Tennis is more than just picking up a racquet and firing balls down the line to win game, set and match. It’s also very much a sport where you can make a serious style statement, and if you’re serious about your tennis you’ve got to look the part, to play your part! Within the professional game, we often find ourselves talking as much about the threads a certain player is wearing as we do about the outcome of the game.
So, whether you’re heading down to your local club to work on your serve, or partaking in a spot of summer mixed doubles with someone to impress – you can use this guide to keep your kit on point.
Wilson is one of the most recognisable names in sport (thanks in no small part to a cameo in 'Castaway') and can have its history traced back to 1914, although it didn't take on its current nomenclature until 1931. Wilson produces clothing and equipment for a range of sports, but tennis is one area where it shines. From racquets to shorts and everything in between, Wilson's collections are of high-quality and sport on-trend designs.
Although Adidas produce every piece of kit you would need for a testing game out on the court, it’s their tennis shoes that have brought them the most attention in the game. Their collaboration in the1940s with US tennis star Stan Smith remains one of the brands most iconic designs. Move forward to 2019 and their range of performance footwear with soft, bouncy soles, make them an ideal choice for any surface from hardcourt to clay.
Asics’ roots go back to 1949 in Kobe, Japan when Kihachiro Onitsuka set out to make basketball sneakers for local sportsmen. Now Asics is an established global brand that specialises in tennis footwear worn by the likes of Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils. Their designs are perfectly suited to those agile, directional movements needed to bounce around the court whilst staying in control. They also have a great range of sweatbands and socks to add a coordinated look to your on-court ensemble.
If you're looking for a no-frills introduction to tennis, and require apparel that serves its purpose without pretence, you could do a lot worse than the New Balance tennis range. Straight up performance gear that will leave you serving in style without drawing too much attention, New Balance has a fantastic range of trainers and tees to accompany every effort on the court. Perfect for a laid back knock around with mates, and easily transferable to other racquet sports.
The undisputed giant of modern tennis is undoubtedly Nike. Their Court collection is all about flirting with big bold colours that make you stand out from the crowd, coupled with advanced technologies that keep you feeling fresh during long arduous sets. Watch any major tennis tournament these days and you’ll see the famous Nike Swoosh adorned by most top ten players, highlighting their successful, longstanding affinity with the game. From shirts and shorts to footwear and accessories, Nike does it all, and they do it with style.
Back in 1927 tennis looked very different. Players wore white dress shirts and trousers, not much fun for outdoor summer recreation. That was until French tennis legend and sportswear innovator René Lacoste came along. His polo shirt designs with an iconic alligator logo changed the way people considered tennis attire, marrying style and practicality still adopted to this day and imitated by many. Lacoste’s current creations may be a little more colourful than the originals, but still, remain highly relevant - and unmistakably French.
Uniqlo do simplicity very well. Their recent forays into the Sports market has seen them sponsoring the likes of tennis stars Novak Djokovic and more recently a certain Mr Roger Federer. Their tennis wear, much like their casual clothing range, is made to catch the eye in a more refined way, prioritising great fitting cuts and designs that could have come from any era over the past 40 years. Even their logo looks great!
For excellent value for money coupled with creative design quality, look no further than Diadora. Whether you’re after retro prints or something with a more modern-looking edge, their range is suited to anyone who loves the game of tennis. They’ve created their apparel to withstand high-performance, keeping you feeling fresh when temperatures rise out on the court. They have also produced some snazzy looking tracksuits to take the edge off a heavy game when warming down.
This Italian sportswear giant was set up to combine quality clothing with an artistic edge. Their designs are renowned for their blue, red and white colour variations that are both bold and eye-catching. Their tracksuits are typically Italian in their style and practicality, with side leg zips that make pre and post court transitions effortless. But it’s their line of t-shirts with creative prints that really make them a favourite for the modern tennis elite.
Italian sportswear brand Ellesse was founded in 1959 and has been under British ownership since 1987. The brand is heavily associated with tennis (the logo resembles a tennis ball) having been endorsed by such names as Boris Becker and Pat Cash. While today it's also associated with youth culture, Ellesse's clothing can still be worn on the courts, with plenty of 80s retro style coming through in the designs.
Boast has been proudly sporting the Japanese Maple Leaf since it launched on the scene in 1973. The American brand was created in an era where tennis was ruled by the rebels, the McEnroe's and Connors of the world. The All-American brand was created as the answer to the traditional European brands and is still going strong today.
Set up in 1973 within the Italian footwear district of Montebelluna, Treviso, Lotto was set up primarily as a tennis shoe manufacturer. These days they are known for the lot, from tees and shorts to socks and sweatbands, all created with colourful Italian flair. With this mid-priced brand, you certainly get your money’s worth and close to 50 years of experienced tennis input - leaving you free to focus on that all-important on-court performance.
No company has burst onto the tennis scene with such confidence and certainty in recent time as Castore. Set up only three years ago by Phil and Tom Beahon, two sportive twenty-somethings from Liverpool, England, they create sleek, premium quality tennis wear, inspired by Wimbledon whites. Backed by some of the biggest fashion investors in the UK, they have recently signed Andy Murray and look set to become a new player in the world of sportswear for aspiring men.
Alongside Fred Perry and Lacoste, Sergio Tacchini is firmly established as both a sports and fashion brand. First formed in 1966 to experiment with fabrics and create elegant looking tennis wear, they rose to prominence in the 70s and 80s thanks to stars such as Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. Their amazing polo shirts exude a retro look that works effortlessly on today’s courts. And if that wasn’t enough, their exemplary jackets will have you warming up and warming down in classic grand slam fashion.