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Warpaint at Wimbledon and maybe bacon stapled to my kit? Tennis goes Gaga

Publication Date: 
Jun 17, 2011

SHE describes herself as the Lady Gaga of tennis, and is better known for her outrageous fashion sense than her forehand.

But now US tennis star Bethanie Mattek-Sands is on a collision course with Wimbledon chiefs over plans to daub "warpaint" on her face at this year's Championships.

The 26-year-old is to test the patience of the All England Club's strict etiquette policy by donning eye black on her face for matches.

The black stripes of grease under the eyes are normally the reserve of American football and baseball players, but Mattek-Sands has adopted the style and updated it, using stick-on strips adorned with silver Bs for Bethanie.

She claims the purpose is to "reduce glare", but admitted her fashion ideas could see her fall foul of the famously fussy officials in SW19.

She told the Standard: "I just like doing something unexpected and going outside the box. That is how I am off court and on it.

"It is something different. I started with black zinc but it rubs off. Now I have my own line of war paint, if you like, different colours - and I'm going to wear it at Wimbledon. It is the same as wearing sunglasses. I won't stop wearing it. No way."

Mattek-Sands, who is married to former US college American football player Justin Sands, has previously courted controversy with her on-court style. As well as her trademark knee-length socks, she played the 2007 US Open in a gold lamé dress with what appeared to be a black push-up bra, and in 2005 was fined for wearing a striped cowboy hat on court.

She said: "I think the Wimbledon fans appreciate everything I do. It's more probably the members and the higher-ups that are tsk-tsking me."

Mattek-Sands, seeded No31 for the Championships, demonstrated her off-court eccentricities with a dress by Lady Gaga's designer Alex Noble at yesterday's pre-Wimbledon party at Kensington Roof Gardens. Made of parts of tennis balls, it was admired by stars Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic, who praised her bold fashion choices.

Mattek-Sands said: "Obviously she (Lady Gaga) has 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."