madison keys: moving better, knowing what she wants, giving back

The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013 A decal of Madison Keys appears inside the American Express Fan Experience, a hospitality suite installed on the grounds of the 2013 US Open.

Madison Keys has better knowledge of her game. The fifth-best American on the WTA Tour has had a solid year, reaching the quarterfinals at events in Birmingham and Charleston, and making her way through qualifying before falling in the second round of the main draw in Madrid.

Keys was scheduled to face seed Jelena Jankovic in her opening match at the 2013 US Open. “I was telling people that I felt like I was going to have a seed in the first round,” said Keys by phone from her hotel in New York City. Thus, a match-up against a former World No. 1 was not a surprise. The Serbian Jankovic, who has had a resurgence in her own game after a mental refocus that started early this year, defeated Keys in straight sets.

This loss is only a slight setback to what has been a successful year for Keys, who is now ranked 39th. “Pieces of my game have come together a little better,” shared Keys. “I have a better idea of how I want to play and when I’m going to do certain things [on the court].” Keys also credits better movement on the court for her rise in the rankings.

The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013
A fan at the US Open American Express Fan Experience watches as his tennis strokes are translated into visual art and sound.

The 18-year-old was also one of three American tennis players — Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock are the two others — showcased in the American Express Fan Experience, set up on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 2013 U.S. Open. Of the many interactive exhibits, Keys showed interest in the display that turns groundstroke swings into music and art. We asked her what genre of music would best describe her tennis style; she said it would be “smooth” with a little crazy.

Keys was also instrumental in the erection of three new tennis courts at the Hodge Park Community Tennis CEnter in Rock Island, Ill., where Keys is from.

“I am really proud to be here today to help support this Fresh Courts program created by USTA and American Express, and to help support tennis communities like this, especially the one here in Rock Island where I grew up,” said Madison Keys to the Rock Island, IL community during the ceremony.

(Getty Images courtesy of American Express)

spotted in the city: prince sets up shop at 47th/lex

Prince Tennis opens a storefront in NYC

 

Prince has set up a pop-up store (“brand experience”) in New York City timed with the 2013 U.S. Open. The space, which opens on August 23, will host appearance by sponsored athletes, viewing parties, and a space selling limited-edition merchandise. There will also be an opportunity to preview the Fall 2013 product collection before they hit the stores in October.

 

(photo by @npmikolich)

sharapova withdraws from the 2013 u.s. open with shoulder injury

Maria Sharapova - Nike - 2013 Australian Open

 

Blowing us a red-lipped kiss goodbye: 2006 U.S. Open Champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from this year’s Championship because of bursitis in her right shoulder. “Maria has informed us that she will be unable to compete at the U.S. Open this year due to a right shoulder bursitis and has withdrawn from the tournament,” U.S. Open tournament director David Brewer said in a statement. “We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year.”

Sharapova also released a statement through her own website, saying “”I just wanted to let you know that withdrawing from the US Open has been a really tough decision to make. I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready, but it just wasn’t enough time. I have done many tests, received several opinions and it all comes down to taking the proper amount of time to heal my shoulder injury properly. It’s certainly not an easy decision to make ahead of one of my favorite tournaments, but I know it’s the right one that will get me back on the courts soon. I plan on taking the next few weeks off, receiving proper treatment and rehabilitation. I will miss being part of the US Open, but can’t wait for next year!”

Moving on up: Because of this withdrawal, Agnieszka Radwanska moves up to the No. 3 spot in the seedings previously held by Sharapova. All the other seeds move up, with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova moving up to the take the No. 32 seeding. (See: 2013 U.S. Open Women’s Singles Seeds | Men’s Seeds)

(via USATpicture of Maria Sharapova from the 2013 Australian Open via Getty Images)

american express at the 2013 u.s. open

The American Express Experience at the 2013 U.S. Open

U.S. Open sponsor American Express is behind many of the initiatives that enhance the fan experience at the USTABJKNTC during the two weeks it plays host for the last major of the year. They’ve taken over a section of the Indoor tennis center, providing swing analysis, virtual tennis, an exhibit by the Hall of Fame on “Battle of the Sexes,” an IBM Data Wall, and other great ways to cool down and pass the time while at the Open. Outside of the hospitality area, Amex also offers their radio commentary (Radio Live) and TrendCast, a feature within the U.S. Open app that tracks trending topics in social media.

Read on: The full release is below the gallery (and the cut).

(renderings courtesy of American Express) [Read more…]

uniqlo releases novak djokovic’s 2013 u.s. open kit

Uniqlo releases Novak Djokovic 2013 U.S. Open kit

UNIQLO previewed the 2013 U.S. Open kits to be worn by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and at the same time announced that it would sell a collection based on these styles, available to the public.

The designs keep simple, as has been the case for Djokovic’s UNIQLO uniforms thus far, and the Japanese outfitter’s design director, Naoki Takizawa, explained their concept behind the pieces. “The collection captures [Novak’s] calm demeanor as well as his strong energy on the court in a striking yet unconventional black scheme and includes a mint green color that was chosen by Novak. The red version of his performance wear portrays a sense of passion while incorporating the UNIQLO official company colors of red and white. Once again the lines are an important design element aimed to help visualize his physical strength and speed on the court.”

Uniqlo releases Novak Djokovic 2013 U.S. Open kit

The company also offered another description for the collection on their website: “While unusual in the tennis world, we chose black as a key color in this year’s U.S. Open Collection.” JFTR, it’s really not that unusual, at least not for the U.S. Open (See: Roger and Serena wear black in NYC.)

“To us,” UNIQLO continues, “the color represents the strength and elegance of Novak Djokovic’s playing style. The mint blue detailing matches the tournament’s official color and symbolizes the cool agility of Novak’s movements on the court.”

Buy: Novak Djokovic Performance Wear; polo, shorts, track jacket, track pants priced at $49.90; socks, $9.90; uniqlo.com

Looking forward: Djokovic heads into the final Slam of the year with a 5-2 record for the summer hard court season; he lost in the semis of Montreal to Rafael Nadal and the quarters of the Western & Southern Open to John Isner.

Novak Djokovic - #meetnovak - Uniqlo - U.S. Open 2013

#meetnovak: Uniqlo arranged a meeting between Novak and fans at their Fifth Avenue flagship on Monday night.

(product images courtesy of UNIQLO; #meetnovak photo via @TheSliceTweets)

ralph lauren outfits on-court officials at the 2013 u.s. open

Ralph Lauren clothes for the 2013 U.S. Open

Ralph Lauren‘s big pony has returned to the U.S. Open for yet another year. The American outfitter will dress all on-court officials — chair umps, line judges and ball persons — and all their looks will be made available to the public. The collection features the uniforms as well as tennis dresses, skirts, shorts, polo shirts, sweaters, and commemorative caps.

The pieces will be available onsite at the US Open Ralph Lauren Shop for the duration of the tournament and also available at select Ralph Lauren stores, department stores, and online at www.ralphlauren.com.

serena's all cut up in nike tees

Pass the scissors, please. One thing we loved about Serena Williams at the US Open this year was watching her walk into Interview Room 1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Not because we couldn’t wait to hear what Serena had to say — she’s actually notoriously bland in such situations — but for her hilariously amazing Nike tees turned home craft projects. Serena must have had plenty of late nights staying up with her assistant watching re-runs of her HSN appearances and Keeping up with the Kardashians while slicing through a collection of graphic tees. And by that we mean her assistant did all the cutting. Serena was probably painting her toes, right? Or Oprah’s.

Serena is getting some flak for her on-court apparel these days. But we say hey! What about what the girl is rocking off the court?

While the tees are all around a questionable move, we. Love. That. Hair. On the court, too? Do it, lady.

TSF Vault: Seren’a USO kit | Full USO coverage

More: Serena’s first UNICEF campaign

(screengrabs via USOpen.org)

trophy watch: american hardware

Slam season? It’s ova! I’m out of my let’s-research-this mindset from writing for USOpen.org after two glorious weeks with a great staff at the National Tennis Center, so I’ll give someone else a go at this stat: when was the last time a Slam included no “ova” winner? Barring one-half of the girls’ doubles winning team — that’d be Irina Khromacheva — and she’s an “eva,” so does she even count? For all I know it could have been the French this year, but it certainly seems like a shocker, no?!

The men’s tournament, in the end, wasn’t a shocker itself. Sure, it was shocking that Novak Djokovic for the second year in a row denied Roger Federer a shot at the title by saving match points (how ’bout that forehand?!), but in the end, it was a result that many in tennis expected: Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal in the final. And what a final it was! Thanks for ending a semi-mediocre tournament with such a glorious match, fellas. ‘Til next time!

Sam-a-Slam: Let’s just talk about the tennis. Sam Stosur played lights-out ball for two sets against Serena Williams on Sunday night at the Open. For us it was reminiscent of the way Maria Sharapova pounded her way past Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Sure, Stosur’s style is completely different that Maria’s, but the result was the same: she lost just five games against her heavily-favored opponent to win her maiden major. One can only wish that the Aussie will show up with similar form at her home slam come January.

TSF Vault: Trophy Watch | 2011 US Open

Cindarella story.  This one really was written in the you-can’t-make-it-up category. Melanie Oudin, two years ago the Open’s golden girl, had paired up with this year’s golden boy in Jack Sock, and the two just stormed through the mixed doubles draw. No, they didn’t smooch! But we sure wish they would have. More? Doubles and juniors after the cut! [Read more…]

happy as a sam

Say “stripes!” The US Open champ, Sam Stosur was reportedly running on some 90 minutes of sleep today — the day after she trotted past Serena Williams in an incredible display on Arthur Ashe Stadium court, winning 6-2, 6-3 for her first slam. The Aussie made a trip to Times Square for a I-just-won-the-Open photo-opp, donning an adorable striped red and white, loose-fitting dress by Lacoste.

Normally we’d want something like this belted, especially if you have a body like Sam’s. But it was 70 and breezy in New York today and somehow Aussie Sam made the concrete jungle feel quite beachy. And check out that sock tan, mate!

TSF Vault: Lacoste USO tees | Lacoste archives

(Photo by Angus Mordant via Detomix)