I'm the Lady Gaga of tennis, says Mattek-Sands
Eccentric dresser Bethanie Mattek-Sands says she draws her stylistic inspiration from pop superstar Lady Gaga, and admits she has already started planning her outfits for this year's Wimbledon.
The world number 34 is renowned for her eye-catching on-court attire and regularly competes clad in shorts and knee-high socks and with American football-style tape plastered across her cheeks to combat glare.
The 26-year-old American teamed a pink T-shirt with black shorts and socks in her 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 defeat of compatriot Varvara Lepchenko in the second round of the French Open at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Quizzed about the inspiration behind her outfits, Mattek-Sands said she felt a stylistic affinity with Lady Gaga, who is as famous for her jaw-dropping costumes as she is for her multi-million-selling albums.
"I think she's very individual," said Mattek-Sands, whose victory over Lepchenko means she will leapfrog Venus Williams to become the American number two when the next WTA rankings are published.
"Obviously she's come out with some crazy stuff. I don't know that I would be able to play in a meat dress or anything.
"I was thinking of stapling some bacon on my shoulder or something, but I don't know how that would work out in the sun.
"But she's cool. She has cool songs. Just you never know what she's going to do next, and I really can appreciate that."
Wimbledon's strict dress code, which forbids players from wearing any colours other than white, has forced Mattek-Sands to be creative with her outfits during the tournament at the prestigious All-England Club.
At the 2006 championships, for example, she sported a football-themed ensemble, replete with football socks bought from the famous Harrods department store for £10 (ê16) the night before.
With this year's tournament less than a month away, the Florida native revealed she was formulating plans to outfox the stylistic censors once again.
"I don't think I can really challenge the colour rule right now," said Mattek-Sands, who was fined for wearing a striped cowboy hat at the US Open in 2005.
"You know, I got to figure something out. Obviously the white, you got to work with a lot of the cuts. Obviously I'll be wearing my high socks.
"But yeah, it's always challenging to think of new things for Wimbledon."
Mattek-Sands' fashion sense makes her one of the most colourful members of the women's tour, but she admits she occasionally encounters hostility from the keepers of the sport's gentrified traditions.
"I think the fans that come to Wimbledon appreciate everything I do," she said. "I think it's more probably the members and the people higher up that are tut-tutting me.
"The US Open is tough. I wore something last year, and I had a guy come up to me and say, 'The only reason I came out was to see your outfit, and it was boring today.' I was like, 'Thanks.' I won my match, but OK."
Mattek-Sands indulged her interest in fashion with a recent behind-the-scenes tour of Paris's Moulin Rouge cabaret club, but admitted her attempts to join in with the dancers yielded mixed results.
"I was very lucky," she said, having earlier given the reporters at her post-match press conference a tour of the tattoos on her arm.
"I guess they don't accept a lot of people in the backstage, let alone trying on the outfits. So I had a blast.
"All the dancers in there are super-athletic. It's so to funny to see how bad I am at one thing and how good I can be at another thing.
"It was a lot of fun. The costumes were great. It was a really good experience. I recommend anyone go check it out."
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