There were two big returns to the court today at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Well, two and a half. First, Alisa Kleybanova. She played her first match since leaving the WTA tour 10 months ago to get treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma - and won. Next up was Venus Williams. She hadn't played a singles match since announcing she was suffering from Sjögren's Syndrome 7 months ago at the US Open. She won her opening match as well, routing Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3.
And now for the half. I say "half" not because it's half as good or anything but because it just doesn't compare to these two lady ballers coming back from these serious health conditions. But, it's worth a mention: EleVen is back, too!
V broke out a new dress for her match from the relaunched 2012 Spring Collection which has evolved into more sportswear than just sports apparel. Apparently, she now has an excuse for the full-on cray she had been wearing on court as of late. You know - this, this, this, this, this. It was all an "experiment." Like pairing a brown belt with black shoes. Or chunky bangs. This new EleVen is the rawlness (my word, not hers). And, get this - there's now a men's line. V's planning on having mass distribution for EleVen so more people can wear what she wears on court.
It's a fine restart. Some basics with a bit of fashion thrown in (loving the "Oh & Oh" tagline). And, V definitely upped the quality quotient from what I can tell in the pictures. I'll be interested to see how the collections evolve and where she ends up selling it. But, I give her full credit for continuing to build the Venus Williams brand. Young lady ballers, pay attention. There's life after tennis so be prepared.
More shots from the EleVen capsule collection after the jump - click the headline!
[Photo(s) credit: EleVen by Venus Williams Facebook page]