Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I'll tell ya one thing that's not hot in the world of professional tennis, participation at this week's Masters Series event in Monte Carlo -- the first big clay-court tournament of the year.
A host of stars decided against making the trip to Monaco, including world No. 1 Andre Agassi and former No. 1's Pete Sampras and Patrick Rafter. Other stalwarts, such as Jan-Michael Gambill, Lleyton Hewitt, Mark Philippoussis, and Richard Krajicek, also opted to stay away. Rafter, Gambill, Hewitt, Philippoussis and Krajicek are injured, while Agassi is tired (of winning every event this year), and Sampras is sick (of playing on clay that is).
That leaves Gustavo Kuerten and Marat Safin as the headliners in Monte Carlo. The top-seeded Safin's certainly been less-than entertaining this year, as he remains titleless while playing pedestrian .500 tennis. Kuerten, a "clay-court specialist," is the heavy favorite to run the table in what essentially is the south of France.
Let's stay away from what's hot, shall we, and continue on the subject of what's not.
How 'bout Venus' skimpy Reebok attire, which shows off way too much of...well...nothing!
Then there's Serena's Puma dresses/muscle shirts, which prompt one to ponder: Has anyone ever seen Serena Williams and Michael Clarke Duncan (huge guy from the Green Mile) in the same room?
And since we're on the topic of the Williamses, let's not forget the shaky-at-best patriarch, Papa Richard. This guy's more paranoid than a narc at a biker rally.
Gambill's black socks? Enough said. He oughta replace his adidas sneaks with a pair of vintage sandals and cruise the boards in A.C.
Okay Hewitt, Tommy Haas, and countless others, lose the backwards baseball cap. That tired look went out with neon sweat suits. Players contend it's comfortable, I contend it's weakable.
On the subject of the front-facing baseball cap, this trend is marginally acceptable for the men, but clearly unacceptable for the women. Just because I say so.
Also unhip, the bandana/headband (see also Carlos Moya, Conchita Martinez, France's little big man Arnaud Clement, etc.).
And Hingis, give us a break with the schoolgirl scrunchie (or bait, as Dubravko Rajcevic would call it). Equally as bad on the ladies, an always- unstylish tight bun (not to be confused with always-stylish tight buns).
What else has to go? Mauresmo's shorts (manly); Kafelnikov's bowl cut (not manly); Todd Martin's unibrow (unearthly); Capriati's roll of a waistline (unsightly); and Rios' slicked-back, ponytailed hair (inexcusable).
How about the washed up Michael Chang and an even more washed up Goran Ivanisevic? Can't they hear the fat lady singing? I can.
And what's with Steffi Graf now wanting to be called Stefanie? This just in Steffi-anie...you retired! Nobody cares, except for maybe Der Spiegel.
So...what is hot?
Do I really have to answer that question? Sure I do.
Anna's hot! Kournikova that is.
The iconic Russian beauty may not have the "A" game to title on tour, but she's got everything else goin' for her on court: like that signature high ponytail, a world-class tan, and the eye-catching yellow and black bumble bee-esque ensemble she's sporting this season.
Stay tuned for more of what's hot and what's not.