Tennis Is Back – And So Is Its Fashion, Too

WASHINGTON, August 24, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

With the US Open just a week away, all of the major tennis apparel lines – Nike, FILA, and adidas – are revealing their latest fashion kits. There’s plenty of attention-grabbing styles: vintage looks and bright colors – even psychedelic, tie-dyed fabrics, too. One thing’s certain, this summer’s look is all in good taste.

No matter who your favorite player may be or what your brand preference is, there’s something colorful for everyone to appreciate.

On Sunday, for instance, Argentina’s diminutive Diego Schwartzman, seeded ninth, walked out on Court 17 styling a very cool and brightly-colored FILA tie-dyed t-shirt full of blue, orange, pink and green hues. It’s part of the FILA Top Spin collection that debuted earlier this month, and according to their website, the tie-dye inspired collection “teams kaleidoscopic color play with athlete-beloved upgrades, showcasing that great style does in fact play outside the lines.”

The affable Schwartzman grinned and showed great interest when a reporter asked him about it during his bilingual virtual press conference after he beat Norway’s 36th-ranked Casper Ruud 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach the second round. He’s all behind the new FILA design – and if anyone call pull off wearing a psychedelic tie-dye t-shirt, it’s Schwartzman.

“I really love it. I really love the new shirt,” Schwartzman told Tennis TourTalk during a Zoom virtual press conference on Sunday. “It’s 100 percent different that FILA is always trying to do… It was a nice change. I knew since the beginning of the year, but I was hoping to play at this tournament and to wear this shirt. So I’m very happy to be here and using these clothes for Cincinnati. The colors show a different style.”

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Diego’s psychedelic kit: 👍 or 👎? @cincytennis

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The Andre Agassi look – 30 years later

For tennis fans of a certain age, we all remember how we used to react when we saw Andre Agassi on the tennis court, right? It didn’t matter if he won or lost – more often, though, he won – it’s how he looked on court in his colorful and edgy Nike kits. They were fashion statements at a time when kits were still a bit stodgy.

Now, 30 years later, it seemed only a matter of time before Agassi’s Vintage Nike Challenge Court collection would be back in vogue. U.S. apparel icon Nike has unveiled its Agassi-inspired summer/US Open look at the Western & Southern Open that’s being played this year only at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the US Open, in Flushing Meadow, N.Y. – and it’s garnering a lot of social media buzz.

At first glance Saturday, Felix Auger-Aliassime, just 20 and not yet born when Agassi reached his fashion prime in the 1990s, brought back memories of Agassi with his palate of colors that included jet black, neon yellow and aqua blue. Indeed, the fashion Agassi made his signature during his rebel days is the gift that keep on giving.

Donna x Elle x Lei Lou

How did World No. 24 Donna Vekic spend part of her five-month hiatus from the WTA tour? She stayed busy modeling for Lei Lou’s pre-fall fashion collection and got a spread in fashion mag Elle. Whether or not it’s something for the 24-year-old Croatian to fall back when her pro tennis gig ends or merely to complement it, it’s always interesting to see athletes branch out to new and different things outside of the court. On Saturday, Vekic lost her first-round match in the Western & Southern Open against Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 6-3.

An Opening Day observation

ESPN tennis writer Pete Bodo observed all of the US Open Store mannequins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are waiting for Nike, FILA and adidas gear they will never wear. It’s what happens when fans are not allowed to attend this year’s US Open and buy their favorite tennis apparel.

What they’re saying

• After knocking out American teen sensation Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open Saturday afternoon, No. 13 seed Maria Sakkari praised her fallen opponent. “She has a lot of room for improvement on a good way, so that’s going to take her on a very high level.”

More Sakkari: “[I’m happy with] the way I completed. It’s tough after coming from a long stop to find your fighting spirit and your strength inside the court; so that’s the thing that I’m really happy that I found today. I always do well in the States. I love the U.S., and I’m really happy to be back.”

What they’re writing

Canadian tennis journalist Stephanie Myles, whose Open Court blog (Open Court.ca/wordpress) is the definitive source for all things tennis in Canada, has written a fascinating story about Canadian men’s No. 3 Milos Raonic, who won his first-round match at the Western & Southern Open Saturday evening over American Sam Querrey. Among the takeaways, Raonic is happy to be back playing, but he’s the first to admit safety is a priority.

Oh, and this, for someone who has long been known for paying a lot of attention to his grooming – keeping his hair immaculately gelled – the coronavirus pandemic caused him to change all of that. Gone is the coiffed look. That’s because Raonic has not not had a haircut since before the Australian Open! That’s more than seven months. Nowadays, Raonic can be seen on court sporting curly, dark locks kept in place by a bright red bandana, just like he did against Querrey.

What they’re sharing on social media

ATP Tour / Reasons why we missed tennis 

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“Reasons Why We Missed Tennis” pt. 5,017,495: Rallies like THIS 👆

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WTA Tour / Elina’s weekend vibe

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@elisvitolina is weekend ready! 🙌 Are you? #tennis #weekend

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