If you think about tennis fashion, a scene similar to that of Wimbledon probably comes to mind. Spectators in pressed white slacks and button-down blouses or polo shirts and athletes sporting white technical polos and shorts or skirts. Wimbledon is one of the World’s most prestigious tennis tournaments and is famous for its all white dress code for all competitors since being founded in 1877. This all-white outfit was the norm for all matches since the sports conception in the mid-1800s and through most of the 1980s and 1990s. Tennis had been a sport born in country clubs and was seen as a “classy” sport.
In comes Andre Agassi. Andre Agassi was the world’s most dominant tennis player throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, retiring in 2006. While Agassi was an absolute amazing player, and is argued by some to have been the best ever, his playing skill wasn’t the only thing that landed him in the spotlight.
From 1988-1990, Agassi refused to compete at Wimbledon. He didn’t like how sophisticated the event was or the all-white attire. Not only did Agassi shy away from white clothing, he wore the complete polar opposite. Agassi’s attire could probably be described as a 1980’s ski bum crossed with a cyclist and a dad from the 2000s, but honestly that description doesn’t do his style justice. Take a look at the picture below to see what Agassi was all about.
Agassi’s neon-pop shirts and shoes and denim(?) tennis shorts with spandex undershorts were a far cry from the white cardigans and slacks worn by tennis players a hundred years ago and even from the regular tennis outfits of today. So, it’s no wonder Agassi was opposed to Wimbledon’s dress code, he was too much of a tennis-bad boy.
Agassi could only sit out from Wimbledon for so long, he was too good not to play in such a competitive match (not to mention the potential prize money). In 1992, Agassi donned an all-white version of his baggy outfits and took to the British courts, where he won in his first Wimbledon appearance, baggy shirt, blonde mullet, and all.
Since Agassi’s world-topping career, there hasn’t been a player as disruptive and rebellious as he. Players have deviated slightly from the standard uniform with Serena Williams all black uniforms or Rafael Nadal’s sleeveless shirts and long hair but it’s hard to beat denim tennis shorts and 90s-style graphic shirts. Agassi aptly summed up his impact on the sport in a 1990s Nike commercial where he stated: “That oughta wake up the country club,” and that it certainly did.
Standing in stark contrast to Agassi would be tennis’ current good boy, Roger Federer. It could be said that Federer closed out the Agassi era, beating Agassi in his last Grand Slam Final appearance at the US Open in 2005. While a genuine player, Federer has always maintained nicely quaffed hair and nicely fitting clothes when compared to Agassi.
The Swiss born player is also argued to be the greats of all time in the sport. Federer has held the number one spot in the world for a record-total of 310 weeks and an incredible record of 237 consecutive weeks. His match etiquette has been noted by many to be very polite and calm, regardless of the match’s outcome (although there are two cases of smashed rackets). Obviously quite different than Agassi, Federer embodies the classy, proper air that surrounds the sport of tennis, accepting awards in white sweaters and sporting his sponsor’s watch (a Rolex).
After 21 years Federer is continuing to represent the preppy fashion of tennis, competing in his 12th Wimbledon tournament this year (he’s won 8 already). If you play tennis, how do you want to be perceived: As a tennis bad boy or as part of tennis’ elite and proper culture? If you go for the classier choice, CCP has got you covered on plenty of performance polos that will have you feeling like you could take on Roger Federer in no time. And if you decide you’re more into the bad boy side of things, maybe stay away from denim tennis shorts…