Adidas, I See You

Dear Adidas,

Don’t think you can just strut off the catwalk and onto the courts of the US Open with these retro, Pharrell Williams designed tennis outfits and think I’m not going to have something to say about them. I mean, usually my beef is with Nike, since they are obviously out to get me. But you! You couldn’t stand Nike getting all of the attention, so you had to throw in this 80’s inspired, primary color apparel kit into the mix. Well played, Adidas! Well played.

I am convinced that you used this extended version of Toni Basil’s Mickey video from 1982 as the inspiration for the collection.

 

So let’s break this down, shall we.

First up…the women’s dresses.

This first dress, worn here by Simona Halep, is a pretty cute, smart use of the color blocking. It’s got the retro collar and pleated tennis skirt, just like a cheerleader from 1982. I give it a solid 8 out 10.

Photo credit: ESPN

This second tennis dress, worn here by Angelique Kerber, is a little ho-hum (yawn…cat nap time, wake me up before you go go). The white front panel and the A-line shape is a bit nondescript. But I totally dig the visor. I give this one a 6 out of 10.

Photo credit: Adidas

Now on to the men!

This first outfit. Oh, I don’t even know where to start! There is no excuse for this. I understand that Sascha Zverev is trying to make a statement at this US Open since he is a possible favorite to win. And I understand that he got the coveted first round, opening night session. But please Sascha, make your statement in your mad tennis skills, not through this ridiculous outfit. Perhaps each piece separately is not too bad. The shirt…meh. The shorts, I get it. They go with the whole color blocking theme. The headband, I know that’s your thing. But the socks! Really, the high tube socks? No! Just no! You are not Larry Bird and this is not 1980. The socks alone drops this entire look to a 3 out of 10.

In summary, Adidas, it could have been worse. But it could have been a whole lot better. I actually like the primary color pallet, but your design ranges from extremely cat nap worthy to extremely hairball hacking. A missed opportunity for you and Pharrell.
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US Open Tennis Championships Eve

New York, New York…concrete jungle where dreams are made of! There’s nothing you can’t do now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new, these lights will inspire you. Let’s hear it for New York!

Yes, that’s right my furry and fluffy friends, my favorite grand slam tournament, the US Open, starts tomorrow and I am pumped. Well, as pumped as a cat can be…lets just say I’ve been meowing and strutting around the house like I own it this week. Did you enjoy the countdown of my favorite US Open moments that I posted this week? To be honest, when I had the idea last Sunday, I started making my list and quickly came up with a dozen moments and easily could have continued. I didn’t even cat scratch the surface with the Venus and Serena moments, Rafa and Roger, McEnroe/Connors/Lendl, Leyton Hewitt/Marat Safin/Patrick Rafter, etc. Oh there’s just not enough time in the day or days in a year!

Things I love about the Open:

  1. The logo…who doesn’t love a flying tennis ball on fire?
  2. The crowds..if you’ve ever been to NYC, you know there is a pulse on the street that you can feel down to your core. Same for the crowds at the Open!
  3. The outfits! Seems like all the players bring out their best for the final tournament of the year. And if you are a top player, your brand designs different outfits for day and night matches.
  4. The tennis! It has and always will be all about the tennis! Final tournament of the year fires up the players like nothing else.

The men’s draw has thinned out a bit with 5 of the top 11 seeds out due to injury, but there are plenty of great story lines to follow. Will 36 year old Roger Federer win his third major this year? Will Rafa Nadal rise up and win a second major this year? Or will one of the young guns like Dominic “Sweep the Leg” Theim or Sascha Zverev announce their arrival to the big leagues with their first win? Maybe a US player like Jack Sock, Sam Querrey or John Isner will grab the title.

The women’s draw has been a bit wide open all year since Serena Williams has been out on maternity leave. Will Garbine Muguruza continue to dominate? Or will Simona Halep finally win her major? She’s certainly capable, but she gets in head a bit. She plays Maria Sharapova in the first round. Maria’s been out due to a drug suspension but was able to claim a wild card. Or Venus? Or Karolina Pliskova (my pick). So many story lines!

Well, there’s nothing left to do but sit back and wait! Come on, New York, show us what you got!

 

Countdown to the US Open – Andre Agassi Retires

So here we are at my final favorite moment in US Open history, Andre Agassi’s last match.

The thing about sports is you can make some calculated assumptions about some things, but there is always this element of unpredictability that leaves you breathless. Did we know that the 2006 US Open would be Andre’s last professional tournament? Yes, he told us that year at Wimbledon that he would retire after the US Open. So, we watched each of his matches at the Open holding our breath asking “Is this the end?”

He made it to round three, where he played 112th ranked German, Benjamin Becker. Andre lost in four sets, but when he finished, the crowd erupted into great applause and reverence for this legend! The ovation and a cheers lasted forever as Andre sat in his seat stunned but appreciative and gracious.

When Mary Jo Fernandez finally asked him to Center Court for an interview, this is what he had to say:

The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn’t say is what it is I have found.

And over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I’ve found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments.

And I’ve found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you.

Over the last 21 years, I have found you. And I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life. Thank you.

I, and the rest of the tennis world, sat in our living rooms and cried. And cried, and cried some more. It was beautiful, necessary, and frankly, the perfect end note to his tennis career.

He holds a million and one records and titles, but that is not what this story is about. It’s about his exquisite exit to his exquisite career! Thank you Andre!

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Countdown to the US Open – Jimmy Connors 1991

Jimmy Connors and the US Open go together like Garfield and Odie. Like peas and carrots, beer and pizza, ebony and ivory, like green eggs and ham. He loves the New York crowd and the New Yorkers love him. He has a rich history there in New York, being the only man to win the US Open on all three surfaces (grass, clay and hard courts). That’s why when he played in the 1991 US Open at the ripe old age of 38 years old, he would depend on that crowd to get him through.

He had an incredible tournament all together with his neon yellow tennis racquet and his all white outfit. He beat Patrick McEnroe (yes, Johnnie Mac’s younger brother) in a marathon first round match that went to five sets, lasting over 4 hours and ending at 1:25am, and concluded in the semifinals, losing to a rising American tennis star, Jim Courier.

The match that would define the 1991 US Open was his quarterfinal match against Aaron Krickstein. An instant classic! It was his 39th birthday. Krickstein won the first set, Jimmy won the second. During the third set, the umpire made a bad call, and well, that just lit a fire under Jimmy and it was on like Donkey Kong.

He lost the third set 1-6. But after that, every single point he won, he made it very clear to the umpire that he would not forget the bad call. And the crowd was behind him! He won, they cheered! He fist pumped to the crowd like some kind of tennis rock god! It was Jimmy and the crowd against the world, and guess who won. Jimmy Connors (and his fans), of course! He won the last two sets 6-3, 7-6. Before the tiebreak in the fifth while he was getting up from his seat, he looked straight at the camera and said “This is what they paid for. This is what they want!” Yes, Jimmy….that is what we want! Thank you!

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Countdown to the US Open – Sampras/Agassi 2001

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the classic American rivals. They’ve been playing each other since the early 90’s and they couldn’t be more opposite. When Pete comes on the scene, he was all business, a no nonsense power player. Andre came on the scene with a splash, complete with long hair and colorful clothes. He wanted to make sure he was noticed.

By the time they were towards the end of their careers, they had both matured into well-respected representatives of their sport. They both were married and starting families, but still dominated the game when they stepped on court. That is what made the 2001 US Open quarterfinal match so exciting.

It was a Wednesday night match in the second week of the tournament, and even before the match started, I knew it was going to be a classic. Or course, if you’ve been following my posts these last couple of days, you will not be surprised to know that I made a nice meal, poured some wine and settled in for a night of unforgettable tennis!

The match did not disappoint! There is something so special about the night matches in Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open. This is New York and the fans were pumped! I don’t know if it was coincidence or purrfectly planned, but Pete wore all white and Andre donned all black. They irony was not lost on me. Watching on TV, it was clear the crowd was conflicted on who they should cheer for, so they just cheered for great tennis.

Highlights from the US Open quarterfinals between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi

In the three and a half hour match, neither player broke their service game. (If you do not know what a break means…basically, if you serve, you “should” win that game. If your opponent wins the game that you served, they “broke your service game.”) At the beginning of the fourth set tiebreak, they audience rose in a standing ovation for both players. They did not take for granted the history that they were witnessing. Pete finally endured and won this one. Final score was 6-7 (7), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5)

What I found most interesting about the match was there was very little reaction from either player as they played. No loud yelling, slamming of racquets, or aggressive fist pumps. Just serve, play, win, move on the next point. They both came out with their game plan and they were there to execute it. All business.

For me, the Sampras/Agassi rivalry will always be at the heart of why I love the sport so much. Sure, we have Federer/Nadal, Djokovic/Murray, but Pete and Andre will be my first loves! But I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Countdown to the US Open – Pete Sampras Retires

Pete Sampras! My favorite player of all time. His professional tennis career spanned from 1988 to 2002. He set records, he broke records. He was simply the best of his time. He wasn’t a flashy player like his biggest rival, Andre Agassi, but he definitely had a style to him. A bit stoic, but powerful. Pistol Pete! And I LOVED it!

The US Open was his first major he ever won, and that was in 1990, just two years after he turned pro. He would go on to win 14 majors in all, the last one being in 2002, the year he retired. That could be one of the reasons I like him so much. He went out on top! He didn’t wait until he fell in the rankings and was no longer winning tournaments. So many reasons to like this class act!

In 2003, the US Open had a special retirement ceremony for Pete, and rightfully so. Since he is my all time favorite player, I new this was going to be a special moment not to be missed. Being the tennis fan that I am, I made a special evening of it. It was almost as if I planned a date for me and Pete. (I’ve always said Pete is my secret boyfriend…so secret, he doesn;t even know about us!) I had recently moved out of my roommate situation, so I had a whole apartment all to myself. I made a special dinner of salmon, asparagus and rice pilaf, opened up a chilled bottle of pinot grigio, lit some candles and settled in front of my TV for my date with Pete. It was the perfect evening and the perfect way to kick off the 2003 US Open.

Here is a video of Pete’s Retirement Ceremony. I think you can see why I admire him so much.

 

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Countdown to the US Open – My First Live Match

This US Open moment is brought to you by Memory Lane. It was not a match for the records books. You won’t see any articles written about it in any sports journal or see any highlight reels played on ESPN Classic. But it is special to me because it was my very first match I watched, live and in person at the US Open.

It was not until 2011 that I attended my first US Open. But fellow kitties, it was a trip of a lifetime. When I stepped off the 7 train from Time Square to Flushing Meadows and saw the “Welcome to the US Open” sign, I was meowed to tears! And if you don’t believe cats can cry, I’m here to tell you we can!

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoorThis is the entrance to the US Open.

Once I dried my tears and got a schedule of the day’s matches, I made my pick… Janko Tipsarevic and Tomas Berdych on Louis Armstrong Stadium. At the time, Tipsarevic was my favorite player, so how awesome was it that he was playing right when I arrived?

Image may contain: one or more peopleJanko Tipsarevic on Louis Armstrong Stadium

No automatic alt text available.Tomas Berdych on Louis Armstrong Stadium

Berdych retired with a shoulder injury, so Tipsarevic won the match. Nothing significant to witness, really. But I was at USTA National Tennis Center and I had a week’s worth of live tennis in front of me! It was one of the most amazing, memorable experiences of my life! Meow!

All pictures are my own and taken on my first trip to the 2011 US Open.

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