Bethanie Mattek-Sands is the self-proclaimed Lady Gaga of the women's tour. She wears tube socks and black under-eye patches; she likes to make her own fashion statements.
It doesn't hurt the comparison that Alex Noble, who creates many of the flashy costumes that Gaga wears, has recently provided some wardrobe get-ups for Mattek-Sands.
When Mattek-Sands walked on court to play her first-round match at Wimbledon on Wednesday, she topped off her regular tennis apparel with a funky Noble number.
The white jacket had a cowgirl feel with long fringes on the front and back. The jacket sleeves were where the tennis theme took hold: They were adorned with white tennis balls in keeping with Wimbledon's all-white rule. Each sleeve had 12 balls attached. There was a round circle of the balls just below the shoulder and a single row of balls going down the sleeves.
Mattek-Sands smiled while assuring Pam Whytcross, the Grand Slam Supervisor, that she would be taking the jacket off before playing. "I'm not hitting a ball in it, so don't worry," Mattek-Sands told Whytcross, who replied, "I'm never worried, you know that."
She removed the jacket for what's called in these parts the "knock up" -- that's warm-up in the United States.
"Well, geez, it's really not proper tennis attire, but she could certainly walk out in it, there's no problem with that," Whytcross said. "It was quite creative."
The jacket didn't turn out to be a good luck charm for the 30th-seeded Mattek-Sands, who lost to the 133rd-ranked qualifier, Misaki Doi, of Japan 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
The Best of Bogomolov
Alex Bogomolov Jr. is finally in a good place.
The 28-year-old has put an early marriage to fellow player Ashley Harkleroad behind him and now has a happy family life with girlfriend, Luana, and their 18-month-old son, Maddox. His month-and-a-half suspension in 2005 for failing to file paperwork for his asthma medication is now out of his mind, and he's fully recovered from a 2008 surgical procedure on his left wrist.
"A lot of times it was very hard to keep on, during my surgery, the divorce, the doping incident. All those things, personally, took a tough hit on me," he said.
Now he's relishing the present and having some of the best days of his career.
Things started to go well for Bogomolov when he upset Andy Murray in the second round of the Miami tournament in March. He arrived at Wimbledon having reached the quarterfinals at the UNICEF Open in the Netherlands the previous week.
Bogomolov is now into the third round in his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon after beating Juan Ignacio Chela 6-0, 6-3, 6-4. He has his work cut out for him as he plays 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych next.
"I think maturity-wise, some people just peak at later times in their careers," Bogomolov said. "I always had the faith that I would accomplish some things that I always dreamed about."