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U.S. Open Women to Watch: Fashion Edition

Written on August 27, 2014 at 9:51 am , by

Don’t get us wrong; we love the U.S. Open primarily for its action-packed matches, incredibly talented athletes and unexpected wins from the underdog. But, tennis is also one of the few sports that allows for a little personality to shine in every outfit. So when the official US Open 2014 seedings were released by the U.S. Tennis Association, we decided to combine the numbers with a little bit of their expected fashion choices—we always want to keep you 100 percent informed, after all. These are only a few of the looks that have been confirmed and we can’t wait to see what else comes down the runway court.

Serena Williams (and our May cover star!)

Never one to bore on the tennis court, Serena always keeps it fun and bright.

Seeded: 1

Country: United States

Maria Sharapova

Maria’s look is cool and sleek, keeping her focused and driven during the match.

Seeded: 5

Country: Russia

Eugenie Bouchard

As the youngest top-rated player, Eugenie keeps it bright and fun to match her age, but not too distracting: she’s out here to win.

Seeded: 7

Country: Canada

Ana Ivanovic

You can never go wrong with an all-black ensemble and Ana adds a little pop of color with her mint shoes.

Seeded: 8

Country: Serbia

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline’s look is flirty and fun, but remains trim and practical for ultimate performance.

Seeded: 10

Country: Denmark

Victoria Azarenka

The blue and white combo is always a good choice: clean and simple with pops of sophisticated color.

Seeded: 16

Country: Belarus

Andrea Petkovic

Forget orange, nude is the new black: simple, but oh so chic. Andrea is keeping her eye on the prize.

Seeded: 18

Country: Germany

You can find all items for purchase online here, so you can recreate the player’s looks yourself. Which outfit is your favorite?

Pictures courtesy of Nike and Adidas

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We Tried It: What It Takes to Be A U.S. Open Ball Person

Written on August 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Tennis is an incredible sport, and the athletes are OMG-powerful, but there are some people involved in tournaments—specifically the U.S. Open—who don’t get a big spotlight on their athleticism. But man, they should. I had no idea what I was agreeing to when I accepted an invitation to participate in the U.S. Open ball boy—er, ball girl—tryouts, but I figured I could hack it. Spoiler alert: I can’t.

“How difficult can it be to run over and pick up a tennis ball?” I wondered. Too bad I didn’t think about the fact that a ball person is expected to do his or her job perfectly, while going unnoticed, during intense televised matches that are played by the best players in the world. Oh, right.

My first task during tryouts:  throw the ball across the court to a receiving ball person, without it landing inside the playing court boundaries. Just to clarify, it’s pretty freakin’ far. Like, 128-feet long. While I have decently accurate aim, my upper-body strength just wasn’t cutting it (and I have been working on my push-ups ever since). If by some freak accident I would have been chosen, my ball would have ended up hitting Serena Williams. As a former FITNESS cover girl, I’ve seen how tough she is. So obviously that would not be okay.

Next challenge: testing agility and speed, and doing it without causing a distraction.

At this, I was pretty good. But, knowing that there were about 400 ball-person hopefuls auditioning for just four coveted spots, I was pretty certain that at least half of them would be better at running cross-court to retrieve the balls “with two hands,” following an ended play or missed serve. Either way, the directions for getting the job done were simple: Stand with your hands behind your back, and when the ball hits the net, run, retrieve the ball and sprint to the sidelines. On it.

The tryouts lasted about 15 minutes, and I definitely had a ball (sorry, couldn’t help it). Down to the last second, I had a smile on my face as I worked up a sweat, and enjoyed an experience that I had never before considered. Granted, I didn’t get a callback for round two of tryouts, but as I watch the 2014 U.S. Open from home, which takes place through September 8th, there’s no doubt that I’ll be giving those ball boys and girls a second look to see who’s got the athleticism I’m after.

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Little and Mighty: Lauren Davis Heads to U.S. Open

Written on August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am , by

When pro tennis player Lauren Davis is in the middle of a losing match, she takes one deep breath to get her head back in the game.

It’s clearly working, because the 20-year-old, 5’2″ Ohio-native is currently ranked among the top 50 players in the world and is competing in the US Open for the third time this week.

“I know a lot of people would die to be where I am, so I try to make the most of it and enjoy it,” she says. “It’s really just a great experience—traveling the world and meeting new people and seeing all of these different places and cultures and doing what I love every single day—it’s pretty incredible.”

During training, Davis runs twice a week and lifts weights three days a week. “I’m smaller than a lot of the other girls so I have to be in really great shape,” she says. She stays away from gluten (her father is a cardiologist and believes wheat contributes to numerous health issues), packs in protein (fish, steak and chicken), and when she’s not feeding her Chipotle obsession, eats lots of small meals throughout the day (usually fruit, yogurt, veggies and Kind bars).

Even though you won’t find many tennis stars as young as Davis snagging a spot on the big court, she still appreciates her normal-girl downtime, typically  filled with reading, journaling and spending time with her friends and her grandfather—the guy she looks up to most.

“He’s had a tough life and yet he remains so optimistic,” she explains. “He always puts things in perspective. One time I lost and he texted me right after and he goes, ‘Let’s just go play golf.’ That’s just something I’ve always remembered. He’s one of my favorite people.”

Be sure to watch Davis on the court—and her grandfather on the sidelines—tonight at 1 p.m. on ESPN. And if you’re feeling as inspired as we are, check out Lacoste’s new free app for New Yorkers, Lacoste City Tennis, which tells you the best places to try your hand at the game and potential players around you to practice with.

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Tennis Pro Venus Williams Talks Fashion, Food and Living a Healthy Life

Written on August 29, 2013 at 11:00 am , by

Ruth Zukerman and Venus Williams both wearing tops from EleVen by Venus’ new collection. (Photo courtesy of Marion Curtis/StarPix)

When you add tennis superstar Venus Williams and Flywheel Sports together, what do you get? A night filled with fun, fashion and Spinning, duh! I had the opportunity to join FlyWheel’s co-founder, Ruth Zuckerman, for a special ride with Venus to kick off the Fall 2013 collection from EleVen by Venus, sold at select FlyWheel locations (Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle and NYC, to be exact!). I was also lucky enough to sit down with Venus and pick her brain about fashion, food (apparently we both share a love for marshmallows!) and her life as a tennis star. Talk about a “pinch me” moment!

I work in the fashion department at FITNESS, so I’m super familiar with your line EleVen (we featured a tie dye version of this skirt in our July/Aug issue!), and think you and your team of designers are doing a great job. What inspires you when designing new looks? I really think that inspiration comes from within and that’s what makes the line a little bit different. I try to design pieces that are  different, fun and bright – things that are really me – but not too different because you don’t want to step too far away from your roots, you know? We want the line to be relatable, so we’re always looking to find a happy medium. I want people to see my clothes and say, “Wow, that’s so exciting!”

And exciting it is! The new collection especially. I love the floral prints and electric color pallet. Are you going to wear any of these pieces to the U.S. Open?

I’ll be wearing the Rose Floral tennis dress.

Super cute! Definitely makes me want to get out on the tennis court and play!

Exactly! I want to inspire people to  live a healthy life. Give them a little extra motivation to get out there and exercise.

Speaking of healthy, what’s your go-to snack, whether you’re on the go or heading into a big match? 

To be honest, I’m not a big snacker. I’m into green juice and smoothies, so I usually reach for something like that.

Well that explains why you look so awesome! But seriously, any splurge snacks? There’s gotta be something…

Marshmallows! I love marshmallows. Those are a weakness, so I allow myself to splurge once in a while.

A girl after my own heart! So you’re about to go to a match, you’re dressed to the nines in your cute tennis clothes; you’ve drank a smoothie. What’s next? Any special rituals that we should know about?

I don’t have any crazy rituals. I’m the most relaxed person before a match. Probably too laid back. I’m always running late! People are pushing me to go and I’m like, “Wait, where’s my racquet?!”

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Victoria Azarenka Talks That U.S. Open Talk

Written on August 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm , by

Tennis champ Vika Azarenka (Photo courtesy of vikaazarenkatennis.com)

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, Freelance Editorial Assistant

The U.S. Open begins on Monday and we were rally—really—excited to chat with the top seed for the women’s tournament, Victoria “Vika” Azarenka. Here’s what we learned about the 23-year-old reigning Australian Open champion, her pre-match rituals and more.

 

Ritual for Return Aces. Athletes have all kinds of crazy pre-game routines they follow to get the ball rolling for the competition. Although Vika isn’t nearly as superstitious as her rival Serena Williams, she does like to shake her hips and dance during warm-up with an amped playlist. Her go-to beat? “Talk That Talk” by Rihanna.

Beat the Sun. Sun exposure on the court can be rough on both your game and skin. Vika’s gym bag essentials include a hat and a bottle of SPF to keep her glowing complexion protected from any damage.

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Why Sara Evans Loves Working Out With (Wo)Man’s Best Friend

Written on July 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm , by

Evans' maltipoo, Roman, gives their workouts two paws up. (Photo courtesy of Ann-Marie Hensley)

We all know that working out with a buddy can be extremely motivational, but what’s a girl to do when her schedule doesn’t sync up with a friend’s? Country crooner Sara Evans doesn’t want you to forget about (wo)man’s best friend – your dog! Evans has partnered with The Nutro Company for their Room to Run initiative, a program that supports community dog parks and is offering 30 grants of $2,000 to make your pet’s experience a great one.

We caught up with the singer behind the hit single “A Little Bit Stronger” to find out how she likes being a doggy mom to her 18-month-old maltipoo, Roman, and which star she’d love to bust out a future tune with.

How long have you had Roman? 

We got him when he was around six weeks old, so he was just a tiny little ball of fur. Now he’s basically human, and definitely a barker!

Is he your only pet?

Yeah; we love him so much. He swims with the kids in the pool and will climb on this little surfboard and just ride across! He’s the best dog I’ve ever had in my life, hands down. It’s almost like he can understand what we say.

How does he affect your daily fitness routine?

Walking Roman is definitely a priority. And we’ll take him to the dog park and let him run. I love being able to just take off his leash. Also, if I can’t play tennis that day (my favorite workout), then he plays a huge role in making sure I keep up my fitness. I’ll walk fast for about an hour with him.

Keep reading to find out more about Evans’ sweat sessions, and which rapper she wants to collaborate with!

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Win a Trip to Meet Serena Williams!

Written on May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm , by

Who doesn't want to chill with Serena? (Photo by Ben Gabbe, courtesy of Sleep Sheets)

Want a chance to win an all-expense paid trip for two to New York City to meet Serena Williams and watch some tennis? You’ll get a shot each time you purchase Sleep Sheets, a new sleep aid product that Serena launched last week, at Walgreens stores through July 31, 2012, the two companies announced. Random packages contain winning golden tickets, Willy Wonka-style. Visit facebook.com/takeasheet for contest deets.

Serena got involved as a co-founder of Sleep Sheets—which contain sleeping aids (3 mg of melatonin, 3 mg of L-theanine, and 1 mg each of goji berry and chamomile extracts) and dissolve on the tongue like breath strips—after fighting sleep troubles for years. Taking a sleep med in the past left her too groggy the next day, she says, so she was interested in developing a product for catching more Zzzs that would also keep her feeling fresh on the court.

“I think sleep is underrated and people don’t get enough,” Serena told FITNESS. “[When I get enough] I train better and the better I train the better I can play. And the better I train, the more fit I can become. And the better you can look. So it all boils down to getting some good rest.” With a busy summer of the Grand Slams and the Olympics coming up, she’ll need it!

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Tennis Star Sam Stosur’s Training Tips

Written on March 8, 2012 at 9:32 am , by

Tennis pro Samantha Stosur is hitting the courts for the BNP Paribas Open this week, but the busy 2011 U.S. Open champion still found time to fill us in about how she prepares for intense competitions. Did you know this 27-year-old has been playing tennis professionally since she was 13? Read on for her training and motivation tips.

Sam getting ready to serve. (Photo by Kelly Branan, USANA Health Sciences)

Right now you’re competing in the BNP Paribas Open. How do you prepare for a tournament like this?

I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on the courts practicing with my coach, so I know what to expect in a match. I spend about two hours a day practicing—any more than that would be too much. Some days I try to get a massage, too.

How do you get psyched up for a match?

I’m always ramped up to go on the court. I warm up by running around the court, doing short drills and going over the game plan with my coach. This helps me focus on what’s ahead so I know exactly what to do.

Describe your training in the months leading to a big event like this one.

I have tournaments scheduled pretty close together, so there aren’t long periods in between to just train. You learn what you need to do and how to get better after every practice or game. I’ve learned that just because you’re good on the court one day, doesn’t mean you’ll be better the next day. Your performance is an accumulation of your day-to-day routine.

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The Underdog at #1: Mardy Fish Talks US Open Tennis

Written on August 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm , by

Mardy Fish slams a backhand shot at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Certain tennis players are known more for their testy personalities (racquet throwing anyone?) or their flashy apparel than their swings or footwork. But 29-year-old tennis pro Mardy Fish is bringing his down-to-earth Midwestern attitude to the US Open beginning today, despite having every reason to bring some swagger. He’s hitting the court this year ranked as the top American and number eight in the world!

We spoke with the Olympic silver medalist and Generation UCAN athlete, who recently shed 30 pounds and 14 percent body fat and watched his game skyrocket, to learn more about his plans for the upcoming tournament and his intense training regimen.

How did you first get interested in tennis?

I come from an athletic family. My dad is a teaching pro, and I’ve really played as long as I can remember.

We hear you are buddies with Andy Roddick. How did you meet?

We went to the same high school and played on the same tennis and basketball teams. Our high school had a pretty good tennis team back then! Now when we get together, we don’t talk much about the sport.

And now you’re the top ranked American male tennis player. How does that feel?

It’s definitely different for me! Andy Roddick has been the top American for so long. It comes with a bit of pressure, but it’s good pressure.

In less than six months, you lost 30 pounds and your body fat went from 21 to seven percent—wow! How did you do it?

I stayed away from junk food and counted calories. My goal was to eat 400 to 600 calories less than I was burning throughout the day, so I’d lose weight at a healthy pace. I was so into the results that I was getting that it was really easy to stick to the plan. Although I did allow myself a break last Thanksgiving when I treated myself to some gravy and bread! The changes on the scale motivated me—it essentially became a game. And the discipline that I used to lose weight and stay on my diet spilled into my tennis.

Mardy spilled about his rivals and a pre-tourney training day. Click below to get the scoop!

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