By Phil Hecken, with Brinke Guthrie
The Australian Open — Tennis’ first “major” of the year — is set to begin this Monday (in Australia), but due to the time difference, will begin Sunday evening for viewers in the United States. Now, in case you’ve been living in a cave, deadly bush fires have been scouring much of the continent for months, and despite dangerous air conditions and haze, will carry on as scheduled. As noted in that article, several qualifiers have had difficulties in the conditions in matches played prior to the main tournament, and it’s been somewhat brutal:
[T]he bush fires, which have killed 28 people and millions of animals and destroyed 3,000 homes, have cast a pall over the tournament, known as “the Happy Slam” for the jubilant fans who turn Melbourne Park into a two-week summertime party. And the fallout will be difficult to predict over the tournament’s two-week span, given Australia’s capricious winds, which can redirect noxious ash from hot spots hundreds of miles away.
Players contesting qualifying matches this week have, in effect, served as guinea pigs. Their experiences have been alarming.
Be that as it may, I’m rejoined once again by Brinke Guthrie, whom I’ve never actually met but who I refer to as my “doubles partner” whenever tennis kits are involved. As he has many times in the past, both for the Aussie Open and other slams, Brinke will give us a rundown of all the attire choices of some of the big names (both player and manufacturer) in this years event. So, without further ado, please welcome =BG= and his look at…
The 2020 Australian Open
By Brinke Guthrie
Grand Slam time. Where has the time gone? Wasn’t it just Christmas? The first big tournament of the year starts Monday, January 20 [Sunday, January 19th for the USA — PH], and finds the men and women Down Under for the Australian Open. Let’s take a look at what the major brands have in store for their top players.
Nike: Canadian star and current U.S. Open women’s champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the tournament due to a knee problem. Had she played, she would’ve worn the look seen below — no doubt you will see it on other Nike women’s players. Indeed, Nike’s media site says “Andreescu might choose to wear just the bodysuit, (note: not now, she won’t) Madison Keys may layer atop a tennis skirt. The combinations between the bodysuit, the patterns and the supporting garments run a spectrum of player preferences.”
Leave it to Nike to push the envelope once more where design is concerned. They can do this kinda of thing in Australia and the US Open, maybe less so in Paris for the French Open and not in a million years in London (Wimbledon).
And of course, there is always a “story” to these outfits.
Nike adds, “The patterns throughout the men and women’s apparel were created by Australian-raised artist Cassie Byrnes, who finds inspiration through the tropical beauty of North Queensland, translating it onto watercolor paper through pigment inks and gouache. ‘I start with a considered palette and story,’ she says. ‘Then I play with mark-making, texture and composition to capture the essence and spirit of the theme.’
It was reported that Naomi Osaka. would have her own Nike line- it would seem now is the right time to launch that given she is the defending women’s champ- but no word on that yet. And look closely at whatever outfit she does wear- she has a pair of sponsor patches on her top and one on her visor; the only player Nike has signed other than the retired Li Na to have that option. Standard Nike tennis contracts mandate a “clean” sponsor-free look.
Oh, and then we have volatile hometown favorite Nick Kyrgios. Just gonna leave that one right there.
Roger Federer will wear this set. His shirt has an accent color for a “fearless appearance” while a bit of color on the shorts hem represents “casual playfulness.” I’m not sure how shirts can be fearless and shorts can be playful, but there you have it. Kei Nishikori is also shown on that page but he’s also withdrawn due to injury.
Serena Williams has been play testing a new Wilson racquet. When pros do this, the frame is usually blacked out, but still includes the stencil on the strings. If she “switches” to a new frame, I’d bet that she stays with her current frame and it’s merely repainted to match the new frame’s cosmetics. Happens all the time.
Check out “Stycon,” the new line of- well, I was going to call them sneakers. You make the call on this one. Maybe hiking boots? Bjorn Borg lookalike Stefanos Tsitsipas will be wearing those, judging from this website where you can check out other new Adidas styles — looks like lilac and light orange are the themes for this year. Not a bad combo IMO.
Their (men’s) Legend Collection “features bold, color-rich pieces in a Chinese red, pacific and white palette that are sure to pop in the hot Australian summer.” Look for those on top players like Diego Schwartzman and John Isner. For the women, world #1 Ash Barty and #2 Karolina Pliskova will wear the Fila Colorful Play collection in “vibrant tropical hues of electrifying blue, green citrus and pops of ripe cantaloupe.”
Thanks, B! I always love the Australian Open, especially due to the odd hours at which the tourney is played (there’s a sixteen hour difference between Melbourne and New York) — you can go to sleep during the morning matches, wake up in the middle of the night and catch an afternoon set, and then (oftentimes), catch a “night” match as you’re getting ready for work in the morning! Even during “normal” weather, temps down under can easily hit the 100° mark for AO matches; throw in the smoke and generally unhealthy air, and this could be a tournament decided more on fitness and condition than actual play. I hope it doesn’t put a damper (no pun intended) on the play, but it should definitely prove even more interesting than usual.
Kings Stadium Series Uniform Released
To the surprise of exactly no one, since they were leaked back in November, the Los Angeles Kings officially unveiled their 2020 Stadium Series uniform yesterday. I actually knew about these even before then, as Paul and I previewed Adidas’ entire (Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and All-Star) jersey lineup back in October. Unfortunately, this one is as bad as the leak. We hadn’t seen the entire uniform until yesterday, however, so that’s at least new.
The new unis will debut on Saturday, February 15, when the Kings take on the Colorado Avalanche outdoors at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. (8 p.m. ET on NBC in the U.S. and on SN1 and TVAS2 in Canada). Before we take a quick look at the uni, here’s the hype video…see if you can guess the “story” behind them (there’s supposed to be video embedded in this tweet, but if it doesn’t appear, click the tweet and the tweet with video will open in a new window):
— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 17, 2020
Since the game will be played at the Air Force Academy, can you guess the “inspiration”? I’ll let the press release speak for itself:
● A new L.A. crest takes flight on diagonal bisected blocking, inspired by aircraft battle stripes.
● The architecture of the venue’s Air Force Academy, coupled with a pilot’s ambition to push to the edge, inspired the oblique angles used to shape the jersey’s typography and numbering.
● A checkerboard design graphic is implemented along the neckline.
Let’s take a closer look at the uni.
At least the breezers aren’t white. The gloves are white (which is fine, I actually kinda like that look), and the socks go black/gray/white from skate to pants hem. The numbers are big, and the TV’s are huge (par for the course for outdoor games)…
…but — what’s up with the bucket? Is that a …chrome finish?
Why yes, yes it is. Why chrome? According to this article, “shiny chrome helmets adorned the black-and-white Adidas-manufactured uniforms that were inspired by the historic P-51 Mustang fighter jets once built in Southern California factories.” Well, DUH!
Note both the front and back of the helmet will feature a military aviation roundel-style decal:
The jersey is pretty original in its design: black and light gray, with the black beginning lower on the right sleeve and continuing at an angle upward across the chest and to the left sleeve. “LA” with a “motion” font(?) in white, following the same angle, with a light gray beneath. It’s difficult to tell on Kopitar’s jersey (above), but the fonts will apparently have an USAF stencil font theme as well:
So there you have it. Both LA and (on Thursday) Colorado have now unveiled their SS unis. Depending on your view of “futuristic” designs, this could either be a really good or really bad looking game. We’ll find out in about a month.
Mavs Re-bespoil Their Jerseys
In case you missed it, yesterday the Dallas Mavericks announced they have a new jersey advertiser. As is UW practice, we will neither name the new advertiser nor show it on the jersey, but Nic Schultz has given us his wonderful look on the teams’ white, dark and
Fresh Prince graffiti jerseys:
If you are really interested in who the team will be “partnering” with, and how their advert will look splashed on the jersey, look here.
Big thanks to Nic for Mr. Yuk’ing those pics!
The Gift That Keeps On Vilking…
You readers remember the “Vilkmas” raffle, right (the winners were announced here). Normally, we don’t get followups from the Vilkmas winners, but the gentleman who received the “Less Filling” shirt (custom made by Wafflebored, dontchaknow), Tony Morrow, actually sent a really nice note in, which read (in part):
Paul and Phil,
I was really surprised to be selected as the winner of the Less Filling jersey from the Merry Vilkmas raffle. It arrived earlier this week. It’s a good fit. I’ll wear it to the new ballpark in Wichita to watch their new AAA baseball team (I don’t care for the nickname but appreciate the work Todd Radom did for them).
Please thank Jimmer for me for donating this jersey to the raffle. I couldn’t find his email address to thank him myself. Phil, thank you for organizing the raffle and for your work on behalf on Uni-Watch. Paul, thank you for all you do. I admire the way you do business and really enjoy everything associated with Uni-Watch.
Thank you again, and best wishes to all.
Is that great or what? But the best part was the photo he sent along, enjoying the Less Filling shirt in its new lease on life. Thanks Tony!
Jim added that “it looks better on him,” and we’re both glad it went to a good home!
Final “ACC Tracker”
Seems like the National Championship Game was played a long time ago, but it was only Monday night. And LSU showed the nation they were truly the best team in College Football this year. I TOLD YOU THE TIGERS WOULD WIN! Anyway, Rex Henry, who does my ACC Tracking on Sunday Morning Uni Watch, wanted to include his final tracking for the year, which included the ACC representative Clemson Tigers. Thanks to Rex for another great season!
100 Years so far … ????
Another of my NCAA Uniform Trackers, Kyle Acker (who tracks the Big XII) recently contacted me with a question about his creating a patch to wear on the jerseys and helmets of a high school where he will coach in the fall. After posing the question to me, I said this might be something Uni Watch readers could help with (or at least offer an opinion). So, here goes:
Need your expert opinion on something, I’m coaching football at a high school and 2020 will be our 100th team. It’s not an anniversary because being in Annapolis, MD with wars and everything there were a few years where there wasn’t any football. So the years are 1889-2020 trying to figure out what’s the best way to express this? 100th Team comes across weird to me and I’m not sure if it’s just me. Any thoughts?
I thought about it, and while I agree “100th Team” doesn’t really sound good, it’s probably the most correct way to word the patch. But I’m not really much of a “patch etiquette” guy — my only feelings are I prefer anniversaries to years (i.e. “20th Anniversary” vs. “20th Season” or something similar). Paul had a really good piece on this a few years ago.
But what Kyle’s describing doesn’t fit into that seasons/anniversary dichotomy. It’s the 100th “team.”
What do you guys think? Any suggestions for the wording of the patch? Let’s hear what you got!
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: With his election to the Hall of Fame all but certain, the Rockies are going to retire Larry Walker’s No. 33 at some point in the 2020 season. 33 will be the second team-retired number for the Rockies, after Todd Helton’s 17 (from Mike Chamernik). … New Sunday alternates for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliates of the Twins (from @milbPromos). … The Orix Buffaloes will wear the 1995 Orix Blue Wave uniforms for all eight of their games played at Hotto Motto Kobe Field this year, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the 1995 Kobe earthquake (from Jeremy Brahm). … Tulane released their new uniforms on Twitter yesterday, and they’re pretty nice.
NFL News: Also posted in the hockey section: the NHL is auctioning off a selection of football crossover memorabilia, including NHL-player-signed mini-helmets of NFL, CFL and CFB teams and NFL jerseys with NHL players’ names and numbers (from Brandon Weir).
College Football News: Brinke sends along this beautiful photo of a c. 1903 player for Maryland Agricultural College. The football he’s holding appears to have a cumulative score of all of MAC’s games that year. … According to West Point’s assistant AD, the American flag helmet decal should be either exactly in the center of the back of the helmet or on the lefthand side, and it should be the highest decal (from multiple readers).
Hockey News: Cross-posted from the NFL section: the NHL is auctioning off a selection of football crossover memorabilia, including NHL-player-signed mini-helmets of NFL, CFL and CFB teams and NFL jerseys with NHL players’ names and numbers (from Brandon Weir). … Lots of little tidbits of info in this interview with the Flames’ director of marketing on the potential return of the team’s retro jerseys (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … The ECHL’s Indy Fuel are wearing these sweaters tonight for Blackhawks Night (from @rebelrugger1). … Wade Heidt noted that this year’s uniforms for the CHL/NHL Prospects game featured Team White in an Islanders template and Team Red in a Coyotes template.
NBA News: NBA uni number guru Etienne Catalan has created a Google Docs spreadsheet of every number for every NBA team. Wow. … And if you don’t want to go digging through his chart, Etienne had a whole bunch of new uni numbers yesterday on his Twitter account. … The Korean Basketball League has released their All-Star jerseys, and they’re probably better than whatever the NBA and Nike will come up with.
Soccer News: An extremely poor image of the new FC Cincinnati home kit appears to have leaked (from M. Brinston Berry). … Argentine side Estudiantes de La Plata have officially re-adopted their old badge, and their home kit has leaked (from Ed Żelaski and Josh Hinton). … You can catch the rest of Josh’s daily download on his Twitter account. … New kits for Brazilian side Avaí (from @donky_fromshrek).
Grab Bag: Walker Valley (Tn.) High has released a new set of logos (from Kary Klismet). … Design blog Under Consideration has a post about Google’s new search design, adding the website’s favicon to results, which may usher in a “new era of concern about how well a logo will reduce.” (from James Gilbert). … The Golf Channel has a added a ‘25‘ to its logo in honor of its 25th anniversary (from Michael Brighton). … Holy moly, check out this amazing letterhead from a 1918 Northern Pacific Railway letter! (from Jeff Ash).
And that’s all for today. The Blue Jays will be unveiling at least one new uniform today at their Winterfest and folks have been speculating on what it might be. I know, but you’ll have to wait to find out ;). Full coverage on that tomorrow!
Quick update on mom: she’s doing better, and has been transferred from a really shitty rehab to a much better one (I don’t want to tell you how fun it is dealing with the bureaucracy involved in getting that done), and she’s making progress. Thanks to everyone who shared their kind thoughts and prayers last Saturday!
See ya tomorrow.