branding porn: shanghai masters

We’re lovin’ the Chinese characters for “Shanghai” painted on the courts at this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Draw: Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker beat Fernando Verdasco in the first round. He next plays fellow adidas man Juan Monaco. (Draw: Singles.)

(image via Getty Images)

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fashion focus: novak’s dragon

Novak Djokovic won the Beijing Open this past week, beating David Ferrer in straight sets to defend his singles title. He’s also the third man to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. (Super curious to see what Nole pose they’re using as a stencil. Maybe this?)

We hadn’t had a chance to mention how much we love his current kit from Sergio Tacchini. The dragon imagery’s all over — from the hat, to the polo, to the shorts — but not overwhelming. The graphic itself doesn’t look junior-high in its tattoo-esque aesthetic. And that night outfit, in navy and red, was the perfect combination of colors to wear under the lights in Flushing Meadows (think back to Roger‘s “Darth Federer”).

Even his camp because part of the buzz at the Open. Dad Srdjan wore the airbrushed Nole shirt while watching his son play. That falcon’s a symbol which Nole has used throughout the years, first in his short-lived collection with adidas, which then transferred over to the Tacchini drop this year (photo).

There’s also the “Novache” shirt, seen here on one of Nole’s team as he hit with Andy Murray before making his Arthur Ashe Kids Day appearance on the Sunday before the Open. Djokovic’s mom wore this tee for her son’s matches.

Buy: Merch Polo, $74.99; Crew, $67.99; Shorts, $49.99; Novache Tee, $25.00; polo, crew, shorts available in black/white or navy/red; all at TW.

Draw: With two titles in 2010 under his belt (the other one being Dubai), Nole goes into this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters as the tournament’s second seed. In his opening match, he’ll face the winner of the first-rounder between Ivan Ljubicic and wildcard Zhang Ze. (Draw: Singles.)

More: See some other pictures of Nole’s kit — including the warm-up jacket, his wristbands, hat, the “Nole” printed on the back of his polo — all after the cut…

tour of duty: irina davydenko

It wasn’t Bec Cartwright, Xisca Perello, Jelena Ristic, Mirka Federer, or Kim Sears cheering in the players’ box this week in Shanghai. Instead, it was Irina Davydenko‘s turn to fill airtime between points at the Shanghai ATP Masters tournament. The cameras would normally focus on the fans in the stands, but no one’s been showing up to the fill the cavernous, 15,000-seat Qizhong Stadium. Thankfully, the bejeweled Irina was up to the task, even occasionally staring up at the jumbotron and smiling when her mug’s been enlarged for the entire arena’s viewing consumption.

One last shift: her husband, Nikolay Davydenko, will be playing for the Shanghai singles title tomorrow against Rafael Nadal.

(image via Getty)

furliciano lopez

Wolverine, 3.0: Even the normally furry-licious Gilles Simon‘s beard was no match for that of Feliciano Lopez‘s patchy facial hair, which was showcased at this week’s Shanghai ATP Masters tournament. In today’s semifinal, Feli lost through retirement 1-6, 0-3 (right ankle). This was a sad end for the run of the unseeded Lopez, who upset seeds David Ferrer (16) and Robin Soderling (9) before facing Nadal.

Joma: Props to the subtle pops of blue all over Lopez’s crisp, white Joma outfit (especially the placket). While this Shanghai kit isn’t available for sale, you can check out some older styles — including his Davis Cup apparel — at the company’s website.

More: See more pics of Feli’s outfit: the bandana, the socks, the wristband, the shorts — all after the cut…

novak djokovic’s wood

We knew it was a cross hiding under that adidas shirt, but we just weren’t sure what it looked like.

Mystery solved.

Thanks for playing: The Serb, seeded second at this week’s Shanghai ATP Masters tournament, lost in the semis to Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). Nole looked on track to beat the Russian, saving three break points in the first set and converting the second break point on Kolya’s serve. Davydenko broke in the second, using his speed to set up forehand and backhand winners from the baseline (but he showed some good net play, too). And by the time it got to the third set tiebreak, Kolya raced to 5-0 before ceding a point to Djokovic. He’ll face Nadal in the finals.

(image via Getty)

mo’ mono: radek stepanek

The funky clothing of Radek Stepanek goes to the next level with this monogrammed polo from Alea with a slight graphic print on the front — tame compared to the Czech’s usually outlandish outfits. (Read up on other players in the monogram club.)

Shanghai’ed: Stepanek looked on track to win the head-to-head against Nikolay Davydenko before this quarterfinal match at this week’s Shanghai ATP Masters (they were 4-4 previously). He frustrated Kolya by attacking second serves and coming in constantly as part of his serve-and-volley game. Alas, the Russian eventually prevailed 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. “He destroyed me in the second set,” Davydenko said during the post-match presser. “In the third set, I find my game and play better and better, good concentration, and he start again to do mistakes from the baseline.”

Browse: See the other Alea goods on their website. omg that czech flag bathrobe is craaaaaaazy.

A few more: A few more shots of Radek and his clothes after the cut…

prettier in pink: rafa shanghai shirts?

Does anyone out there have info about these pink “Nadal” shirts (with swoosh, of course) that all the fans are sporting over at the Shanghai ATP Masters tournament?

Draw: Rafa Nadal will face Feliciano Lopez in the semis. His opponent, Ivan Ljubicic, retired with a back injury. Feli beat Soderling in straight sets. In the other half, Kolya Davydenko needed three sets to win over Radek Stepanek. So did Nole Djokovic in his victory over Gilles Simon.

(image via AP for Getty)

imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, we guess

That multi-year Erke deal as the Shanghai ATP Masters tournament’s official apparel sponsor has churned out some pretty good merch: equal parts classic (polos, tees), outerwear (hoodies, winter jackets, pullovers), and pants in bright colors like lime, fuschia, teal, red, and navy. Graphics punctuate the pieces here and there, and that tooth-shaped Masters Series logo, along with the Erke “swoosh” (or is it a pipe?) also make appearances.

Lacoste, is that you? It reminded us a little too much of Lacoste‘s current website (Exhibit A), but at least they were inspired by something visually appealing.

Browse: Check out the Erke Shanghai ATP Masters goods here.

More: And we have a few more screengrabs — our favorite model clothes — after the cut…

tommy robredo in tacchini’s young line

Tommy Robredo fell to compatriot Rafa Nadal in the third round of the Shanghai ATP Masters in straight sets (6-1, 6-4).

Nadal’s been getting some flack for that green Nike polo he’s been sporting through his run in Asia, but no one can complain about Tommy’s classic look.

The two-time 2009 titleist (Copa Telmex in Argentina, Brasil Open) wearing a the Young line from Sergio Tacchini — the same design that John McEnroe made famous back in the day. And of course he accessorized the outfit with a white-banded TW Steel watch.

Draw: Up next for Rafa is Ivan Ljubicic, who won after Gael Monfils hopped on the Shanghai injury train because of a bad back (Murray, Roddick, del Potro, Haas, Acasuso, and Zverev are already on board). See the draw here.

More: Two more pics after the cut…

erke’s shanghai shoe

While the Shanghai ATP Masters website might need some work, they’ve figured out merchandising pretty well. They’ve tapped Chinese brand Erke to be their official apparel supplier. The licensing deal will go from 2009 to 2013.

The merch includes a pair of white tennis shoes with gold accents and some subtle and intricate designs on the sole: a combo of ancient flower prints and water waves (jpeg). If you may remember, adidas also designed a red/gold version of the Barricade in time for the 2007 Tennis Masters Cup, also in Shanghai. They followed that up with a gold/black version in 2008.

See more about the Erke Shanghai ATP shoe here.