Ellesse presents official clothes for ball kids at the Mutua Madrid Open

Wilson Blade 9

For the second year running, Ellesse is the official clothing partner of the May 4th-13th Mutua Madrid Open. This year the Italian brand is working together with French fashion house Surface to Air, bringing a stunning aesthetic to the fashion of ball boys and girls at the Premier tournament, while complementing the new blue clay.

The final rounds will see trained models take over as ball boys and girls, another concept unique to the Madrid tournament. The professional models will be dressed head to toe in the specially designed Ellesse x Surface to Air tenniswear in red, blue and white to fit with the tournament’s image. The kits range from socks, polos, skirts, shorts, jackets and hats, all sitting in perfect harmony with each other and this year’s blue clay courts. The collection will be available in limited quantities.

What do you think of the outfits? I find them glamorous in a classic way, and even though Ellesse might not find my statement favorable, I think it positively reminds of Fila’s style.

The blue courts may provide an innovative and visually strong blend of sports and fashion, but the WTA players are not welcoming the experiment of changing the natural color of clay. The most vocal was Samantha Stosur:

I can’t say I’m that excited or pleased about playing on the blue clay in Madrid, no. I don’t think it’s a good idea changing the color of the dirt. The dirt is brown, not blue. I’ve spoken to a few of the girls about it and I can’t say that any of the players are that ecstatic about the blue. I don’t see the point of changing the color to blue at one of the most important tournaments before the French Open, and I don’t want blue all over my clothes. I don’t think the courts in Madrid are that great anyway. If they have changed how the courts play, as well as the color, and the courts play better, that’s great. But if they have changed the color, and the courts still play the same, that’s pointless.


  1. First about the blue clay: There has been a lot of fuss aabout it already, what with the Big Boys (Djokovic, Nadal and, lately, Federer) venting their disagreement, and now I learn that one Big Girl at least (and probably more) feel(s) the same way. I, for one, was disgusted as soon as the news was broken – but not surprised, knowing that the director (read: the owner) of the tournament is Ion Tiriac, an ex-player whose sinister appearance and notorious gamesmanship during his heyday earned him the nickname of “Count Dracula”. Nowadays he’s a businessman of insatiable appetites, and all his decisions serve only two, interdependent, purposes: enlargement of his own purse and aggrandisement of his ego. Everything else must serve these two noble causes – and what, in this post-modern era, could possibly serve them better than ‘controversy’. There is a video somewhere on the Net (must be youtube) where he appears seated in a grand white armchair in the middle of the tennis-court, explaining the ‘scientific’ reasons for dying the clay blue, as well as the inevitable destiny of his tournament: it shall become the 5th Grand Slam event, no less.
    And now, having painted (pun intended) the context – on to the details: ‘trained models’, serving in lieu of ball-kids, were already introduced last year (provoking some fuss), but now comes an ‘improvement’, by way of their attire-design: whereas ball-kids are meant to be dressed nicely and even elegantly, but certainly in subdued clothing so as not to attract undue attention of the players and the audience (i.e., not to distract them) – what do we have here? I hope I don’t have to answer my own rhetorical question; rather, I’ll add a warning: don’t be surprised if, in a few years, you see op-art-clay and topless ball-girls on the courts of Ion Tiriac’s 5th Slam tournament.

  2. You really don’t like Tiriac and his ideas, do you? 😉 Personally I agree that the idea of “trained models” serving as ball-kids is disconcerting at least, considering that the ball-kids are supposed to be unobtrusive – I agree with you on that point. As for their clothes, I wouldn’t demonize this particular choice. Ellesse is a good brand, they have both elegant/classic and interesting clothes. In this case it’s a little bit of both: classic and elegant navy blue with some red elements, nice! And I don’t think it’s gonna be too agressive, especially that the clay is blue 😉 In my opinion, it’s actually far more good looking and elegant than the last year ball-kids’ attire from Rolland Garros (this horrible lime green!).

  3. Maggie, yes, I (by way of understatement) don’t like Tiriac (just as I don’t like any other self-serving ego-maniac oblivious of any notion of empathy or care for anything) and I don’t like his “ideas” (which serve only his own self-serving interests).
    As for the ball-models’ clothes: I have no quarrel with “classic and elegant navy blue with some red elements” – but what about the visually screaming *tonal* contrast of those acromegallic white letters (taking one third of it all!) against the dark background? It looks like an Ellessse advertisement – not like a functional design. There is one aspect of it, though, where it fully succeeds: it perfectly echoes Tiriac’s “I, me, myself, mine…”
    P.S. I hope you’ve noticed my late answer to you on the “Freshly recovered from injury, Petkovic twists ankle in Stuttgart second round”! (Not that I expect a reaction – I just want to make sure you haven’t missed it, since it quickly disappeared from the “Recent Comments” list.) Kindest regards.

  4. Yes, I’ve noticed your answer, no worries 🙂
    I agree with you about the size of letters, and after watching some matches I must say that in my opinion it’s kinda counterproductive – it’s more irritating than encouraging me to buy their clothes…
    Anyway, after watching the tournament for two days I have a few (a lot) of remarks. First of all…
    I HATE the blue clay 🙂 While the visibility is indeed better, the whole thing is simply disturbing, ’cause I can’t stop associating the color with the hard court. Funny how important visual clues are. I guess it’s only worse for players (which would explain why they’re rarely sliding…). And the quality of speed/bounce/slide is abysmal. It looks as if it’s hard to slide when they want to slide and slippery when they don’t want to slide… So in the end I’m joining your camp Tulp – I want the red clay back!
    And two more remarks.
    First of all: who the hell is responsible for matches media coverage? Why are they showing all of men matches (even those not really interesting) and almost none of women? I was really waiting for Wozniacki-Kleber :/ I can easily find live streamings of some ATP Challengers but there is no coverage of WTA Mandatory event?! WTF?!
    And my second question: why there is a hawk-eye in the men tournament, but no in women competition?

    Sorry everyone for that rant, but I was really hoping for this Wozniacki-Kerber match and when I finally understood that there is no coverage, my frustration with this tournament has reached boiling point 😉

  5. I’m a bit late (as usual) but, as the saying goes, better late than never.
    Maggie, welcome to my camp! (Hoping I won’t come over as presumptuous, I sort of expected you anyway:). And, as far as I am concerned: do rant away all you like, as long as you have a point as now you do – I’m with you all the way on the video-coverage; moreover, your feelings echo mine own, completely.
    Marija, there’s an added, important point in that article which I forgot to mention in my previous comments here: the blue clay only underlined the bare, cold, stark, unfriendly, industrial-like design of the whole venue which was until now, as Courtney noticed, compensated by the warmth of the organic look of red clay. With the latter gone, all that’s left are goosebumps and shivering. Not to mention the overcareful movements and awkward slipping-and-sliding of the players accompanied by the squeaking sounds of their shoe-soles that belong to the hard-court, not to clay.


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