It was a simpler time – the “Image is Everything” days of Andre Agassi when most of the tennis clothing was pretty basic.
But Agassi came along, with the spandex tights and the denim shorts and changed everything back in 1990.
This year’s Nike line at the US Open pays tribute to that. And it’s kind of fun. It’s the 30th anniversary of “hot lava”.
After the mish-mash that was supposed to be rolled out for the original spring dates at the French Open (luckily, we didn’t have to see much of it), this is fresh.
(We want to see the headband, too).
Félix Auger-Aliassime was the first of the men to come out on court and show it off, in the first round of the “Cincy” event at the US Open.
It seemed to work for him, as he dispatched Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the second round.
Later, Frances Tiafoe took the court with a variation on the same theme.
Another Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, sported the less-busy version and it’s … SHARP. The pop-up collar is great.
Here are some photos (more pics here, courtesy of Nike).
It’s a great re-creation, although with the advances in materials the last 30 years you know this version is lighter and flicks way the sweat.
Agassi himself (who went to adidas for a few years but now is back firmly in the Nike stable), had some input.
Women a bit more of a “meh”
As for the women, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag.
Back in the day, 30 years ago, the Challenge Court collection was strictly an Agassi thing – also, by definition, strictly a “guy” thing.
They didn’t quite do as right by the women in this collection – why do (mostly male) designers think that women HAVE to wear pink? It harkens right back to trying to shop for toddlers and young girls and basically having … pink and purple as your options.
Here are Victoria Azarenka and Donna Vekic – with Vekic wearing a very Agassi-like polo shirt (not in her usual range).
Here are Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, out in doubles on Saturday.
(Screenshots from TennisTV and WTATV)