In Martin Klizan’s case, clothes apparently do not make the man.
For three years, the Slovak was a proud wearer of Lotto.
But in 2014, his contract clearly not renewed, he’s been wearing a dog’s breakfast of assorted stuff.
In Australia, it looked like he went into a department store and picked up a few Tommy Hilfiger polos in various colours. Either that, or just pulled shirts out of his “non-tennis” suitcase to wear on court.
For Davis Cup vs. the U.S. in Chicago last month, he dug out the Lotto special Davis Cup shirts because, well, they already had “Slovakia” on the back and were the right colour. But the wristbands? Nike.
More often than not, it’s been assorted Nike gear – but not anything that Nike’s sponsored players have been wearing. And the sponsors’ patches that have graced his shirts the last few years are gone.
But before Lotto came into Klizan’s life, back in 2010, there was Nike.
As fugly as they were, those shirts were the latest thing back then.
And so it seems for this tournament in Beijing, Klizan went home to Slovakia, dug his box of four-year-old Nike shirts out of storage (why on earth he’d have kept them somewhere is a question only he can answer; certainly there’s nothing in the Open Court tennis closet that dates back to 2010. I mean, the stuff wears out, and gets sweaty and stuff).
And so far, it’s working; Klizan was down a set and 5-1 to to Chinese wild card Xin Gao – ranked No. 927 – in the first round of qualifying, ultimately winning 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. And now he’s in the semi-finals in Beijing after upsetting the No. 2 seed, the comebacking Nadal. It was the Mallorcan’s first loss to a qualifier in a decade.
So, to sum up: BAD Nike shirts, 2010 vintage. Shorts of indistinguishable origin (dollar store, probably). His old Lotto socks. Asics shoes.
Apparently that’s the winning formula.
Who knew? Somehow we don’t think there’s going to be a run on these shirts at Nike’s old-stock warehouse, though.
(Pics: TennisTV, AP archives, Open Court)