Tennis Tournament's Worst Dressed is a Crowd Pleaser

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Not even that many hardcore tennis fans have heard of her, but American Bethanie Mattek Sands, who plays Maria Sharapova Wednesday night at The Racquet Club, is easily the most colorful player in the tournament.

And that's another reason for fans to stick around after the headliner featuring Andy Roddick and James Blake. Talk about a clash of styles. The glamorous Sharapova is a tennis fashion plate and the poster-girl for the Cellular South Cup. Mattek Sands looks like she scrounged up her outfit at a rummage sale. But she can play, and her go-for-it style entertains the crowd in the manner of past local favorites Jimmy Connors and the Jensen brothers.

Mattek Sands is alive in both the singles and doubles. On Tuesday, she had the crowd roaring in appreciation in an otherwise routine doubles match because of her hustle, clothes, and blistering shots. She wore a headband, a wife-beater undershirt, short black shorts, high black socks, and black shoes.

As her Wikipedia entry says, "Mattek has achieved extensive publicity as a result of her eccentric fashion sense on the court. Notable outfits include leopard print outfits at the 2004 US Open and 2007 US Open, a striped cowboy hat that garnered her a fine at the 2005 US Open, a "soccer theme" at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships that included football socks, chandelier earrings, a boob-tube worn over a strappy vest top, tiny running shorts and a headband, pink knee-high socks at the 2006 JPMorgan Chase Open, and a loosely draped beige top, with a crocheted waist and split sleeves that resembled a toga and beige knee-high socks at the 2006 US Open."

She's never won a WTA tournament, but I bet she will make the icy-cool Sharapova work hard, and she and her partner Meghann Shaughnessy could win the doubles if they play like they did Tuesday.

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