The Grand Slam stage provides players the opportunity to show their skills, and for apparel brands to showcase their styles. Tighter tops are trending for the men in Melbourne this week, and some say a closer fit is functional.
Two-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray put in the "hard yards" training in the Miami heat during the off-season, and has shown his sculpted physique wearing a tighter adidas top. Murray says he didn't ask adidas for a more fitted shirt—it's not as snug as the skin-diver tight adidas shirts Juan Monaco briefly wore—but believes less is more.
"The only thing I don't like on shirts is if they come down too low and sometimes your elbows can get caught in the shirt," Murray said. "I mean, the less material there is on the shirt I think probably the better. There's less to get in the way. But so long as they're tailored somewhat, I think there's no real problem."
Some male players we asked cite cut—shorter shirt sleeves and longer shorts—color, and comfort as priorities for their on-court clothes.
"First of all I need my clothes to be comfortable. For example, sleeveless tops in extreme conditions and t-shirts indoors," Gael Monfils, who switched to Asics apparel and shoes this season, told TENNIS.com. "I take a lot of inspiration from U.S. sports so of course larger shorts are also an important component of what I like. As for the colors, anything flashy!"
Some players, including American Steve Johnson, are attached to apparel that reflects personality and provides positive reinforcement.
"I'm in tennis apparel 90 percent of the time so it is important for me to have tennis apparel that reflects my personality. I like wearing fun colors and interesting designs because it's an easy way to make myself stand out," Johnson told TENNIS.com. "I generally prefer to wear longer shorts and short-sleeved shirts—not sleeveless—and I always like to make sure the fabric is lightweight and can breathe. Asics has never provided me with an outfit I didn't like, but if I had to pick my favorite outfit so far I would say my U.S. Open outfit is one of my favorites. I reached the third round at the 2012 U.S. Open, so that outfit is pretty special for me."
Murray's shorts came under scrutiny last year when a ball popped out of his pocket a few times. While the supremely-fit Scot once played Wimbledon wearing throwback Fred Perry shorts, you're more likely to see him wearing a Tarzan-inspired loincloth than donning the briefer adidas shorts coach Ivan Lendl wore during his prime.
"I can't see a return to them, to be honest," Murray said. "Yeah, they were a bit too short. Didn't leave too much to the imagination."