fashion focus: nike’s miami kit for rafa

Rafael Nadal - Sony Ericsson Open 2008

It was an all-blue battle between defending champion Rafael Nadal and German Benjamin Becker in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Nadal won the match 7-5, 6-2.

On track: With Novak Djokovic out of the way, top-ranked Federer still rusty, and a confident endorsement from Bjorn Borg (albeit for performance on grass), we expect to see Rafa as the last man standing next Friday.

BTW: My friends and I were chatting last week about which feat would be achieved first: Rafa winning Wimbledon or Roger winning the French. Like Borg, we think it’s the former.

Rafael Nadal - Sony Ericsson Open 2008

Rafa wore his Global Power Sleeveless in New Blue. This time, the folks at Nike moved the graphic print to the side and upper back of the tee, leaving it clean on the front (a welcome change). I’m all about this Land of the Rising Sun motif on his headband. And the blue swirls on his white wristband are a nice touch.

Becker wore a similar shade from the Boris Becker line.

nike-rafa-pants-spr08.jpg

Buy: Nike Global Power Sleeveless, $55; 3/4 pants, $55.

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s sony ericsson open coverage continues…

[tsf interview] how i spent my christmas vacay, by benni becker

German player Benjamin Becker starts his 2008 campaign Down Under with a loss to eventual champion Michael Llodra in the quarters of last week’s Next Generation Adelaide International.

Becker also starts off the year wearing a new line of clothes from sponsor Boris Becker — the company, not the legend. (Btw, he and Boris are not related.) For 2008, gone are the argyle patterns, but the orange and white colorway stays the same. Later today I’ll post photos of the the clothes, along with what “Benni” thinks about them and fashion in general.

We spoke to Benni via e-mail about the offseason, his goals for the coming year, and about his tennis shop in Merzig, Germany (it opened in the Spring of 2007).

How did you spend your off-season? I spent my off season mostly in Florida and was in Dallas over Christmas with my girlfriend. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend Christmas at home in Germany but it was easier [for] my preseason schedule and my flight to Australia. But I stilled enjoyed the holidays in Dallas.

What are your goals for 2008? One of the goals are certainly to participate in the Olympics. Other than that i will try to get back to the Top 50 again and maybe even higher.

How is your relationship with Boris Becker? Does he give you advice? [Boris and I] haven’t really talked much about my game, but we’ll do that more in the fututre when we have some time. Usually we [have met] at places where it was tough to get a good conversation in because we were at a press conference or at an exibition.

becker-store-merzig.jpg

You have a store in your hometown of Merzig. How involved are you with its operation? I’m involved but not as much that it would distract me from focusing on tennis. Whenever i have a chance I go visit and try to help a smuch as I can during that time. [They have one store and don’t plan to open any more.]

Doping is all over the news these days. Has this changed the climate in the locker rooms? I don’t think that the climate has changed but obviously we are all trying to be careful what supplements we take and what medicine if we are sick. That was part of it before and hasn’t changed.

trophy watch: more asian fun

The Hansol Korea Open had two tennis fashionistas duking it out in the final: on one side was the EleVen-clad Venus Williams. On the other, Maria Kirilenko and her adidas by Stella McCartney outfits.

After it was over, both 2007 winner Venus and runner-up Kirilenko changed into hanboks (the country’s traditional dress) for the awards ceremony. Venus’ hanbok is worth approximately $3,200. The ladies received bouquets and these great vases — yet another welcome change to ho-hum silver cups and glass prisms we’re so used to seeing.

Other photos of Venus and Maria. The American beat the Russian 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, ending her eight-match winning streak. Good to see both of these women doing well. (FYI, this is Venus’ third title of the year out of 11 tournaments entered.)

The final in Luxembourg also went to three sets, with Ana Ivanovic taking her third title after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniela Hantuchova. The Slovak has lost no earlier than the semis of her last three tourneys; she’s found her form after a disappointing hardcourt summer.

Photoless: Virginie Razzano beat Tzipora Obziler 6-0, 6-3 to become the 2007 Guangzhou International Women’s Open Champion.

In Mumbai, Richard Gasquet redeems his disappointing summer (the highlight: getting flack for withdrawing from the U.S. Open because of a sore throat) with his 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Belgian Olivier Rochus. This is his first title of the year.

In doubles, Robert Lindstedt and Jarkko Nieminen are the champions.

Dmitry Tursunov took out Benjamin Becker in an easy, breezy, 6-2, 6-1 match at the Thailand Open. He makes a cute face for Josh! (Giving him the trophy is Thailand Tennis Association prez Suwat Liptapallop.)

As usual, Tursunov was wearing Fila and Becker was wearing clothes from his sponsor, Boris Becker.

(photos by AP and Getty Images)

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s trophy watch archive