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Marta Kostyuk’s photoshoot inside NYC’s Grand Central Terminal came together in just 7 minutes
From giving fashion feedback to Wilson designers to adding Sandra Zaniewska to her coaching team, the Ukrainian is in the driver's seat ahead of the US Open.
Published Aug 28, 2023
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NEW YORK—Wilson Sporting Goods has long built its brand on being ‘the ball for all’. With the company celebrating its 45th year as the official ball of the US Open, those balls have already made headlines in tennis spheres, as the women are set to switch to Extra Duty and, for the first time, compete with the same balls as the men.
Marta Kostyuk, Wilson’s first 360 athlete, is aiming to make some headlines of her own in Flushing Meadows too. The outspoken Ukrainian wears the brand from head to toe—or rather, from her Blade 98 v8 racquet to her Rush Pro 4.0 shoes, with her custom on-and-off-court sportswear.
Before the last major of the season got underway, Kostyuk took part in an unforgettable hitting session and a lightning-quick seven-minute photoshoot at the Vanderbilt Tennis Club—one of New York City’s most iconic tennis courts, located inside Grand Central Terminal—to showcase the brand’s new US Open collection.
“I was in a car and when we were entering, I asked my manager, 'Where are we going? I thought that we were going to play tennis!’ And it was like, ‘Yeah, but there's tennis courts inside here.’ I'm like, What?? I had to stop and realize, Okay, this is an interesting experience,” Kostyuk tells Baseline.
Wilson’s latest sportswear drop features on-and-off the court looks for men and women, in colorways inspired by New York City tennis like classic navy, field green and, of course, tennis ball yellow. The latter was an executive decision from Kostyuk herself. Working closely with Joelle Michaeloff, head of design at Wilson Sportswear, the 21-year-old gave her some off-hand feedback that would eventually become a signature feature of the collection.
“I saw some pictures of how the dress would look back in March of this year… but it was a burgundy color, like a red wine color,” Kostyuk recalled, gesturing at her neon yellow Midtown Tennis Dress. “And I was like, 'Okay it’s a nice color. I would still play in it at the US Open, but I just thought it would be a different color.'
“But then Joelle was like, 'You know what, let's do it like a tennis ball. Like a very bright yellow color.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, this will be cool.’ I think this is going to look really cool with the surroundings of the US Open, especially if it’s a night session.
“It will look even better under the lights here.”
She also gave her stamp of approval to Wilson’s limited-edition “Noir” racquet drop. Inspired by the classic black and white Film Noir era, the brand’s classic frames like the Blade V8, Pro Staff V14, Ultra V4 and Clash V2 will get an all-black twist during the US Open.
Kostyuk says she has been getting more comfortable calling the shots recently—from giving fashion feedback to team Wilson, to taking the reins in her career by adding Sandra Zaniewska, a Polish former player and coach, to her own team at the start of August.
That move meant that mother Talina, a former professional tennis player and Kostyuk’s lifelong regular coach, had to take a step back. It was a tough decision for Kostyuk, who won her first WTA title back in March at a WTA 250-level event in Austin, but lost her last three matches coming into the US Open.
“I’ve just started to go in the direction of, like, it’s my responsibility,” Kostyuk said. “This is what I want, and I want to achieve it. That gave me a freedom of choice, I would say, because I started to understand that this is my responsibility only.
“It hasn’t been easy to feel this way, because I’ve been coached by my mom for many years…. So it’s not just any coach, you know, that just comes into your life and then decides everything for me. It was a very long process since I was born.
“But that's when the change happened, when I was not afraid to make mistakes and to really take responsibility for my own actions.”
Having arrived in New York ranked No. 39 after reaching the quarterfinals in Washington DC, Kostyuk is hoping that it all translates into a standout result to jolt her season into high gear.
She starts against No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon champion, in the US Open first round on Monday.