on the 12th day of giftmas: we give you rest



Yes, oh tired tennis fan, we know: you’re oh, so sleepy. Fear not, because on the twelfth day of Christmas we give you rest and wish you all the best of a holiday weekend/ week/ hour/ day/ minute/ fortnight. We’ll be back in early 2011 to give you all the goodies of the tennis fashion world. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being you. Thank you, Bethanie Mattek Sands.
-Erwin, Nick & Co.

(picture by aleftina via flickr.)

on the 10th day of giftmas: who needs the court?



Online offerings: There really is nothing better than getting out on the tennis court and playing some tennis. But before you do that, there’s plenty of tools online to maximize just how – and why – you play. Sure, the web is full of tennis news, but there is a unique niche that exists that helps you with your game and find out more about the sport you love than just the latest ATP scores.

The kids are all right: We’ll start at the bottom – or at least those who are closest to the ground. 10andundertennis.com was launched by the USTA this summer, and the site goes along with the rule changes that the national organization is starting to phase into the instructional world and will see at the competitive level in its entirety in 2012. Why do we love this site so much? The USTA has created such a wide-reaching hub for parents (and kids!) that you can head there to find out everything about how the game will change for the little tikes: from new equipment and gear to training, programs and events that kids can tap into, it’ll no longer be a dang big court for the first few years of swinging.

All you need is a racket, a ball and a screen: But for those of us who are over 10 (and we guess most (most!) of our readers are), there is a dang big court out there that we have to deal with. We’ve always been fans of FuzzyYellowBalls, the instructional web site that takes the games of the pros – in video! – and helps you learn how to improve your own. Head instructor Will Hamilton has been around since 2007, and the site has grown to be the most popular instructional site in the world. We dig the site for its visual advantage: if you learn best from watching and then doing, this is the place where you can watch how to do it right, and then put the practice to work out on the court.

Find a partner: Especially when you’re new to a place, the web can be the perfect place to find a tennis partner to play tennis. We’re going with LetsPlayTennis.com, where you can find profiles and USTA ratings of potential battle mates.

Rebounces has been around for a while, but this holiday season we’re digging their replay option, which allows you to ship balls to them and get them rebounced and playable once again. That’s seriously green. Or bright yellow. Or whatever color tennis balls are. Reasonable rates: 100 balls for $45, 250 for $100 or 500 for $185. And you’re saving plastic.

(photo by Ligia Cuevas-Johnson via usta.com)

on the 8th day of giftmas: excess baggage



‘Tis the season of choices, no? We give you five (count ‘em, 5!) bags to pick from this holiday season. From the super-chic and trendy Soho choice to a bag that couldn’t be more Apple Pie America to another selection (after the cut) that you might want to buy alongside a pair of sunglasses. No, really… at least for the kids. Batter up: LAYERxlayer is catching our eye this year with their trendy, made-to-order approach of bags that you can really take anywhere. The Wayfarer pack, seen below, is $189 online and couldn’t be better for a city dweller that wants a good, sturdy bag that can withstand a daily commute on the 6 Train. 100% denim body.

Say what you will about the simplicity of the Fila (or Ralph Lauren) color palette, sometime tennis (with it’s bright yellow balls, purple courts and god-forsaken plaid shorts) needs a little grounding. That’s why this year, we’re digging this three-racquet bag from Fila, which is the perfect gift for any regular club or competitive player in your life. And serse, for $39.99, there just isn’t anything better than red, white and blue. (Available on Tennis Warehouse.)

And while after the cut we have two somethings for the ladies, we figured we’d throw a bone for our dudes on this next choice. While we were drooling over Roger’s RF bag earlier this fall, Nike has the next best thing in the small, classic duffel bag in black. The bag, just $60 on their web site, is the perfect carry-on, carry-to-the-court or carry-my-stuff-around-all-day selection for a sporty fella in your life.

After the cut: a look at a tennis bag that is (still) on our radar (and a nice surprise).

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on the 7th day of giftmas: duds for the dudes



While we can probably say that today’s developments in the long road to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” can’t be bested as a holiday gift for 2010, here’s how we would’ve drowned our sorrows had things gone the other way:

Steven Alan teamed up with Dockers earlier this fall to dress up the classic American brand’s image, and the mens-only collection of button-down polos (Steven Alan’s specialty!), blazers, and pants don’t disappoint. Buy: Steven Alan for Dockers Workwear Chino in Jasper Grey, $128, stevenalan.com. (FYI, Angelenos can also pick this up from the Barney’s CO-OPs and at Steven Alan Annex shops.)

Etc: For the casual guys on your list, consider the tennis-themed tees from Nike (remember the trove they had on the grounds of the U.S. Open?); he doesn’t need to know that this one with Johnny Mac on a face card is now half-off. Buy: Nike John McEnroe Playing Card Men’s Tennis T-Shirt, $14.97, nike.com.

The classic pinstripe polos from Boast, the recently revived tennis brand, are also on our list. This green one’s our fave, though they also carry it in black, blue, and red. Buy: Boast pinstripe polos, $68, boastusa.com. Cantaloupe not included.

And for something a little less fabric-based, there’s always the line of colognes from Lacoste. Andy Roddick is now the face for Challenge (sorry, Hayden, you’re out!). Buy: Lacoste Challenge Eau de Toilette Sprays, $40-$60, lacoste.com.

on the 6th day of giftmas: racquet racket



Remember the Wilson BLX Blade that we spotted in the city back in September? It’s still been on our mind. The series of Six.One Blades that Wilson has put out have been high quality as a pack, and we’re giving thumbs up to most of the collection. The racquet has a “classic Wilson feel,” which means that you get pin-point accuracy and a good connection with the ball, especially if you want to hit consistently from the baseline. Below the Six.One Tour BLX. And how can you not dig the tan-colored grip on this baby? Classic, indeed. Buy it: on TennisWarehouse for $199.

If you want a racquet with a little bit of a different feel from the Wilson but still the same results, we’re digging Yonex’s EZONE, with a 100-inch head and a 27-inch length. Big-hitters like Monica Seles have favorited these racquets for a simple back-swing and a frame that the ball bounces off of. Buy at TennisExpress for (also) $199.

See our kids’ picks after the cut.

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