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Mirza and Mattek find opposites attract

Sania Mirza and American Bethanie Mattek looked like a tennis version of the Odd Couple but the duo said they were well-matched on the court.

sports Updated: Sep 05, 2007 14:09 IST

India's Sania Mirza and American Bethanie Mattek looked like a tennis version of the Odd Couple but the duo said they were well-matched on the court and off despite losing in Tuesday's US Open quarter-finals.

The conservatively dressed Mirza and flamboyant Mattek fell 6-3 3-6 6-4 to fifth seeds Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung of Taiwan, but they were upbeat about their new partnership.

"I guess opposites attract," said Mirza, who wore a red shirt and white shorts, while flamboyant partner Mattek sported an outlandish leopard-skin outfit with matching visor.

Mattek has already created a buzz in Flushing Meadows with self-assembled, revealing outfits of metallic silver and shiny gold in earlier rounds.

"I had to concentrate on the ball, not the outfit," Chan said with a chuckle, adding: "The other day she wore an outfit that was even more sexy."

While Mattek has grabbed attention with her daring garb, Mirza has come under attack from sections of orthodox Muslim clergy for straying too far from traditional dress by wearing standard tennis gear.

Though leopard skin is not to her taste in tennis wear, the Indian said having fun on the court was a good thing.


LEOPARD SKIN

"I think people get bored talking about forehands and backhands and serves, so they want something more," Mirza told reporters.

"I think girls are dressing up a lot. I think it's a very personal thing. I don't know if it's good for the sport but if it gets people to watch, then it's fine."

Mirza, who was knocked out of the Open's singles draw in the third round, said she had no idea what Mattek was going to wear until they were in the locker room before the match.

Was she tempted to dress like Mattek?

"Leopard skin? Not really," said the 27th-ranked Mirza. "We all know she likes to dress differently, but it suits her.

"I play with who I feel comfortable with. I think we complement each other because I think she's great at the net.

"She can do what she wants. She can be what she wants. And I can do what I want."

Mattek said she has already got an idea for a 2008 outfit.

"I was going to wear a bustier. I was going to try a French nanny kind of look, but I said, 'Nah. I can't do it.' It didn't fit properly.

"Maybe next year."