With the Rio Olympics well underway and the US Open just around the corner, tennis is a hot ticket right now for spectators. Style-spotting isn’t an official part of each match, but can give a player an advantage (or disadvantage) in the court of public opinion. Outfit choices tend to be safe as a whole, making the players who dare to take fashion risks within the confines of the rules stand out even more. We might never know the true meaning of love, especially when it comes to tennis, but we do know when a player is shaking up the game with their own style—and these five athletes are doing just that.
1. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Bethanie has served countless fun and crazy looks on and off the court during her 17-year professional career. A leopard outfit with a matching hat and a corset-like midsection turned heads in 2007.
And, her wild ponytail color choices have more recently made her look like she could front No Doubt in the place of Gwen Stefani.
Most notably though, she arrived to the 2011 WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party in a scene-stealing yellow gown adorned with tennis balls. If it looks a bit Lady Gaga to you, that’s because it was designed by Alex Noble, who has created many recognizable outfits for the singer’s videos and live appearances.
2. Björn Borg
The hunky Swedish player unleashed flowing gold locks (tamed by fashionable headbands across his forehead), soap opera looks, and smart FILA outfits on unsuspecting spectators, looking like the poster child for Seventies athleticism in the process. (He played mainly in the '70s and early '80s.) Off the court, he lived the leisurely life in fur jackets with upturned collars.
3. Venus Williams
Venus is never one to play it safe, and often appears to take inspiration from the ice skating world. She has her own fun and colorful line of tennis apparel called EleVen, from which she pulled some of her most memorable outfits—including a yellow number with a latticed tummy and colorful shorts that drew headlines at the Australian Open in 2011.
The year before, she thrilled the French lace industry when she wore a black lace EleVen dress with red piping à la Moulin Rouge at the French Open. “Seeing a tennis woman of Venus' caliber dolled up in lace and resembling more of a figure skater will hopefully revive the industry at a time when French lace makers are going out of business one after the other,” Isabelle Tartier, director of Parisian design house Franck Sorbier, told ESPN.
4. Serena Williams
Venus’ sister also has her own clothing line, Serena Williams for HSN, but she concentrates on offering sporty styles that could, theoretically, be suited for work. One thing’s for sure, though: Serena does not play it safe on the court or in photo or video shoots.
Who could forget her motorcycle mama Nike outfit at the 2004 US Open, her hot Baywatch baberemix for Fitness magazine in 2012 or the sleek catsuit worn while twerking in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” video.
5. Andre Agassi
Considered one of the GOATs (that’s greatest of all time) on the court, Andre dominated the courts from the early 1990s through the mid 2000s. Yes, he made waves when he wore denim shorts over spandex to his battles. But most startling of all was his later admission in his memoir that the fluffy and fabulous mullet that was his signature mane was actually a wig worn to conceal baldness, a tactic later copied by famous rock stars and professional wrestling greats.
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