Lea Pericoli

This article is part of our Italian Week on Tennis Buzz.

If you’re not Italian, you’ve probably never heard of Lea Pericoli.

Born in 1935, she reached the last sixteen of the French Open four times and the Wimbledon Championships once, but she became more famous because of her clothes than for her tennis.

“I didn’t make any money from tennis, but if I’d been born 30 years later I would have become terribly rich like Anna Kournikova”

Lea Pericoli

In the 50s, Lea Pericoli shocked the English fans with her short skirt, sheer underslip and frilly underpants. At the 54 Rome tournament, she played in very short, buddy-hugging shorts and high-fitting sleeveless top that left little to the imagination.
In 1955, Pericoli played at the Wimbledon Championships wearing clothes designed by Teddy Tinling. Her clothing generated so much interest in later years, that it was kept secret until her appearances on the court.
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This article is part of our Italian Week on Tennis Buzz.

Unlike other italian brands Fila, Sergio Tacchini and ellesse, Diadora is much more known for his footwear than its clothing, and although Grand Slam champions Pat Cash, Gustavo Kuerten, Jim Courier, Jennifer Capriati and Yevgeny Kafelnikov wore Diadora, the brand will be forever tied to legend Bjorn Borg.

With their Bjorn Borg Elite, Diadora ensured their place in fashion as well as sporting history.
Made of kangaroo leather, the shoes came with a special bag that had Borg’s face on it.

Diadora Borg Elite

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This article is part of our Italian Week on Tennis Buzz.

One of the most striking early references to the game of tennis appears in a painting by Giambattista Tiepolo entitled The Death of Hyacinth (1752) in which a strung raquet and three tennis balls are depicted.

The Death of Hyacinth

According to tradition, the greek God Apollo, in a sporting competition with his lover, injured him fatally with a discus. A German ruler and connoisseur of fine art, Count Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg Lippe, commissioned an unusual rendering of the story from the Venetian artist Tiepolo.
The painting suggests that Apollo’s lover Hyacynth fell victim, not to a discus, but to a tennis ball.
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Made in Italy: Fila

This article is part of our Italian Week on Tennis Buzz.

Extract of John McEnroe’s autobiography, Serious:

The first time I ever saw Borg, I was a ballboy for him.
He would have been 15 or 16, I was 12 or 13. I thought he was incredible-looking – the long hair, the headband, that little bit of scruff on his face that he’d get from not shaving for a couple of weeks.
And the Fila outfit – the tight shirts and short shorts… I loved that stuff! I would have trade anything, back then, to get a Fila striped shirt; a jacket was a big deal. (As a matter of fact, I did once trade about half the contents of my suitcase for a Fila jacket, and it almost fit!)

The cooperation of Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg, and Fila is one of the most famous and successful chapters of Tennis fashion history. Some of those clothes belong to the most beautiful tennis and lifestyle wear ever created. Borg was well known for his signature look of an on court polo and a post match zip jacket that blended a classic look with strong 70’s styling.

Bjorn Borg

Fila Bjorn Borg

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This article is part of our Italian Week on Tennis Buzz.

What do tennis stars Chris Evert and Guillermo Vilas, ski icon Marc Girardelli and F1 champion Alain Prost have in common? These sporting legends have all been sponsored by italian sports-lifestyle brand ellesse.

The ellesse name is based on the initials LS of its founder, Leonardo Servadio, an Italian tailor with an innovative approach to styling and manufacture.
In 1959, Servadio created a revolutionary stretch ski pant which established ellesse among the elite alpine social circles, making it the ultimate aspirational brand.

The famous half-ball ellesse logo combines the trips of a pair of skis with a cross section of a tennis ball, to symbolize the brand’s heritage in these sports. The ellesse brand is often cited as one of the first ever brands to feature their company logo on the outside of the clothes, a move copied by brands worldwide ever since.

Evert Ellesse Vilas

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