The Yellow and Black Attack

During its recent makeovers of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Rafael Nadal, Nike turned Rafa into a bumblebee. He was given a blinding-yellow polo shirt ($60) and black shorts ($50), and–most importantly–the Nike Air Max Courtballistec 1.3 Men’s Tennis Shoe, which retails for $120. According to Nike, these shoes are “Midwest Gold,” not Bumblebee Yellow, but we know better. We’ve seen the shoe on John Isner and Evan King. And Petra Kvitova, who upset Dinara Safina, has the women’s version of the whole yellow-and-black getup. Last night, Rafa played Gael Monfils, and both were wearing the bumblebee shoe.

A rather unfriendly salesman at the Nike store near Ashe said that the shoes are selling “all day, every day of the tournament.” Another associate was helping 12-year-old Billy Teitelbaum try on a pair. Billy had one foot in the Nike Air Max Courtballistec 1.3 Men’s Tennis Sand the other in the Nike Zoom Vapor VI Tour Men’s Tennis Shoe. The latter, a Gothic combination of black and blood red, is also known as Roger Federer’s shoe. Mrs. Teitelbaum said, “I like the yellow, I think they’re cool,” but no one likes the shoes his mom thinks are cool, and Billy eventually went with the Federer option. He’s in the minority, though. Federer may be the favorite, but this is the Bumblebee Open.