Following the lead of Fred Perry and René Lacoste, Maria Sharapova is one of few professional tennis players today who helps design their own tour outfits. Working closely with Nike, the 28-year-old Russian athlete is involved in the creative process from the very beginning stages, brainstorming concepts up to 18 months before a high-profile match. So it goes without saying that we were pretty curious what she had in mind for this year's U.S. Open—and her much-hyped face-off with the equally stylish Serena Williams. And we're happy to report that the dress in question looks pretty damn good.
The appropriately named Maria Women's Tennis Dress ($130; store.nike.com) is made with the brand's trademark Dri-FIT fabric that quite literally engulfs sweat, and features perforated mesh panels at the sides for extra ventilation and a soft elastic band at the chest for additional support. "I usually don't do much white apart from Wimbledon," Sharapova told InStyle at the launch of her candy brand Sugarpova's pop-up shop at Bloomingdale's in N.Y.C. "This year we decided to forgo bold patterns and colors and streamline to make it a classic look."
We've always admired how certain players bring the fashion element to the game, but Sharapova insists this has historical precedence with tennis. "Fashion has always been an important part of the tennis world," she added. "We can always experiment with the outfits that we wear. I'm fortunate that I get to work with the designers who are creating things that I’m comfortable wearing and things that other women are able to wear, too. Whenever I design, I think about the person that is 14-years-old and the person who’s playing in an adult tennis league." Matching mother-daughter Maria dresses, anyone?
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