NEW YORK — At this year’s U.S. Open, the fashion’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.
Ultra-bright, neon hues of yellow, pink and orange are exploding all over the courts at Flushing Meadows, with players decked out in outfits down to the socks and shoelaces that make a screaming, flashbulb-like assault on the rods and cones. Think a desk full of highlighter pens, only brighter.
“It’s a very cool outfit,” said American player Jack Sock, who took the court Wednesday with an all-fluorescent yellow kit, socks and all. “Maybe because it’s New York City, there’s that electric feeling and a lot of buzz, excitement, anticipation. … Loud audiences and loud matches go along with the loud outfits.”
The neon trend has been building for years and harkens back to the 1990s, when players such as Andre Agassi in his long-hair days struck a rebellious pose. Nike, in particular, is taking it mainstream this year, with well over a dozen players in the men’s and women’s draws decked out from head to toe in bright yellow, with black and pink accents that only serve to make the color seem brighter. Rafael Nadal stands apart from his Nike comrades in a relatively staid black outfit, but the soles of his feet are festooned in ultra-bright yellow.
The color was so ubiquitous that several times in the early rounds, competing players battled it out in the same, official all-yellow Nike line, which the company says takes its cues from “the bright lights of New York City … bright color spectrums mimic the chromatic shift of neon lights.”
Is all attention good attention or does it go too far?
When 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro strode on court for his opening match in gleaming yellow shirt, shorts, socks, shoes and headband, one Twitter commenter struck a familiar snarky tone: “Be one with the tennis ball. Literally turn into one.” Another feed, Vamos Delpo Fans, tweeted simply : “Daaaang Nike thats yellow.”
Judy Murray, mother of No. 2-seed Andy Murray, tweeted on the stylings of a fellow British player: “Has someone attacked Kyle Edmund with a highlighter pen?”
Sock may have gotten the better of his opponent Mischa Zverev on the court, but the German more than held his own on the loud scale, with an Adidas ensemble of shocking pink hat, pink and yellow shirt, pink shorts and pink shoes. Zverev even set off the outfit, intentionally or not, with neon yellow tennis strings.
Asked about his neon pink New Balance shoes, which stood out in an otherwise conservative kit of white and black, Canadian Milos Raonic was resigned to go with the fashion flow.
“The color is very pink and loud, but I like the outfit,” Raonic said. “I like the sort of disconnectedness — that that’s sort of the focal point.”