SBD/January 19, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Venus Williams Again Makes A Splash With Australian Open Outfits

Venus Williams wears Alice In Wonderland-inspired dress in Aussie Open 2nd round
Venus Williams said that the "tummy-revealing, canary yellow top and flesh-coloured underwear" she wore during her second-round match at the Australian Open today against Sandra Zahlavova were "inspired by Alice in Wonderland," according to Will Brodie of the Melbourne AGE. Williams told the media following her match she wanted to create a "surprise in a tennis dress." Williams: "I put a lot of thought into my dresses. I love fantasy, and this was kind of a way to express who I am on court." Brodie writes Williams' goal was "easily achieved by the lattice-like top which brought to mind the criss-crosses of pastry atop an apple pie." Williams and her sister, Serena, "have long been innovators in tennis fashion, and take a keen interest in designing their own outfits" (Melbourne AGE, 1/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote Williams' outfit "looked like a mix between Solid Gold Dancer and Edward Scissorhands" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/19). Inside Tennis’ Matt Cronin wrote on his Twitter feed, “Quizz: Venus Williams dress looks like: 1: Pie crust 2: Spray-painted piece of trellis 3: temporary plastic fencing for a construction site.” L.A. Times columnist Diane Pucin wrote, “Venus Williams' dress looks as if it might be worn by Hanniball Lecter to keep him from eating people. Only in a cheery color” (TWITTER.com, 1/19). ESPN's Mary Joe Fernandez said during Williams' match, "A lot of holes in this outfit." ESPN's Dick Enberg: "I hope that isn't symbolic of holes in her game. She started very lethargically." ESPN later showed a close-up of Williams' diamond dangling earrings, with Enberg saying, "Some bling working for her there. So gold attire with diamond accoutrement" ("Australian Open," ESPN, 1/18).

USE YOUR ILLUSION: USA TODAY's Tom Weir noted Williams' first-round outfit featured a "super-short top that's more of a jersey than a dress." She "explained it was an 'illusion dress' -- with the intended illusion being that she wanted to appear nude by wearing flesh-colored shorts." But she added she "decided not to" wear the flesh-colored shorts "at the last minute." Williams instead wore black shorts under her dress (USATODAY.com, 1/18). Williams: "I just decided to wear the black ones. But, you know, it's just about focusing on the dress and not anything else. I mean, I had black shorts under" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/18).

UNDEREXPOSED STAR: SI's Jon Wertheim profiled No. 1-ranked player Rafael Nadal and noted he is "indisputably a global star," yet his endorsement portfolio is estimated at $17M, "less than one third" that of Roger Federer. Nadal "remains underexposed ... in the U.S., in particular." Some of this is "due to his English, which is still endearingly flawed." But "perhaps more important, Nadal has no use for the trappings of fame," as "award-show appearances and celebrity 'brand extensions' just aren't part of his M.O." Last year he "appeared as an awkward bystander in a Shakira video; now it's among his least favorite conversation topics." He also landed a deal with Richard Mille, a watchmaker whose watches sell for "as much as $500,000," and "sure enough, Nadal lost the watch." His reps "consented to an interview but declined a photo shoot" for the story (SI, 1/17 issue).
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