It was worth it just to see Alan Greenspan in shorts.
The occasion was the third annual Mount Vernon College Tennis Classic, a $100-a-head benefit for the school's scholarship fund. While 20 local celebs were out sweating on the courts in the perfect May sunshine a week ago yesterday, their spouses and fans watched from above, under a handsome blue and white tent. Susan Baker, Ulla Wachtmeister, Andrea Mitchell and Alexander Haig were watching. Wilhelm Wachtmeister, Morton Kondracke , Renee Poussaint and Alan Greenspan were sweating.
The players were all wearing blue, short-sleeved shirts, each with his name and affiliation printed on the back. William Webster, CIA Chief. Ina Ginsberg, Journalist. Abderrahmane Bensid, Ambassador. Paul Duke, WETA. Brit Hume, ABC News. Mary McFadden, Designer.
McFadden flew in, sans junior tennis partner and husband Kohle Yohannan, especially for the occasion. She's "great friends" with tournament director and Mount Vernon College tennis coach Kathy Kemper -- so much so that McFadden recently designed Kemper's wedding and bridal party dresses.
On the court, she was wearing a pleated white skirt -- not of her own design.
"I design dresses," McFadden said of her tennis line. "And I knew we would get T-shirts here to wear and I didn't want to wear a dress."
Off the court, however, she quickly changed into one of her own Fortuny-inspired pleated numbers -- and it wasn't a dress either.
Ginsburg did not know that the players would all be issued matching shirts. The blue shirt just didn't work with her canary yellow ensemble: shirt, striped skirt, Peds and Junior Mint-like earrings.
"Well," she sighed, "my outfit when I arrived was wonderful ...
"But then," she continued, "I had to change into this blue shirt and that messed everything up!"
WJLA newscaster Poussaint didn't take the event quite as seriously.
"I put on whatever was clean and white and in my closet," she said. And she wasn't kidding: very baggy, very basic white sweat pants, baggy pink cotton sweat socks scrunched up at the ankles, the blue T-shirt and a pink baseball cap.
On other city courts that day, everyone -- everyone -- was in shorts.
"I feel like I should play a little better before I graduate to that," said Sree Hausman of wearing swishy tennis dresses on the courts. She was playing doubles with her husband, Dale, and friends Minh-son Dang and Richard Farano at Georgetown University. They were all dressed in oversize T-shirts and shorts. "This way," she said, surveying her togs, "I can goof around and look like it too."
But 11-year-old Sebastian Merino, of Potomac, firmly believes that if you are going to play tennis, you should look tennis. And at the Reebok Washington Spring Future tournament at Carter Barron's Washington Tennis Center, Merino looked like a junior version of the pros at Wimbledon, Flushing Meadow and Roland Garros, decked out in white Puma shirt, navy Puma shorts, white sweat socks and tennis sneaks with acid green laces -- "to add color." Over his shoulder was a Puma gym bag with two Boris Becker Super rackets sticking out the side.
"Boris Becker used to wear Puma," Sebastian said matter-of-factly of his current role model, the 22-year-old court superstar.
"He's stopped now," the youngster added, "but I still like it."