Fashion in the Tennis World

Sports have been a big part of my life since I was a toddler – some of my earliest memories are of my first NBA game (where I continually asked my dad why I couldn’t “go down there” onto the court). Now that I have developed an interest for fashion, it’s been interesting witness how the two passions combine. In basketball and other team sports with uniforms, it’s a little more difficult to see, but in a sport like tennis, where sponsorships are key and players have some choice in what they can wear.

If I’m not mistaken, I’ve watched at least a few matches of every grand slam since 2004. I’ve picked out some of my favorite looks, and others I think are just too iconic or unforgettable to leave out.

Maria Sharapova, US Open 2008

This dress is just amazing. It made me think of the US Open as a tennis Met Gala or something. It doesn’t hurt that Maria is probably the best person to wear all these amazing dresses, but this one, with the Swarovski crystals around the neckline, and it’s almost fit-and-flare silhouette is flawless. Her earrings are pretty as well. If only we all were Maria Sharapovas.

Serena Williams, US Open 2004

Serena Williams plays in denim and knee-high boots... (2004)

I remember being 11 years old and being shocked when I saw Serena Williams walk on to the court in this outfit. A denim skirt and boots? I guess no one but Serena could pull this off (and this probably isn’t her craziest look, actually). She did take off the top part of her boots after warm up, but still. This outfit is ridiculous. But then again, in my opinion, tennis needs these sort of personalities – it goes to show that it’s not some old-rich-people-country-club game anymore, it’s a current, exciting and eclectic game.

Rafael Nadal, French Open 2009

This outfit is brings back a little bit of sadness, because it is the outfit Nadal wore the only time he lost at the French…I remember worrying that his knee injury would end his career. Anyway, apart from the emotion, I absolutely LOVE this pink/yellow/grey combination. I always think about the designers who design the clothes for the French Open, and how they have to pick colors that go well with the rusty red clay of the courts – it’s such a sight.

Maria Sharapova, Wimbledon 2008

I LOVE this might be my all-time favorite. Way to get creative with the “all white” rule, Maria. The tuxedo look (well, any look) is perfect on Maria. It accentuates her broad shoulders and tall, slim figure. The mix of sheer and tuxedo detailing on the front make for a stylish yet polished look. Even though she’s wearing shorts, she manages to create the perfect look for the classy, timeless grass courts of Wimbledon.

Venus Williams, French Open, 2011

I couldn’t exclude this dress because I had never seen anything like this in the tennis world. Or the sports world, for that matter. I mean for one thing, this dress looks like lingerie, but the thing you can’t see in this photograph is that Venus decided to wear spandex that was her exact skin color under the dress. So every time she served, you thought you were looking at her rear-end. I don’t know what fueled this outfit choice, but it’s interesting to say the very least.

Caroline Wozniacki, Wimbledon 2011

This isn’t my favorite dress ever, but I had to include it because it’s a Stella McCartney for Adidas design. It really excited me that designers were getting more into designing sportswear; I was a little disappointed with this dress. I mean it’s alright, but I would expect more from Stella McCartney!

Chris Evert, Wimbledon 1981

I couldn’t just not include some of the greats before my time. Chris Evert was my favorite from back in the 80s – I love her polished looks that would translate well even into today.

I would include more, but I think I’ve captured the essence of it. Can’t wait to see the outfits of Wimbledon this year!

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