With tennis fever sweeping Manhattan—the US Open is less than a week away—the only thing hotter than the temperature at Bryant Park earlier today were the matches on “center court.” Tommy Hilfiger created its own mini Arthur Ashe Stadium in the heart of Midtown, celebrating its latest brand ambassador, Rafael Nadal. And the world’s eighth-best men’s singles player didn’t disappoint, cutting a lean figure in a Hilfiger Tailored Collection suit including a natty pocket square. “I have been a fan of Tommy’s designs and the brand for a lot of years,” said Nadal to the screaming crowds, adding, “It’s a very special moment for me.” Joined by the designer and umpire Jane Lynch—yes, Sue Sylvester from Glee—Nadal prepared himself to judge the competition checking out everyone’s ensembles.
Chanel Iman in a throwback all-white look with striped trim exclaimed, “This is my first time playing tennis!” So how did the center court newbie prepare? “I just learned the game yesterday, but I’m a big Serena Williams fan and have seen her play a few times.” But not everyone was a first-timer. Hannah Davis played when she was growing up but admitted to having a few nerves. “It’s been a while,” said the Sports Illustrated cover model in a neoprene bomber jacket with patches, a polo, and high-waisted shorts, adding, “I’m kind of freaking out.” Did she have a strategy? “I’m just going to be running around forehand and hitting it backhand!”
After riveting rounds of models (including Noah Mills and Constance Jablonski) facing off against other chic competitors, Nadal took to the court against Iman and Akin Akman, the winners of all of the previous games. The twist? For each point lost, one article of clothing had to be removed. While luckily no one had to go completely bare, Akman’s efforts against Nadal proved to be unsuccessful, as the SoulCycle instructor was forced to strip down to his Tommy briefs. In the stands watching the antics were Martha Stewart, Lake Bell, and actor Nat Wolff, who is currently starring in the summer hit Paper Towns and gearing up to have two films released in a month: The Intern and Ashby. “My dad’s a big tennis fan,” said Wolff, adding that he didn’t partake in the games as, “I could kick all their asses. My backhand is randomly better.”