May 30, 2009

French Open Fashion - Part Deux!

Here's a quick look at more of what the women are wearing in Paris this week. Serena Williams remains in the run for the French Open wearing this orange and charcoal color-block dress in her singles play. I like this dress and think it flatters Serena and would flatter most ordinary tennis-playing women too. But I'm not sure the colors are a good contrast against the reddish orange French clay. Surely the designers at Nike must know what they're doing.

Now, this is the outfit Serena is wearing in her doubles play with sister Venus. Although Venus is out in singles, losing in the third round, she and Serena remain very serious contenders for doubles. And I love Serena's doubles outfit. Separate pieces like this usually work for everyone (dresses seem harder to fit right to me) and the orange and pink is tres cute.

I had to show off what Samantha Stosur is wearing because its a Lacoste outfit and, if you're watching the French Open on the Tennis Channel then you know, Lacoste is inundating us with their commercials featuring Andy Roddick and a bunch of teenage models but no women tennis players. This is a pretty utilitarian look Lacoste has put out. It's actually a dress. And black and white? The fashion models in the commercials are WAY more colorfully dressed. Again, maybe the designers are looking for something to contrast against the clay and stand out on TV. But there's got to be something more interesting than black and white. Stosur also remains in the running, having just taken out Elena Dementieva.

OK, here is Ivanovic in that same dress that I have made clear in previous posts (here and here) that I do not like. But I do like the color and it shows up great against the clay. She is rolling right through her part of the draw and has a great chance of retaining her French Open title.

Finally, I wanted to show the Nike dress worn by Victoria Azarenka who is making a great showing right now. This is exactly the kind of thing I expect from Nike, great colors, lots of criss-crossy straps going on around the shoulders and a flirty skirty detail at the bottom. Of course it looks wonderful on Azarenka who is 6 feet tall. But I like this and am sure it will be a sell-out in the stores.

All images courtesy of Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 29, 2009

French Open Fashion!

What are they wearing at the French Open? Let's start with Maria Sharapova, who comes into Roland Garros ranked at No. 102. She won her first round match in this very interesting blue number from Nike. Wearing Tiffany jewelry too. I think this dress looks great if you're 6 feet tall like Maria. On the rest of us, maybe not so great.

Now, Jelena Jankovic is wearing a good-looking dress. Her sponsor is Anta, whom I've never heard of. But if she can go deep into the draw and lots of photos circulate with her in this pretty blue outfit, I think we'll start seeing more of Anta's tennis line. This dress has a keyhole opening detail cut into the back - hard to see in these pictures but very cute.

Blue is the color to be wearing on the red clay courts of Roland Garros as Venus Williams is also showing up in a blue dress. But, I'm sorry. I do not like this. It just looks cheap. Right now, tennis wear is more about interesting cuts and lines, not about weird, loud prints. That's in my opinion of course. I just think with all the money she's making, Venus could design herself something a lot better looking than this.

Stay tuned for more French Open fashion here at Tennis Fixation!

All photos courtesy of Getty Images

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 27, 2009

Parlez Vous French Open?

So you want to sound like you know what's going on at the French Open without spending all of the time watching the early round matches? Here are a few quick commentaires to throw around in the next day or two that will make you look tre's inte'rressant and incroyablement intelligent to your tennis friends!

1. What do you think of Rafael Nadal's pink shirt? I personally love it. He's good enough to pull that look off.

2. So how about that Ivo Karlovic - 55 aces in his Round 1 match and he still loses to Lleyton Hewitt!

3. I'm so happy Andy Roddick won his first round match. You know, he hasn't won at the French Open since 2005!

4. It's too bad that Bethanie Mattek-Sands had to face Venus Williams in her Round 1 match. I was really hoping Bethanie would make it a little farther. At least she won a set off Venus.

5. Wow! Can you believe it took Serena Williams 9 match points to finally win her Round 1 match!

6. How many Lacoste commercials am I going to have to watch until this is all over?

7. A' Bientot! Profitez de votre fixation de tennis!

Image courtesy of Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 26, 2009

It's A Tennis Party!

It is officially the end of the Spring tennis season here and it seems that there is an end-of-season party every few days now. I love parties and I especially love tennis parties. I have hosted several and I always try to have some cute, inexpensive, tennis-themed party favor to hand out. Here are a few favorites, from virtually no effort to create to very little, if any, effort to create:

1. Pink Tennis Balls - While I'm not a fan of playing matches with pink balls, they are awfully sweet looking. Apparently, a lot of other people don't like playing with them as they are always on sale. So buy them when you see them, tie a ribbon around the can and - voila! Tennis party favor!

2. Tennis "Emergency Kit" - Now, this one requires absolutely no craft skills. Anyone can do it. Take an empty tennis ball can (which I assume you save because surely there is some use for those things) and fill it with all of the little things one might need for a match - a mini-pack of tylenol, a hair band, a band-aid, a mini-tube of sunscreen, lip balm, a small pack of candy - you get the idea. I once received one that had a mini-margarita kit in it! Fill the can, tie on a ribbon and, once again, you are a party favor genius!

3. Personalized Notepaper - This I did for a really special group of tennis friends. I set up a Word document that was to print on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper with a landscape orientation so that there would be two notepaper halves side-by-side (5 1/2" x 4 1/4" when cut) on each sheet, put each person's name at the top in a pretty font and color, and included a clever tennis saying at the bottom of each notepaper (this one happened to be "I Play Tennis for LAFS" which was the summer league we were in). After printing, the pages were cut in half and bundled with colorful ribbon. Much applause from recipients who thought this was the height of craftiness.

4. Team Key Chain - Similar to the tennis notepaper but with just a tiny bit of craft skill involved because you have to go to a craft store. Buy little key chain kits, designed for kids to do (so should be easy, right?). You pop the plastic cover off, insert your computer print-out design, snap the cover back on, and there you have your team key chain. I made these for a summer league one year - one side had a picture of Brad Pitt on it and the other side said "Brad Pitt and Tennis - No Place But LAFS" (same summer league, into fun stuff). These were a huge hit. As would be anything tying together Brad Pitt and tennis.

5. Personalized Tennis Towel - Let me be clear here - I am not talking about the kind of personalized tennis towel that has been professionally monogrammed. That is reserved for a captain's gift. Or a gift for your teenage daughter who has finally seen the tennis-playing light. Rather, what I mean is a "homemade" tennis towel that starts with a cheap white hand towel purchased at some place like Wal-Mart and is "personalized" with an iron-on generated by you on your computer. You can buy iron-on paper that you feed through your printer at any craft or office supply store. Believe me, I have done this and it is not only easy, it makes you look like some kind of craft goddess (which may or may not be a good thing).

© Kim Selzman 2009
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May 24, 2009

The French Open Is Here!

The next great tennis Slam is here - the French Open, also known by the name of the stadium where its played, Roland Garros. You can keep up with scores on the French Open website - You can also track the schedule and scores right here on the Tennis Fixation blog by clicking on the French Open widget in the sidebar to the right.

I know Rafael Nadal is the favorite to win this one and but I'm pulling for Roger Federer. And I hope to see Andy Roddick go deep into the tournament. I'll be watching every day and will keep you posted!

© Kim Selzman 2009
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May 21, 2009

Quick Tennis Fix: Hydrate!

Warm weather is definitely here and as matches drag on, the temperatures go up and up. To keep yourself going in those three-setters, or long two-setters, drink plenty of water - before, during and after your match. And remember that the time to drink is not when you feel thirsty. By then, its too late. You're on your way to dehydration. Hydrate yourself well in advance of your match to keep playing! For more tips on drinking and hydration, click here to check out my "Drink! Drink! Drink!" post.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 19, 2009

Shahar Peer Update: Dubai Agrees to Pay $300K Fine

Back in February, I posted about the United Arab Emirates' denial of a visa to Israeli tennis pro Shahar Peer. Apparently, the UAE has reached an agreement with the WTA and will pay a huge fine for their actions:
Dubai agrees to pay $300K fine for visa refusal

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The Dubai Tennis Championships will pay a record $300,000 fine for the United Arab Emirates' refusal to grant a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer.

Tournament director Salah Tahlak says he and fellow organizers agreed Sunday to pay the penalties imposed by the WTA Tour board, which rejected Dubai's appeal last week.

The UAE turned down Peer's visa request just before her planned arrival for the tournament in February.

The tour is also demanding that Dubai organizers confirm that qualifying Israeli players will get visas at least eight weeks in advance for the 2010 event.

Tahlak says he hopes all players can take part, but notes that organizers do not have full control over government

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

Posted using ShareThis

Its great that the Tournament Director realizes this may be the only way to keep this tournament in Dubai. The unfortunate part is that last sentence - recognizing that tournament organizers do not have full control over what the government chooses to do to foreign players.

© Kim Selzman 2009
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May 18, 2009

Tennis and the Meaning of Life

Are all of your tennis books about perfecting your shots or applying the winning strategy? Do you occasionally want to read about tennis without intensely analyzing the faults of your own game? Isn't there a tennis book out there that is just fun?

Yes! Tennis and the Meaning of Life, edited by Jay Jennings, isn't going to change your tennis game or reveal the meaning of life. But it collects some great literature all focused on our favorite game. There are excerpts of works from many well-known authors, including J. P. Donleavy, W. Somerset Maugham, A. A. Milne, Vladimir Nabakov.

And it turns out that there are lots and lots of poems reflecting on tennis, many collected here. A favorite excerpt from "Tennis" by Robert Pinsky:
IV. Strategy

Hit to the weakness. All things being equal
Hit crosscourt rather than down the line, because
If you hit crosscourt back to him, then he

Can only hit back either towards you (crosscourt)
Or parallel to you (down the line), but never
Away from you, the way that you can hit

Away from him if he hits down the line.
Besides, the net is lowest in the middle,
The court itself is longest corner-to-corner,

So that a crosscourt stroke is the most secure,
And that should be your plan, the plan you need
For winning--though only when hitting from the baseline:

From closer up, hit straight ahead, to follow
The ball to net; and from the net hit shrewdly,
To get him into trouble so he will hit

An error, or a cripple you can kill.
If he gets you in trouble, hit a lob,
and make it towering to make it hard

For him to smash from overhead and easy
For you to have the time to range the backcourt,
Bouncing in rhythm like a dog or seal

Ready to catch an object in mid-air
and rocking its head--as with your plan in mind
You arrange yourself to lob it back, and win.
Sounds like a pretty good singles strategy.Or how about this one:
"Clobber the Lobber" by Felicia Lamport

O spare us from the need to play
with tennis slobs
who have the urge to lengthen points
with lofty lobs!
Short, to the point and a sentiment with which I totally agree.

Tennis and the Meaning of Life won't be a revelation, but it is an enjoyable read and would make a great gift to your favorite captain.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 15, 2009

One Minute To Better Tennis

What can you do in one minute to improve your tennis game? Depending on what's happening on your court, here are a few things that might turn things around for you during a match that take less than a minute to do.

1. Are you losing? Take a minute to get more aggressive. It never pays off to get less aggressive. If you're losing, you've probably already tightened up and have been playing tentatively for awhile. So decide to play aggressively on everything and, if you're going down, go down fighting.
2. Is your serve giving you fits? Calm down. When its your serve just remember that everyone is playing to your pace. Take your time, think about proper form, go for placement and hit some nice serves.
3. Are you mishitting lots of shots? Keep your eye on the ball. Don't look to see where the ball is going until well after you've made contact. Once you hit the ball, its going there whether you watch it or not, right?
4. Are you having communication problems with your partner? Have a quick conference with your partner, take the blame for whatever is happening (no matter whose fault you think it is), and say something positive.
5. Are you tired? Eat something or drink something or tie your shoes. Just give yourself some kind of mini-break to catch your breath. And do that as often as you need.
6. Are you having a really bad day? That will happen. Sometimes you play doubles and you are on the court with three players who are far and away better than you and nothing is going your way. So take a minute to remind yourself - it's tennis and it's fun and you'll probably laugh about this match later.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 12, 2009

Quick Tennis Fix: Eat Something!

The thing about tennis matches is - you never really know how long you're going to play. A match that's won 6-0, 6-0 can last 45 minutes. A match that goes to 3 sets with tiebreakers in each set can last 2 1/2 to 3 hours, maybe longer. In these marathon matches, be sure you have something to eat close by (i.e., in your well-equipped tennis bag). Whether its a banana, a granola bar or a cookie, a little snack can give you the quick physical and mental boost you need to finish out a match.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 10, 2009

I Love Tennis Moms

Today is Mother's Day and I am proud and happy to be a Tennis Mom. I love Tennis Moms but not everyone agrees with me on this. In fact, some people seem to have a lot of resentment built up against Tennis Moms. (See, e.g., the Urban Dictionary's definition of Tennis Mom: "Tennis Moms live off their husbands' wealth and resent accusations that nannies don't provide adequate parental instruction.")

Well, here are my top 10 reasons to love Tennis Moms:
  1. Tennis Moms have a lot of cute matching outfits and are willing to wear short skirts no matter what shape their legs are in.
  2. Tennis Moms may seem sweet at the PTA meeting, but on the court their true competitive nature comes out. (Example: hitting you in the face just means you got in the way of the ball.)
  3. Tennis Moms love being outdoors as evidenced by their willingness to play tennis in any weather. Despite tropical heat weaves, gale force winds and/or drenching rains, the true Tennis Mom prefers to finish out the match.
  4. Tennis Moms like to watch the Slams not so much to pick up tips as to see what unfortunate outfit Adidas has put Ana Ivanovic in.
  5. Many Tennis Moms also enjoy catching a glimpse of Rafael Nadal changing shirts between sets.
  6. Tennis Moms will use any excuse to go out to lunch after a match: it's the end of the season, someone's moving, someone's having a birthday, we have a new captain, we won all 4 lines today, we lost all 4 lines today. Any occasion can be celebrated with lunch.
  7. Tennis Moms will be nice and friendly to you during the warm-up but will trash talk you relentlessly to their partner during the match.
  8. Tennis Moms are not above wearing a knee brace, an ankle support, a tennis elbow compression-thingy and Icy Hot on their backs all at the same time just to play a "fun" match.
  9. Tennis Moms know how important it is to get their children involved in a lifetime sport like tennis. Maybe golf.
  10. No matter what their age, weight or income level, Tennis Moms get along because they have a few important things to discuss - tennis, tennis and more tennis.
Happy Mother's Day Tennis Moms!

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 7, 2009

May Is National Tennis Month!

Did you know that besides being "Get Caught Reading" month, May is also "National Tennis Month"? I didn't either!

To kick off this month-long celebration of tennis, last week, Billie Jean King and John McEnroe rallied on a tennis court located on a barge in the middle of the Hudson River. That seems pretty appropriate. (The photo here of McEnroe has nothing to do with National Tennis Month or playing Billie Jean King on a barge - I just liked it.)

According to the USTA, participation in tennis in this country has grown 43% since 2000 and 9.3% in the last year alone! If I can just find these new players taking up tennis, maybe that would be a group of people I could beat.

As part of National Tennis Month, the USTA is hosting "Tennis Block Parties" all month-long. They're free and open to the public and supposedly players of all ages and abilities can participate in instruction and games. Tennis Block Parties will happen at local public parks, schools and area tennis facilities. All of which sounds pretty fun although I haven't found one in my neighborhood yet. If you attend a Tennis Block Party or otherwise "celebrate" National Tennis Month, let me know!

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 5, 2009

Quick Tennis Fix: Sunscreen!

It's a given that you're wearing sunscreen while you're playing tennis even during the winter, right? During the warmer months of spring and summer, you're probably even more exposed to the sun since you're wearing fewer layers and shorter sleeves. I wear a lot of racer back tops and find the only way to cover my back and shoulders with sunscreen is to use a spray. I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock, SPF 70. It sprays easily, even with the can upside down, so I can be sure and cover all the hard-to-reach spots. And it smells kind of nice too. Find a spray sunscreen you like and use it generously. You don't want to be the really great old lady tennis player who ended up with skin cancer.

© Kim Selzman 2009
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May 4, 2009

"Get Caught Reading" A Tennis Book In May!

This May marks the 10th anniversay of the Get Caught Reading campaign. How about this great photo of Nicole Vaidisova reading Tuesdays with Morrie? If there is any possibility that Tuesdays with Morrie can help me play tennis like Nicole Vaidisova, I'll read it again.

I don't think there's any better way to convince your kids to read than to have them "catch" you reading. And some of my favorite books to read, as I've noted previously(here, here and here), are tennis-related. Here's a list of some other good ones that I'm reading (or just flipping through depending on how badly I've played that day) that I hope not only make me look like a good reader, but might actually help my game:
  • Jimmy Connors Saved My Life: A Personal Biography by Joel Drucker
  • Eat Smart, Play Hard: Customized Food Plans for All Your Sports and Fitness Pursuits by Liz Applegate, Ph.D.
  • Tennis and the Meaning of Life: A Literary Anthology of the Game edited by Jay Jennings
  • Stan Smith's Winning Doubles by Stan Smith

Photo courtesy of

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

May 2, 2009

Ten Types of Service Spin????

One of my favorite places to go to for quick tennis fixes is's Tennis page. This is a great site because its aimed at ordinary players like me. All of the instruction is basic and easy to understand. All of the videos and photos are of Jeff, the "Tennis Guide," showing you how a regular tennis player does it. You want to know how to serve? There's a photo lesson on hitting the basic serve. You want to know how to improve your serve? There's a tutotial on repairing your serve.

But Jeff isn't limiting his lessons to just the basics. He has a whole section on the ten different kinds of service spin you can use. Yes, ten different kinds! You didn't know there were ten kinds of spin to put on your serve? Well, here they are:

1. slice - stays low and curves left
2. topspin - dips faster in flight and bounces higher
3. topspin-slice - dips and curves left
4. twist - dips and curves left in the air, then bounces high to the right
5. flat (no spin)
6. underhand sidespin - curves sharply right on the bounce
7. reverse underhand sidespin - curves sharply left on the bounce
8. backspin - acts like a drop shot
9. underhand topspin - acts like a topspin groundstroke
10. reverse slice - stays low and curves right

Before I read this little "spin" lesson, I was convinced there was (1) the flat serve I was trying to hit, (2) the spin serve I was trying to hit, and (3) some other spin serve that other people can do but I would never be able to hit. Now, I realize I have to learn at least 3 more types of spin to even be in the ballpark of having a variety of serves to choose from.

I'm thinking of taking up the reverse underhand sidespin. Even if I don't master it, it will surely give my opponents something to think about (i.e., "What the *?!*& is she doing over there?").

© Kim Selzman 2009
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