By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 29, 2006
WIMBLEDON, England, June 28 -- If she were a NASCAR driver, Bethanie Mattek wouldn't have drawn a second glance for the corporate logos displayed on her bosom Wednesday. But as a tennis player on Wimbledon's Centre Court, Mattek found herself bombarded with questions following her first-round loss to Venus Williams from a press corps that was, quite simply, struck dumb by her garb.
The American reporters were intrigued by the economics that led the world's 102nd-ranked female player to adorn her white tube top with patches advertising a Belgian chocolate maker and a Web-based travel reviewer. The British press was even more atwitter over the eclectic outfit Mattek assembled for her Wimbledon debut -- an all-white melange that harkened back to some of the worst fashion missteps of recent decades.
Sporting the logos during her Centre Court match, Mattek explained, was worth a cool $2,000 -- $1,000 per patch. As a first-round Wimbledon loser, she'll collect roughly $14,200 in prize money. The extra $2,000, then, represents nearly a 15 percent bonus. And that goes a long way for a tennis pro at Mattek's level who is struggling to break even, given that she must underwrite her own travel costs, hotels and meals, as well as those of her coach. It fell to a British reporter to broach the subject of Mattek's outfit, and she did so with a psychiatrist's guile. "What made you decide to wear what you had on today?" the reporter asked.
The outfit in question consisted of knee-high soccer socks, skimpy gym shorts, a clingy halter top, a tube top that squeezed her flesh out like toothpaste from a tube, a thick white headband, chandelier earrings and a pierced eyebrow. Mattek, 21, was delighted to explain. She had spent the previous night mulling the choice with a friend in her hotel room, experimenting with three shirts and three skirts before deciding to go for "kind of the soccer theme." So she went to Harrod's and found the socks for 10 pounds (roughly $18.50). The shorts, which evoked a 1978 gym class, came from Paris. "Kind of an Urban Outfitters look," she explained.
Mattek said she considered wearing some really crazy stuff -- like the cowboy hat that got her fined at the U.S. Open -- before opting for a mellow look. "I pretty much went on my gut -- just kind of what I felt like wearing today," she said. "Hopefully it was good."Connors and Roddick?
Andy Roddick, who has struggled since parting ways with coach Brad Gilbert in December 2004, confirmed that he has spoken a few times with Jimmy Connors about coming on board as an adviser but added that no agreement has been reached and none is likely soon. "We're both intrigued by the prospect of working together," Roddick said. "We've bounced the idea off of each other. It's positive. But there are a lot of details that go into it. . . . It's not something that would be far-fetched in the future. There's a lot that needs to happen between now and then."