Retro Tennis News Wednesday

Maybe it’s because my next birthday is inching up…or that lately some of the things I see and hear make me feel old (I’m pretty sure I still don’t know exactly what twerking is?!). But I feel like the world is all sorts of retro lately, even hitting the tennis world…and I like it!

Even watching the Oscars last weekend, actors I grew up watching were on stage winning awards (shout out to Jordan Catalano for any “My So Called Life” fans — who knew we would see Jared Leto up there winning an Academy Award?!). So seeing some of my favorite tennis players make their way back on to the scene (in one way or another), makes me excited for the future of tennis!
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2014 Coaching/Player Relationships on the ATP and WTA

I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready for tennis season to be back in full force! I am counting down the days until the Australian Open! But until then, let’s discuss some player/coach relationships as it seems like lately there has been an influx of new relationships being formed.

It’s not new to see former pros on the coaching end of things, but it seems like lately, all of our favorite players from the past have made their way back to the circuit via coaching. Brad Gilbert has worked with the best of them — everyone from Agassi, Roddick, Andy Murray to Nishikori and even Sam Querrey. Some of those relationships blossomed in chemistry, and some were duds. In 2013, we saw Sharapova hire, and quickly fire, Jimmy Connors — but let’s be honest, there wasn’t enough room on the court for those two superstars. Then there was Martina Hingis’ stint in coaching Anastasia Pavlyuchnkova…until Martina realized how much she missed the limelight and competition.

So, who do we have paired up in 2014?

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Federer and Edberg are working together in 2014 — photos by Cynthia Lum

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Martina Hingis after 30

We saw her grow up right before our eyes on the WTA Tour. One thing was always certain, she had tons of talent, a beautiful game and will remain in the record books for a long time. With a resume of 43 WTA Titles, the number one ranking on the WTA, 5 Grand Slam Singles titles (3 Australian Opens, 1 Wimbledon Championship, 1 US Open title) — Martina Hingis is continuing to expand her wins on the WTA, but this time, as a coach.

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Turning 33 this September, Martina looks to be doing a great job settling into life after being a teen tennis phenom. In the recent weeks, she has been spending a bit of time a little closer to the WTA, coaching talented Russian player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Martina, who previously was a member of the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy coaching staff, has paired with Pavlyuchenkova for her first taste of working as a full-time personal coach. The two paired up right in time for the clay season. The 21 year old Russian has had some success this year winning a title in Monterrey, but she has noticeably been struggling in the major tournaments of the year. Pavlyuchenkova has suffered first round losses in the Australian Open, Paris, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. Since the two have paired up, the duo has already seen some success with Pavlyuchenkova winning a title on the red clay in singles (Portugal) and doubles (Madrid).
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Let the Madrid Madness Begin!

The French Open is on the horizon, but first, the WTA and ATP makes a stop in Madrid, Spain for the Mutua Madrid Open. The draws are packed full with the top players, the clay is back to red and the tennis is sure to heat up! So let’s take a quick look at what’s going on at the Mutua Madrid Open!

photos by Mats Merkel

photos by Mats Merkel

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2012 Favorites: Apparel

The end of 2012 is fast approaching, and we are counting down our favorite items of the past year. We have covered racquets, shoes and strings thus far. Today, we are focusing on apparel. Let’s see our playtesters’ favorites from this year.

tasc Women’s Fall Sideline 1/4 Zip Top

There are some items that just have to be felt to be fully understood, and anything by tasc would fall into that category. The fabric is lightweight and feels, well, down right fabulous. Pretty much, it goes like this. You try it, you love it. Three playtesters picked tasc as their favorite new apparel addition for 2012.

Karly: I’m going to give it to you straight. If you’ve never laid your hands on tasc clothing before, you have yet to experience what true softness really feels like! Nothing can compare to the softness of the organic material each item is made of. If I were to make a suggestion as to which item you should feel first, my favorite tasc piece is the Fall Sideline 1/4 Zip Top. It makes for the perfect layering piece for when the weather starts to drop. And I cannot reiterate enough how soft it is. Once you go tasc, you can’t go back!

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Tonic for your tennis game

Martina Hingis wears Tonic at Wimbledon.

“What’s exciting to me is taking my experience of the sport I grew up with, bringing it into the design process and fusing it with ideas from elsewhere. The Tonic brand has its heritage in yoga so combining the best from both of those traditions produces a look that is comfortable, practical and stylish – suitable for top professionals but also appropriate for club players.” – Martina Hingis on MSN Sport UK

There’s a reason to stop and take notice when a top pro, current or former, loves a yoga brand so much that she wants to bring it to tennis. Such is the story with Martina Hingis and Tonic.

Hingis was shopping and came across Tonic apparel. She liked what she saw and chose to wear it for an exhibition match at the 2010 Wimbledon. It was love from first swing. Hingis then sought out the brand to make tennis specific pieces. So just what does she find so appealing about this apparel?

The Grand Slam Tank's straps are intricately interwoven. It looks great and moves well, too.

Fit and function - The pieces look absolutely phenomenal on. Part of that is fabric, see below, and the other part is where the seams are (or aren’t), how the straps are constructed, how the fabric drapes and so much more. If you want an expert opinion on how a tennis garment must perform, Hingis, the youngest WTA No. 1 ever, certainly would be a good place to start. She described some of the musts in an interview with the Vancouver Courier. “Around the shoulders and the back, this is where you have to feel comfortable with your stroke. It can’t be restricting. If you’re stretched everywhere, you still have to perform.” (Vancouver Courier, July 29, 2011)

Fabric - Tonic makes its own fabric, dubbed Libra. The Libra fabric is soft, and the weight is not too light, not too heavy. It’s heavy enough to conceal what it needs to and light enough to wear comfortably on the court (enhancing fit and function).

Design aesthetic – There are not wild patterns, but the cuts and strap details are so intricate and so feminine that nothing else is needed.

The result of the collaboration is Tonic Tennis by Martina Hingis. The pieces are sporty and sophisticated. Tonic Tennis sets itself apart in another way. It not only manufactures in North America, but also sources its fabric from a North American mill. Keeping the entire manufacturing process in Canada certainly adds to the price, but the Tonic apparel is worth the extra dollars because the apparel makes you feel good, and we all deserve to feel good about our tennis game and ourselves. And, of course, confidence is priceless.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW