Fashion Face-Offs: US Open 2023

Halfway through this year’s US Open, I thought I was really going to take a beating in my fantasy leagues. Rybakina, Samsonova, Wawrinka, Svitolina — all knocked out of contention. But then, somewhat inexplicably, I ended up winning both the men’s and women’s contests. (Well, not winning-winning. There were people that finished ahead of me. But I beat the LittleYellowBall followers who participated, and then I got to rub it in their faces. I don’t ask much more from life than that.)

Today, we’re going to do all the face-offs in one post. That’s three separate polls, so don’t quit until you’ve voted for the ugliest of the uglies.

The Best-Dressed Man Face-off

Nominee #1: John Isner

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I’m sure I’ve shared before that I don’t enjoy watching Isner play. His brand of tennis, so reliant on aces and service winners, doesn’t make for compelling rallies. He moves with a lumbering, almost apathetic quality. He must have a passion for the game, but he doesn’t physically convey it. It’s not easy to cheer on his tennis.

It is easy to cheer him on as a person, though. The same unassuming, just-go-about-your-business quality that makes his tennis so uninspiring makes him downright lovable in interviews. I admit I got a little choked up listening to his heartfelt retirement speech.

I think I’m nominating this classic Fila outfit on its own merits, but it’s possible my sentimental tears are compromising my fashion integrity.

Nominee #2: Francis Tiafoe

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Big guns in a sleeveless tank is a surefire way to get noticed here at LittleYellowBall. Another easy-to-love American, Tiafoe made it through to the quarters before bowing out to upstart Ben Shelton.

Some will say this Nike outfit is too busy, but I say poppycock. I love the rich teal shorts, the vibrant, tropical-vibe top, and the biceps, which, though not technically part of the ensemble, are nevertheless essential to pulling off the look.

Nominee #3: Alexander Zverev

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I almost made this an all-American face-off with Ben Shelton as the third choice. He’s young and bold and highly watchable, and his hot pink side-stripe was very on-trend. But I keep coming back to this Adidas number. Adidas tried many variations of this colorway on both their men’s and women’s rosters, but this is the only version that works. It’s bright and energetic and bold and surprising while still managing to stay coherent. (For an example of bold and surprising and incoherent, keep on scrolling…)

The Best-Dressed Woman Face-off

Nominee #1: Aryna Sabalenka

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With her statuesque frame and regal bearing, Sabalenka can elevate most outfits from the banal to something special. I can’t tell if I would like this Nike dress on another player, or if I would find it a bit drab. In truth, the color could be brighter, and I’d prefer a more open back. It’s possible the Belarusian earns her nomination thanks to an overall lackluster Slam for women’s fashion. But quibbles aside, I’d be thrilled to look this good, on or off the court.

Nominee #2: Leylah Fernandez

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Leylah wasn’t on my fantasy team, which is fortunate because she was ousted in the first round. Will she ever again come close to her magical run to the 2021 US Open final?

In doubles, though, the Canadian made it to the quarters, partnering with new mom Taylor Townsend. Fernandez kept her cool in the late summer soupiness with this well-fitting, midriff-baring getup by Lululemon. The mirroring notched edges of the top and skirt keep the two pieces in conversation with each other and makes the exposed middle an essential element in the overall look. (Yes, I know that’s a weirdly specific compliment. I’m setting up a contrast with a later nominee. Bear with me.)

Nominee #3: The ball girls

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Like I said, it was a lackluster Open where women’s fashion was concerned. But I did like these snappy little Ralph Lauren numbers the ball girls were wearing.

The Worst-Dressed Player Face-off

Nominee #1: Jessie Pegula

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Do the people at Adidas have a grudge against Pegula or her family? Do they just hate the Buffalo Bills? This looks like someone fed Zverev’s shirt through the garbage disposal.

This isn’t the first time Adidas has done the American star wrong. Time to look for a new sponsor, Pegula!

Nominee #2: Caroline Wozniacki

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Oh, Caroline. How we’ve missed you at Fashion Face-off.

We used to be able to blame Stella McCartney for Woziacki’s fashion fiascos. But this time, the Dane herself is claiming “credit,” remarking that as a mother of two returning to the tour, now was the time to be bold.

Bold is good. Ugly is not. Am I the only one who’s put in mind of a wrestler’s singlet?

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Still, I am glad to see Miss Sunshine back on tour and playing remarkably well.

Nominee #3: Coco Gauff

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I know, I know. How can I possibly nominate America’s darling? But let’s consider this outfit objectively. I’ve got no problem with a cropped top (see Leylah Fernandez above). But what is going on with this one? It looks more like a tank that’s bunching up on itself. Every time I see this shirt, I want to fix the front — unroll it, smooth it out, pull it back down. And, color aside, I don’t see any aesthetic correspondence with the skirt. Yes, Coco is adorable, but this outfit is a total whiff for New Balance.

Want to yell at me for being mean to Coco? Keep scrolling to find the comment section…

Fantasy US Open!

Hello? Anyone here?

It’s time to wipe away the cobwebs and resurrect everyone’s favorite tennis blog! We’ll start with an easy one — the friendly US Open fantasy league contest. As in the past, you’ll choose your fantasy tennis team on the website.

One thing that’s different this year is I created my own contest, under the name No more confusion about which contest to enter–just look for the LittleYellow name. Easy cheesy! (My brother tells me the phrase is “easy peasy,” but what would you rather have, peas or cheese?)

The downside of starting my own contest is that I’m limited to 16 participants. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem since we’ve never even hit double digits. But since the contest is open to anyone — including people who have never even heard of this blog — you could, theoretically, be closed out. Actually, I could get closed out, since I haven’t made my picks yet, either.

The US Open released both the men’s and women’s draws today, but as of this writing, only the men’s side of the tournament is posted on the fanslam site. I’ll add the women’s contest as soon as it’s available.

Not sure how fantasy tennis works? Check out my French Open Fantasy League post for a not-at-all-snarky explanation. (Of course, disregard the instructions on which contest to enter!)

The contest winner will get bragging rights and a sleeve of the environmentally friendly Triniti tennis ball! (What’s a Triniti ball? Find out here.)

Good luck!!

Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst Dressed at Wimbledon 2022

It’s Friday, and we have a face-off! We are back in business, baby! (No, we’re not. It’s now Saturday. Progress, not perfection.)

Nominee #1: Kristina Mldenovic 

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Before we start, let’s agree on our terms. Are we going to call this top a shirt or a bra? Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst Dressed at Wimbledon 2022”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Woman at 2022 Wimbledon

After a brief hiatus, we’re back with our Wimbledon face-off. Well, the women’s face-off, anyway. The men look completely indistinguishable to me.

And on first blush, I thought the women’s outfits would be a bore, too, but on closer inspection, there’s more to like than expected. In fact, even as I type out this sentence, I’m debating whether to have four nominees instead of our usual three. We’ll just have to wait to the end of the post to find out… Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Woman at 2022 Wimbledon”

French Open Fantasy League!

Fantasy tennis is back, baby! Get busy picking your teams. You have until Sunday–when the French Open begins–before you’re shut out of all the fun. I don’t want to hear any of your lame-o excuses this time around. Excuses such as:

“I wanted to enter, but I didn’t know where to go! Wah!”

Go to Make an account, if you haven’t already.

“There were too many contests–I didn’t know which one to enter! Wah!”

We’re entering the two contests marked “Enter free” under the status column. There’s one for the men and one for the women.

“I didn’t understand the rules. Wah!”

It’s really not that hard.

  • You have a pot of money, called your salary cap. You get to buy eight players with that money. Higher ranked players cost more.
  • You don’t have to pick the champion to win. You win by accumulating the most points.
  • Points are awarded based on what percentage of match points a player won. So if Nadal beats Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 and you have Djokovic on your team roster, you’re not getting many points. But if Nadal beats him 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, you could get almost as many points with Djokovic on your roster as with Nadal. (And if you have both men on your roster, you get all 100 points no matter who wins.)
  • Once a player loses, he or she doesn’t accumulate any more points. (Duh.)

“I don’t follow tennis closely enough to know who all the players are. Wah wah wah!”

Who cares? It’s free. Pick random people, using up as much of your salary cap as you can. Weird things can happen. Just look at last year’s US Open finalists. Nobody could have predicted that.

I’ll be picking my teams under the name LittleYellow. Before the tournament begins, you have to let me know, via the comment section, the name you’re playing under to get a shot at winning the coveted can of Triniti tennis balls.

There will be only one winner for each contest. You’re competing against whoever enters this LYB subset of bettors. So if you end up with more points than I have but fewer than loyal LYB reader Martha, you lost and you get squat.

Good luck!!!

(No, I haven’t forgotten about the May challenge of ladder drills. I’m making it a June challenge. Maybe even late-June.)

Not So Happy Feet

May starts is less than two hours, so let me sneak in April’s blog post…

Thursday was my first spring league match, and I can tell you it felt nothing like spring. Such is New England weather, but I don’t think I’ve ever played in less hospitable conditions. The temperature was maybe 40 with a gusting wind. This is how one of my opponents dressed for our match:


The smarter members of the two teams deemed the conditions unplayable and rescheduled their matches. My foursome, on the other hand, decided to soldier through for reasons that seem patently unpersuasive to me in hindsight: The wind affects everyone equally. It might be tough to reschedule. Besides, we were already there.

We played one set. Let me share the two lessons I learned.

Lesson One: You have to keep your feet moving in the wind. I kept setting up for what looked to be a simple volley, only to hit it into the net. I realized, eventually, that there was so much wind drag on the ball that it wasn’t arriving at my racquet when I thought it would. I ended up making contact with the ball too far in front of my body. In the wind, you can never really be “set.” You always have to be making quick adjustments.

Lesson Two: You may need to make quick adjustments, but if you haven’t developed that level of agility, your feet will not cooperate. You can’t simply force your feet to move faster than they want to go. I learned this particular lesson when I rolled my ankle trying to make a last-minute adjustment to a wind-tossed ball.

Which just goes to show that when it comes to sports, a lesson learned by the brain isn’t worth half as much as a lesson learned by the body.

Thinking about footwork won’t do much for you if you haven’t put in the practice time. Which means drills.

Which means…a monthly challenge!

For the month of May, we’ll do a footwork challenge. By “we,” I mean “you.” With my recent Achilles tendinitis flare-up, footwork drills are probably a bad idea. So I’m recruiting volunteers to do the challenge for me and report back on their results. With any luck, we’ll end up with lots of crunchy data for tennis math. Maybe we’ll even get to play with some pie charts and graphs…

Tune in next week for all the details!

Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-dressed at the 2022 Australian Open

Even though I don’t have a job, I still love Fridays. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating at the sound of “TGIF.” And now look at me. All covered with slimy drool. Gross.

Let’s do a face-off. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-dressed at the 2022 Australian Open”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-dressed Woman, 2022 Australian Open

My apologies for being so late with the face-offs! I got so wrapped up in Rafa’s run to the title that I lost track of time. And then there was the week-long post-victory bacchanalia… 

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling it with this slam’s crop of clothing. It’s an odd tournament when I find better outfits among the men than the women. But enough about ho-hum habiliments. Let’s get on with the voting. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-dressed Woman, 2022 Australian Open”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Man at Australian Open (2022)

When the first Friday of a slam rolls around, I’m usually hard pressed to find three candidates for best-dressed man. Not this time, though. An hour ago, I had a list of NINE!

There can be only one explanation for this sudden glut of male fashionistas: Word is getting out on the tour about the Fashion Face-off! The men are finally upping their game, hoping to score a coveted nomination—or at least avoid the ignominy of a worst-dressed award two weeks from now. It’s the power of the press in action!

Either that or my standards are slipping. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Best-Dressed Man at Australian Open (2022)”

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