Keeping Up With the Playtesters

I always get a bit bummed the couple days after a Grand Slam ends. For two weeks straight I had hours on end of awesome tennis to watch (good thing Davis Cup is back in action this weekend), and now football is the only thing I see when I turn on the TV (which, isn’t a bad thing, go Niners, it just isn’t tennis!). Anyway, to recap our US Open picks, my picks were knocked out by the 4th or 5th day of the US Open, while Karly and Jason were the only two playtesters who called the US Open 2013 Champions — and Tiffani was oh, so close with her Gasquet pick! This week, since I don’t have any live tennis to watch today, I decided to bug my fellow playtesters and ask them,

“Who from the WTA or ATP would play doubles with? (We already answered the mixed doubles question, so stay within your gender on this one!)”

Check out their answers! Continue reading

4th Annual T-Dubbies: Year End Tennis Awards

Congratulations! We’ve made it another year. Another year that was filled with the usual: unbelievable matches, shocking upsets and ridiculous shot making. But this year was different, this year had something happen that in the past 2,011 years didn’t happen. Yup, you guessed it, this year we had Gangnam Style. You might hate it, you might love it, but either way, you know you’re singing along when you hear “heeeeeeeeeey, sexy lady.” If you are one of the very few, and I mean, very few, who has no idea what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and click here. And since we’re on the subject of firsts in 2012, and because this is “technically” a “tennis” blog just because it’s “technically” related to “Tennis Warehouse“: Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka both won their first Grand Slams. How about that!

Before we get to the 2012 T-Dubby awards, here is a quick recap of this past year:
- Novak Djokovic is human! But still really good. He couldn’t duplicate his unreal 2011 season but 2012 was no slouch.
- Rafa is still really good on clay.
- Rafa’s knees, in general, not as good.
- Roger Federer is still really good despite being 31 (that’s 58 in tennis years)
- When motivated and healthy, Serena is scary good.
- Blue clay is scary bad.
- Redfoo of LMFAO really likes tennis. Or really likes hanging out with tennis players. One of those.

Redfoo from LMFAO rocking the TW exclusive Gel Resolution 4 shoes

With 2013 right around the corner (or if you’re following the Mayan calendar, maybe not), let’s take a look at this year’s nominees.

Best Match
Nominees:
Australian Open Men’s Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
It was the longest match in Australian Open history and at the end, both players could barely stand during the trophy ceremony. I remember watching the 5th set and thinking that these guys were hitting the ball harder in that set than the 1st set. This was a match that ended at 1:27 in the morning, lasted almost 6 hours and featured the score of 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 to Djokovic. And yet, despite that all that, Novak Djokovic was still able to muster up the energy to rip his shirt off. How?! HOW?! I’m going gluten free.

Olympic Second Round: Milos Raonic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
It was just a 2nd round match that featured the 5th seeded Tsonga and an unseeded Raonic. This was supposed to be a relatively win for Tsonga, who made it to the semi-finals of the last 2 Wimbledons. They exchanged sets and then the 3rd set happened. Let’s see here, the first 2 sets were 6-3, 3-6 for a total of 18 games. The 3rd set had a total of 48 games and ended 25-23 to Tsonga. That was exhausting just typing it out, let alone playing it out.

French Open Quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
4 match points. Novak Djokovic battled off 4 match points to beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1. He also had to battle off a crowd that was audibly against him and for the Frenchman Tsonga.

US Open Final. Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka
After the 1st set, it looked like it would be another easy win for Serena Williams. But after Azarenka battled back to take the 2nd set, the match went to the decisive 3rd set, a first since 1995. At one point Azarenka even served for the match. But Serena, with the crowd behind her, and Serena being Serena, fought back and eventually won it 7-5.

Winner: Australian Open Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal

The “Wow These Guys Are Good” Award (Best Point)
Nominees
Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych @ Australian Open

Olivier Rochus vs Fernando Verdasco @ Monte Carlo Rolex Masters

Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic @ ATP World Tour Finals

Continue reading

French fashion, French Open that is

I love this time of year. The French Open is just around the corner, and that signifies to me the kick off to the summer. Shortly after will come Wimbledon, then the U.S. Open Series topped off by all the excitement in New York. Really it’s the only time I bother to turn on my TV.

Not only do we get to see our favorite pros play on three different surfaces in a relatively short period of time, but we also get to see them in new outfits. The majors are where we see the big splashes, and each of the majors possesses its own personality — and set of challenges — when it comes to dressing for the occasion.

The French Open is up first. (The main draw first round starts May 27 so set your VCR if you like to keep it old school, but more than likely set your DVR.) What are the challenges of dressing for Roland Garros? There’s the clay, for one. That terre battue gets on everything, it stains and it’s red. The last thing I want is to have to compete for attention with the color of the court. Then there’s the fact that it’s in Paris, quite possibly the most stylish city in the world. I’d think there’s quite a bit of pressure to step out in style.

Nike just launched its plans for its bevy of tennis stars. Let’s take a gander at what we can expect to see.

Rafael Nadal

Rafa will wear the Finals Crew and the Finals Short.

Rafa has obviously mastered playing on clay, so he has no fear when it comes to Roland Garros. He will face the clay court head on, dominating it by wearing the reddish hue Scarlet Fire on top and a white short. He will finish off the look with a Scarlet Fire bandana and matching Air Court Ballistec 4.3s. Just a quick aside on the actual function (it can’t all be about looking good!) on Rafa’s Finals Clay Crew. The shoulder seam sits farther forward than it does on most tops. Nike put in this feature to make the top more comfortable and to allow it to move more freely — because I’m not sure if you’ve seen Rafa’s forehand? But that guy can create insane racquet head speed and has a follow through that shouldn’t be humanly possible.

Roger Federer

Federer heads to Paris wearing all Anthracite grey.

Some of my favorite looks for Fed have been his night match U.S. Open ensembles. So, I must admit, the monochromatic look works for me. His solid Anthracite look will pop nicely against the red clay. He’ll be wearing the RF Smash Clay Polo with a short similar to the Match Woven Short with Cyber accents. To top it off, he has the a matching bandana and Vapor 9 Tour SLs. That SL stands for synthetic leather. For the clay season, the Vapor 9 has synthetic leather through the vamp which holds up better against the clay compared to mesh. Here’s a fun fact about Fed’s polo: If you’re a big fan, you may have already known about the no-sew seams for zero-abrasion comfort, but did you know that as a Dri-Fit UV piece that its sleeves are slightly longer than non-UV protective Nike tops? Yup. Extra length means extra coverage.’

Maria Sharapova

Masha will look sharp on court in her Statement Set Dress.

If any player knows about Paris Fashion Week, it has to be Masha. (She has her own Cole Haan shoe and handbag line.) She, like Fed, will step out in a darker color. Apparently the notion that every woman needs a little black dress also applies to tennis. The Cargo Khaki bodice of her Statement Set Dress sets off the black paneled skirt portion so nicely. This classy color combo isn’t overshadowed either any crazy designs and instead has subtle design touches such as the zig-zag stitching on the skirt. Sharapova finishes off the look with a signature Featherlight Visor and a pair of Lunar Speed 3s in White/Scarlet Fire.

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka will be ready to leave opponents in the dust in her Tie Breaker Knit Dress.

You can’t ignore the newest WTA No. 1. She has only two singles losses, can you believe it? How dare she wear shorts at the Australian Open?! I kid, I kid. I loved that look and have a pair of those shorts myself. (Check them out in this season’s colors. So cute!) Vika’s back in a dress for the French, and like Rafa, she has the confidence to wear a color complementary to the red clay. Her Tie Breaker Knit Dress in Fruit Punch is the perfect color, too, to usher in summer, especially with its Orange Chalk accents. Unfortunately, that Nike headtie she’s making her signature look won’t be available to buy in Orange Chalk, but we can substitute a basic white one. She, too, finishes her look with the same Lunar Speed 3 shoes.

Serena Williams

Watch out for Serena in the Statement Rally Dress.

Never to be counted out of the running, Serena Williams always is a threat even when not considered among the top contenders. One of my favorite colors against the clay courts of Roland Garros is blue. Her Statement Rally Dress is a gorgeous mix of minty greens and a bluish green teal. Her Air Max Mirabella 3 shoes are a perfect match colorwise, and are some of the most comfortable tennis shoes out there. (Our testing team loved them, and I do mean love. It scored a 4.5 out of 5 overall. Read the review here.)

So there you have it. Remember to set your VCR, wait DVR and get ready to see some great tennis.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW