the all-england club for men’s hair loss

By Troy Venechanos

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John McEnroe, The Rocker Boy of Bald: For more than three decades, John McEnroe has managed to stay relevant and his hairline is no exception. The curly, clown-esque locks of his early career seemed to complement his outlandish on-court antics. But even this seasoned tennis vet isn’t recession-proof. Perhaps his thinner hair is the reason behind his (somewhat) more subdued public persona. Nice try, Johnny Mac.

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...]

venus' smooth transaction

Portfolio boost: Who’s the newest smoothie gal in town? That’d be one Venus Williams. The American signed a letter of intent to open five D.C.-area Jamba Juice stores, the first of which is said to open its doors sometime this summer. We tapped the illustrative genius of Troy Venechanos to help us begin to formulate what sort of customer service skills V might bring to the cash reg. “Would you like a free boost with that?”

(tsf illustration by Troy Venechanos)

the all-england hair club for men

By Troy Venechanos

A few months ago, Andy Roddick hit what he called one of the best shots of his career. It was a diving save, one in which Roddick smacked a forehand down the line on match point to win a third set tie-breaker against up-and-comer Milos Raonic and capture the Memphis title. And while the web went abuzz with the video of the shot, many viewers weren’t actually watching Roddick’s shot. Instead, they were paying attention to a cap-less Andy, his hat having fallen off in his exertion of effort. And what was there to see? Not much, actually. An almost-bald Andy.Hair loss and tennis go hand and hand. Male pros often play into their mid or late 30s, meaning as they start to lose their hair, it’s left for all the public to see. Andre Agassi freaked out about it so much that he donned a fake hairpiece that had the world fooled. Pete Sampras has been so nonchalant about his after-career hair thinning that he doesn’t even seem to notice.

But we notice – we always notice. TSF has collected the hairdos (and don’ts) from around the tour in what we’re calling “The All-England Club for Men’s Hair Loss,” where styles differ from member to member, but everyone has one thing in common: they’re going – or already are – bald.

TSF GALLERY: The All-England Hair Club for Men

Troy Venechanos has conquered the worlds of junior varsity tennis, tennis internships and tennis photo-blogging. The New York native and TSF contributor hopes to next master “that cool way players can pick up tennis balls using the sides of their feet.” He is a graduate of Northeastern University. TSF vault: Troy Venechanos