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. The 80s saw one of the highest expressions of fashion, with outfits that were futuristic at the time and with extravagant looks. At the same time, the brands tried to combine the fashion of that decade, made up of square shapes and bright colors with the comfort of the materials.
Those were the years of John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl. Even at Wimbledon, there were noticeable shades of color other than traditional white. Extravagances and an out of the ordinary fashion were certainly the cornerstones of the 80s.
Today many stylists and many brands try to take some particular details of that period and transfer them to the present era. In the 90s it was the time of Andre Agassi (one of the most extravagant tennis players ever), Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras and Monica Seles.
The 90s look was relatively soberer than in the previous ten years. That outfits were designed to adapt to tennis players and their needs. Despite this, personalization, as seen from the first years of Agassi, were outfits that made history.
Outfits from 2000 to today: from Venus Williams to Roger Federer
The last twenty years, from 2000 to today, marks the arrival on the scene of the Williams Sisters: Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
Apart from some truly extravagant outfits (does anyone remember that of Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros 2015? Or those of Radek Stepanek and Bethanie Mattek Sands?) fashion tried to combine two factors: performance and originality.
Thanks also to social media now every fan and insider can see in preview what the stars will wear in the Slams. The materials used are highly performing and technological. They adapt to different climatic conditions, allow lightness and perspiration of sweat.
Sometimes the outfits are designed with materials that when worn look like water. Obviously fashion matters. Players like Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer or Serena Williams have always looked for color spots or trend lines. Sometimes daring even a lot, like the Catwoman outfit worn by Serena Williams at the French Open.
The elegance certainly cannot be that of the 1920s or 1930s: today a match can last up to five hours, in the worst weather conditions, therefore technological research is making incredible progress. But fashion, in more than a hundred years of tennis history, no star has ever shelved it.