Female tennis players display lots of glitter, but still can play
Talented players abound in the U.S. Open, and any one could win.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Maria Sharapova was all over the city the past few days, unveiling her new perfume, showing off the diamond-encrusted watch she designed, doing TV shows and modeling her latest tennis dress.
Serena Williams, meanwhile, made a TV appearance, too, and gave a sneak peek of her new lip gloss, which won't even be available until next spring.
All that, and the U.S. Open hasn't yet started.
"Obviously they're more sexy, let's say, they show more skin, all these sorts of things, and they talk more about that than actually their forehand and backhand. We've been asked much more about, 'What's your preparation?' 'How's your backhand doing?' " said Roger Federer, who, for the record, does have his own cosmetics line.
"I get one question about fashion basically," Federer said Saturday. "That's how it goes with us. But I think that's how it should be, to be honest."
Make no mistake, though, the women have the ground-strokes to go with their glitter.
Women's field is wide open
While Federer is the odds-on favorite on the men's side -- he's 64-3 this year and has won 22 straight finals -- the women's tournament is wide open. Sharapova. Williams. Her big sister, Venus, winner of Wimbledon last month. Lindsay Davenport. Kim Clijsters. Amelie Mauresmo. Justine Henin-Hardenne. Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Any of them could win it, and there's a handful of others who could make things interesting.
"That makes it tougher, but that's what it's all about," said Sharapova, who will play one of the featured night matches when the tournament begins Monday. "That's why we're here, for the competition. That's why I'm here. I love it when it gets tough. Fourth round, quarterfinal, you're playing against a tough opponent.
"The winner of the whole thing has to beat a lot of top players," she added. "If you're not willing to do that, then there's no reason to be here."
Sharapova will lose her No. 1 ranking to Davenport on Monday after only a week at the top spot. Davenport had been No. 1 since last October, and she'll reclaim it after beating Mauresmo at the Pilot Pen championship in New Haven, Conn., Saturday afternoon.
Sharapova top seed
But Sharapova will still be the top seed at the Open because the draw was done Wednesday.
"Not many people can say that they're No. 1 in the world," said Sharapova, only the 15th woman to hold the top ranking. "If I can have it for an hour, for a week, just the fact that you're No. 1 is an amazing feeling."
And unlike last summer, the 18-year-old said her brief stop at No. 1 won't put any added pressure on her.
Sharapova was a surprise winner at Wimbledon in 2004, going from the 13th seed to champion. She says now that it took her "a few months" to get over the experience, and she was still on a high when she came to New York. She promptly lost in the third round.
Sharapova hasn't played in almost three weeks after pulling out of a tournament in Los Angeles with a strained muscle in her chest. She spent an extra week there doing physical therapy and strengthening exercises, and has been seeing a physical therapist twice a day.
Serena Williams said she's feeling better than she has in months, too. The two-time Open winner missed the French with a left ankle injury, and hasn't done much since. She went to Wimbledon out of shape and lost in the third round. She's only played once since, losing her second match at the Canadian Open.
"I definitely feel like this is as good as I've felt in a while. I'm hitting better than I have in two years," said Williams.