Li Wins Australian Open; Ralph Lauren Overdoes Olympic Cardigan

The Australian Open is drawing to a close with Li Na of China winning the women's tournament on Saturday. If Rafael Nadal wins on Sunday, he'll be the first man to win all the majors twice in the era of opens. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins NPR's Jacki Lyden to talk tennis and weigh in on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms.

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JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's time for sports. Big tennis news today. Li Na from China has won the women's final at the Australian Open. And tomorrow, the men take the court. And on a sartorial note, have you seen the U.S. Olympic team's official outfits? If not, you might want to make sure you're properly caffeinated first. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine joins me now from New England Public Radio. Hello there, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hi Jacki. How are you?

LYDEN: I'm great. Let's start with this tennis news. Li Na is this year's Australian Open Champ. Since a lot of people are just waking up to the news, tell us how she won.

BRYANT: Oh, it was just a fantastic win for her and I think how she won actually happened last year when she was up a set, she was very close to a championship against Victoria Azarenka and then hurt her ankle, and then hit her head on the court and ended up losing the match. And so she had a whole year to kind of think about this and get back to it.

And this year she didn't miss. She beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 7-6, 6-love, and a great championship for her. We talk a lot about athletes who can't handle the pressure and we spend a lot of time fixating on what they can't do and what they aren't. And she was under a lot of pressure and she almost quit the sport six months ago, and this time she saw the finish line and she didn't miss. Have a lot of respect for that.

LYDEN: Big win. A big win.

BRYANT: Excellent.

LYDEN: And the men play overnight U.S. time tonight, Howard. Rafael Nadal versus No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka. What are we watching for there?

BRYANT: Well, you're watching for Rafael Nadal to make history. An unbelievable comeback for him. If he wins this match he'll be the only man in the history of the sport in the open era to win each Grand Slam twice. Nobody else has done that. Not McEnroe, not Connors, Federer; none of them. And it's amazing for him considering that he had missed seven months with a knee injury.

And it's a wonderful thing for Nadal as well because the way that he plays the sport is so physical and when you watch the way that these guys - last year - not last year. Two years ago, in 2012, he had lost a 5 hour, 53 minute marathon final to Novak Djokovic, so it'll be good to see him come back. And Stan Wawrinka is terrific as well. If he wins, it's his first final. You know, there's more to life than all of these big guys so, you know, maybe the underdog will get this one too.

LYDEN: That'll be exciting. Well listen, we can't leave our chat without talking about the official Ralph Lauren sweaters for the U.S. Olympic team. These cardigans, you know, Howard, I want to say they remind me, richly pattern of snow falling in the Caucuses.

BRYANT: Yeah, they're pretty dreadful. I think Ralph Lauren should probably stick to tennis because the tennis outfits - their Wimbledon and their U.S. Open outfits are fantastic. They're incredibly expensive, but at least they look good.

LYDEN: That's Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Thank you as always.

BRYANT: My pleasure.

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LYDEN: This is NPR News.

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