Source AP ©

Maria Sharapova's outfits to be decorated with New York's skyline for U.S. Open

Next week tennis star Maria Sharapova will defend her U.S. Open title. She'll be wearing tennis dresses decorated with graphic interpretations of New York 's skyline.

The designs, created in collaboration with Nike senior designer Colleen Sandieson, were shown off at a news conference on Wednesday.

Like last year, Sharapova will have one outfit dedicated for day play and another for night matches.

"Nike has always understood my desire to make a big impression in New York," she said in a statement. "And the dresses that we've worked on for the U.S. Open have always looked as good as they feel when I'm playing. This year is especially exciting because the designs are inspired by the city itself."

The night dress is a bright flaming red - in honor of the Big Apple - in a flared shift silhouette. It's a sleek garment made of a breathable wicking jersey and constructed with a no-sew technique with seams bonded with heat and silicone instead of thread.

There are more than 600 Swarovski crystals incorporated into the design, which makes the dress sparkle. Additionally, there are three crystal buttons down the back, creating a keyhole effect.

For the daytime, the look is similar but without the flashiness of the crystals. The dress is mostly white with a gray skyline image against a black backdrop. It has a scoop-back design that facilitates movement, according to Sandieson.

Performance is always the priority, Sandieson said, but she and Sharapova strive for designs that marry function with fashion.

"She has a fantastic game and I have a lot of respect for that but she has a great eye for detail. She's got a style that's very natural to her, and she also knows what she likes and doesn't like," Sandieson told The Associated Press.

Sharapova, 20, has become a player in the fashion world and has sponsorship deals with Parlux Fragrances, handbag company Samantha Thavasa and watchmaker Tag Heuer in addition to Nike. She follows Venus and Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova as tennis players who are also seen as style icons.

"She wears clothes that a lot of other women would like to own and look good in," said Susan Kaufman, editor of People StyleWatch.

Kaufman also notes that today's tennis stars are photographed when they're off the court, too, giving more of a glimpse of their personal style.

The U.S. Open starts on Monday. Sharapova is the No. 2 seed.

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