fashion focus: australian open highlight(er)s

The fashions on the courts of Australian Open are a little more subtle this year, but a few things have stood out, most notably the presence of bright yellows and greens — the highlighter shades — for match play.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - Gael Monfils - Andy Murray - 2013 Australian Open

Gael Monfils (center), now a member of the Asics stable (he was previously with K-Swiss), played in a sleeveless crew — the Frenchman’s trademark — as he upset 18th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. Andy Murray, on the right, is wearing this season’s Barricade crew, with the same shoulder detail that carried through from the end of last season.

Maria Sharapova - Nike - 2013 Australian Open

Grey was also the accent color of choice, with the straps on Maria Sharapova‘s Premier Tennis Dress from Nike in that shade (but we’re in love with the futuristic lines at the check and in the racerback), as well as the trims on the men’s adidas adiZero (on Dolgo) and Barricade (Murray) lines for the Australian summer.

More: Lisicki, Caro, Tomic, and the boys of Lotto all wear the brights — see ‘em  after the cut…

picks from the australian open e-store

australian open 2013 online store

Merch, merch, merch everywhere: The tournament organizers for the 2013 Australian Open are dialing in their merchandising skills, this year coming up with a few souvenirs we wouldn’t mind having around the house (clockwise, from the top left): player towels ($55AUD), girl’s heart t-shirt ($30AUD), player towel keychain ($10AUD), personalized mugs ($17.95AUD) Wilson jumbo pink ball ($35AUD), Men’s 2013 Event T-Shirt ($40AUD).

A Closer Look: This. Model.

Also: The hears in that girl’s tee is made out of players’ silhouettes — hitting groundstrokes, hosting a trophy, etc. Fun times.

The Tennis: Follow 2013 Australian Open live scores and results at Tennis Now.

(screengrabs via australianopenshop.com)

fashion focus: sharapova, for sugarpova, wears david koma in melbourne

Maria Sharapova is a sweet tooth

Maria Sharapova is a real sweet tooth by the looks of it. She recently launched her candy line, Sugarpova, in Melbourne while in town for the 2013 Australian Open.

Fashion Focus: Maria paired Jimmy Choo heels with a sporty beige/orange dress designed by London-based Georgian David Koma as part of his Spring ’13 collection. (View: David Koma Spring 2013 runway show)

Down Under: The Russian’s Aussie Open prep got sidelined by a collarbone injury, which forced her to withdraw from Brisbane. She looked back on track in her first round match, though: As the tournament’s second seed, she beat compatriot Olga Puchkova 6-0, 6-0. (Draw: Women’s singles)

Just as sweet: Looming in the third round is a possible showdown against No. 25 Venus Williams. We can’t wait.

short balls: aussie hangover

There is plenty to be said about this year’s Australian Open. We’ll leave most of the match breakdowns and this’s and that’s to the experts: On Tennis.com, Tom Perrotta is saying that this is a Major that the ladies should be proud of – and I quite agree. Isn’t it crazy what a quality tournament this was, even though the likes of Ivanovic, Venus, Justine and Maria couldn’t even crack deep into the second week? Kudos, gals. Now, let’s get to the good, juicy TSF stuff.

Speaking of Venus, how strange was the word-vomit Tweet barrage from her mother, Oracene Price on Friday? Oracene Tweeted around 60 times in a matter of hours, complimenting Novak DjokovicPetra Kvitova (which Oracene could never spell right) and Li Na along the way. But in the same breath, Oracene poked fun at Clijsters and said she hoped Li would “kick some butt.” That was as talkative as Oracene has been – both online or in person – ever. Here, she seems to make a strange (and confusing) claim that Clijsters is “dubious:”

Twitter-pated: More of Oracene on TSF | Follow Oracene on Twitter | Follow TSF

Hoping to catch Kimmie at the 2012 Olympics before she signs off for good? You probably will get to swig back a Heineken or two, as the London Games are supposedly close to signing a deal with the Dutch beer-producer, according to Marketing magazine: “Heineken will have pouring rights to the hospitality outlets at the 2012 Games and also have the marketing rights to the Olympics and Paralympics, reports Marketing magazine.” (via Sports City)

Close to Melbourne, but across the ocean… Ryan Harrison was victorious in an all-American final at the Honolulu challenger. He took down Alex Kuznetsov to capture the crown, $7,200 and 80 ranking points. Three American women (Julia Cohen, Irina Falconi and Madison Brengle) are doing the dirty work on the USTA Pro Circuit this week. They are the top three seeds in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

And if you haven’t seen this video of a streaker running into a bit of streaking bad luck, you must:

(ao photo by jheritage via flickr; oracene screen grab via twitter; video screen grab via youtube)

sunday survey: aussie farewell

There are probably too many to choose from, so we’ll let you guys decide: Which was the moment you’ll remember from this year’s Australian Open the most? There was plenty to talk about over the two weeks of the tourney, including a wacky week one. Did Rafa’s exit surprise you? Or how about the way Roger and Murray went down to eventual-champ Djokovic in straights? Li Na made it a step closer to a slam title, but Clijsters was there with her agility and power. Can anyone stop her?

More afterthoughts to come this week… but for now, we’ll leave it up to you.

(mark dadswell/ getty images)

the battle of the husbands

By Benjamin Snyder of TenaciouslyTennis.com.

The final of this year’s Australian Open women’s event signifies more than a battle pitting Belgium’s three-time US Open champ Kim Clijsters against Chinese tennis’ greatest hope, Li Na. It’s also the story of two husbands: retired basketball player Brian Lynch and Jiang Shan, a former tennis player-turned-coach.

For Kim, husband Brian left a lucrative basketball career on the European circuit to give his wife a second chance at tennis success. She’s done pretty well for herself, too. With two majors in 18 months – and the potential for a third – she’s the most successful mom in tennis history since Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s win at Wimbledon in the 1980s. | TSF Vault: Kim Clijsters

She’s even survived the limelight-shifting comeback of Belgian rival-turned-friend-turned-rival Justine Henin. Yeah, JuJu came back and then retired for the second time just as Kim claimed a spot in the Melbourne final. Oops.

Through it all, however, Brian’s been there to back her up. He goes to every match, bites his nails hoping for Kim’s success, and helps out with their daughter, Jada. And all so that his wife can do her thing: win.

As for Li, husband Jiang not only serves as her coach, but also is the guy who apparently deserves the credit for improving her mental game. He also inspired her to play again after she quit a few years ago. Even more importantly, he’s the brunt of some jokes she’s cracked on her way to the AO final.

Apparently, he snores pretty loud. After keeping her up the night before the semifinal match versus world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Li didn’t think twice about calling him out on it. No bed for Jiang, she told the world. Instead, he’d be sleeping in the bathroom, she said. We’ll have to keep an eye on him in the player box as Li takes to the court against Kim. Maybe Mirka could lend him some sunglasses?

To make matters worse, Li had trouble remembering the date of their anniversary. In the same interview, the Chinese no. 1 got flustered when told her win came on their fifth anniversary. Is it the 27th or the 29th? In the moment, such a fact escaped the tennis-hot Li.

So, sorry, Jarmila Groth, these husbands simply ooze positive support, unlike Sam. They also seem keen on keeping the controversy and yelling to a minimum. Well, at least publicly and during match play.

In the end, the question isn’t just: Who will win? Which husband’s support reigns supreme also stands to be determined in this historic match between mother Kim Clijsters and Chinese trendsetter Li Na.

(photos via getty)

aussie open podcast w/ david thorpe

As the Australian Open launches into its final weekend, David Thorpe joins us for a TSF podcast, our first of the 2011 season. We catch up with David on his thoughts of Justine Henin‘s re-retirment, the future of Li Na (and the domination of Chinese tennis?!), AO scheduling for the men and our favorite moment from the last 10 days. | More podcasts from TSF

Listen now: TSF-Podcast-Aussie-11

(photo by getty images)

a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment

Benjamin Snyder contributes to Fortune.com and writes for his blog, TenaciouslyTennis.com. He serves as an editor for Goucher [Md.] College’s newspaper, The Quindecim, and plays for the college’s varsity tennis team. Benjamin swears that he is distantly related to WTA veteran Patty Schnyder. Today he pens a letter to Justine Henin. From the tennis establishment.

Dear Justine,
What happened? You’re retiring, again? After everything you’ve been through, you’re letting an elbow injury prevent you from playing for good? Fine. It’s not like any other big name players are sidelined right now. Oh, wait. Sorry, Serena and Venus….

But let’s get this straight: Kim wins the US Open as a mom, and you decide it’s time to hit the courts again. You seem jealous that she’s getting all the attention. You’ve never been best friends with Kim, especially with such an intense rivalry since childhood. Plus, there’s that time her father accused you of taking drugs in 2003. Things improved between you both, the Belgian Sisters were back, but Clijsters prevailed in the end.

It’s 2010. You play a tournament for the first time, losing to Kim. But it was the match of the year. You shock the world by clawing through to the Australian Open final. There, you face Serena, make it to the third set, and lose again. You take two titles during the year, lose to Kim some more, and hurt your elbow against her at Wimbledon. Ouch. But – fine – it makes sense that you lay low for the rest of the year.

In 2011, you’re not feeling 100 percent, but decide to play. Why? Apparently, winning again means more than anything. You tell the press that another major would be “a bigger achievement than what I did in the past.” | More from the TSF Vault: Justine Henin

Apparently, that’s not enough anymore. You tweak the elbow against Svetlana Kuznetsova in Melbourne and completely call it quits?

Happier (and healthier) times: Justine once held the tennis world in her hand. (Philippe Buisson)

That doesn’t sound like the Justine I know. The Justine who overcame so, so many challenges. A mother who died when you were young. A divorce. An estrangement from her family. Big babe tennis. Being vertically challenged. An obsession with pudding.

You say that you came back with “a lot of questions and a lot of doubts,” but you’re leaving us with even more by retiring so quickly. You’re in shock, according to your farewell letter – and we are, too. Remember the first time after getting owned by Dinara Safina as the world number one? These retirements come pretty quickly after losses. Don’t you want to take some time to think it through?

Well, I’m sure Kim will be fine that you’re taking the spotlight away from her again. It’s not like she’s about to win the Australian Open, or anything. Oh, and how about teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics? Good luck with keeping that friendship.

We’re left with another burning question before you tune us out: Who is going to make a comeback to inspire you to play again? Elena Dementieva? Not likely. Guess you better call Belgian Idol, they’ve got a microphone ready for you.

Sincerely,

The Tennis Establishment

(justine ao photo via getty images)

ao sf predictions with christopher phillips (gents)

Party crasher: everyone knew there would be a Spaniard in the semis. Just not this guy. (Getty/ Torsten Blackwood.)

Christopher Phillips, a regular TSF contributor, weighs in on the semifinal match-ups over the next two days in Melbourne. | More: Lady picks

As Rafael Nadal bows out of the men’s mix, all eyes are focused on the rematch of the US Open semifinal between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.  Both men are coming off of strong quarterfinal showings as Federer beat countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets and Djokovic handed the same result to former giant-killer Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic has been the more consistent of the two in only dropping one set in his run to the semis (a tiebreak at that) compared to three lost sets for Fed. Though most would say Federer has had the tougher draw in defeating three former top ten players (Gilles Simon, Tommy Robredo and Wawrinka), he looked especially vulnerable in a five-set clash with Simon in the second round. Djokovic has really only had to contend with the up-and-down Berdych and Nicolas Almagro, who’d always rather be playing on clay.

While Djokovic had Federer’s number in New York, I see the relationship between Federer and new coach Paul Annacone continuing to flourish for the Swiss.  Roger takes it in five.

At the top half we have one of my favorite (and I think most underappreciated) players in David Ferrer. After Ferrer’s quarterfinal upset over an injured Nadal, he takes on Scot Andy Murray.  After seeing Murray’s countless meltdowns in Majors, I very recently claimed that I thought Murray would never win a slam in his career. But with his solid under-the-radar play here, I may be forced to eat my own crow though with perhaps a bit of Aussie vegemite on top.

Murray may have already mentally booked his place in the final, which could spell trouble for him against a player with the consistency, determination and drive that Ferrer has.  Ferrer has had to fight more in his run to the semis, so he may be more battle-tested than Murray, but I pick the no. 5 seed in four sets.