Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the American who has advanced to the third round of the French Open this week, has taken to playing in eye black. I can understand if you have a sponsor that wants their message imprinted on it but really? Is golf the next sport to embrace eye black?
The stripes of grease swiped under the eyes are usually the reserve of football and baseball players, but Mattek-Sands is bringing eye black up a notch, with stick-on strips adorned with little silver Bs — for Bethanie.
In the normally conservative world of tennis, Mattek-Sands’ penchant for tattoos, knee-high socks and zany outfits pushes the boundaries. She played the 2007 U.S. Open in a gold lamé number over what looked like a black push-up bra, has been fined for wearing a cowboy hat during a match, and plans to attend the Wimbledon players’ party in a dress crafted entirely from tennis equipment by one of Lady Gaga’s designers, Alex Noble.
She said the eye black helps her game, but she also doesn’t shy away from the extra attention it has gotten her this year.
“I had tried it a while back and the reason I did it again is I found it reduced the glare,” Mattek-Sands, 26, said from Paris. “Besides that, it’s something different, it’s something funky. I think tennis is pretty conservative and I’m just not. I just want to bring a fresh look to tennis.”
According to wikipedia I found this info on eye black.
Traditional grease consists of beeswax, paraffin, and carbon. Anti-glare face stripes that emulate the grease are also commonly used. One of the earliest known instances of a player wearing eye black is baseball legend Babe Ruth, who, in or around the 1930s, used the grease in an attempt to reduce sun glare. According to Paul Lukas of ESPN.com, eye black caught on with football player Andy Farkas. He also states that the original eye black was made from burned cork ashes.
A 2003 study by Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk tested whether black eye grease actually had anti-glare properties. The subjects of the study were divided into three groups: wearers of eye black, wearers of anti-glare stickers, and wearers of petroleum jelly. The subjects’ vision was tested using an eye chart while being exposed to natural sunlight. The study concluded that eye black reduced glare of the sun and improved contrast sensitivity
So do you think more tennis players will start sporting eye black?