Three promising young Canadian players – 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov, 17-year-old Félix Auger-Aliassime and 20-year-old Françoise Abanda – all Nike endorsers – got together for a photo shoot this week in New York.
At first glance you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s another Canadian in there with them: Genie Bouchard.”
And then you realize it’s not Bouchard at all; it’s Hungary’s Fanni Stollar, 18, another up-and-comer.
But you have to have to look twice.
While Bouchard can’t be considered an up-and-comer any more, the whole concept is a bit … weird.
In a few weeks, when Wimbledon rolls around, the end of the blue period will be upon us.
But until then, we are not yet done with the Nike Blue – Paramount Blue, officially – that was ubiquitous during the clay-court season.
It was a step above the yellow and green neons that fought a valiant battle for supremacy on the Nike players during the Indian Wells-Miami swing a couple of months ago.
But the French Open was absolutely overrun with it.
Here is just a small sample of the protagonists. They ranged from the juniors, to the pro players – even to legends like John McEnroe and Conchita Martiez.
There were two varieties for the women. The basic kit matched up with the shorts worn by the men.
Some of the women were chosen to wear the non-patterned Maria Sharapova kit : Russian juniors Olesya Pervushina and Anastasia Potapova, American Anastasia Anisimova, Croat Alja Tomljanovic and Canadian Françoise Abanda.
But the vestiges from the battling neons era remained.
Where are the blue socks?
It was all about the shoes and socks.
We asked several Nike players why the heck the shoes didn’t match. None of them had an answer; they just wear what they’ve given, or paid to wear.
But one did point this out: “The socks don’t match, either!”
There was a little of the green neon around the trim of the shirts – and of course the Swoosh. But the sock/shoe wardrobe malfunction was definitely out-of-the-box thinking.
They should all have been wearing Nadal’s shoes. And it would have been perfect.
As well, they are also 10 French Open, winning championship shoes. They could even have kept the personalized “Rafa” and No. 9 on the backs of them – just for good karma.
The only outfit that matched the shoes was the black version of the kit, worn by Genie Bouchard.
On a related note, the two junior girls’ finalists and all four girls in the doubles final were tangled up in Nike Paramount blue. So you can see where the future is headed once they all graduate to the pro tour.
KEY BISCAYNE – Rafael Nadal doesn’t know how it happened.
But after coming right out of his shoe as he ran in vain for a brilliant Fabio Fognini drop shot during their Miami Open semi-final Friday, he said during the Spanish part of his post-match media conference that he’s going to have to go video replay to determined what happened.
The Mallorcan seemed perplexed, and maybe a little embarrassed about the incident, which Fognini greatly enjoyed and everyone else got a big kick out of. But in discussing it afterwards, Nadal didn’t really see the humour; it cost him a point, and therefore is a problem that must be handled.