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

Fashion Face-Off: Sharapova vs. Puchkova

Maria Sharapova dominated Olga Puchkova in the first round of the 2013 Aussie Open 6-0 6-0. Not only did Maria dominate in play, she dominated in dress as well. Sharapova’s dress–aside from the dark yellow detailing below the bust–is well, Maria being Maria. In other words, feminine and pretty.

Sharapova AO 2

Sharapova AO 1

Puchkova on the other hand, wore the single most un-feminine piece of clothing in women’s professional tennis: shorts.  Sorry, but wearing shorts on court makes you look like a recreational player at the city park. But considering how Puchkova played today, the outfit fit.

Puchkova

For me, Sharapova wins this fashion face-off, hands down.

*Photo credits: Getty Images (all photos)

Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2013 Aussie Open Nike Preview

With just nine days before the start of the 2013 Australian Open, we get a look at Nike’s newest collections.

For men, there is the Rafa Spring group, of which the main items are a purple top with an orange neckline and gray shorts.  I do not like the orange and purple combo, so I’m giving this look two thumbs down.  Fortunately for my eyes, but unfortunately for the tennis world–who wouldn’t want to see another nearly six hour classic final, except maybe Djokovic and Nadal himself?– Rafa will be missing this year’s Australian Open due to a stomach virus.

Nike's Rafa Spring collection

Nike’s Rafa Spring collection

The RF collection, for Roger Federer, is better but still a swing and a miss.  One shirt option is blue while the other is gray with pink .  Blue is tricky to do at the Australian Open because of the blue courts.  And Federer has done pink before; at the Rogers Masters in Toronto in 2010.  He may choose to wear one color for night matches and the other for day.

Nike's RF collection

Nike’s RF collection

Nike players who aren’t Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer basically get a choice between two ugly looks. The first, the Advantage polo, is covered in geometric shapes and comes in black and white or blue and red.  The black and white is less ugly so I hope more players choose it.  The second, the Sphere stripe polo, is covered in dizzying lines .  The colors aren’t bad but I would hate to play against someone wearing it.

The Advantage graphic polo

The Advantage graphic polo

The Sphere stripe polo

The Sphere stripe polo

Unlike Adidas, Nike’s men’s and women’s clothes are very different, except for a few questionable color choices.

First, there is the Grand Group, composed of two styles of dresses, the pleated and the flouncy, the popular Princess tank, and two styles of skirts, again pleated and flouncy.  While I like the style of the pleated dress, I don’t like the color combination.  The flouncy dresses are not very interesting and that peachy-orange color, which Nike is calling melon, is just plain ugly.

Left to right, Grand pleated dress, Grand flouncy dress in Melon, Grand flouncy dress in Ultraviolet

Left to right, Grand pleated dress, Grand flouncy dress in Melon, Grand flouncy dress in Ultraviolet

Nike has been doing the Princess tank for at least a few seasons now.  I like the style of it but the colors this season make no sense.  The white has orange and “melon” on the straps which I can deal with.  But then on the purple, the neon yellow straps totally come out of left field.  Nowhere else in the Grand Collection does neon yellow appear.

Nike Grand princess tanks

Nike Grand Princess tanks

I like the Grand pleated skirts– except in “melon” of course.  That color needs to be banned.–because they are classic tennis skirts.

Nike Grand pleated skirts

Nike Grand pleated skirts

But the flouncy skirts need to go.  I’m not a fan of the asymmetrical hem line because it looks messy.  And again, the gray comes out of left field.  Like the neon yellow, it appears nowhere else in the collection.

Nike Grand flouncy skirt

Nike Grand flouncy skirt

Nike also put out the Spring group which is just the Grand group done in black, yellow, and gray, much like Adidas’ collections.  Adidas however, used a bright yellow, whereas Nike used a paler yellow.  In the battle of the yellows, Adidas wins because bright yellow looks better than light yellow when paired with black.

Left to right: Nike Spring pleated dress, Princess tank, pleated skirt and flouncy skirt

Left to right: Nike Spring pleated dress, Princess tank, pleated skirt and flouncy skirt

Finally, there is the Maria Group, created for Maria Sharapova, though others have worn it. The colors are the same as the Spring group, and I still don’t like the yellow.  There are three items; a tank, an A-line skirt, and a dress.  I like the design but not the color of the tank.

Maria tank

Maria tank

The skirt isn’t too bad in the black or the white.  But the trim on the bottom of the yellow is an ugly color.  Adidas made the same mistake in its men’s barricade collection, by blending black and yellow to make a dark greenish-gray color that never looks good.

Maria skirtsThe dress would be pretty if not for that geometric design at the top.  Something about it just doesn’t look right.  But I like the fade from yellow to white and the design is very feminine.  Maria usually has a day look and a night look, but the night look has yet to be released.

Maria dressOverall, I am not a fan of these Nike collections.  But this is just one blogger’s opinion.  Tell me what you think!

*All photos courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Sharapova’s night dress nothing to write home about

I couldn’t wait to see what Maria Sharapova was going to wear for night matches at this year’s U.S. Open.  I was especially excited when I saw what her day dress looked like.  But last night when Sharapova debuted her night match dress, I was severely disappointed.  Below is a photo taken from TennisWarehouse.com that shows Sharapova’s night dress from the front and back.

Sharapova’s 2012 U.S. Open night match dress

The dress isn’t ugly but it’s nothing special, especially for Sharapova.  Her other U.S. Open night match dresses have included a Little Black Dress with a bejeweled neckline and a deep purple dress with tuxedo lapels.  I wasn’t a fan of the tuxedo dress but at least it was more visually interesting than this year’s.  The most interesting thing about Sharapova’s night ensemble this year is her earrings, which are actually very pretty.

Sharapova’s black and silver earrings are the best part of her night look
*photo courtesy of The Associated Press

 

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Maria Sharapova sitting pretty

Maria Sharapova defeated Melinda Czink two and two in her first round match at the U.S. Open today and she looked good doing it. Sharapova debuted a simple pink and gray dress that is just the right amount of power and beauty.

Sharapova debuts her 2012 U.S. Open day dress

I do not, however, understand the red undershorts…

Red undershorts. What?

The pink dress Sharapova wore is her day match dress. Since she is one of the game’s top players, she is sure to play a night match at some point during the fortnight in New York.  Most players have a night ensemble as well, and Sharapova is no exception as she has shown in the past.  So what will this year’s night dress be?  We must wait in anticipation.

 

*all photos courtesy of Getty Images

Published in: on August 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm  Comments (2)  
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Maria Sharapova is the worst player to win the Career Grand Slam…there, I said it

Today Maria Sharapova became just the sixth woman to win the Career Grand Slam in the Open Era.  I may be bold in making this statement, but I believe she is the worst player to do so.

Let’s take a look at her Grand Slam history…she won her first Grand Slam title in 2004, beating Serena Williams at Wimbledon.  She won her second Grand Slam title in 2006, beating Justine Henin at the U.S. Open.  She won her third Grand Slam title in 2008, beating Ana Ivanovic at the Australian Open.  It then took her more than four years to win her next.  Granted, she had shoulder surgery and was gone for about a year but my point here is that her Grand Slam titles have come few and far between.  And she has only won one of each Grand Slam.

Now let’s take a look at the other women who have won the Career Grand Slam…American Billie Jean King was the first woman in the Open Era to win the Career Grand Slam.  She won 12 Grand Slam singles titles.  American Christ Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles.  Czech (and later American) Martina Nvratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles as well.  German Steffi Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles.  And finally, American Serena Williams has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, with the possibility of winning more since she is still active.  To put Sharapova’s name with these other women is disappointing.  The other women are just in another class above Sharapova.

Sharapova has a chance to win more but until she does, I stand by my claim that she is the worst player to win the Career Grand Slam.

Sharapova lifts just her fourth Grand Slam trophy at the 2012 French Open

 

 

Published in: on June 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sharapova wins, avoids fashion faux pas in Roland Garros final

Maria Sharapova defeated Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of Roland Garros today, thus sending her to her first French Open final.  In doing so, she also prevented a fashion faux pas from occurring in the final.  Her opponent in the final, Sara Errani, has worn the Nike Summer Baseline tank and skort in magenta with violet pop.  Had Kvitova prevailed over Sharapova, she and Errani would have shown up to Court Philippe Chatrier on Saturday wearing (gasp!) the same thing! Because you see, Kvitova has also worn the Nike Summer Baseline tank and skort in magenta with violet pop throughout the French Open as well. 

Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani wearing the same Nike ensemble. Courtesy Getty Images.

 
Now, I’m no fan of what Maria Sharapova wore (why the black, Maria? There are no night matches in Paris) but having two players wear the same thing in the final is not only a little confusing but also a major fashion faux pas.

Maria Sharapova fails to impress (this blogger, anyway) in black at Roland Garros. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Published in: on June 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Best and Worst Fashion of the 2011 U.S. Open

 

The U.S. Open may be over but the on-court fashion is still fresh in my mind. Let’s recap the best and worst dressed of the tournament.

                First up…those who impressed.

                Maria Sharapova only got to wear this dress one time which is a shame because it was so much better than her day dress.  As always though, she dressed to impress. And  it was an improvement over last year’s harsh tuxedo dress. 

 

Sharapova at the 2010 U.S. Open

 

                Ana Ivanovic’s performance at this year’s U.S. Open wasn’t her best but the dress she wore is. 

                Venus Williams shocked the tennis world with her departure from the tournament after her first round match due to an autoimmune disease.  I was also shocked by her dress.  I like the front…the back not so much. 

The front of Venus' dress......and the back.

                

Which brings me to the worst dressed. 

                Bethanie Mattek-Sands has made a career out of dressing like a fool.

Right now, you are looking at this picture thinking, “What does Amy have against Mattek-Sands? This actually looks normal.”  Go ahead, scroll down…

Why yes, those are American flag socks.  Patriotism is nice, but not as a pair of socks.

                Nadia Petrova appears to be wearing child pajamas. 

                Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 80s called. They want their clothes back.

                Marin Cilic must be taking fashion advice from Kuznetsova because this ensemble is just as retro-bad as hers. 

*All images courtesy of Getty Images

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What Will Woz Wear?

It’s more than safe to say that Caroline Wozniacki has exhausted the Adidas by Stella McCartney collection that hit the court earlier this year. She has worn nearly every item in the collection from the pleated skirt with the sheer top to the pleated skirt with the drapey top to the ruffle dress.

Caroline Wozniacki, shown here at New Haven, in an Adidas by Stella McCartney pleated skirt, drape top and orange bra top. Courtesy Getty Images.

 

Wozniacki, shown here at Wimbledon, in the white ruffle dress from Adidas by Stella McCartney. Courtesy Getty Images.

 
 

  The new Adidas by Stella McCartney collection has arrived, just in time for the U.S. Open. And thank goodness for something new.  But these items are just not edgy enough for the U.S. Open.  Last year, Woz wowed fans and fashion critics alike with her gray sheath and bright yellow undershorts and bra top.  This year, the colors are so toned down it’s just not exciting.  The new collection is at least, for the most part, very feminine.  But most players like to wear something different for night and day matches in New York.  I just can’t see any of these items on the big stage in New York at night. 

So what exactly will Woz wear?  My guess, since she usually wears dresses at the majors (and separates at the smaller tournaments), is that she will wear the white dress in the collection.  The illusion of wearing two tops while really only wearing one has been a big trend this year…unfortunately.  I’m not a fan of the look but I like the rest of the dress and I know Woz can rock it.

New white Adidas by Stella McCartney dress. Courtesy Tenniswarehouse.com.

The other fashion diva whose dress I am looking forward to seeing is Maria Sharapova.  Her day dress has been released (I’m not a fan. The drab colors and the panel down the front are just odd to me.) but her night dress remains under wraps. 

Nike Maria Sharapova Ace Day dress. Courtesy Tenniswarehouse.com.

Both women play on Monday—assuming the tournament starts on time due to Hurricane Irene—so we don’t have to wait too long until Arthur Ashe turns into the catwalk.

Published in: on August 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Best and Worst Dressed of Roland Garros 2011

Congratulations to Na Li and Rafael Nadal on their French Open titles!  But now it’s time for Center Court Catwalk to congratulate the fashion winners and shake its head with pity at the fashion losers of Roland Garros.

First up, the ones who dressed to impress.

Roger Federer

Federer looked classy, as always, in a striped Nike polo and white shorts.  Simple but sharp.

Daniela Hantuchova

Hantuchova looked great in this Adidas dress. I just love bright pink for the French Open! And her dress just says ‘Summer.’

Jelena Jankovic

Jankovic, like Hantuchova, wisely chose to wear pink.  And bonus, unlike Hantuchova, she was the only one to wear this dress.

Na Li

Li wore pieces from the Nike Summer Group.  Other players like Sabine Lisicki and Petra Kvitova wore pieces from this collection as well but none wore them better than the winner of the women’s title.

Maria Sharapova

Sharapova, like Roger Federer, always looks classy and this was no exception.  Her yellow dress was inspired by the EifelTower, making it only too appropriate for the French Open.

Finally in the Best Dressed category is Sam Stosur.

Though she was knocked out early, she looked good in her red and white striped Lacoste dress.  I love pink for the French Open but I love red as well.  Though many Lacoste players wore a variation of the striped ensemble, Stosur was the only one to my knowledge who wore it in red.

And now to those who disappointed.

Anybody who wore Fila, especially Kim Clijsters.

Monica Seles was great.  This outfit inspired by her is not.  Unfortunately for her, Clijsters was knocked out early.  On the other hand, fortunately for our eyeballs she was knocked out early.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Mattek-Sands wore three different ensembles in three different matches.  This was the worst.  I don’t know where to begin. The eye black design, the one-shoulder atrocity of a dress or the black tube socks.  It all adds up to one very bad look.

And last but not least, Gael Monfils

I’m all for bright colors but this is the wrong one. Purple.  Need I say more?

*All images, excepting Mattek-Sands (Sports Illustrated) and Monfils (AP), courtesy of Getty Images

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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