Melbourne - Bethanie
Mattek-Sands is known for her knee-high football socks, fashion
statements, dyed hair and colourful tattoos, with the American revelling
in being known as the tennis world's "Lady Gaga".
The brash 33-year-old is still battling back to full fitness after
suffering an horrific broken knee cap at Wimbledon in 2017, and was
beaten in the first round at the Australian Open.
But she remains positive and launched her own fashion brand in Melbourne this week - "Love Down Under".
"Fashion is fun for me. I love interesting design too; I'm renovating
a house, so I'm kind of an artist at heart," she said in a column for
the Players Voice website.
"It's what I take on the court with me. I'm original, fun, and always myself."
Back in 2011, one of singing superstar Lady Gaga's fashion designers,
Alex Noble, designed a tennis ball dress for her to wear at the
Wimbledon player's party at Kensington Gardens.
And the nickname "Lady Gaga of the tennis world" quickly caught on.
"When I met with him (Noble), I basically said, 'Give me some
craziness that you would do for Lady Gaga and I'll wear it on the red
carpet'," she said.
"That's what we came up with. It was a lot of fun. It was cool to see that creative process.
"I've also been called America's tennis rock star," she added. "I
like both names! I feel like I add a little bit of funk and uniqueness
and originality to the tour."
While several women players now sport tattoos on court, Mattek-Sands was one of the first to do so and is proud to be "a rebel".
"A lot of girls have tattoos now, but I was probably one of the first
to have tattoos that were visible on the court," she said.
"I had coloured hair. I wore different outfits. I guess I've always
been a bit of a rebel. It's my personality. It's how I would be if I
didn't play tennis, it's how I am off the court."
When Mattek-Sands suffered her horror injury she was the number one
doubles player in the world, had won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio
Olympics and three doubles Grand Slams in a row with partner Lucie
She said it was the most painful experience of her life, but never
doubted that she would be able to play again. She made her comeback in
Miami in March last year and won the US Open mixed doubles in September.
"Right now, I feel like I'm moving better than I have. I improved
each week heading into the Australian Open," she said.
"So I'm going to
take that as my win."