Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov and more have all been wearing pink on the blue courts of the Australian Open – and for good reason, too.
Since 2008, the vibrant blue of its Plexicushion tennis courts has defined Melbourne Park, juxtaposing the intensity of the competition against a calming and serene backdrop.
This year, though, another colour has entered the arena: pink.
And now Nike, which designed the kits, has confirmed that this colour was specifically chosen to intimidate.
As tennis aficionados have no doubt already noticed, some of the biggest names in men’s tennis have been embracing head-to-toe pink at the 2018 Australian Open.
The outfits have drawn a mixed response on social media, with some praising the bold hue and others (including Judy Murray) joking that it’s left players looking a little bit like liquorice allsorts.
Others, though, have gone down the boring and entirely untrue ‘men can’t wear pink’ route.
“The fact that a lot of the male players are wearing pink is annoying me much more than it should,” wrote one user.
“Why are they dressing the men up in girl’s kits?” complained another.
This divided reaction, though, is apparently the entire point of the new kits.
Responding to the ‘pink mania’ on social media via a statement, Nike explains that it was keen to create a kit which would grab the focus of overseas viewers who might miss the main broadcast and catch-up via social media posts.
“The challenge of designing for a quick impression is creating a simple, but instantly recognisable and bold design,” shares Sam Shipley, Apparel Design Director for NikeCourt.
“We utilised dynamic geometric shape and flooded colour to grab the viewer’s attention.”
With these criteria in mind, Shipley chose pink for Melbourne.
“We worked closely with the colour team on finding the best shades for the most impactful read off the incredible blue courts. We wanted something that vibrates when you see it on screen,” says Shipley, adding that it calls to mind the rock ’n‘ roll attitude of Nineties Nike Tennis and the swagger of that era’s tennis stars.
“We talked a lot about driving energy through confidence in pink,” adds Shipley.
“We thought, ‘if this design was in all pink, would it still be aggressive?’ We’re holding ourselves to that test!”
It’s not the first time that pink has been linked to confidence: according to a 2012 report, wearing pink is associated with confident behaviour, higher incomes and higher education levels – making it the perfect choice for a job interview or a big meeting.
Or, y’know, a highly-competitive game of tennis. Your call.
Images: Rex Features