Tennis and ellesse – an enduring love affair
If you’ve read our timeline, you’ll know that the very beginnings of ellesse were rooted in ski. Before long, it became apparent that the tennis world yearned for the same combination of Italian style with functionality. Popular in contrasting seasons, it made sense for ellesse to bring flamboyant style to a new sport.
The 1970s, then, saw ellesse move into tennis sportswear and in 1975, the semi palla (the half ball) logo so well known and loved today, was created. This was in fact the perfect time for the brand to move into tennis as the years 1975-6 have been coined ‘the golden age of Italian tennis’.
The ellesse tennis hall of fame
The first tennis player to be sponsored by ellesse in the mid 70s. Nicknamed ‘il soldatino’ (the soldier), he achieved a world ranking of 7 at his best. Barazzutti won the Davis Cup for Italy in 1976, alongside Adriano Panatta and Paolo Bertolucci – part of the golden age. This is the only Davis Cup victory for the Italian team to this day.
ellesse sponsored Boris Becker – ‘il bimbo d’oro’ (the golden child) – from an early age. He was 17 when he won the Wimbledon singles title in 1985, and defended his title successfully the following year. His successes since this first monumental victory speak for themselves, and Becker’s charisma and tennis knowhow continue to entertain fans to this day.
Spotted by ellesse as an up and coming player, Cash won the Wimbledon singles title in 1987 and is still one of the most popular Aussies in tennis.
The woman to revolutionise female tennis joined the ellesse ranks in 1979. She went on to win the Wimbledon singles title in 1981. With her stellar status, ellesse grew beyond the tennis court and was worn by individuals from Princess Diana to King Hussein of Jordan, Prince Albert of Monaco to José Carreras.
Fighting for the top titles at the same time as Chris Evert was four-time Grand Slam winner, Mandlíková. ellesse was on both sides of the net when these opponents met; the 1981 Wimbledon Ladies final being such an example. On that occasion, Evert was the winner and Wimbledon Champion.
The Romanian ‘Euro babe’ with the powerful forehand won the Roland Garros singles title in 1978, wearing ellesse.
Known as well off the court as on it, Argentine playboy and four-time Grand Slam winner Vilas was the iconic poster boy for ellesse. The striped polo shirts he wore remain a core part of the ellesse DNA.
Other players in the ellesse tennis hall of fame are Francesco Cancelloti (Italy), Anke Huber (Germany), Goran Ivanisevic (Croatia), Petr Korda (Czech Republic), Anna Kournikova (Russia), Henri Leconte (France), Andrea Temesvari (Romania) and Mats Wilander (Sweden).
Beyond the players
Tennis is in the DNA of ellesse. In addition to sponsoring pro players through the years, ellesse has sponsored the Monte Carlo Masters, the Rome Masters and the Madrid Open. Please explore our timeline to find out more [hyperlink].
ellesse is also there for all the casual players and tennis fans around the world. Are you bringing style, flair and love of the game to the court? Let us know if you are! And if you’d like to find out where you can buy ellesse near you, please visit our Stockists page.
Here is to the love affair continuing. Salute!