Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed Award for the US Open (2019)

It’s that time again! The day we vote on the worst-dressed at the US Open! I’m all tingly with excitement.

I should note that as I’m selecting my nominees, I’m dressed in old baggy boot-cut jeans, a shapeless red shirt and purple sneakers:

Yup, blogging isn’t all glamour, folks. If I played at the Open, I’d be nominee #1 for this blog.

Instead, we have these three worthy candidates. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed Award for the US Open (2019)”

Fashion Face-off: Best Dressed Woman at the US Open (2019)

Right now I’m settling in to watch the women’s finals. What better time to nominate the three women who will vie for our coveted best-dressed award?

Sadly, neither Serena Williams nor Bianca Andreescu will receive a nomination. On the other hand, they’ll each walk away from today’s match with at least $1.9 million. That should help soften the blow.

Nominee #1: Nicole Gibbs

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The winsome American returned to the tour only recently after undergoing surgery for salivary gland cancer. It’s easy to get behind her, both for her perseverance and her lovely New Balance dress. It’s simple, sporty and figure-flattering. What more could you want from athletic wear?

Nominee #2: Qiang Wang

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Serena blew Wang off the court in 44 minutes, during which time Wang hit zero winners. Zero. Has that ever happened before? I feel like I’d hit at least one winner, as Serena’s bullet serve ricocheted wildly off my racquet frame in some highlight reel-worthy freak accident.

It must have been a nightmare for the Chinese player, but this is a serious blog and we don’t award pity nominations. Wang earned her place here with this edgy, eye-catching Adidas ensemble. Would I wear it? Nope. That sheer top is not for the olds. But when you’re young and getting humiliated by the GOAT of women’s tennis, you might as well look good.

Nominee #3: Kristie Ahn

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Like Gibbs and Wang, the 141st-ranked player isn’t well known, even among regular tennis watchers. She had an improbable run to the 4th round, winning praise for her spirit and style.

Daniil Medvedev, who plays in the men’s final tomorrow, has been wearing the shirt from this Lacoste line. I thought the pattern was hideous until I saw it on this dress. Here it’s fresh and summery with the thin black slash adding panache. I don’t love the red sneakers with it, but overall it’s a winning look.

When I started writing this face-off, Serena and Bianca were still warming up. By now, we know who won the women’s final. (It takes longer than you’d think to throw together these posts!) But the real prize is still up for grabs—who takes home the best-dressed title???

September Challenge: Standing Tall

Did your mother tell you to stand up straight when you were a kid? Mine did. A lot. Height-challenged, she nursed a lifelong grudge about having been denied tallness genes. She always stretched her spine as long as possible, trying to get the physical stature to match her outsized personality.

As a teen, I found my mother’s preoccupation strange. Who cared about being tall? I had mousy hair, acne and braces. Posture was the least of my worries.

When my mother caught me slouching, she’d step up behind me and latch onto my shoulders with her long bony fingers, digging them hard into my flesh and pulling them backwards. “Straighten up!” she’d command. God, she was annoying. I’d shrug her off and twist away—but I did head into early adulthood with decent posture.

In later adulthood, not so much. Thanks to loss of muscle strength, an uncomfortable couch and endless hours spent hunched over a computer, I’ve become a round-shouldered schlump. The acne and braces are long gone, but my interest in posture remains limited—or at least it did until yesterday afternoon.

I was in physical therapy for shoulder tendinitis, or impingement syndrome, which has kept me off the tennis court for weeks. During the previous PT sessions, I’d stretched and strengthened and undergone electrical stimulation and massage. Although there’d been some improvement, I still felt a sharp pinch in my shoulder.

This day, my therapist asked me to show her my overhead, a motion that reliably brings on that pinching sensation. After I demonstrated it, she asked me to do it again, only this time focusing on pulling my shoulder blades back.

Well, goodness. I won’t say it was a complete cure, but it was a remarkable difference.

It turns out that slouching, besides making you look shorter and older and dumpier in your tennis clothes, also reduces the space your shoulder has for rotation. My poor posture was a contributing factor in developing tendinitis in the first place.

Which means I’ll be using the month of September to improve my posture. This could be the most challenging challenge month yet. Sure, I’m sitting up straight right now, but that’s because I just learned about this issue yesterday. What about tomorrow? What about two weeks from now? Without my mother around to nag me, I’m afraid I’ll slump right back into bad habits.

That’s where you come in. If you see me hunched over—if you live nearby and know what I look like—grab my shoulders and straighten me up. Or if that’s too hands-on, give me a quick jab in the shoulder blades with a bony finger. It’ll be like having my own Mom army around, annoying the crap out of me but keeping me tall and, more important, on the tennis court.

Do you have tips for better posture? I’m thinking of getting a lumbar pillow—good idea?

Fashion Face-off: US Open Best-Dressed Man for 2019

After the fashion snooze-fest of Wimbledon, I’m loving my US Open men, and not just for the outfits. I may be getting a bit cougarish in my middle age. (I know–gross, right?)

Let’s get the little yellow ball rolling with our stud muffin nominees.

Nominee 1: Rafael Nadal

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The fashion face-off is supposed to be about clothes, not bodies, but come on. Sure, it’s just a stupid black tank, but Rafa looks mighty fine in it. How could I not nominate him?

Nominee 2: Grigor Dimitrov

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I have to thank our Slam correspondent and loyal reader, Eileen. She texted me yesterday from her seat at the Open to rub it in alert me to the Bulgarian’s outfit. I have to agree: Dimitrov sets a high bar with this bold purple top.

Something seems different about him, too. Is the headband new? He’s always been an attractive guy, but he’s shed some of the pretty boy sheen in favor of a more rugged machismo.

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Is it warm in here, or is it just me?

Nominee 3: Gael Monfils

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Red shirt, black shorts–nothing groundbreaking here, but the lovable French weirdo rocks the casual vibe better than anyone.

Out of all the tennis players, I’d most like to hang out with Monfils. Not on a tennis court, though. I’m thinking more a beachside bar with some Mai Tais, a cool breeze, some Bobby McFerrin playing in the background. 🎵🎵 Don’t worry, be happy now. Oooo oooo ooo ooo… 🎵🎵

Huh? What? Sorry, I lost myself there for a moment. (I really need a vacation.)

Oh, right. The clothes. Rafa and Dmitrov are in Nike, and Monfils is in Asics.

We have three important polls for you this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the holiday!



Are the French Weirdos? A Rigorous Analysis

During his first-round loss yesterday, Stefanos Tsitsipas took issue with some of the chair umpire’s rulings. In protesting his treatment, Tsitsipas spat, “You have something against me, I don’t know what — because you’re French, probably, and you’re all weirdos. You’re all weirdos!”

What a weird thing to say. As far as insults go, “weirdo” is just laughable. It’s like being called a poopy-head by a five-year-old.

Perhaps it’s the very weirdness of the insult that got me wondering: Are the French weirdos? Let’s get scientific about this and look at the top four French players.

On the men’s side, the highest ranked player is Gael Monfils. I guess you could say he’s kind of weird, but in the best possible way. His infectious enthusiasm and interactions with the fans make him a crowd-pleaser wherever he plays. Verdict: Weird (but we love him).

The second-ranked Frenchman is Benoit Paire. Paire, along with Richard Gasquet, were featured in our fashion face-off on French men dying their hair blond. Paire has since returned to his natural color but still sports a massive hipster beard. Seriously, you could hide an entire crepe in that thing. I probably shouldn’t shallowly judge people based on just their hair, but since I don’t know Paire personally, shallow is all I’ve got. Verdict: Weird.

On the women’s side, Caroline Garcia is the highest ranked French player. After each win, Garcia extends her arms horizontally and zooms around the court like an airplane. Verdict: Weird.

Garcia’s former doubles partner, Kiki Mladenovic, is the next-highest ranked French woman. Mladenovic routinely earns a place in our best-dressed polls, dates the dishy Dominic Thiem, and never pretends to be a plane or any other form of transportation. Verdict: Normal.

Based on this statistically valid sample size, we can comfortably conclude that, in fact, 75% of French people are weird.

This seems like an unusually high percentage of weirdos for a given population. For perspective, I asked my tennis partner and my sister-in-law, both French, why so many of their compatriots are weird. My tennis partner denied any disproportionate weirdness and pointed to other countries as being the real loons. My sister-in-law had no answer, either. “Perhaps we eat too much stinky cheese,” she suggested.

Clearly it’s a subject that requires further study. A trip to Paris may be in order.

Meanwhile, Serena is down a set to American teen Caty McNally. This kid can play!

Serena vs. Maria, XXII

Tonight, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova face off for the 22nd time in their careers. No doubt you already know that Serena hasn’t lost to Maria since 2004 and enjoys an impressive 19-2 record against the Russian.

The last time Serena played in Flushing Meadows, things got a little heated. Let’s not revisit that unfortunate episode, since I’m sure we’ll be hearing about it ad nauseum from the television commentators. Suffice it to say that Serena will be feeling even more determined to win the title this year.

I’ve always admired Sharapova’s steeliness. If it were me, I’d probably fake a cold and stay home rather than walk out for yet another beatdown in front of millions of viewers. (This resolve may have something to do with why she has five Slam titles and I don’t have any titles, of any sort.)

Serena hasn’t been invincible since her post-baby return to the tour. In fact, she hasn’t won a single title yet. On the other hand, Maria has had a rough year, and Serena does relish beating her.

Is there anyone picking Maria to win this opening-round match? I’m not. And the odds-makers aren’t, either. At least, I don’t think they are. One online betting site puts the odds at -310 for Serena and +250 for Sharapova. I don’t actually know what that means, but I’m sure it’s not in Maria’s favor. Can any gamblers out there explain it?

The more interesting questions about this match are 1) how many games Maria will manage to win, and 2) whether Serena goes on to take the title this year.

Wouldn’t it be fun if this were a betting site? Alas, that’s beyond my blogging skill set. But we can still vote in the polls below. And I’ll make this little wager with myself: If Maria wins more than six games tonight, I’ll eat something disgusting. Maybe a large raw tomato, including all the seeds and gelatinous goo. Blech.



Is It Too Hot to Play?

Here in Massachusetts, as in much of the country, we’re heading into a stretch of sweltering days. With that in mind, we’re going to postpone the Worst Dressed poll and talk about the heat.

You already know that during exercise your core body temperature can rise by a couple of degrees. Your body copes with this increase by sweating. As the sweat evaporates, you cool down.

When humidity is high, the air is too saturated for your sweat to evaporate quickly. The higher the humidity, the hotter you’ll feel, and the more dangerous any given temperature will be.

How do you know when it’s too hot to play outdoors? You need to find out the heat index, or the “real feel” temperature, a combination of actual temperature and humidity.

Continue reading “Is It Too Hot to Play?”

Throwing Your Boobs

Have we talked about obnoxious match celebrations before? I feel like we have, but I don’t want to scroll through my whole site to figure it out. Besides, we have new, fun material to talk about.

A number of weeks ago, everyone’s favorite love-to-hate player Nick Kyrgios threw some shade at a few of the game’s top stars. He called out Rafa Nadal for being “salty” and Fernando Verdasco for arrogance.

But he saved his best shade for Novak Djokovic:

“I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger….This whole celebration thing that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy.”

Have you seen Djokovic’s celebratory ritual? I couldn’t help but laugh at Kyrgios’s characterization. Cringing describes my reaction perfectly.

And it’s not just me and Kyrgios. Djokovic’s ridiculous “I give you my heart” pantomime rubs other people the wrong way, too–so much so that someone coined a term for it: Boob throwing. Continue reading “Throwing Your Boobs”

Friday Fashion Face-off: 2019 Wimbledon Best-Dressed Woman

Warm up your voting fingers, people. It’s time for another best-dressed poll!

The men couldn’t do much to jazz up their Wimbledon whites. What a snooze-fest. As usual, it’s up to the ladies to show them how it’s done. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: 2019 Wimbledon Best-Dressed Woman”

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