SBD/June 23, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

The Edge Of Glory: Mattek-Sands Turns Heads At Wimbledon With Tennis Ball Jacket

Mattek-Sands sports white jacket featuring 12 tennis ball halves at Wimbledon

Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost her first-round match at Wimbledon yesterday, but before leaving the All England Club she "turned the path running through the grounds into a runway," walking onto the court wearing a jacket with 12 "tennis ball halves ... starting on the shoulders and running down each sleeve," according to Karen Crouse of the N.Y. TIMES. Mattek-Sands "turned her back to the net and posed for photographers" after arriving at the court. She at one point said to WTA Grand Slam Supervisor Pam Whytcross, "I'm not hitting a ball in it so don't worry." Mattek-Sands a few seconds later took off the jacket, "which also featured white cowgirl fringe across her back and chest, to reveal her tennis outfit: an Under Armour form-fitting white tennis dress with a long sleeve on her left arm and no sleeve on her right arm." Mattek-Sands collaborated on the jacket with designer Alex Noble, who has also worked with Lady Gaga (NYTIMES.com, 6/22). ESPNW.com's Sandra Harwitt wrote under the header, "Mattek-Sands Has A Lady Gaga Moment." Whytcross said, "Well, geez, it's really not proper tennis attire, but she could certainly walk out in it, there's no problem with that. It was quite creative" (ESPNW.com, 6/22). In London, Chris McGrath writes the jacket "was ludicrously frilled and festooned in tennis balls," and it "looked not unlike an igloo." McGrath: "It has become the personal crusade of Mattek-Sands to redress the consensus that the women's tour lacks both calibre and characters. ... But all this elaborate, self-conscious display ... inevitably invites the suspicion, however supercilious, that she might be better off trying to be a tennis player first, and a rock icon second" (London INDEPENDENT, 6/23).

STYLE POINTS: In Portland, Douglas Perry writes neither Mattek-Sands nor Venus Williams, who has drawn mixed reviews for her on-court attire, "is going to win Wimbledon this year, but they're both determined to have us remember them" (OREGONLIVE.com, 6/22). Mattek-Sands' outfit "makes Venus Williams look positively conservative" (SMH.com.au, 6/23). The AP's Caroline Cheese wrote despite the jacket turning out to be a "fashion flop on the day, Mattek-Sands had no regrets." She said, "Obviously, it's tough for tennis players to kind of show who they are off the court other than clothes or something they might say on the court. So I think it's a good way just to kind of get women's tennis more exposure" (AP, 6/22).

GOTTA BE THE SHOES: ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill this morning noted Juan Martin Del Potro’s second-round match against Olivier Rochus yesterday was suspended due to darkness, and video of Del Potro throwing his Nike sneakers -- one at a time, before the match was officially suspended for the night -- out of the stadium and another into the crowd. Cahill said, “There was a lot of frustration. ... He did fall over quite a bit in the late hours yesterday evening. ... He hit the grass, he was slipping all over the place.” After the match resumed today and Del Potro decisively took the final three sets, Gilbert said, “He chucked his shoes, remember, last night. Must have got a new pair of shoes, he’s not slipping as much and he’s been ripping his forehand” (“Wimbledon,” ESPN2, 6/23).

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