Well Played: In Honor of Wimbledon, the Best Dressed Tennis Players
The so-called “King of Clay” is more than a player—at only 27 years old, he’s a legend. But while his command of the court has always been evident, his style was once less impressive. Fortunately, the 12-time Grand Slam singles champion has retired capris and oversize oxfords in favor of sleek, all-black ensembles and slicked-back tresses.
When every outfit is accessorized by such flawless bone structure, you needn’t make much of a sartorial effort. Luckily, Spain’s Feliciano López is not one to rest on his chiseled jaw line. Ranked 32nd in the world, López is as scrupulous off the court as he is on it, outfitting himself in slim-cut suits, tweed jackets, and a rainbow of colored denim.
In February 2008, David Ferrer was ranked fourth in the world for his impeccable on-court skill. Earlier this month, he secured the career-high ranking once more. Given the consistency of his talent, it’s no surprise that his style is similarly reliable. The Spaniard is frequently photographed in dark suits, prep-inflected knits, and, of course, his tennis whites.
American tennis player James Blake is best known for his speed, agility, and vicious forehand. But he’s as sure-footed at press events as he is on clay. Never one to shy away from a bold play, the snazzy dresser stocks his wardrobe with jewel-tone shirts, distressed denim, and crisp suits.
“When you look good, you feel good,” Maria Sharapova told CNN in July 2012. Ranked third in the world, Sharapova evinces her personal motto each time she steps on the court—and certainly when she steps off it. The Russian beauty has fronted campaigns for Nike, Prince, and Canon. She’s also designed a range of accessories for Cole Haan. At nearly six foot two, Sharapova flatters her athletic frame in intricately draped gowns, short-and-sweet mini-dresses, and unapologetic heels.
Once ranked No. 1 in the world, four-time Olympic medalist Venus Williams has made history for her determination, drive, and evident creativity. Despite her commitment to the court, she’s also an ambitious entrepreneur. Chief among her myriad projects is EleVen—the champion’s line of ready-to-wear apparel. Founded in 2007 and relaunched in 2012, the label has shown at New York Fashion Week and collaborated with retailers like Ralph Lauren, Gilt, and Diane Von Furstenberg.
She may be Venus Williams’s kid sister, but Serena Williams is no second-place sibling. Currently ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis, the younger Williams is the only player to have achieved a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. And while it’s her breathtaking game that garners worshipful media attention, Williams’s unusual on-court outfits attract their fair share of notice. In 2002, she played the U.S. Open in a black Lycra catsuit and regularly performs in the line of sportswear that she designs with Nike. After dark, Williams reaches for colorful dresses, body-skimming sheaths, and fit-and-flare silhouettes.
Victoria Azarenka’s sartorial risk-taking has served her well—most of the time. In 2012, Wimbledon’s fashion police politely asked that the Belarus native swap out the yellow shirt she’d worn to practice for a white one, in keeping with the organization’s “predominately white” clothing rule. Fortunately, no such strictures limit Azarenka when she’s off the court. Ranked No. 2 in the world as of June 2013, the blonde bombshell works a minimalistic aesthetic in sleek dresses and sharp separates.
Czech Republic native Tomas Berdych has stamina. Once ranked sixth in the world, Berdych has participated in A.T.P.’s longest double match ever—a whopping seven hours and two minutes. But the current Monaco resident makes time for off-court activities, too. He began dating model Ester Satorova in 2011 and serves as a spokesman and co-designer for H&M.
The A.T.P. has ranked tennis icon Roger Federer as one of the top three players in the world for the past decade. Widely considered the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer has won 17 Grand Slam singles and appeared in 24 Grand Slam finals. When the Swiss legend and brand representative isn’t wearing Nike footwear and apparel, he’ll step out in charcoal suits, smart jackets, and dark denim.
BACK TO SLIDE
A distinguished wardrobe has always had its place on the tennis court. Long considered a pastime of the elite, the refined sport has been encouraging smart dress since the turn of the 20th century. But while tradition mandates all-white ensembles, the game's gutsiest players have since experimented with a rainbow of uniforms, accessories, and even hairstyles. Naturally, their taste for forward-thinking fashion extends beyond the confines of the court as well.
As Wimbledon rounds out its first week, we look at the 10 most stylish competitors.