Monday, September 3, 2007

"I can beat you silly, and still look hot doing it"

That's what Serena Williams says about a pair of her earrings in her U.S. Open Series television spot, and guess what? She's right. But, as ken points out in After Atalanta, Bruce Jenkins considers such earrings "totally inexcusable." Jenkins writes about female tennis players' "garish dresses," "odd hairstyles" (and I agree with ken: who could he possibly be talking about except Venus Williams and her gorgeous beaded braids?) and "massive earrings." I understand his point that accessories do not add to a player's athletic performance. We all know that. And if they distract, as he suggests they do, you sure wouldn't know it by the Williams sisters and their fourteen Grand Slam singles titles.

Tennis, as ken also points out, is an individual sport, and so we see--and want to see--more expression of individual style than usual during play. I enjoy Maria Sharapova's beautifully cut dresses and Julia Vakulenko's outfits she puts together from items she buys off the rack. The best photograph of Venus Williams I have ever seen is the one of her braids flying in the air as she hits a shot. Bethanie Mattek, though her clothes turn some people off, has a lot of fun wearing unique, sometimes silly, outfits on the court.

Of course, there was no more garish dresser in tennis history than Andre Agassi in his first incarnation. One presumes Jenkins was deeply disturbed by Agassi's mullet, giant sunglasses, shorts-over-tights, and multi-colored headbands. How about James Blake's braids? Or Rafael Nadal's clamdiggers? Carlos Moya's sleeveless shirt that shows off his sizeable tattoo? And of course, Janko Tiparevic's tattoos, tinted shades and chin piercing have to be a real no-no for Jenkins. So much fashion distraction on the men's tour--what's a columnist to do?


ken said...

Not sure if Julia Vakulenko is going off the rack anymore. She was wearing Nike when I saw her in person and on TV. Perhaps they made her a deal she couldn't refuse.

Diane said...

The good thing, in that case, is that Nike hasn't changed her style at all. The outfit I saw in Julia's round of 16 match was classic Vakulenko from way back.