What should I wear?
A question that everyone has asked at some point in their life, yet its answer is often a mystery. From teens going to the movies, to world-class athletes and celebrities hitting the red carpet, sometimes the answer is not so simple, but looking good on and off the court certainly has its advantages.
With New York Fashion Week concluding this week, we decided to look at some past and present tennis stars who continue to leave long-lasting impressions in the world of professional tennis with their unique style. Whether on the court, attending a rock concert or a cocktail party, the list below would certainly know how to dress for the occasion.
If tennis fashion had a style-guide, it would arguably begin with Rod Laver. A true gentleman of the game, Laver’s impact on the sport not only lies between the baselines, but on the feet of countless fashioners looking for retro-style in a classic look. Debuting in the 1970’s, the Original Rod Laver tennis shoe was a pioneering effort at the time and remains a fashion icon adorned by many to this day.
Honorable Mention: Fred Perry, Rene Lacoste, Stan Smith
Feminine & Classic
One of the original fashionistas of the game was 18-time Major winner Chris Evert, who wore a series of stunning tennis kits in her Hall of Fame career, complete with the risqué Ted Tinling lace underwear. The American is a staple for classic tennis apparel, which is apparent in the designs of today’s starlets, and is one of the true role models and greatest champions of the sport. Evert also has a proud place in BNP Paribas Open history, as the women’s event was sanctioned as the Evert Cup from 1992-1999.
Before the days of form-fitting athletic apparel there was Andre Agassi, who channeled a rebellious rock ‘n’ roll style during his run to eight Grand Slam titles and the 2001 BNP Paribas Open title. Not to say that Agassi’s wardrobe was always on the baggy side, as evidenced by his experiment in hip-hugging jean shorts, but his choices remained unique and cutting-edge. Combined with the rock star hair and world-class ability, Agassi was truly one of the greatest showmen the sport has ever seen.
BNP Paribas Open CEO Raymond Moore also sported the rebellious look, but the South African was more Woodstock than 80’s raver. Complete with hippie overtones such as shaggy long hair and Fu Manchu mustache, Moore encapsulated the laid-back styles of his era.
One of the true free spirits on the WTA Tour, Bethanie Mattek-Sands is in a class of her own. With a colorful array of hairstyles, matching tattoos and the occasional knee-high socks, the American is definitely a unique figure and marches to her own set of fashion rules. Sometimes being fashionable is about pushing the envelope, and Mattek-Sands is not afraid to start her own trends.
Four-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Roger Federer has always been fashion-forward, and his tailored ensembles are just as smooth as his graceful forehand. While Federer is surely known for his top-flight apparel, tennis fans will also remember his many hairstyles. Whether in a ponytail, shoulder length or samurai-style, the Swiss is always pristine and he certainly has the game to match.
Honorable Mention: Tomas Berdych, Rafael Nadal
Whether in one of her spectacular tennis kits or walking the red carpet, two-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Maria Sharapova is as elegant as they come, and it does not take much effort for the 6’2 Russian in the fashion department. One of the most recognizable athletes in the world, Sharapova’s fashion is truly iconic and always impresses.
Honorable Mention: Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki
Perhaps no player defined Parisian style quite like 1982 BNP Paribas Open Champion Yannick Noah. With sleek white ensembles and flowing dreadlocks, he was the essence of cool, and his flair on the court brought another level to the excitement. Noah has seemed to pass the style guide to another set of Frenchman, as the powerful Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and theatrical Gael Monfils certainly know how to clean-up well.
The 25-year-old Azarenka has an eclectic style and the personality to match. Whether sporting a dazzling tennis kit or dressed down in jean shorts and high-top sneakers, the 2012 BNP Paribas Open Champion is always chic, and her free-flowing demeanor makes her a fan-favorite.