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From individuals to organizations, weekend warriors to professional players, minute observations to big-picture ideas, tennis has been top of mind across the board over the past two years.

“I feel like this is the tennis boom part two,” says Trey Waltke, general manager of the Malibu Racquet Club in southern California. “Everyone is talking tennis. Everyone is playing. People are rediscovering how great tennis is.”

Tennis shouldn’t rest on its laurels; the first boom didn’t last forever. But this is as good of an opportunity to reflect on what the sport has gotten right, during a time when so much has gone wrong.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do just that, with a series of stories—30-Love—that highlights 30 things worth celebrating about the New American Tennis Boom. Look for past articles on the left side of each page.—Ed McGrogan


Since its beginnings as a pastime for Europe’s upper crust, tennis has been embedded in the fashion world. Champions like Rene Lacoste and Stan Smith are remembered as much for their contributions to style as their on-court achievements, while the legendary Suzanne Lenglen helped pioneer sportswear for women. Fashion comes and goes, of course, but tennis remains an inexorable link to today’s looks—though now perhaps in a new way.

Sportswear and ‘athleisure’ have become America’s go-to uniform, especially as more people work from home due to the pandemic and its effect on society. Thanks in part to social media and a host of new American fashion brands, tennis and its aesthetic are now more in vogue than ever before.

Part of this is another effect of COVID-19: a growing interest in tennis. Played outdoors and at a safe distance, participation has surged in the last two years, with the USTA reporting a 22 percent increase in 2020 from a year earlier and bucking a long-term decline. That trend continued into 2021, with equipment sales also up 40 percent, according to the Tennis Industry Association.

And because these days it’s impossible to take up a new hobby and not tell the world about it, tennis is thriving on Instagram and TikTok as much as on the public courts. The sport’s nostalgia-tinged aesthetic found a home alongside the sourdough starters and Animal Crossing islands that featured heavily on social media feeds. The global visibility of superstar Naomi Osaka hasn’t hurt.


‘Tenniscore’ was the buzzword of the summer, as influencers and celebrities like Kendall Jenner embraced the retro-preppy look, pleated skirts and sporty polos that the sport is known for. Fashion designers and magazines alike took notice.

“Although the Tenniscore aesthetic can be functional (see: Venus Williams), more often than not, we see the trend worn off the court as everyday wear,” fashion writer Ty Gaskins noted as he chronicled the trend in Grazia USA.

Fashion brands weren’t far behind. Born on the grass courts of Pennsylvania, Club and Court launched in December 2020 with a line of vintage-inspired stylish on-and-off-court looks, and has been name-dropped in Vogue USA and the Wall Street Journal.

“When it came to styles that flattered and [were] functional and captured the spirit and style of old-school tennis, we saw a need for improvement,” wrote Club and Court co-founder Lara Evans on her blog.


But not every new player wants prim all-whites. Brands are increasingly looking to streetwear, a multi-billion dollar phenomenon with strong counterculture roots. It remains tennis fashion’s last frontier as the sport seeks to capture the attention of a younger audience.

“A lot of people have been saying that tennis is overdue for a ‘cool’ brand,” said Jacqueline Dowling, co-founder of Record, a Miami-based tennis-streetwear crossover label. “There are a lot of tennis fans worldwide, but there hasn’t been much crossover between tennis and streetwear, like you see in other sports. In basketball or soccer, off-duty style is so huge, but we weren’t really seeing that in the tennis world.”

Enter Record. Launched in January 2021, Record is aiming to bring fans trendy-casual unisex tees, hats and hoodies highlighting tennis’ global culture, providing a counterbalance to the preppy looks that the sport is most known for.

With participation at a high—and new brands ready to outfit this new generation of players—tennis is poised to continue serving looks on and off the court.