Tuesday, June 28, 2011

USWNT Plays Women’s World Cup in Team Wear Akin to Nurse Uniforms

Sport is a passion a lot of people share. Me, aside from the players and the sport itself, I have always been interested in the team wear, sportswear, sports apparel and other sports gear.

More often I have blogged about Rafael Nadal’s sports wear sponsored by Nike and the kits of my fave mens soccer team. Every now and then I write about the outrageous sports outfit of tennis siblings Serena and Venus Williams. But I haven’t been blogging much about women in sports or the women’s team until today.

What got me reading on the article I saw was the title itself saying that the U.S. play Women’s World Cup in kit resembling nurse’s uniform. My love for sports and team wear combined with the recent win of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) over North Korea made me one to take a closer look.

When the new uniform for the USWNT was unveiled by Nike and the U.S. Soccer Federation sometime in April there was hullabaloo from critics. They said it looked like nurse uniforms and probably the ugliest soccer jersey ever seen.

Popular soccer blogger Jennifer Doyle in From a Left Wing summed up what the critics felt in:
A USWNT shirt can always be distinguished from the USMNT shirt by the two stars that the women's shirt prominently displays over the USSF badge - one star for each World Cup trophy they've won (1991, 1999). That difference is not enough for Nike and the USSF. They want you to know, for sure, that this is a not a man's shirt. So the FIFA #1 ranked women's team will go to the Germany in a nurse's uniform.

This is quite simply the ugliest women's football jersey I have ever seen. Its central problem is the line someone has drawn down middle of the shirt - a purely decorous gesture meant to create the impression that the USSF would like its women to play in an open necked blouse.

And it does look like a nurse uniforms at that…I like it though but not as a soccer kit.

Nike and the US Soccer Federation defended the design of the team wear saying:
The kits were designed to keep players drier, cooler and more comfortable, allowing them to maintain an optimum body temperature and perform at their best. The kit is designed specifically for the female athlete, to enhance the range of motion and create a uniquely feminine silhouette. Capped sleeves and a high neckline with v-neck piping were added to create a striking aesthetic.

Improved Nike DRI-FIT fabric, now 15 percent lighter than previous Nike kit fabrications, also helps keep players dry by drawing sweat to the outside of the garment where it evaporates. Ventilation zones have been strategically placed in those areas that are physiologically the most important for cooling. Each side and back of the jersey features enhanced breathability increasing air flow by up to seven percent compared to previous kits.

The away kit features a black bodice and red piping inspired by the beautiful but deadly Black Widow spider.

The home kit design is white with black piping and the goalkeeper kit will be worn in night purple, wolf grey and vibrant yellow.

And for those who don’t like design or feel that these team wear is more divisive than unifying (well, instead of football as a sport, it seems that this kit inspires fans to cheer on football for women or football for men), the only consolation is that these “jerseys are Nike’s most environmentally-friendly and technologically-advanced uniform yet. Each kit is made entirely from recycled polyester, produced from up to eight recycled plastic bottles per jersey.”

And though I have always believed team wear plays a role in the game, USWNT has shown that it cannot deter a win as they won over North Korea on Tuesday. And the FIFA World Ranking No 1 remains to be a medal favorite.

Injury casts doubt on Nadal's Wimbledon defense

(CNN) -- Defending Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal could be forced out of the tournament through injury after battling past Juan Martin Del Potro in their last 16 clash.

The world number one suffered a foot injury in the opening set of his four hour epic against the Argentine but battled through the pain to triumph 7-6 3-6 7-6 6-4 in front of the watching Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Nadal was forced to call for the doctor after sustaining his injury and though he won the first set of the clash, he moved gingerly around the court in the second as Del Potro took it with relative ease.

Nadal survives injury scare to beat brave Del Potro

But Nadal regained his form in the third and fourth sets to set up a quarterfinal tie with American 10th seed Mardy Fish -- if he gets a clean bill of health.

I cannot predict the future but I am worried for sure --Rafael Nadal

After the match on Centre Court the 24-year-old said he feared his tournament could be over and confirmed he would go for an MRI scan to reveal the extent of the damage.

"I have to go to do an MRI. I don't know right now, I cannot predict the future but I am worried for sure," the Spaniard told reporters.

"I felt really bad at 6-5 in the first set. I thought I had broken my foot at that moment. I asked for the trainer when the game was done. I didn't know if I will have the chance to continue playing.

"I don't know what the problem is, it seems to be a problem with the bone in the foot. I thought I would have to retire at the end of the first set because there was a lot of pain.

"But the tape changed the situation. Now I will have to check with the doctors and the physios.

"Something is there. At 6-5, I pushed hard with the forehand. I felt something crushed there in the back of the foot."


Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Golden Foot Nominees

The Golden Foot award is an international award given to active football players of at least 29 years of age, who stands out for their athletic achievements (both as individuals and team players) and for their personality. This award can only be won once.

The international prize is given every year to the game’s greatest in the Principality of Monaco under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and promoted by World Champions Club and the Tourism Office of Monaco.
Ten nominees are chosen by a panel of international journalists based on the criteria that they are at least 29 years of age and still playing. The 10 names this year have been chosen by the Golden Foot jury, composed of 58 journalists representing sports media all over the world.
In a ceremony headlined by last year's winner Francesco Totti, the AS Roma captain, the following candidates were announced as nominees for the 2011 Golden Foot:
David Beckham (LA Galaxy, England)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy)
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Spain)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea, Ivory Coast)
Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan, Cameroon)
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, Wales)
Carles Puyol (Barcelona, Spain)
Raúl González Blanco (Real Madrid, Spain)
Xavi Hernández (Barcelona, Spain)
Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan, Argentina).
Winner is selected by an online poll at goldenfoot.com where anyone can vote. Football fans have the chance to vote for the player they deem is worthy of the award until October 7. The award ceremony will be hosted on October 10 in Monte Carlo.
I, of course, have casted my vote already for my favorite Raul Gonzalez Blanco. He has been a nomine several times already but the nearest he got for the award was in 2009 where he was in 2nd place to winner Ronaldinho. My voting for Raul is not simply a matter of favorites but at age 34 (he turns 34 today June 27, 2011) he is something else to behold. After 16 years playing loyally for Real Madrid, he left the whites to wear the Schalke 04 team wear and gave it his all.
For me he has always been playing good but I guess Real Madrid’s coaches and managers no longer saw his value after getting the much-expensive young players. Though the new Real Madrid coach Mourinho wanted him to continue with the team but Raul no longer wanted to spend another season being the 3rd or 4th choice striker when he knew he can still deliver a good performance in another place. The world saw a recharged Raul when he played with Schalke 04 and the Germans fell in love with El Angel del Madrid. He has always been a favorite with fans and that certainly continued in Germany and more so when on May 21, 2011, his first year with the Royal Blues, they were able to lift the DFB Cup when they won over MSV Duisburg in Berlin. That is the reason why I think he deserves the 2011 Golden Foot award.
To see his profile and vote for him, click here.

PS. Happy 34th birthday, Raul!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rafael Nadal 2011 Wimbledon Nike Sports Apparel

Everybody has seen what Nike sports apparel Rafa Nadal wore on the first day of Wimbledon 2011. Again, nothing but the best for the 4 top tennis endorsers for Nike. It follows the required all-white or almost all white clothing that has long been the tradition of Wimbledon. In this sports apparel, Nike followed wearing the white clothing with color accent, which in this case is blue.

Here are some of the details for the sports apparel for Wimbledon by defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Nike - Men's Rafa Ace Lawn Tennis Crew - White/ Treasure Blue

The Dri-FIT Rafa Ace Lawn Crew is the game shirt of choice for Rafa Nadal at SW19 this year. Lightweight and breathable, this top is bound to be popular this summer.

With flat lock seams to help reduce chafing strategically placed mesh, this top will keep you cool and comfortable on the court. Heat transfer bull logo and trademark swoosh along with a contrast bemis overlay and a touch of flair to this Ace Lawn Crew.

Nike Ace Woven Short - White/Blue | Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon Tennis Short

The Fearless Woven Short is a 12" long Dri-FIT stretch short with a functional fly and a hook and eye closure for great comfort and style. Made from quick dry fabric this super light tennis short features a contoured waistband and a lighweight elastic insert on the back. The mesh gusset adds increased breathability to the Dri-FIT technology, keeping you cool and dry throughout your performance and regulating body heat.

Nike Air Max CourtBallistec 3.3 Tennis Shoes - White/Blue/Silver/Grey

Rafa’s footwear of choice, it features the distinctive Rafa bull logo on the heel. Nike incorporates its DragOn 2X material in the heel flexors and mid-sole for durability, flexibility and support. This is a shoe designed for the young, strong, powerful, and aggressive player such as Rafa.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Venus Williams' Wimbledon 2011 Sports Wear

As usual, Venus Williams managed to make great waves again on her return to Grand Slam tennis. After 5 months of silence from her side since she pulled out of the Australian Open in January, she came up with a smashing game on the opening day of Wimbledon. The 5-time Wimbledon champion managed to trounce Akgul Amanmuradova in only 59 minutes 6-3, 6-1 with only 5 unforced errors.

But again it wasn’t her game that was duly noticed by the tennis world and the media but her outrageous Wimbledon 2011 sports wear. The latest creation from her own clothing line eleVen was a one-piece jump suit with front zipper, short shorts with a flowing v-shaped bodice with a plunging neckline where the zipper begins and upturned V-shaped slit in the back. According to Venus, the outfit is very now, it’s trendy and fun. She also clarified that this outfit is called a jumper, it is not a two-piece outfit and she is into simplicity, hence the design. Well, compared to her other sports wear this Wimbledon outfit is certainly conservative.

Monday, June 13, 2011

ATP Ranking and Wimbledon 2011

ATP top 20

Top 20 women's rankings

1 Rafael Nadal (Spa) 12070pts

1 Caroline Wozniacki (Den) 9915pts

2 Novak Djokovic (Ser) 12025

2 Kim Clijsters (Bel) 8215

3 Roger Federer (Swi) 9230

3 Vera Zvonareva (Rus) 7935

4 Andy Murray (Gbr) 6625

4 Na Li (Chn) 6475

5 Robin Soderling (Swe) 4595

5 Victoria Azarenka (Blr) 5920

6 David Ferrer (Spa) 4150

6 Maria Sharapova (Rus) 5221

7 Tomas Berdych (Cze) 3490

7 Francesca Schiavone (Ita) 4646

8 Gael Monfils (Fra) 2780

8 Petra Kvitova (Cze) 4018

9 Mardy Fish (USA) 2440

9 Marion Bartoli (Fra) 3740

10 Andy Roddick (USA) 2200

10 Samantha Stosur (Aus) 3405

11 Jurgen Melzer (Aut) 2175

11 Andrea Petkovic (Ger) 3280

12 Viktor Troicki (Ser) 1930

12 Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) 3210

13 Richard Gasquet (Fra) 1925

13 Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) 3056

14 Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) 1920

14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) 3055

15 Nicolas Almagro (Spa) 1875

15 Jelena Jankovic (Ser) 3050

16 Gilles Simon (Fra) 1745

16 Julia Goerges (Ger) 2560

17 Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 1740

17 Kaia Kanepi (Est) 2545

18 Florian Mayer (Ger) 1600

18 Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) 2350

19 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 1480

19 Ana Ivanovic (Ser) 2330

20 Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg)1475

20 Shuai Peng (Chn) 2240,

WIMBLEDON 2011: Important Dates

Qualifying: 13 June - 16 June
The Championships: 20 June – 3 July

Seeds Announced: 15 June
The Draw: 17 June

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rafa Bags 6th Roland Garros Title

Despite the series of defeat, Rafa made sure he bagged the French Open title for the 6th time, making him at par with former World No 1 Bjorn Borg. Although he had some problems with John Isner from the start he was able to do better in the next games. He was told by Uncle Toni that he wasn't going to win the Cup that way...and Rafa needed to relax. As the video shows, Rafa has really felt the pressure although even if he lost the French Open title he would still remain the top-seeded.

Roger Federer though has been doing good. In fact he broke Djokovic's winning streak when he won the semis. It's just that Federer has not won over Rafa in Roland Garros but even Rafa has said that yopu never know. He came into the game knowing he might win or lose but did everything to win. But if Roger have won...he would have been considered the greatest player having won at least 2 championships in of each of the four majors. Rafa's victory made him still a part of the equation.

Either way, I think one of the winner in this game was the sports apparel worn by the 2 players. One can easily notice that both Rafa and Roger were wearing the iconic swoosh on all their sports gear, from the headband to the shirts, shorts,socks down to their shoes and jackets, differing only in color with Federer in red and Nadal in blue.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rafa Slides Past Soderling into Semis

Defending champion and World No.1, Rafa Nadal defeated Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) on Wednesday afternoon to reach the French Open semi-finals and improve his career record there to 43-1. The top seeded Spaniard, hoping to emulate the great Bjorn Borg as a six-time Paris champion (the most in history), will tackle Andy Murray for a place in the final.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rafa Improving Play at Roland Garros 2011

Some tennis experts are saying that its going to be Federer and Djokovic on the finals...semi-finals may be but it's too soon to say that it's going to be them at the last match. Even Rafa is saying he has been playing better.

Am scared though because Soderling, whom he plays against today, is one of the best players on red clay and the only man to beat him at Roland Garros. But if Rafa wins over 5th seeded Soderling then he only has to worry about Murray. Rafa definitely looks better unlike the matches before when his sports apparel was super wet with sweat, like he wasn't used to playing and tired easily. Soderling is much more dangerous on the red clay, but then so is Nadal. And so where this one promises to be a real nail-biter, Nadal is expected to reign supreme and in four gruelling sets to book his last four berth. I truly hope what tennis experts are saying are true.

The funny thing is Rafa has been hearing a lot of criticisms from people and he has pointed this out:

I play six finals in a row this year. I am having a very good year. One player is doing better than me. That’s all. But I’m in good position to finish the year in a very high position of the ranking.

I guess fans and people around him has set the standards so high for him that even when he is playing well, though not at par with his playing before, he gets criticized.

Those who know better still believe he is World No 1. Here is what Soderling has to say regarding Rafa:

"No, seriously, he's a great player, I think everybody knows what he can do. He won here so many times."

Both players possess destructive weapons and great playing prowess which they can deploy against each other. And though Soderling is an erratic player who can floor any player on his day and Nadal may not be playing at his best (that is compared to last year) but he is definitely improving with every match and is still the favorite to emerge victorious from the clash.

Djokovic on the other hand has more free time and more reason to smile since Fabio Fognini of Italy withdrew with a torn left thigh muscle giving him ample time to rest.

As a Rafa fan, Djokovic may be hungry for this win but Rafa is certainly doing everything to hold on to the title. And I am personally keeping all my fingers crossed that he does.