Bethanie Mattek-Sands cuts an impressive figure whenever she steps onto the tennis court. It’s kind of difficult to miss her, after all.
She has orange hair. At the US Open this year, Mattek-Sands has already drawn headlines and social media posts for her rule-pushing outfits, including a skirt that matched her ponytail She called it electric melon. Naturally.
But while Mattek-Sands, who has already won two Grand Slam doubles titles this year, may get the attention for her outfits, she should be getting it for her play. She defeated CoCo Vanedeweghe in straight sets in the second round of the Open, notching a matchup with world No. 1 Serena Williams. No one expects Mattek-Sands to win but the Minnesota native is focused on the task at hand, even if her hair is vaguely distracting. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mattek-Sands Has Been Dubbed the ‘Lada Gaga of the Tennis World’
Mattek-Sands has developed a reputation as one of the biggest characters in the tennis world, thanks in large part to her colorful apparel and hair as well as her signature knee-high compression socks. Right now, the right-hander is sporting orange hair.
Some of Mattek-Sands most memorable outfits include leopard print looks at the 2004 and 2007 US Open,as well as “soccer theme” at the 2006 Wimbledon Championship. However, nothing can top the ensemble she wore to the 2011 Pre-Wimbledon party in London, a fluorescent green dress by designer Alex Noble that featured tennis balls and a Mohican-style hat. The look garnered her the name “Lady Gaga of the tennis world,” from The Daily Mail.
Mattek-Sands may not be afraid to take fashion risks on or off the court and her daring dresses have helped earn a few benefits, including being chosen by Google as the first pro athlete “Glass Explorer.”
Are they or aren’t they? Recent pictures certainly make it seem as if the rapper and tennis champ are, very much, together.
2. She’s a Four-Time Grand Slam Champion in Doubles
While Mattek-Sands career as a singles player has been up-and-down, her success in the world of doubles has been unquestionable. She and fellow tennis standout Lucie Safarova teamed up just before the 2015 Australian Open, going on to win the title at the Grand Slam event. The pair then went on to win at the French Open as well and most recently recorded a title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
When she isn’t competing with Safarova, Mattek-Sands has found success in the mixed doubles world as well. She won titles at the 2012 Australian Open with Horia Tecău and the 2015 French Open with Mike Bryan.
3. Mattek-Sands Married Justin Sands in November 2008
Mattek became Mattek-Sands on November 29, 2008 when she married insurance executive Justin Sands in Naples, Florida. According to his LinkedIn page, Justin is the founder of the JPS Insurance Group and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany in upstate New York.
Mattek-Sands was just as eccentric as ever during the wedding ceremony as well, wearing a black dress.
The couple, who live in Phoenix, Arizona, have a 140-pound Boerboel mastiff named Ruger who is the subject of a good chunk of Mattek-Sands’ social medial posts.
4. She Played in her First WTA Tour Eent in 1999
Mattek-Sands has been on the professional tennis for years now, making her first WTA appearance in 1999 when she received a wildcard to qualify for an event in Philadelphia. The Minnesota-native fell in the first round of the event.
Since then, Mattek-Sands has been a fighter in every sense of the word, battling for position on the singles circuit over the past decade and a half. She played in her first Grand Slam in the 2000 US Open, once again given wildcard entry through the qualification rounds.
The 2015 US Open marks the thirteenth time that Mattek-Sands has competed in Flushing, Meadows. She is currently being coached by Adam Altschuler, playing with what WTA described as “a versatile, all-court style combining speed, determination, skill and agility around the net.”
5. Mattek-Sands Highest Ranking Came in 2011
After more a decade on the pro tennis circuit, Mattek-Sands reached her career-high singles ranking at No. 30. The jump came after she notched the biggest victory of her career, defeating then-world No. 7 Francesca Schiavone in January.
She reached her third WTA singles final in the 2011 Moorilla Hobart International before falling to Jarmila Groth. Mattek-Sands also competed in the French Open, making it to the third round. She was upset in the first round of Wimbledon that year, falling to No. 133 Misaki Doi.
Mattek-Sands is currently ranked No. 101 in the world singles rankings. She is, however, rankedNo. 3 in the world doubles rankings, the best of her entire career.