Courting Fashion: International Sportswear Labels Launched By Tennis Players


Wimbledon has always been associated with fashion, courtesy the celebrities and royal families in attendance, who bring their A-game with their sartorial choices. But we also got to give it to the athletes of this sport. Tennis players bring their sense of style on and off the court. In fact, some of the biggest tennis pros of their time launched many sportswear brands that are now represented by athletes. And the generation of tennis stars after theirs also followed suit. From Lacoste to Sergio Tacchini, here are 4 fashion labels that came into existence thanks to tennis champs.

René Lacoste

René Lacoste

The former tennis player who won 10 grand slam titles in the 1920s and 1930s is the person behind the  well-loved polo shirt that we all wear today. He invented it because he wanted something comfortable to wear during matches as opposed to the long-sleeved shirts men wore at that time.


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René was known as the crocodile – a reputation he gathered for his tenacious style of never giving up on his prey – in this case, his opponent. He decided to infuse this spirit into the brand logo, stitching the crocodile on everything from clothing to caps. The instantly recognisable crocodile has become Lacoste’s signature, a much coveted one at that. Today, the brand has gone beyond just court fashion, finding a spot in the wardrobes of many men.  

Fred Perry


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After becoming a table tennis champion at the age of 19, Fred Perry entered the game of lawn tennis and went on to win three consecutive Wimbledon titles (1934-36). Before Andy Murray brought Britain back into the tennis halls of fame in 2013, Perry was the last player to successfully win a Wimbledon championship, making him one of Britain’s greatest tennis players back then.


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The sportsman introduced his eponymous label with polo shirts that were marketed as tennis shirts, which is why the brand is so closely linked to Wimbledon and the sport. Its Laurel Wrath logo became a strong symbol across subcultures ranging from the mods, and skinheads to rudeboys, and later made way into the wardrobes of musicians and celebrities. Today, Fred Perry is not only associated with sportswear but also with cool, casual and comfortable clothing for many.

Sergio Tacchini

John McEnroe in Sergio Tacchini

The Italian tennis star’s CV might not boast of the biggest achievements like his fellow players. However, he does have some noteworthy wins in his career that include an Italian championship in singles in 1960, two national doubles trophies in 1967 and 1968, and a series of Davis Cup appearances. Sergio launched his eponymous label with the goal to introduce colours in tennis fashion, which was otherwise dominated by white polo shirts. His designs were popularised by several tennis stars such as John McEnroe, Martina Hingis, Mats Wilander and more recently, Novak Djokovic. The brand has also made its way into the wardrobes of basketballers, skiers, footballers, musicians and celebrities.

Serena Williams


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It’s hard to talk about the G.O.A.T without giving a mention of her love affair with fashion. While the tennis champion was always known for the way she wielded her racket on the court, her sartorial picks were unmissable. From donning black catsuits to tutus, her daring style on the court depicted her breaking-the-glass-ceiling ideology. So it came as no surprise when Serena forayed into the fashion market with the launch of her label, S by Serena. Unlike her male counterparts in the 1930s and 1950s, Williams’ brand launched with casualwear and dresses.

- Lifestyle Editor


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