federer nadal

HISTORY FOR SCHIAVONE AND NADAL: THE FRIDAY FIVE

By Maud Watson

A Veteran’s Historic Moment – Francesca Schiavone is not a household name to the casual sports fan. Her run to the Roland Garros women’s final was a quiet one that included a retirement from her opponent Elena Dementieva in the semis. Her foe in the final was Sam Stosur, the woman who had taken out Justine Henin, Serena Williams, and Jelena Jankovic in three consecutive matches to reach the final. Stosur also owned a 4-1 win-loss record against Schiavone. The Aussie came in equipped with a bigger serve, more powerful groundstrokes and a better 2010 season leading up to that point. But on that sunny Saturday afternoon in Paris, none of that mattered. Schiavone earned a lot of fans that day, including myself, as she played a spectacular match littered with positive emotions from beginning to end to become the first Italian woman to ever win a singles major title. What made her performance all the more impressive was that Schiavone herself admitted she never thought she would be in a position to win a Slam and to go out there playing that brand of stellar tennis, realistically knowing that it might be her one and only chance to ever win one of the top four prizes in the sport, is truly admirable.

Back on Top – A name a little more familiar to sports fans is that of Rafael Nadal, who sent a message to the rest of the field during his stay in the French capital. The Spaniard was in a ruthless mood as he cruised to the Roland Garros title for the fifth time in six years, doing so without the loss of a set. His defense against the powerful groundstrokes of Soderling in the final was phenomenal and clearly broke the spirit of the big-banging Swede. The added bonus for Nadal is that the win also propelled him back to No. 1 in the rankings ahead of Roger Federer.  Nadal has gotten that winning feeling back, and it’s set up him nicely going into the short grass court season where he can play with relatively less pressure given that he has no points to defend from 2009.

Double Trouble – While both of the Williams sisters crashed out earlier than either would have liked in the singles competition at the French Open, they didn’t allow that to impact their doubles game. The sisters took the title on the terre bateau, marking their 12th major doubles crown and their first in Paris since 1999. Their run at Roland Garros also assured them the top ranking in doubles, so the Williams sisters now rule the top spots in both the singles and the doubles. Given that when the Williams sisters enter the doubles draw its no secret that everyone else is unofficially playing for second, it’s nice to see them achieve the No. 1 doubles ranking. And love them or hate them, you have to applaud the Williams sisters’ staying power at every level of the game.

Comebacks Abound – The start of the grass court season is seeing its share of comebacks, at least in a manner of speaking. First, there is the return of Nikolay Davydenko, who last played in early March, marking his comeback with a win over Simon Greul in Halle. Given the Russian’s form coming in to the 2010 season, here’s hoping he quickly finds his game and shakes things up at the top of the pack. It was also announced that American Lindsay Davenport would be making a bit of a return to the game, teaming with Bob Bryan for the mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon, as well as with Liezel Huber for some women’s doubles later this summer. Finally, Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, who left the game last year, will be returning, but not as a player. Mauresmo, a former Wimbledon champion, will be acting as an advisor to fellow compatriot Michel Llodra this grass court season.

Record Set To Be Broken – There were murmurs of it earlier in the year when it was announced that Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin would be facing off in an exhibition to be played post-Wimbledon. Now those murmurs have become official shouts of triumph for the exo organizers, as it was announced that based on the ticket sales, the attendance for the Belgian showdown slated for July 8 will total 30,670. That total will top the previous record of 30,472 that was set during the famous “Battle of the Sexes,” match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King 37 years ago. Congrats to the two Belgians and organizers, and if the match is anything like some of their previous tussles, spectators are in for a real treat.

Nike introduces US Open Competition LOOKS for Serena williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal AND Maria Sharapova

BEAVERTON, Ore. (August 26, 2009) – As excitement builds for the season ending grand slam, NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) today unveiled its US Open apparel and footwear for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at a Nike-built, regulation-sized tennis court in the heart of Manhattan.

At the temporary court, located at 23rd Street and Broadway, tennis fans and youth from New York Junior Tennis League, Athletes for Charity, New York City Parks Foundation and Mentoring USA were treated to inspirational tennis tips and guidance from Federer, Nadal, Williams, and McEnroe. A youth representative from each organization had a chance to win a donation for their local group by returning balls from a tennis simulator set to mimic pro shots. The chance to hit against the simulator was also open to the public.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring the thrill of the US Open directly to tennis fans in New York,” said tennis icon John McEnroe. “Providing a platform for kids to experience the beauty and power of this game and meet their tennis icons is incredible.”

On site, Nike also unveiled the much anticipated apparel and footwear looks for Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Maria Sharapova.

“We are very proud to raise the bar for this year’s US Open apparel and footwear collection by drawing inspiration from New York’s style and energy,” said Janice Lucena, Global Tennis Design Director. “From Nadal’s taxi cab yellow polo to the sleek sophistication of Maria and Serena’s night dresses, we continue to create product that helps our athletes perform better on the court while looking incredible.”

Apparel and Footwear
Roger Federer’s contemporary style is embodied in the details and craftsmanship of his US Open day and night looks. These looks are modern, consisting of bold red and black. Federer’s in-game polos are constructed of knit Nike Dri-FIT fabric in the body and a woven Nike Dri-FIT collar for comfort and moisture management. The body of the shirt has an embossed dot pattern inspired by the subway signs of New York, and the button placket features Roger’s black RF monogram logo, applied using bonded innovation and laser cut detailing.

As the 2008 US Open defending women’s singles champion, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she looks to defend her title. Her day and night looks were inspired by cocktail party attire, with design call outs including soft pleating at the neckline, a starburst pin tuck detail at the back, and a hemline featuring a bold contrast of color. Both the magenta day dress and black night dress are made of Nike Dri-FIT knit fabric to wick away moisture and help keep Williams cool on the court.

Rafael Nadal has a contemporary style, and the energy of New York serves as the design inspiration for his apparel. Rafa is known for wearing bright colors and will debut a bold yellow and black look, inspired by the streets of New York City and its’ signature yellow taxi cabs. Also featuring a multi-row dot print across the chest, the polo is inspired by the colorful numeric subway signs of New York City. Nike Dri-FIT Mesh is incorporated in strategic places for breathability to keep Nadal cool.

Maria Sharapova is always closely involved in the design process for her apparel. Maria will wear two dresses at the Open, the first features a soft pink Dri-FIT knit body contrasted with electric yellow bonded seams. The dress features asymmetric lines that crossover to the back and create a sophisticated take on a traditional athletic racer-back style. Maria’s US Open warm-up jacket is a lightweight feminine ¾ sleeve length jacket with a ruffle at the collar and pleating along the waist and sleeve ends. Maria’s second on-court dress is inspired by the New York City skyline, and features a dramatic t-back style, keeping Maria’s shoulders free for the mobility she needs during play.