maria sharapova launches another canon

The dedicated-but-ailing Maria Sharapova appeared at the South Street Seaport on the eve of the U.S. Open to launch a new camera, the PowerShot SD1100 IS, for Canon. In conjunction with this latest model they are giving away five bedazzled one-offs, each encrusted with 88 white diamonds for a total of 2.2 carats per camera. (Enter the sweepstakes.)

Masha wore a crazy “I’m-a-little-teapot” design by Lanvin and was flanked by look-alikes dressed in black and white versions of what would have been the Russian’s Nike outfit — had she not pulled out of the tournament due to injury.

A temporary 50-foot white dome built specifically for the event (event logistics deets here) also housed a Wii loaded with Top Spin 3, a photo station, and a flatscreen that premiered Maria’s latest TV ad for Canon which, of course, starred her beloved Dolce (view).

We had a chance to chat with Masha about the Beijing Olympics and Fashion Week:

On the Olympics: “I was really excited to see Nastia Liukin win because she and I share the same history. She was born in Russia and also came to the U.S. at such a young age.”

On her Fed Cup teammates sweeping the tennis medals: “It’s pretty crazy that three of the four [Russians who were] in the draw were on the podium. It’s so wonderful. I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, but I’m very happy.”

On which shows she’s eyeing for Fashion Week: “I’d love to go to Vera Wang. She’s a good friend of mine. and Peter Som as well.”

On following men’s fashion: “I have a hard time women’s trends as it is. It changes every single week. It’ll take me a while to get that point.”

Domed if you don’t: Speaking of, you should check out the Buckminster Fuller exhibit at The Whitney if you can. It’s on view through September 21.

(tent image via BizBash)

larosa’s sweet spot + nick in smash

James LaRosa‘s Sweet Spot, born on September 10, 2008.

The prolific Tennis Channel scribe’s Cinderella story gets another chapter with the establishment of James’ weekly TC column (on Wednesdays). The first post: a look at recent butterfly-effect matches on the tour.

Also, Nick McCarvel has a great article in the fall 2008 issue of SMASH about how to travel (and pack) smart for tournament travel. Check it out.

Rafa can’t fill all of Roger’s Prada shoes

By now everyone has seen New York‘s fall fashion issue with a shirtless Rafael Nadal on the cover. Well, he’s on the back cover, so it’s difficult to randomly encounter. I’ve had to actively scan all the rags at my newsstand for Christie Brinkley‘s mug (she’s this week’s cover girl) and then flip the magazine over to see Rafa (so much work in the name of men’s fashion!), but it didn’t matter to me. And then I saw the pictures, and read the article, and then it all made sense: judging by Nadal’s influence in the world of fashion, the back-of-book placement is just right.

The Rafa article, penned by Ben Williams, notes that only a man of Nadal’s body type — big, bulging muscles — could pull off wearing his signature (and subjectively feminine) tank-top-and-Capris ensemble in such a way that we would never feel compelled to qualify his look the word “men’s” — i.e., “sleeveless man shirt” or “men’s Capri pants” — and he can thank his muscles for that. He gets brownie points for effortlessly and indifferently sporting his personal style.

But while this nonchalance might be why he’s worth a cover story (I’m sure Borg was equally as casual about putting together his “look”), Nadal is too disconnected from his fashion image; he has admitted to not knowing anything about the design of his clothes, nor does he seem interested in this world. For the NY photo shoot the editors couldn’t even use Rafa’s body to its full potential, only including three pictures of him wearing the exact. same. polo. And not even the most exciting piece from the Nike‘s fall collection. A chance to advance the realm of men’s (tennis) fashion instead goes down the drain.

After all this, things are the same as where we were pre-publication: men’s clothes as an afterthought, a formality, a rote exercise. With this cover, I had hoped that NY could make a case for us to rally around Rafa as a style icon. Alas, it didn’t quite work. While the search for Roger‘s replacement atop the rankings is over, the search for his fashion heir isn’t.

Read:The Beefcake in the Backcourt“, by Ben Williams, New York; also includes a 7-pic slideshow.

More: Two pics after the cut…

nike’s nyc collection 2008

The folks at Nike continue to up their game with U.S. Open-related goods (remember last year?). And since they don’t have an official partnership with the tournament — that’s Polo Ralph Lauren‘s turf — nowhere will you find the words “U.S. Open”. Instead, like how the Super Bowl is referred to as the “Big Game”, Nike makes references to New York City, Flushing Meadows, and Corona Park. That’s how you work around it.

Dare I say it, the tees they’ve churned out are much better than the merch produced by the USTA. Yep, even better than that Heidi Klum-designed butterfly top.

A look at my top three picks:

A simple, bright, and fun font dominates these two Dri-Fit Long Sleeve tees. $38.

The combination of a gothic font and a crest on this Crest Shirt gives off a sense of tradition not usually associated with the loudest and most unconventional of majors. $22.

Normally, a black top with red/white text screams “overplayed” in my world (as far as performance attire goes), but somehow this is a refreshing change. Perhaps it’s the first time in recent years that Roger’s worn something so plain? Therma Half-Zip, $60.

Ho hum: The rest of the tees are run-of-the-mill; see them after the cut…

men dress down for the atp calendar

TSF was lucky enough to drop by the launch party for the ATP World Tour 2009 Calendar at the W Times Square. The tour enlisted the help of a few good men — Dmitry Tursunov, Juan Monaco, Ivan Ljubicic, Paradorn Srichaphan, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Haas, Marcos Bagdhatis, Tomas Berdych, Mike and Bob Bryan, Fernando Gonzalez, and Tommy Robredo (who isn’t so green about disrobing for the camera) — to pose for the 13-month skin-baring pin-up. We were joined for champagne by Dima, Juan, and Juan’s doubles partner Maximo Gonzalez.

Too bad French photographer Corinne Dubreuil, who shot these guys in Paris last year, wasn’t around for the event; you bet we wanted to ask her about shooting these shower pics of Arnaud Clement and these of Kolya Davydenko.

ATP jokester Tursunov (above, right) felt confident in his decision to pose shirtless for the calendar, and is ready for any locker room pranks pulled by his fellow athletes. “Bring ‘em on,” he said. “We tennis players work hard for our bodies, and it’s definitely not in vain. So it’s nice to do something like this.” He added, “I’d rather people make fun of me for being fit than for being out of shape.”

And what did the scruffy Mr. Monaco, through a translator — sorry, my Spanish can’t cut it — think of his experience? “It was very important for me to develop my image outside the sport and have people outside the sport get to know me.” And showing skin didn’t faze him: “I just had fun with it.”

The ATP’s Chris O’Neill came up with the idea for the calendar while roaming the grounds of the Countrywide Classic. He watched Dima get mobbed by women (“who wanted to have his baby, who wanted to marry him” — all these crazy things) and realized that there was a side of the sport that wasn’t getting showcased. And we’re grateful for his idea.

Buy: Pick up the calendar for $13 at TW.

More pics: See some more pages from the calendar after the cut…

bjorn borg’s style essentials

Bjorn Borg, the man whose eponymous label produces well-designed clothing (mainly for the Scandinavian market), shares his 10 essentials with men.style.com.

Included in this list are tennis gear (headbands and wooden racquets, of course), his own line of underwear, herring, a certain Principality, and portable booze (and why not?).

This man knows his stuff!

(screengrab via men.style.com)

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roger’s on top of the world

Roger Federer took his fifth U.S. Open trophy up to the Empire State Building’s exclusive 103rd floor — the highest point in Manhattan. (The 102nd floor is an observatory available to the public.)

Roger later went down to the 86th Floor Observatory to sign some autographs and take in the views.

More: See the rest of the photos after the cut…