WANT to rub shoulders with a high-powered fashion editor? How about a designer? Arguably the best place these days isn’t the Top of the Standard hotel or even Amy Sacco’s new boîte, No. 8, but a nondescript slab of a building at 27th Street and Eighth Avenue, a neighbor to Chelsea housing projects and a Gristede’s grocery store, and the home of the misleadingly titled Midtown Tennis Club. (It’s not in Midtown, and membership isn’t required to play there.)
想跟位高权重的时尚编辑或者设计师套近乎吗？如今最合适的地方可能不是顶级酒店，甚至也不是艾米·萨科(Amy Sacco)新开的8号酒吧(No. 8)，而是纽约27街和第八大道交叉处一栋不起眼的建筑。它紧邻切尔西住宅区和格雷斯提德百货大楼。它就是“中城网球俱乐部”(Midtown Tennis Club)。这个名字起得太误导人，因为它根本不在曼哈顿中城，也不是会员制。
Particularly on Wednesday mornings from 7 to 9, the two-level bare-bones space, featuring eight bumpy Har-Tru courts circled by chain-link fencing (the space between the baseline and the wall is infamously cramped), has become jammed with members of the fashion industry.
On Court 4, you might spy Peter Malachi, the senior vice president of communications at Hermès, smashing back a volley, or Armand Limnander, the deputy editor of W magazine, strumming a loopy topspin forehand, in a weekly doubles game that the two men have participated in for four years running.
在4号场地，你可能会看到爱马仕(Hermès)的沟通部高级副总裁皮特·马拉奇(Peter Malachi)正在大力扣杀，也可能会看到《W》杂志的执行主编阿曼德·林姆纳德(Armand Limnander)挥手打出一个正位上旋球；在过去的四年里，他们每周都来这里玩双打。
Upstairs, Jillian Demling, the entertainment editor of Vogue, and Karen Mulligan, the agent and studio manager for the photographer Annie Leibovitz, who have together founded the swimwear line Pret-à-Surf, take lessons from Basil Thompson, a soft-spoken, reedy pro who is popular there. Mr. Thompson, a Jamaica native, also teaches the model Hilary Rhoda (“laidback, but she’s a perfectionist,” he said), the hockey player and dandy Sean Avery (whom Mr. Thompson called “aggressive”) and Jessica Diehl, the fashion and style director of Vanity Fair.
楼上，一起创立泳衣品牌Pret-à-Surf的《Vogue》杂志娱乐编辑吉莉安·戴姆灵(Jillian Demling)和摄影师安妮·莱博维茨(Annie Leibovitz)的经纪人兼工作室经理凯伦·莫利甘(Karen Mulligan)正在跟巴兹尔·汤普森(Basil Thompson)学打网球。后者是一位言语温和、身体瘦削的网球教练，在这儿很受欢迎。汤普森来自牙买加，他的学员还有模特希拉里·罗达(Hilary Rhoda)（他说她“很随和，但是追求完美”），曲棍球选手、花花公子肖恩·艾弗利(Sean Avery)（汤姆森称他“很有进攻性”）和《名利场》的时尚总监杰西卡·迪尔(Jessica Diehl)。
David Neville, the designer at Rag & Bone who is married to Gucci Westman, the makeup artist, also books morning lessons at Midtown Tennis two to three times a week, although he’s not picky about with whom. Mr. Neville has practiced his enviable ground strokes, developed after only two years of play, with Midtown instructors like Errol Campbell, Wayne Walker and Byron Spence, the latter of whom guides the game of tennis’s most famous fashion fan, Anna Wintour.
瑞格布恩(Rag & Bone)的设计师戴维·纳维尔(David Neville) 是化妆师古琦·维斯特曼(Gucci Westman)的丈夫，他也在“市中心网球俱乐部”每周预约了两到三次的上午课程，不过他不挑教练。仅仅学了两年，他已经很让人羡慕地开始学习击落地球了。他的教练有埃罗尔·坎贝尔(Errol Campbell)，韦恩·沃克(Wayne Walker)和拜伦·斯宾塞(Byron Spence)，后者同时还指导时尚界最著名的网球迷安娜·温图尔(Anna Wintour)。
“She’s like a retriever,” the muscular and fit Mr. Spence, also from Jamaica, said of the powerful Vogue editor. “She’s so fast. She’ll chase down everything. She doesn’t hit with a lot of spin, but she has an amazing cross-court forehand.”
Spurred perhaps not only by Ms. Wintour’s devotion to the game (she often sits in the player’s box for the Grand Slam matches of Roger Federer), but also by the enthusiasm of other editors like Stefano Tonchi of W and designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Tom Ford and Vera Wang, fashion seems to be in the midst of a love affair with tennis. For Ms. Burch, for example, summer didn’t officially start until after “2 hours of tennis,” she posted to her Twitter account in June.
温图尔对这项运动非常投入（大满贯比赛时她经常坐在罗杰·费德勒[Roger Federer]的球员包厢里），其他编辑和设计师也对此充满热情，例如《W》杂志的斯特凡诺·通奇(Stefano Tonchi)， 汤米·希尔费格(Tommy Hilfiger)，托里·伯奇(Tory Burch)，汤姆·福特(Tom Ford)和王薇薇(Vera Wang)。在他们的推动下，时尚似乎爱上了网球。例如，伯奇六月份在推特上说，“不打两个小时网球”，夏季就没有正式开始。
According to People magazine, Ms. Wang met her husband, Arthur Becker, at a tennis match in Forest Hills, Queens, though she recently announced their separation.
《人物》杂志称，王薇薇是在皇后区森林小丘(Forest Hills)的网球比赛上认识她的丈夫亚瑟·贝克尔(Arthur Becker)的，虽然她最近宣布跟丈夫分居了。
Mr. Neville wooed Ms. Westman courtside. “My first-ever date with my wife, I took her to a Wimbledon final,” he said. “She was impressed.” Ms. Westman doesn’t play, but Mr. Neville has competition. “She’s in love with Roger Federer,” he said. “And our daughter was born on Roger’s birthday, Aug. 8.”
It doesn’t hurt, perhaps, that the sport allows for business chatter without the calories of a three-martini lunch. “You do make fast friends — and maybe with someone you wouldn’t necessarily be able to — because you spend this quality time together,” said Mr. Malachi, who brings his Babolat racket on business trips even when he doesn’t have court time scheduled.
“Sometimes even having it with you, you can create this instant bond,” he said. “It happened on a work trip to L.A. when I flew out for the Oscars. I ended up playing with an agent from one of the firms out there. He saw my racket, and we just connected.”
Some find its rules of order and gentle thwacks relaxing (“For me, tennis is more meditative than yoga,” Ms. Diehl said), while others find the court a safe theater of aggression. “The great thing about a doubles game is that you can hit someone,” Mr. Limnander said with a devilish smile. “I mean literally. You can hit the person at the net.”
ON summer weekends, the unofficial league heads to less-gritty digs in the Hamptons. Ms. Demling (“I’m the loud one that’s always kind of out of control,” she said) and Ms. Mulligan, who is steady and consistent, play at Sportime in Amagansett, N.Y., where they take lessons from Ted Dimond. Mr. Dimond, who also teaches the couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, said that, contrary to prissy fashion stereotypes, many of his students from that field are skilled.
在夏天的周末，这个非官方联盟会去汉普顿斯沙砾较小的场地。戴姆灵（“我是那种很闹腾的人，总是有点失控的样子，”她说）和一向沉稳的莫利甘在纽约阿曼甘塞特的“运动时光”俱乐部打球，教练是泰德·狄梦德(Ted Dimond)。狄梦德的学生还有娜奥米·沃茨(Naomi Watts)和里夫·施雷伯(Liev Schreiber)夫妇，他说时尚界人士并不像传说的那样纤弱，他的很多时尚界学生技术相当好。
“A lot of people in fashion were at one point models, and if anything they’re very lithe, strong and athletic,” he said, adding that Ms. Demling was “pretty good” but “could be great, if she was able to cut down on her hours at Vogue.”
“And, of course, if you’re in the business you have to look a certain way,” he said. “You have to be in shape, and tennis does that, too.”
Peter Marino, the star architect who is known for designing Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Céline and Dior stores and for wearing head-to-toe black leather, is a member of the Southampton Bath and Tennis club. Mr. Marino, who played squash at Cornell University, also frequently whizzes baseline winners from the personally designed, sunken-in private court at his nearby house, overlooked by Lalanne sculptures.
皮特·马瑞诺(Peter Marino)，著名的建筑师，以设计香奈儿、路易斯威登(Louis Vuitton)、芬迪(Fendi)、赛琳(Céline)和迪奥(Dior)的店铺、从头到脚穿黑色皮革而出名，他是南安普顿洗浴网球俱乐部的会员。马瑞诺也在康奈尔大学打壁球，还经常在附近他家里自己设计的下沉式球场以底线球一球制胜，球场外陈列着拉兰恩(Lalanne)设计的雕塑。
With a relentless travel and work schedule for most the year, Mr. Marino takes the month of August off, playing tennis daily. He usually faces off against nonfashion types, he said, although profession and play occasionally align.
“One of my clients, Bernard Arnault, is a tennis fanatic,” Mr. Marino said, describing the chairman of LVMH, the luxury goods company. “He is extremely good at it, and we talk about it all the time. Once, he asked, ‘Do you want to play for a month’s fee?’ I said, ‘No way!’ Because he’s better than I am.”
Regardless of the skill level, the fashionable also relish the chance to sport attractive athletic wear. Though (disappointingly) he doesn’t wear his signature leather on the court, Mr. Marino does wear all black, unless he’s at one of the increasingly rare clubs with an all-white dress code.
“Then I make sure I’m wearing sunglasses so no one knows it’s me,” he said, laughing.
Others, like Ms. Diehl, prefer the classic prep-school ensembles of the Federer variety.
“I mourn the fact that not more tournaments are tennis-whites-only,” Ms. Diehl said. “It’s one of the last few sports that, if you dress appropriately, it’s chic attire.”
Suroosh Alvi, a founder of Vice magazine, who plays weekday mornings at public courts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, often with the fashion designer Swaim Hutson, might shock Ms. Diehl’s good taste. He described his match style as “utilitarian and semi-militant,” perhaps including “a Hamas Police Force T-shirt,” paired with shorts by Supreme.
《Vice》杂志的创始人之一苏罗什·阿尔维(Suroosh Alvi)每个工作日的早上都在布鲁克林威廉斯堡的公共球场上打网球，通常是跟时装设计师斯温·赫特森(Swaim Hutson)一起。他的着装可能会吓到迪尔。他形容自己的打球风格是“功利主义的，有点好战的”，这可能包括他穿的“伊斯兰抵抗运动”的警察T恤和Supreme短裤。
Ms. Demling and Ms. Mulligan fancy retro styling. (Mr. Alvi seconded it: “Tennis used to be much more stylish than it is nowadays. The designers all seem to have lost their minds a bit — these space-age modern styles.”) They designed a few tennis pieces, flirty pleated skirts and shirt dresses, part Brigitte Bardot and part Althea Gibson, for Pret-à-Surf that could almost pass for cocktail garb.
戴姆灵和莫利甘都喜欢复古风。（阿尔维也是这样：“过去网球比现在要时髦得多。现在的设计师们好像都有点疯了——才设计出这些太空时代的网球服。”）她们为Pret-à-Surf品牌设计了几件网球单品，轻盈的有皱褶边的网球裙和长袖连衣裙，带着点碧姬·巴铎(Brigitte Bardot)的味道，也带着点爱尔西亚·吉布森（Althea Gibson，译注：上世纪50年代的美国黑人女网球明星）的味道，穿着这些，差不少能去参加鸡尾酒会了。
“I love the classic white tennis dresses,” Ms. Mulligan said wistfully of 1950s court style. Ms. Demling wears more color. “I even lay out my tennis clothing the night before,” she said.
The connection between the industry and the sport has become so attuned that many of the pros, like Mr. Thompson, who has never attended a fashion event, have developed an eye for good fit. When he’s not in his tennis whites at Midtown, Mr. Thompson can often be found in front of the club’s waiting area for the next lesson in handsomely tailored trousers and a crisp button-down shirt.
“I find proper attire almost an essential part of the game,” Mr. Thompson said. “The ones that play well, like Nadal, Federer and Serena Williams, you find they have a certain recognizable style about them.”
Ms. Williams and her sister Venus, of course, have crossed over into fashion, as has the French Open champion Maria Sharapova, who has collaborated on footwear and accessories with Cole Haan. In May, Novak Djokovic traded his Sergio Tacchini polos for outfits by Uniqlo, the Japanese fast-fashion retailer.
当然，小威廉姆斯和她的姐姐已经跨界进入时装业。还有法国网球公开赛的冠军玛丽亚·莎拉波娃(Maria Sharapova)，她已经和科尔哈恩(Cole Haan)就鞋子和配饰达成了合作协议。5月份，诺瓦克·德约科维奇(Novak Djokovic)不再穿达芝妮(Sergio Tacchini)的polo衫比赛，而是身穿日本快速时尚品牌优衣库的比赛服。
In ready-to-wear, other than perhaps with Ralph Lauren, the boundaries are more sacrosanct. “There’s the occasional tennis-inspired collection,” Ms. Diehl said. “Jean Paul Gaultier did one for Hermès. But I don’t think about the sport having a fashion influence.”
对于成衣来说，也许除了拉夫·劳伦(Ralph Lauren)，运动服和时装的界限非常严格。“网球偶尔能启发设计，”迪尔说。“让·保罗·戈尔杰(Jean Paul Gaultier)为爱马仕设计了一件衣服。但是我觉得运动不会对时尚有影响。”
Mr. Neville agreed, before cheekily adding, “Nothing wrong with short skirts, though.”
Even so, when planning a fashion show, a young designer would be wise to consider the United States Open, beginning late this month and spilling over into New York Fashion Week. Ms. Wintour is often spotted at Flushing Meadows during those dates, as is Mr. Limnander.
“I go every year, and I go as much as possible,” Mr. Limnander said. “Annoyingly, it always goes into the beginning of fashion week. I don’t lie. I tell the designers or P.R. people I might skip their show to see a match.”
Mr. Malachi, meanwhile, has been trying to organize court time for the Paris ready-to-wear shows in September, when he and his editor pals will be without Midtown Tennis.
“I heard there’s this secret underground court there,” Mr. Malachi said. “But I haven’t been able to find out where it is.”