Serena Williams at Roland Garros FB WTShe’s stormed ahead at the French Open, taken the Australian Open with contemptuous ease and now, she’s lending her talents to budding tennis players.

That’s right – World #1 Serena Williams, who has been playing professionally for an incredible 20 years now, recently agreed to reveal some of her training secrets as part of a series of educational videos for Masterclass.com.

The website specialises in offering video tutorials for those wishing to pursue a number of vocations from performing arts to photography. Other big names joining Williams include Dustin Hoffman, who will be providing acting tips, and Usher, who will guide budding entertainers on how to take to the stage.

For aspiring tennis stars however, the three-time Olympic gold medal winner is now starring in 10 hour-long video tutorials which will cover all the basic skills required for tennis from groundstrokes to serving. Those who are interested can sign up to the classes for a modest $90 – pretty good value for money considering she holds 19 Grand Slam Singles titles and boasts an impressive 128mph serve.

Having recently beaten fellow American Sloane Stevens to make her way through to the quarter finals of the French Open, it’s fair to say that Williams has had a lot on her plate recently. She made headlines in May when she decided to pull out of the Italian Open, citing an elbow injury. The 33-year-old told fans: “We have to make the right decisions for the future, not for now. You know I hate, hate quitting, and this isn’t quitting; it’s just making a good decision.”

Williams was keen to put all her focus into the French Open, and it’s evident that it’s paying off so far. Now, with a well-deserved rest between the Grand Slam at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, she will be keen to win her sixth Women’s Singles title when the event kicks off on June 29.

Having won the London-based event in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2012, Williams is firm favourite with Coral to take home the title again this year, proving that she is just the right kind of talent to impart wisdom to budding tennis players.

With so many Grand Slam events to take on this summer, it’s a wonder she’s had time in her busy schedule to take part in the tutorials. It’s safe to say, however, today’s generation of tennis players will be eternally grateful.

Novak Djokovic in ShanghaiA typical Grand Slam tennis match is no longer just about the stroke and bounce, it’s also about branding. The last decade has been dominated with clothing proudly displaying swooshes (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams) and three striped sleeves (Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki) as well as the odd double diamond. It’s been fairly predictable until now. There’s a new goup of fashion and lifestyle brands jumping onto court and they’re putting big money behind the players.

It was a bit of a surprise when Novak Djokovic signed with Japanese fast-fashion brand Uniqlo – a brand known more for its puffy jackets than its sports apparel. But it’s been a complete boon for the Asian company as the tennis player has introduced Uniqlo to a new market through his continued excellent performance.

Six months later, other high street retailers jumped on the bandwagon with Swedish company H&M announcing it had signed up Czech player Tomas Berdych to wear its first tennis line. The success of the partnership has resulted in H&M dressing the Swedish Olympic, Paralympic and Winter Olympic teams.

Next up was New Balance who signed young Canadian Milos Raonic to wear their gear and then UnderArmour who have had an ever increasing deal with Sloane Stephens – both future stars of the Grand Slam circuit. By getting in early these companies will have received excellent bang for their buck – that is, of course, assuming these new players perform up to expectation.

Tennis sponsorship has become a high risk game – a bit like gambling on Jackgold.com. Unlike sponsoring big teams, tennis sponsorship means relying on just one person versus a few potential stars in one team. But the rewards too are high. Thanks to strict laws on branding, only the sponsor’s logo is in sight.

It’s likely we will be seeing many more fast-fashion, high street brands on the court, eroding the market share of Nike and Adidas. It’s all a matter of forecasting at the moment for both players and brands. The rewards could be extremely high.

© photo credit: HEAD Tennis

Australian Open 2014 tennis shop

With Christmas just over a month away now is the time to get your discount sporting goods and Australian Open 2014 souvenirs and presents.

The Australian Open tennis shop has his and hers covered plus for children with all the merchandise that you could possibly want. A list of the official merchandise is below.

Pictured is the very popular Australian Open 2014 official men’s player towel, definitely a must for the collection. I certainly snaffled a the French Open men’s player towel not long after entering the grounds at Roland Garros this year!

Australian Open 2014 merchandise:

  • Men’s player towel
  • Women’s player towel
  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Headbands
  • Sweatbands
  • Jackets
  • Hoodies
  • Singlets
  • Hats
  • Visors
  • Badges and Pins
  • Keyrings, magnets and bracelets
  • Bags