Game Set Match

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

Every year, I give up The Playa for the Vineyard. I’m glad to be back out on Martha’s, surrounded by loved ones and playing a helluva lot of tennis. I’m trying to take a week away from trends, so today’s newsletter is about tennis and tennis only.

I love tennis, which is ironic considering love means nothing to a tennis player (bad joke?). But I’m serious: I grew up playing the sport and I truly believe tennis is a microcosm of life and how you live it. You can play it well into your retirement years.

The start of the US Open is the most exciting time of year for tennis fans. I’m excited about all of the activations and events around this year’s matches. The pandemic was good to the game, as small-group outdoor sports thrived during quarantine and more people picked up their racket to reconnect with the sport after a couple years in isolation.

I know there is discussion of Pickleball taking over as the dominant racquet sport, but I don’t see it. I enjoy Pickleball and recently played in a tournament during NIVA that was a lot of fun. Pickleball is much easier to learn, faster to play, and less intensive to set up than tennis. But easier doesn’t mean better. Sorry, pickle people. It’s never going to take over tennis.

Besides Soccer (World Cup in November!), tennis is the biggest global sport and the US Open is the most attended U.S. sporting event of the year. This year already feels bigger because it’s the GOAT, Serena Williams’ last dance. Even Djokovic’s anti-vax absence can’t ruin that.

For the first time in a long time, she’s playing like she has nothing to lose. Last night, she pulled off a huge upset, knocking out the #2 seed and clearing a path toward the finals. Tonight, her and Venus play Doubles. Win or lose, Serena’s brand remains strong well beyond tennis. It’s incredible to see the tributes from Oprah, Beyonce, Queen Latfiah, and the like. It’s all very moving and I’m rooting for her, even if it means ticket prices are more expensive than usual.

Tennis has real life global icons. It mirrors the music business with its combination of unstoppable legacy acts and new players that provide excitement and lifeblood to the sport. With Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray, Venus, and Serena all in the twilights of their careers, tennis is fortunate to have Coco Gauff, Nick Kyrgios, Carlos Alcaraz, and other youngsters with bright futures.

The entertainment business is taking notice, too. Could F1’s much anticipated tennis series give the sport the same bump it gave to Nascar? We’ll see, but seeing Naomi Osaka sport multiple logos on her Nike dress, including brands like FTX, was a little alarming. Will the tennis outfit evolve into a Nascar style brand space?

I hope not, because ‘tennis style’ is its own thing. The relationship between famously flamboyant court fits and luxury streetwear’s embrace of the sport (see: Kith and Roger Federer) has created some beautiful trends and collaborations. Is it a coincidence that the US Open and NY Fashion Week take place concurrently? Absolutely, lol. But “The Glam Slam” sure plays out nicely at venues like Spring Place.

If you’re going to the Open, bump that new Sofi Tukker album, Wet Tennis, on your way there, and check out the Spectator Kit from my favorite up and coming brand, Furi. It’s inspired by US Open colors. Just don’t spill any Honey Deuces on your new fit.

I love the Fall and the 4th quarter, and I’ll be back in Miami ready to rock. But first, let’s enjoy these last few dog days…

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Also published on Medium.