January 30, 2012

Tennis Fixation's 2012 Australian Open Wrap-Up

I'm exhausted. Every Grand Slam final I watch lately is an incredible "instant classic" (to borrow a catch phrase from ESPN). Watching the longest Grand Slam men's singles final in the Open era yesterday just about killed me. And I have no idea how those guys did that. In the last two sets, I went back and forth on who I thought was winning because both players looked totally spent at different points in the match. In the end, Novak Djokovic somehow pulled it off. Congratulations to him on winning the 2012 Australian Open - I have a feeling he's off to another incredible year.

And congratulations also to Victoria Azarenka on winning the women's singles final by beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0. With her win, Azarenka not only gets her first Grand Slam but she takes over the women's No. 1 spot. I feel like I kind of called this one (on Twitter or Facebook or something - I can't remember). Here's a pic of the new No. 1:

Finally, I can't leave the Australian Open without noting the winners of this year's mixed doubles championships - Romanian Horia Tecau and - surprise! - American Bethanie Mattek-Sands! Here's a cute shot of the champs:

You know I've been a fan of Bethanie for quite some time (just see this post: Happy Birthday Bethanie Mattek-Sands!) and that Under Armor eye black (I think its UA) is the reason why.

What's up next? The French Open begins in April! Hopefully we can make it until then.

Image of Novak Djokovic by AFP/Getty, image of Victoria Azarenka by Reuters, image of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau by Getty Images

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 27, 2012

Tennis Fashion Fix: 2012 Australian Open - Fashionable Losers

I am planning on spending my Saturday watching Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka battle it out in the 2012 Australian Open women's singles final. While we already talked about the outfits both of these ladies are wearing, I didn't want to move on without mentioning the outfits of two women who made it pretty far into the draw and looked fabulous (in my opinion) even though they lost.

First up, and pictured above, is Caroline Wozniacki. Going into the Aussie Open, Caroline had held the No. 1 ranking in the WTA for 67 of the previous 68 weeks. But her quarterfinal loss to Kim Clijsters ensured that she will no longer hold that spot (in fact, it will be taken over by whoever wins the Maria/Vika match-up). Despite her status as an Aussie Open loser, her dress was a winner.

Caroline has been the tennis spokes model for Stella McCartney for Adidas for the past few years and, on occasion, her outfits have been less than stellar (see this post, for example, about her 2011 Australian Open get-up: Hey, Caroline Wozniacki - Margaret Court Called. She Wants Her Skirt Back.). But this year's dress was super cute. Highlighted by mesh accents, my favorite part of this dress was the color - tomato red. It really stood out on the blue courts of Melbourne. And was a great color for Wozniacki's fair skin and blonde hair.

The other fashionable loser was Ana Ivanovic, also wearing Adidas. Ivanovic was knocked out in the 4th round by Petra Kvitova. Here's what Ana wore:

This is the Spring "adizero" dress in Ultra Bright (light orange) and Core Energy (looks like tomato red to me)(Dear Adidas - just say peach and red). What makes this dress a little different is the hem, which has a sort of balloon or bloused effect. I always like to see an accent that is distinctive but doesn't highlight a figure flaw. Again, these colors look great on the blue courts and great on Ana. The designers at Adidas got this one right.

Right side image of Caroline Wozniacki by Nicholas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 24, 2012

Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2012 - Update On Serena Williams

I just recently found out the explanation behind Serena Williams' 2012 Australian Open outfit and it's important enough that I wanted to be sure and note it here.

A few days ago, I expressed my dislike of what Serena wore during her Aussie Open matches in this post - Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2012 - Serena Keeps It "Real." Specifically, I said I didn't like her black headband or her black tennis shoes because I didn't think they matched her blue dress. And I said that I think she could have done much better wearing the outfit as she had shown it off in the days leading up to the Open when the whole thing was completely coordinated. (Since Serena is now out of the Australian Open, you probably won't see her in this outfit again except in replays and photos.)

So here's what I know now that I didn't know then - the headband and shoes were part of the Nike Black History Month Collection, coming out in February to celebrate the 36th anniversary of Black History Month. Serena's decision to wear these items was apparently a choice of substance over style. In fact, Nike chose Serena to debut this collection at the Australian Open (check out this post on the Nike blog for more info - Nike Black History Month Collection for Serena Williams).  And you can expect to see other Nike-sponsored athletes in these pieces throughout the month of February. Here's a quick look at the entire collection:

I think that's a great explanation and certainly justifies her decision to not be so matchy-matchy. I just wish she had worn a black (or maybe red) dress to really tie it all together. Perhaps, however, Nike's decisions about who's wearing what and when are made so far in advance that making it all look good together wasn't a real possibility.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 23, 2012

Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2012 - Maria Sharapova Through To The Quarterfinals!

We've reached the point in the Australian Open where I feel like I have to pay close attention every day because every day someone big gets knocked out. But so far that someone big is not Maria Sharapova.

Maria made it through today by beating Germany's Sabine Lisicki in three sets - 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Maria next comes up against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova who took out Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 (remember what I said about someone big getting knocked out every day?). So I'd say Maria has her work cut out for her.

But that's all in the future. Right now, Maria is looking fabulous in her Nike Statement Slam Dress. This dress is white - a great color for surviving Australia's blistering July heat - with Electric Green accents. I love the slashes up the sides and in back. The Lunar Speed 3 shoes and visor in matching Electric Green are also very cute. Here's a few shots of Maria during her match with Lisicki showing off this great outfit:

I hope Maria makes it a little longer because I happen to know she also has a night dress which I would love to see her play in.

Images by Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 18, 2012

Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2012 - Serena Keeps It "Real"

Look how cute Serena Williams appeared just days ago in her 2012 Australian Open dress:

She looks like a fashion model! Serena has been on magazine covers, done photo shoots, has her own line of accessories sold on the Home Shopping Network - she knows how to look good when it counts. And she's sponsored by Nike so I'm sure she can take advantage of all kinds of stylists and fashion advisers is she wants.

So how come in her first Aussie Open match, she looks like this:

The dress itself is actually pretty boring but that's not the problem. The problem is I don't like the scarf/sweat band thingy. I don't like the way she's pulled her hair back. I don't like all of the wrist band thingys she's wearing. I especially don't like the black tennis shoes (despite the fact that I'm a fan of black tennis shoes, just not with this outfit).

Here's the deal - I think that when you're a highly-paid spokesperson for Nike, you should wear their apparel in a way that makes other people want to wear their apparel. Sure, I see the cute version she had on pre-match. And I'm all for personalization and making the outfit your own. But the vast majority of people who see Serena in this outfit aren't seeing those cute pre-match photos. They just see the outfit when when they watch Serena's match. They see how well this tennis outfit looks when, surprise, someone is playing tennis in it. And in this case, the outfit ain't looking too great during the match.

I'm sure Nike keeps sponsoring Serena because, frankly, what other American woman are they going to sponsor? But I really don't think Serena is doing her job for Nike. Hopefully she'll stay in the Australian Open long enough to clean this up a little bit.

Image of Serena during her match by John Donegan/AP

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 16, 2012

Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2012 - Keep Your Eye On Victoria Azarenka

Wow! Victoria Azarenka is hot! Both her tennis and her outfit are already sizzling down under.

Let's start with her tennis. On Sunday, she won the 2012 Sydney International, taking out defending champ Li Na - 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. Then, she rushed over to Melbourne, took the court this morning and won her first 2012 Australian Open match - beating Great Britain's Heather Watson 6-1, 6-0. And here's the most impressive part of this feat - Azarenka won 12 games in a row in that match. Which means - Watson probably served the first game, won her serve, and then lost the next 12 games. Kind of disheartening for Watson. But what a start for Vika (as she's known)!

I think Azarenka will go far this year - last year she made it all the way to the 4th round. And, as you may recall, the runner up in last year's Australian Open was Li Na, who ultimately lost to Kim Clijsters. So maybe the stars are finally lining up for Azarenka to win her first Slam. (Want to impress your tennis pals with your WTA trivia? Vika is from Belarus - the highest ranked woman to ever come out of that country.)

Whatever, right? Because how cute is her outfit? When I saw the pic above showing her slamming a forehand at Heather, all I could think is how much I love those little slashes up the side of her top. This is the Nike "Spring Tie-Break Graphic Tank" and those aren't actual slashes but a print that looks that way. It comes in "Mega Blue" with white, and white with blue or gray accents. This is part of Nike's Spring Group which also includes this cute t-shirt that I'm sure no one will be wearing during their actual Aussie Open match but you might see on the practice courts:

I had to include that - too cute. My only question to Nike - why "Zero"? I assume anyone who wears this will be a tennis player and we never say Zero - we always say Love. Anyway, I still like it.

I also wanted you to see Azarenka and Watson as they posed with a young fan before their match:

Azarenka is wearing the Spring Rally 3/4 Sleeve Top (part of the Spring Group), highlighted by a pretty boat neck, in the Mega Blue. Watson is also adorable in her K-Swiss outfit. Maybe we'll see more of that on some other players as the tournament progresses.

First image of Victoria Azarenka by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images, t-shirt image via www.tenniswarehouse.com and Nike, image of Victoria Azarenka and Heather Watson by Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 11, 2012

Serena and Novak at the Australian Open

Just checked out my Instagram feed and came across this pic of Serena
Williams and Novak Djokovic posted to Serena's feed. This is how I
spend my time!

Grand Slam Season Begins With Australian Open!

Well, the Grand Slam season has finally commenced with today's start of qualifying rounds for the 2012 Australian Open. Thank goodness. I was getting bored with college football Bowl games (thanks for nothing LSU).

The good news is that there are several places to keep up-to-date with what is going on down under so you don't miss a single exciting moment of pro tennis. First and foremost is this blog right here - Tennis Fixation - where I will, of course, keep you informed of the latest Aussie Open news, especially who is wearing what and what they could possibly have been thinking when they chose to do so. As a bonus - I've included an Australian Open widget in the sidebar to the right so you can check in on the latest scores, photos, events, etc.

Another fabulous source of info is the 2012 Australian Open web site. The tennis Slams do a good job of improving their sites each year and this year's Aussie Open site is no exception - easy to navigate, tons of useful information, simple shopping, and lots of useless (but interesting) trivia. You can spend hours on it (as I'm sure I will) finding out little tidbits. For example, bet you didn't know that Wilson provides "4,000 dozen" tennis balls for use during the Australian Open (that's 48,000 balls but I'm not sure why they couldn't just say that instead of 4,000 dozen). To visit the site, just click on this link - www.australianopen.com.

Now, if you're like me, you don't want to ever ever be out of touch with what's happening at a Slam. So be sure and download the free Australian Open app for your iPhone or iPad. I've included a screen shot above to show you all of the info you can get from this useful app. Again, the 2012 version of the app is a vast improvement over what they put out last year and I'm sure I'll waste plenty of time fooling around with it when I'm out and about. Just search for "Australian Open" in the app store to get it.

While I've given you some great places to go for Aussie Open info, what I haven't given you is photos and commentary on the "fashion" we'll be seeing on the courts down under. Don't worry - I'm working on those posts. So check back in very soon to see what fashion hits and/or misses we can expect to see on our favorite pros in the next few weeks.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 6, 2012

Quick Tennis Fix: Tennis Ball Foot Massage

Need a quick fix for tired, achy feet? The answer is as close as your tennis bag! Dig out a tennis ball and use it to relieve your feet, calves and hamstrings of kinks and knots.

How? Sit or stand (with your hand on a wall or chair for balance) and place a tennis ball under the arch or one foot. Roll the ball slowly, back and forth, from heel to toe for two to five minutes. If you find a tender spot, slowly apply pressure (whatever feels comfortable) until the tightness releases. Repeat with your other foot.

Performing this little massage routine every day or two will result in feet that feel better as well as looser calves and hamstrings.

Looking for other handy alternative uses for tennis balls? Check out this retro Tennis Fixation post: Recycling Tennis Balls.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 4, 2012

Get The Message With Tennis Tease T-Shirts

At last - a tennis t-shirt that says exactly what it is I want to say out on the court. I recently found www.tennistease.com, a site carrying women's tennis apparel emblazoned with the words you are longing to say during a match, but usually don't have the nerve. For example, take a look at the image here - "Which part of 'out' do you not understand?" How many times have you wanted to scream that one out?

Here's a quick sample of other great phrases you can have put on a Tennis Tease t-shirt (with my comments, which you won't get on your shirt, in parentheses):

  • The party's at the net. (a good one for those reluctant partners we often seem to have)
  • Are we playing lines in or out? (LOVE that!)
  • Not looking for love, just wanna score (cute)
  • 40-Love my ass (if only I'd come up with that myself)
  • 40-Love? You wish. (for those of us who don't have the guts to wear the previous phrase on a t-shirt)

And there are several more very cute, very tennis-specific phrases you'll love. I can see a tennis team using one of these as a uniform. Maybe a tee with the phrase "Intimidated? You should be." on it. I guess this would have to be a pretty good team to get away with wearing that.

Not only do I love Tennis Tease's phrase options, they offer some great choices as far as what you can get your favorite phrase put on. The regular women's t-shirts include 5% spandex for a better fit and come in several perky colors. Tennis Tease also offers "heathered" or "distressed" t-shirts which are really popular right now. Or you can get your chosen phrase on a tank top, a jacket or on a pair of undies. I guess a pair of undies with the "Intimidated?" phrase takes on a different meaning depending on wear its worn and who gets a look at it.

Anyway, if you're looking to add a piece to your tennis wardrobe that reveals your true on-court feelings, check out Tennis Tease. Super adorable stuff in my expert Tennis Fixation opinion.

Image via www.tennistease.com.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

January 1, 2012

Top Tennis Resolutions For 2012!

Happy New Year from Tennis Fixation!

Once again, it's that time of year when we look ahead, try to get ourselves together, and make some resolutions on how we can improve our lives in the coming year. And, of course, when I say our lives, I mean our tennis lives.

So here are my personal Top Tennis Resolutions for 2012. My intent is to adopt and follow through on every single one of these. I guess we'll see how I do throughout the year.

Resolution No. 1 - Play more singles. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my tennis game could be improved by playing more singles. Right now I play doubles almost exclusively, but, as I learned in my first singles tournament and as I posted here, there are so many good reasons to be playing singles that its ridiculous that I'm not doing it more often. (Check out this post for those reasons: Why I Love Tennis Singles.) So, for 2012, I SWEAR I will play more singles.

Resolution No. 2 - Learn the rules. I think I try to adopt this resolution every year. And every year, something happens during a match where I think, "I really wish I knew the rule on that." On top of that, I really need to learn the rules WELL in order to make Resolution No. 4, below, happen. You'll understand when you read that one.

Resolution No. 3 - Attend more one of the Slams. Okay, I'll admit it. This is kind of a fantasy. While I'm sure it is possible for me to do this (I think my husband would go for it), I never quite get myself organized enough to do it. I should at least be able to get to the U.S. Open! Anyway, I'm going to get way more serious about my desire to do this and start planning now so this dream can become a reality before I die.

Resolution No. 4 - Become a USTA tennis official. I have not yet admitted this here at Tennis Fixation, but I have already begun the process of becoming an actual USTA official! I took the on-line test, I passed the criminal background investigation (whew!), and I "shadowed" an official at a local USTA tournament. That all by itself will eventually be the subject of numerous posts. But I'm saving those until I get further along in the process. So I'm planning on attending the school for officials in January and then, who knows?, maybe this is my ticket to the U.S. Open! Stay tuned for updates on this one.

Those are my resolutions for 2012. Hopefully, I'll keep one or two of them. What are your tennis resolutions for the New Year? Let me know because I'd love to post some good ones here.

In the meantime, if you're looking for more resolutions to help your tennis game, check out these "retro" Tennis Fixation posts:

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved