Uber cutsey visors with bows and junior sized (19"- 26" range) tennis racquets and bag complete the new group.
Find the goods at Tennis-Warehouse.
Uber cutsey visors with bows and junior sized (19"- 26" range) tennis racquets and bag complete the new group.
Find the goods at Tennis-Warehouse.
Any amateur photog. who has tried to shoot tennis action knows it's really hard. While owning a monster lensed $1000+ camera would certainly make a difference, there are lower priced options and techniques that will reward with great images.
Photographing Tennis by photo pro Chris Nicholson offers easy to follow tips on protocol, gear, positioning, light, exposure, composition, timing and more. Nicholson is a sixteen year tennis photo veteran whose captivating images are featured throughout the book.
Read up before heading to the courts and keep the paperback in your bag for a quick refresher between matches.
More info at PhotographingTennis.com; $21.95.
Put some prep in your step as you travel to and from the tennis court with this new Tennis Tour Bag by Ame & Lulu. Sooo country club. The main external pocket can hold two racquets and the zip top gives easy access to all your extras. Carry by the handles or use the removable shoulder strap.
Made of water repellent canvas, 20" wide x 15" high x 8" deep, 20 oz., $148.00. Embroidery is an option and is $30 extra. Three pretty colors combos are available for spring/summer. My fav, Villa, is above.
Find it at ameandlulu.com.
Art and soul combine beautifully in the Spring 2013 Solfire tennis fashion line. The unique new collection jams with color drenched passion culled from the paintings of Solfire founder and artist Brendan Murphy.
Each of five shirt designs speak to who you are, or strive to be, on court. Top and above left is the women's Lion tank that emanates strength and agility. River, above right, delivers a dynamic flow of beauty and elegance.
Other graphics include: Breathe, a wild horse, that speaks of powerful movement and grace; Hummingbird expresses precise control and speed; and City, urban attitude and bold strokes. Womens tanks and coordinating skorts are are $48.
Men's collection performance shirts include crews in all of the above art elements except Hummingbird, $50. Shorts are $48. Watch for Solfire on Bruno Soares in Indian Wells.
What inspires your game?
Nike has created this ensemble for Roger Federer in Indian Wells. It's actually Federer's Australian Open look with a change of colors (compare and contrast kids; are you thinking Photoshop too?).
Left is the Nike Men's Spring 2 Premier RF Polo in deep royal blue with accents of total orange and white, $90. Sooooo handsome. It also comes in total orange with white, a bit of a tough color for paler complexions. If Rog wears it, it will be the first tournament bright for him in years.
His shorts are Spring 2 Twill 10" in white for $65, and shoes, Zoom Vapor 9 Tour in white/team orange and platinum, $130.
Other cool items in the collection: This 100% cotton tee, $40, or RF hat at $26.
Find it at Nike.com, Tennis-Warehouse and Nike tennis retailers worldwide.
Vika's timepiece is the sporty Citizen Ceramic Eco-Drive Chronograph featuring 32 tiny diamonds, $695 USD.
It's nice being #1 ehh?
Let Shafty Tennis Bands be your on -court coach. $3.00 each (or have your club buy a bucket of 80 for $80).
Much cooler than note cards and a lot cheaper than paying your coach to watch you play.
Find them at ShaftyBands.com
Tennis-Warehouse has the exclusive. Beautiful, like the countries they represent.
Nay-say all you want but "what's the score?" when you play with a group of chatty tennis pals, is a very common query. A point tool could come in handy.
The watch (it does tell time as well) is lightweight, water and sunscreen resistant, and, because it is close fitting, it does not get in the way or move around.
ScoreBand is $30.00 USD and comes in a variety of sizes and colors. It can be used for other sports as well.
Find it at ScoreBand.net
Gifts for a tennis lover? Honestly, just about anything I've ever written about would be welcome.
Scroll down or take a look around the site. I've got things organized by category and brand in the left-hand sidebar; not to worry, great ideas abound!
Leave a comment if you need advice! Happy to help.
I spotted this solution at The Tennis Show in NYC earlier this fall.
Rather than measuring and fussing with a rusty, slipping buckle,The Player Strap offers a portable tennis net correction tool that goes on quickly and firmly over an existing net strap insuring your game's net is set at 36." It's best for solving the too high problem, and yes, a net that is even one inch off makes a difference, especially to your serve.
Handy add for your tennis bag, $12.99 USD.
Find it at Tennis Solutions.
Total Serve is designed to help you to experience what proper serve technique FEELS like, smooth with no breaks in motion, and groove a swing that incorporates your hips, legs and shoulders.
Click the link above to see the tool in use.
The Total Serve is offered in the three sizes above, 3 ball for adults and bigger teens, 2 ball for juniors or petite adults and 1 ball for 10 and under.
Prices range from $39-59 USD.
Find a retailer or buy at TheTotalServe.
The watch is emblazoned with the official U.S. Open logo, features a red, white and blue color scheme and racquet design elements. Stainless steel with white or blue polyurethane strap, it runs $149.00, a lot less pricey than the one Vika Azarenka is flashing now.
Available in the USOpenShop, at USOpenShop.org, select Macy's and Macys.com.
Left is the New York Collection Racquet and Ball Lariat Necklace by Love Tennis by Hazel, $300 USD in sterling silver with gold plated handle. BTW, every WTA player at The New Haven Open, will get this piece; Love Tennis by Hazel is a tourney sponsor.
Lesser priced quality options include the the sterling silver plated Tennis Anyone bangle, $50, below, and pink and green beaded Classic Bracelet, $65 (not pictured) both by Angela Moore. Sweet detail.
For the girl who must pearl, the below piece from Sporty Chic Designs will do nicely. The Pearls for Wisdom bracelet come with faux pearls and silver tone racquet and ball for, $60 or $147 with freshwater pearls and sterling.
Once soaked in water Ice Cold Towels honor their name. Use one on a change-over for a quick refresher or to cool down after a match. Draped around your neck or shoulders you will immediately feel the ahhhh. The thin 32" x13" sponge-like towels are made of absorbant PVA/cotton/plant material that pulls heat away from your body through evaporation. They do not drip or soak your clothing.
Use the pouch your towel comes in between matches or any zip seal bag. These work remarkably well and if hand-washed will last for years.
$15 each includes free shipping to the US and Canada if you use the code: TENNISIDENTITY at check out. That's half the regular price. Awesome deal. IceColdTowels
Grip Scholar makes soft, tacky (in the good tennis way) and sweat absorbant overgrips emblazoned with college logos, tennis racquets and basically whatever youu want. Got a team logo? They will put it on for you.
They've got some big school names in stock: Harvard, Brown, Stanford, Boston College, Yale, MIT and more.
$3.99 per overgrip. Contact the company for special orders. Find them at GripScholar.
Coppertone's new Sport Pro Series with DuraFlex is a spray-on (no pumping) sunscreen that moves with your skin. It was designed for extreme conditions that trigger sweating (therefore tennis). Because it resistant to sweat, it won't run and need frequent reapplication. The Duraflex formula also allows your skin to breathe so you don't overheat. It is UVA/UVB protective in SPF #15, 30 and 50 and won't aggravate acne conditions (great news for teen players).
I found it lightweight, effective, and as comfortable as sunscreens can be. It does feel a bit sticky until it fully dries.
As always I recommend putting your sunscreen on and letting it dry before you get dressed so you don't miss spots or get sunscreen or your apparel.
Approx. $11.00 and available wherever Coppertone sunscreen is sold.
If you read Bodo's blog, TennisWorld, you know his style. This is not Saint worship or a dry snooze through tennis history. The book is a compilation of past posts devoted to "The Mighty Fed/TMF" in his golden middle period 2006-2009. Each post offers Bodo's often funny insights and observations of Federer's ride, playing style, rivalries, wins, losses and subsequent slide over time, plus a little note with hindsight.
Not that we're currently thinking slide as Fed heads into the 2012 Wimbledon finals.
"I've tried to keep a level head and appreciate not only the accomplishments and personality of the man but to identify and analyze what shortcomings he's had or mistakes he's made," says Bodo. Fed's fashion choices during those heady years, as example, were not something the author appreciated.
Published by Diversion Books and available on Amazon for $4.99 as eBook only. Hard copies are not available. Might be time for me to get a Kindle if this is going to start happening.
Beginning with Suzanne Leglen vs. Helen Wills in 1926 and ending with Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic in January of this year, the book presents the matches not just as they happened on court but as they happened in history.
"By visiting, or...revisiting, these moments involving legendary players," says Flink, "we gain a better view of how certain matches shaped tennis history and why the personalities at their center left us with such enduring memories."
Read as intended, from front to back, you get an excellent education in tennis' growth over time. It's hard not to skip around to personal fav matches however.
A great book for the long time tennis connoisseur.
Published by New Chapter Press, $25.95 hardcover.
Find it worldwide at Swatch. Type Roland Garros into the search bar on the site.
Videotaping your tennis game can be eye opening (even a little disheartening) but it IS really helpful. The QM-1 Portable Camera support is a tool that mounts on a tennis court fence (inside or out) and allows you to film an entire match or a portion of it, including both sides of the court.
Parents traveling with junior players can use the QM-1 to bring a match back to a coach for analysis without incurring travelling fees. Teams can see how they move together and coaches can use it to talk with students about their strokes and footwork.
Mike Lamens, designer/owner, suggests a few different cameras that work well with the QM-1. The Kodak Playsport ZX5, Creative Labs VADO and The Wingman HD are all recommended as they have a wide enough lens to capture the whole court.
Pay attention to battery life especially if you want to film an entire match. Download your video to your computer and you've got it to review and edit. Below is a video example of an edited filmed match.
The QM-1 will run you $69 USD. It collapses to fit in your tennis bag, is lightweight and super easy to use (no photographic or technical talent needed whatsoever). Learn more or buy at MyTennisTools.
These lightweight (and recyclable) aluminum cans come in two sizes: the 4" tall O+ mini holds 24 breathes per can (use 3-5 breaths per time), $8 USD per can; and the 8" tall O+ skinni with 40+ breaths per can (so 8-12 occasions per can), $12 per can.
You can buy O+ in 3 packs or get the Elevate pack which is a refillable delivery system. Easy to use and in three barely there "flavors," peppermint, grapefruit and natural. Learn more, find a retailer or order at OxygenPlus. Vic Braden is an ambassador for the company which says good things about the product. Please see the precautions on the O+ site if you have impaired heart or lung function or any other medical condition.
Nuun offers an easy way to carry your sports drink (or make more quickly between sets). Your essential electrolytes beverage is created by dropping one nuun tablet into 16 oz. of water. Nuun contains no sugars (sorbitol is used), is under 6 calories and delivers 360 mg. sodium, 100 mg. potassium, 25 mg. magnesium, 13 mg. calcium and more including vitamins.
The tablets (12 tablets per tube) come in 11 flavors. My favorites are the lemon or lime based. I like my drinks light tasting so I use 1/2 tablet per bottle. The tubes are $6.50 USD each (app .50 per serving if you use a whole tablet). Sport drinks are a must and I often forget to bring one along to the court. Keeping a tube of nuun in my bag makes it easy to make a drink in seconds since water fountains easily supply the base. Learn more or find a retailer at Nuun.
Deodorize that stinky bag of yours with this bamboo charcoal filled bag from Moso Natural. Simply toss the 6 x 7" linen covered sachet in your gym or tennis bag and smell the difference. The charcoal absorbs moisture and odor. Reactivate the bag's powers monthly by setting out in the sun. Each bag lasts two years and can be cut open and safely spread in the garden when done. Go green! The 7 oz. size will do you fine: $6.99 each USD. Find a retailer at Moso Natural.
Kate Spade's just out spring collection includes some fun-fab tennis and tennis inspired accessories. Check out their shop display here. I love it when designers find muse in our game!
Above is the new retro-ish Make a Racquet Bag, $198; canvas with patent cowhide trim, kelly green tennis ball print lining and a 14K gold zipper. Fits one racquet (possibly two depending on beam).
Right, although not FOR tennis, is the hot little tote style On the Ball Treesh handbag, $328; file it under lust-worthy tennis lifestyle. It's made of patent cowhide and is stitched with lines to look like one gorgeously bright reminder of our love.
Click on the images to magnify.
Available at Kate Spade New York.
Wilson's newest leather tennis racquet bag is a beauty. For the person that covets high quality craftsman leather accessories, this is IT for the court, a real executive's tennis bag. It also comes in a 3 pack (one main pocket) if you don't require as much extra space.
The new for 2012 bags are constructed of full grain leather. The interior is lined with a beige nylon fabric (wipe it clean if needed). An outside pocket is the spot for keeping smaller items: keys, phone, etc. There are a few smaller organizer pockets inside the 6 as well. There is no wet/dry bag so add a plastic bag (how gauche) to keep clay and sweat from ruining the nice interior.
The price? The six pack (two compartments) will run you $600 and the 3 pack, $500. That's where that 1% might figure in. No pro is scheduled to carry this bag in 2012. It really looks Roger though doesn't it? Go ahead, you be the man (or woman).
Wilson will monogram the strap on the bag at no extra charge if you send in an enclosed card and strap after purchase.
Tennis Skills & Drills is a new book by 8 year ATP tour veteran Joey Rive and Scott Williams, former coach to Tommy Haas and Max Mirnyi. The book is more of a tennis manual than long read and does a nice job explaining modern day stroke techniques, shot making and game tactics for all player levels.
This is a great have-at-home especially for for those trying to grow their game without the benefit of regular private lessons.The authors have gone into tremendous detail on just about every aspect of shotmaking.They even cover game-plan breakdowns.
It's like the tennis instruction diary I've tried to create based upon multiple lessons and always dropped. You can skip around from section to section focusing on what your game needs most or what you have coming up (big match). Doubles players there is a tactics section for you too.
At $24.95 Tennis Skills & Drills is a fraction of the cost of an hour lesson and worth it if you are willing to take the time to read and absorb.
Look for world #5, David Ferrer, on the cover. Yeah, I'd like to have HIS game. Published by Human Kinetics and available now at bookstores everywhere..
Opportunity abounds for an ace of a gift if you've got the bucks. Take a look at all the tennis currently on the auction block at Charity Buzz:
Benefitting the Chris Evert Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic charity:
Benefitting the Stiller Foundation (yah, Ben's):
There's more. Fun stuff and for charity.
May your wallet be fatter than mine ;)
I hung with RAFA Sunday thanks to Irene. The storm hit with winds not unlike his game, fierce and unrelenting. No power, no Open, just this guy (left). Not all bad.
Yes, it's here: Nadal's rituals, insecurities, off-court personality, Mallorcan home life, girlfriend Mary, long-time team, injuries, challenges and on-the-road life.
What I loved most though was the opportunity to get inside Nadal's head (it's a very heady game), to see how a passionate young soccer fan grew to be a veritable tennis gladiator and how he now thinks about playing both philosophically and tactically.
Joan Forcades, Rafa's physical trainer, refers to Nadal's success as the result of a holistic approach that results in the "perfect synergy" of head, body and emotions. Any player can take a page.
Rafa also uses the book to set the record straight on a number of stories that have permeated his coverage for years. No, for example, Uncle Toni did not force him to hit left handed. It was Rafa's choice. No, he is not superstitious, he simply needs a well ordered on-court plan to stay focused. His locker room regime is even more intense.
Toni comes off as somewhat of a tyrant although Nadal never says so much. Until very recently he accepted all that his uncle/coach has dished out as a means to a successful end. Honestly, not many kids (or tennis parents) would put up with what he has. A vision of Agassi hitting balls with his Dad came back to me here, the difference being that Nadal always had a choice. He is a self-imposed grinder at practice as much as in competition.
Writer John Carlin has done a nice job of weaving Rafa and his parade of personalities and tournaments into a great read that is interjected with bursts of blow by blow match play. You will watch Nadal with new eyes.
RAFA is available at bookstores worldwide and at Tennis-Warehouse. MSRP $27.99.
Accented with gold hardware and lettering (MS and Head), leather tassels and sky blue interior it's pretty and sophisticated, a well thought-out user-friendly tennis bag that will appeal to the style conscious woman who never carries a mega branded bag (horrors!). The racquet section like the traditional racquet bag is thermo protected and holds 3 racquets.
Find a retailer at HEAD or buy at Tennis Warehouse or tennis retailers selling HEAD worldwide.
Here's more if you need it:
There are a myriad of odd situations that come up during unofficiated tennis matches: A ball rolls on court during a point, someone's contact lens falls out, a player purposely distracts his or her opponent while serving. Wouldn't it be nice to know the offical call right then and there and put an end to the guessing?
Friend at Court The USTA Handbook of Tennis Rules and Regulations 2011 is a big help when issues arise and it's a FREE downloadable PDF (click that last link) making it easy to reference on court via your smartphone. Bookmark it and you've got the word on just about anything that could possibly come up.
Want the book for your bag instead? Buy it at the USTA shop.
There are two kinds of headbands for tennis, those designed to keep sweat out of your eyes and those that keep hair out of your face.
First, the sweat managers:
Nike's swoosh bandanas are 100% cotton (stays wet while sweating), $12. If you've got the face and hair, these look darn good (case in point on left). adidas, K-Swiss and Fila, also make a tie variety (all are poly blend).
Right, by adidas, are the more traditional cotton terry variety, 75% cotton with stretch, $5.99 for two. Let's just say it's a very functional style. I see a lot of these on men. Fila, Nike, K-Swiss and Lacoste also make them.
bondiband makes a thin sweat wicking headband in multiple colors and fun/motivational prints, $8.00. All are meant to be worn across the forehead or at the hairline (as pictured here). They are attractive and very quick-drying (so you are never wearing a soaking band). Look for the one with crossed tennis racquets in the sport section. They carry quite a few men's styles as well.
Women who wear these do not feel comfortable with a headband across their forehead. Problem is, comfortable, functional, hair-taming bands are hard to find because most slip unless sitting at the hairline or forehead. Many wear hard u shaped plastic bands.
What you need to look for are headbands with strips of silicone gripper tape on the side against your hair. Yoga manufacturers like Lululemon sell these. Their Slipless Headband, $12, is pictured here. I've also seen silicone lined bands at Athleta. I am not finding them yet in branded tennis apparel.
Find adidas, Nike, Fila, K-Swiss and Lacoste headbands at Tennis-Warehouse and tennis retailers worldwide.
Most avid players carry a towel for mopping up sweat, drying hands, showering, whatever. Quite a few have a pretty dingy looking one. Freshen up your racquet bag with a signature Wimbledon towel. Yes, these are the decent size ones (not hand towel size) you are seeing on court in London.
Find them at the Wimbledon shop.
The String Thing is a lightweight hand-held tool that will quickly and evenly straighten your tennis racquet strings with a few quick up and down swipes. Straight, in position strings mean better hits.
We've all pushed the lone string or two back in position with our fingers, something pretty easy to do, but this little gadget covers your whole racquet face fast straightening all of your strings in less than 6 seconds. It really works well.
Interestingly this little device is popular with women who pay big to keep their nails looking lovely. For manicured nails straightening tight strings by hand is a no-no. I've seen polish adorned hands pushing strings around with pens and keys.
2011 happens to be the thirtieth anniversary of the last Borg/McEnroe Grand Slam finals meeting, the 1981 U.S. Open; the cool Swedish Adonis vs. the ill-mannered American Superbrat.
That Open marked the end of an era and not just in the world of pro tennis. I recall a chalkboard at our town courts where people listed the time they arrived and kept track of who was playing too long. Young mothers wearing ruffled panties and short skirts brought playpens courtside for their mid-morning game. Borg was gorgeous, McEnroe unbelievable, and tennis was cocktail party topic; the game had over-arching magic.
The fuel behind it all? The personalities and rivalries of the pro game. Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, McEnroe, Borg and more. The shot-making, good looks and on-court behavior were absolutely fascinating in the relatively dry world of sports coverage ("the agony of defeat" excepted). Who didn't want to watch a match to see what Connors or McEnroe would do next?
As HIGH STRUNG visits one of the most marked rivalries of the 70s/80s it also explores the growth of the tennis industry that today is a finely tuned machine. IMG and Nike (McEnroe wore one of the first pairs of Nike tennis shoes) are both woven into this read that presents the battles alongside the rise of tennis marketing and the undercurrent outrageousness that pervaded the sport.
Tennis is back for sure but it IS different. Marquee players have learned that keeping emotions in check will help them to win and well entouraged personalities keep private lives under the hood. I enjoyed this revisit to an old and very entertaining tennis era.
My only complaint (I am Swedish) Tignor spelling Bjorn without the ö. Like Söderling, it's a different name without the dots. Björn...that's it. Otherwise, all good.
Find it at bookstores worldwide beginning May 17, $20.99 USD.
When I think tennis bracelet I think diamonds and really nothing actually meant for the court. The Count Me Healthy tennis bracelet is different.
This silver plated bracelet hugs your wrist fairly loosely and the little tennis balls slide the length of the wire. Use it for keeping count of games won, aces, drop shots, glasses of water throughout the day... whatever.
Keeping track of a games won seems the most logical as you can push six balls to each side of a center point on the main wire. I'd make the balls closest to my body my games and those on the other side my opponent's. Slide a ball up to center to notch a win. The balls really do stay put; if you go over six start pushing them back. Obviously this is useful in places where score systems are lacking (public courts) and where chatting between points is distracting. I've been there.
The bracelet retails for $88 USD at Count Me Healthy Jewelry. It comes in a pretty gift box and is adjustable to fit many wrist sizes. A fun and useful gift idea for a women with a tennis identity.
If a picture is worth a thousand words A Game to Love: In Celebration of Tennis is worth 500,000. Mike Powell, an award winning sports photographer, has filled this coffee-table masterpiece with a luscious array of modern day tennis images so loaded with raw character, emotion and detail I literally stopped my day to enjoy every page on the spot.
"Television," Powell says, "is dominant in its positions, and leads how most of us can see [an] event, but the power of the great still image is that it will freeze a memory and make it iconic, in a way that a moving image does not."
I ached over a shot of Roger Federer. I've watched hours of the guy, both live and on tv; never have I seen an expression like this.
The close-ups are to die for: Serena Williams' focus (and perfect manicure) mid-point; Rafael Nadal's hands holding a gleaming US Open trophy, the stained and frayed finger bandages, vestiges of the raging battle that got him there. Dinara Safina's anguish and utter frustration mid match.
A Game to Love takes you to and through the four majors: Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open and is interspersed with images from tournament grounds, quotes from tennis greats and observations by Powell himself, a clear connoisseur of the game.
Buy it on amazon or at bookstores everywhere beginning April 1, 2011, $40 USD. Currently available for pre-order.
Images: Mike Powell
There has been a mysterious new tennis string on the market for the last six months. It was known simply as the green string of 361 nation. The users? Elite juniors participating in high level tournaments such as Eddie Herr and Kalamazoo. Hawked out of tents at these big deal events, young poly string loving players flocked and tried. What young gun wouldn't try something new, cool, dangerous looking and free? The slime green color, sly eye on the package and mystery of a new company all proved irresistible. They gave it a try and yes, they liked. Within the test period over 1,200 players in 50+ countries turned to the string and registered with the nation.
Day 1 at Australian Open 2011 was big reveal day for Prince. Yes, it is Prince behind the test, a company not known for success with poly string, which is why they kept the project under wraps.
With serious research and testing behind them, Prince has officially released Beast XP 1.30/16 g., a new thermo polymer string that is said to perform well at all tensions, create a lower trajectory (allowing you to take a bigger and faster swing at the ball) and offer great spin-ability. It has gotten high ratings from its new users in power, feel, comfort, spin and playability categories. Some players use it as a full set, others as mains in a hybrid job.
Prince says that its ATP and WTA players have been more cautious to transition to the string than juniors have been. Shahar Peer and Martina Sanchez are among the first to use it on the pro tour.
Unlike the movie Office Space, less is more when it comes to flair. Suit your mood or interests, or have one custom made for your team. Find them at String-a-ma-jig. $4 each for ready-mades.
Tennis-Warehouse has all the brand name logo'd ones: Babolat, Prince, Gamma, Wilson and more...
Whatever YOU call it, being in the zone, playing out-of-your-mind, being dialed-in...it's all mental toughness that helps a win when the going gets tough. Never too old.
Made of Cool-n-Dry performance fabric, these shirts, dreamed up by a marathon runner, offer a comfy athletic fit that you can work out and play in. Men's long sleeve, $40. Womens, $28. The short sleeve is $22. Find them only at NO EXPIRATION.
Since I'm sure I'm not getting the Wilson tennis ball couch anytime ever (unless someone has good news for me), I've started to look for other ways to bring tennis into my daily off-court life. Cool ways, not cutsey napkins and such.
I recently spotted this handmade iPhone case ($20) made from recycled tennis balls. Bingo. It's a start.
Mani Kordestani, avid player since a kid, makes these and a variety of other accessories using retired tennis balls that he washes and reconfigures into eye catching and useful little items.
Check out Kordestani's shop on Etsy/MANIkordstudio.
Junior sized tennis equipment has been around for a while but the USTA and ITF are beginning to incorporate it into official tournaments. Going forward, 10 and under level 7 tournaments will be officially listed as playing on full (78'), 60' or 36' courts. Each size court will have a different ball; none will use the yellow ball adults play with.
If playing on a full 78' court kids in this age group will use special low-bounce (regular size) "green-dot" balls; On a 60' court they will use an "orange" ball; On a 36' court they will use a larger "red" felt ball. The court size used depends on the facility holding the tournament. Some clubs are building in the smaller courts, others will adjust with blended lines.
The new balls are designed to have a different bounce, each is slower and lower than the yellow ball adults and teens use, helping smaller players learn the techniques and movement at their speed. "Instead of simply being a teaching methodology, as it has been, using age appropriate equipment and court size allows children under 10 to compete in an age appropriate setting just like any other sport," says Anne Davis, the USTA's National Manager of Recreational Coaches and Programs .
This official change indicates that junior equipment and low bounce balls are making a difference. Kids are finding success on court faster. Davis says that the USTA is starting to see kids who began tennis on shorter courts with low bounce balls moving up into the 12s with great success.
But what if your kid doesn't play tournaments? Take a page and look for one of these programs at your local club or buy a right-sized racquet and balls and head down to your public park. That hit with your impatient-to-be-good 6 year old will be a whole lot more fun.
A few equipment suggestions for beginners:
Ages 4-6: Start with a 21 inch Wilson Venus and Serena 21" or Wilson Federer 21" junior racquet (both under $20 USD) with Penn Quick Start Tennis 36' Felt Balls, $4.95
Ages 7-8: Try a 23 inch racquet. HEAD makes the Radical Junior 23" Tennis Racquet ($20), same balls as above or below depending on ability and height.
Ages 9-10: Start with a 25 inch racquet. Babolat makes the Pure Drive Junior 25" ($70) and Head makes the Junior speed for under $20 if you want to keep costs down while you check to see if junior's interest kicks in. Penn Quick Start 60' balls, $4.95 are what you want for this age group.
Height can make a difference, so if you have a tall 8 year old you might want to bump them up a length and into the 60' balls. Don't worry about grip size. They are all the same at the starter levels.
Find Junior tennis racquets at sports and tennis retailers worldwide and online at Tennis-Warehouse and others.
No one needs wonder where your passions lie when you're in one of these tees. You and I live for this game and who shouldn't know that? Offered by Cruise Control, these shirts are made of super lightweight, antibacterial stretch performance fabric and are long enough to prevent belly bare when stretching. They come in a variety of colors for men and women, sleeveless, v-neck and crew. The women's cuts are fitted and very flattering. I really liked the way they played.
Available only at Cruise Control, $23 for the woman's sleeveless and $26 for the men's crew neck and womens cap sleeve. Look for the Live for It Collection on the site under mens and womens.
Does the fact that someone is working REALLY hard to win give them the excuse to yell, swear and grunt through an entire three setter? I don't think so but this weekend I had to work REALLY hard to block someone like this out. Yeah sure I could have said something but then again it's rec tennis and shouldn't my powers of concentration be up to this? Well, I lost.
Next time I'm packing this shirt, the K Swiss Quiet Please tee, MSRP $22.00 in white, grey and black. Pull it out, pop it on and spend a little time near the offending party...enough said.
Tennis Made Easy by Kelly Gunterman is a how-to tennis manual. Gunterman, currently the Director of Tennis at the Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, has a 30 year history with the game at all levels and a knack for explaining tennis technique.
The manual was written to help beginner and intermediate players but advanced players may also find it helpful as it serves as a reminder that less is always more. Included are tactics, strategies, practice drills and a range of topics including perfecting your serve, positioning, pressuring the opponent, and how to play singles or doubles. Clear information on choosing equipment and deciding what to pack in a tennis bag is also included.
If you can only afford a private every once in a while, this book (loaded with photographs of current WTA and ATP pros in action) offers a helpful way to hone your technique and game without shelling out the big bucks.
List is $19.95 and available on amazon
This 816-page volume - a compilation of records, biographies and year-by-year recaps – is dedicated to John Isner, Nicolas Mahut and chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani, the three principles from the record-breaking longest match of all-time at 2010 Wimbledon. This is an update of the book he released in 2003 (which had Serena on the cover wearing Puma).
Facts and more facts. "If you know nothing about tennis, this book is for you. And if you know everything about tennis—Hah!—Bud knows more, so this book is for you too!" says Martina Navratilova. It's a great refresher on what's gone down over the years in our game. No tennis home should be without it.
List is $35.95 and available on amazonMore tennis books here. Click and scroll down.
It takes the mind of a champion to win a major and so with homage to those that have so successfully played before us I give you some inspiration. Everything old is new again with these practice tees.
So you're down a set and two games. What Would Borg Do (W.W.B.D.)? What was it that took the guy to the US Open finals four times? Own the tee and those of other top ballers from online seller OldSchoolTennis, $26.99
U.S. Open 1978. Chris Evert defeated Pam Shriver and Jimmy Connors defeated Bjorn Borg for the trophies. Great tennis year. Hate to think that '78 is vintage but it is, at least in the fashion world."
The tee (above left) is one of the Sportique US Open Collection inspired by US Open programs and television coverage from the late 70s to the early 80s. I've seen Sportique US Open tees on athletes (Isner), on-air news correspondents and fans in New York, $32 for t-shirts and $66 for hoodies. The collection can be found at Arthur Ashe Stadium. select Bloomingdales stores and online at USOpenShop
Thumbs-up on two tennis related reads that came out over the summer:
Patrick McEnroe has lived and breathed the tennis world a long time (25+years). He has been a top level player (a Grand Slam champ in doubles), Davis Cup team captain, coach, sports commentator and of course brother to American tennis icon John McEnroe. The guy loves to tell stories which is how this book reads, a collection of short stories from the inner world of our game.
I loved the insights on player personalities (Bryan Brothers, James Blake, Andy Roddick and more) as well as the behind the scenes goings-on that the general public is not privy to (wild cards, player coaching, surfaces and more). Much of it is pretty fascinating stuff for a tennis lover. The lives pro tennis players live is intense.
Certainly this is not a how to help your game book but any player will come away with a good sense of the work ethic, head and talent that someone needs to make it to the top our game.
$25.99 (hardcover) and is available at amazon
Come to Win is more of all-person's read than tennis read but the game plays a role here. There are references to tennis in Venus' introduction but she put the book together with the belief that what she learned playing tennis helped her find success in business.
She wanted to know if others felt the same way about their sport and asked a variety of A-Listers what in their sports experience inspired them toward success as an athlete and again later in life.
The book is a collection of essays by business leaders, media figures, creative executives, politicians and doctors that demonstrate how important playing sports was and still is to success. A few examples: turning losses into learning tools, visualizing a course of action, learning to block out distractions, the importance of preparation etc.
Those profiled who played/play tennis are: Brian P. Kelley, Billie Jean King, Scott McNealy, Leland Melvin, Susan Merseau, Melissa Payner, Robin Roberts, Condoleeza Rice, Irene Rosenfeld, Meg Whitman and Jeff Zucker.
Philip Knight, Vera Wang, Soledad O'Brien and Donny Deutsh are a small handful of the many other interesting personalities offering up stories.
Good read for a tennis player or really anyone who enjoys playing sports.
$25.99 (hardcover) at amazon and at bookstores nationwide.
If a logo-emblazoned tennis bag doesn't fit your style aesthetic take a look at Cortiglia. The company has released a line of luxury court bags that are as upscale as you can get without spending thousands.
Cortiglia's bags are made in Italy, constructed with lightweight but sturdy leather and canvas adorned with handcrafted hardware. The C monogrammed dust cover each comes in is the first sign that you've got a high-end bag.
Pictured above is the patent-leather Belvedere, $435 USD (here in Nero -- the red one is gorgeous too), and just under that, same image, is the Marina design, $465 (also Nero). Below image is the Sonoma, $425 (in Bianco/Blu Marino), a funkier bowling bag kind of look.
Each style comes in multiple colors. All neatly accommodate two racquets, a Blackberry/iPhone or other, keys, wallet, a light jacket, towel, visor and a few cosmetics. I wouldn't put shoes in these because of the fabric lining (unless of course you pop them in a separate bag).
Steffi Graf has the Marina Noir and another recently made Oprah's O list.
Each Cortiglia bag has a full, durable zip opening making it easy to take essentials in and out. The fabric lining, a bright tangerine, makes it easy to spot little items inside (click on any of the images for a closer look).
For the woman who simply cannot compromise on quality and style at any time these are ultra chic.
Available online at Cortiglia.
The lightweight style is unisex and comes in US Open blue (a bright navy). High chromatic definition lenses provide natural color contrast that is said to improve reaction time and increase visibility of the ball. I had no problem seeing the ball in these. An anti-reflective coating does reduce reflections and improves comfort in bright conditions. US Open flaming balls adorn the frame discreetly.
The new frames come boxed in a hard, zip closure carrying case. A tennis court print on the cleaning cloth is a nice touch, $89 USD.
So you want your kids to love the game as much as you do? Here are a few products that will get your kid cruising on court:
Just released, Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids, by Steven White, is an easy to understand read that illustrates the game's basics in terms the average young player can completely understand. White is a professional tennis instructor and former satellite tour player who has a knack for explaining the game without being overly technical. The illustrations are contemporary, not unlike the "Prince of Tennis" series and add a fun, modern flair to the book.
Certainly there is no substitute for getting on court and hitting balls but as we adults know you really can't study the game too much and having a categorized book to reference/remind is a good thing. You might even want to breeze through it yourself from time to time. Recommended for age 8 and up. Bring Your Racquet retails for $14.00.
I've talked about QuickStart tennis before, but want to mention it again as this game is growing like mad nationwide and you can get a kit to play at home, on your driveway or local town court -- really anywhere you have a hard surface. QuickStart has recently been incorporated into Tennis Skillastics, a new program offered by Skillastics that helps schools to introduce tennis in schools without the need of official sized courts.
If your kid gets frustrated hitting regular balls on a court, watch them smile after trying Quickstart or as mine call it, "mini tennis." It will grow their confidence and big court game as well. Here are a couple of links to get the mini Net and balls you need. The racquets they are using already are fine.
For the little girl in your life, encourage tennis with Go! Go! Sports Girl Gracie who loves the game of tennis. Gracie is a soft 16" tall, quality doll with tennis accessories and a surprise tummy "tattoo" that says Dream Big Ace It. $19.99. Get Gracie for your little tennis girl.
Keep small hands busy and thinking about the game with the US Open Tennis Coloring & Activity Book by Kristin Vaughn and Peg Connery-Boyd, $10.16. This came out last year but still features some of the best - most recognizable - tennis players in the world. Find it HERE.
You can also find what I call mini-me tennis attire, junior sized versions of the looks the pros are wearing. adidas makes Ana Ivanovic's spring adilibria dress $42, or Fernando Verdasco's summer edge polo, $34 (pictured left).
Court Couture, maker of tennis bags akin to fashionable handbags, has just released its newest bag, the Cassanova, in python. This line has a curved top opening as opposed to the straight one on the Savanna I looked at last year.
If you are a fashionista off-court take a look at these luxe looking tennis bags.The white sings spring/summer, fresh with a white outfit. The python print on the patent faux leather is huge in accessories this season. Gold toned signature hardware adds a designer's touch.
The Cassanova Python comes in White and Gray, $189 USD. The over the shoulder bag can hold two oversized racquets and comes with a removable cosmetic case. It also comes in mock croc in a multitude of colors.
Inside you will find multiple pockets to hold, court towel, water, cellphone, keys, and more. It's not really big enough for a full change of shoes/clothes but perfect for a friendly game and then off to run errands. I like that you can wipe the bag off easily which means that setting the white bag on green or red clay is not a problem.
Below are a few tennis oriented gift ideas to get you started. Take a look around Tennisidentity.com for others. We've got reviews up in mens and womens fashion, gear, essentials, books, fitness, services, t-shirts and more.
Would your Mom carry an over the shoulder six pack? Mine wouldn't. For the woman who simply must arrive in 21st century style, take a look at the Cassanova bag by Court Couture. It comes in six colors (pink berry in pic) croc-embossed faux leather and hosts an outside racquet pocket that holds two racquets (including mid-plus and oversize heads). Inside you'll find a cosmetic bag and a large two section interior lined with pretty striped fabric and more pockets, $189 USD. If Kim Kardashian played -- and I would like to see that -- she might pick this bag. You get the picture. Tennis-Warehouse carries Court Couture as well.
The buff men of pro tennis can be part of your daily life -- do tell!. Look for 2010 calendars featuring Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and more. Available at Tennis-Warehouse $19-29 USD. Play carries the Murray calendar.
If price is no object take a look at the Power Plate, a workout machine said to be a favorite of Serena Williams. The machine provides an efficient full body workout in just 30 minutes. Advance vibration technology causes muscles to react many times per second as you exercise. The result is increased flexibility, strength, bone density and range of motion, decreased joint and muscle pain and improved blood circulation; $4,500 - 10,500. Not in the financial cards? Ask your club to buy one for everyone to use. "Our members love it," says Phyllis Kugler, Fitness Director at the Vineyard Tennis Workout and Spa in Martha's Vineyard. "It can be addictive. That machine does not gather dust."
Speaking of Serena, pictured right is her "Lucky Ring," $65, part of the Serena Williams Signature Statement Collection. This is a replica of the ring she wears on court every match. She will be hawking the line December 11 on HSN if you want to check it out or buy.
Anyone can always use an extra warm up jacket, especially welcome would be one from adidas by Stella McCartney (this is the line that Caroline Wozniacki wears). Pictured left is the CU Hoodie in Dark Atlantic blue, $140. The color is gorgeous on anyone, really. Beautiful detail a la Ms. Stella. adidas by Stella McCartney is at Shopadidas and Tennis-Warehouse.
For men, pictured right is the Nike Men's Athlete Clima Fit Jacket, white with mahogany. It comes in three colors. Pretty clean and classic. Toss in the masters polo and mahogany shorts and you've got Roger looking back at you. Available at Nike and Tennis-Warehouse.
How about an ATP World Tour Tee? 100% cotton, it's your basic tee with ATP cool, $19.99. I can't think of a tennis playing teen boy who wouldn't want one. Here's the direct link.
The limited edition Jay-Z tee-shirt celebrates the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network’s 40th anniversary. Proceeds from the sales will benefit the NJTL and the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS.
“I am thrilled that someone of Jay-Z’s stature would take part in this project,” said Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Ashe’s widow who remains active in the USTA NJTL network and other charitable endeavors associated with her late husband’s legacy. “This shirt will honor the legacy of my husband and remind people of his contributions to both the sport of tennis and this country’s underprivileged youth.”
The 100% cotton charcoal gray shirt with white and black image of Ashe will be available on-site at the Octagon and the Arthur Ashe Endowment Booth, and online at USOpen.org and ArthurAshe.org; $36 USD. The design is part of Jay-Z’s Rocawear clothing line, which the musician founded in 1999.
The US Open 2009 shop is stocked and ready for the big day. These are my picks for this year's coveted hot sellers. Top left, the Mens Banner NYC Full-Zip Track Jacket, $98 USD; top right, the Women's Banner Full-Zip Track Jacket $90. Both are 100% cotton, high quality jackets. Sewn on detail, rather than printed, make these stars in the shop's outerwear line-up.
Check out the line of Under Armour branded performance apparel too, obviously useful memorabilia.