Le sigh. A delayed, two-week affair in Paris makes for a chilly conclusion to 2020's Grand ... Troika in tennis. It would make sense, on some level, that a layered global crisis would be visualized by layers of branded and/or makeshift kits adorning the physiques of ATP and WTA pros at Roland Garros. They're just trying to keep warm and keep well, in this quasi-bubble atmosphere.
An abbreviated, compressed calendar in sport has led to this: players competing in compression, long-sleeve attire and more or less just trying to do their best. The clay-court tennis in this September-to-October weather has largely been less than glorious—mist turns to rain, caked red dirt flies off the struck ball—but it's happening. For that we give thanks, and along the way, some enterprising pros manage to make surefire fashion statements. Sacre brrrr. Let's all just be glad they're here.
BEST USE OF TIGHTS
US Open quarterfinalist Tsvetana Pironkova and 2002 Roland Garros finalist Venus Williams each handled the weather with sartorial aplomb. Pironkova's warmers looked positively sketchy.
Williams' dotted-meets-sheer treatment were the best among dozens of players opting for more coverage.
A 2015 champ in Paris, Stan Wawrinka gave the best upper-body coverage of anyone, somehow managing to elevate a mock-turtleneck from giving off a Bond-villain look to actually looking sensibly chic.
After a shortcoming in pursuit of singles major No. 24 in New York, Serena Williams showed up in Paris, where she has a home, with beautifully braided blonde locks. Obviously, they photographed exceedingly well, and they aided her in sending a ferocious message via follicles to her opening-round opponent, Kristie Ahn.
Ever a footwear fashionista, Serena Williams again showed off a pair of fantastic kicks, with red and black uppers set off by a golden Nike "swoosh" and lips ready for a French kiss of sweet victory that would not come, as she withdrew a round in with an Achilles injury.
The red-orange surface greeted quite a few high-profile orange kits this year, with Fila outfitting Sofia Kenin, Kiki Bertens, and more in a tasteful yet stylish, color-me-plaid collection.
Lacoste has oddly lumbered through a few majors in recent times with its star sponsoree Novak Djokovic, not always granting him the polo/kit his stature in the game calls for. The styles on him have looked fatigued periodically, but at this major, both versions—predominant red and white—flatter with a design that matches his likewise angular form.
There's a kinetic energy about this kit that has been lacking, so here's hoping for more of it in 2021.
Similarly, relative upstart Egor Gerasimov, in Hydrogen, showed off a stylish pattern that looked like the geometry of Pac-Man paths, in the best way. The kit plainly had a great cut to it as well, with the shorts hitting his upper-leg tattoo at the perfect place.
Looking akin to an assassin in all-black Adidas, with shoulder detail and skirt hemming that took the look up a couple notches, Garbine Muguruza played the role before falling to Danielle Collins as week one wore down. The magazine-editorial darling remains a classy stalwart in the wardrobe department.
Floating like a diminutive butterfly, Diego Schwartzman served deep-yellow bumblebee vibes in Fila.
Maria Sakkari skirted single-set challenges from her first two foes before succumbing to Martina Trevisan in round three. The gorgeous print on her actual skirt, by Adidas, wouldn't seek the second week. We'll see her next season for what are sure to be some major fashion moments.
Ever the portrait of perfectly tailored sportswear, Rafael Nadal didn't disappoint in his return to tennis action after passing on the US Open. Black shoes ensured the bright pieces didn't whelm the look overall, and the stripe down the thigh on his shorts enlarged the eyes of many a club player ready to snag that off the rack to elevate their weekend look. If clothes can often bring confidence, and they certainly can, Nadal must have it in spades in this event. Not that he needs any help at all.
Commonly known as the fashion capital of the world, major tennis in Paris these two weeks has been dampened, literally and figuratively, by the times and the weather. That goes for the matches themselves, and the players bedecked in them. Improvising in multiple ways has proven key.
While the City of Light finds its heralded event playing out under the lights some nights, it's a tribute to the fortitude of many that it can take place at all. Let a safe and stylish 2021 await.