It is most apparent when two tennis players are wearing the same outfit while playing each other – this happens more often than you might think. The reason is not down to a happy accident or the fact that tennis players have no unique sense of style. It is because of the obligation they have towards their sponsors.
Tennis players with endorsement contracts with the same brand or clothing company might often be seen wearing the same outfit. The brand usually has a specific design collection for that season, requiring all their sponsored tennis players to wear it for marketing purposes.
From a marketing perspective, having multiple tennis players wearing the same outfit during a tournament can be very effective. People worldwide see these players on television, in newspapers, online, and on the court.
Wimbledon’s viewership alone was estimated to be 53.8 million people in 2022. This level of exposure is crucial to any clothing brand since it can result in massive sales revenue.
Do Tennis Players Choose What They Wear?
Most tennis players do not have a choice in the outfit they will wear at a major tournament, be it regarding style or color. Since their sponsors have a specific clothing design they want to market at that particular time, the players must wear what they are given since they are paid to do so.
However, there are exceptions.
In the case of highly reputable tennis players like Rafael Nadal, Rodger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams, they have a choice of what they wear because they all have their own line of clothing, which no one else wears but them.
Sponsors might also give these big names in tennis some level of choice in their attire. For example, Andrew Murray prefers his sponsored outfits to consist of plain, austere shirts and shorts, whereas Novak Djokovic wants more flashy clothing with bright colors.
Why Does A Tennis Player Wear The Same Tournament Outfit?
There are many reasons tennis players wear the same outfit throughout a tournament. The biggest reason is the fact that they are required to do so by their sponsors.
Tennis players under contract with clothing brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Lacoste, Fila, and Uniqlo must wear the same attire for the duration of a tournament (i.e., from the first round to their final match). If the player reaches the Grand Slam Final, they will wear the same outfit seven times.
The seven times a tennis player wears an outfit is seven promotional opportunities for that brand. Suppose a leading player is repeatedly seen in the same outfit. In that case, it encourages amateur players and beloved tennis fans to go out and purchase that same line of outfits or at least support the specific name brand through other purchases.
These contractual obligations apply not only to tennis players’ clothing but might extend to accessories, such as luxury brand watches, that they wear during every match.
A benefit of repetitive outfits is that it helps tennis players focus on their game. Wearing the same attire for every match allows for a more consistent mindset and performance from each player since they are not distracted by what they need to wear but instead focused on how they should perform.
Tennis players get the opportunity to try on the outfits allocated by the sponsoring brand before competing in tournaments since the players must be sized correctly to be comfortable.
Once the clothing outfit has been selected, wearing the same one during every match helps to prevent injuries since the players are not distracted by their clothing choice or comfort level.
Wearing the same outfit during a tournament also helps players playing in the doubles games, where teammates need to instantly spot their partner on the other side of the net to be able to play a shot in their direction.
Spectators also become familiar with players through their clothing, making them easier to recognize and support from the stands.
How Many Tournament Outfits Do Tennis Players Have?
As mentioned, tennis players must repeat an outfit about seven times in a tournament, less if they do not reach the final stage. Therefore, players generally pack six to eight clothing kits for two weeks of play (e.g., Grand Slam). These kits are replicas of the same outfit assigned by their clothing sponsors.
During a hot day of play, or if the player tends to perspire an exceptional amount, they could go through 2-3 outfit changes during a single match. For this reason, some pack more than seven outfits.
At most big tournaments, tennis players can access a laundry service if additional clean outfits are needed.
Official Dress Codes For Professional Tennis Players
Both male and female tennis players participating in ATP tours are always expected to dress clean, appropriate, and professional.
This rule applies to practice, warm-up, and match day outfits. If they do not adhere to this dress code, they risk being ordered by the chair umpire or supervisor to change their attire or equipment immediately.
If a player does not conform, they may even end up being suspended or paying a fine.
Wimbledon Dress Code
The Wimbledon Grand Slam is the only tournament with an additional dress code rule: all tennis players must wear white or almost all-white attire. Everything from their headgear to their shoes, soles, laces, and visible undergarments must be white.
And don’t even think about taking a chance with the color cream or off-white – it must be pure white.
Only a single trim (<1cm) of color is permitted on the tennis players’
- shirt neckline
- the cuff of their shirt
- side of their pants
- cap or headband
Wimbledon’s dress code was implemented in the 1880s because sweat stains were considered unsightly and improper, with white clothing doing a seemingly good job of minimizing its visibility. White attire was, since then, used to ensure that players looked respectable and presentable on the court.
This dress code is still a tradition at Wimbledon, even though many leading tennis players, including Roger Federer and Martina Navratilova, have openly stated that the rules are too strict.
Tennis players who wear the same outfits are endorsed by the same brands, which means they hold contracts requiring them to wear a particular clothing style for marketing purposes.
The exposure that sponsors gain from this leads to increased sales revenue. Wearing the same outfit during every tournament also helps players remain comfortable and focus on their performance.