We already picked our personal favorite apparel pieces of 2013, but here’s one last nod to the year in apparel. This time we chose some of our favorite looks of the year as seen on the pro tour. For more, check out our Talk Tennis message board, where tennis fans have posted their favorites in this thread. In no particular order, here’s a look back:
Before anyone gets angry with me, thinking I’m trashing their game, remember, it’s not you, it’s them. These guys are really, really, really good. There’s a reason they are the top 8 players in the world (minus a hurt Andy Murray).
With the year end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals underway, showcasing the best of the best our sport has to offer, I wanted to just take some time to remind you why they are and forever will be better than you or me or pretty much any mere mortal human being. And if you want ATP World Tour Finals apparel, click here.
Here are just a few videos from this past 2013 year to refresh your memory on just how incredible these guys are at their craft.
The “I can hit the ball harder than you” shot
The US Open is just days away (I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!). Working at TW is always fun during the tournaments because we all have our favorites and are glued to the matches, so of course I wanted to know who the playtesters were picking to win it all this year! Check out their answers and let us know who you pick to win it all this year at Flushing Meadows!
“Who are your picks to win the 2013 US Open?”
As the first week of the 2013 Australian Open comes to a close, I want to spotlight some of the great new gear we have seen introduced at the tournament. There’s tons of new racquets, shoes and apparel being released at the beginning of the year, so I want to dish out some awards to the best introductions of new swag at the first Grand Slam of 2013…
Best men’s outfit (shirt/shorts only, no shoes): Lotto
I’m going with a surprise in this category, but I think the new Lotto outfit is awesome. The bright yellow design is super eye-catching on TV, and they have quite a few guys still going in the draw, like Kevin Anderson, Nicolas Almagro, and David Ferrer. They are wearing the Lotto Men’s Spring Graphic LED Crew and the Spring LED Short (and Bermuda Short). Look for this gear to become available from TW next month.
There’s little intro needed for this year’s US Open. On the men’s side, we’ve had three different Grand Slam winners to start the year for the first time since 2005. Can Andy Murray join the game’s elite as a Grand Slam champion? Will we see another unexpected run to the title like Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009? Can Novak Djokovic regain his form from last season? Will Roger Federer earn himself his 18th Grand Slam title and further strengthen his claim as the game’s best? All of these questions are going to be answered in the next couple weeks in the Big Apple. I hope you’re as excited as we are for the US Open to start!
With all these great storylines and great players gunning for the title, it’s easy to overlook the great action that’s going to start the tournament in the first couple rounds. True tennis fans say that some of the most exciting tennis to watch of the whole tournament is on the outside courts during the first week. Many tennis enthusiasts purchase a grounds pass for the early rounds instead of forking out the greenbacks for a premium seat on one of the stadium courts, where they see some lower ranked guys battle their hearts out for precious rankings points and prize money. Let’s take a look at some early round matches to keep an eye on, as well as some predictions for the rest of the tournament…
1st Round Upset Special:
Nicolas Almagro (11) vs. Radek Stepanek: I like Almagro, especially because he’s consistently a tough competitor, week in and week out. However, I see this as a tricky matchup for the feisty Spaniard. Stepanek makes his living coming forward to the net and giving big hitters little rhythm, carving them up and chopping them down. Almagro‘s even been a victim in the past, as Stepanek has beaten him both times they’ve played. Grab the popcorn and watch this one, as Almagro will scratch and claw but ultimately will get frustrated by Radek’s aggressive play…Stepanek in 4.
1st Round To Watch:
Juan Martin Del Potro (7) vs. David Nalbandian: It’s an all-Argentine matchup between two great baseliners. Del Potro looks to be finding his form of late, earning himself a bronze medal at the Olympics after taking down Djokovic and pushing Roger to the brink in the semis. Nalbandian is always a threat on the hard courts, and is 3-1 all-time against Del Po. Look for some hard hitting action, with Del Potro coming out on top…Del Potro in 4.
Potential 2nd Round Matchups To Watch:
Mardy Fish (23) vs. Nikolay Davydenko: This is just too intriguing of a matchup to pass up. Mardy usually plays well during the summer hard court season, but has been pretty average so far this year. Davydenko had two easy wins of Dolgopolov and Mayer (both top 25) last week in Cincinnati, but then retired to Djokovic after dropping the first set 6-0. This match is more about the unknown, about which Nikolay and Mardy we are going to see. I think this match goes the distance, and Mardy rides the wave of the New York crowd to victory…Fish in 5.
Alexandr Dolgopolov (14) vs. Marcos Baghdatis: I want to watch this one just for the personalities, as two of the most likable players on tour potentially face off (check out this funny glimpse into the life of Alexandr at the Australian Open). These are two of my favorite players on tour, both in their game styles and personalities. Dolgopolov won a title in Washington DC, but since then has had two bad first round losses in Toronto and Cincinnati. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of form both these guys are in…I say Dolgopolov in 3.
Dark Horse: John Isner (9)
Big John once again has turned in a solid performance during the US summer hard court season. He’s 18-3 since his first round exit at Wimbledon, with three top 10 wins (Tipsarevic, Tsonga, and Berdych) and two titles in Newport and Winston-Salem. I think he’s poised for a breakout at the Open, with a favorable draw and the New York crowd ready to support him the whole way. A couple other interesting stats for the ex-Georgia Bulldog…he’s leading the tour in aces this year with over 750, and he’s 6-2 against the top 10 this year, including wins over Djokovic in Indian Wells and Federer in Davis Cup. Look for Isner to make his way through his section, riding the wave of the American crowd into the semifinals.
Finals Prediction: Roger Federer (1) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (7)
I think it’s going to be a 2009 US Open final rematch! Roger is the best in the world and he’s going to continue to prove it. He’s got a great draw to get to the quarters, and then I think he takes down Murray in the semis in one of the best matches of the tournament. I think Del Potro gets hot and goes on a run. The Del Potro/Djokovic quarterfinal will be the match of the tournament, with Del Po prevailing in 5 sets, and then riding that wave of momentum to his second career Grand Slam final. Once they both get there, I’m going to say…Roger in 4!
Thanks for reading!
Also known as The T-Dubbys.
Without further ado:
Most Valuable Player (MVP)
- Roger Federer. Surpassed Sampras’ all time Grand Slam record and won that elusive French Open title. With his win at Roland Garros this year, he is, and it hurts me to type this, the greatest player of all time.
- Andre Agassi. Got the whole nation to talk about tennis. Hey, like they say, any publicity is good publicity. With his book, Open, he single-handedly placed tennis at the front of sporting news. Until some guy named Tiger ran into a fire hydrant.
- Rafael Nadal. Came out of the gates of 2009 hot! Won the Australian Open in an epic match against Federer. Won again at the “5th Slam”, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Then, his knees decided enough was enough. Ended the year strong on his favorite surface, clay, helping Spain win the Davis Cup.
- Serena Williams. Say what you will about her and her attitude, but she dominated 2009. Including her doubles record, Serena won 5 Grand Slams this year. 5! Plus, she put foot faulting on the map! Don’t tell me you weren’t constantly calling foot faults on your friends when you went out and played.
Winner: Roger Federer
Surprise Player of the Year (SPY)
- Melanie Oudin. At the 2009 US Open, what did Elena Dementieva (4), Maria Sharapova (29), and Nadia Petrova (13) all have in common? They all lost to the 17-year-old American. This might’ve been the first time you heard of her, but earlier, she upset Sybille Bammer (29) and Jelena Jankovic (6) at Wimbledon. USA! USA! USA!
- Kim Clijsters. If I could borrow a line from Johnny Mac, “You cannot be serious!” How does one take two years off from tennis to have a baby, then, come back and in only her 3rd tournament, win the US Open?! She beat Venus Williams before beating Serena in the now, infamous Footgate incident.
- Juan Martin Del Potro. As a major underdog, beat world #2 Rafael Nadal in the semis then beat defending champion Roger Federer in the finals at the US Open. He was down 2 sets and a break too. ‘Nuff said.
Winner: Juan Martin Del Potro
Best Supporting Player in a Loss (BSPL)
- Fernando Verdasco @ Australian Open vs. Rafael Nadal. This was the longest match in Australian Open history. Unbelievable points, ridiculously long exchanges, a heavyweight slugfest, but in the end, Nadal was the victor. And it only took him 5 hours and 14 minutes. I wonder if he went for a run afterward to get some real exercise. Yes people, that was sarcasm.
- Andy Roddick @ Wimbledon vs. Roger Federer. I’m not saying this was better than last year’s final, but this was one hell of an encore. Facing the pressure to hold or lose in the 5th set, Roddick held serve 11 times before getting broken for the match.
Winner: Andy Roddick
Nominees: I’ll let the videos do the talking
- Clijsters vs. Wozniacki. US Open Finals.
- Federer vs. Djokovic. US Open Semi-Finals.
- Nadal vs. Verdasco. Australian Open Semi-Finals.
- Nadal vs. Federer. Australian Open Finals.
- Monfils vs. Ferrero. Rogers Cup.
Winner: Nadal vs. Federer. Australian Open Finals
- Soderling over Nadal @ The French Open. The King of Clay was going for his 5th straight French Open title. Just weeks before, he won two other clay tournaments. 32 straight matches won at Roland Garros. He never even lost a match in his career at Roland Garros. Ok, you get the picture. All that came to in end in the 4th round when Soderling beat him in 4 sets.
- Del Potro over Federer @ The US Open. Rafa was only going for 5 straight titles at Roland Garros. Federer was going for 6 in a row. Down 2 sets and a break, Del Potro rallied all the way back with his 100+ MPH forehands and handed Federer his first loss since 2003. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!
Winner: Soderling over Nadal
- Serena Williams. Come on! I had to give her a shout out. Pun intended.
Winner: Serena Williams
That’s it. 2009 is in the books. Do you have any nominees for these categories? Did I miss any obvious ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Here’s to a great 2010 season,