Tennis has become more than just a sport in recent times—it's an institution in its own right. Beyond the many rules and regulations that both players and officials have to adhere to across the different tennis tournaments, none could probably compare to the prestige of the oldest tournament: The Championships, Wimbledon.
And when we say that it's more than just a sport, we also mean that even attending Wimbledon comes with proper dress codes. It's quite an esteemed event, and like most events, how one dresses is a mark of respect for the occasion.
For the past 16 years, American brand Ralph Lauren has been responsible for making sure that the sport preserves a sense of tradition and professionalism in terms of appearance. The brand switched things up for the 2006 Championships by reworking the uniforms worn by chair umpires, officials as well as ball boys and girls. The colour scheme changed from green to navy blue, with ball persons fitted in signature Ralph Lauren polo shirts. Since then, Ralph Lauren has continued to be the Official Outfitter of The Championships, Wimbledon, making the tournament look and feel as important as ever.
The partnership has culminated in a new campaign for this year's Wimbledon. While tennis is the name of the game, the latest Ralph Lauren Wimbledon campaign brought together athletes from a diverse range of sports—a wider celebration of sportsmanship beyond just tennis. South Korean football player Son Heung-Min, rugby player Maro Itoje, and surfing champion Lucy Campbell represent the more traditional notion of sports, while principal dance Francesca Hayward, and G2 E-Sports League of Legends Player, Rekkles portray more unconventional aspects of athleticism.
But what is it about tennis that is a draw for athletes who aren't experts in the racket sport? For footballer, Son Heung-Min, it is the players that brings a charm to tennis. In an interview with Esquire Korea, Son says that unlike football, where it is a group game, in tennis, he sees how "cool" players are when they play alone on the court under hot weather.
"The British sun [can be] really hot," Son adds. "[England] is also a country where the people really like the sun. I never actually watched Wimbledon as usually around this time, we start preparing for the next season. I have seen it on TV though or through highlight videos posted on the web. But if the schedule fits, I want to go and see it in person and I think I will choose clothes that go well with the weather; I'd wear something that's inconspicuous as possible."
What all five chosen athletes have in common is the amount of dedication, level of professionalism, as well as determination that it takes to excel in their chosen fields. And also, a mark of how the idea of athleticism constantly evolves to be as diverse as possible.
Which also brings us to how Ralph Lauren continues to evolve as a brand, as well as its offerings. Not only are the uniforms of Wimbledon's ball persons crafted for functional performance, they're also made from yarns derived from recycled plastic bottles. This is line with Ralph Lauren's support for the All England Lawn Tennis Club's (AELTC) commitment to a more positive environmental impact by 2030, and a move that Ralph Lauren itself has already been championing in its own line.
The Polo Ralph Lauren Wimbledon capsule collection is now available at the Polo Ralph Lauren Singapore Shaw Centre boutique.