WIMBLEDON – The queen of the Nike negligée, Genie Bouchard, will debut her Nike dress on Tuesday when she plays Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.
Needless to say that as a well-compensated ambassador for the brand, she loves it. She probably would love it even if she weren't. It's not significantly different from the red-and-white striped baby-doll dress she wore at the beginning of the season, although the accordion pleats make it much more expansive.
Bouchard said over the weekend that despite reports that Nike had recalled the dresses to their temporary headquarters in Wimbledon for "alterations," hers – at least – was exactly the same as it was nearly a year ago, when she tried it on for a photo shoot.
But on Monday at Wimbledon, with the players having the option to wear something else after all the hullabaloo about it last week, many didn't: Madison Keys, Laura Robson, Sabine Lisicki, Sara Errani, to name a few.
But many of them did. And the results were a mixed bag of occasional flowing beauty, near-wardrobe malfunctions, an extra quota of skin, and a few awkward-looking strokes.
Anna Schmiedlova, who bowed out in the first round, chose to add a tie high up around the waist. Others braved the potential consequences, with various results.
In addition to the upward trajectory potential, there's the matter of the material itself being rather sheer and transparent. You've got to be feeling pretty good about yourself to feel comfortable in that. As well, it was breezy Monday, but not too windy. How the dress will react when the wind kicks up is another matter going forward.
Additional issues included the fact that the front of the dress hung way down when the players were crouched in the return of serve position.
Lucie Hradecka, who wore the dress during the singles qualifying, discovered another potential trouble spot on the doubles practice court: when the team is playing in the "I" formation, and the player at the net is right down on one knee, the material can get in the way.
Not to mention, you could end up kneeling right down on the dress and when you try to get up quickly, trip over it. Will they call a let?
Madison Keys, newly installed in the top 10 and an easy winner over Germany's Laura Siegemund Monday, said taking a pass on the dress was always an option.
"They let us know it was always an option. We could wear a skirt and shirt option, as well. So, yeah. It wasn't a huge thing. They said we have a skirt, we have a dress, pick which one," she said. "Honestly it was more I have been wearing that outfit all year, it was going to be an easy transition. I haven't played in a dress for years. So for me, it was just more about it's easy to switch into just a different color instead of switching into a dress."
German Sabine Lisicki, who also had an easy win over American Shelby Rogers, also said no, thanks.
"I tried it on but didn't feel comfortable showing that much," Lisicki told the Daily Mail. "For me, the most important thing is to feel comfortable and not to think about anything, and with this I feel great," she said of the top and skirt combination.
The next chapter will be Bouchard, the only one who posed in the dress for the company's marketing materials.
We're trying to picture Maria Sharapova, currently serving a doping suspension and attending classes at Harvard Business School, and her reaction to all this. They may well have had a special dress for her, as they do for Serena Williams. But we're just not seeing her agreeing to wear it.
At the end of the day, a little more weirdness, as Brit Laura Robson came into her press conference, hours after her first-round loss to Angelique Kerber, wearing a grey Nike Sweatshirt.
When she turned her back to leave, on the back of the sweatshirt appeared to be ... about 18 inches of the material from the dress, sewn on and flapping in the air.