September 30, 2011

Tennis Fashion Fix: Is This Skirt Too Short?

This might be too short.
In the wonderful world of tennis fashion, how short is too short? This was the question recently posed by Katie, one of my fabulous Tennis Fixation followers. Katie states the issue very eloquently:

I'm just getting back into tennis after a 6 year lull, and it feels great! Though - I'm obviously a little behind the times now ... I've been buying new tennis outfits, and I'm having an issue with skirt length. I'm 28, and usually dress pretty conservatively, and while I think the skirts are super-cute, once I have them on, I'm not used to how short they are. I normally wear knee-length skirts when out and about, though they'd look pretty silly on the courts. So here's my question -- I have a new skirt that comes about 1" above mid-thigh. Is this too short? Am I just being paranoid? How short is too short when it comes to a tennis skirt?

Good question. To answer it, I naturally did some very intense tennis fashion research. In other words, I talked to my tennis buddies to see what they thought. (Tennis Fixation is all about the intense research.)

After much thought, deliberation and recollection of tennis matches with some incredibly tennis-fashion-challenged opponents, here are the Tennis Fixation Do's and Don't's for tennis skirts:

1. Do wear a skirt that you're comfortable in.
This is the number one most important rule. Your skirt length has got to be one that YOU think is appropriate. Having said that, mistakes can be made. Which brings us to . . .

2. Don't wear a skirt that might also work as a shirt.
As an example, let's take a look at the photo above, of Caroline Wozniacki at the 2010 U.S. Open. She obviously thought this skirt (dress actually) was not too short. But if you took maybe one more inch off of it, I'm pretty sure it would qualify as a racer back tank. And if you remember anything at all about Wozniacki's performance at the 2010 U.S. Open, what you remember is how short her skirt was. Not how well she played (at least that's how I remember it). While Wozniacki was apparently not too uncomfortable to wear this, I can tell you one thing - she did not win the 2010 U.S. Open wearing this short skirt. Just saying.

2. Don't wear a skirt that you have to keep pulling and tugging at.
This rule is also known as the Venus Williams rule. Remember the dresses that Venus wore at the 2010 U.S. Open? No? Here's a photo montage reminder:

While Venus made it into Week 2 in these outfits, every time she played, she just looked so darn uncomfortable! I was uncomfortable watching her! She was constantly pulling and tugging on the hem of these outfits, trying to cover herself. Needless to say, she did not win the U.S. Open that year. If Venus can't win in a skirt that is riding up on her, do you really think that you can?

3. Do wear a skirt that is shorter than what you would wear to work.
Or to the PTA meeting. Or to any other event where you're not playing a sport. Your tennis skirt is for playing tennis in, not for standing around the water cooler or impressing your boss or the other PTA moms, so it's going to be shorter than what you usually wear. You need to be able to move around in it freely. You don't want anything that hampers your footwork or on-court movement. Because if you play like me, you've got enough problems out there without becoming tangled up in your skirt.

4. Do try your skirt on before you buy it.
Seems like such an obvious thing, right? Then how come I own at least three tennis skirts that are too short? Because I either did not try them on at all (stupid mistake) or I tried them on but did not do anything tennis-like in the dressing room (not so obvious of a stupid mistake). Just because you think you know your size, doesn't mean you can just pick a tennis skirt up off the rack and expect it to fit appropriately. I've found that even the same manufacturer can have sizes that vary wildly depending on the style of the skirt or the season. And beware of the tennis skirt that looks so cute as you're standing in the dressing room, lazily staring into the mirror. It can suddenly become a lot more revealing when you're squatting down for a volley or bending over in your ready position.

5. Do look to see what other players are wearing.
I'm not saying be a copycat. But, if you're concerned about what others think, take a look around at what passes for appropriate in your neighborhood. It's a good starting place.

6. Do consider wearing shorts.
For some reason, shorts can be shorter than skirts but not seem as revealing. And there are lots of cute tennis shorts out there, many with built-in shorties underneath for holding tennis balls.

7. Do wear "boy shorts" underneath.
You know what I mean, right? Those shorts that you wear under your skirt, like compression shorts or bike shorts or volleyball shorts. They provide some extra coverage of your thighs and are perfect for holding tennis balls.

8. Don't wear tennis panties.
You know what I mean here? Those panties that are sort of like underpants? If you don't know what I mean, consider yourself lucky. While I have actually seen these on the court, I am still shocked when I do. And I've never seen anyone wearing them that I wished to emulate tennis-fashion-wise or tennis-skill-wise. My advice - avoid tennis panties at all costs.

Who knew there were so many Do's and Don'ts? Really, there aren't. The ultimate rule on tennis skirts is to wear what you're comfortable in. If you feel great in it, you'll play better - I promise you.

And I loved Katie's follow-up e-mail. When I told her I wanted to do a post about her question, she wrote:

My husband thinks I'm being paranoid about it and the shorter the better! Though, coming from a man, maybe that's my cue NOT to wear the super short skirts - lol!

LOL indeed!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

September 29, 2011

Happy National Coffee Day!

Today is National Coffee Day! Hooray!

If you're a long-time Tennis Fixation follower, you know that coffee is the second most popular topic around here, right after tennis. So to celebrate National Coffee Day, which I will certainly be doing, here are a few things for you:

First, after doing some extensive research, I've discovered that 7-Eleven and Dunkin' Donuts are both offering free cups of coffee today to the java-obsessed. So stop by one of their stores (and I'd do it earlier rather than later because hours are limited) to pick up your complimentary cup of joe.

Next, if you're interested in getting your caffeine fix at home, I came across a great recipe for iced coffee that I just can't stop making. Just click on this link - The Secret To Perfect Homemade Iced Coffee - and you'll get the instructions and some helpful pics from the With A Side Of Sneakers blog (thanks to @TinaFFF's twitter link to this fabulous recipe, Tina is one of my Team 4all pals).

Finally, if you want to know what all the excitement is about, here's a list of Tennis Fixation posts where we discuss the pros and cons of coffee drinking. I think its obvious, I end up being on the side of the hyped up pro-coffee drinkers.  If you are too, I hope you have a great National Coffee Day!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

September 23, 2011

Serena Williams, The Hindrance Rule And Me

I have been thinking about and talking with my tennis buddies about hindrances while on the tennis court. I'm trying to decide just what I think of the latest "Serena Williams threatens a U.S. Open official" outburst.

As you may recall, Serena made it to the finals of this year's U.S. Open, pretty much mowing down every opponent she came up against. In the finals, she faced Samantha Stosur. Serena lost the first set and, at the beginning of the second, she lost an important point because the chair umpire ruled that she had hindered Stosur's return of a ball.

Serena had just served, Stosur had hit a decent but not great return, and then Serena whipped a forehand into the ad court towards Stosur's backhand for what appeared to be a winner. Before the ball touched and as Stosur was leaning towards the ball to hit her backhand, Serena shouted out, "Come on!" pretty loudly.
The chair umpire immediately called a hindrance although it wasn't clear to me what was happening at that moment. John McEnroe and Mary Carillo were commentating during the match and both also initially seemed unclear about what was going on. But the chair umpire remained firm, gave the point to Stosur and that is when all hell broke loose, Serena-style.

Serena not only wasn't happy with the hindrance call, she went on a sort of mini-rampage, berating the chair umpire who ultimately ruled that Serena's conduct constituted "verbal abuse" and that is what she was fined $2,000 for the next day.

So what does all of this have to do with you and me?

Well, I started getting worried that I maybe I have been just as guilty of hindering my opponents as Serena but on a more regular basis.

Rule 26 of the Official Rules of Tennis addresses hindrances and states:

If a player is hindered in playing by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point.

However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player's own control (not including a permanent fixture).
So, assuming that Serena deliberately yelled out "Come on!" (which I'm sure she did), and assuming that Samantha Stosur was "hindered in playing" by that, the point was properly awarded to Stosur.

The Code, The Player's Guide for Unofficated Matches, also addresses hindrances but goes even further, giving a good example. The Code states:

33. Talking during a point. A player shall not talk while the ball is moving toward the opponent's side of the court. If the player's talking interferes with an opponent's ability to play the ball, the player loses the point. Consider the situation where a player hits a weak lob and loudly yells at his or her partner to get back. [Who hasn't done that?] If the shout is loud enough to distract an opponent, then the opponent may claim the point based on a deliberate hindrance. If the opponent chooses to hit the lob and misses it, the opponent loses the point because the opponent did not make a timely claim of hindrance.
So guess what? Often, when I'm playing doubles, I do exactly what the Code uses as an example of a hindrance! E.g., I am back. My partner is at the net. I send up a lob, realize its going to be short and shout "Get back!" or "Watch out!" or something equally cringe-worthy so that my partner hopefully realizes she's about to get creamed. Don't we all do this? According to the Code, if I do this and it bothers my opponents (and I think they can claim it does whether it actually does or not), they might call my shout a hindrance and take the point. Yikes! I don't need to give away any more points than necessary.

My conclusion to all of this? I want to say thank you to Serena. Because of her and her belligerent attitude, I actually paid attention to the official's ruling and looked at the hindrance rule.  And, in the future, I'll be a lot more careful of what kind of noises I make and when I make them so as not to hinder anyone.  


© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

September 14, 2011

Why I Play Tennis. Really.

I won my match last night and I won again today. Since that is such a rare occurrence lately, I went tennis shopping to celebrate. And I found this adorable t-shirt that clearly states my true reason for playing tennis. Play. Win. Lunch. That's it. I just want to play tennis, win tennis and have lunch with my tennis friends.

Thank you t-shirt designers at Love All - you got it right.

And did I mention I won my match last night and I won again today?

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

September 13, 2011

Tennis Fixation's U.S. Open Wrap-Up

Just so you know, I didn't check out on the 2011 U.S. Open. Oh no. Instead, I wasn't posting about it because I was completely overwhelmed by it. As usual. And that feeling of "it's all just too much" did not go away until the entire thing ended yesterday.

But now that its all over, I want to be sure and get out my Tennis Fixation memorable 2011 U.S. Open moments:
  • It's always great to see which Hollywood super star will show up at the U.S. Open (a lot of them do) but seeing True Blood's Eric Northman, actor Alexander Skarsgard, on the grounds on Day 2 (see photo above, what a cutie!) would make anyone a tennis fan (or maybe a True Blood fan).
  • How could Bob & Mike Bryan possibly have been knocked out of the U.S. Open in Round 1? Well, they were, by one of my U.S. Men's Clay Court Tournament favs - Ivo Karlovic (and his partner, of course, whose name I can't remember).
  • I didn't even have a chance to dis Venus Williams' awful dress with large pink exposed zipper on the back. She played Round 1 and then withdrew from the tournament after announcing she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain, swelling, numbness and fatigue. I hope this will not be the end of her and her tennis/fashion-designing career.
  • I personally was excited that Australian Samantha Stosur won the women's singles. She was due for a breakthrough and just think of all the pressure she'll now have on her for the next Slam - the 2012 Australian Open. I liked her outfit from Lacoste too. Here she is in her very cute dress (please note the size of her arms!):

  • This same dress was worn by a couple of other players but with the colors switched around. Here it is on Yaroslava Shvedova, a finalist in women's doubles (again, note huge arms):

  • I'm usually not a fan of Adidas tennis wear for women as I find it kind of boring. But many women at the U.S. Open were wearing Adidas in one of my favorite ever color combos - a bright bubblegum pink (called "Intense Pink") and turquoise (called "Intense Blue").  Hey Adidas - just sticking the word "Intense" in front of a color does not make me feel like I'm getting my money's worth. Get creative a la Nike. Anyway, here is break-out German superstar Andrea Petkovic in this outfit (her arms are downright scary!):
  •  Finally, didn't you feel like you were seeing the beginning of the end for a certain generation of American tennis players? So many American teenagers were out there winning and I think they will all start coming into their own. Let's hope so - things are not going to get any better for Andy Roddick or Mardy Fish.
By the way, at this time, I am not going to address the whole "hindrance" issue that occurred with Serena Williams in the 2nd set of the final as I want to take that up in a separate post. Believe it or not, I think she did something that a lot of us do all the time but I don't think anyone, least of all Serena, should be getting away with it.

Photos by Philip Hall, Rob Loud, Andrew Ong and Don Starr, all of USTA via

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

September 6, 2011

Best Labor Day Ever!

The medal proves it!
Did I mention that I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon this past weekend?

So first, let me say that I did not run the entire half marathon (I'm revealing this now because I know one of my sisters will comment on this and tell you all that I'm lying by saying I "ran" the half marathon). Because of a back injury I got playing tennis (!!!), I ended up running 5.1 miles and walking 8 miles.

That's the bad news. The good news - I was able to ride every single ride I wanted to at both the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure! Including the Tower of Terror, Space Mountain (twice!), the Matterhorn, Star Tours, and California Screamin'! All of which I wasn't sure I'd be able to do just days before.

I have to show off just a few photos from this great weekend. First, here I am with my sister on our first day at the Magic Kingdom:

She is pointing out the very stylish and very comfortable pants I'm wearing which happen to be the Knit Athletic Pants I just got from 4allbyjofit. The pants are "Raisin" colored which is a deep maroon which I happen to think goes with everything. My sister is pointing because I kept saying, "Get a picture of the pants!" I wore them for about 18 hours that first day (Friday) and they held up great. If this pair of pants can survive Space Mountain (twice!), they can survive anything.

We also went to the race expo which was incredible - tons of vendors and great stuff. Both Jeff Galloway (famous marathon guy) and TV star Drew Carey (famous for taking up running and losing a bunch of weight) were there. I took pics of both of them but frankly, I'm not that great of a photographer. So just believe me - they were there.

Here I am the next morning with Minnie Mouse:

I posed with Minnie when I went to a character breakfast with my sisters and my dad and no kids and it was a blast! No one at Disneyland cares that a bunch of adults are there taking photos sans kids. Those characters are so picture-taking-friendly. And while this weekend wasn't supposed to be a 4allbyjofit fashion show, turns out I wore my white 4allbyjofit Knit Capris on Saturday because they're really cute, super comfortable and have pockets in the front (which is perfect for park tickets, fast passes, etc.).

Saturday night we went to a Pasta Party in the Park which I didn't really have that high of expectations for but, like everything else about that weekend, it was fantastic. Here is a shot of a tray of cupcakes with special little edible Disney chocolates on them:

On Sunday, I just did the race in regular old running clothes. We got to run through both parks where tons of characters and parade floats were out just for the runners. We even got to run behind the scenes and see the machine shops and other facilities that keep Disneyland going.

About two-thirds of the race was outside the park and probably the best part of that was racing through Angel Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels MLB baseball team. We got to run around the outside of the field and here is a shot of that:

Because I wanted to get this post up right away, I don't have the photo finish of me at the end or the great photo of me with my dad and my sisters and our really big, really heavy Disneyland Half Marathon medals. Maybe I'll post those later when one of them sends it to me. My conclusion - I cannot imagine a better race to run, especially if you're a first time half marathoner (this was my second).

My Labor Day was spent back at home, laying on the couch recovering and watching the U.S. Open - my dream vacation. The cherry on the icing on the whole long weekend cake was that today (Tuesday), I got to play tennis and my back feels pretty good, my feet are not too sore and I won my match! Hopefully you had a great weekend too.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved