Published November 20, 2014
By Toby Davis
LONDON (Reuters) - Bethanie Mattek-Sands wore an outfit that lived up to her reputation as the Lady Gaga of tennis but the number 30 seed failed to hit the high notes as she was dumped out of Wimbledon in the first round on Wednesday.
A gaggle of photographers lay in wait for the eye-catching American who walked on to Court 14 daubed in war-paint and wearing a tasseled jacket adorned with white tennis balls.
But while her knee-length white socks might have left an impression on the fashionistas, her tennis was more basement bargain than catwalk chic as she lost 6-4 5-7 7-5 to Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi, ranked 133rd in the world.
"I'm not hitting a ball in this, don't worry," she shouted to reporters and photographers as she stripped off her jacket to reveal a skin tight dress with a sleeve cut off to show a string of floral tattoos up her arm.
The jacket was created by British designer Alex Noble who has also collaborated with the outlandish singer Lady Gaga and designed a fluorescent yellow number for Mattek-Sands' appearance at the WTA's Wimbledon party last week.
"It was actually very cool working with him, hopefully I'll be able to do it again," Mattek-Sands told reporters after the match.
The one-piece tennis romper suit has raised eyebrows at the All England Club, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, her compatriot Mattek-Sands is a big fan.
"(It is) very '70s, and '70s are in right now. So the high-waisted shorts are cool. I really like the open back.
"I have to ask her if the flowy sleeves kind of affect her hitting but it didn't look like it.
"I thought it was a really cool outfit and I think it was one of my favorites."
Doi, whose white t-shirt was more in tune with Wimbledon's conservative dress code, was unmoved by her opponent's attire.
"I was surprised to see it," she told reporters. "I don't think it would have suited me."
The American regularly falls foul of the sport's fashion police and was fined for wearing a cowboy hat at the 2005 U.S. Open. Unperturbed, she arrived the following year sporting a leopard print outfit.
On Wednesday, her unusual garb left a bigger impression on the fans who had come to watch her than her inconsistent groundstrokes which frequently failed to find their target.
"I think it's fun and brings more attention to tennis," said Mary-Beth Ash, a supporter from Boston.
"I saw her at the French Open and thought the knee-length socks were pretty cool."
(Editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)