Every year, right around this time people start thinking, “Hey, I’d like to play tennis.” The collective realization coincides nicely with the start of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Funny how that happens.
Regardless of the timing, more people hitting the courts is a good thing. Tennis is an awesome workout that forces you to engage your entire body. It adds a level of competition that your post-work jog (or is it “yog”?) lacks. And it’s a social sport. You have to play with someone, which means you also have a built-in person to grab post-match beers with, whether it’s at the country club grill or the corner bodega.
Tennis is also one of the more stylish sports. From René Lacoste to Andre Agassi to Roger Federer, tennis stars have brought a certain swag (albeit a refined version) to the grass, clay, and hardcourts. To help you capture that style, we pulled together some of the best garments and equipment for our latest Lookbook.
1. POLO U.S. OPEN TRACK JACKET
Polo is a major sponsor of the U.S. Open and each summer they put together a collection that is probably the coolest stuff sold at any sporting event concession stand. This year, the standout piece is this track jacket, with a classy tournament logo on the right breast and classic red stripes on the wrist, shoulder, and collar.
2. LACOSTE HEADBAND
A tennis match is one of the few places where it’s acceptable to wear a headband so take advantage of it. And why not go with one that pays tribute to French tennis great René Lacoste, whose crocodile nickname inspired his eponymous brand? Not only does it look cool, it’s highly functional, keeping hair and sweat out of your face so you can concentrate on that overhead slam.
3. DUNLOP iDAPT TENNIS RACQUET
When you’re watching the U.S. Open, the racquets the players use may look like the ones you see in the store, but they aren’t. They’ve been customized with different weights to change the feel based on a player’s preference. With the iDapt racquet, that same personalized touch is available for the average player. Dunlop’s Shock Sleeve allows the racquet to have either a firm, medium, or soft feel. You can also select either a standard or extended grip length and pick from one of three different looks.
4. BOAST TRADITIONAL TENNIS SHORT
The name says it all. These shorts are traditional right down to the red-white-and-blue striped waistband and the Japanese maple leaf (not a pot leaf) logo. With just a 4-inch inseam, you may not want to skip leg day before wearing them, but when you do throw them on, you’ll feel cooler than Ty Webb at Bushwood.
5. LORO PIANA SOFT TENNIS BAG
At some point, tennis bags became massive affairs that wouldn’t fit into an airplane’s overhead bin. Loro Piana, who are better known for their wool, makes a more appropriately sized version out of a soft DeLon leather with a matte finish. It’s large enough to hold two racquets and has an external pocket for smaller items.
6. NIKE ADVANTAGE POLO
Tennis is still a very conservative sport, so you have to pick your spots to show off your personal style. There’s no need to go all acid-washed Agassi. As this elegant black and white polo shows, sometimes it just takes a little hit of fluorescent yellow to make a big statement.
7. NIKE COURT AIR TRAINER 1 x FRAGMENT
The Air Trainer 1 is officially a cross-training shoe, but when John McEnroe was returning to tennis after a break in 1986, he got his hands on a prototype of the sneaker and went on to win his next tournament. All of a sudden, they also became tennis shoes. This year Nike teamed up with renowned streetwear designer Hiroshi Fujiwara on a collection of the Air Trainer 1 with a minimal color scheme.