Traditional Tennis Attire versus Modern Tennis Attire

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There can be little doubt that a tennis player of the 1930s would stand out like a sore thumb if he or she were to appear on a tennis court today. This is not to say that tennis wasn't played well eighty years ago but, shall say, the apparel has changed somewhat.
In part this is explained by society's changing attitudes towards dress. The sight of men wearing ties was not restricted to the tennis court all those years ago. This was also a common sight on golf courses as were cravats on cricket pitches. Whilst many established tennis clubs still insist on a predominately white dress code, shorter skirts for ladies and shorts for men are the biggest changes in how tennis players look today.

On the professional circuit a change in clothing was inevitable. Today's players are highly trained athletes who rely on speed around the court and stamina to last the pace in matches which can sometimes run to 4 hours. Their clothing can make the difference between winning and losing especially in the harsh climates where some of the biggest tournaments are played.

Headbands, sun visors and wristbands were not common sights on tennis courts in the pre world war two years. Today they are seen to be essential not just as convenient advertising boards for sponsors and manufacturers (although the money generated plays a crucial role in today's game), but as a practical means of controlling perspiration and getting a good sight of the ball.

The tennis shoes industry of today is bigger than anyone could have imagined it would become in the 1930s. In those days, tennis shoes had one purpose - to be used on a tennis court. Today they not only do a much better job on the tennis court, but they are also fashion items and it is for this reason that the manufacturers provide today's top players with six figure sponsorship deals simply to wear their footwear.

So, tennis apparel has come a long way from the more formal dress of the slightly stilted players that we sometimes see on the black and white screen. This isn't merely a consequence of technological developments which have created lighter and more efficient clothes for today's players, but also a reflection of how fashion impacts on the way we look on the tennis court - and off it!

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