Ah, tennis. It’s one of the few sports where players can express their personal fashion flair whenever and however they wish – within the rules, of course.
Nowhere is this more evident than the Australian Open. The first grand slam of the year acts as a joyous reunion for the players, but also a chance for the sportswear companies to debut their new designs.
The dominant trend for the Open is typically colour, colour and more colour.
Soaring temperatures attract more casual, summery attire and players take fashion risks not allowed at more restrictive tournaments such as Wimbledon.
This can have both wonderful and disastrous results, with tennis stars testing the sartorial boundaries to great effect.
For 2017, it’s Nike’s designs that are the weakest link, with some of the top-seeded plays sporting graphic, fluorescent styles that are both offensive to the eye and painfully repetitive – particularly Serena Williams’ strange outfit.
Some players, however, are sporting delightfully preppy looks and a bit of well-executed colour-blocking, saving the Open from complete sartorial disaster.
Here are the best and worst styles of the Open so far.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Maybe it’s the hair, or maybe it’s the way he carries himself with confidence, but this Frenchman knows how to rock a brightly coloured get-up. His Adidas outfit keeps its silhouette simple but makes a statement with eye-catching shades of blue and orange.
Jaimee Fourlis: This 17-year-old Aussie player stunned by making it through to the second round during her debut grand slam performance and her elegant, cornflower blue dress was the perfect outfit to do it in. Age appropriate, feminine and comfortable,
Andreas Seppi: Wearing two separate Fila outfits in primary colours, Seppi kept it classic but far from boring with his chequered shorts and colour-blocked tops – even if the colours were more American than Italian.
Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan: This doubles pair from Chinese Taipei made matchy-matchy look chic in their coordinated Lacoste dresses. The navy shoulder straps and pleated skirt were perfectly preppy.
Garbine Muguruza: The Spaniard’s adidas outfit is incredibly flattering on her lithe, racehorse-like frame and the soft shade of mint is summery and fun without being offensively bright. Muguruza’s chic on-court style is unsurprising when you take into account her flawless off-court fashion record. Check out her Instagram for more.
Heather Watson: The 24-year-old from the UK gave us a master class in how to wear colour with her cute New Balance skirt-and-top pairing. Her hot pink visor is also adorable and, most importantly, sun-smart!
Roger Federer: Even in Nike’s overwhelming graphic print, the Fed Express can do no wrong. Elegant, minimal shorts and his beloved headband make the look his own.
Caroline Wozniacki: A perennial style favourite, the Danish glamazon always looks trendy yet tasteful in her chosen adidas garb. We love the perforated skirt on this fitted blue number.
Andy Murray: Modern tennis dressing has moved forward in leaps and bounds, but we still can’t get behind an all-black outfit for a Grand Slam tournament. Call us old-fashioned, but Murray’s ninja-style Under Armour duo is a little too rebellious.
Venus Williams: In her psychedelic skirt from her own brand, Eleven, Venus Williams looks more like an extra from Flashdance than a world-class tennis player. We don’t mind a print, but this one looks dated and painfully ’80s (not in a good way).
Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic: These young Aussie firecrackers lose major points for a lack of originality – they both rocked the same Nike look with ridiculously bright shoe-and-sock combo.
Serena Williams: Strange black gym boots, bizarre arm warmers (in 35-degree heat?) and a clunky geometric print prevent the typically stylish Williams from reaching her full fashion potential.
Stanislas Wawrinka: Real men wear pink, but not all real men can pull it off. Kudos to Stan for trying, but perhaps pairing this particular shade of magenta with a subtler colour like grey or white would have prevented it from looking so, well, painfully pink.
Yaroslava Shvedova and Irina-Camelia Begu: No, the matching was not intentional. Unfortunately the outfits were. Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Begu of Romania both rocked the same hot pink-and-purple Fila outfit for their round-one match and let’s just say two wrongs don’t make a right.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands: The American is constantly pushing the style boundaries and, believe it or not, this is actually one of her more demure looks. It’s nearly wonderful, but unflattering horizontal stripes and clashing shades of orange and pink combined with Mattek-Sands’ striking tattoo push it over the line for fun and floral to full-on.