chance to really and truly celebrate his first Grand Slam title.

*All photos courtesy of AusOpen.com and TennisWarehouse.com

I Saw What I Didn’t Want to See

Earlier this month, I bemoaned a  few new pieces of clothing in the new Nike and Adidas collections. I hoped–prayed!–that they wouldn’t show up at the Australian Open. But alas, they did.

Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis wore Nike’s Gladiator short but I really wish he hadn’t.

Kokkinakis

Eugenie Bouchard wore a high-waisted skirt from the Maria Sharapova Nike collection. Again, I wish she hadn’t. This high-waisted tennis skirt trend needs to die, like yesterday. Somehow, they’ve found a way to make some of the fittest athletes in the world look frumpy.

Bouchard

Victoria Azarenka wore a top that I don’t mind actually, but didn’t think I’d see. I’m just glad she didn’t pair it with a high-waisted skirt.

Azarenka Aussie 2014

I really hope Nike goes back to the drawing board after this tournament because they’ve really churned out some ugly stuff in the past six months.

*All photos courtesy of AustralianOpen.com

Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tomas Berdych Wears Soccer Jersey at Aussie Open

Tomas Berdych is taking the court again today to play his second round match at the Australian Open. Also taking the court is his new get-up from H&M.  Berdych signed with H&M in January 2013. The first outfits were boring and plain.

Berdych at the 2013 French Open

Berdych at the 2013 French Open

Then they got a little more creative and added some graphics to the shorts.

Berdych at the 2013 U.S. Open

Berdych at the 2013 U.S. Open

But now they’ve come out with something that can only be described as a “creation.” (Let’s not forget here, that Frankenstein was also a creation)

Berdych at the 2014 Australian Open

Berdych at the 2014 Australian Open

Where to begin? The fact that the shorts don’t go with the top? Or the fact that the top is just bad? ESPN analyst Darren Cahill said it looked like he was playing soccer for the Argentine national team. True. But a better comparison is German soccer team Hertha Berlin.

Hertha Berlin jersey

Hertha Berlin jersey

Take away the Nike check, DB, and Hertha Berlin logo and you have Berdych’s shirt.

I was seriously disappointed when Berdych stopped wearing Nike because they have an affinity for light blue and he always seemed to wear those items. And that color always brought out his eyes–the most beautiful eyes on the tour, possibly the planet. So I got my wish for him to wear blue. I guess it’s true what they say; be careful what you wish for. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out.

Seriously, look at those eyes

Seriously, look at those eyes

 

*Photo credits top to bottom: The Associated Press, Zimbio.com, Sport24.com, sevenjersey.com, fanpop.com

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Aussie Open Apparel Preview

With the Australian Open less than a week away, there’s no better time than the present to take a look at what the Nike and Adidas players will be wearing.

First up is the Maria Sharapova dress. The color is pretty but that’s about where my like for this dress ends.

Maria Sharapova's Nike Aussie Open dress

Maria Sharapova’s Nike Aussie Open dress

Yes, this is a dress. A really short dress. A dress so short, you have to wear shorts underneath that stick out half a foot. This isn’t the first time Sharapova has come out with a dress like this. At the U.S. Open 2013, she was slated to wear a dress of similar cut with shorts underneath. She missed the tournament due to injury but Eugenie Bouchard wore it and it was not a good look.

You know what this look reminds me of? The last time I went to Disney World, in 2007, there were several big groups of Brazilian teens who were all wearing the same field trip T-shirts.  But most of the girls were wearing printed bike shorts. I was highly confused by this because that’s what I wore back in the early 1990s. Fashion has a way of repeating itself but this is not a trend I ever wanted to see again. Does it come with a matching scrunchie?

Nike’s next look is for Serena Williams. At first glance, I liked this dress, too.

Serena Williams' Aussie Open dress

Serena Williams’ Aussie Open dress

But then I see it in pink and on a person and my first thought is old lady swim dress.

Dress or swimsuit?

Dress or swimsuit?

Some swim dresses are cute if they’re the right cut and worn by the right person. But this one is just straight up old lady. But wait a minute, it’s not a swimsuit. It’s a tennis dress!

The rest of Nike’s looks are pretty basic. Your basic tanks and pleated skirts. Only a couple of the looks are noteworthy but they may not be worn by any of the players.

Nike womensThe top isn’t bad, just kind of busy. The skirt on the other hand is bad. Remember Victoria Azarenka’s terrible high waisted skirt at last year’s U.S. Open? It’s the same cut with added pattern. Let’s hope no one wears it at the Aussie Open.

Now on to the Nike men. First up, Rafa Nadal with a crew that’s simple yet appealing.

Rafa shirtRoger Federer’s polo is simple and classic.

RF PoloClassic and simple is a nice break from their other crew options.

Nike crews

Busy, busy, busy! So busy! And to wear the blue or black would be suicide in the Melbourne heat. It may be sub-freezing in most of the United States but let’s not forget, it’s the middle of summer in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s been known to get well above 100 degrees on court. The red crew is thankfully not busy but the dark color may cause problems during day matches. But hey, if it’s hot, just jump into a pool right? Nike has you covered!

Nike shortsContinuing with Nike’s bathing suit look are these men’s shorts. Yes, these are shorts, not swim trunks. I sincerely hope no one wears these.

Now let’s turn our attention to Adidas.

First up, Adidas by Stella McCartney. At first, Caroline Wozniacki was the only one to wear this label but now it boasts Laura Robson, Maria Kirilenko and Andrea Petkovic among its wearers. This dress however (thankfully) is only worn by Woz.

Stella McCartney 2014I mean, really, there are no words. Except maybe heinous and atrocity.

The separates aren’t much better.

Stella McCartney tops & skirts Pleats, prints, stripes. There’s just too much going on, just like the dress.

I’m on the fence with this next look.

Adidas dress 2014I love the blue color of this dress–it matches the courts!–and I love the orange accent sports bra underneath. I also love how the back is sheer with this crisscross pattern. What I don’t like is the cowl neck. Sure it looks fine in this picture but let’s take a look at it close up.

Adidas cowl neckThis is what happens when cowl necks are not maintained. And by not maintained, I mean when you don’t sit like a statue and not move at all. They inevitably flop over. And since tennis players move around so much, that cowl neck is not going to stay in place. It just looks sloppy to me. Although I do like the color of this top–the dress is only available in blue–but that’s probably because I’m partial to orange because of my Sam Houston State Bearkats.

The skirt that goes with this top has me on the fence as well.

Adidas skirt 2014It looks like she’s either pulled her skirt aside or a big chunk has been torn out but it’s supposed to look like that. It doesn’t look too bad from the front but from the side, it’s just strange. I wouldn’t have worn this when I played tennis.

And finally, let’s take a look at men’s Adidas.

First we have the barricade and Galaxy crews.

Adidas barricade crews

Adidas barricade crews

Adidas Galaxy crews

Adidas Galaxy crews

I like these for their simplicity, which is a nice change from Nike’s busy looks, as well as Adidas’ own neon looks from years past. Aside from the black for player heat safety reasons, the only one I don’t like is the barricade crew in Solar Slime. Aside from it having a terrible name, it’s slightly eyeball searing. But only slightly.

The Australian Open begins on January 13 (or January 12 if you are in the United States). I can’t wait to see these new looks debut. You never know, sometimes clothes look better on the person than on the hanger.

*All photos courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

Published in: on January 8, 2014 at 12:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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2013 in review: Thanks for another great year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

As always, thanks for reading! Stay tuned as tennis season ramps up again and look out for my Aussie Open preview coming soon! Happy New Year everyone!

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fashion Face-Off: Serena vs. Azarenka

This face-off of the two women’s finalists is Nike vs. Nike.  Both also ended up on the worst-dressed list.

Serena wore a Nike dress made of Nike’s new combo material of Dri-Fit and spandex jersey.  Her day dress was pink and her night dress was gray. I’m not a fan of either.

Serena

The good thing is that at least on Serena, it doesn’t look like an ice skating costume as it does on the model on TennisWarehouse.com.

ice skating Nike

 

Azarenka also wore clothing made of Dri-fit and jersey spandex. It too is bad, especially the high waisted skirt.

Azarenka

However, props go to Azarenka for not choosing the purple version.

purple skirt Nike

I regretfully declare Serena the winner of this contest. In no other situation would that dress have been picked as a winner. That should speak volumes to how very bad Azarenka’s outfit is.

 

*Photo credits top to bottom: Zimbio (Serena left), wwtdd.com (Serena right), TennisWarehouse.com, USA Today, TennisWarehouse.com

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nike a big flop at U.S. Open

At this year’s U.S. Open, very little Nike apparel was visually pleasing.  Here’s a look at some of the worst.

Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka wore two of Nike’s pieces that are made of Dri-Fit material and spandex jersey, the fabric that lends the skirt and top their slightly heathered look. I’m not a fan of the effect. Nor am I a fan of the high waisted skirt–and yes, it is supposed to be high waisted.  As a rule, the only high waisted article of clothing anybody should wear is a pencil skirt, and even those are not exactly “in” anymore.

 

 

Bouchard & Keys

Eugenie Bouchard wore this creation that was supposed to be worn by Maria Sharapova who withdrew before the tournament.  I’m not entirely sure what the pattern is supposed to be–New York City skyline and harbor maybe?–but whatever it is, it’s ugly. And the undershorts that stick out? Not a good look. I expect better from Sharapova.

 

Serena

Serena’s pink dress was for day matches and the gray for night matches.  Both were bad. The skirt was a bad play on the current high-low dress trend. But instead of the front being high and the back low, the sides were high and the front and back were low. And like Azarenka’s pieces, these dresses are also heathered.  It looks good on neither.

 

Federer US Open

I don’t know what happened here. Federer is usually so well dressed. Then again, Federer usually makes it past the fourth round and he didn’t do that at this year’s U.S. Open either.  Much like Caroline Wozniacki’s Adidas by Stella McCartney dress, there’s one too many shades of blue here. Those shorts don’t even remotely go with the rest of the look.

 

Nadal US Open

Finally, Rafael Nadal wore this all gray get-up for his night matches.  Why was Nike obsessed with gray? It looks good sometimes but too much is drab. And looking at this outfit makes me sad. I’m also not a fan of the Pepto pink swooshes.

 

Na Li

The outfit worn by Na Li was Nike’s shining start of the tournament. When I saw it on TennisWarehouse.com, I thought it was so ugly. So maybe it’s one of those things that looks better on you than it does on the hanger.  But then the gray raises its ugly head on her skirt. But it was so short–so short in fact that her normal tan lines were not covered by it–that it wasn’t over powering, unlike Azarenka’s too-long skirt, Serena’s night dress, and Nadal’s all gray outfit.

 

*Photo credits top to bottom: USA Today, TennisWarehouse.com, Zimbio (Serena left), wwtdd.com (Serena right), USOpen.org (Federer, Nadal, Li)

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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A Look Back at James Blake

For the second consecutive year, an American man has announced his retirement from the tour at the U.S. Open.  Last year, it was Andy Roddick. This year, it was James Blake.  Blake’s career ended in the wee hours of the morning on August 29–just after the stroke of midnight, in fact.  Since I did a look back at Andy Roddick last year, I felt the need to do one for James Blake as well.

In the early 2000s, Blake rocked the fro…or whatever you call this wild ‘do.

Whoa! Big hair!

Whoa! Big hair!

When he returned from his serious neck injury in 2005, his head was cleanly shaven but he kept the sweatband.

Silky smooth

Silky smooth

At the 2006 U.S. Open, he paid tribute to Andre Agassi by wearing a replica of the outfit Agassi wore in the 1990 French Open final, right down to the neon pink undershorts.

Time machine look

Time machine look

Blake's inspiration from 16 years before

Blake’s inspiration from 16 years before

Blake’s career was plagued by lows but balanced out with an equal number of highs.  He was once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world (2006), has 10 career titles to his name, and a 362-251 record.  Though he never made it farther than the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event, he gave us lots of good memories and he will be missed.

*Photo credits top to bottom: BBc.com, worldtoptenthings.blogspot.com, rickey.org, uncredited

Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mixed Reaction to Venus’ New Look

Venus Williams took out the number 12 seed in her opening match at the U.S. Open on Monday.  She played a great match which has not been her norm since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, in 2011.  Not only did her play catch my eye, her new look did as well.

Venus wore a dress from her own Eleven line that I actually like. It makes for a very pretty dress, but much like the dress she wore at this year’s Aussie Open, it is better for off court activities.  The floral pattern on a black background is on-trend–I saw a dress with a similar pattern at Macy’s recently. But it’s just not sporty enough to be a tennis dress.

Venus US

But then there’s Venus’ hair…it’s pink. Venus started rocking the colored weave at the 2012 Olympics. I’m all for showing patriotism in any way possible so I guess I didn’t mind her red, white and blue locks. But this pink hair is looking a little Allegra’s Window-y. Yep. Betcha didn’t think I’d take you down Memory Lane did ya?

Venus' patriotic hair at the 2012 Olympics in London

Venus’ patriotic hair at the 2012 Olympics in London

 

Left: Allegra of "Allegra's Window" fame. Right: Allegra's hair twin, Venus Williams

Left: Allegra of “Allegra’s Window” fame. Right: Allegra’s hair twin, Venus Williams

*Photo credits top to bottom: Eurweb.com, Rollingout.com, Ebay.com (Allegra’s Window), Washingtonpost.com (Venus)

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment