2006 U.S. Open: Maria the global fashion icon

Tennis bounced back with a vengeance today at the U.S. Open after a day of rain. Nothing over the top has happened yet, it’s too early, but there have been a few interesting events.

Sharapova could be the one to drag U.S. tennis fans into a global state of mind…

A rowdy New York crowd yelling at Andrei Pavel and throwing f-bombs at each other while pushing Agassi to victory.

Another cortisone shot for Agassi.

Serena Williams in a bronze and chocolate outfit with a wandering gold pattern. The bling was on her dress. “Yayes baby.”

Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors chatting on the way to their prospective practice courts – is this 1986 or 2006?

6′ 4″ Gael Monfils skating all over the court tracking down popshots from 5′ 8″ Michael Russell.

29 aces, and a loss, by Jose Acasuso.

A drop shot off an overhead from Juan Monaco. Then a backhand volley lob from Monaco followed by a (failed) between the legs response from James Blake. Also from Blake, another 5-2 lead squandered, a tweaked quad muscle from a scissors kick celebration, and six match points before, finally, a first round victory.

A Kristian Pless shot aimed at Andy Roddick’s head followed by trash talking from Roddick and a smile from the court side Connors because that’s his kind of tennis.

Maria Sharapova in a black evening/tennis dress with a spangled collar. It looked like appropriate attire for a cocktail party on the star fleet vessel Enterprise. Even so, much sleeker than the baby doll look and more befitting of a nineteen-year-old fashion icon.

U.S. Tennis players are sinking while tennis has become a global sport but Sharapova could be the one to drag U.S. tennis fans into a global state of mind, a state of mind where they might appreciate a champion tennis player regardless of country of origin.

Sharapova is the perfect choice. She’s lived in the U.S. since she was seven years old and she’s a fashion icon. When we think of fashion, we don’t care what country it comes from. I bet you don’t even know where Adidas is based (Germany).

And Sharapova has a U.S. boyfriend who happens to be the most popular U.S. player – Andy Roddick. He’s not David Beckham and soccer is far and away more popular than tennis in most of the world, but Maria and Andy could approach the popularity of Becks and his wife Posh Spice and that would translate into fantastic media coverage. Maria and Andy might not appreciate the paparazzi popping out of the bushes every time they turn around but they must have known what they were getting themselves into when they started dating.

Look at the featured matches tonight at the Open – Maria followed by Andy. Of course it could be a deal with the devil, most any relationship breaks up under the pressure of extreme media attention, look at Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, they should have gotten a percentage of People Magazine’s profits they were on the cover so often. But if Sharapova keeps improving and knocks out a few more slams and Roddick returns to the top four or five, it might be just as valuable as an Agassi-Blake semifinal.

See also Wimbledon 2006: America Out Of Fashion.