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Retailers Make U.S. Open Looks Available to All

By Nigel Chiwaya | August 30, 2012 4:34pm

FLUSHING MEADOWS — Tennis isn't the only winner at the U.S. Open.

The grand slam tournament in full swing at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is more than a chance for players to show off their style—it's a place for them to strut their stuff and show off the latest tennis fashions availble for fans.

"The US Open has always been a runway, a catwalk for tennis players and their fashion," said Randy Walker, a tennis historian and author of the book "On This Day in Tennis History." "It's one of those events that crosses over into pop culture."

Several top tennis stars have become known for their outfits, Walker said. Serena Williams, for example, made waves when she wore a skin-tight black cat suit to the 2002 U.S. Open.

This year, Williams will hit the court in pleated knit dresses from Nike. Williams' day dress is pink with a blue inset, while her night dress is blue with a green inset. Both dresses are available at Nike's online store for $90.

Top men's player Roger Federer, also dressed by Nike, made his 2012 Open debut in a navy blue polo with red and white collar stripes. Fans can pick up Federer's polo for $85.

When Ana Ivanovic hit the court on Tuesday, she wore a colorful yellow Adizero dress that fans can get for $80 at Adidas' online store.

Walker, who worked as a spokesman at the USTA for 12 years, said that the merger of fashion and tennis first started to become popular after Andre Agassi started wearing denim shorts in the 1980s.

After that, Walker said the Williams sisters pushed fashion forward in the 2000s.

But it's not just the big-named stars who are serving up the latest in sportswear.

Lesser-known players like Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who played Venus Williams in the first round of the tournament, can draw attention to themselves because of their outfits.

Mattek-Sands, ranked 216th in the world, often wears outlandish outfits, including a florescent green tennis ball dress to a 2011 Wimbledon pre-party. Her outfits have earned her the nickname "the Lady Gaga of tennis."

"She has a big personality and likes to express herself with unconventional clothing," said Walker. "It gets her extra publicity."