Tennis outfits: From Suzanne Lenglen to Roger Federer - Part 1

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Tennis outfits: From Suzanne Lenglen to Roger Federer - Part 1

From William Renshaw, Suzanne Lenglen, Fred Perry and René Lacoste to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. In the middle there are several other generations: tennis has evolved parallel to fashion and outfit.

Tennis is also an expression of elegance and power. If at the dawn of the Game elegant outfits were seen, today the dress-code imposes (in parallel with the beauty and singularity of the fashion) also technical characteristics that adapt to the climate and mobility.

The Game, at the dawn, was for real gentlemen and ladies: they didn't sweat like tennis players sweat today! There was competition, but the athletic factor was not as preponderant as it is today. William Renshaw, the brothers Lawrence and Reginal Doherty, Antony Wilding, Lottie Dod, Charlotte Cooper and Dorothea Douglass were the pioneers.

From 1877, the year of the first edition of Wimbledon to the beginning of the 1920s, fashion was based on a single concept: elegance. Shirts, trousers, skirts: comfort was still a taboo. The first real innovation came with Suzanne Lenglen, the first true star of the world of tennis, capable of subverting the concept of fashion on a tennis court, with elegant outfits, but unprejudiced and innovative for the time.

A true stylistic revolution, which marked the beginning of a new era. Shorter and lighter skirts for women, to encourage mobility in moving. Sleeveless shirts and, before the match, jackets with extravagant accessories, turbans and trendy hats.

Even for men, the 1920s were a moment of great interest, both for the domination of the four French musketeers René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon and for the outfits sported by these athletes.

Lacoste was impeccable: the crocodile, the famous brand of his polo shirts, comes from an extremely famous anecdote: "The nickname crocodile was given to me by my teammates. In Boston, where we were to face Australia in a Davis Cup semifinal, I happened every day to pass in front of a chic shop, which displayed a crocodile leather bag, suitable for holding my rackets.

My admiration for the bag aroused the general fun, so much so that Pierre Guillou, our captain, he promised me that if I won my two singles matches, he would give it to me. The image of the crocodile became a lucky symbol, so much so that I had it embroidered on the white tennis blazers and, later, on the blouses," said Lacoste.

And in fact, fashion changed in those years: blazers, pullovers, shirts, bow ties, trousers with more comfortable and lighter materials. It was white that dominated all other shades. Elegance and fashion were equal to talent.

And that was only the beginning, which would have led to the outfits that Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are wearing today.