Pink and polarized: the new tennis shirt

Francis Tiafoe sweats a lot. The 24-year-old American tennis player put in an outstanding performance at this year’s US Open, defeating Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 and reaching the semi-finals. During each match, he changed his shirt frequently.

after losing To Carlos Alcaraz (who would go on to win the championship) in a tense match on Friday, Mr. Tiafoe collected the discarded pile of his wet shirts into a ball, put them in his tennis bag and walked off the court in huge disappointment – he and his shirts captured more than the attention of tennis fans.

Maroon, with pink short sleeves and a horizontal split neckline with a neon orange zip, looking like an apron worn over a blouse, Nike shirts became part of the scene. Mr. Tiafoe wasn’t the only player to wear this strange shirt. Two other notable US Open players, Karen Khachanov and Janek Sinner, also did the same. Mr. Khachanov wore them in the same colors as Mr. Tiafoe, while Mr. Şener wore white and dark blue shirts.

The design was polarizing to many onlookers.

“Nike heated up their embellishments on these T-shirts,” the Redditor said Wrote. Who at Nike thinks ‘grocery store Bagger’ would be a good look for a tennis shirt? Twitter feed Meditation. During the match in which Mr. Khachanov was eliminated, another Twitter user joking that his opponent, Casper Rudd, would have won “because he doesn’t have to wear the damned Nike tennis shirt at the US Open with the zipper on”.

Although many fans didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the jersey, dressing players in funky clothes is a quintessential Nike affair. At the 1988 US Open, the sportswear company outfitted Andre Agassi with a pair of jeans. Mr. Agassi wrote in his autobiography, “To wear like me in 1988 is to wear short jeans.” “Athletes are killing me because of it.” He said the iconoclasm was not his idea.

For the 2005 French Open, Nike-sponsored Mr. Nadal made headlines for wearing white clam rigs – bottoms that were much longer than traditional tennis shorts. “Nike decided I should wear it,” Mr. Nadal He said in time. “But I love them.”

Paul Lucas said that “the corporate ethos at Nike for the past two decades, not just in tennis, but in all sportswear, has been to defy convention, be awful without a quote, and get people to take notice, even if sometimes negatively.” “. who was writing the column Uni Watchon sports uniforms and the aesthetics of sports, since 1999. “The US Open in recent years has been a particularly proposition for that, because it is the first major tournament after Wimbledon, and it is the most discreet and conservative of tennis, since everyone must wear white, and this corresponds More with the heritage of the country tennis club.”

Mr Lukas said that as tennis becomes an increasingly ethnically diverse sport, “the designs we see people wear reflect as much as they reflect changing perceptions of what is and isn’t acceptable for people to wear on the court.”

Nike dominates American professional sportswear. The company makes uniforms for the NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball. While tennis players do not wear a uniform, there are rules about what they are allowed to wear. (The sport has many governing bodies, and each Grand Slam is coordinated by a different organization with a different dress code.)

Mr Lucas said Nike’s ideology when it comes to equipping athletes, “is moving away from the idea of ​​an athlete wearing a uniform and moving more towards the idea of ​​a superhero wearing a uniform”.

After Serena Williams wore a Nike catsuit at the 2018 French Open, she deflected from the standard skirt, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli, Tell Tennis magazine said it was “over the line” and “will not be accepted anymore. You have to respect the game and the venue.”

In response, Nike created Ads With a picture of Mrs. Williams. It reads: “You can take a superhero out of her costume, but you can never take her superpowers out.” (Nike declined to comment for this article.)

With Nike dressing its athletes like superheroes, the show at this year’s US Open suggests that in 2022, Übermensch isn’t afraid to wear a pink top.

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