PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANNE MENKE
Competing in front of sold out stadiums and on television sets worldwide, the professional athlete has to look as good as she plays. She needs a hairstyle that will keep the hair off her face while still showing off a little personal style. Ponytails and braids, headbands and visors are just a few tricks of the trade and favorites among tennis players — and no one knows more about that than Julien Farel, namesake of the Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa.
Every year since 2007, Julien Farel and his team of stylists open a pop-up salon for the players and their VIPs at the US Open tennis tournament. They cut and style the on and off court looks of such players as Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, and Rafael Nadal. “What I love about it”, says Lucie Ducrot, one of the salon’s top stylists, “is you get to meet all the players intimately because you cut their hair. They are always so low key and down to earth, and you create a relationship because you see them every year. The first year I cut Novak Djokovic’s hair he won! I was so proud!”
With the tennis season in full swing, who better to create some sporty summer hairstyles for Style of Sport? We brought Lucie Ducrot out to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at SPORTIME, located on Randall’s Island in Manhattan, to style the tresses of a few of their top players and coaches. The John McEnroe Tennis Academy offers advanced level tennis training, under the guidance of one of the sport’s greatest players and his staff of world-class coaches — while still providing young players the opportunity to live at home, continue their education, and participate in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. Of primary importance is the maintenance of balanced and healthy lives…
IRA ALEKSOVA, COACH, AGE 30
Originally from Macedonia, Ira has been playing tennis since she was 3 years old. She competed as a junior at both the national and international level, and locally here at St. John’s University, where she was MVP in 2009. Ira is proud to call former top ranked player, Ana Ivanovic, a childhood friend and to have had the opportunity to play Maria Sharapova in the Under 14 European Championships in 2004. “It was a doubles match and Macedonia lost, but it was such a fun experience!”
Ira has been teaching at SPORTIME and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy since September of 2016. “I love it! First and foremost, I enjoy sharing my knowledge of tennis and how it feels to be a professional tennis player. Ensuring our clients have a happy lesson that makes them feel confident and energized when they leave is very important. No matter the level, if you make it fun for them it will be fun for you too!”
An avid athlete, Ira runs, does yoga, resistance, and HIIT training when not playing tennis. “I also bike to and from work every day. It’s a great way to start my day and a nice, little warm up before I get to the tennis courts.”
THE LOOK: For Ira’s long blond hair, Lucie made 3 tight braids on top to keep her hair off her face, and then pulled it back into a ponytail. For a bit of fun but functional style, Lucie used 3 elastics at the top, middle, and bottom of the ponytail, but you can style it any way. Some players like their hair flying around, others want it more controlled. This look may seem a bit fancy but it keeps the ponytail together and looks great for the cameras! Julien Farel Smooth Creme makes hair shiny and soft, and acts as conditioner while you play.
Ira is wearing Lacoste Women’s Australian Open Tennis Tank Top & Sport Light Technical Knit Pleated Skirt. All available at Lacoste.com.
ALEKSANDRA BEKIROVA, MAC1 LEVEL PLAYER, AGE 17
Aleksandra Bekirova is 17 years old and a Mac1 player, the highest level at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. “Sasha” was born in the US, but her parents are from Russia. She was 6 years old when she started playing, 9 years old when started to compete, and 11 years old when she started playing at the academy. Sasha is currently ranked 114th in her grade nationally, 20th in the Eastern section of Girls 18.
Sasha trains 2 to 3 hours a day, including fitness, every weekday after school. “Most weekends I have tournaments that last for 2 to 3 days with an average 5 matches that I play. During the summer, I train from 9 am to 4 pm — 4 hours of tennis and 2 hours of fitness.” Her dream tournament to play? “The French Open is my favorite tournament and I would love to play in it someday if the sport takes me that far. Red clay is such an exotic surface and I’ve always wanted to play on it. And besides, who doesn’t love Paris!”
THE LOOK: A visor is a great sport and style accessory. It’s essentially a headband with a brim that keeps your hair off your face, while providing protection from the sun. Says Lucie, “It’s got a fun opening at the top for a big braid or bun, but worn very high for a chic look!” Julien Farel Flexible Gel applied to the roots keeps the hair tight and flyaways off the face.
For a sexy look when play is done, Lucie recommends dry shampoo. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo or Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oatmilk, to get the sweat out and give hair texture. Then hit four big pieces with a curling iron — 2 chunks in front, 2 midway back — and mess it up again with dry shampoo. For the athlete on the go, it’s an quick and easy look that can be whipped up in no time!
Sasha is wearing Nikecourt Women’s Knit Tennis Jacket, Nikecourt Victory Tennis Skirt, Nike Pro Hypercool Women’s Tank, and Nike Featherlight Tennis Visor. All available at Nike.com.
KAYLA CARTER, COACH, AGE 25
Kayla Carter has been teaching at SPORTIME and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy since June of 2015. Formerly top 5 in native state of North Carolina, and in the top 100 nationally, she has been playing since age 5. Exuding a playful and positive energy, what Kayla likes about teaching tennis is, “I have the opportunity to not only instruct someone how to be a good athlete, but ways to be a good person overall.”
For Kayla, the Williams sisters are a huge inspiration. “Admiration is an extremely modest word for what I have for Serena Williams. I could ramble on and on about her. Venus Williams, as well.” As for the guys, it’s Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and… John McEnroe! “Pretty much any time I have the chance to watch John play at work, I take it. He’s genuinely a legend!”
THE LOOK: Kayla loves having her long extensions run free, but still needs her hair off her face during play. Lucie pulls the front pieces back with a big clip, leaving the rest loose. We love the invisibobble POWER strong grip hair ring which has an intensified spiral shape for voluminous hair and gives an extra strong hold during sports. Lucie recommends Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream to define and smooth curls and Kayla likes Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream for that healthy and shiny look.
Makeup, Katie Genchi; Stylist, Emily Gottshall
Click register for John McEnroe’s Summer Pro Am Fundraiser in the Hamptons