New York is a city synonymous with style. Its vibrant street style scene is hailed as one of the world’s best and New York fashion week attracts the world’s greatest designers, models and fashionistas. It’s little wonder, then, that so many tennis players bring their fashion “A” game to the US Open. Do they always ace their looks? No. Do we still find it endlessly entertaining? Yes.
Here are the most iconic looks in the US Open’s 54-year history.
1965: Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe, who won the tournament its inaugural year, sported classic tennis whites for an outfit that looked better suited to Wimbledon than the US Open. Yet by winning the tournament (as an amateur, no less) he set the sartorial tone, proving that looking great is almost as important as playing great.
1980: John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg
The 70’s and 80’s were all about men’s short shorts. These two iconic players, seen here facing off at the final, prove that the thigh was the limit.
1990: Andre Agassi
That hair! Those highlighter yellow sleeves and undershorts! The… acid washed jean shorts? There was no missing Agassi on the court in 1990 when he donned what was arguably the boldest look of his career.
2002 & 2004: Serena Williams
Certainly you would think black leather and denim have no place in professional tennis, right? Wrong, according to Serena Williams. 2002 and 2004 were the years she debuted two highly controversial looks. First was a black leather, tight-fitting Puma “cat suit” which plays off of the heroic Batwoman theme. Next was the pleated jean skirt with knee-high Nike “boots” and various jackets, none of which had any business on a tennis court. Luckily, the champion went on to win the title in 2002 and have the last laugh.
2004: Rafael Nadal
This was the year Rafa first introduced capri pants to the men’s game, a sartorial choice that’s haunted him ever since. It became his signature look for some of his most successful years, but the tennis world breathed a deep sigh of relief when he upgraded to shorts in 2009.
2005: Dominik Hrbaty
This black and pink shirt with back cutouts, worn by Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty in 2005, was unconventional to say the least. “Actually, I like it pretty much,” he told reporters. “They (the guys in the locker room) are telling me I will have more gay fans. Andre (Agassi) said ‘you should give it to the women’s locker room’.”
2006: James Blake
2006 was Andre Agassi’s last appearance on the tour, so as a tribute, American player James Blake donned a throwback look that was deliciously nostalgic. His outfit had it all: fluorescent pink tights, 90’s style t-shirt and a bandanna. Only thing missing? A mullet hairpiece. Pity.
2007: Bethanie Mattek-Sands
The American has always enjoyed a playful relationship with on-court fashion. She’s known for preferring bold prints, knee socks, crazy hats and even face paint. Her most daring US Open look came in 2007 when she dressed in head-to-toe animal print for her doubles match. Just, wow.
2015: Tomas Berdych
Czech player Tomas Berdych was sponsored by H&M from 2013-2015 and the Swedish fashion house never shied away from dressing their star in eye-catching looks. They pulled out all the stops in 2015, dressing Berdych in a hot mess of pinks, blues, purples and oranges. Not even his shoelaces were spared.
2017: Alexander Zverev
German player Alexander Zverev channeled Bjorn Borg in his 2017 adidas kit, designed by Pharell Williams. Inspired by the 70’s, it featured bold pinstripes, color blocking and knee high socks. It made for a real talking point at Flushing Meadows: you either loved it or hated it.
2017: Maria Sharapova
The queen of on-court glam rocked a dramatic black dress designed by Nike and Riccardo Tisci. Embellished with Swarovski crystals and covered in revealing, lace-covered cutouts, it was a bold look that belonged as much to a nightclub as to the court.
2017: Roger Federer
No, Roger didn’t wear this look for an actual US Open match. It was for the 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day event in Queens, New York City. The Off-White x Air Jordan 1 shoes even had the words “Air Federer” on them. Does he ever take a fashion misstep?
2018: Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli
In what seemed to be an attempt to win over the American crowds, Italian doubles team Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli wore matching Harlem Globetrotters outfits by Hydrogen. There was no missing this duo on the court.
For More on the US Open: