[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken, with Brinke Guthrie
If you are here for the GRIFFINS ALTERNATE DESIGN Contest for GROUP 2, scroll down or CLICK HERE — it follow’s today’s lede!
I’m back today with my doubles partner, the one and only Brinke Guthrie, he of Collector’s Corner and tennis infamy, who will be giving you a rundown of the latest fashion trends at the US Open, which begins this coming Monday. Enjoy and be sure to continue reading after this article for the Griffins voting and more! Here’s the Brinke-man:
US Open Fashion Preview
By Brinke Guthrie
August is coming to a close, and that means tennis fans are geared up for the U.S. Open, which kicks off in three days at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Tennis players are geared up as well — this is the last chance in 2018 for manufacturers to show off their stuff.
Novak Djokovic (above), the rejuvenated winner this summer at Wimbledon and last week in Cincinnati, will sport the Lacoste Men’s Sport Print Technical Jersey Polo X Novak Djokovic (whew, wait, I’m not done) On Court Premium Edition. He’ll pair it with this jacket for a coordinated look. He’ll have a coordinated look on his feet, too- he signed earlier this year with Asics for shoes, moving over from Adidas, and this is the GEL-Resolution Novak colorway he’ll wear at the Open.
Serena Williams has a rather distinctive look planned for this year’s Open. Virgil Abloh is the men’s designer for Louis Vuitton, and he’s come up with what can only be described as a non-traditional Nike dress. (Non-traditional and Nike do seem to run into each other now and again.)
Since this is New York and not, say, Wimbledon, players have a lot of latitude in what they can wear on court. It’s a “one shoulder” design that has the words LOGO and SERENA boldly displayed, with different versions for daytime or evening play. Oops, can’t forget the shoes, either. More looks here, here, and here. (What’s up with the green tag thing? Is she gonna have that on her shoe when she plays a match?) Here’s a graphic showing some of her past USO looks.
Elsewhere in Nike land, defending women’s champion Sloane Stephens wore Under Armour for her Flushing Meadow win in 2017, but she signed a shoes/clothing deal with Swoosh earlier this year, and you will see her in this orange dress. She can light up the court with her dazzling smile as well as her ground strokes, so this color is a good choice for her. Her Air Zoom Zero shoes match, natch- the first Nike tennis shoe to have full-length curved Zoom Air bag for cushioning. That will come in handy for the punishing USO courts.
Sloane is also the tennis face of a new casual sportswear line from Nike called the Sport Pack. Nike has also recently released a new La Cortez sneaker, the second such design via Maria Sharapova. Tying in her “Sugarpova” brand, this shoe has a lollipop on the heel.
On the men’s side, orange/blue is the color scheme of choice, as seen on Denis Shapalov. Women’s #1 Simona Halep just received a nice special edition gift from Nike for winning the French earlier this year; the Zoom Vapor X Simo with her name on the heel. You Never Forget Your First, after all.
Speaking of the embattled Under Armour — they won’t have much presence in New York. It’s rumored that UA is phasing out their tennis involvement, but they never embraced it, anyway. As we said, Sloane skipped town for Nike. And Andy Murray’s deal is almost up — they never even made his shoe available to the public (maybe since it’s a reverse-engineered Adidas Barricade, so the rumor goes. Murray will soon be looking for a new shoe/clothing home, if his hip holds out.
Fila has quite a few top name players under head-to-toe (shoes and clothing) deals. Former USO winner (2014) Marin Cilic is always one to watch with his gigantic serve; he’ll be wearing the men’s Legends Collection in saturated green contrasted with gray and white; same for fellow Fila guys John Isner and Sam Querrey. On the women’s side, leading player Karolina Pliskova will sport the Heritage Collection with stars and stripes appropriate for the USO.
As far as the men’s GOAT Roger Federer, he started a new 10-year deal with Uniqlo at Wimbledon — it will run long after his career ends. You can pre-order his debut Wimbledon stuff here, and here’s what his USO look will be. I always looked forward to the fun stuff he did with Nike surrounding the USO- whether it was emoji T-shirts or one-off Brand Jordan collabs. There’s no doubt Fed and his management are savvy business operators — he’s pulling down some serious coin from the Japanese mega-retailer.
However, Uniqlo badly botched (IMO) their deal with Djokovic, who escaped to Lacoste. Never once did I see his signature clothing in one of their stores. You’d walk into their huge SF Union Square store, ask for it, and … get a blank stare. Novak who? OK. Well, They’re a lifestyle brand, not an athletic line. They even admit this on their website. “Uniqlo is not a sports company. Uniqlo describes itself as a life company that creates LifeWear™, thoughtful everyday apparel with a practical sense of beauty, and constantly improved through craftsmanship and technology.”
Mwah mwah mwah.
Tennis fans will soon see that Uniqlo can’t come close (again, IMO) to marketing Federer globally the way Nike did — no one matches Nike as far as marketing — but hey, they showed him the yen, er, money and he said “deal.” UniFed stuff is supposed to roll out to their stores starting in early 2019 — I’ll believe that when I see it, and hope it comes in sizes other than XS, S and M, as most of their stuff in the USA seems to do. As of this writing, possession of his RF logo still resides with Nike, and he’s still wearing his RF Nike sneakers, though to my knowledge he is not being paid to do so. Yet.
In tennis these days, pretty much every pro wears clothing and shoes from the same company. Not like the old days with Bjorn Borg, who took it to the extreme. He wore Fila everywhere but Scandinavia (Jockey), Diadora shoes everywhere but North America (Tretorn) and Donnay racquets everywhere but North America (Bancroft.) Since Uniqlo doesn’t make tennis shoes, Federer is still a sought-after free agent on the sneaker market. Djokovic was already with Lacoste, so Asics made sense for him, since Lacoste doesn’t make competitive sneakers either. My bet is Federer signs with Asics or Adidas for sneakers, getting a signature shoe in the process.
Curiously, Nike is still releasing new RF logo gear — even for women, which I have never seen before. (The “Fall RF Advantage NY Polo is the design Roger was going to wear in New York had he stayed with Nike, as these designs are done far in advance- I’ve read up to 18 months out. Maybe a new ad campaign here; Just Buy It Anyway- Roger Doesn’t Wear It, But YOU Still Can!)
As always, money makes the tenni$ world go ’round.
* Thanks go to Malherbe Pelser (ASICS), Luis Hernandez (Fila), and Melissa Pastore (Lacoste) for supplying images. *
Thanks, Brinke! Give him a follow on the Twitter @brinkeguthrie!
Griffins Alternate Design Contest – Second Group of Submissions
Today we begin voting on the second group of contestants for the third annual Grand Rapids Griffins design contest. In case you missed it, the contest parameters and rules were laid out here.
We’re using a new polling system, which we hope will eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) any fraud or shenanigans. You will be permitted to vote for as many designs as you would like, but you may only vote ONCE. The poll(s) will close approximately twenty-four (24) hours after being posted — the TOP THREE vote recipients will move into the final group (the winner of which will be chosen by the Griffins).
Today the lede will focus on the second 15 submissions. Subsequent days the designs and voting may be a sub-lede, so please be sure to check back and check the full post each day.
You will also notice the polling system looks different — I want to give my great thanks to Larry Torrez, who worked with me to come up with the poll you’ll see below in an aesthetically pleasing format as well! Great work ElTee (of DC)!
REMINDER: The Griffins set out the following parameters for designing an alternate jersey. Please use them to guide you as you make your decision(s) below:
• Create a brand new design for a Griffins alternate jersey (remember: you are ONLY designing a jersey, not a full uniform).
• While your design work must be original, you MAY use current or previous Grand Rapids Griffins logos.
Therefore, while some of the submissions you see below may include gloves, helmet, pants, etc., you are ONLY voting on the jersey design. Please keep that in mind when casting your vote(s).
OK? That’s about it. First I’ll display all the submissions for today, which will be followed by the new (sharp-looking and hopefully cheat-proof) poll. Click to enlarge any image below.
A: Cole Vincent
B: Mark Ureel
C: Mackenzie Willemen
D: Blake Pass
E: Kristopher Kern
F: Adam Cain
G: Mason Fiske
H: Jordan Santalucia
I: Hans Leisman
J: Decker Grey Herfuerth
K: John Kuenzer
L: Dennis Healy
M: Courtney Fathers
N: Kai Pedersen
O: Turner Rintala
And there you have it. Your second 15 submissions. And now, to vote, here’s the poll — to start, click “ENTER” or hit “SUBMIT”; once you start the poll, the reader design will appear next to the name and you may select as many designs as you like. Once you have finished voting, be sure to scroll to the bottom and hit “ENTER” or click “SUBMIT” to make sure your vote(s) are counted! That’s it!):
By Kris Gross
Baseball News: Matt Holiday didn’t have black cleats, so the Rockies gave him an old pair from his previous stint with the team (from Brian Murphy). … Not sure why, but the Tigers wore their Players’ Weekend jerseys yesterday. … Khris Davis also got an early jump on Players’ Weekend with his belt last night (from Samuel Lam). … Imagining classic MLB nicknames on Players’ Weekend jerseys. … Cubs 3B Kris Bryant will wear three different cleats for Players’ Weekend, all expressing his hope that MLB players will be allowed to play in the 2020 Olympics. … Here are more Players’ Weekend cleats, for Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres and Reds 2B Scooter Gennett (from Matt Shevin, Steve Hemsath). … It sure was a colorful matchup between the Hiroshima Carp and Tokyo Yakult Swallows yesterday (from Graveyard Baseball). … We are down to the seven finalists for the new name of the Green Bay area collegiate team.
NFL News: The Panthers are going with a new uni combo, blue on black, against the Patriots tonight. … In his new book, Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer said the former Patriot once sold his jersey number to Chad Ochocinco to finance a drug deal (from Al Kreit).
College Football News: New wordmarked paint has been laid down for Oklahoma (from Sam McKinley). … Conference USA teams will honor former commissioner Mike Silve and promote prostate cancer awareness by wearing Mike Silve Foundation helmet stickers (from Griffin Smith). … Here is a great history of Nebraska’s Blackshirts logo (from Bryan). … New jerseys for University of Mary (from Dustin). … Not sure if this will transfer to game day, but we have some bumper inconsistencies from Georgia practice (from Chance). … There are new rules involving knee pads this season (from Jerry Kulig). … An Arkansas high school has pulled a logo that is similar to Arkansas State’s. … Good spot by Wade Heidt, who noticed that the University of Calgary Dinos have made a change to their helmets. Last season their helmet logo was outlined in white, where there’s no white outline this year.
Hockey News: The Canucks will wear four different jerseys this upcoming season.
Soccer News: Arsenal and Adidas have agreed to a five-year, $385 million contract beginning next season (from Aashish Shah). … Scottish team Rangers’ midfielder Ryan Jack’s shirt was missing the team crest and maker’s mark, but of course, not the ads (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Here is the logo explanation for Austin FC, a potential new MLS team (from Mike Barnes). … Southampton FC will wear Scope, a charity, on their shirts this weekend (from Josh Hinton). … New crest for Virginia (from Nate Rathjen).
Grab Bag: University of Mary athletics has a new logo (from Greg Enkers). … The Geelong Cats of the Australian Football League will unveil new guernseys this week (from @j_foreigner). … This announcement photo for the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson one-on-one has Tiger hitting a left-handed driver (from Chris Flinn). … We have another apostrophe catastrophe (from Greg Prince).