Rafa and Fed’s 2010 NY looks

The US Open is just days away! I get all caught up in the drama surrounding the US Open, perhaps because it’s the final Slam of the year and it’s the only one played in my home country. Night matches that can stretch past midnight, the loud crowd, the hot, humid play — it all adds up to an exciting two weeks.

Then there’s the fashion. New York is home to one of the most attended Fashion Weeks in the world so it seems appropriate that tennis’ biggest stars step out in style. Nike pulls out all the stops, outfitting them in day and night outfits that are head to toe ensembles. So let’s take a look at what we’ll be seeing out there on the court for the top two men’s seeds.

First up, No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal

Rafa's Day look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

Rafa's Night look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

For day matches, Rafa will sport the Fall Vamos Crew in Hot Lime with the Vamos Woven Short in Black. His Nike Air CourtBallistec 2.3 with be a white based shoe with Hot Lime and black accents. For night, he’ll step out in the same crew and short but all in black with a big hit of color coming from his Hot Lime 2.3s.

Now for No. 2 seed Roger Federer

Fed's Day look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

Fed's Night look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

During the day, Roger will wear the Victory RF Court Polo in Football Blue with Dark Obsidian (dark navy) and white accents. At night, he too goes for a darker ensemble with the same polo in the Dark Obsidian color. He will wear his Lunar Vapor Tours in a special colorway during the day and the same shoe in White/Dark Obsidian/Football Blue at night. You can get it all at Tennis Warehouse.

Next week we’ll take a brief look at what Maria Sharapova has in store for us in New York.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW

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Andy hitting a forehand

Andy hitting a forehand

August 23, 2010

Seattle, WA

Been back in training for a little over a week now. I got everything in during my practices last week that I intended on getting done, and I’m feeling really good again on the court. The week-long break out at the cabin allowed me to get rested, rejuvenated, and eager to play once again. The renewed enthusiasm to play and work hard again is allowing me to make strides in my game and enjoy my time spent on the court. I put a big emphasis last week on lots of set play, a couple good quickness and agility sessions, and some longer conditioning workouts like a bike ride and running stadiums. This week I want to focus a little more on drilling in order to iron out a couple areas in my game that I would like to improve, while also continuing to play sets and getting in good quickness and conditioning work.

This will be the last blog I’ll be writing from Seattle. I have had a wonderful stay up here in the Northwest for the summer, and I have to thank once again the Bator family for allowing me to stay in their home and making me feel like family. At the end of the week my travel partner Brad and I will be making the trek back down south to California, gearing up for the Comcast Santa Maria Open and a stretch of three Futures tournaments down in the Los Angeles area.

Something I have been thinking about while I’ve been on the road is the idea of home. At the end of June I moved out of my small house in San Luis Obispo, CA, stored most of my stuff in a storage unit, packed everything else that I thought I would need while I traveled in my car, and took off for the summer on an arduous journey through the Northwest. I will be traversing through California once again for the next month or so, and then taking off to Laos and Thailand for October and November, two countries that are extremely foreign to me, even though I have been to Thailand once before. After that, who knows where my travels will take me, all the while not really having a specific place to call home. But what does it mean to have a place called home?

Home is a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and at peace. You go home to relax after a strenuous day, driving in your car or train or bus after work, counting down the hours…minutes…until you can walk through the door, smell those familiar smells, see the people you love, put your feet up and unwind on your favorite couch or chair. You step into your shower at home, where you know exactly how hard the water pressure is when the hot water and steam hit your face. At home, you escape from the tension of the outside world, take a deep breath, and feel at ease in the present moment.

While being on the road, and not necessarily having my own physical place to call home, I’ve realized that home is nothing more than a state of mind. Those familiar sights and sounds as you walk through your door at home represent a safe haven for your mind, a place where you can feel comfortable and safe in your own skin. When I’m on the road I replace a house that I am accustomed to with certain activities that I enjoy doing by myself, which bring me solace and peace of mind. My daily routines, such as a long post-workout stretch or reading a book before I go to bed, help ground me and bring me back to center when I feel out of whack. A couple weeks ago I allowed myself to get out of my routines, and the hustle and bustle of the changing scenery around me caught up to me and got me feeling anxious and on edge. Settling down and getting back to my routines and doing the things that relax and center me allowed me to regain my focus and energy, finding my inner peace of mind that represents home.

Being on the road has taught me how to feel at home without depending on a physical home to come back to. Home is simply a feeling of being at ease, centered, comfortable, and safe, and I’m learning how to provide that for myself when the world around me in constantly changing. As I travel from city to city I recognize the importance of finding the balance between immersing yourself in the world around you, while also staying true to yourself. A good traveler can go out of their comfort zone, meet people, try things, and have new experiences while also grounding themselves in who they are, and not allowing the constant change of scenery to bother them. A good traveler finds home wherever they are, not depending on anything physical, but rather finding home through their state of mind.

-AG

String Review: Polyfibre Hexablade 17L/1.18

Polyfibre Hexablade

Polyfibre definitely did not disappoint with their new Hexablade tennis string.

Hexablade fully met my expectations, combining the comfort of Polyfibre TCS with excellent access to spin thanks to its hexagonal profile design.

I strung this up on my customized Babolat Pure Storm at 58lbs and had my own reservations on it based on how stiff the string felt while stringing, feeling similar to Luxilon ALU Power Spin. On the first strike my jaw dropped and I felt like I was auditioning for the part of Neo in “The Matrix,” as a simple “whoa,” escaped my mouth. I watched as the ball easily cleared the net by about eight feet and continued to follow its path to inches within the baseline. Usually with a freshly strung poly I’d expect to have a settling in period for the string to readjust after un-mounting the frame. With this string though, there was no “break-in” period. Stroke after stroke I watched as the ball dropped to the court and exploded off the ground.

I took a trip home and used this string to battle against my dad; he usually gives me some competition, but I had the edge this time. After beating up on the ol’ man on the courts, he commented that this was the first time he truly felt old hitting against me, and it was due to the heaviness of the balls that were coming off the racquet face. The speed of the ball outmatched his foot speed, and I hit winner after winner, which felt good after a lifetime of denial and trash talking on my superior game.

Since you can’t always have your cake and eat it too, I did find that this string didn’t hold tension for as long as I would have liked, and it was also the first poly in a long time that I didn’t have to cut out of my frame. I had the string in my frame for about a month and logged around 10-12 hours of playtime on it before one of the strings popped. I saw a lot of frictional notching on the mains once all the string was removed from the frame, which made sense to me as I noticed there was also more string movement than a typical poly. Tension loss probably occurred around the six-hour mark, and the tension felt like it dropped significantly. This only made me focus on my timing and technique even more because there was a noticeable power increase, but once I made the adjustment, the grab from the string again helped the ball drop in play.

It would be hard to be a Polyfibre fan and not like this string. If you’re looking for a soft poly that’s easy on the arm and offers good spin potential, you can’t pass this one up. Hexablade delivers a heavy ball to your opponent while being light on the arm and has a great response.

Jackson.