Sergio Tacchini is a historically important name in the world of tennis. The brand pushed the boundaries of tennis tradition and became synonymous with the first golden age of tennis. Yet, despite its legacy, it has become one of the more obscure tennis brands in recent times. Like a dormant volcano, though, we just might witness the brand explode in popularity again soon.
The man himself
Born in September of 1938, Sergio Tacchini took to the court at age 17. He would go on to win three Italian championships before retiring in 1968. During his active career, he established his namesake clothing brand in 1966, which immediately became a major success. The brand distinguished itself by injecting color into what had been a traditionally all-white dress code environment. While events like Wimbledon still enforced a strict “tennis-whites” policy, Sergio Tacchini paved the way for other venues to loosen up their dress codes and allow players to express themselves. Without Sergio Tacchini breaking tradition, we would not have players like Andre Agassi boldly boycotting Wimbledon for years straight or Serena Williams defiantly wearing bright pink shorts to the tournament.
A Golden Age
Shortly after the Sergio Tacchini brand was born, tennis would enter a golden age. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the tennis world saw many of the greatest of all time compete for the gold. And behind many of these faces was Sergio Tacchini. Starting with Ilie Nastase in 1972, the ST logo would go on to grace many legends including Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis, Martina Navratilova, Pat Cash, and many others. Sergio Tacchini-sponsored players would go on to win an astonishing 37 Grand Slams over the next 40 years. At this time, the words “tennis” and “Sergio Tacchini” became inseparable; the ST “Young Line” defined an era.
Beginning in the ’80s, competing brands like Nike and adidas would become more prominent in the tennis world. This came to a head in the ’90s when such brands would steal the majority market share in tennis apparel. Regardless, the Sergio Tacchini brand held strong. The brand began branching off to other ventures such as skiing, golf, and basketball. Still, they held onto their tennis roots and produced champions during this decade. The early ’90s saw the rise of greats like Pete Sampras, Gabriela Sabatini, and Sergi Bruguera. Then in 1997, superstar prodigy Martina Hingis took the tennis world by storm. That year, she became the youngest player to be ranked #1 in the world by the ATP and the youngest Grand Slam singles champion. Sergio Tacchini was still a force to be reckoned with.
The new millennium
While the early 2000s was a fairly quiet decade, Sergio Tacchini proved it still had a keen eye for champions. In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic surprised the world with his outstanding performance. This year would mark many firsts for the esteemed Wimbledon event. Not only was Ivanisevic the lowest ATP-ranked player to ever win the tournament, he was also the first Croatian player and wild card pick to win the championship. Juan Carlos “El Mosquito” Ferrero would win a Grand Slam title in 2003, earning himself a world No.1 ranking by the ATP that same year.
In 2009, Sergio Tacchini made a bold move by sponsoring then relatively unknown player Novak Djokovic. At the time he signed on, Djokovic was only No.4 in ATP rankings. It seemed odd that the legendary brand would purposefully seek out a smaller player. Sports marketing manager Edoardo Artaldi said, “We felt Novak had the potential to reach the top.” Their intuition ultimately paid off: 2011 became a momentous year for Djokovic. Having won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and 5 ATP World Tour Masters, he became No.1 in ATP’s rankings and earned himself the title, “Champion of Champions.”
Today, and the future
While it has been a while since Sergio Tacchini sponsored a major player, the brand still lives on today. They’re still producing quality, stylish products for tennis players and the public alike. Recently, the brand has seen an increase in popularity from the youth and hip-hop culture, like with legend Jay-Z.
Since street fashion has often taken after popular sportswear, now is the time for Sergio Tacchini to see a revival. Perhaps they’ll surprise us once more by sponsoring a tennis superstar in the making. After all, the brand has proven time and again to have an eye for real talent. With the Fall/Winter ’21 collection having shipped June 1st, Tennis Express invites tennis fans to celebrate the legacy of Sergio Tacchini together. Be sure to check out our Sergio Tacchini catalog for classic and modern styles alike!