New adidas looks good in qualifying

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For those interested in the US Open collections from the various kit manufacturers, we’ve all seen the heavily Photoshopped promotional handouts that are released leading up to the final Grand Slam of the season.

But how do they fit?

How do they look when the players move?

Are the color choices such that the sweat stains are somewhat alarming (see Nike – mustard-colored US Open series shorts)?

The qualifying is a good opportunity to actually see the kits in action. Because if the lower-ranked players are sponsored, they’ll be wearing them then.

That’s how we knew that Nike’s “baby doll, accordion-pleated” white dress at Wimbledon a few years ago was going to be … about what we expected it might be.

adidas colors shine

For adidas, which has generally outshone its bigger tennis competitor, Nike, in recent years (more Nike’s fault than theirs, really), the new kits are pretty terrific.

They don’t necessarily make a statement as the “Pharell Williams” collection did. But they’re really smashing – especially the women’s outfit.

Here’s China’s Shilin Xu, a 21-year-old ranked No. 215 who rates new adidas gear, (although not a photo – or any other pertinent information other than her birthdate – on the WTA Tour website).

Xu beat Victoria Duval in the first round of qualifying, upset No. 32 seed Varvara Flink in the second, and lost to Mariam Bolkvadze in three sets in the final round.

If we have one bone to pick, it’s this (not new) notion of having the visors and shoes completely unrelated to the colours in the kit.

Either of these is a better option.

Brooksby
(From Tennis Warehouse)

As well, when the wind picks up at the US Open (as it usually does), those pleats are going to be flying all over the place. And that can prove a distraction as some of the women worry about exposing their … undergarments.

Brooksby flies the colors in Qs

Meanwhile, American teen Jenson Brooksby flew the new adidas colors all the way to the main draw on the men’s side.

Brooksby had won two $25,000 ITFs earlier in the summer – 10 matches, only four of which featured opponents who had an actual ATP Tour ranking at the time.

But he lost 6-2, 6-2, to Ernesto Escobedo in the first round of the Aptos Challenger in California a few weeks ago.

So, at No. 394 in the rankings (close to his career high), you wouldn’t have picked the wild card to make the US Open main draw.

He got a main-draw wild card a year ago after winning the U.S. Boys’ 18s in his final year of junior eligibility. But he managed just six games against Aussie John Millman in the first round.

This year, Brooksby beat Kaichi Uchida and No. 27 seed Yuichi Sugita – both tough outs – in the first two rounds. And then, he took Pedro Martinez of Spain (who had upset Tommy Paul in the second round) in three sets to make it to the show again.

It was an impressive effort, to say the least, for a kid who will be a freshman at Baylor University this fall.

Brooksby drew veteran Tomas Berdych, who has played little this summer and is on his protected ranking, in the first round.

On-court tag team for Caroline Wozniacki

MELBOURNE – The reigning Australian Open women’s singles champion has arrived fully equipped to defend her title in Melbourne.

And to get it started, Caroline Wozniacki doubled her luck on the practice court as she practiced with two male hitting partners.

The best part of it was the twins factor.

Of course, they’re not actually twins. That would be too … Property Brothers.

But similar height, weight and coloring. Add to that, the fabulous, matching shorts, and it makes for quite the visual.

Here’s what it looked like. 

Wozniacki spent quite a bit of time hitting approach shots, taking the net, and then putting away a second volley.

Warms our heart to see that sort of tomfoolery going on.

A “flamboyant” tennis brand

On the other side of the court, it was pretty easy to tell the fellows apart. It was about the socks.

Wozniacki

But you’d have to think a couple of enterprising players could market themselves as a matched sparring pair at these bigger events.

It would be a gimmick that could get them a lot of attention.

The “flamboyant” Letour

The brand in question for the shorts is called LeTour. It bills itself as “a throwback tennis brand for life on the Tour”

The company is Melbourne-based, started in 2017 by “ex-professional tennis players who lived and breathed the journeyman lifestyle for the better part of a decade. Their experience of soul-crushing defeats, adrenaline-fuelled victories and crazy tour tales have inspired an authentic creative label that embodies an alternative movement within tennis culture.”

Do you love it?

Letour has a mission: to introduce people to a flamboyant tennis label and provide unique tennis events to support touring professionals and the wider tennis community.

The one-of-each-colour socks are part of the kit.

And it’s already gotten around the site a bit.

Adding the full-colour shirt to the thing might be a bit over the top. But you hope the brand gives out some gear to the struggling pros out there who need a good look.

Wozniacki

It definitely stands out – it has a great vibe.

And getting the two-for-one is even better.

Serena Williams to co-host 2019 Met Gala

Last year, Serena Williams attended the glamorous Met Gala in New York City with the future Olympia on board, looking all a’bloom and impossibly fabulous.

Next year, Williams will co-host it.

Vogue Magazine reports the 37-year-old (!!!!!) will co-chair the 2019 edition.

She’ll join Lady Gaga, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, stylish former One Direction singer Harry Styles and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

That is some heady company, indeed.

It takes place Monday May 6, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

gala
All the way back in 2004, before it was even called the Met Gala, Williams was on hand.

Last year’s theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

That’s a bit of a delicate one – as all issues involving religion are.

Which was, of course, why Rihanna came dressed as the Pope.

But adhering to the theme dress code is not mandatory.

The 2019 Met Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, which opens later in the week, has as its theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion”.

So we’ll see what that produces.

Scheduling conflict

gala
About five months pregnant, Williams attends the 2017 gala with future husband Alexis Ohanian. Next year, she’ll co-chair.

Getting it back to tennis, that means that there’s no chance Williams plays the Premier Mandatory in Madrid.

It is the week following the gala.

If it were a small event, perhaps they could push Williams’s start back to Wednesday.

That’s assuming she were inclined to play.

But because it’s a joint event, the women’s main draw is scheduled to start on the Saturday anyway.

So it looks like a short clay-court season once again for Williams.

Perhaps just Rome before the main event.

Still, that’s more than this year.

Williams didn’t play between Miami and the French Open, where she withdrew with a shoulder issue before her fourth-round match against Maria Sharapova.

gala
Williams attends the 2011 Met Gala with … headwear.

Serena’s Catsuit 2.0 is cool, but is it legal?

PARIS – Serena Williams’ comeback cat suit will make its third appearance of this French Open Thursday.

After being a winning suit in both her first-round singles and doubles matches, Agence France-Presse reported that a Nike spokesperson confirms she will wear it for her second-round match against No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty.

But it’s not without its controversy – something Nike almost seems to enjoy courting for the extra exposure it brings.

Remember the inappropriate “baby-doll dress” at Wimbledon in 2016? They definitely got a lot of mileage out of that one.

cat suit

With the cat suit, though, there are other issues.

Williams spoke of the medical benefits of wearing it in response to a question by ESPN’s Bonnie Ford – in addition to the statement she wants to make. But it’s not going unnoticed by the other players that Williams may have gotten a free pass on the rules.

(It’s likely that Williams can make the case that, because of her ongoing and significant issue with blood clots, the compression component of the suit was necessarily medically – or at least helpful. That’s called a great loophole!)

Russian Aussie Arina Rodionova wondered. 

Rodionova’s fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva was on the same page.

And they both were raked over the coals – with people making it personal – for even daring to question it.

Williams’s first-round opponent, Kristyna Pliskova, was equally unsure.

“I was wondering if it was in the rules. I don’t even know what material it is, it looks like neoprene,” she said. “They should follow the rules, otherwise play in the nude!”

(And no, Pliskova did not attribute the loss to Williams on what the American was wearing).

Serena is used to making waves on the fashion front. Two years ago in Australia, it was the “crop top”.

“Appropriate tennis attire”

cat suitThe rules, as stated, define certain things as “inappropriate” like jean cutoffs, T-shirts and gym shorts. But that list isn’t exhaustive. The interpretation of the rule seems to be up to the supervisors, in the end.

At Wimbledon, for example, there are very strict rules. Players have been told to change their attire for reasons as varied as non-white running shoe sole (Roger Federer), a headband with the official Wimbledon logo (Nick Kyrgios), a black lace bra under her shirt (Genie Bouchard) and, on several occasions, having the underneath of their visor not be white. 

Anne White looked amazing in her cat suit years ago. But it wasn’t legal.

cat suitAnd, per the specific Roland Garros rules (right), you could certainly argue that a cat suit is neither being dressed “in a professional manner”, nor is it “customarily acceptable tennis attire”.

The players who have noted the instances where supervisors have made it restrictive and complicated to cover up a little on cooler days are being straight up.

cat suit
Cat Suit 1.0 had no issues with excessive length.

They also understand that there are “different rules” for the superstars compared to the rank and file.

If anything, they can use it as evidence that exceptions can be made, the next time they want to keep warm with leggings.

Because no one is going to prevent Serena Williams from wearing it, that’s for sure!