"Bad press, good press, at least they're talking, right?" Those words were spoken by a young Andre Agassi in a 1990 press conference. Thirty-years later, the living legend has helped get everyone talking again with Nike's new Challenge Court collection.
From unrecoverable meltdowns to historic performances, the eight-time Grand Slam champion always put on a show that was authentic and lively. His non-conforming attitude ignited the world and his attire would add an entirely new dimension to the sport. As a rebellious youngster in the 1990s, the American sparked conversations with his unpredictable on-court demeanor and his colorful fashion choices.
Now the Agassi-inspired Challenge Court collection has made its debut in New York.
Agassi would compete at the US Open in 1990 in a bold mix of green neon, skate-like graphics and denim—all of which was very uncommon within the tennis realm. At the time, Agassi had zero Grand Slams to his name but he already was stomping his way through history with his bonafide spirit and style.
"Tennis was never a choice for me," Agassi said in an interview with Bleacher Report. "It was always something I had to do. And then at some point, it became the only thing I could do. And I think there was a lot of resentment in that, but there were a lot of rewards in it, too. So there was a lot of contradiction and conflict and I felt like what I wore was something that I could kind of choose and take ownership of, and I chose to kind of go down that anti-establishment road, because of that resentment."
On Challenge Court's 30-year anniversary, Nike and Agassi teamed up again to celebrate the iconic collection. Nike has helped Agassi, now 50, to harness his originality and share it with the world with bold fonts, color splashes and even an accidental logo. The Challenge Court logo was inspired by an inkblot mistake, which resembles Agassi on a tennis court: a little hectic but a true artist of the craft.
"Bringing back a historical collection from 30 years ago was inspiring, challenging and really fun," Abby Swancutt, NikeCourt Design Director said in a NikeCourt interview. "We know the pieces from 30 years ago still resonate today."
Today's players, such as, Aryna Sabalenka, Denis Shapovalov, Madison Keys and Felix Auger-Aliassime are bringing back Agassi's vintage spirit by putting away the tucked-in all white looks and replacing it with striking shades of neon.
"Tighty-whites, tucked in, everything ironed," Agassi said in a NikeCourt video. "It just felt like gosh I don't want to be around these people!"
The 90's rebel style has been a hit with Nike's current tennis roster.
Petra Kvitova hoped it would help her play like Agassi while Grigor Dimitrov called it one of his favorite outfits.
With its bright colors, the line is in your face, noisy and nostalgic. Agassi remains ingrained in the game even long after putting down the racquets and his many fans and today's players are eager to continue his style legacy.