hipster tennis? sure, for a day

SMASH!-tastic: For all the attention it gets for being a tennis town, New York hardly has a lot to claim when it comes to tennis that happens on the island we all (well, most of America, that is) think of first when we think about the city: Manhattan. Courts are hard (and expensive) to come by, and availability — good luck, tookums. But a couple of weekends ago, downtown Manhattan not only got its tennis on for the day, it did so in fashion. Gargyle and United Bamboo fashion, that is.

The boutique (Gargyle) and fashion line (United Bamboo) teamed up to host SMASH!, a day-long tournament, for a second straight year, this time venturing a bit west from the East River Park courts to those at Seward Park, on the fringes of Chinatown. SMASH! is what you would expect tennis in Chinatown to be like: fun, quirky, oh-so hipster-esque, relaxed and above all — cool.

Above: a wall of celebrating. TSF contributor and fashion extraordinaire Troy Venechanos and I ventured to the day’s worth of events to check things out. Troy snapped some TSF-worth shots while I chatted with Don Vu of Gargyle about the event, which the store has approached a bit like throwing a dinner party at their house. “Tennis is one of the inspirations for Gargyle and you can see that in a lot of the lines that we pick,” Vu told me while we took in some of the round robin tennis. “We decided to take that part of us and make a tournament out of it. For fun. It’s pretty casual, but once you get on the court it’s pretty competitive. It’s relatively mellow overall, though.”

All you need is you: The mixed doubles teams (15 of them total) were all told to dress up for the occasion, some going all out and others choosing toned-down looks. But this is no Wimbledon folks: these outfits are colorful. The teams were broken into groups of five, playing one another in a best-of-three match-tiebreak format (first to 10 points) where the top team from each group would advance to the semifinals and one wild card (Team Lisicki?) would be chosen to participate as well.

TSF Vault: Gargyle | Gargyle wraps up SMASH! on its blog

“There are similar events [around New York],” Vu told me. “For the most part there is nothing like this for tennis. It’s a social event. We’re not raising money for anything — it’s just to hang out and have fun. It’s friends and friends of friends who are playing. We run Gargyle just down the street.” While Gargyle operates a few blocks away, the Hester Street Fair was happening just next door, so Troy and I trotted over a couple times throughout the day to snack on donuts (from Wonder City) and a specially-made macaroon called the SMASH! Sandwich. The guys at Macaron Parlour and Melt Bakery knocked heads (at Gargyle’s nudging) to create a tennis-ball looking macaroon that was downright delicious. This pup below is drooling over the thought of such things.

See the SMASH! Sandwich and more on the Gargyle event after the cut. [Read more...]

a royal visit to wimbledon


Here hunny, you sit here.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known to us as Kate and Will, made their first visit to Wimbledon today as a married couple. The two took in Andy Murray‘s rather straight-forward match against Richard Gasquet, the Scotsman winning 7-6 (3) 6-3 6-2. Kate looked stunning in off white (don’t you love that shoulder pattern, too?) and Will looked regal in a classic navy suit with a patterned red tie. Billie Jean King joined them in the royal box, as well.

More Murray: The world no. 4 has Kubot or Lopez in the quarterfinals

(Getty Images photo)

tsf podcast: wimbledon fashion, grunting, exclusive bags and more

Jelena Rustic approves of this podcast. No, really, she loves us! (Getty)

On the airwaves: After going silent on the radio front for a couple of months, the TSF team is back to check in on Middle Sunday talking about Venus Williams fashion, Bethanie Mattek-Sands “fashion,” the big noise about grunting (we’re over it! — the arguing, that is), the tennis bags for SW19, the return of the Williams sisters and more musings from both TSF East and West in this installment of our podcast series. | TSF Vault: More podcasts

Chatter: TSF Wimbledon 2011 — Checking in on Middle Sunday

fresh (and exclusive) strawberries for domi

Strawberries for Domi and the men get classic green from Dunlop this year at Wimbledon. (Photo provided)

Any cream, too? There’s been plenty of talk around Andy Murray‘s chic white HEAD bag that has been sprinkled with his favorite messages from fans through a creative Facebook campaign his racket maker has put on. But for Dunlop, it’s going the traditional — but fun — route with Dominika Cibulkova‘s bag for this year’s Championships, making her a colorful bag adorned with miniature strawberries for Domi, and Domi only. The bag isn’t for sale, Dunlop told TSF, but it looks great strapped over the diminutive Czech’s shoulder. The next scalp she’d like to throw in that bag? That’d be world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. The two are second on Court No. 2 (after Sharapova) on Monday. | More: Women’s draw

TSF Vault: Dunlop | Dominika Cibulkova

sunday survey: wimbledon … for which williams?

Sister act, 2011: Venus and Serena have both made their way through the first week of Wimbledon with their respective bumps — we’ll call it “character building” — and are currently on track to meet in the championship match at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009 (they met in the finals in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009). While both would have to win an impressive three more matches each to get to the finals, they certainly have proven to be unpredictable before, and long layoffs for each has put their games into a realm of unknown.

So, what do you think: which Williams can win Wimbledon? Tell us below.

(Getty Images photo)

there's color (in the crowd) at wimbledon

Best dressed? Sort of cheesy, we know. But, like any slam, Wimbledon has plenty of color in its crowds — even if the players have to sport all white on the courts. The WTA has this video on fans around the grounds, and we dig the characteristic tennis-savvy folks on screen/in the stands.

Middle (American) weekend: Mardy Fish moves on | Serena, too

(WTA video)

who wears calvin klein?

No Fruit of the Loom? Lleyton Hewitt goes for Calvin Kleins under his Yonex garb, so it would seem. But the Aussie’s trendy undies and backcourt game were not enough to get him past no. 5 seed Robin Soderling, even after the veteran led two sets to none. The final in favor of the Swede 6-7 (5) 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4.

TSF: Chris has Sod going to the QFs | More undies

(Reuters image)

tsf interview: monica seles talks twitter, figure skating and her love of fashion

I cannot tell you how many thousands of hours I have spent hitting a tennis ball against a wall. Recently, I moved to Harlem in Manhattan and have discovered that there are hand ball walls just two blocks away from my new place. My afternoons? Now often spent hitting the ball against the wall, with curious walkers by baffled that I’m not playing hand or racquet ball.

Much of this fascination is due to the fact that when I was just 12 I read Monica SelesFrom Fear to Victory, the book that chronicled her life into tennis — including her love of hitting the tennis ball against a wall in a parking lot below her family’s apartment.

This last Monday I got the chance to talk to Monday for the third time in my short, young career as a journalist. I was visiting HSBC‘s “Wimbledon at Rockefeller Plaza,” a week-long event that the Wimbledon-partnered bank has put on for several year that allows Manhattan to boast a grass court in the city — even just for one week.

It was here that I (full disclosure: I was on a media pass both for TennisWire.org and TSF) got to talk to both Monica Seles and Jim Courier. For more on the HSBC event and it’s details, see the Courier post here (or scroll up).

TSF: Monica, what about social media? Why aren’t you tweeting up a storm?
Monica Seles: 
I don’t think anybody would care what Monica Seles is eating or what she’s doing.

TSF: [Laughing.] Monica, are you kidding?! I think you’d be surprised.
MS:
I’m an old dinosaur. [Twitter] is more all of these reality show stars that everyone watches. This is how this generation that has shifted. We didn’t have reality TV when I was growing up and now they’re the biggest stars. I really enjoy [my time away from the computer] because I’m on it a lot for work, but you kind of have to. My 10-year-old godson is tutoring me on the computer of how to navigate everything.

TSF: But you did Dancing With the Stars, so you’re sort of a reality star. What about trying Skating With the Stars?
MS:
 I couldn’t even [dance on] dry land! [Laughing.]

TSF: But you skated as a kid, right?
MS:
Yeah, I skated for about a year and a half. That’s what I wanted to be. I loved it. I loved the costumes and all the glamor stuff. But I haven’t been on ice skates since I was 8 years old. I think being on Dancing With the Stars was enough. [The show] was more about art and how you look and how you present yourself. In tennis I didn’t have to worry about where the camera was or what angle to smile at. I loved [Dancing] because it was so out of my comfort zone.

TSF: What about favorite figure skaters. Do you have any?
MS:
I always liked Kristi Yamaguchi in skating and she was on Dancing with me. And I always liked Nancy Kerrigan, too.

TSF: So you didn’t get to design figure skating costumes, but you still love fashion. Do you ever see yourself diving into it like Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova have?
MS:
[Fashion] is something I enjoy looking at, but I don’t know. Tennis is really hard because all of the big companies have kind of taken over. I love it when you see the girls come out [for the players' parties] and you want to see what everyone is wearing. Now, it’s going to be more and more daring. At Wimbledon all the girls got all dressed up and it allows the fans to see the girls in a different light — I like that.

TSF: Did you see Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ dress?
MS:
[Laughing.] No… but I heard about it. I saw Maria’s and Ana Ivanovic‘s. Ana was very classy.

TSF: What is one thing that you must do when you’re in New York in the summer?
MS:
I love Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. It’s really nice to just sit and be outside — I love being outside. You can sit there on a nice day and just have your friends eat with you — that’s my favorite.

TSF: Do you ever think there’s going to be a young star again? WTA success seems to be coming at an older age these days.
MS:
Oh yeah. The tour has their age regulations, but there are always going to be young girls coming up who are powerful. Martina was powerful. And then Stefani. And then me. Then the Williams sisters came along. I think the sport always evolves. Maybe age mentally — how you manage success and fame and money — but otherwise, I think we’ll always have young players coming up.

(tsf photo)

venus: the forever 21 of tennis

Objects on TV are nicer than they appear: We’re not going to lie — watching Venus Williams play her first-round Wimbledon match left us deflated (and no, it wasn’t the grueling workout we just finished, we’re sure); that repurposed wedding gown just did not look good on the decorated AELTC vet as she gracefully pranced around the court in a first-round clinic over Akgul Amanmuradova. The scoreline: 6,3-6-1. (Brackets: Chris has Venus dropping out in the round of 16.)

And about that lace jumpsuit with gold trim (Golden Girls meets Project Runway?): le sigh. On TV, the shorts seemed a little too billowy, especially since we’ve seen how Venus can rock a cute pair of hot pants on the Wimbledon lawns. The gold-zippered top flopped in awkward ways as she hit her groundstrokes. The sleeves seemed as though they were missing whole panels.

(At least her trends are on point, ish? Venus, on her outfit: “Jumpers are very ‘now,”‘ she explained, “as is lace.” As is gold, really. That’s the advantage to producing one-offs for match play: your design schedule is not beholden to the super-long lead time associated with retail.)

Suprisingly, it all seemed to come together in the photos snapped during the match (see below). Just a good photographer? Maybe we were glancing up at the TV at the wrong time? Anyway, it doesn’t matter, since no one can buy this stuff. Picture worth a thousand words, but zero dollars in revenue.

More photos: Check out other looks at Venus’ EleVen outfit after the cut…