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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What the heck is a skapri?

Yesterday, I visited my friendly neighborhood Academy Sports and Outdoors store for a completely un-tennis-related matter.  As I was looking around in the women’s clothing department, I stumbled upon these:

skapriBehold: The “Skapri.”  That’s right, the “skapri.”  For those of us familiar with tennis skirts, we know that many of them come with shorts built in underneath. But these…oh no. These come with cropped leggings underneath.  I have just one question: WHY?  This is one heinous piece of clothing.  And who’s to blame?  My guess: Victoria Azarenka.

Vika is my favorite women’s tennis player but during this year’s Australian Open, she continually wore purple leggings under her peachy dress as seen below.

Vika leggings

This is just not a good look. And might I also say, unnecessary?  I know cold tennis.  The high school tennis season started in January back when I was competing.  One particular tournament had me playing in 30 degree weather with North winds reaching at least 30mph.  And I managed to do it in nothing but my skirt and tennis tank…and Under Armour long sleeves…and fleece jacket…and warmed up wearing my leather letterman jacket.  But nothing on my legs. Sure, it was cold but after a while I warmed up.  I see no point in wearing built-in cropped leggings. What if you get hot? Then you’re screwed.  Why can’t we just slip some pants on under our skirts and over our undershorts? Why can’t we, Nike? Why can’t we?

 

*Photo credits: Nike Skapris courtesy of Nike.com; Victoria Azarenka courtesy of Zimbio.com

Published in: on April 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm  Comments (5)  
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Adidas Aussie Open Preview

Good news, readers! The Australian Open is a mere sixteen days away! And Adidas may have finally come out of its funk! Maybe.

For both the men and women, Adidas has gone with a black, gray, and yellow color palette. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to see the rainbow bright stuff gone. So here is a look at the new stuff that we should be seeing at the Australian Open…

First, is the men’s adizero group.  The polo and crew have the same color-fade design.  It has a slightly retro feel to it that I happen to like.

Adidas adizero men 2013I cannot say the same for the shorts, however. They feature an odd wave-like design that completely clashes with the shirt pattern.  They are also available in white with a less noticeable design, so let’s hope more men choose the white.

Adidas shortsNext up, is the men’s barricade group.  The color palette is the same but the design is different.  The crew features a black and yellow mix on the shoulders–and as we all know from pre-school finger painting, this turns into an odd greenish color–while the polo is classic and clean cut.  The shorts for this collection are plain white, gray, or black.

Adidas barricade crewAdidas barricade poloNow on to the women.  The women’s adizero group features the same color-fade pattern as the men in the skirt and dress while the tanks and crews are basic solid colors.

Adidas skirt

Adidas dressAdidas adizero womenI approve of all the adizero looks for women.  The color palette is toned down from the previous few seasons but still visually interesting.

The final Adidas collection is Adidas by Stella McCartney.  This season, this collection is also the barricade collection. Normally, the two are separate.  Some players will wear barricade and one, Caroline Wozniacki, will wear Adidas by Stella McCartney.  So, this leaves me wondering if other Adidas players will be wearing looks by Stella McCartney as well.

The colors for this collection are white and pastel yellow.  The dress is flat in the front but features pleats in the back.

Adidas by Stella McCartney

Adidas by Stella McCartney dress

*All photos courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

Published in: on December 29, 2012 at 8:49 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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Adidas strikes again!

Ana Ivanovic may have won her first round match at the U.S. Open 6-3 6-2 over qualifier Elina Svitolina but she won’t be winning any fashion awards.  She wore the Adidas adizero fall dress in yellow.  On TennisWarehouse.com, it doesn’t look too bad…

Adidas Fall adizero dress
*courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

 

But there is something about this dress on someone that just makes it the ugliest tennis dress ever.

Ana Ivanovic wearing the Adidas adizero Fall dress
*courtesy of Getty Images

 

The bad thing is that Ivanovic is not the only player to wear this unfortunate get-up.  Sorana Cirstea, who took out Sabine Lisicki yesterday in the first round, is also wearing this dress.  Daniela Hantuchova, who lost her first round match to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, also wore this dress.

This dress is available in pink, as Ivanovic demonstrated at the recent Rogers Cup in Montreal.  Somehow, the pink dress is nowhere near as bad as the yellow. In fact, I think the pink dress is actually quite a nice dress.

Ana Ivanovic wears the Adidas Fall adizero dress in pink
*courtesy of Associated Press

Even more unfortunate than the yellow women’s dress is the Adidas men’s adizero Fall crew in yellow which looks bad both on and off the wearer.

 

Adidas Fall adizero crew in yellow. Too ugly for words.
*courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

 

 

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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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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Nadal: From Pants to Shorts and Sleeveless to Sleeves

Rafael Nadal made history on Monday, becoming the winningest tennis player in the history of Roland Garros, capturing his seventh French Open title, stealing the record away from Bjorn Borg.  He has come a long way. He came seemingly from out of nowhere in 2005 after winning both Monte Carlo and Rome prior to the French Open and marched into Paris, winning in his first attempt at the tournament.  I have to give the guy credit for changing his look since then.  Below he is seen as he looked in 2005.  No sleeves, long hair, and gondolier pants, man-pris, cropped pants, whatever you want to call them. 

Nadal lifting his first Roland Garros trophy in 2005. Photo found on flickr.

Nadal at the 2005 French Open with long hair and no sleeves. Courtesy of SIKids.com

Even though his hair has grown out a little this year since he cut it some years back, he looks much better. I have always considered sleeveless shirts on male tennis players classless and I don’t know what was up with those pants. So, props to him for changing his look and for winning his seventh French Open title. 

Published in: on June 12, 2012 at 1:54 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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Venus Williams is an outfit repeater!

Who doesn’t love to wear a good outfit over and over again? The keyword here is good.  Venus Williams defeated Ana Ivanovic at the Aegon International at Eastbourne on Wednesday wearing the same dress she wore at the Australian Open, just in white.

If you can harken back that far, Venus wore a really long tank teal tank top as a dress back in January in Melbourne.  The dress was striped with the use of different fabrics–some of them being sheer–and featured a zipper that went down the length of the dress.

Resume to present-day and Venus is wearing the same thing in Wimbledon white.

Venus re-wears a super short dress from her own line, Eleven.

It was really an unfortunate dress in January and is just as unfortunate today.  I hope she doesn’t repeat this dress again at Wimbledon next week.

*Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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