(Ginger Rogers posing in 1941.)
Thwap, thwap, thwap.
The gentle and oh so delicious sound of tennis balls
across the court.
It's tennis season in Melbourne
- and the Australian Open
is in the first week.
In honour of the fabulous blue court surface,
I wore a navy spotted dress to the match last night,
to see Roddick & Hewitt play.
Such drama, such excitement.
The sense of intimacy as so many spectators sit hushed,
listening to that thwap, thwap.
For the advent of modern comfortable tennis clothing for the players,
we have one May Sutton to thank.
The British-born American shocked the crowds at Wimbledon in 1905
by wearing pushed up sleeves and a dress above her ankles.
She went on to win the Ladies Championship that year
in her newfound freedom of dress.
Which was a big leap from what the tennis playing ladies
were wearing before.
This illustration is from 1882.
Can you imagine running around the court in this outfit?
Tennis has long been associated with elegance & style,
as perfected here by Olivia de Havilland (1930) & Ava Gardener (1941).
And by Suzanne Lengl, in fabulous pleats at Wimbledon, in 1924.
The boys aren't to be outdone by the girls in style.
Rod Laver & Roy Emerson have that confident suavity of their era,
in these images from the Australian Open in the 1960s.
All this talk of tennis has me reaching
for my vintage collection
I can feel a weekend of tennis coming on!
Pass the strawberries
and would you like another glass of bubbles, perhaps?
images: 2/3/9 blue fruit