By Richard Pagliaro
(August 29, 2010) Several of tennis' top stars were in top form in New York City Saturday night serving up drinks and toasts to Dunlop's new racquet line at a launch party for Dunlop's Biomimetics line at the Union Square Ballroom on 15th Street. Dunlop Brand ambassador John McEnroe, and Dunlop endorsers Fernando Verdasco, Nikolay Davydenko, Jurgen Melzer, Dominika Cibulkova, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Ross Hutchins took turns behind the bar pouring drinks and chatting with the crowd.
Master of ceremonies McEnroe entertained the crowd recalling how he was attracted to Dunlop racquets as a junior because his tennis idol, Rod Laver, played with Dunlop, "and in those days they had little pictures of the players on the racquet," McEnroe recalled.
Biomimetics means to "imitate life," though McEnroe conceded his Dunlop wood racquets had a limited lifespan thanks to some of his early tennis tirades.
"I used to get two racquets a year. As you can imagine, they didn't last me too long," said McEnroe with a sly smile recalling the destructive days of his youth.
Introducing Verdasco, who drew a swarm of female admirers with cell phones raised to snap photos of the player who looks like he stepped out of a Calvin Klein underwear ad even when dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt, McEnroe asked the swashbuckling Spaniard what it would take to share some of his good looks.
"Give me your volley," Verdasco replied with a smile.
Chatting with 2009 French Open semifinalist Cibulkova, clad in a canary-colored polo shirt, McEnroe asked the diminutive Slovak her height. When Cibulkova answered in meters, McEnroe replied "Can you give that to me in feet? We're Americans, we don't understand the metric system and we only speak one language."
Acknowledging Tennis Channel's Bret Connors, son of his archrival, Jimmy Connors, in the crowd, McEnroe said "It's funny, Bret hangs out with me, and Sean McEnroe (McEnroe's son) hangs out with Jimmy."
Melzer, looking exceedingly fit, said his goal is to try to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London in both singles and doubles.
A host of tennis insiders including USTA president Lucy Garvin (who introduced McEnroe as the greatest player of all time, prompting McEnroe to reply "Thank you Lucy for that nice introduction but your nose is growing calling me the greatest of all time"); Liza Horan of Tennis Wire.org, Erwin Ong of Tennis Served Fresh, former Tennis Week editor Kent Oswald, former Tennis Week and USTA all star Stephanie Borges, Tennis Channel's Doug Drotman and Jennifer Arianas, Racquet Sport Industry's Peter Francesconi and Cindy Cantrell, Tennis Resorts Online Roger Cox and famed New York area coach Pat Rogers joined leading retailers at the bash hosted by Dunlop's Kai Nitsche.
The new frames hit stores in mid November, but some Dunlop Tour Team members have already put them in play.